City of Osaka / 大阪

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Osaka

Ōsaka (map) is the third largest city in Japan. 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 anti-character.

Osaka is known for its food, in Japan and abroad. Author Michael Booth and food critic François Simon of Le Figaro have suggested that Osaka is the food capital of the world.

Its location makes Osaka a perfect base for doing one-day trips to nearby cities like Kyoto (30 minutes), Kobe (20 minutes), Nara (40 minutes) or Himeji (1 hour). (Typical times shown on JR Trains)

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Minami (大阪 ミナミ) The traditional commercial and cultural center, composed of the Chuo (中央区, map) and Naniwa (浪速区, map) wards. Namba (なんば, 難波, map) is the main railway station, and the surrounding area has the department store and showy shopping. Shinsaibashi (心斎橋, map) and Horie (堀江) is the fashion area. Dōtonbori (道頓堀, map) is the best place to go for a bite to eat.

Spa World (map). Gender-separated European and Asian-themed spas and saunas as well as a pool for the family with slides and fun (don’t forget your swimming trunks). Open 24 hr so it is handy if you’re stuck for accommodation or locked out of your hotel after a night on the town, just pay up, change into their cotton overalls and pass out on one of their comfy leather recliners with as many blankets as you like.

Osaka’s most famous shopping district is Shinsaibashi (心斎橋, map), which offers a mix of huge department stores, high-end Western designer stores, and independent boutiques ranging from very cheap to very expensive.

Within Shinsaibashi, the Amerika-mura (アメリカ村, often shortened to “Amemura”, map) or “American Village” area is particularly popular among young people, and is often said to be the source of most youth fashion trends in Japan.

Just west of Amerika-mura, Horie (堀江) is a shopping area with fashionable Japanese boutiques, centered around Tachibana-dori (which is often translated as Orange Street).

Tenjinbashi-suji Shopping Street (天神橋筋商店街 Tenjinbashi-suji Shōtengai, map) is said to be the longest straight and covered shopping arcade in Japan at approx. 2.6 km length. Nothing meant for sightseeing, the arcade is a live exhibition of Osaka’s daily life, open since Edo period.

There are many nightlife districts in Osaka >> Dotonbori (道頓堀, map) + Kitashinchi (北新地, map). This area, south of JR Osaka station, is the most famous nightclub and entertainment district of contemporary Osaka. It’s just like Tokyo’s Ginza, filled with many hundreds of high-class bars, clubs and small restaurants.

Osaka Castle (wiki, map). The castle is one of Japan’s most famous landmarks and it played a major role in the unification of Japan during the sixteenth century of the Azuchi-Momoyama period.

Utsubo Park (wiki, map). Around the eastern part of this park, many cafes and bakery have opened after 1990. Sometimes open-air wedding are held at the rose garden. This area is becoming one of the fashionable places in Osaka city.

Nakanoshima Park (wiki, map). The 11 hectare park houses public facilities such as Osaka Central Public Hall (built in 1918, map), Osaka Prefectural Nakanoshima Library and Museum of Oriental Ceramics (map). It also holds a rose garden.

The National Museum of Art (wiki, map). Most of the artwork in the collection is from the post-war era. Pre-war exceptions include work by Paul Cézanne, Pablo Picasso, Max Ernst, Tsuguharu Foujita and Yasuo Kuniyoshi.

Osaka Science Museum (wiki, map). The Science Museum’s primary permanent exhibition consists of four floors of mainly interactive science exhibits, totaling 200 items, with each floor focusing on a different theme. There is also a live science show with science demonstrations several times per day.

 The Museum of Oriental Ceramics (wiki, map) is a Japanese art museum and regarded as one of the best ceramic-collections in the world. This museum collects, studies, conserves, exhibits and interprets East Asian ceramics, which mainly came from ancient China and Korea.

Osaka Municipal Museum of Art (wiki, map) is inside Tennōji park, housing over 8,000 pieces of Japanese and Chinese paintings and sculptures.

The Osaka Museum of History (wiki, map), opened in 2001, is located in a 13-story modern building providing a view of Osaka Castle. Its exhibits cover the history of Osaka from pre-history to the present day

Sumiyoshi-taisha (wiki, map). 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 (map).

Osaka Tenmangū Shrine (wiki, map) is a Shinto shrine and one of Tenmangū founded in AD 949 in Osaka. The Tenjin Festival is held here annually from 24 July to 25 July.

Tamatsukuri Inari Shrine (wiki, map) Its construction can be traced to 12 BCE.

Shitennō-ji (wiki, map) is a Buddhist temple. The temple is sometimes regarded as the first Buddhist and oldest officially-administered temple in Japan.

Isshin-ji (wiki, map) is a Pure Land Buddhist temple in Osaka, Japan. Starting in the Meiji period, thirteen images have been formed, each incorporating the ashes of tens of thousands of devotees. The annual burial ceremony on 21 April in turn draws tens of thousands of worshippers.

The widest selection of restaurants is in Osaka’s main entertainment districts, with the highest concentration of all in the Umeda (map) and Dotombori (map) areas.

Even in a nation of obsessive gourmands Osaka is known as an excellent place to eat, exemplified by the Osakan maxim kuidaore, “eat yourself into ruin”. The best place for trying out kuidaore is probably Dōtonbori (道頓堀) and neighboring Hōzenji-yokochō (法善寺横町, map) or Soemon-cho (宗右衛門町, map), the whole area containing nearly nothing but one restaurant after another.

Public transport of Osaka

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Osaka Metro – Subway. BRT. Bus (*List of Osaka Metro stations)

Transit Planner | Route Map

For sorting through transport schedules and fares, HyperDia is an invaluable companion; it computes to-the-minute directions including connecting trains, as well as buses and planes.

+ Transportation in Japan (japan.travel)

 BUS >   Buses are plentiful in Japan, and over the last few decades they have evolved into a major mode of intercity transportation, especially for overnight travel. Major operators of intercity include JapanBuslines.com • WILLER • JR Bus (kakuyasubus.jp) • kate.co.jp. >> (*Bus travel in Japan)

 RAIL >   Central Japan Railway CompanyWest Japan Railway CompanyEast Japan Railway Company. >> (*Rail travel in Japan)

 AIRPORTS >   Most international flights arrive at either Narita Airport near Tokyo or Kansai Airport near Osaka; a smaller number use Chubu International Airport near Nagoya.

Japan has many great opportunities for bikers. Bike rentals can be found throughout the country, especially near popular routes. Some routes (like the Shimanami Kaido Bikeway, which takes you from Onomichi on the main island to *Imabari in Shikoku) have been set up specifically for bikers.

Osaka International Ferry Terminal

Aomori – Hokkaido

Inland Sea (Seto Naikai)

Kagoshima – Okinawa/Yakushima

  • Kagoshima – Amami-Oshima – Naha: A Line and Marix Line (26 hours, 14,610 yen)
  • Kagoshima – Yakushima: the Yaku-2 ferry departs every morning (4 hours, 4,800 yen) or there is the high-speed Toppy jetfoil (from 2 hours, 8,800 yen).

Sendai/Niigata – Tomokomai

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