The economic center of Kansai. A city with unique charms and traditions.
Osaka is Japan’s third largest city, after Yokohama, and also a historic maritime trade city. In the past, Osaka was referred to as Naniwa, which was the capital city of Japan until the 8th century.
In the 16th century, Hideyoshi Toyotomi built Osaka castle. After Hideyoshi’s death, Ieyasu Tokugawa ended the Toyotomi line, and moved the government to far away Edo.
Osaka is located close to Kyoto, long considered the center of Japanese culture, and because it is the largest city in West Japan, Osaka also has a unique art and food culture centered around it.
Foodstuffs from all over the world are gathered in Osaka, the “World Kitchen,” and due to being blessed with fresh seafood from the Seto Inland Sea and vegetables from the outlying area, Osaka came to develop what would become the cornerstone of Japan’s food culture. However, Osaka was not only the birthplace of Japanese food, but many local food favorites such as okonomiyaki, takoyaki, kushi katsu (pork cutlets on a stick), and more.
Osaka is divided into multiple areas, each with their own distinct qualities. Nakanoshima is built on the banks of the Yoto river, and is the center of Osaka’s culture and government. Umeda, Shinsaibashi, and Namba are nightlife and shopping centers. The area near Osaka Port is an advanced research and development center, and also contains the world’s largest aquarium, Kaiyukan, and Universal Studios Japan.
Due to its location in central Kansai, Osaka has convenient access to other locales. You can get to Kyoto in an hour, and Kobe’s Minato cho is a mere 30 minutes away. Nara can be reached in between 40-50 minutes. You can see famous Himeji-jo in Himeji with a 38 minute ride on the shinkansen.
Osaka is also the central airport hub for the Kansai area, with Kansai International Airport and Osaka International Airport.