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Osaka
大阪
—  Designated city  —
大阪市 · Osaka City
Osaka Castle and Osaka Business Park

Flag
Location of Osaka in Osaka
Osaka is located in Japan
Osaka
Coordinates: 34°42′N 135°30′E / 34.7°N 135.5°E / 34.7; 135.5
Country Japan
Region Kansai
Prefecture Osaka
Government
 - Mayor Kunio Hiramatsu
Area
 - Total 222.22 km2 (85.8 sq mi)
Population
(January 1, 2007)
2,643,805
 - Density 11,893/km2 (30,802.7/sq mi)
City Symbols
 - Tree Sakura
 - Flower Pansy
Website City of Ōsaka
Phone number 06-6208-8181
Address

1-3-20 Nakanoshima, Kita-ku, Ōsaka-shi, Ōsaka-fu
530-8201

Osaka (大阪市 Ōsaka-shi ?) About this sound listen is Japan's second city, and the heart of one of the largest metropolitan areas in the world, with nearly 20 million people[1]. Located at the mouth of the Yodo River on Osaka Bay, in the Kansai region of the main island of Honshū, Osaka is a City in Japan and also is a designated city under the Local Autonomy Law and the capital city of Osaka Prefecture.

Historically the commercial capital of Japan, Osaka functions as one of the command centers for the Japanese economy. The ratio between daytime and night time population is 141%, the highest in Japan, highlighting its status as an economic center.[2] Its nighttime population is 2.6 million, the third in the country, but in daytime the population surges to 3.7 million, second only after Tokyo.[3] Osaka has traditionally been referred to as the "nation's kitchen" (天下の台所 tenka no daidokoro ?), or the Mecca of gourmet food.[4][5][6][7]

Contents

History

Prehistory to the Kofun period

Some of the earliest signs of habitation in the area of Osaka were found at the Morinomiya remains (森の宮遺跡 Morinomiya iseki ?), with its shell mounds, including sea oysters and buried human skeletons from the 5th–6th centuries BC. It is believed that what is today the Uehonmachi area consisted of a peninsular land, with an inland sea in the east. During the Yayoi period, permanent habitation on the plains grew as rice farming became popular.[4]

By the Kofun period, Osaka developed into a hub port connecting the region to the western part of Japan. The large numbers, and the increasing size, of tomb mounds found in the plains of Osaka are seen as evidence of political-power concentration, leading to the formation of a state.[4][8]

Asuka and Nara period

In 645, Emperor Kōtoku built his palace, the Naniwa Nagara-Toyosaki Palace in Osaka[9], making this area the capital (Naniwa-kyō). The place that became the modern city was by this time called Naniwa. This name, and derived forms, are still in use for districts in central Osaka such as Naniwa (浪速) and Namba (難波).[10] Although the capital was moved to Asuka (in Nara Prefecture today) in 655, Naniwa remained a vital connection, by land and sea, between Yamato (modern day Nara Prefecture), Korea, and China.[4][11]

In 744, Naniwa once again became the capital by order of Emperor Shōmu. Naniwa ceased to be the capital in 745, when the Imperial Court moved back to Heijō-kyō (now Nara). The seaport function was gradually taken over by neighboring lands by the end of Nara period, but it remained a lively center of river, channel, and land transportation between Heian-kyō (Kyoto today) and other destinations.

Heian to Edo period

In 1496, the Jōdo Shinshū Buddhist sect set up their headquarters in the heavily fortified Ishiyama Hongan-ji on the site of the old Naniwa imperial palace. Oda Nobunaga started a siege of the temple in 1570. After a decade, the monks finally surrendered, and the temple was razed, and Toyotomi Hideyoshi constructed Osaka Castle in its place.

Osaka was, for a long time, Japan's most important [12] economic center, with a large percentage of the population belonging to the merchant class (see Four divisions of society). Over the course of the Edo period (1603–1867), Osaka grew into one of Japan's major cities and returned to its ancient role as a lively and important port. Its popular culture[13] was closely related to ukiyo-e depictions of life in Edo. Developing in parallel with the urban culture of Kyoto and Edo, Osaka likewise featured bunraku and grand kabuki productions, pleasure quarters, and a lively artistic community.

In 1837, Ōshio Heihachirō, a low-ranking samurai, led a peasant insurrection in response to the city's unwillingness to support the many poor and suffering families in the area. Approximately one-quarter of the city was razed before shogunal officials put down the rebellion, after which Ōshio killed himself.[14]

Osaka was opened to foreign trade by the government of the Bakufu at the same time as Hyōgo (modern Kobe) on 1 January 1868, just before the advent of the Boshin war and the Meiji restoration.[15]

Modern Osaka

Skyline of West Umeda in Kita-ku

The modern municipality was established[16] in 1889 by government ordinance, with an initial area of 15 km², overlapping today's Chūō and Nishi wards. Later, the city went through three major expansions to reach its current size of 222 km².

Derivation of name

Osaka literally means "large hill" or "large slope." It is unclear when this name gained prominence over Naniwa, but the oldest usage of the name dates back to a 1496 text. Osaka, now written 大阪, was formerly written using a different second kanji as 大坂 prior to 1870. At the time, the partisans for the Meiji Restoration wished to avoid the second kanji being implicitly read as "士反," meaning samurai rebellion. The old writing is still in very limited use to emphasize history, but the second kanji 阪 is now universally considered referring to Osaka city and prefecture only, to distinguish it from homonyms in other Japanese prefectures.

Geography

The city of Osaka has its west side open to Osaka Bay. It is otherwise completely surrounded by more than ten smaller cities, all of them in Osaka Prefecture, with one exception: the city of Amagasaki, belonging to Hyōgo Prefecture, in the northwest. The city occupies a larger area (about 13%) than any other city or village within Osaka Prefecture. When the city was established in 1889, the city occupied roughly what today are the wards of Chuo and Nishi, with only 15.27 square kilometres (3,773 acres) size, and grew into today's 222.30 square kilometres (54,932 acres) over several expansions. The biggest leap was in 1925, when 126.01 square kilometres (31,138 acres) was claimed through an expansion. The highest point in Osaka is in Tsurumi-ku at 37.5 metres (123.0 ft) Tokyo Peil, and the lowest point is in Nishiyodogawa-ku at -2.2 metres (−7.2 ft) Tokyo Peil[17].

Climate

Weather data for Osaka (2008)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 14.2
(58)
14.2
(58)
21.4
(71)
26.5
(80)
29.6
(85)
30.4
(87)
36.3
(97)
36.4
(98)
33.2
(92)
28.8
(84)
22.5
(73)
18.8
(66)
36.4
(98)
Average high °C (°F) 9.3
(49)
8.9
(48)
15.3
(60)
20.1
(68)
24.9
(77)
27.4
(81)
33.3
(92)
32.8
(91)
28.8
(84)
24.0
(75)
17.3
(63)
13.3
(56)
21.3
(70)
Average low °C (°F) 2.9
(37)
1.9
(35)
7.0
(45)
11.3
(52)
15.7
(60)
19.5
(67)
25.6
(78)
25.4
(78)
21.3
(70)
16.2
(61)
10.0
(50)
5.1
(41)
13.5
(56)
Record low °C (°F) 0.4
(33)
-0.7
(31)
1.3
(34)
5.5
(42)
10.3
(51)
15.8
(60)
20.5
(69)
20.2
(68)
14.2
(58)
11.5
(53)
1.9
(35)
-0.6
(31)
-0.7
(31)
Precipitation mm (inches) 51.0
(2.01)
60.5
(2.38)
95.0
(3.74)
143.5
(5.65)
218.5
(8.6)
190.5
(7.5)
123.5
(4.86)
82.0
(3.23)
130.5
(5.14)
62.0
(2.44)
50.0
(1.97)
55.5
(2.19)
1,262.5
(49.7)
Source: Japan Meteorological Association[18][19] February 2009

Cityscape

A panoramic view over the city from Umeda Sky Building
A panoramic view over the city from Ritz Carlton Hotel in Umeda

Neighborhoods

A crowd in Namba

Central Osaka is often divided into two areas referred to as Kita (キタ, lit. north) and Minami (ミナミ, lit. south), at either end of the major thoroughfare Midōsuji.[20] Kita is roughly the area surrounding the business and retail district of Umeda. Minami is home to the Namba, Shinsaibashi, and Dōtonbori shopping districts. The entertainment district around Dōtonbori Bridge with its famous giant mechanical crab, Triangle Park, and Amerikamura ("America Village") is in Minami. In Yodoyabashi and Honmachi, between Kita and Minami, is the traditional business area where courts and national/regional headquarters of major banks are located. The newer business area is in the Osaka Business Park located nearby Osaka Castle. Business districts have also formed around the secondary rail termini, such as Tennoji Station and Kyobashi Station.

“The 808 bridges of Naniwa” was an expression in old Japan for awe and wonder, an adage known across the land. “808” was a large number which symbolized the idea of “uncountable”. In the Edo period there were only about 200 bridges. Since Osaka is crossed by a number of rivers and canals, many bridges were built with specific names, and the areas surrounding the bridges were often referred to by the names of the bridges, too. Some of the waterways, such as the Nagahori canal, have been filled in, while others still remain.[21]. At one point in the 60s there were actually nearly 1500 bridges in Osaka but with the filling in of canals and rivers the number has dropped to just over 808.

Wards

A map of Osaka's Wards

Osaka has 24 wards (ku):

Demographics

According to the census in 2005, there were 2,628,811 residents in Osaka, an increase of 30,037 or 1.2% from 2000.[22] There were 1,280,325 households with approximately 2.1 persons per household. The population density was 11,836 persons per km². The Great Kanto Earthquake caused a mass migration to Osaka between 1920 and 1930, and the city became Japan's largest city in 1930 with 2,453,573 people, outnumbering even Tokyo, which had a population of 2,070,913. The population peaked at 3,252,340 in 1940, and had a post-war peak of 3,156,222 in 1965, but continued to decrease since, as the residents moved out to the suburbs.[23]

There were 99,775 registered foreigners, the two largest groups being Korean (71,015) and Chinese (11,848). Ikuno, with its Tsuruhashi district, is the home to one of the largest population of Korean residents in Japan, with 27,466 registered zainichi Koreans.[24][25]

Dialect

The commonly spoken dialect of this area is Osaka-ben. Of the many other particularities that characterize Osaka-ben, an example is the use of the suffix hen instead of nai in the negative of verbs.

Politics

Osaka City Hall
Local administration
The Mayor and the Council
Mayor: Kunio Hiramatsu
Vice Mayors: Akira Morishita,
Takashi Kashiwagi
City Council
President: Toshifumi Tagaya (LDP)
Members: 89 councilors (1 vacant)
Factions: Liberal Democratic Party and Citizen's Club (33), Komei Party (20), Democratic Party of Japan & Citizens' Coalition (19), Japanese Communist Party (16)
Seats by districts:
Website Osaka City Council
Note: As of March 10th, 2009

The Osaka City Council is the city's local government formed under the Local Autonomy Law. The Council has eighty-nine seats, allocated to the twenty-four wards proportional to their population and re-elected by the citizens every four years. The Council elects its President and Vice President. Toshifumi Tagaya (LDP) is the current and 104th President since May 2008. The Mayor of the city is directly elected by the citizens every four years as well, in accordance with the Local Autonomy Law. Kunio Hiramatsu, a former Mainichi Broadcasting System announcer is the 18th mayor of Osaka since 2007. He is supported by two Vice Mayors, Akira Morishita and Takashi Kashiwagi, who are appointed by himself in accordance with the city bylaw.[26]

Osaka also houses several agencies of the Japanese Government. Below is a list of Governmental Offices housed in Osaka.

  • Osaka Family Court
  • Osaka High Court
  • Osaka Immigration
  • Osaka Labour Bureau
  • Osaka Meteorological Observatory
  • Osaka Public Prosecutors Office
  • Osaka Regional Aerospace Bureau
  • Osaka Regional Law Bureau
  • Osaka Regional Taxation Bureau
  • Osaka Summary Court

Economy

Greater Osaka Area has the 7th largest metropolitan economy in the world after Tokyo, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Paris, and London

See also Companies headquartered in Osaka

The gross city product of Osaka in fiscal year 2004 was ¥21.3 trillion, an increase of 1.2% over the previous year. The figure accounts for about 55% of the total output in the Osaka Prefecture and 26.5% in the Kinki region. In 2004, commerce, services, and manufacturing have been the three major industries, accounting for 30%, 26%, and 11% of the total, respectively. The per capita income in the city was about ¥3.3 million, 10% higher than that of the Osaka Prefecture.[27] MasterCard Worldwide reported that Osaka ranks 19th among the world's leading cities and plays an important role in the global economy.[28]

The GDP in the greater Osaka area (Osaka and Kobe) is $341 billion. Osaka, along with Paris and London, has one of the most productive hinterlands in the world.[29] The figure has stayed fairly constant for the past 15 years, when the GDP compared with other cities worldwide was that much larger.

Osaka Securities Exchange in the Kitahama district of Osaka

Historically, Osaka was the center of commerce in Japan, especially in the middle and pre-modern ages. Nomura Securities, the first brokerage firm in Japan, was founded in the city in 1925, and Osaka still houses a leading futures exchange. Many major companies have since moved their main offices to Tokyo. However, several major companies—such as Panasonic, Sharp, and Sanyo—are still headquartered in Osaka. Recently, the city began a program, headed by mayor Junichi Seki, to attract domestic and foreign investment.[30]

The Osaka Securities Exchange, specializing in derivatives such as Nikkei 225 futures, is based in Osaka. The merger with JASDAQ will help the Osaka Securities Exchange become the largest exchange in Japan for start-up companies.[31]

According to a U.S. study, Osaka is the second most expensive city for expatriate employees in the world and in Japan behind Tokyo. It jumped up nine places from 11th place in 2008. Osaka was the 8th most expensive city in 2007.[32]

Transportation

Air

Osaka is served by two airports outside the city.

