The phrase “only in Japan” is often bandied about willy nilly for all kinds of unique thing in this country but it’s very apt when it comes to this “sight” in Osaka. What other country would even think to decorate such factories relating to waste matter!
It had already been an early start for me that morning and, after a minor detour to a bizarre big head temple in Kobe, I found myself at Nishikujo Station where I then took a bus (#81) along Hokuko-dori Street to the bizarrely-titled Maishima Sports Island. The first stop after crossing the bridge is Amity Maishima, and that is where to disembark should you wish to view these two colourful factories which are often mistaken for the nearby Universal Studios Japan (USJ) theme park. The first half a dozen pictures (below) are of the Filtration Plant which was designed by renowned Austrian architect Friedensreich Hundertwasser who is best known for his Hundertwasserhaus in Vienna not that I actually know it! It’s a cool design but so it should be when you discover how much was spent on it’s construction! This facility itself cost a whopping ¥80 billion ($729m)!
A short walk across the main road is the Maishima Incineration Plant which cost ¥60.9 billion ($550m) which was 20% over budget. Furthermore, another ¥900 million ($8.2m) was needed for the 140 metre tall chimney alone!
Since visiting this place in early January, YouTuber Youkendoit has made a video about it (Watch it here) where he amusingly compared it to Willy Wonka’s garbage factory. This dull and functional plant, which is 170 metres long, was built to recycle sludge in order to produce bricks, tiles and floor slabs. The aforementioned Austrian architect was an environmentalist so they have a lot of eco projects and a green philosophy which all adds to the wonder of this place.
It’s not possible for the public to enter either of the plants (without booking in advance) but you can easily take exterior photos but just be careful as there are a lot of big trucks being driven around the area. Now I should add that, although these pictures were all taken by me, the angles were mostly copied from my friend Mostyn who has an eye for a good angle. It was quite fun replicating his shots of this quirky and interesting place actually and similar to what I do with trying to mimic filming location shots.
There was a long wait till the next bus back towards central Osaka so I decided to do the 40 minute walk over the bridge to the nearest train station.
Once back on the other side were some steps leading down to street level which provided me with the opportunity to try and create a cool arty photo or two. I’m not sure if either are really any good but I do prefer the first one below.
My journey towards Sakurajima Station continued on right past Universal Studios Japan (USJ). Whilst I could see absolutely nothing due to the wall between us, it was a bit strange to see places like Jurassic Park, Hogwarts Castle and Minion Park just metres away from my blue dot tracker on my maps app!
Click here to read ‘TF Flashback – Universal Studios Japan (2005)’
From Sakurajima I journeyed on past the building with a road going through it onto Osaka Station where I exited to go and look at a few buildings of minor note.
Shops in Osaka often have all kinds of weird and wonderful decor and I passed this place (below) en-route to Oebashi Station.
The final building was anything but modern. It is a retro building (built in 1936) that continues to supply electricity to the Osaka Subway Midosuji Line.
No trip to Osaka is ever complete without a trip to the eastern side of Osaka to have lunch at Minayoshi (a.k.a. Oki’s Sushi Bistro) and catch up with top sushi chef and vegetable carver extraordinaire Oki. Yet again the red carpet was rolled out for me by way of a mention on the blackboard outside the restaurant.
At around 1pm I left Owada Station and headed back to Osaka for the 10 hour journey back to Tokyo via local trains. Whilst the 16 hour journey between Tokyo and Hiroshima on the first day of this trip was obviously longer, this one was less interesting as it was something I’d already done and the excitement and enthusiasm just wasn’t there for me.