Osaka

A City to be Experienced

Formerly known as Naniwa, Osaka is located at the mouth of the Yodo River on Osaka Bay, and is the third largest city in Japan. This was the country’s first known capital, and remains an important economic powerhouse of the Kansai region.

Osaka combines a few historical and cultural attractions with all the delights of a modern Japanese city. The devastation of this booming city during World War II was enormous, as it was a regular bomb target and was almost completely destroyed. While the city quickly rebuilt its infrastructure after the war, Osaka is not largely known for its beauty. However, this is a city to be experienced in its totality, and casual strolls about the city to explore on your own, are likely to be just as rewarding as structured sightseeing tours.

Osaka exerts a peculiar charm and there is no shortage of experiences to be had. After seeing the temples and shrines scattered around the city, head to Osaka Bay, an area that has recently developed into a popular place with large-scale facilities for shopping and entertainment. Enjoy far-reaching, panoramic views of the bay area and the city’s skyscrapers from the Tempozan Ferris Wheel, or head to Naniwa Kuishinbo, a food theme park with a fun, old-style atmosphere, where an abundance of stalls showcase Osaka’s native dishes and specialties.

Insiders' Tips

  • Shop at Tenjinbashi-suji: Said to be the longest, straight and covered shopping arcade in Japan.
  • Visit Osaka Castle: Best known for the part it played in Japanese unification during the 16th century.
  • Neon Magic: Go fishing on Osaka Bay: Find a spot along the coast, or hire a boat for the day and head out further into the bay, where the fishing opportunities are endless.

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