Where is Osaka?
If Tokyo is Japan's capital, one might call Osaka its anti-capital. Whatever you call it, though, there are many opportunities for you to discover its true character.
Veiled much with a commercial-centric city touch, you may as well start from picking up the lively intonation of Osaka dialect, heard from the people as you ride on the escalators standing on the right, instead of the left in Tokyo; then discovering the contrast of popular food to eastern Japan, as you look for places to lunch. The deeper you get inside, and at the end of your stay, it is not completely impossible that you may have compiled your own original list of reasons covering from history, culture, sports, and business.
The weather in Osaka
Warm, hot and appealing for much of the year, the climate in Osaka varies noticeably season to season. During the winter months in Osaka, you can expect temperatures to hover around 10°C / 50°F by day and only slightly above freezing at night. The summer weather brings highs of 35°C / 95°F and a fairly humid and muggy climate, when any air conditioning is always greatly appreciated. Much of the weather and temperate climate in Osaka is influenced by its waterfront setting, next to the Seto Inland Sea.
Osaka Castle, Osaka's best known sight, although it's a concrete reconstruction that pales in comparison with Himeji Castle. Think of it as a museum built in the shape of a castle, rather than as an actual historical castle. Still, it's pretty enough from the outside, especially in the cherry blossom season when Osaka flock to the castle park to picnic and marriage celebration.
Osaka Castle Park is colorfully embellished. You can see about 600 cherry trees, including Someiyoshino in Nishinomaru Garden.
A landmark of Osaka, appearing in many movies and attracting 700,000 people every year Tsutenkaku is a symbol of Osaka that has appeared in many movies. It was built in 1912 as the symbol of Shin-Sekai (a new world). Its concept was very typical of Osaka: build a steel tower that looks like Eifel Tower on a building designed in the image of the Arch of Triumph. With a height of 64 m, it was the tallest structure in the East Asia at the time and named Tsutenkaku, meaning Building leading to heaven, by Fujisawa Nangaku, a Confucian in the early Meiji period. Later it was dismantled after a fire but reconstructed at the request of citizens. At 103 m, the new Tsutenkaku is 39 m higher than the original. In 2007, it was registered as a tangible cultural property of Japan.
Dōtonbori is one of the principal tourist destinations in Osaka, Japan. It is a single street, running alongside the Dōtonbori canal between the Dōtonboribashi Bridge and the Nipponbashi Bridge in the Namba ward of Osaka. A former pleasure district, Dōtonbori is famous for its historic theatres (all gone now), its shops and restaurants, and its many neon and mechanized signs, including snack/candy manufacturer Glico's giant electronic display of a runner crossing the finish line. As a domestic tourist destination, Osaka is known for its food, and Dōtonbori is the main destination for food travel in Osaka. It is always featured in guidebooks for both foreign and domestic tourists. Osaka regional cuisine includes okonomiyaki (pan-fried batter cake), takoyaki (octopus dumplings), udon (a noodle dish), as well as regional sushi and other traditional Japanese foods.
Shin Sekai (New World)
"Tsutenkaku", is the symbolic tower of Osaka, and the town of "Shinsekai" that lies at its foot. Development of this region began about 100 years ago. The town of Shinsekai was established when the Tsutenkaku tower, modeled after the Eiffel Tower, was built, and has been attracting crowds as a "paradise of the masses". While the tourists flock here with the boom in Kushikatsu in recent years, old-fashioned standing-room-only bars continue to cater to their regulars with good old service with a human touch. Down to earth and warm-hearted service. This is a "paradise of the masses" where everyone can have fun inexpensively. Scenes of Shinsekai, filled with people who love this town, invites the viewer into the deeper side of Osaka.
Umeda (梅田) is a major commercial and business district in Kita-ku, Osaka, Japan, and the city's main northern railway terminus (Ōsaka Station, Umeda Station).
The area is notable for its comparatively high concentration of tall buildings, of which those in Nishi-Umeda, Dojima and Nakanoshima form a prominent skyscraper district.
Four of the city's largest department stores (Hanshin, Hankyu, Daimaru, and Isetan) are located here, as well as popular shopping and tourist areas such as HEP Five, Osaka Grand Front, and Umeda Sky Building.
Amerikamura (アメリカ村, American Village) is a sizable retail and entertainment area near Shinsaibashi in the Chūō-ku district of Osaka, Japan. It is usually referred to by locals as "Ame-mura."