Kansai International Airport (IATA: KIX) handles all scheduled international passenger flights, some domestic flights, and most cargo flights. It is on an artificial island that sits off-shore in Osaka Bay and is administratively part of the nearby town of Tajiri. The airport is linked by a bus and train service into the center of the city and major suburbs.

Osaka International Airport (IATA:ITM), on the border of the cities of Itami and Toyonaka, houses most of the domestic services, some international cargo flights, and international VIP charters from and to the metropolitan region.

Sea

Date   Sister Port [33]
1967 United States San Francisco, United States
1974 Australia Melbourne, Australia
1980 France Le Havre, France
1981 People's Republic of China Shanghai, China
1983 Chile Valparaiso, Chile
1985 South Korea Busan, South Korea
1994 Vietnam Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

The port of Osaka serves as a shipping hub for the Kansai region along with the port of Kobe.

Ferry

Osaka's international ferry connections are far greater than Tokyo's, mostly due to geography. There are international ferries that leave Osaka for Shanghai, Korea, and until recently Taiwan. Osaka's domestic ferry services include regular service to ports such as Shimonoseki, Kagoshima, Miyazaki and Okinawa.

Shipping

Port of Osaka

Shipping plays the crucial role for the freight coming in and out of the area nationally and internationally, and Greater Osaka areas exports and imported raw materials span the globe, with no one port dominating. Though the port of Kobe was in the 1970s the busiest in the world by containers handled, it no longer ranks among the top twenty worldwide. Kansai area is home to 5 existing LNG terminals.

Rail

Greater Osaka has a very extensive network of railway lines, comparable to that of Greater Tokyo. Main rail terminals in the city include, Umeda, Namba, Tennoji, Kyobashi, and Yodoyabashi.

High speed rail

Series of Shinkansen

JR Central and JR West operate high-speed trains on the Tōkaidō-Sanyō Shinkansen line. Shin-Ōsaka Station is the Shinkansen terminal in Osaka. This station is connected to Ōsaka Station at Umeda by the JR Kyoto Line and the subway Midōsuji Line. All Shinkansen trains including Nozomi stop at Shin-Ōsaka Station and provide access to other major cities in Japan, such as Kyoto, Nagoya, Yokohama and Tokyo to the east, and Kobe, Okayama, Hiroshima, Kitakyushu and Fukuoka to the west. In spring 2011, JR West and JR Kyushu will introduce new Shinkansen services, Sakura, linking Osaka with Kumamoto, Kagoshima, and other cities in central and south Kyushu.[34]

The Chuo Shinkansen using JR-Maglev system will be extended to Shin-Ōsaka so that passengers can transfer to the existing Tōkaidō-Sanyō Shinkansen line.

Commuter rail

JR Osaka Loop Line

Both JR West and private lines connect Osaka and its suburbs. The commuter rail network of JR West is called the Urban Network. Major stations on the JR Osaka Loop Line include Osaka (Umeda), Tennōji, Tsuruhashi, and Kyōbashi. JR West competes with such private rail operators as Keihan Electric Railway, Hankyu Railway, Hanshin Railway, Kintetsu Corporation, and Nankai Electric Railway. The Keihan and Hankyu lines connect to Kyoto; the Hanshin and Hankyu lines connect to Kobe; the Kintetsu lines connect to Nara, Yoshino, Ise and Nagoya; and the Nankai lines connect to Osaka's southern suburbs and Kansai International Airport as well as Wakayama and Mt. Koya. Many lines in Greater Osaka accept either ICOCA or PiTaPa contactless smart cards for payment.[35]

Municipal subway

Osaka subway map

The Osaka Municipal Subway system is a part of Osaka's extensive rapid transit system. The Metro system alone ranks 8th in the world by annual passenger ridership, serving over 912 million people annually (a quarter of Greater Osaka Rail System's 4 billion annual riders), despite being only 8 of more than 70 lines in the metro area (see map).

Bus

Regular bus services are provided by Osaka Municipal Transportation Bureau (the City Bus), as well as by group companies of Hankyu, Hanshin and Kintetsu. The City runs a dense network covering much parts of the city[36]. The fare for the regular buses is a flat rate of 200 Yen, or 100 Yen for the smaller "Red Bus" looplines operated within segmented areas of the city. The other bus companies provide their services in supplement to their railway networks.

Culture and lifestyle

Glico man in Dōtonbori
The National Museum of Art is a subterranean museum for Japanese arts

Shopping and culinary

Osaka has a large number of wholesalers and retail shops: 25,228 and 34,707 respectively in 2004, according to the city statistics.[37] A lot of them are concentrated in the wards of Chuō (10,468 shops) and Kita (6,335 shops). Types of shops varies from malls to conventional shōtengai shopping arcades, built both above- and underground.[38] Shōtengai are seen across Japan, and Osaka has the longest one in the country.[39]: The Tenjinbashi-suji arcade stretches from the road approaching the Temmangu shrine and continues for 2.6 km going north to south. The type of stores along the arcade includes commodities, clothing, and catering outlets.

Other shopping areas are Den Den Town, the electronic and manga/anime district, which is comparable to Akihabara; and the Umeda district, which has the Hankyu Sanbangai shopping mall and Yodobashi Camera, a huge electrical appliance store that offers a vast range of fashion stores, restaurants, and a Shonen Jump store.

Osaka is known for its food, as supported by the saying "Dress (in kimonos) till you drop in Kyoto, eat till you drop in Osaka" (京の着倒れ、大阪の食い倒れ).[40] Regional cuisine includes okonomiyaki (pan-fried batter cake), takoyaki (octopus dumplings), udon (a noodle dish), as well as the traditional battera (バッテラ) sushi.

Other shopping districts include:

Entertainment and performing arts

  • Osaka is home to the National Bunraku Theatre[6], where traditional puppet plays, bunraku, are performed.
  • At Osaka Shouchiku-za, close to Namba station, kabuki can be enjoyed as well as manzai. Nearby is the Shin-kabuki-za, where enka concerts and Japanese dramas are performed.
  • Yoshimoto, a Japanese entertainment conglomarate operates two halls in the city for manzai and other comedy shows: the Namba Grand Kagetsu and the Kyōbashi Kagetsu halls.
  • The Hanjō-tei opened in 2006, dedicated to rakugo. The theatre is in the Temmangū area.
  • Umeda Arts Theater opened in 2005 after relocating from its former 46-year-old Umeda Koma Theater. The theater has a main hall with 1,905 seats and a smaller theater-drama hall with 898 seats. Umeda Arts Theatre stages various type of performances including musicals, music concerts, dramas, rakugo, and others.
  • The Symphony Hall, built in 1982, is the first hall in Japan designed specially for classical music concerts. The Hall was opened with a concert by the Osaka Philharmonic Orchestra, which is based in the city. Orchestras such as the Berlin Philharmonic and Vienna Philharmonic have played here during their world tours as well.
  • Osaka-jō Hall is a multi-purpose arena in Osaka-jō park with a capacity for up to 16,000 people. The hall has hosted numerous events and concerts including both Japanese and international artists.
  • Near City Hall in Nakanoshima, is Osaka Central Public Hall, a Neo-Renaissance-style building first opened in 1918. Re-opened in 2002 after major restoration, it serves as a multi-purpose rental facility for citizen events.
  • The Osaka Shiki Theater[41] is one of the nine private halls opearted nationwide by the Shiki Theatre, staging straight plays and musicals.
  • Festival Hall was a hall hosting various performances including noh, kyogen, kabuki, ballets as well as classic concerts. The Bolshoi Ballet and the Philharmonia are among the many that were welcomed on stage in the past. The hall has closed at the end of 2008, planned to re-open in 2013 in a new facility.

Annual festivals

Tenji Matsuri

One of the most famous festivals held in Osaka, the Tenjin-matsuri is held on July 24 and 25. Other festivals in Osaka include the Aizen-matsuri, Shōryō-e and Tōka-Ebisu. Furthermore, Osaka annually hosts the Osaka European Film Festival.

Museum and galleries

See also: Museums in Osaka

Osaka Maritime Museum

The National Museum of Art (NMAO) is a subterranean Japanese art museum, housing mainly collections from the post-war era. Osaka Science Museum is in a five storied building next to the National Museum of Art, with a planetarium and an omnimax theatre. The Museum of Oriental Ceramics holds more than 2,000 pieces of ceramics, from China, Korea, Japan and Vietnam, featuring displays of some of their Korean celadon under natural light. Osaka Municipal Museum of Art is inside Tennōji park, housing over 8,000 pieces of Japanese and Chinese paintings and sculptures. The Osaka Maritime Museum, opened in 2000, is accessible only through an underwater tunnel into its dome. The Osaka Museum of History, opened in 2001, is located in a 13-story modern building providing a view of Osaka Castle. Its exhibits cover the history of Osaka from pre-history to the present day. Osaka Museum of Natural History houses a collection related to natural history and life.

Sports

The Osaka Dome hosts home games of Orix Buffaloes and Hanshin Tigers

Osaka hosts four professional sport teams: one of them is the Orix Buffaloes, a Nippon Professional Baseball team, playing its home games at Kyocera Dome Osaka. Another baseball team, the Hanshin Tigers, although based in Nishinomiya, Hyōgo, plays a part of its home games in Kyocera Dome Osaka as well, when their homeground Kōshien Stadium is occupied with the annual National High School Baseball Championship games during summer season. A J.League soccer team, Cerezo Osaka, plays its home games at Nagai Stadium. The team plays in the 2nd division league since the 2007 season, after finishing second to last in the previous year. The city is home to Osaka Evessa, a basketball team that plays in the bj league. Evessa has won the first three championships of the league since its establishment. Kintetsu Liners, a rugby union team, play in the Top League. After winning promotion in 2008-09, they will again remain in the competition for the 2009-10 season. Their base is the Hanazono Rugby Stadium.

The Sangatsubasho (三月場所 sangatsu basho, literally March ring), one of the six regular tournaments of professional Sumo is held annually in Osaka at the Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium.

Another major annual sporting event that takes place is Osaka is Osaka International Ladies Marathon. Held usually at the end of January every year, the 42.195 km race starts from Nagai Stadium, runs through Nakanoshima, Midōsuji and Osaka castle park, and returns to the stadium. Another yearly event held at Nagai Stadium is the Osaka Gran Prix Athletics games operated by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) in May. The Osaka GP is the only IAAF games annually held in Japan.

Media

NHK Osaka

Osaka serves as one of the media hubs for Japan, housing headquarters of many media-related companies. Abundant television production takes place in the city and every nationwide TV network (with the exception of TXN network) registers its sub-key station in Osaka. All five nationwide newspaper majors also house their regional headquarters, and most local newspapers nationwide have branches in Osaka. Yet, one should know that major film productions are uncommon in the city. Most major films are produced in nearby Kyoto or Tokyo.

Newspapers

All the five nationwide newspaper majors of Japan, the Asahi Shimbun, the Mainichi Shimbun, the Nihon Keizai Shimbun, the Sankei Shimbun and the Yomiuri Shimbun[42], have their regional headquarters in Osaka and issue their regional editions. Furthermore, Osaka houses Osaka Nichi-nichi Shimbun, its newspaper press. Other newspaper related companies located in Osaka include include, the regional headquarters of FujiSankei Business i.;Houchi Shimbunsha; Nikkan Sports;Sports Nippon, and offices of Kyodo News; Jiji Press; Reuters; Bloomberg L.P..

Television and radio

The five TV networks are represented by the Asahi Broadcasting Corporation (ANN), the Kansai Telecasting Corporation (FNN), the Mainichi Broadcasting System (JNN), the Television Osaka (TXN) and the Yomiuri Telecasting Corporation (NNN), headquartered in Osaka. NHK has also its regional station based in the city. AM Radio services are provided by NHK as well as the ABC Radio (Asahi Broadcasting Corporation), MBS Radio (Mainichi Broadcasting System) and Radio Osaka (Osaka Broadcasting Corporation) and headquartered in the city. FM services are available from NHK, FM Osaka, FM802 and FM Cocolo, the last providing programs in multiple languages including English.

As of February 2009, the city is fully covered by terrestrial digital TV broadcasts[43]

Publishing companies

Osaka is home to many publishing companies including: Examina, Izumi Shoin, Kaihou Shuppansha, Keihanshin Elmagazine, Seibundo Shuppan, Sougensha, and Toho Shuppan.

Places of interest

Tourist attractions include:

21st century Osaka

21st century Osaka

Kansai, the name being used for Osaka is transforming itself with high rise skyscrapers that define the 21st century Japan in social and economic standards[44]

Amusement parks

  • Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan (海遊館) – an aquarium located in Osaka Bay, containing 35,000 aquatic animals in 14 tanks, the largest of which holds 5,400 tons of water and houses a variety of sea animals including whale sharks. This tank is the world's second-largest aquarium tank, behind the Georgia Aquarium, whose largest tank holds approximately 29,000 tons of water.
  • Tempozan Harbor Village Ferris wheel, located next to the aquarium
  • Tennōji Zoo
  • Universal Studios Japan
  • Umeda Joypolis Sega
  • Shin-Umeda city – an innovative structure that has the floating garden observatory 170 m from the ground, which offers a 360-degree panoramic view of Osaka, popular for photographs, a structure that also houses an underground mall with restaurants and is styled in the early Showa period in the 1920s.

Parks

Temples, shrines, and other historical sites

Entertainment

Education

Public elementary and junior high schools in Osaka are operated by the city of Osaka. Its supervisory organization on educational matters is Osaka City Board of Education[45]. Likewise, public high schools are operated by Osaka Prefectural Board of Education.

