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Osaka travel guide

Osaka was born as a commercial port and quickly became an industrial and commercial city.

Osaka travel guide

When you hear about Japan, you usually hear the name of the capital Tokyo, or the name Kyoto, the beautiful city of temples.

Sometimes you might hear about Hiroshima and Nagasaki, living witnesses of the atomic bomb of World War II, or about Mount Fuji, the first symbol of the country. You will rarely hear the name of Osaka.

And maybe it’s there that you should book your next vacation.

Osaka travel guide

The city center of Osaka has about 2 million inhabitants but as a territorial extension it covers a much larger area that even touches and incorporates some neighborhoods of nearby Kyoto reaching a total of 17 million inhabitants! The city, together with its port, rises onto the bay of the same name, which dominates the ​​Seto Sea in which the dozens of watercourses of the area flow.

The main river of the city is river Yodo.

The presence of so much water causes the climate of Osaka to be very wet, to the point that in summer temperatures exceed 35 ° C and humidity rates reach almost 100%. If you have to book your holiday here, then, avoid the hot seasons, also because between June and July the monsoon rains cause flooding and worsen the situation.

Autumn instead is typhoon time, so it is better to visit Osaka in winter when temperatures never drop below 7 degrees or in the very early spring, the beautiful “cherry blossom season”.

Getting to Osaka is easy, you can choose among many means of transport.

Of course, you have to arrive from Europe first, thus landing in one of the two local airports, the Kansai, which hosts intercontinental flights.

From here to the city center is a short way, thanks to fast trains and super-efficient taxis. We do not recommend renting a car, unless you are a British! In Japan, in fact, they drive on the opposite side of the street like in England. If you are already in Asia, for example in China or Korea, you can reach Osaka with a good ferry-boat service connecting it to the two countries. If you are already in Japan, use the Shinkansen, the high-speed trains that quickly connect every corner of the country.

What to see in Osaka

The city of Osaka is divided into two huge areas (Kita, to the north, Minami, to the south) and in 24 districts.

The downtown areas are entirely dedicated to offices, industries and shops. Both the northern and southern areas are home to two large “night” districts with clubs, discotheques, pubs, cinemas and theaters: Umeda, located in Kita, and the Namba district in Minami. In such a modern city even the main monuments are modern, but do not worry … if you are looking for history and beauty you will find them here as well.

Universal Studios

This is the most famous monument in the city. It is actually a game park, based on the cinema and its tricks. An American-style park where, if you love extravagant things, you will find the fun you are looking for.

Osaka Aquarium

If you love the sea, do not miss a visit to the wonderful aquarium. A modern and austere building houses some of the most beautiful and mysterious marine species in the Pacific Ocean. You can literally walk among the pools, feeling immersed in the ocean world … a real unique experience.

Osaka Castle

The monumental castle with pagodas that dominates the city from the top of the hill is called Osakajo and was originally built in 1580. Destroyed many times over the centuries, it was rebuilt in 1913 – in concrete and wood – but exactly as it was in the original time.

Sumiyoshi Taisha

The oldest sanctuary in Japan (3rd century) is immersed in a patch of green crossed by lovely watercourses. The architectural style of this sacred place is perhaps unique in the world as it is purely Japanese, without ever having been influenced by China or Korea, nor by Indian elements typical of Buddhism.

Shitennoji Temple

The original plant of this Buddhist temple dates back to the year 593 but was often destroyed by fires. The one you can admire today was restored over the last century but still reproducing, exactly, the style of the very first temple.

University of Osaka

It is worth visiting, even if you are not a student. It is the oldest university in Japan, although today it is housed in very modern and almost anonymous buildings. The richest department here is that of Foreign Languages ​​and one of the most popular languages taught here ​​is … Italian!

Minoo Park

It is the typical Japanese garden, though extended on a considerable area. You can walk among the trees, cross red wooden bridges, take boat rides on the ponds dotted with lotus flowers … and breathe pure air in the middle of the metropolis.

What to do in Osaka

Osaka, for the Japanese, is the capital of entertainment and good food. So, if you go on vacation in this city, one of the things to do will certainly be “exploring” the best restaurants and night districts. But not only that! You can also visit several museums and art galleries, you can shop till you run out of credit card, you can attend concerts and theater performances. And you can even hop on an urban train and arrive in a few minutes to nearby Kyoto, to find yourself surrounded by the beauty of ancient temples.

Osaka museums

In Osaka you can visit a well-stocked Historical Museum, opened in 2003 but full of ancient testimonies of the area; you can enjoy a tour of the Museum of the Art inside the Abeno Harukas building (the “highest skyscraper in Japan”); or you can visit the National Art Museum, which keeps the beauty of modern and contemporary art, both Japanese and international. If you want, you can also visit the NHK TV studios, the Japanese national television that broadcasts from here.

One day in Kyoto

You can get to Kyoto in a few minutes, with quick connections between the centers of the two cities. And the ancient Japanese capital really deserves a one-day visit, for its rich heritage of temples that literally make it the “sacred city” of the nation.

The Tennoji Zoo

In Osaka you can visit a well-stocked Historical Museum, opened in 2003 but full of ancient testimonies of the area; you can enjoy a tour of the Museum of the Art inside the Abeno Harukas building (the “highest skyscraper in Japan”); or you can visit the National Art Museum, which keeps the beauty of modern and contemporary art, both Japanese and international. If you want, you can also visit the NHK TV studios, the Japanese national television that broadcasts from here.

The excellent restaurants in Osaka

If you loved Japanese cartoons as a child and still remember those small taverns where the characters did eat sitting around the stove let yourself live the same experience! Osaka is the city where you eat better, where national and international food is cooked to perfection and you can taste it both in small Japanese taverns and super-luxury restaurants! Some suggestions: Ichiran, the paradise of ramen, Misonoo, Chibo Okonomiyaki, Kani Doraku to eat excellent crabs, Akagakiya Sushi.

Night Clubs

Osaka’s night districts are an explosion of lights and colors, sounds and noises, people and events. Both in Namba and Umeda you can walk around until dawn exploring pubs, music halls, theaters and even some “red light” clubs where you are allowed to do (almost) everything! Shopping centers are open non-stop and sleep is literally forbidden!

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Autore: Teresa

With a strong passion for travel and entertainment in general, i like to share my personal experiences, those I would like to do and my research done on the web.

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