Its reputation as a hangout for foreigners is a matter of degree. Osaka's registered foreign population is a small fraction of the total population; the makeup of the crowds and retail space in Ame-mura is predominantly Japanese. Locally, Ame-mura is known for being a place for observing some of the more "fashion intense" manifestations of Japanese pop culture.
Nipponbashi (日本橋) is a shopping district of Naniwa Ward, Osaka, Japan. The area is centered along Sakaisuji Avenue, extending from the Ebisu-chō Interchange of the Hanshin Expressway in the south, to Nansan-dōri (just east of Nankai Namba Station) in the north. Known colloquially as "Den-Den Town," Nipponbashi is known for its many shops which specialize in furniture, tools, and "otaku" interests such as electronics, Anime, manga, and collectibles. Nipponbashi is often compared to Akihabara Electric Town, its equivalent (in terms of focus) in Tokyo.
Den Den Town or Denki no machi is an alternate name for Nipponbashi, as it is famous for its wide variety of consumer electronics stores, and especially famous for its negotiable prices—unique to Osaka and the Kansai region. Several retailers are also tax- and duty-free.
Tsuruhashi (Korean Town)
The Tsuruhashi (鶴橋) area of Ikuno-ku is well known for the large number of Koreans, particularly Korean-Japanese citizens living there, as well as for its large number of yakiniku (Korean-style barbecue) restaurants.
For a good first taste, try Tsuruichi - the most famous and one of the oldest yakiniku restaurants in town. One of the reasons this place is so popular - in addition to its matching of reasonable prices with generous portions of good-quality meat - is because of its charcoal grills.
Kuromon Ichiba is one of the most well known central food markets in Osaka, Japan.
And while it's the type of place that could be quite touristy, something about the entire market remained very pleasant, quiet (though busy), and it is an excellent place to get started eating in Osaka.
Universal Studios Japan
Universal Studios Japan (USJ) was the first theme park under the Universal Studios brand to be built in Asia. Opened in March 2001 in the Osaka Bay Area, the theme park occupies an area of 39 hectares and is the most visited amusement park in Japan after Tokyo Disney Resort.
Just outside the park's gates is Universal Citywalk Osaka, a shopping mall with multiple official Universal hotels and many restaurants and shops, including stores selling Universal Studios merchandise and Osaka souvenirs. Furthermore, the Osaka Takoyaki Museum, which is essentially a collection of several popular vendors of the local dish gathered under one roof, is located on the mall's fourth floor.
SPA WORLD ONSEN FROM AROUND THE WORLD
An onsen theme park with full resort facilities, SpaWorld features natural hot springs where you will feel like you are traveling on a world tour, as well as a huge pool and other amusement spots located throughout the complex.
The Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan is an aquarium located in the ward of Minato in Osaka, Japan, near Osaka Bay. It is one of the largest public aquariums in the world, and is a member of the Japanese Association of Zoos and Aquariums (JAZA).The aquarium is about a five minute walk from Osakako Station on the Osaka Municipal Subway Chūō Line, and is next to the Tempozan Ferris Wheel. The walk-through aquarium displays marine life in several habitats comprising 27 tanks in 16 main exhibits with a total volume of 10,941 tons of water. The habitats are from the Ring of Fire area of the Pacific Ocean. The largest tank is 9 metres (30 ft) deep and holds 5,400 cubic metres (190,699 cu ft) of water and a variety of fish including manta rays and a whale shark.
Expo'70 Commemorative Park
The Expo'70 Commemorative Park was built on the site of the Japan World Exposition 1970.
The Expo'70 Commemorative Park is about 260 Hectares. In the huge park, there are a part of facilities of the Expo'70, such as the Japanese Garden and the Japan Folk Crafts Museum, Osaka.
The park has various cultural facilities. You can learn about Japanese and foreign cultures. The Japanese Garden was a Japanese government exhibit of the Expo '70. The garden was built with the best Japanese landscaping techniques. The Japan Folk Crafts Museum, Osaka is a museum where you can enjoy watching beautiful and useful artifacts. The Japanese and foreign ceramic wares and dyed fabrics are displayed in the museum. The beauty of the artifacts has been developed in the daily life. In the National Museum of Ethnology, there are many exhibit sections such as Oceania, America, Europe, Africa and Asia. You can find a huge variety of living tools in the world. Some exhibits are classified into categories such as music and language. You can see Osaka Expo documents in the EXPO'70 Pavilion.