Osaka city once had a large number of universities high schools, but because of growing campuses and the need for larger area, many chose to move to the suburbs, including Osaka University[46] .

Libraries

Natives

Sister cities

Tsūtenkaku is a symbol of Osaka's post-WWII rebuilding.

Osaka has eight sister cities and relationships of various sorts with several others[48]:

Date   Sister City [49]
1957 United States San Francisco, United States
1969 Brazil São Paulo, Brazil
1973 United States Chicago, United States
1974 People's Republic of China Shanghai, China
1974 Australia Melbourne, Australia
1979 Russia Saint Petersburg, Russia
1981 Italy Milan, Italy
1989 Germany Hamburg, Germany
Date   Friendship and Cooperation City [50]
1998 Argentina Buenos Aires, Argentina
1998 Hungary Budapest, Hungary
2008 South Korea Busan, South Korea[51]

Business Partner Cities [52]:

See also

References

  1. ^ Table 92, Final Report of The 2000 Population Census
  2. ^ "Population Census: I Daytime Population". Statistics Bureau, Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications. 2002-03-29. http://www.stat.go.jp/english/data/kokusei/2000/jutsu1/00/01.htm. Retrieved 2007-03-28.  
  3. ^ Totalling the Special wards of Tokyo, which is not a single incorporated city, for statistical purposes. See the Tokyo article for more information on the definition and makeup of Tokyo.
  4. ^ a b c d "Historical Overview, the City of Osaka official homepage". http://www.city.osaka.lg.jp/contents/wdu020/english/for_tourists/c_historical_overview.html. Retrieved 2009-03-21.   Navigate to the equivalent Japanese page (大阪市の歴史 タイムトリップ20,000年 (History of Osaka, A timetrip back 20,000 years))[1] for additional information.
  5. ^ Aprodicio A. Laquian (2005). Beyond metropolis: the planning and governance of Asia's mega-urban regions. Washington, D.C: Woodrow Wilson Center Press. pp. 27. ISBN 0-8018-8176-5.  
  6. ^ edited by James L. McClain and Wakita Osamu (1999). Osaka, the merchants' capital of early modern Japan. Ithaca, N.Y: Cornell University Press. pp. 67. ISBN 0-8014-3630-3.  
  7. ^ Robert C. Hsu (1999). The MIT encyclopedia of the Japanese economy. Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press. pp. 327. ISBN 0-262-08280-2.  
  8. ^ "Tsuneko S. Sadao, Stephanie Wada, Discovering the Arts of Japan: A Historical Overview". http://books.google.com/books?vid=ISBN477002939X&id=zMC4RMXQkn0C&pg=RA2-PA30&lpg=RA2-PA30&ots=EBaJsGK9Zd&dq=osaka+kofun+period&sig=YMpduHFXjK3hzTlUj8F8NW9QvBw#PRA2-PA30,M1. Retrieved 2007-03-25.  
  9. ^ "史跡 難波宮跡, 財団法人 大阪都市協会 (Naniwa Palace Site, by Osaka Toshi Kyokai)" (in Japanese). http://www.osaka-cpa.or.jp/html/bunka/rekisi/naniwa1.html. Retrieved 2007-03-25.  
  10. ^ The name was also historically written 浪華 or 浪花, with the same pronunciation. These are uncommon today but still used sometimes.
  11. ^ edited by Peter G. Stone and Philippe G. Planel (1999). The constructed past: experimental archaeology, education, and the public. London: Routledge in association with English Heritage. pp. 68. ISBN 0-415-11768-2.  
  12. ^ Osaka city
  13. ^ A Guide to the Ukiyo-eTokyo national museum[2]
  14. ^ Ebrey, Patricia Buckley; Walthall, Anne; Palais, James B. (2006). East Asia: A Cultural, Social, and Political History. Houghton Mifflin Company. p. 400. ISBN 0 618 13384 4.  
  15. ^ The Cambridge History of Japan p.304
  16. ^ Osaka city
  17. ^ http://www.city.osaka.jp/keikakuchousei/toukei/G000/Gyh19/Gb00/Gb00.html
  18. ^ Monthly Values. (Japanese) Japan Meteorological Agency. Accessed February 23, 2009.
  19. ^ Yearly Values. (Japanese) Japan Meteorological Agency. Accessed February 23, 2009.
  20. ^ a b Dodd, Jan; Simon Richmond (2001). The Rough Guide to Japan. Rough Guides. pp. 439. ISBN 1858286999. http://books.google.co.jp/books?id=CNAT-7MCN2AC&pg=RA1-PA439&dq=Osaka+Kita+Minami&lr=&as_brr=3.  
  21. ^ More About Osaka, Osaka City Government
  22. ^ "2005 Population Census". Statistics Bureau, Director-General for Policy Planning (Statistical Standards) and Statistical Research and Training Institute, Japan. http://www.e-stat.go.jp/SG1/estat/NewListE.do?tid=000001007251. Retrieved 2009-02-18.  
  23. ^ Prasad Karan, Pradyumna; Kristin Eileen Stapleton. The Japanese City. University Press of Kentucky. pp. 79–81. ISBN 0813120357. http://books.google.co.jp/books?id=eKdMdyZzjyQC.  
  24. ^ JOHNSTON, ERIC (Saturday, June 29, 2002). "Tsuruhashi, home of 'exotic' Korea in Osaka". The Japan Times Online (The Japan Times). http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20020629b3.html. Retrieved 2009-02-18.  
  25. ^ Karan, Pradyumna Prasad; Kristin Eileen Stapleton. The Japanese City. University Press of Kentucky. pp. 124. ISBN 0813120357.  
  26. ^ Osaka City Council homepage
  27. ^ "大阪市データネット 市民経済計算 (Osaka City Datanet: Osaka City Economy)" (in Japanese). http://www.city.osaka.jp/keikakuchousei/toukei/E000/Ea00/Ea00.html. Retrieved 2007-03-25.  
  28. ^ http://www.mastercard.com/us/company/en/insights/pdfs/2008/MCWW_WCoC-Report_2008.pdf
  29. ^ http://www.pwc.com/uk/eng/ins-sol/publ/ukoutlook/pwc_ukeo-section3-march07.pdf
  30. ^ http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/dy/business/20061228TDY16003.htm
  31. ^ [3]
  32. ^ http://www.mercer.com/costoflivingpr#Top_50
  33. ^ "Osaka's Sister Ports, Port & Harbor Bureau, City of Osaka". http://www.city.osaka.lg.jp/contents/wdu020/port/e_17_sister.html. Retrieved 2009-08-05.  
  34. ^ "山陽新幹線・九州新幹線直通列車のご案内". JR West. 2009-02-26. http://www.jr-odekake.net/navi/shinkansen/sanyo_kyusyu/. Retrieved 2009-08-14.  (Japanese)
  35. ^ JR West. "JRおでかけネット - きっぷ・サービス案内 - ご利用可能エリア 近畿圏エリア" (in Japanese). http://www.jr-odekake.net/guide/icoca/areamap01.html. Retrieved 2008-02-25.  
  36. ^ the City Bus network
  37. ^ [4]
  38. ^ Reiber, Beth; Janie Spencer (2008). Frommer's Japan. Frommer's. pp. 388. ISBN 0470181001. http://books.google.co.jp/books?id=CtVJf_gocJUC&pg=PA388&dq=Osaka+shopping+malls&as_brr=3.  
  39. ^ http://www.kansai.gr.jp/KansaiWindowhtml/Collection/English/000232.html
  40. ^ "Japan Quarterly, Asahi Shinbunsha 1954". http://books.google.com/books?vid=OCLC01754204&id=gBgVAAAAMAAJ&q=kyoto+kidaore&dq=kyoto+kidaore&pgis=1. Retrieved 2007-03-25.  
  41. ^ [5]
  42. ^ The five largest newspapers by number of circulation in Japan in alphabetical order. Mooney, Sean; ebrary, Inc (2000). 5,110 Days in Tokyo and Everything's Hunky-dory. Greenwood Publishing Group. pp. 99–104. ISBN 1567203612. http://books.google.co.jp/books?id=Fkt8CkTejUAC.  
  43. ^ See the Association for Promotion of Digital Broadcasting web page for the coverage map.
  44. ^ Japan in the 21st century: environment, economy, and society
  45. ^ http://www.city.osaka.lg.jp/contents/wdu020/english/more_about_osaka/administrative.html
  46. ^ "History of Education in Osaka 大阪市の教育史 osaka-shi no kyōikushi" (in Japanese). http://www.geocities.jp/kyouiku_hiroba/02/osaka-city-education-history.html. Retrieved 2009-02-18.  
  47. ^ http://www.iiclo.or.jp/english/english.htm
  48. ^ "Osaka and the World, the official website of the Osaka city". http://www.city.osaka.lg.jp/contents/wdu020/english/more_about_osaka/osaka_world/. Retrieved 2009-08-05.  
  49. ^ "Sister Cities, the official website of the Osaka city". http://www.city.osaka.lg.jp/contents/wdu020/english/more_about_osaka/osaka_world/ock002r.html. Retrieved 2009-08-05.  
  50. ^ "Friendship and Cooperation Cities, the official website of the Osaka city". http://www.city.osaka.lg.jp/contents/wdu020/english/more_about_osaka/osaka_world/ock003r.html. Retrieved 2009-08-05.  
  51. ^ "大阪市市政 友好協力都市(釜山広域市)(Busan (Friendship Cooperation City), the official website of the Osaka city)". http://www.city.osaka.lg.jp/seisakukikakushitsu/page/0000017659.html. Retrieved 2009-08-05.  
  52. ^ "Business Partner Cities (BPC), the official website of the Osaka city". http://www.city.osaka.lg.jp/seisakukikakushitsu/page/0000040993.html. Retrieved 2009-08-05.  

External links


Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Osaka Castle and the skyscrapers of Osaka Business Park, Kyōbashi
Osaka Castle and the skyscrapers of Osaka Business Park, Kyōbashi

Ōsaka (大阪) is the second largest city in Japan, with a population of over 17 million people in its greater metropolitan area. It is the central metropolis of the Kansai region and the largest of the Osaka-Kobe-Kyoto trio.

Wards of Osaka
Wards of Osaka

"Osaka" can mean either the larger Osaka prefecture (大阪府 Ōsaka-fu), covered in a separate guide, or central Osaka city (大阪市 Ōsaka-shi), the topic of this guide. The city is administratively divided into 24 wards (区 ku), but in common usage the following divisions are more useful:

  • Kita (キタ, "north") — the newer center of the city, including the Kita ward (北区). Umeda (梅田) is the main terminal. Department stores, theaters and boutiques are clustered around JR Osaka Station and Umeda Station, which serves several city and private railways.
  • Minami (ミナミ, "south") — the traditional commercial and cultural center, composed of the Chuo (中央区) and Naniwa (浪速区) wards. Namba (なんば, 難波) is the main railway station, and the surrounding area has the department store and showy shopping. Shinsaibashi (心斎橋) and Horie (堀江) is the fashion area. Dōtonbori (道頓堀) is the best place to go for a bite to eat.
  • Semba (船場) straddles the line between Kita and Minami, and contains the business districts of Yodoyabashi (淀屋橋), Doujima (堂島) and Hommachi (本町); and the financial district of Kitahama (北浜).
  • Tennōji (天王寺) or Abeno (アベノ, あべの, 阿倍野) — generally means the area around JR Tennōji Station, Abeno subway station and Kintetsu lines, located at the south end of Tennōji ward. The ward was named after the historical Shitennoji temple. Tennōji Park and Zoo are in the area. To the west of Tennōji is Shinsekai (新世界), which was an amusement area in the past and has now become quite seedy.

Other important places include:

  • Kyōbashi (京橋) — northeast of Osaka Castle, home to Osaka Business Park (OBP).
  • Shin-Osaka (新大阪) — Shin-Osaka Station (the shinkansen and airport express stop)

Osaka and the "808 Bridges" (八百八橋)

Many districts in Osaka derive their names from the Tokugawa-era bridges that were built during the city's reign as transportation hub for the country. Today, Yodoyabashi (淀屋橋) and Kyobashi (京橋) still retain their crossings, while the bridges in Yotsubashi (四ツ橋), Nagahoribashi (長堀橋)and Shinsaibashi (心斎橋) are long gone.

橋 (hashi, often pronounced -bashi, when affixed to a preceding name) is the kanji character meaning 'bridge'.

If Tokyo is Japan's capital, one might call Osaka its anti-capital. With what you will call it so, however, is left much open to your own findings upon the visit to the city. Veiled much with a commercial-centric city touch, you may as well start from picking up the lively intonation of Osaka dialect, heard from the people as you ride on the escalators standing on the right, instead of the left in Tokyo; then discovering the contrast of popular food to eastern Japan, as you look for places to lunch. The deeper you get inside, and at the end of your stay, it is not completely impossible that you may have compiled your own original list of reasons covering from history, culture, sports, to business.

Osaka dates back to the Asuka and Nara period. Under the name Naniwa (難波), it was the capital of Japan from 683 to 745, long before the upstarts at Kyoto took over. Even after the capital was moved elsewhere, Osaka continued to play an important role as a hub for land, sea and river-canal transportation. (See "808 Bridges" infobox.) During the Tokugawa era, while Edo (now Tokyo) served as the austere seat of military power and Kyoto was the home of the Imperial court and its effete courtiers, Osaka served as "the Nation's Kitchen" (「天下の台所」 tenka-no-daidokoro), the collection and distribution point for rice, the most important measure of wealth. Hence it was also the city where merchants made and lost fortunes and cheerfully ignored repeated warnings from the shogunate to reduce their conspicuous consumption.

