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Population (approx.): 8.863 million (2012)
Area: 733 sq miles
Area Rank: 46
Central city of West Japan; Dotonbori and Shinsaibashii districts are among the most popular spots of Osaka
Osaka Prefecture is located in the Kansai region and its capital Osaka City is the central city of West Japan with a population of 2.6 million. In the Edo Period (1603-1867), it was the distribution center for products from around the country and from Meiji (1868-1913) onward, it developed as the center of the Japanese economy with the wholesale trade. Shinsaibashi is one of the best downtown areas in the city, possessing a wide array of shops. Osaka's north gate, Umeda, has an enormous stretch of underground mall that houses many restaurants, fashion and sundry goods stores. In contrast to Kita with Umeda as its core, Minami is an area with core cities Namba, a popular business and shopping district, and Dotonbori with many restaurants on both sides of Dotonbori-gawa River. Minami is known as a town of public entertainment and has many theaters, shopping, and dining. Osaka's unique open culture can be experienced here. Osaka's Castle, constructed in 1583, is one of Osaka's representative sightseeing spots. The Osaka Castle has a five-layer donjon as its core, on a lawn park that stretches for about 60,000 square meters. The castle tower is surrounded by secondary citadels, gates, turrets, impressive stone walls and moats. The Nishinomaru Garden, encompassing the former "western citadel", is a lawn garden with 600 cherry trees, a tea house, the former Osaka Guest House and nice views of the castle tower from below. During the cherry blossom season in the spring, this park is especially crowded with hanami (cherry blossom viewing).
First Universal Studios park in Asia; features the Wizarding World of Harry Potter
Osaka's largest shopping district and delicious street food
Known to be a more dangerous area of Osaka with higher homeless rates but great food
Popular nightlife and entertainment area; iconic Glico display
Reconstructed after it was burned down by lightening; now modified into a museum
Large shopping mall specializing in anime and character goods
Considered one of the best aquariums in Asia
Formally known as Osaka International Airport
Man-made mountain, at the time of construction was the tallest mountain in Osaka
Have a drink while you play games on classic and new game consoles
One of Japan's oldest shrines; main shrine of over 2,000 Sumiyoshi shrines in Japan
Tower with The Floating Garden Observatory offering a great view of Osaka
Location of Expo '70 with its symbolic landmark
Japan's oldest temple; first temple built by the state
Japan's second most important international airport on a man-made island
24 horus open theme park features natural hot springs from around the world
Popular shopping district also known as Osaka's Kitchen
Osaka is famous for being a food-town and it sure has a good share of local cuisines. Okonomiyaki is a staple of the Osaka people. Okonomiyaki is a savory Japanese pancake consisting of batter made from flour and eggs, cabbage, and other ingredients depending on the okonomiyaki. Common okonomiyaki ingredients are octopus, shrimp, pork belly, cheese, etc.
Another equally representative dish of Osaka is takoyaki, small ball shaped savory snacks made with octopus, flour and egg based batter, green onions, pickled ginger, and tempura flakes. The taste of takoyaki may remind you of a ball form of okonomiyaki. Some people in Japan even have their own takoyaki sets and have takoyaki parties with friends at home.
Interactive Museum on Cup Noodles Where You Can Make Your Original Cup Noodle
Savory Japanese pancake consisting of batter made from flour, eggs, cabbage
Small ball shaped snacks made with flour, egg, and octopus
Osaka is famous for its unique yukata, Naniwa Honzome Yukata. The Naniwa Honzome Yukata features a different dyeing method than the traditional method. A mold is placed on the yukata cloth and dye is poured into the mold, printing the design by seeping through the kimono. Naniwa Honzome Yukatas are popular for its bright colors and fine designs.
Tenjin Matsuri is an annual festival that takes place during the month of July in Osaka. It is Osaka's largest festival and considered the world's greatest boat festival. Tenjin Matsuri is dedicated to Sugawara-no-Michizane, a scholar who spread learning and art. To honor him, traditional music fills the festival as well as other Japanese performing art events. Tenjin Matsuri features a land procession and a unique boat procession. The land procession includes about 3,000 people dressed in costumes who march with the portable shrines. These people then sail on a boat with the shrines and parade in the river. The boat procession continues until fireworks light up the night sky and then head back to the shrines, ending the exciting festival.