The Osaka Museum Of Housing And Leaving
The Osaka Museum of Housing and Living is a remarkable facility located in the northeastern part of the Kita Area. The museum has re-created buildings and streets that show what life was like in Osaka in the past. A model of the entire city during the Edo Period, the only one of its kind in Japan, is housed in the building. Visitors can learn all about Osaka's development, experiencing via interactive exhibits the different ways of life in the city during different periods of its history.
Nanba Grand Kazuki
Namba Grand Kagetsu (NGK) Theater is the headquarters of Yoshimoto, a universal brand of Japanese comedy. Opened in 1987, this large-scale entertainment hall equipped with the latest theatrical innovations revolutionized the image of playhouses at the time. Ever since, it has been providing audiences with heartfelt laughter and good times. Here you can see Vaudeville-like comedy performances such as Shin-Kigeki ("New comedy"), Manzai ("comic duo"), Kontos ("comic chat") and Rakugo twice a day (sometimes 3 times with the evening program, and 3 times on Sundays and National holidays). Not only comedy but also special programs such as song and acrobatics are often included. The theater puts on performances all year round without any days off.
Minoh Spa Garden
The natural hot spring spa is located at the mouth of Meiji-no-Mori Minoh Quasi-National Park. In addition to a stone-built large communal bath and saunas, the spa has open-air baths offering spectacular views of the verdant Minoh mountains and of the stretch between Osaka and Kobe. The sodium hydrogen carbonate spring is known as bijin-no-yu (beauty spring) because of its benefits to the skin. The hot spring is thought to be effective for many ailments including nervous breakdowns, wounds, chronic gynecological disorders and neuralgia. In addition to baths there is a resort hotel, bowling alleys and a swimming pool, making the spa popular with families as well. Visitors can enjoy a highland resort just 30 minutes from Umeda.
Video Game Bar Space Station
When I was a child, it's a dream to play video game whole day long.
Space Station is a place where you can enjoy old and new video games while drinking in a bar setting. While the majority of video game bars in Japan have some kind of seating charge, Space Station is very proud to allow free entry. Customers pay only for the drinks. Space Station has the following game machines: Atari 2600, Famicom, N.E.S., Genesis, Super Famicom, Super Nintendo, Dreamcast, Xbox 360, Playstation 3, Playstation 4, Wii, and Wii U. We also provide the Oculus Rift for customers to experience. Close to JR Namba station, as well as Namba subway station.
SUMO Spring Tounament (Osaka Basho)
Sumo, it is a simple form of wrestling in which two contestants grapple with each other wearing nothing but a mawashi loincloth.
A wrestler wins a bout by forcing his opponent out of the ring, or by making him touch the ground with any part of his body except the soles of his feet using some technique such as throw.
Each spring Osaka plays host to one of six annual Grand Sumo Tournaments (known as Basho). The venue is Bodymaker Colosseum, the Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium.
The Osaka Dome (大阪ドーム) is a baseball stadium located in Osaka, Japan. Opened in 1997, the stadium was the home field of the Kintetsu Buffaloes. In 2005, the stadium became one of the homes of the Orix Buffaloes, a result of the merger between the Orix BlueWave and Kintetsu Buffaloes.
In addition to the arena, Sky Hall is suited for small-scale events, and there are other commercial establishments in the facility that are open for business for the enjoyment of all, even on days without events.
Hanshin Tigers (Koushien Stadium)
The Hanshin Tigers are a Nippon Professional Baseball team playing in the Central League. The team is based in Koshien, Nishinomiya, Hyōgo Prefecture, Japan, and are owned by Hanshin Electric Railway Co., Ltd.
Tigers fans are known as perhaps the most fanatical and dedicated fans in all of Japanese professional baseball. Tigers fans also have a reputation for rough behavior and a willingness to brawl with other fans or with each other, although long fights are rare. A famous Tigers fan tradition is the release, by the fans, of hundreds of air-filled balloons immediately following the seventh inning stretch and the singing of the Tigers' fight song. This tradition is carried-out at all home and away games, except at games against the Yomiuri Giants in the Tokyo Dome due to the Giants' notoriously authoritarian and heavy-handed rules for controlling behavior by visiting fans.