During Meiji era, Osaka's fearless entrepreneurs took the lead in industrial development, making it the equivalent of Manchester in the U.K. A thorough drubbing in World War 2 left little evidence of this glorious past — even the castle is a ferroconcrete reconstruction — but to this day, while unappealing and gruff on the surface, Osaka remains Japan's best place to eat, drink and party, and in legend (if not in practice) Osakans still greet each other with mōkarimakka?, "are you making money?".

Get in

By plane

The main international gateway to Osaka is Kansai International Airport (IATA: KIX) [1]. The airport has two railway connections to the city: JR West's Kansai Airport Line and the private Nankai Electric Railway.

Most domestic flights arrive at Osaka International Airport, also known as Itami Airport (IATA: ITM), [2]. Itami is connected to the Osaka Monorail [3], but the monorail is expensive and traces an arc around the northern suburbs, so to get to the centre of the city you will need to transfer to a suburban Hankyu railway line. A more convenient option for most are the Airport Limousine Buses [4], which run frequently from Itami to various locations within Osaka and elsewhere in the region (including Kansai Airport), with fares starting around ¥500-600. Taxi from Itami airport to Osaka castle area costs ¥4000 plus ¥700 for toll road.

By train

Tokaido and Sanyo Shinkansen (新幹線) trains arrive at Shin-Osaka station, to the north of the city center. From Shin-Osaka, you can connect to the city center by using the Midosuji subway line, or connect to the local JR network for other destinations.

  • From Tokyo, Nozomi (のぞみ) trains cover the one way ride in about 2 1/4 hours (¥14050); Hikari (ひかり) trains take 3 hours and all-stopping Kodama (こだま) trains take 4 hours (both ¥13750). With the Japan Rail Pass, there is no charge to take the Shinkansen if you use the Hikari or Kodama service.
  • From points west of Osaka, Nozomi trains run from Okayama (¥6060, 45 mins), Hiroshima (¥10150, 80 mins) and Hakata station in Fukuoka (¥14890, 2 1/4 hours). Japan Rail Pass holders can use the Hikari Rail Star (ひかりレールスター) service instead, which runs at a comparable speed to the Nozomi and makes a few more stops, but its trains are shorter (8 car trains, compared to 16 cars on the Nozomi). Slower Kodama trains connect the rest of the stations on the route.

If travelling from the east without a rail pass, you can take advantage of the Puratto Kodama Ticket (in Japanese). This ticket offers a discount for the all-stopping Kodama services if you purchase at least one day in advance. You get a reserved seat and a free drink on board. With this ticket a trip from Tokyo to Shin-Osaka costs ¥10000 - a savings of almost ¥4000. Note that there is only one Kodama service per hour from Tokyo, and a few early-morning Kodama trains cannot be used with this ticket.

If coming from either Tokyo or Nagoya, you can book your bullet train travel and accommodation as a package and make rather large savings with The Shinkansen Tour [5]. These savings are only offered to non-Japanese travelers.

During travel periods when the Seishun 18 Ticket is valid, you can go from Tokyo to Osaka during the day in about nine hours using all-local trains. Travelling in a group, however, discounts the cost significantly from the standard ¥8500 fare: A party of three costs ¥3800 per person, and a group of five traveling together brings the cost down to ¥2300 per person. See the Seishun 18 Ticket article for more information.

There are many regional railway lines connecting Osaka to nearby cities:

  • From Kyoto, JR offers fast, but slightly more expensive, shin-kaisoku (special rapid) trains to Osaka Station. The cheaper but slower alternative is the Hankyu Railway's limited express service. Both lines terminate in the Umeda area of Osaka. Keihan Railway offers Kyoto-Osaka trains. The Yodoyabashi terminal in Osaka does not connect directly with JR, but it is possible to transfer to the JR Osaka Loop Line at Kyobashi.

In Kyoto, Keihan and Hankyu trains do not connect with JR Kyoto station but both travel to stations which are more convenient for reaching the centre of the city. about 30 - 45 minutes.

  • From Kobe, JR again offers slightly faster and slightly more expensive service than Hankyu. The third choice is Hanshin Railway, which is identical to Hankyu in terms of cost and similar in time, useful for getting to Koshien Stadium to see Hanshin Tigers games. All three lines go to Osaka / Umeda. about 20 minutets.
  • From Nara, JR offers trains to Tennōji and Osaka Stations, and Kintetsu offers trains to Namba. Kintetsu station in Nara is closer to Tōdaiji and Nara Park. about 35 - 45 minutets.
  • From Nagoya, an alternative to the Shinkansen is Kintetsu's premium limited express service, the Urban Liner (アーバンライナー) which goes directly to Namba. Trip times are as little as two hours each way, with departures at 0 and 30 minutes past the hour at a cost of ¥4150. In comparison, the shinkansen takes just under an hour for ¥5670.

Stations with the same name but belonging to different railway companies are sometimes very far apart. For example, the Nakatsu stations on the Hankyu and subway networks are about an hour's walk from each other, even though they look close on the railway map. Allow up to half an hour for walking between the various Umeda stations and about the same for the various Namba stations, especially if you are a first time visitor. In Kobe the Sannomiya stations belonging to JR and Hankyu are connected but Hanshin Sannomiya is across a street.

Overnight by train

With the discontinuation of the Ginga express train in 2008, direct daily overnight train service between Tokyo and Osaka was curtailed to a single Tokyo-bound departure only - the Sunrise Izumo/Sunrise Seto leaving Osaka station at 0:34 in the morning, arriving in Tokyo just after 7:00.

An overnight train journey by rail is still possible by taking a route via northern Japan. This requires a change of trains and a large sum of money. As a result, this may be of interest to Japan Rail Pass holders.

From Tokyo Station, take the final Joetsu Shinkansen departure towards Niigata, and change at Nagaoka (長岡) station for the Kitaguni (きたぐに) express train to Osaka. The Kitaguni has unreserved standard class seating, reserved green car seating, and couchettes; all seating is non-smoking.

If you use the Shinkansen and an unreserved seat on the Kitaguni, the rail pass fully covers the trip, which takes about nine hours in each direction. Ordinary pass holders who wish to upgrade to the green seat on the Kitaguni can pay ¥5150; Green Car pass holders can use the Green Cars at no charge. Using a couchette on the Kitaguni will incur a surcharge, regardless of rail pass type.

As of November 2009, Max Toki (とき) #353 departs Tokyo Station at 21:40 and arrives in Nagaoka at 23:26. This connects to the Kitaguni, leaving Nagaoka at 23:53 and arriving in Osaka at 6:49. The return Kitaguni leaves Osaka at 23:27 and arrives in Nagaoka at 7:14. The bullet train connection is on Toki #304, which leaves Nagaoka at 7:23 and arrives in Tokyo at 9:12.

You can also take either the Hokuriku (北陸) limited express or the Noto (能登) express running overnight from Ueno Station to Kanazawa, and change to a morning Thunderbird (サンダーバード) train to Osaka. Unfortunately, both the Hokuriku and Noto will be discontinued by Japan Railways in March 2010.

While the northern Japan train route can prove to be a good value, depending on how you use your rail pass, remember that the rail pass is also valid for JR buses operating between Tokyo and Osaka (see 'By Bus').

Two overnight trains make runs to and from Osaka Station and northern Japan: the Twilight Express (トワイライトエクスプレス) which runs into Hokkaido and terminates at Sapporo, and the Nihonkai (日本海) train which runs to Aomori in northern Tohoku.

The services listed above also pick up/drop off passengers at Shin-Osaka Station.

During University holidays there are some additional overnight services to Matsuyama, Kochi and Fukuoka. As these are considered rapid services they can be very economical to use if you use a Seishun 18 Ticket.

Overnight by train with rest stop

As a Rail Pass holder, you may also choose to simply split up your journey, stopping at an intermediate destination en-route in order to sleep somewhere, and the cost incurred will only be for the hotel room. This is also a good way to travel overnight, especially if you are able to find cheap accomodations, such as a business hotel. Yes, it may be a little hectic, and it might require some research, but this method carries two significant advantages: location and money. You will more than likely find good accomodations very close to a main train station in a smaller city, compared to a big city such as Tokyo, and it will more than likely be cheaper than hotels found in Tokyo.

For example, you can use the Tokaido Shinkansen late at night and sleep over at a hotel in Shizuoka, Hamamatsu, Toyohashi or Nagoya; In the morning, grab one of the first bullet train departures in the same direction to continue your trip. As of December 2009, here is one way you could go about this: at 10 PM, take the Hikari train for a 75-minute ride to Hamamatsu. Once there you can take a rest at Hamamatsu's Toyoko Inn, which costs ¥6000 for a single room. At 6:30 the next morning, board the first bullet train of the day, a Kodama, and you will be at Shin-Osaka station by 8:15.

By car

It is generally a bad idea to use an automobile to visit Osaka. Many streets do not have names, signs are usually only in Japanese and parking fees are astronomical. In addition, an international driver's license is required.

By bus

As Osaka is a major city, there are many daytime and overnight buses which run between Osaka and other locations throughout Japan, which can result in significant savings when compared to shinkansen fares.

The JR Bus Group (Japanese Website) is a major operator of the routes from the Tokyo area to Kansai. Buses operate via the Tomei Expressway (to/from Tokyo Station) or the Chuo Expressway (to/from Shinjuku Station).

Other bus companies offer trips between Tokyo and Osaka, but it should be pointed out that seat reservations for most JR Buses can be made in train stations at the same "Midori-no-Madoguchi" (みどりの窓口) ticket windows used to reserve seats on trains. Moreover, the Japan Rail Pass is valid on ALL JR buses operating from the Tokyo area to Osaka. (Note that the pass is NOT valid on buses to/from Yokohama.)

Bus tickets are also sold at separate ticket counters operated by the various JR bus companies; you can find these counters in and around major train stations served by the buses. If you wish to buy discounted advance-purchase tickets offered on most buses, you must purchase your tickets at these counters, not from the "Midori-no-Madoguchi" windows.

From Tokyo, buses run to and from Osaka in approximately 8 to 8 1/2 hours. Major bus locations are as follows:

  • Tokyo: Tokyo Station Yaesu Exit (東京駅八重洲口), with a few buses discharging at the Nihombashi Exit (東京駅日本橋口)
  • Shinjuku: Shinjuku Station New South Exit (新宿駅新南口)
  • Osaka: Osaka Station Sakura-bashi Exit (大阪駅桜橋口)

All buses that run from Tokyo to Osaka are double-decker buses and can be classified under the following three categories, in order of price:

  • Seishun (Youth) buses: While not exactly targeted at "youth", these are the budget-conscious buses on the route. Seats are narrow with four per row in a 2x2 configuration and limited recline.
  • Standard buses: These are the regular buses, which offer seats with increased width and footrests. They are arranged three per aisle in a 1x1x1 configuration. Blankets are provided on evening routes.
  • Premium buses: Recently introduced, these buses are the luxury members of the route. The seats are bigger, and the buses seat less people than the others. In addition to the extra room, there is also air filtration and a closed-circuit camera system. On the top floor, seats are equipped with FM radios and are arranged three per row in a 1x1x1 configuration. More expansive first floor seating (of which there is only four seats) incurs an additional surcharge... but you do get your own television. Blankets and toiletries are provided in all seats on evening routes.

The following services are available: (Current as of October, 2009)

Daytime buses from Tokyo

Seishun Bus
  • One departure on the Tomei from Tokyo Station (9:30AM) and Osaka Station (9:40AM) operates on Fri, weekends and holidays only. ¥4300 each way.
Standard Bus
  • Four daily departures on the Tomei from Tokyo Station (6:50AM, 8:30AM, 1:10PM, 2:10PM) and Osaka Station (6:10AM, 7:40AM, 8:40AM, 2:10PM). One bus picks up passengers at Shinjuku Station (7:30AM). On Fridays, weekends and holidays, there are additional departures from Tokyo (10:10AM, 12:10PM) and Osaka (10:10AM, 12:10PM). ¥6000 each way; ¥5000 if purchased 5 days in advance on most departures.
  • Two daily departures on the Chuo from Shinjuku Station (9:40AM, 11:40AM) and Osaka Station (9:20AM, 12:40PM). ¥6000 each way; ¥5000 if purchased 5 days in advance on most departures.
  • One daily departure from Yokohama Station at 8:55AM, with the return bus leaving Osaka Station at 10:50AM. ¥6000 each way; ¥5000 if purchased 5 days in advance on most departures.
Premium Bus
  • One daily departure on the Tomei from Tokyo Station and Osaka Station at 11:10 in each direction. First floor ¥7300 each way, second floor ¥6700 each way; ¥6030 if purchased 21 days in advance on select Monday-Thursday departures.

Nighttime buses from Tokyo

The nighttime bus service from Tokyo to Kansai is called Dream. This route name has several variants.

Seishun Bus
  • The Seishun Dream Osaka runs on the Tomei Expressway. Two daily departures from Tokyo Station (10PM, 11:50PM) and Osaka Station (10:20PM, 11PM). Buses to Osaka also leave from Shin-Kiba Station in Odaiba (9:10PM) and Ueno Station (11:10PM). On Fridays, weekdays and holidays, an additional departure from Tokyo (11:20PM) and Osaka (11:40PM). ¥5000 each way; ¥4500 if purchased 5 days in advance on most departures.
  • The Seishun Chuo Dream runs on the Chuo Expressway. One daily departure from Shinjuku Station (10:30PM) and Osaka Station (11:20PM). On Fridays, weekends and holidays, an additional departure from Shinjuku (11:30PM) and Osaka (11:50PM). ¥5000 each way; ¥4500 if purchased 5 days in advance on most departures.

The next two are for the budget-conscious, as they are the two least expensive journeys on the Tokyo-Osaka bus route.

