Read about the city

Osaka is an interesting city to visit with all the sights from traditional temples and the Osaka Castle to modern architecture and vibrant streets. Osaka-Kyoto-Kobe is Japan's second largest metropolitan area after Tokyo-Yokohama, and the city of Osaka is located as the center of the interesting region.

As one of Japan's largest and most modern and thriving cities, Osaka offers an abundance of activities from both history and present-day Japan. Together with the modern high-rise architecture you find beautiful works from the city's rich history, including the Osaka Castle and surrounding park.

The pedestrian street Dotonbori is the center of modern entertainment with covered arcades, huge shopping malls, countless eateries, neon commercials, games and whatever else you can imagine. How about a purrfect visit to a cat cafe?

It you want to it all from above, the Umeda Sky Building and the Tsutenkaku Tower are good choices for panoramic views. Multiple Ferris wheels are also an option; for example, in the Tempozan neighborhood of the harbor, which also gives access to the city's Universal Studios theme park.

Other attractions

Umeda Sky Building, Osaka

  • Umeda Sky Building / Umeda Sukai Biru / 梅田 ス カ イ ル: The impressive Umeda Sky Building consists of two 40-storey skyscrapers, which, at a height of 173 meters/567 feet are joined. They are built together with a circular construction and spectacular escalators.
  • Osaka Aquarium/Kaiyūkan/海 遊 館: Osaka Aquarium is one of the largest aquariums in the world, with marine experiences from the Pacific and the many areas surrounding it.

Osaka Museum of History

  • Osaka Museum of History/Osaka Rekishi Hakubutsukan/大阪 歴 史 博物館: At the Osaka Historical Museum, you can get close to the city's development through time. Through models and fine setups, items, photographs and much more, the tour starts with early Japan, where Osaka was the country's first capital.
  • Ohatsu Tenjin Shrine/Ohatsu Tenjin Jinja/お 初 天神 神社: This shrine dates back many centuries and is known as the place where the Edo period's best-known play, "Sonezaki Shinju," took place.
History overview

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    The first settlements
    The Osaka area's inhabited history go far back in time, and traces of people dating back some 2,500 years have been found.

    Over time, the lush plains were cultivated, and in particular, many permanent settlements with rice cultivation were established here. However, it took a long time for Osaka to grow strong and become one of Japan's most important cities.

    Capital of the Kingdom
    In 645, Emperor Kōtoku left the palace Naniwa / 浪 速, which served as the residence of the court. As a result, Osaka became the capital for the first time; however, that status lasted only ten years.

    Asuka became the new capital in 655, but Naniwa was maintained as an important link between the Emperor's land, the capital Asuka and the trade over the sea to China and Korea.

    Naniwa again became the capital in 744 following Emperor Shōmus's decision. This time, however, the joy lasted only to 745, where Heijō-kyō, now called Nara, became the residence of the emperor.

    The following many centuries, Osaka continued to be a major trading city, so the economy continued to evolve.

    New castle and new leaders
    Osaka's rapid development towards becoming one of Japan's largest and most significant power centers began in the 16th century.

    By 1496, some Buddhist monks had settled in a sect at the former Naniwa Palace. Their position had become too strong over the years, and in 1570 a siege took ten years before the monks surrendered.

    The leader and commander Hideyoshi Toyotomi allowed the temple to be destroyed, and in the area he let the impressive Osaka Castle / 大 坂 坂 erect as a manifestation of his strength. Hideyoshi Toyotomi had managed to gather large parts of Japan into a kingdom, but he had not become the country's absolute leader, the shogun, but the daimyo, who was only subject to the country's shogun.

    Businessmen moved to the area outside the castle, and the city quickly became the leading economic center in Japan. However, Hideyoshi Toyotomi and his son Hideyori were not to become shoguns, and Osaka did not become the Japanese residence city.

    The Edo era
    Tokugawa Ieyasu overcame Hideyoshi Toyotomi in the power play on Japan's top leadership, and in 1603 the Tokugawa shogunate was established. Kyoto became the capital, and later transitioned to Tokyo.

    However, the board gave Osaka free hands to continue its growth and commercial success, which greatly contributed to cementing the city through the Edo era of 1603-1867 cementing its position as this part of Japan's absolute leading economic center - a position that remains preserved.

    A small setback hit in 1663 with the fire in Osaka Castle, which destroyed the central castle tower until 1931.

    However, the economy and trade flourished, and so did the culture. Both the Kabuki theaters and the Bunraku puppet theaters were typical of the city's entertainment.

    In 1837, the samurai Ōshio Heihachirō became the front figure in an uprising to secure better conditions for the city's poor. Much of the city was destroyed before the shogunate broke down. Ōshio Heihachirō subsequently committed suicide.