The Tigers-Giants rivalry is considered the national Japanese rivalry, on par with the San Francisco Giants vs Los Angeles Dodgers and the Yankees–Red Sox rivalry in Major League Baseball or Real Madrid vs. FC Barcelona in Spanish football.
Sumiyoshi taisha, also known as Sumiyoshi Grand Shrine, is a Shinto shrine in Sumiyoshi ward in the city of Osaka, Japan. It is the main shrine of all the Sumiyoshi shrines in Japan. However, the oldest shrine that enshrines the Sumiyoshi sanjin, the three Sumiyoshi kami, is the Sumiyoshi shrine in Hakata.
It is called "Sumiyoshi-san" or "Sumiyossan" by the locals, and is famous for the large crowds that come to the shrine on New Year's Day for hatsumōde.
Sumiyoshi taisha enshrines the Sumiyoshi tanjin -- Sokotsutsu no Onomikoto, Nakatsutsu no Onomikoto, and Uwatsutsu no Onomikoto -- and Okinagatarashihime no Mikoto (Empress Jingū), and they are collectively known as the "Sumiyoshi Ōkami", the great gods of Sumiyoshi. Another term is "Sumiyoshi no Ōgami no Miya".
It gives its name to a style of shrine architecture known as Sumiyoshi-zukuri.
The oldest officially administered temple in Japan, Shitennoji was built by Prince Shotoku (574-622 A.D.), the great cultural hero of early Japanese history who at the age of sixteen successfully triumphed over the opposition and brought about the adoption of Buddhism in the country. The temple was built not far from Osaka Bay, which played a vital role in trade and traffic. It was a strategic location which enabled a show of Japan's power and prosperity to the world. Despite repeated reconstructions, the layout of the temple compound has remained largely unchanged from the beginning. Shitennoji is the favorite shrine of many Japanese people and is fondly regarded as the Buddhist altar of Osaka. Indicative of the temple's long history are the many annual events held here, including the Doya-Doya, the Shoryoe, and the Shitennoji Wasso.
Osaka Temmangu Shrine is the most famous of all the many Tenjin shrines located throughout Japan. Fondly called Tenjin-san, every July it hosts the Tenjin Matsuri, Osaka's most fabulous festival, when gorgeous fireworks dazzle the crowds of worshipers and onlookers. Tenjin Matsuri is one of the three great festivals of Japan. This is an excellent boating event, featuring beautiful dolls believed to have been created in around 1690. A total of 14 dolls are preserved as ethnological artifacts of Osaka Prefecture.
※There is the tour you can experience Shinto style of praying in the main shirine.
Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen Museum
The world's first instant noodle product originated in Osaka.
The Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen Museum is a museum dedicated to instant noodles and Cup Noodles, as well as its creator and founder, Momofuku Ando. The museum is located in Ikeda in Osaka, and is located within walking distance of Ikeda Station on the Hankyu-Takarazuka Line. Admission is free.
There is also a CupNoodles Museum located in Yokohama, which features four stories of fun-filled exhibitions and attractions. This location includes various exhibits to display the history of instant ramen and Momofuku Ando's story. Admission is free for high school age children and younger, and 500 yen for adults.
Both museums have an instant ramen workshop allowing visitors to make their own "fresh" instant noodles (fresh as in just made). Reservations must be made in advance to enjoy this feature at the museum. There is also a noodle factory where visitors can assemble their own personal Cup Noodles!
Five of the Osaka's most famous takoyaki shops have been assembled at this museum dedicated to the local specialty. The museum includes exhibitions showing the history of the ingredients and utensils used to make takoyaki; a theme park; take-out menu and souvenir goods; and events and games.
Suntory Yamazaki Distillery
The Suntory Yamazaki Distillery, the oldest whiskey distillery in Japan, is located in Yamazaki Gorge at the foot of Mt. Ten-no, on the border between Kyoto and Osaka.
A factory tour is offered whereby visitors can learn the history of Suntory whiskey and see the expertise that has been developed over many years.
The Distillery tour enables visitors to see production processes, from preparation to fermentation, distillation, storage and bottling. Visitors can also sample some whiskey, free of charge. The approximately 90-minute tour also includes a visit to the Yamazaki Whiskey Museum, located on the same premises, where visitors can learn about the history and process of Suntory's whiskey production. A tasting counter at the Museum offers various kinds of quality whiskeys, as well as young whiskey, available only at distilleries (charged).