  • The Super Youth Bus utilizes a single-level bus, compared to the other double-decker buses. An ordinary gaijin, however, might scoff at the fact that there is no toilet on board... although you do get four 15-minute chances to use a restroom at a service area. Nevertheless this particular bus service is quite popular with the Japanese because of its low cost. So for the brave (defined in this case as those whose bladders and sleep can hold up for the duration of the trip), there is a daily departure from Tokyo Station via the Tomei (9:40PM) and a daily departure from Shinjuku via the Chuo (9:30PM). Return services depart Osaka for Shinjuku (9:40PM) and Tokyo (10PM). ¥4300 each way if purchased on day of departure. If purchased one day in advance, ¥4000 for Friday, weekend and holiday departures, ¥3500 for all other days. Tickets must be purchased at a JR bus counter, not at a "Midori-no-Madoguchi" window.
  • The Seishun Eco-Dream is a regular, 2x2 double-decker bus with one major exception: the bus claims to be "environmentally friendly". There are reduced CO2 emissions, and interestingly, the seat cloths on the bus are made out of recycled PET bottles. There are two buses, both of which run on the Tomei. One bus leaves from Shin-Kiba Station (10:20PM) and Tokyo Station (11PM), and the other leaves from Shinjuku (9:50PM). Returns from Osaka depart for Shinjuku (10:40PM) and for Tokyo and Shin-Kiba (10:40PM). ¥4300 each way; for 5-day advance purchases, ¥4000 for Friday, weekend and holiday departures, ¥3500 for all other days. Tickets for buses to/from Tokyo Station must be purchased at a JR bus counter, not at a "Midori-no-Madoguchi" window.
Regular Bus
  • The Dream Osaka runs on the Tomei Expressway. Three daily departures from Tokyo Station (two buses at 10:10PM, one at 11:59PM) and Osaka Station (10:10PM, 11:20PM, 11:50PM). F-Su and holidays, two additional departures from Tokyo (10:50PM, 11:30PM) and Osaka (9:50PM, 10:30PM). The additional buses from Tokyo make stops at Shin-Kiba station in Odaiba (10:10PM), Ueno Station (11PM) and Shinagawa Station (11:15PM).
  • The Ladies Dream Osaka is a special bus for women only, running from Tokyo Station (11PM) and Shinjuku (11:40PM). The return bus leaves Osaka Station at 11:10PM.
  • The Chuo Dream Osaka runs on the Chuo Expressway. Two daily departures from Shinjuku Station (10:40PM, 11:40PM) and Osaka Station (10:20PM, 11:40PM). F-Su and holidays, an additional departure from Shinjuku (10:10PM) and Osaka (11PM).

For the above routes: ¥7300 each way for M-Th departures; ¥8610 each way for F-Su and holiday departures. ¥1000 discount on most departures if ticket is purchased 5 days in advance.

  • The Harbor Line Bus departs daily from Yokohama Station and Osaka Station at 10PM in each direction. F-Su and holidays, an additional departure from Yokohama (11PM) and Osaka (10:40PM). ¥7300 each way for M-Th departures; ¥8230 each way F-Su and holiday departures. ¥1000 discount on most departures if ticket is purchased 5 days in advance.
Premium Bus
  • The Premium Dream runs on the Tomei Expressway. One daily departure from Tokyo Station and Osaka Station at 11:30PM in each direction. F-Su and holidays, an additional departure from Tokyo (10:20PM) and Osaka (10:50PM). First floor ¥9910 each way, second floor ¥9310 each way; ¥8380 if purchased 21 days in advance on select M-Th departures.

Other bus operators

Another bus provider on the Tokyo-Osaka route is Willer Express [6], which is recognizable by its pink-colored buses. An advantage over the JR Buses is that Willer Express offers bus descriptions and booking services in English. However, many services from this company do not allow you to carry large luggage (e.g. suitcases) with you. It is best to confirm with the company whether or not there will be space for luggage before making your booking. In addition, some services do not offer on-board toilets.

Kintetsu (Japanese website) and Hankyu (Japanese website) also operate buses between Osaka and Tokyo, as well as other major cities throughout Japan.

Nighttime Bus from Yamaguchi Prefecture

Bocho bus offers a nighttime bus from the cities of Hagi, Yamaguchi, Hofu, Tokuyama, and Iwakuni to Kobe and Osaka. It currently costs between ¥6300 and ¥9480 for a one way ticket, depending on where you get on and where you get off. The bus departs Hagi Bus Center at 7:55PM nightly, and arrives at Osaka station at 7:15AM daily. The bus makes a return trip from Osaka station at 10:05PM nightly, and arrives at Hagi bus center at 9:25AM daily. Full details including round trip fares are on the (Japanese Website). It is a good deal if you have time to spare.

By boat

Osaka International Ferry Terminal [7] is located at Nankō (南港) in the Osaka Bay Area. There are no banks, post office, shops, or restaurants in the terminal. The nearest subway station is Cosmosquare Station (C11), which is about a 15 minute walk from the terminal. A free shuttle bus is available at the station. Taxis are also available at the station.

Getting to the Ferry Terminal

  • From Suminoe-koen Station:, (Take the New Tram to Nankōguchi (南港口)).  edit
  • From JR Shin-Osaka Station (ShinKansen Line):, (JR Shin-Osaka station →transfer to Subway Midosuji Line (Red Line) at Shin-Osaka station(M13) → Hommachi station (M18) → transfer to Subway Chuo Line (Green Line) → Cosmosquare station (C11)). Travel time: at least 40 minutes to Cosmosquare Station. ¥310.   edit
  • From Namba:, (Subway Midosuji Line (Red Line) at Namba station(M20) → Hommachi station (M18) → transfer to Subway Chuo Line (Green Line) → Cosmosquare station (C11)). Travel time: at least 30 minutes to Cosmosquare Station. ¥270.  edit
  • From Tennoji:, (Subway Midosuji Line (Red Line) at Tennoji station(M23) → Hommachi station (M18) → transfer to Subway Chuo Line (Green Line) → Cosmosquare station (C11)). Travel time: at least 40 minutes to Cosmosquare Station. ¥310.  edit
  • By Taxi:, (Instruct the taxi driver to take you to the Osaka Port International Ferry Terminal (Nanko), otherwise you may be taken to the domestic ferry terminal.).  edit
  • By Car:, (From Hanshin Expressway Tenpozan exit to Port of Osaka and after passing through Osakako-Sakishima Tunnel, turn left at the first crossing, and follow the road. You will arrive at Osaka Port International Ferry Terminal.). Toll road, ¥200/car.  edit

Osaka-Busan

The PanStar Line [8] operates a ferry between Osaka and Busan. The ferry leaves daily (only Su, T-W, in Jan 2009 from Busan) at 3:10PM from both Osaka and Busan and arrives the following day at 10AM. In Busan, the luggage check-in time is prior to the passenger check-in time: for the Busan-Osaka run, luggage check in is 12:40PM-2PM and the passenger check in time is 2:15PM-2:45PM; for the Osaka-Busan run, luggage check in is 1PM-2PM and the passenger check in time is 1PM-2:30PM. Many different room options are available, including family rooms. Fares start at ₩125,000/¥17,000 and range through seven different room/suite classes culminating in a Presidential Suite, which is ₩2,000,000/¥250,000 per night. Tickets can be purchased online, but much of the website content is only available in Japanese and Korean, and may be difficult to navigate for English speakers. Tickets are easily obtainable through agents specializing in Korean or Japanese travel.

The ferry holds live musical performances, magic shows, and other entertainment on the run. Schedule varies.

You can take your car on the ferry, but there are documentation requirements, and you should check the website [9] for information. The cost for a single basic room and a car is ₩690,000. Room upgrades are available. Temporary insurance must be purchased at the port upon arrival in Osaka.

Osaka-Shanghai

Shanghai (China) twice weekly.

The glass and concrete skyscraper expanse of Nishi-Umeda (West-Umeda) in Kita Ward.
The glass and concrete skyscraper expanse of Nishi-Umeda (West-Umeda) in Kita Ward.

Kansai Travel Pass: Exploring Osaka & Kansai Region:

If you are planning to travel beyond city limits you might consider using the tickets from Surutto Kansai. For use in Osaka and other cities in the west of Japan, there are some other useful tickets:

  • A rechargeable smart card, ICOCA, can be used on rail, subway and bus networks in Kansai area, Okayama, Hiroshima, Nagoya (Kintetsu) and Tokyo (JR East). These cards are available at vending machines at these rail stations, and cost ¥2000, which includes a ¥500 deposit that will be refunded when the card is returned at JR West Station.
  • One of the best value for money pass is the 5 day consecutive unlimited Kintetsu Rail Pass valued at ¥3500 [10] for travel within the Kansai region. Holders of this rail pass can get on & off any number of times within the 5 day consecutive period. The holder of this pass can decide on the start date to be activated. This is good for exploring the Kansai or Kinki region covering Kyoto, Nara Prefecture, Nagoya, Mie Prefecture. Tourists spots like Kyoto [11], Yoshino [12] in Nara Prefecture, Akame Shiju-hattaki Falls [13] & Ise-Jingu Shrine in Mie Prefecture [14], Mount Kongozan [15] in Osaka Prefecture are some of the destinations covered by this pass. The more expensive Kintetsu Rail Pass Wide [16] is valued at ¥6800. It is also valid for consecutive 5 days with only marginal value added services like the inclusive round trip access from Kansai Airport to Osaka's Uehommachi station and back to airport plus unlimited rides on Mie Kotsu buses in the Ise-Shima area and some discount vouchers. A comparison chart between the cheaper Kintetsu Rail Pass & the Kintestsu Rail Pass Wide is here [17]. Full list of Kintetsu rail map and sightseeing areas is available here [18]. The pass is available for purchase at Kansai International Airport at the arrival lobby from Kansai Airport Agency Travel Desk to be paid in cash only [19], access map of Kansai Airport Agency Travel Desk is here [20]. It is also available for purchase overseas.
  • The Osaka Unlimited Pass comes in two versions. The one-day pass (¥2000) offers unlimited use of trains and buses in Osaka City and neighboring areas, as well as free admission to 24 popular sightseeing facilities as well as discounts at some more locations. The two-day version sets you off only ¥2700 but is restricted to subway and city bus lines. Both versions come with a handy little booklet with route suggestions, coupons and lots of information about all the sites. If you are planning to visit some of the more expensive sites included for free in the pass such as the Floating Observatory in Umeda which alone carries a price tag of ¥700, this ticket can actually pay off quite well. If you just want to get around Osaka a regular one-day pass for ¥850 might be better. It helps to plan beforehand where you want to go and see if you can actually save money or not. Don't underestimate the time it takes to get from one site to the next. For a couple of hundred yen more you can get an extended version of this pass which includes the train trip to Osaka and back from all the cities around.
  • The regular Osaka one-day pass (¥850/Children ¥430) lets you travel on all subways, buses and the New Tram and also gives you some discounts here and there.
  • A Multiple Ride Card is a stored-value card which lets you use the subway, buses and the New Tram without the hassle of buying separate tickets every time. For ¥3000 you get a card worth ¥3300.
Osaka Subway Map
Osaka Subway Map

The Osaka Subway here is Japan's second-most extensive subway network after Tokyo, which makes the underground the natural way to get around. The Midosuji Line is Osaka's main artery, linking up the massive train stations and shopping complexes of Shin-Osaka, Umeda, Shinsaibashi, Namba and Tennoji.

The signage, ticketing and operation of the Osaka subway is identical to its larger counterpart in Tokyo. Fares ¥200-350, depending on distance.

By train

True to its name, the JR Osaka Loop Line (環状線 Kanjō-sen) runs in a loop around Osaka. It's not quite as convenient or heavily-used as Tokyo's Yamanote Line, but it stops in Umeda and Tennoji, and by Osaka Castle. Namba and Universal Studios Japan are connected to the Loop Line by short spurs. Fares ¥120-250, depending on distance.

