Anyone who travels often knows that travel is something that makes you physically tired. Especially if it’s in a camper van because the car is not only your transportation but also your home. It means long hours of driving, and long hours of sitting and waiting to get to the next destination. Then you finally get to that spot you were heading for which means hours of walking and sightseeing. It’s fun but it’s some exercise! And at the end of the day you’re so tired and all you want to do is take a nice relaxing bath and go to sleep but wait…first we need to find a place to take such bath and then find a safe and legal place to park and spend the night.
It was our first trip in a camper van, we were not used to it and after 5 days of constant driving and sightseeing we were pretty tired. So much that on the 5th night we decided to skip the bath and just go straight to sleep.
So, I got the idea that when we woke up to our 6th day of the road trip instead of another day of driving and sightseeing we should take a “day off” a vacation from our vacation and just stay put in one place, sleep in late, take a long and relaxing bath, catch up on our laundry, and then maybe sleep some more.
However, my parents are really active. Especially mom. When we got up in the morning she had already found out a famous place to see close by and a coin laundry near it so we could explore as we did our chores. Such a pro at research.
And that is how thanks to mom we had plans for our day off and go to see a place I never even know existed. And it happened to be a really important place. Apparently, we were in Sakai city in Osaka and they were proud to hold the biggest (by area) grave in the world. The Daisen Kofun.
It consists of several humongous tombs that extend throughout the city, the biggest one is said to be the one for Emperor Nintoku. But let me tell you, from ground level these tombs look pretty bad, they are like uncared for wild bushes surrounded by a pond in the middle of regular housing areas. It is really nothing too impressive and if it weren’t for my mom I would have passed them by without a second thought.
In fact, I kept thinking why mom would want to spend time admiring regular ass bushes…but if seeing that would make her happy I decided to follow her lead.
First, we went to Sakai city museum where they showed a few movies to explain what the Daisen Kofun were and why they were important. The video was about history and since I still wasn’t interested I paid little attention.
Those interested in history might love it though, and its subtitled in English so you can understand even if you don’t know Japanese.
As my mom and I watched the videos dad had stayed behind to do the laundry.
After the video ended we found out there was something called VR experience where we could see the tombs from up above, that sounded interesting because from level ground we saw nothing. So we decided to call dad and do this VR experience.
I thought since they said we would watch the tombs from above that we would go up to some sort of observatory in some tall building or something like that but then they showed us to the room with the VR experience would be and there were only some chairs and strange glasses on each chair.
VR?. oh, I finally got it “virtual reality”.
And this virtual reality experience was awesome.
Because no one is allowed to step into the tombs or even take videos of it by drone we get to see special footage taken with special consent. And while we see the footage a guide is explaining to us what we are seeing.
It was my first time putting on virtual reality goggles and it is scary how real it feels! I knew that I was safely sitting down on a chair inside the museum yet I really did feel as if I was flying above and even screamed out of fright when the drone image suddenly went down and into the tomb.
It was fun.
After the virtual reality experience, you get to see the inside of the museum and all the artefacts from olden times.
I cannot believe that we just stopped in this town because we were tired of driving and randomly chose the closest place to stop and it turned out to be such a historically important place. It is actually the biggest grave in the world, by area that is. It is one the top 3 biggest graves in the world along with the Giza pyramids in Egypt and the Mausoleum of the first Qin Emperor in China.
Is it just me that didn’t know about their existence? Are they famous?
Anyways, thank you mom for finding this place for us to explore on our “day off”. That’s how us campers rest.
For the next day we also had no plans but this time it was dad’s turn to surprise us. He had seen in the news about a place called Himeji castle and suggested we drive there to see it before we drove to Hiroshima. I googled Himeji castle and it was decided on the spot, we had to go see it!
Ok, here is some info on the Sakai City Museum
Hours: 9:30am – 4:30pm
Price: 200 yen (for the museum) 800 yen (for the VR experience & museum)
Parking: there is a lot of parking around the museum but I forgot the price
World heritage site: Not yet but they are trying to make it one.
Are dogs allowed: sadly no. But there’s a beautiful park outside where dogs are allowed.