Image via Flickr by neebong
As the third largest city in the nation and home to 2.5 million people, Osaka is a major economic hub in southern Japan. This vibrant city is located on the Osaka Bay, and it’s been an important port for centuries. Osaka dates back to the fifth century B.C., and tombs from the Kofun period have been found near the city. Once the capital of Japan, Osaka was known as Naniwa in its early years. Osaka is still an important Japanese city today, and it offers plenty of attractions for visitors.
How to Get There
Osaka is connected with other major Japanese cities like Tokyo and Nagoya via the Shinkansen train system. Visitors can also reach Osaka via international ferries from Shanghai and Tianjin.
The city also has two major airports. Kansai International Airport offers daily flights to other Asian destinations and a selection of European, American, and South Pacific cities. Osaka International Airport mainly offers flights to other Japanese cities.
How to Get Around
Once you’ve arrived in Osaka, you’ll find that the city has a network of railway and subway lines. There are also regional buses that service the surrounding areas. Be prepared to get close to your fellow passengers, as Osaka’s public transportation is one of the busiest in the world.
Where to Stay
Osaka has a wealth of options for accommodations. In addition to Japan’s famous capsule hotels, the city has several luxury options. The InterContinental Osaka provides a luxurious stay in a convenient location near Osaka’s major attractions. This upscale hotel also has a Japanese bathhouse as well as Pierre, a Michelin-starred restaurant.
What to Do in Town
Tsūtenkaku is a landmark tower that’s modeled on the Eiffel Tower and dates back to 1912. During World War II, the original tower was disassembled, and the steel went to war efforts. After the war, it was rebuilt due to popular demand. Today, it stands 103 meters tall and features an advertisement for Hitachi.
Osaka Castle is a 16th-century structure that dates back to the Azuchi-Momoyama Period. It was built by Imperial Regent Toyotomi Hideyoshi, who was the first general to lead a united Japan. This castle is a great monument to him, but it was also the location of a family tragedy, as his son committed suicide in the castle. Osaka Castle was damaged by fire in the 1800s, but it was restored in the 20th century.
Shitennō-ji is the oldest Buddhist temple in Osaka. The temple was built in 593, making it the oldest officially administered temple in Japan. Very little of the temple is original, as it was rebuilt over the centuries. The temple honors the four heavenly kings who helped Japan attain a greater civilization.
Museum of Oriental Ceramics Osaka
Osaka’s Museum of Oriental Ceramics houses thousands of early East Asian ceramics and features several works from China and Korea. Some of the most famous pieces belong to the Ataka Collection, which was donated by the Sumitomo Group.