Umeda Sky Building in Shin-Umeda City, Kita.
Umeda Sky Building in Shin-Umeda City, Kita.
  • Osaka Castle (大阪城 Osaka-jō) [21]. Osaka's best known sight, although it's a concrete reconstruction that pales in comparison with, say, Himeji. Think of it as a museum built in the shape of a castle, rather than as an actual historical castle. Still, it's pretty enough from the outside, especially in the cherry blossom season when Osakans flock to the castle park to picnic and make merry. 9AM-5PM daily, adult admission ¥600 (Children up to middle school free). Closed at the end and beginning of the year. The park can be accessed on a number of lines, but the castle is closest to Osaka-jō Koen station on the JR Osaka Loop Line. Naniwa Palace Site Park or Naniwanomiya can also be found south to Osaka Castle Park (although it's one of Japan's oldest habitats and palace sites, today it's little more than an empty grass field where the outlines of Naniwa's palace foundations from around 643 AD have been partly recreated in concrete). Admission fee is only required to enter the actual castle, and entry to the castle park and surrounds is free.
  • Osaka Museum of History [22] 1-32 Otemae 4-Chome Chuo-ku M-Th 9:30AM-5PM (F 9:30AM-8PM) (Closed Tu but on W instead if Tu is a holiday) (5min walk from subway Tanimachi 4-chome Station but also accessible via Osaka Castle or from JR Osaka-jō Station) An ideal place to learn all-abouts of Osaka's history. Enjoyable view over Osaka Castle and the OBP skyscrapers. Admission: ¥600
  • Osaka Science Museum (大阪市立科学館) [23]. (walk from subway Higobashi Station or Yodoya-bashi Station, 500 m and 900 m to the west respectively) Closed M and days after holidays if not weekend. Big interactive activity center on several floors. Great for kids. Planetarium and cinema (with science films) downstairs. ¥600/300.
  • Umeda Sky Building (梅田スカイビル)[24]. 1-1-20 Oyodonaka, Kita-ku (10 min on foot from JR Osaka or Hankyu Umeda), Built in an attempt to upgrade Osaka's somewhat downbeat Kita district, the project wasn't quite the hoped-for commercial success but this bizarrely shaped 40-story, 173-meter building is still a city landmark. Take the escalator through midair to the rooftop observatory for an open-air view of Osaka, which is particularly impressive on a clear night. Observatory admission ¥700, 10AM-10:30PM daily (entry until 10PM, varies by season). The basement features a recreation of a Meiji-era street, with a few small restaurants and bars in appropriate style.
  • Sumiyoshi Shrine (住吉大社) is one of Japan's oldest Shinto shrines, with a history stretching back 1800 years. Its traditional architecture is unusual amongst Japan's shrines, and its park-like surroundings with the sacred bridge arching over a tranquil pond make it a restful break from the busy environment of Osaka. Free. Access is from the Nankai line station of the same name; local trains run from Namba station in central Osaka.
  • Shitennōji Temple (四天王寺), 1-1-18 Shitennōji Tennōji-ku (5 min walk from Shitennōji-mae-Yuhiga-oka Station on subway, or 15 min by walk to north from Tennōji Station), originally built by Emperor Suiko in 593 AD. Although the current buildings are mostly post WWII reconstructions, the temple is a rare sample which conveys the continental style (notably the positioning of the individual buildings inside the complex) of 6th - 7th century to present.
  • Japan Mint (造幣局) 1-1-79, Temma Kita-ku (15 min by walk from subway Temmabashi Station), [25]. It's not widely known even by people from elsewhere in the country that Japan Mint is actually headquartered in Osaka. For Osakans, Sakura-no-tōrinuke (桜の通り抜け, cherry blossom tunnel road) is a synonym for this facility, attracting a large number of visitors (close to 1 million in just 7 days) during a limited, planned week of mid-Apr. A must-see if you are fond of nature and happen to drop into Osaka in season. Admission free. Check for official announcement beforehand.
Tsūtenkaku
Tsūtenkaku
  • Tsūtenkaku (通天閣). While the original tower was built early 20th century, the current "newer" version is designed by the same Prof. Naitō, who also designed Tokyo Tower. This landmark built in the middle of Shinsekai (新世界) area is a symbol of reconstruction of the City of Osaka post WWII.
  • Open Air Museum of Old Farmhouses, Ryokuchi-koen, Ryokuchi station on the Midosuji subway line. Ryokuchi park itself is lovely, but one area is a museum of a dozen old Edo period farmhouses, moved across country and lovingly reconstructed. Also on display are tools, furniture, and the like. You can go to Himeji-jo or the old palace in Kyoto and see how the rulers lived; but come down here to see how the people lived. Thanks to the efforts of a volunteer from Australia, they have a great new English-language brochure to guide you. Admission ¥500.
  • Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen Museum (インスタントラーメン発明記念館 Instant Ramen Hatsumei Kinenkan), 8-25 Masumi-cho, Ikeda-shi (20 min on Hankyu Takarazuka Line from Umeda to Ikeda Stn, then 5 min on foot), +81-72-752-3484, [26]. Wed-Mon 9:30AM–4 PM. A museum dedicated to the man who invented the daily staple of college students everywhere. The exhibits are of limited interest if you don't read Japanese, but they offer two interesting hands-on experiences. The "Chicken Ramen Workshop" (¥500, 90 min, reservations required) lets you make your own instant noodles from scratch, starting from kneading the dough and finishing by decorating the package. "My Cup Noodle Factory" (¥300, no reservations) lets you select your own Cup Noodle flavor, which is then manufactured for you, complete with your own hand-drawn cup design. Free.  edit
  • Kamigata Ukiyoe Museum, 066-211-0393, [27]. 11AM-6PM. Closed M. A rather small museum in Nanba dedicated to ukiyoe, Japanese woodblock prints. The interior of the museum looks a bit like an adobe house. It may be most interesting to someone already familiar with the art, as the information inside mostly Japanese only. Entrance fee: ¥500.  edit
  • Peace Osaka, 066-947-7208, [28]. 9:30AM-5PM. Closed M. A museum dedicated to the promotion of peace through displays of war. Because it is an Osaka museum, it features the affects of the bombings on Osaka in WWII. While this is of some interest, the exhibitions depicting the atrocities committed by Japan against China, Korea, and Southeast Asia are what make this museum truly worthwhile. There is also an exhibit with displays relating to the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Exhibits have English explanations.  edit
Skyline of downtown Umeda, City-Centre Osaka
Skyline of downtown Umeda, City-Centre Osaka
  • IMAX Osaka is home to a large IMAX movie screen located in the Suntory Museum (next to Kaiyukan). English headphones are available for no extra cost. If you plan on going to Kaiyukan aquarium and IMAX, you can purchase a discount ticket for both at either ticket office.
  • Kaiyukan (Osakako, Chuo Line) [29] is one of the world's largest aquariums, with 11,000 tons of water and plenty of sharks (including a whale shark), dolphins, otters, seals, and other creatures of the sea. The largest tank, representing the Pacific Ocean with 5,400 tons is nothing but overwhelming. On the weekend, musicians and street performers offer additional entertainment to people outside the aquarium. ¥2000 (¥900 children).
  • Tenpozan Ferris Wheel, next to Kaiyukan at Tempozan (天保山) area. There is also the Suntory museum, a mall and a port for sightseeing boats. Open 10am to 10pm. Admission ¥700, children up to 3 free of charge. The mall has a wide variety of shops that cater to fashionistas, otaku, tourists or dog lovers, variably. The mall itself doubles as a kind of amusement park, along with the Ferris wheel, and the best deal is to catch the ferry from there to Universal Studios across the water.
  • Sumo Spring Grand Tournament (大相撲春場所), Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium (approx. 10 min walk from subway Namba Station) [30]. The Osaka Tournament of Japan's national sport, sumo wrestling, is usually held mid-March annually at Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium. Check for schedules and ticket availabilities at the official Nihon Sumo Kyokai homepage. Ticket prices range from ¥3000 to ¥14,300.
Universal Studios Japan
Universal Studios Japan
  • Universal Studios Japan, at Universal-City Station (JR Yumesaki Line, 10 min from Osaka), [31]. Japan's second-largest theme park. One-day tickets for adults/children ¥5800/3900. Expect much Japanese dubbing over your favorite characters and movies. (If you are coming here on a side trip from Tokyo Disney Resort, see that article's Get out section for information on how to get here and return to Tokyo that same day.)
  • Umeda Joypolis Sega, next to Umeda (Osaka) station, occupying 8th and 9th floors of the Hep Five building with arcades and a Ferris wheel at the top. 11AM-11PM; ¥500-¥600 attractions. Local laws prohibit kids being here after dark even in the company of their parents, so if you want to take the kids along, plan on going early. The HEP5 Ferris is okay though.
  • Spa World Just near Tsutenkaku Tower in Shinsakai. Gender-separated European and Asian themed spas and saunas as well as a pool for the family with slides and fun (don't forget your swimming trunks). Open 24hrs so handy if stuck for accommodation or locked out of your hotel after a night on the town, just pay up, change into their cotton overalls and pass out on one of their comfy leather recliners with as many blankets as you like. Can try the outdoor onsen (try not to get burnt in the sun) or watch their huge TV in their bar with a cold beer. Gym also available to you as part of the entry free. Regular prices are ¥2400 for 3 hours, ¥2700 for all day [32]. Extra charge ¥1000 for stays midnight-5AM. Watch out for the special ¥1000 deals offered from time to time, often in Mar. Well worth spending an afternoon chilling out here. It is important to note that individuals with tattoos, permanent or temporary, are barred from using the facilities.
  • National Bunraku Theater, Nippombashi, [33]. One of the last places in the world where bunraku, a form of intricate puppet theater from the Edo period, can be seen live. The large puppets, which require three operators each, are accompanied by traditional music and narration, and act out great Japanese plays of the 1600s and 1700s. Transcripts in Japanese and synopses in English are provided.
  • Osaka Siki musical theater, Umeda,in the Herbis ENT. Home of the Shiki Theatre Company.
  • The Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen museum, Ikeda, [34] approx. 30 minutes from Umeda on the Hankyu line. There are signs in Katakana pointing the way from the south exit. A homage to the universal Cup Noodle, with more flavors than could fill supermarket aisle. It features among other things, a statue of Momofuku Ando, the creator, standing atop a giant Cup Noodle holding an instant ramen packet aloft. Open until 4PM, admission free.
  • The festival hall in Nakanoshima, near Umeda, and the symphony hall in Umeda host modern and classical recitals, while Umeda Koma in Umeda, and Shin-Kabukiza in Namba host Enka performances. For more independent or underground music, try Banana Hall in Umeda or Big Cat in Amerika-mura.
  • Zepp Osaka (POP clubs) , Nanko (Nanko_Kita 1-18-31,Suminoe_ku, near Cosmo-squair station. ).
  • Blue Note (Jazz clubs) [35] Umeda.The branch of Blue Note in N.Y..
  • The City Country Club, Hyatt Regency Osaka Hotel, 1-13-11 Nanko-Kita, Suminoe-Ku, +81 6 6612 1234 (), [36].  edit
  • Osaka Outdoor Club, [37]. A non-profit site about ongoing local events and interesting places to go. Periodically updated by Osaka outdoor activists.  edit

Work

The occupation of most resident Americans, Europeans and Australians is teaching English (as is the case in most of Japan). In recent years, the economy in the Osaka region had been relatively stagnant compared to Tokyo's: although there are jobs in law, finance, accounting, engineering and other professional fields in Osaka, demand for foreign professionals tends to be higher in Tokyo (as is pay). Osaka does have several educational publishers that employ foreign workers, but these jobs require fluent Japanese language ability. Temporary work in a variety of industries is available.

  • Osaka's most famous shopping district is Shinsaibashi (心斎橋), which offers a mix of huge department stores, high-end Western designer stores, and independent boutiques ranging from very cheap to very expensive. Within Shinsaibashi, the Amerika-mura (アメリカ村, often shortened to "Amemura") or "American Village" area is particularly popular among young people, and is often said to be the source of most youth fashion trends in Japan. Near Amerika-mura,Horie (堀江) is shopping street of mainly Japanese brands shops. The many shops in Umeda are also popular among trendy locals, particularly in the Hep Five and Hep Navio buildings adjacent to Hankyu Umeda Station, although these shops tend to be too expensive to captivate most tourists' interest. In this area, new shopping buildings have been constructed recently. For example, the“E-ma” buildings next to Hanshin department store, and “Nu-Chayamachi” (Nu 茶屋町), opened in October 2005 near Hankyu Umeda station.
  • For electronics, the Nipponbashi (日本橋) area southeast of Namba, and particularly the "Den-Den Town" shopping street[38], was once regarded as the Akihabara of western Japan; nowadays, more people would rather shop at the new, enormous Yodobashi Camera (ヨドバシカメラ) in Umeda or BicCamera (ビックカメラ) and LABI1 in Namba, although Nippombashi still offers good deals on many gadgets, PC components and used/new industrial electronics.
  • For Japanese and foreign books, try Kinokuniya in Hankyu Umeda Station, or Junkudo south of Osaka Station.
    Tenjinbashi-suji
  • If you are a fan of shochu you can buy it in the Sho-chu Authority shop in Namba Parks. There are hundreds of varieties of shochu from all over Japan in crazy bottles. There usually is a selection of bottles to taste from (help yourself). Also sells shochu pottery and glass as well as traditional snacks.
  • The Official Hanshin Tigers (baseball team) Shop is located on 8th floor of Hanshin Department Store at Umeda.
  • Tenjinbashi-suji Shopping Street (天神橋筋商店街 Tenjinbashi-suji Shōtengai) is said to be the longest straight and covered shopping arcade in Japan at approx. 2.6km length. The arcade is running north-south along Tenjinbashi-suji street, and is accessible from multiple subway and/or JR stations, eg. Tenma, Minami-Morimachi, Tenjinbashi-suji 6-chome, etc. Nothing meant for sightseeing, the arcade is a live exhibition of Osaka's daily life, open since Edo period.

Okonomiyaki - The DIY Food

Okonomiyaki Osaka style is usually do-it-yourself food at smaller, independent specialized restaurants. Tables are equipped with embedded hot plates and you'll receive a bowl of ingredients, which you are expected to cook on your own. However, in larger franchised chains the staff can often cook for you — and even in smaller places staff will usually gladly help if asked.

Should you decide to try your luck on your own, you might want to dress for the occasion: pork slices, the most common topping, are usually very fatty and tend to splatter grease all over the place. Try Modernyaki which is an Okonomiyaki with Soba on top, or go fried egg on top of the pancake.

Even in a nation of obsessive gourmands Osaka is known as an excellent place to eat, exemplified by the Osakan maxim kuidaore, "eat yourself into ruin". The best place for trying out kuidaore is probably Dōtonbori (道頓堀) and neighboring Hōzenji-yokochō (法善寺横町) or Soemon-cho (宗右衛門町), the whole area containing nearly nothing but one restaurant after another.

Some typically Osakan foods worth trying include:

  • Battera (バッテラ), is a block type sushi, with mackerel put on rice and squeezed very hard in a wooden box, cut into pieces when served. Battera sushi is a variant and direct descendant of primitive sushi, this one from Osaka is unique for its squarelike shape. Available not only in sushi restaurants but also as take-away in department stores and train stations.
  • Okonomiyaki (お好み焼き), fried cabbage cakes that resemble a cross between a pancake, pizza, and omelette.
  • Takoyaki (たこ焼き), bits of octopus inside fried dumplings.
  • Kushikatsu (串かつ), skewers with various sorts of food (meat, vegetables, cheese, etc.) deep-fried in dough and served with a black sauce.