Asahi Beer Suita Factory
What are the "hops" in beer? What purpose does the barley serve? See the manufacturing process of the most ubiquitous name in Japanese beer, Asahi, at the Asahi Beer Factory. Located just outside of Osaka city in Suita, Asahi offers daily tours every 30 minutes. On the tour, guests see, smell, and touch the hops and barley, along with other ingredients that go into brewing some of the world's most famous beer.
Guests are offered sampling glasses, and for the time allotted, they are bottomless. That's right, guests can taste until they have had their fill. While sipping on different beers, guests can enjoy an expansive garden, as well as Asahi's "World Can Collection," an enormous display of more than 3,000 beer cans from all over the world.
Standing at 300 meters, Abeno Harukas (あべのハルカス) in Osaka is the tallest skyscraper in Japan. The building stands on top of the Kintetsu Osaka Abenobashi Station and is conveniently located across from JR Tennoji Station.
The observation deck is called "Harukas 300" and occupies the building's top three floors (floors 58 to 60). The observation deck is accessed by elevators from the 16th floor. With large floor-to-ceiling glass panels all around, the 60th floor offers 360 degree views of Osaka, while the 58th floor features an attractively designed inner court with a wooden deck and cafe.
Abeno Harukas Kintetsu Department Store is the largest department store in Japan. Covering over 100,000 square meters of retail space, it comprises of two buildings, tower and wing. The tower building carries many international brands, has two floors dedicated to interior and furnishing, two food floors in the basement, as well as three floors of restaurants. The interior is aesthetically designed, combining art and functionality.
Umeda Sky Garden
The Umeda Sky Building is a spectacular high rise building in the Kita district of Osaka, near Osaka and Umeda Stations. It is also known as the "New Umeda City".
The 173 meter tall building consists of two towers that are connected with each other by the "Floating Garden Observatory" on the 39th floor. The observatory offers great views of the city through its windows and from its open-air deck. In the basement, there is a restaurant floor that replicates a town of the early Showa Period, while offices occupy most other floors.
What to Eat in Osaka
Takoyaki (Food in Osaka)
Takoyaki (たこ焼き) is a ball-shaped Japanese snack made of a wheat flour-based batter and cooked in a special molded pan. It is typically filled with minced or diced octopus (tako), tempura scraps (tenkasu), pickled ginger, and green onion. Takoyaki are brushed with takoyaki sauce (similar to Worcestershire sauce) and mayonnaise, and then sprinkled with green laver (aonori) and shavings of dried bonito.
If you go to Dotonbori area, you could see many of Takoyaki Food Stands, and easy order. When you bite this Takoyaki, please be double caution as the ball inside is very hot.
Okonomiyaki (Famous Teppan Cuisine in Osaka)
Okonomiyaki (お好み焼き) is a Japanese pancake containing a variety of ingredients. The name is derived from the word Okonomi, meaning "how you like" or "what you like", and yaki meaning "grill" (cf. yakitori and yakisoba). Okonomiyaki is mainly associated with the Kansai or Hiroshima areas of Japan, but is widely available throughout the country. Toppings and batters tend to vary according to region.
or Osaka-style okonomiyaki is the predominant version of the dish, found throughout most of Japan. The batter is made of flour, grated nagaimo (a type of yam), water or dashi, eggs and shredded cabbage, and usually contains other ingredients such as green onion, meat (generally thin pork belly, often mistaken for bacon), octopus, squid, shrimp or cheese.
Some okonomiyaki restaurants are grill-it-yourself establishments, where the server produces a bowl of raw ingredients that the customer mixes and grills at tables fitted with teppan, or special hotplates. They may also have a diner-style counter where the cook prepares the dish in front of the customers.
Fugu is the Japanese word for pufferfish and the dish prepared from it. Fugu is served as sashimi and chirinabe. Fugu has become one of the most celebrated and notorious dishes in Japanese cuisine.
Doteyaki (a dish with beef tendon and other ingredients simmered in a miso sauce) is a famous Osaka speciality. The white miso based slightly sweet flavor is so good. Great with beer!
Kushikatsu, also known as kushiage, is a Japanese dish of deep-fried skewered meat and vegetables. In Japanese, kushi refers to the skewers used while katsu means a deep-fried cutlet of meat.