Osaka is Japan’s third largest city, and also its second most important city. Even though Osaka is a commercially-centred city, the city does date back to the 7th century and has some great historical and architectural attractions to offer, both modern and ancient. Osaka is considered by many as Japan’s best place to eat, drink and party.
THINGS TO DO AND SEE IN OSAKA
- Osaka Castle is the city’s best known attraction … a beautiful structure surrounded by cherry blossom trees. The present castle dates back to 1931 but there has been an Asoka Castle here for hundreds of years. There are impressive citadels, turrets, and gates with a moat and Nishinomaru Garden with cherry trees, a tea house and impressive views of the castle.
- Shitennōji Temple is the oldest in Osaka originally built by Emperor Suiko in year 593. The temple has been carefully reconstructed several times throughout its history to retain its original design and is truly impressive. The temple has a 5-storied pagoda and the enshrined body of Prince Shotoku can be found in the Golden Hall. Sumiyoshi Shrine located in southern Osaka, is one of Japan’s oldest Shinto Shrines, founded in the 3rd century, and is the most famous of over 2000 Sumiyoshi shrines in Japan.
- As well as a great collection of ancient and historical buildings, Osaka also has some wonderful and impressive modern buildings. The Science Museum is great for kids with floors of interactive activities, planetarium and cinema. The Museum of History just across from Osaka Castle chronicles the city’s history from when Osaka was Japan’s first capital to more contemporary Japanese exhibits. Osaka Aquarium covers many floors and is most spectacular how it displays the many different forms of aquatic life.
EATING OUT & NIGHTLIFE IN OSAKA
Osaka is a great place to eat out with the Osaka Maxim ‘eat yourself into ruin’ and some of the best districts to do so include Dōtonbori, neighboring Hōzenji-yokochō and Soemon-cho. Okonomiyaki is known as the DIY Food where tables are equipped with hot plates and your food arrives ready to cook. Battera is a block-type sushi dish with mackerel on rice and Kushikatsu - skewers of meat and vegetables deep fried and served with a black sauce.
GETTING AROUND IN CITY
The city is pretty flat and so offers the great opportunity to discover by bike. It is perfectly fine to cycle on the sidewalks and even if there are no markers, keeping to the left is always a good option. Osaka Subway is Japan’s second most extensive network and offers an easy way to get round the city.
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