Okonomiyaki is best eaten in hole-in-the-wall restaurants, while takoyaki is best eaten from street vendors' carts, which can be found all over the major districts around nightfall. The best place to find kushiage is in Shinsekai, between Dobutsuen-mae and Ebisucho stations on the Sakaisuji subway line.

  • Saizeriya is a very cheap Italian eatery chain with many restaurants not only in Osaka, but all over the nation [39]. The food is simple but decent. Glass of wine ¥100. Typical meal ¥400. The cheaper dishes are actually better than the pricier ones.
  • Snack Park (スナックパーク), Hanshin department store (Umeda), B2 Floor [40]. Offers okonomiyaki, takoyaki and a few surprises like doteyaki (どて焼き) - stewed sinew of beef. It's open from 10 a.m to 8:30 p.m.
  • Tsuruhashi Fūgetsu (鶴橋風月), Hankyu Building 29F (next to Hankyu Umeda station), [41]. Good okonomiyaki as well yakisoba, with extra toppings (egg, cheese, etc.), all for a cheap price of ¥700-800, plus English menu and a nice view overlooking Umeda. Perfect!
  • Tako Tako King, north side of Dotonbori river and west of Midosuji. The best takoyaki in Osaka and the same goes for service too! A friendly staff that never take off their smiles, good prices, good food, good drinks, and a whole lot of fun, make this a great place to start off a night in the Shinsaibashi area. Look for the big red octopus wearing a crown.
  • Axum, Marusei Building 5F, [42]. For those expats living in Japan who are a little tired of Japanese food, you can check out the only Ethiopian restaurant in the Kansai region. Found in Shinsaibashi, this small restaurant offers personal service, African beer, and plenty of Injera. While the dishes are pricier than one might expect, the food is tasty and with a nice bit of spice compared to the average Japanese fare.
  • Aruna (アルナ) is a reasonably easy-to-find and vegetarian-friendly Indian restaurant in Umeda. From Hankyu Umeda station, exit as if you were going to go to the Hep 5 building (you can't miss it, due to the gigantic red Ferris wheel on top) but instead of going into Hep 5, go down the pedestrianised road on its left. Just after a small crossing is a bar "Side Trip", next to that is a food place with three dancing leeks as its logo, and next to that is Aruna. Set meals from ¥1554, curries from ¥1050, beers from ¥525. Mina, the proprietress, speaks excellent English. No vegetarian version of the ¥1554 curry set is listed on the menu, but they are happy to make it for you if you ask.
  • Winnipeg Cafe (ウイニペグカフェ)is a standard kissaten coffee and snack restaurant directly across from the north entrance to Sumiyoshi Shrine. The prices look a little steep but the portions, especially on the coffee and specialty drinks are larger than your standard Japanese kissaten. The cakes and sandwiches are fantastic and the view, looking at the Shrine park from your seat, can`t be beat. The tenchou is really friendly although, despite the name, there is no English ability or Canada connection. Daily 11:30AM-11PM (shorter evening hours on Su).
  • Harijyu (はり重) 1-9-17 Dōtonbori Chuō-ku, 06-6211-7777 11:30AM-9:30PM Closed on T except Dec [43] (partly English), Shabu-shabu or sukiyaki in Japanese tatami rooms. No reservations are taken except for large groups, so arrive early at nights (6PM or so) to be sure you get a room without waiting. Expensive, but not astronomical thanks to their direct involvement in butcher's. (Butcher's on ground floor, take-out obentō boxes are available.) ¥6300+ Credit cards accepted.
  • Kani Dōraku (かに道楽), 1-6-18 Dōtonbori Chuō-ku, [44]. Now a nationwide chain, but this is the original. Easily identifiable by the giant mechanical crab waving its pincers about, and as you might guess, the speciality here is crab. Good but moderately expensive, figure on ¥4000-5000 per person for a set meal.
  • Mimyu (美々卯) 4-6-18 Hirano-machi 06-6231-5770 11:30AM-10PM Closed Su. This inventor of udonsuki has turned the otherwise popular and affordable udon into a luxury hotpot (nabe) dish, served in its corporate secret soup. Shabu-shabu available, too. ¥5800+ for dinner.
  • Bar Kama Sutra, (East Shinsaibashi 東心斎橋, a few meters from Cinque Cento on 5F of Jumbo Bldg), (). 9PM-morning daily. Small cozy karaoke bar is almost impossible to find but well worth the effort. Foreign and English-speaking Japanese staff, and over 130,000 songs to choose from. The owner, Richard, is a long term resident of Japan and is a wealth of information on what to do and see in the area, where to stay and even where to find work. (No "u" in e-mail address is correct, or: richosaka@gmail.com) No cover, ¥600 drinks.  edit
  • Common Style, 1-2-2 Nakazaki-nishi, Kita-ku, [45]. A cafe where foreigners can exchange information with Japanese about what interests them.  edit
  • Hub. This British pub, on Midosuji in Shinsaibashi, serves as a meeting place for many local expats as well as Japanese locals.  edit
  • Lupu, 1F, Kansai-Chuo Bldg, 15-2 Doyama-cho, +81 066-311-6700, [46]. A gay and lesbian bar owned by a lesbian couple. No cover.  edit
  • Physique Pride, 8-23 Sanyo-Kaikan 1-F Doyama-cho, +81 066-361-2430, [47]. One of Osaka's most popular gay and lesbian bars among foreigners.  edit
  • Try Amemura area - There you will find all kind of bars with different genre from hip-hop to reggae.
  • Cafe de Jumpin' Jumpin', 066-363-3367, [48]. 7PM-morning. One of Osaka's gay and lesbian bars. No Cover Charge.  edit
  • Clube Joule, 2-11-30 Nishi-shinsaibashi (next to Sankaku (Triangle) Park in America Mura), [49]. Packed with trance lovers.  edit
  • Club Heaven, Shinsaibashi (just down the street from Club Pure near the police station), +81 077-510-0321. Gets very crowded late when Club Pure and some other clubs are closing for the night. Very international crowd.  edit
  • Club Pure, Chuo-ku, Soemon-cho 2-3-12 Diamond Bldg B1F, +81 06-2536-6278 (), [50]. 10PM-5AM. Extremely crowded dance club. The crowd is around 25-30% international. Be sure to bring your passport, as the ID check here is atypically rigorous. The closest subway station is Namba Station, which is about 5-10 min walk. Cover ¥4000 men, ¥2500 women; includes unlimited drinks but don't lose your cup.  edit
  • Jack in the Box, 12-12 Doyama-cho, 066-361-3271, [51]. 9PM-5AM, Closed Th. A men only gay nightclub.  edit
  • Sam and Dave, [52]. Popular international dance club with a meat-market vibe. Three locations in Osaka:  edit
    • Sam and Dave Nagahori, 1-21-19 B1F, Shimanouchi, Chuo-ku, +81 06-6251-5333.
    • Sam and Dave Shinsaibashi, 1-3-29 4F Shinsaibashi, Chuo-ku, +81 06-6243-6848.
    • Sam and Dave Umeda, 4-15-19 1F Nishi-tenma, Kita-ku, +81 06 6365 1688.
Hello Kitty room, Hotel Adnis; a love hotel.
Hello Kitty room, Hotel Adnis; a love hotel.

Backpackers have recently begun to use budget hotels around the JR Shin-Imamiya (新今宮) and subway Midosuji Line Dōbutsuen-mae (動物園前) stations, located in the southern part of the city center. Room quality varies widely and prices vary from ¥800-3000+, but there are many options: see the Osaka International Guesthouse Area [53] for the full list of foreigner-friendly establishments. The area is rather poor and there are many homeless that wander about during the day, but generally they are harmless and safety is not an issue. One benefit of the district being so poor is that prices at the supermarkets and such are generally very low. However, as always use common sense when traveling in unfamiliar areas.

  • Guest House Koma, 2-3-12 Saiwai-cho Naniwa-ku Osaka, 06-6567-5000 (), [54]. Budget hostel one station away (walking distance) from the central Namba area. Staff are very knowledgeable and helpful, though the common area can get cold. Has female-only dorms. Dormitory ¥2500 per person, private rooms available.  edit
  • CarpeDiem Inn, [55]. Traditional-style house and garden within walking distance of the Shiroyama Temple. Dormitory ¥3500 per person, private rooms ¥10000 for 2 persons.  edit
  • Guest House U-en (由苑), 1-5-8 Uemachi, Chuo-ku, [56]. Walking distance of Osaka castle. The ground floor of this building was once a printing factory, and the upper level was a family home. Travelers will enjoy the traditional atmosphere at this rustic Japanese home. Just 5 min to Minami(Shinsaibashi)area. Dormitory ¥2300-2500, private rooms ¥5500-6500.  edit
  • Hotel Adnis, Tennoji 5-5-15 (5 min from Kintetsu Uehonmachi stn), +81 06-6761-0168, [57]. Love hotel with an S&M twist: check out rooms 303, done up like a commuter train, and 501, the infamous Hello Kitty bondage room. Overnight stay from ¥6,500 (depending on room).  edit
  • Hotel Chuo, 1-1-12 Taishi Nishinari-ku Osaka-shi; Hotel Chuo New Annex 1-1-11 Taishi, Nishinari-Ku, +81 06-6647-4891, [58]. Close to Shin Imamiya (JR Loop Line) and Dobutsuen-mae Stations. Western and Japanese style rooms available. Rooms are simple, but clean. Shared bathroom facilities. Fridges and TV in most rooms. Free tea and coffee in the mornings. No communal kitchen, but microwave and boiling water available in lobby. Free internet in room and lobby. No curfew. Annex is next door, featuring two showers on the ground floor, one for men and one for women. Credit cards are accepted. Wireless internet in rooms. Three internet connected computers in the lobby, along with connection points for laptops. Free tea and coffee in the mornings. No communal kitchen, but microwave and boiling water available in lobby. Free internet in room and lobby. No curfew. Singles ¥2600-¥3200, twins ¥5200-¥7000.  edit
  • Hotel Mikado, 1-2-11 Taishi Nishinari-ku, [59]. Internet, sauna. Single ¥2300, Twin ¥4600.  edit
  • Hotel Taiyo, 23-2-1 Taishi Nishinari-ku, [60]. In front of the Dobustuen-mae JR subway entrance. Free internet available in the lobby and nice rooms with a clean futon, TV, & fridge. Friendly staff at reception with minimal English and beer vending machine. Communal toilets and washroom with bath, sometimes can see Yakuza members in the washroom with their irizumi (tattoos)! Single ¥2100, twin ¥3100.  edit
  • Hotel Toyo, [61]. There are some poor Japanese who seem to use this place as a de facto apartment, though that is a testament to the low price and convenience of the hotel. Curfew of midnight, doors reopen at 3am. Individual room contains futon, fan/heater or AC, TV. There is a shower room on the first floor or you can use the public bath of the neighboring Hotel Taiyo for free. A free computer with Internet access is also available to Hotel Toyo guests, at the neighboring Hotel Taiyo. Single ¥1500, w/out AC, ¥1700 with AC. ¥1000 discount for 10+ days.  edit
  • J-Hoppers Osaka Central, (Post-code 553-0003) 4-22, Fukushima 7chome, Fukushima-ku (3 min walk from Fukushima Station on JR Loop line), +81 06-6453-6669, [62]. checkin: 3PM-10PM; checkout: 8AM-11AM. A lively backpackers hostel located in the central Osaka. Here could be an extensive travel links to everywhere and be a starting point for all sightseeing places not only Osaka but also Nara, Kobe, Wakayama. Three kinds of private rooms (twin, double and triple room). All staff members speak English and will help guests making travel plans. We also have a French and German speaking staff. Free wifi with your laptop or ¥100 per 30 min for hostel computers. Rental bikes (¥500 per day), with no curfew or lockout and held-luggage services. 8 or 6 bed dorm ¥2500, private rooms ¥3000 per person.  edit

If you are arriving by Shinkansen, there is a very clean, modern, and friendly Youth Hostel available relatively cheap about a block away from the east exit of the Shin-Osaka station. * Shin-Osaka Youth Hostel [63] ¥3300/person, dormitory style.

