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Osaka Travel Guide


Osaka Introduction


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Osaka, Japan, and the surrounding Kansai region are the country's spiritual heartland. The site of one of the earliest capitals of the country, Osaka remains a vital center for trade and entrepreneurial culture. Tokyo may have political and financial clout and Kyoto may be the repository of ancient tradition, but Osaka is the nation's honest heartbeat.  Click here to see the full Osaka travel guide on Travel42 »

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Osaka Geography


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Osaka (which translates as "big slope") is located on the western half of Japan's main island of Honshu. Despite its name, the city is flat, but low, rolling mountains surround the outer reaches and are visible from town. The Yodogawa River slices through the northern part of Osaka, splitting into smaller tributaries through the north central area of Yodoyabashi and near Osaka Castle. On the south side, the Yamatogawa River is a natural demarcation between Osaka and neighboring Sakai City.  Click here to see the full Osaka travel guide on Travel42 »

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Osaka History


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From the mid-seventh century, Naniwa, as Osaka was then known, served as the nation's capital. Its port welcomed visitors from China, Korea and other areas of Asia. The historical ruins of Naniwa-no-Miya Palace are testimony to its rich and honorable place in history. Because of its busy port, the city continued to flourish even after the capital shifted to Nara in 710 and then to Kyoto in 794. In 1583, Osaka Castle was constructed, and Hideyoshi Toyotomi ruled the nation from this base. A town grew around the castle as merchants moved from nearby Sakai and Fushimi, developing a vibrant commercial district. Osaka soon transformed into both an economic and political center.   Click here to see the full Osaka travel guide on Travel42 »

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Osaka Sightseeing & Things to Do


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Osaka is a relatively compact city, with the majority of attractions located within the central areas. For the best views of the city—and to get your bearings before heading out—visit the Floating Garden at the Umeda Sky Building, less than a 10-minute walk northwest from Osaka Station and popular at night for Japanese couples on dates, though its fame has waned since the 60-story Abeno Harukas opened as Japan's tallest skyscraper in 2014. Owned by Kintetsu, a department store and railway company, Abeno Harukas is located above Osaka-Abenobashi Station and contains an observatory on its top three floors, a hotel, an art gallery and Kintetsu Department Store on 16 floors. It's hoped that the redevelopment of the Abeno and Tennoji districts will serve as Osaka's new face.  Click here to see the full Osaka travel guide on Travel42 »

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Osaka Nightlife


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Osaka is more awake at night than by day. When the sun goes down, the neon lights turn on, and the rigid social niceties and ranks dissipate with the downing of a couple of drinks. Every night seems like the weekend in Osaka's busiest drinking haunts. The city has an energizing spirit.   Click here to see the full Osaka travel guide on Travel42 »

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Osaka Restaurants & Dining


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Compared with the hearty cooking style in Tokyo and the northeast of Japan, dishes in Osaka and the surrounding area tend to be lighter in color and taste (the term used is usukuchi). Although Japanese food uses far fewer spices than the cuisines in many neighboring Asian countries, that does not mean it is bland.   Click here to see the full Osaka travel guide on Travel42 »

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