OSAKA – a happening city in Japan
A bustling busy port city and commercial center on the main island of Honshu, it is the capital of Osaka prefecture in Kansai region in Japan. Osaka means ‘large hill’ the name changed from erstwhile Naniwa, long-long back. It has an enviable skyline second only to Tokyo in skyscrapers. In the night time, it just looks out-of-the-world with sparkling neon light.
It is the third largest city in terms of population which is 7% of Japan’s total population. Incidentally, Japan’s 78% population lives in urban area.
Why Visit Osaka?
Commercially, it is one of the finest to travel. Its huge Greater Osaka metropolitan area is located in sprawling 7800 sq km area, making it one of the largest metropolitan areas in the world. Being a major commercial and cultural hub, the city has so much to offer to tourists whether its big city comforts or even small town feel; interesting traces of history as well as modern day amenities to woo all kinds of travelers.
In springs when Cherry Blossoms bloom, that’s visible everywhere, especially in Nishinomoru Japanese Garden in Osaka-Castle-Park and in Mint tunnel in late April, the sight is breathtaking.
A festival Tenjin Matsuri of fireworks is held in July in this city. Beside these, there are many sites seeing opportunities that will make your visit worthwhile.
Enjoy unique Japanese food such as sushi, okonamiyaki, takoyaki, udon, kabo beef besides other interesting meals at famous eating outlets of Osaka. Also the tourists can relish several Asian and Western recipes at Osaka restaurants.
How to reach
- By Air– The main international gateway to Osaka is Kansai International Airport. Domestic flights operate from its Itami Railway, Monorail and subway are connected to the city from Airport.
- By Train– City center of Osaka is connected by railways to Tokyo and other major cities. Bullet trains take 2 hours and 20 minutes to reach this place from Tokyo.
- By Road– Overnight and day buses are available that take 8-9 hours to reach here from Tokyo. Driving down in a car may not be a good idea for a non-Japanese, as all the direction signs on the way are in Japanese.
- By Ferries– Ferries are the options available too though it’s expensive and time taking.
Best season to visit
Spring time from March to April are the best, when Cherry Blossom trees blossom to full glory. It’s climate is temperate and humid, so October to December is best to visit.
Tourists will be pleased to find an array of hotel chains offering best amenities and strategically located near shopping destinations, airport, stations, etc. besides, guest houses, dormitory style stays, private rooms, hostels and women-specific accommodation are also available at economical prices. One can book accommodation online in Osaka.
The city’s lifeline is the subway that has its network to almost all the places, use this to see these sites.
Osaka’s Shogunate Castle
Osaka’s Shogunate Castle is a 16th-century edifice which is its prime historical milestone; it is surrounded by a moat and park with plum, peach and cherry trees. It is unique in design and construction.
Nishinomoru Japanese Garden
Nishinomoru Japanese Garden or Naniwa Palace site park is a sprawling grass land and blossoming flowered trees, a beautiful sight just adjacent to the castle.
The Shinto Sumiyoshi
Taisha Shrine is among Japan’s oldest of Shinto shrines. Located in Sumiyoshi ward, the shrine became center of royal attraction since 10th century.
At Osaka water front, it is famous for its Universal Studios, Japan. It is very similar to Universal Studios Hollywood in Los Angeles barring the studio tour. There are many attractions, souvenir shops and restaurants. Universal City Walk also has a variety of restaurants and shops. The fireworks on Saturday nights and holidays are very impressive. Situated in Osaka Bay Area, the place has been done in truly Hollywood style with mesmerizing attractions and adventure activities especially for kids.
Impressive aquarium, Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan is an aquarium located in the ward of Minato in Osaka near Bay. It is one of the largest public aquariums in the world.
Minami & Namba
Minami and Namba, the southern sector of the city, form one of the two main commercial districts of Kansai’s biggest city, and contain some of the biggest tourist attractions. Mainly a shopping area. The slogans ‘’something for everyone and eat till you drop’’ underline its beauty and utility.
City’s history well displayed through its many museums such as Municipal Museum of Fine Art and Osaka Museum of History, get a Kansai Grutto Pass worth 1000 yen and see them all.
Ancient Buddhist 6th century temple should be seen for its statues and artifacts.
- Cycling way to see Osaka
- Cruise in Tanbori river
- Hiking on Mino falls
- Fishing trips
- Sea diving, snorkeling
- Camping, Snowboarding, wakeboarding, skiing- through some clubs