Capsule hotels

  • Asahiplaza Shinsaibashi, 2-12-22 Nishi-shinsaibashi, Chuo-ku (at Amerikamura), +81 06-6213-1991 (fax: +81 06-6212-0954), [64]. Sauna available, and there is a separate area for women. ¥2800 (or ¥3100 with dinner included).  edit
  • Capsule Inn Osaka, 9-5 Doyamamachi, Kita-ku (in the Higashi-Hankyu shopping arcade off Umeda station), +81 06-6314-2100 (fax: +81 06-6363-3014), [65]. This is Japan's first capsule hotel, designed by noted architect Kisho Kurokawa and opened in 1979. Still open for business, happy to accommodate male foreigners with some semblance of a clue and a steal of a price. No women allowed. ¥2700 for a night (or ¥3300 with entry to the spa).  edit
Asahiplaza Shinsaibashi Capsules
Asahiplaza Shinsaibashi Capsules
  • Daitoyo, 2-1-9 Nakazaki-Nishi, Kita-ku (Near Nakazaki-cho station, Tanimachi-Line subway). Near Umeda, with branches at Namba and Juso. It has a hot spring spa, sauna, and a floor for women. ¥3200.  edit

Business hotels

  • Business Hotel OK, 1-10-11 Juso-higashi Yodogawa-ku (3 min from Juso station, Hankyu line), +81 06-6305-5021. Single ¥4500.  edit
  • Esaka Central Hotel, 1-22-30 Esaka Suita-shi (2 min from Esaka station, Midosuji-line subway). Single ¥4500.  edit
  • Hotel 1-2-3 Tennoji, 2-3-14, Terada-cho, Tennoji-ku (Access is from JR Osaka Loop Line, Terada Sta. (North Exit) 3 min on foot), +81 6-6770-2345 (fax: +81 6-6770-2333). All rates inclusive of tax and free breakfast. Also has another Osaka branch called Hotel 1-2-3 Senba within walking distance to Shinsaibashi subway station at a higher rate. Single ¥5,145, twin ¥6195 per room.  edit

Budget apartments

  • Azu-Garden Nippombashi (アズガーデン日本橋), 1-6 Soemon-cho, Chuo-ku (Subway Exit #2 of Nippombashi Subway along the Sennichimae line, one stop from Namba station), +81 06-6212-1120 (fax: +81 06-6212-1160), [66]. Online reservation site in English here but you may or may not get a response. If no response, try an online booking agent. Single ¥4,200, double ¥9030, twin ¥9,030 per apartment. All rates inclusive of taxes.  edit
  • Kaneyoshi Ryokan (かねよし旅館), 3-12 Soemon-cho, Chuo-ku (Subway Exit #2 of Nippombashi Subway along the Sennichimae line, 1 stop from Namba station), +81 6-6211-6337 (fax: +81 6-6213-0843), [67]. This modern Ryokan is conveniently located in the heart of downtown. Comfortable Ryokan on the riverside of Dotombori and very close to the Osaka shopping quarter. English website has an online reservation system.  edit
  • Sunplaza Rinkai (サンプラザ臨海), 16-4-4 Toyosaki Kita-ku (Subway Exit 1 from Nakatsu Station (中津駅) on the Midosuji line, 1 stop from Umeda Station and 2 stops away from Shinosaka Station), +81 06-6377-9260 (fax: +81 06-6377-0650), [68]. Website is in Japanese. The English site can be obtained through an online booking agent if you Google its full name and if vacancies are available an immediate confirmation will be given. Twins beds available. Each apartment has in-suite shower and toilet, A/C, TV, and a kitchenette complete with fridge, stove and cooking utensils. ¥3500 per person per apartment inclusive of taxes, service charges and utilities.  edit
  • Weekly Green in Namba (ウィークリーグリーンINナンバ ようこそ), 2-7-23 Shikitsu-Nishi Naniwa-Ku (Subway Exit #2 of Daikokucho Station on the Midosuji line, one stop from Namba station), +81 6-6647-3719 (fax: +81 6-6647-5837), [69]. English website has an online reservation system. It claims to have English speaking staff on its website so you may attempt an online reservation. If no response, try an online booking agent. Each apartment equipped with in-suite shower and toilet, kitchenette, fridge, portable cooking stove, A/C, TV and telephone. Single ¥4200, twin ¥9450, triple ¥14490, quad ¥18900 per apartment. All rates inclusive of service charge & consumption tax.  edit
  • Yamatoya Honten (大和屋本店), 2-17-4 Shimanouchi, Chuo-ku, +81 6-6211-3587 (fax: +81 6-6212-1553), [70]. Is eyes and noses ahead to Dotombori, the place that represents Osaka, and near Shinsaibashi and Nihonbash. English website has an online reservation system [71]. Meals are Japanese style. ¥5775 per person per apartment inclusive of taxes, service charges and utilities.  edit
  • Chisun Hotel Shin-Osaka, 6-2-19 Nishi-Nakajima, Yodogawa-ku (10-min walk S from Shin-Osaka station - walk towards the Washington Plaza hotel and cross under the 423 highway), +81 06-6302-5571 (fax: +81 06-6305-0083), [72]. Small, clean rooms and a bit of a hike to the bullet train station, but unbeatable for the price. Some staff speak English. Some rates include buffet breakfast in the hotel's restaurant (¥1100 separately). Family Mart and Lawson convenience stores are a half-block away, while a 7-Eleven with international ATM access is located on the way from Shin-Osaka station. Web site lists singles starting from ¥8300, though cheaper rates might be found when searching for availability.  edit
  • Comfort Inn Shinsaibashi, 1-15, Higashi-Shinsaibashi, Chuo-ku (10-min walk from Shinsaibashi station on the Midosuji subway line), +81 6-6258-3111 (fax: +81 6-6258-3121), [73]. 2 blocks east of Shinsaibashi's central covered shopping arcade, this hotel is a little better than the average business hotel, with clean rooms, English-speaking staff, and a complimentary yet generous breakfast buffet. Singles start at ¥6500.  edit
  • Il Cuor, 1-15-15, Namba-Naka, Naniwa-ku (Less than 5 minutes walk from Namba or Kintetsu-Namba stations), +81 6-6647-1900 (, fax: +81 6-6647-1905), [74]. This is a slightly nicer business hotel with larger than average rooms. The hotel provides English language instructions for laundry machines and other hotel services. Breakfast an additional ¥ 1,000. Single ¥9,000 with a double bed for one or two guests.  edit
  • Park Hotel Rinkai, Nishi-ku, Utsubo Honmachi 1-19-16 (Near Honmachi Station, Exit 28 from the Yotsubashi line, walk E for 5 min), +81 06-6444-0809 (, fax: +81 06-6444-4199), [75]. checkin: 2PM; checkout: 10AM. A business hotel located in the center of the business district. Near Honmachi station offering access to 3 subway lines. Unfortunately, most of the staff can't speak English. ¥6000 single, ¥10,000 twin.  edit
  • Hilton Osaka, 1-8-8, Umeda, Kita-ku, +81 6-6347-7111 (fax: +81 6-6347-7001), [76]. checkin: 2PM; checkout: noon. Across the street from JR Osaka station.  edit
  • Hotel Nikko Osaka, 1-3-3, Nishi-Shinsaibashi, Chuo-ku, +81 6-6244-1111 (fax: +81 6-6245-2432), [77]. checkin: 3PM; checkout: noon. Huge Landmark Hotel smack in the middle of Shinsaibashi along tree lined Mido-suji Avenue. Rooms are comfortable and have amazing views at night as hotel is the tallest building in the immediate area. Attached to Shinsaibashi train station and close to Amerika-mura, shopping, and night-life.  edit
  • Hyatt Regency Osaka, 1-13-11 Nanko-Kita, Suminoe-Ku (in Osaka's new business district), +81 6-6612-1234 (), [78]. A hotel opposite the World Trade Center and one of the higher end hotels in the area. This hotel is an official hotel for the Universal Studios Japan and one of the most expensive hotels in the city. A bit far away from the city center with no direct subway line. Houses a chapel on its grounds too. Some airline crews use this one.  edit
  • Imperial Hotel, 8-50, Temmabashi 1-chome, Kita-ku, +81 6-6881-1111 (fax: +81 6-6881-4111), [79]. At riverside.  edit
  • Rihga Royal Hotel, 5-3-68, Nakanoshima, Kita-ku, [81]. Opened as the New Osaka Hotel in 1935, this landmark hotel proudly offers one of the best hotel services in town.  edit
  • Ritz-Carlton, 2-5-25 Umeda, Kita-ku (just down the street from the Sakurabashi exit of Osaka Station, behind the Central Post Office), +81 6-6343-7000 (, fax: +81 6-6343-7001), [82]. checkin: 3PM; checkout: 11AM. Japan's first. This particular outlet was voted the best hotel in Japan several times, and has become known as one of the city's swankiest dining and meeting points. Rates start around ¥30,000 a night and rise skyward from there.  edit
  • Swissôtel Nankai, 5-1-60, Namba,Chuo-ku, +81 6-6646-1111 (, fax: +81 6-6648-0331), [83]. Next to Namba train and bus stations.  edit
  • The Westin Osaka, 1-1-20 Oyodo Naka, Kita-ku, +81 6-6440-1111 (, fax: +81 6-6440-1100), [84]. Next to the Umeda Sky Building.  edit
  • Opti Café is a surprisingly cheap internet café in Umeda. ¥100/30min. Yodobashi Camera department store's groundfloor, next to Excelsior Café. You are requested to register for membership but it doesn't cost anything.
  • Y-net Cafe, Labi 1 Namba GF, Nambanaka 2-11-35, Naniwa-ku. First hour of use is free and no registration needed.
  • Australia, MID Tower Twin 21 29F, 2-1-61, Shiromi, Chuo-ku, 066-941-9271.  edit
  • China, 3-9-2, Utsubohommachi, Nishi-ku, 066-445-9481.  edit
  • France, Crystal Tower 10F, 1-2-27, Shiromi, Chuo-ku, 064-790-1500, [85].  edit
  • Germany, Umeda Sky Bldg. Tower East. 35F, 1-1-88-3501, Oyodonaka, Kita-ku, 066-440-5070, [86].  edit
  • Korea, Korean Center Bldg., 2-3-4, Nishi Shinsaibashi, Chuo-ku, 066-211-4092, [87].  edit
  • Netherlands, Twin 21 MID Tower 33F, 2-1-61, Shiromi, Chuo-ku, 066-944-7272, [88].  edit
  • Philippines, 101 Uchiawajicho Advan City, 2-3-7, Uchiawaji-cho, Chuo-ku, 066-910-8962, [89].  edit
  • Singapore, Osaka Kokusai Bldg. 14F, 2-3-13, Azuchi-machi, Chuo-ku, 066-262-2662, [90].  edit
  • Thailand, Konoike East Bldg. 4F, 3-6-9, Kitakyuhoji-machi, Chuo-ku, 066-243-5563, [91].  edit
  • United Kingdom, Seiko Osaka Bldg. 19F, 3-5-1, Bakuromachi, Chuo-ku, 066-281-1616, [92].  edit
  • United States, 2-11-5, Nishitemma, Kita-ku, 066-315-5900.  edit

In nearby Toyonaka, there is also a Russian Embassy:

  • Russia, 1-2-2, Nishimidorigaoka, Toyonaka City, 066-848-3451.  edit

Stay safe

Osaka has a dangerous reputation (by Japanese standards), but is still remarkably safe for a city of its size, and the overall level of crime is as low as in Tokyo or other Japanese cities. However, some areas, particularly Shinsekai and Tobita, may be a little dodgy at night and the Airin/Kamagasaki area — Japan's largest slum, home to a lot of jobless and/or homeless people — south of Shin-Imamiya is best avoided at most times, especially after dark.

Incidentally, despite the movie stereotype of gangsters speaking in Osakan dialect, the actual base of Japan's biggest yakuza families is neighboring Kobe — and the most gang violence occurs in Tokyo. Unless you're dealing drugs, you're unlikely to get involved with the local mafia.

  • Its location makes Osaka a perfect base for doing one-day trips to nearby cities like Kyoto (30 minutes), Kobe (20 minutes), Nara (40 minutes) or Himeji (1 hour). (Typical times shown on JR Trains available without extra express charges starting from Osaka Station.)
  • The Expo Park in Suita, the huge commemorial park of the Japan World Expo '70, with its interesting Japanese Garden and Museum of National Ethnology.
  • Hirakata - Home to the child-friendly Hirakata Park and Kansai Gaidai University.
  • Church of light (茨木春日丘教会 Ibaraki Kasuga-oka Kyoukai)(Ibaraki), one of the masterpiece architecture by Tadao Ando.
  • Minō Koen (Minō), a popular maple watching spot in autumn.
  • The temples and lush greenery of Mount Koya, 90 minutes away by train, are an entirely different world and the perfect getaway when all the concrete starts to get to you.
  • Akashi Kaikyo Bridge, the world's longest single-span suspension bridge is located near Kobe, about 40 minutes away by train.
Routes through Osaka
HiroshimaShin-Kōbe  W noframe E  → END → connects to Tōkaidō line
connects to Sanyō line ← END ←  W noframe E  KyotoNagoya
END  W noframe E  NaraNagoya
connects to Sanyo Main LineKobe  W noframe E  KyotoNagoya
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Wiktionary

Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

Contents

English

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Alternative spellings

Etymology

From Japanese 大阪 (おおさか, Ōsaka), large hill).

Proper noun

Singular
Osaka

Plural
-

Osaka

  1. a city in Honshū, Japan.
  2. a prefecture, Japan.

Translations


Simple English

Osaka (大阪) is the third largest city of Japan. It is in the Kansai region. It is the capital of Osaka prefecture and the economic and cultural center of the Kansai region. Osaka is located on the mouth of the River Yodo and on the Osaka Bay at the eastern end of the Seto Inland Sea. Since 1980 it had been the second largest city in Japan. Sometimes it is called by its historical name Naniwa.

Because it is located by the sea it is good for transportation. That is why an ancient emperor made Osaka the capital city. In the early part of the 8th century Naniwa was one of capitals of Japan. In the middle of the 16th century Toyotomi Hideyoshi founded Osaka castle and governed Japan in Osaka. The basis of development of Osaka was prepared in those times. Osaka castle was destroyed once by Tokugawa Ieyasu but Ieyasu choose Osaka as one of the political centers in the Western Japan. He made Osaka a direct dominion of the shogun. During the Edo period Osaka was a center of commerce, finance, pharmacy and other products. It was a center for literature and theater. Kabuki in Osaka is as famous as Kabuki in Edo and Kyoto. It is also known for bunraku (a traditional puppet theater) and manzai (a kind of stand-up comedy).

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The people of Osaka enjoy their food. Traditional dishes include okonomiyaki (pan-fried batter cake) and takoyaki (octopus dumplings). Many people speak a dialect called Osaka-Ben (e.g. "oukini"="thank you").

After the Meiji restoration Osaka was modernized and industrialized. It was a center of Japanese industry. After the World War II its economical importance was relatively less because Tokyo grew as an international city and many companies moved their headquarters to Tokyo. But Osaka is still a large, important city.

Entertainment

The most famous theme park in Osaka is UNIVERSAL STUDIOS JAPAN. It is called USJ. There are shows, popular characters and musicals. So, everyone can enjoy from adult to children.








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