    Opening and industrialization in the 19th century
    Osaka, in addition to trade, became known for its textile industry. Foreign Trade was opened on January 1, 1868; the same day as nearby Hyōgo, today's Kobe.

    In 1889 the municipality of Osaka was established. Initially, its area was 15 km², but it has since grown to more than 200 km² / 77 sq mi.

    Industrially, Osaka became Japan's engine room with the development of a lot of heavy industry, and the financial sector also developed rapidly. Osaka was the locomotive in Japan until Tokyo gradually took over.

    World War II to Today
    The heavily industrialized Osaka was hit hard by bombings during World War II, with US B-29 bombers destroying the city.

    The massive devastation of the post-war economic boom in Japan provided opportunities for the many new buildings seen throughout the city today, with Osaka maintaining its historic position as a powerhouse; today only surpassed by Tokyo-Yokohama in both population and economy.

    Internationally, Osaka marked itself as the host of the Japanese World Exhibition in 1970. In this connection, the new district to the north with the Shin-Osaka railway station in the center was constructed.

    The economic development of the city is reflected in the very modern city and at the same time the city's roots are seen with the beautiful temple buildings and not least Hideyoshi Toyotomi's old castle.
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Osaka Castle, 1-1 Osakajo, Chūō-ku, Osaka, Japan

Top attractions

Dotonbori, Osaka

  • Dotonbori/Dōtonbori/道 頓 堀: Dotonbori is Osaka's main street for shopping, and both the street and the covered side streets are an experience in themselves just to walk through with the many people and all the vibrant activity that happens here..
  • Shitennoji Temple/Shitennōji/四 天王寺: The Shitennoji Temple is Japan's oldest Buddhist temple. It was built 593 during the rule of Prince Shōtoku and the name represents the four heavenly kings.

Osaka Castle

  • Osaka Castle/Osaka-jo/大 坂 城: Osaka's beautiful castle was built by Hideyoshi Toyotomi in the late 16th century and it is a typical example of Japanese castle architecture of the time.
  • Tsutenkaku Tower/Tsūtenkaku/通天 閣: The 103-meter-/337-feet-high Tsutenkaku Tower is one of Osaka's landmarks. It is located in the entertainment district of Shinsekai, and from the observation deck there is a nice view of the area.
Trips in the area

Kyoto, Japan

  • Kyoto/京都: Kyoto is one of the most interesting cities in Japan with its countless temples and palaces from the city's period as Japan's capital.
  • Nara/奈良: Nara is a beautiful city that has a number of fine sights. Most of them are located in the large park Nara Koen, where the city's National Museum is also located.

Himeji Castle, Japan

  • Himeji/姫 路: The city of Himeji is known for its castle, which is considered the most beautiful and best preserved from the country's feudal era. Unlike many similar castles, Himeji's have survived wars, fires and earthquakes and are thus in the original condition.
  • Hiroshima/広 島: Hiroshima is the place where the world's first nuclear bomb was dropped on August 6, 1945. The bomb destroyed the entire city and killed large parts of the city's 350,000 people.

Miyajima Island, Japan

  • Miyajima/宮 島: The island of Miyajima is a place where almost perfect harmony reigns. The place is one of Japan's most beautiful and the island is also considered a sacred place.
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  • Daimaru , 1-7-1 Shinsai-bashi-suji
  • Hankyu , 8-7 Kakuta-cho
  • Hanshin , 1-13-13 Umeda
  • Herbis Ent Plaza , 2-2-22 Umeda
  • NOW Chayamachi , 10-12 Chayamachi
  • Takashimaya , 5-1-5 Namba,
  • Shopping streets: Doguya-suji, Hirao, Kuromon Ichiba, Oimatsu-dori, Sembayashi, Tachibana-dori, Tenjimbashi-suji, Tsuruhashi
With kids
  • Theme Park: Awaji World Park / Awaji Wārudo Pāku / 淡 路 ワ ー ル Sh Sh (Shiota Ninjima 8-5, Tsuna-cho):
  • Movie and theme park: Universal Studios / Yunibaasaru Sutajio / ユ ニ バ ー サ ル ・ タ ジ オ (2-1-33 Sakurajima, Konohana-ku, Osaka):
  • Zoo: Osaka Tennoji Zoo / Tennōji Dōbutsuen / 天王寺 動物園 (1-108 Chausuyama-cho, Tennoji-ku)
  • Aquarium: Osaka Kaiyukan Aquarium / Kaiyūkan / 海 遊 館 (1-1-10 Kaigan-dori, Minato-ku):
Practical info