At the heart of Japan’s Kansai region, on the island of Honshu, lies Osaka, the second-largest city in the country after Tokyo. An immense metropolis known for its thriving port and importance as a center for trade and commerce, a holiday to Osaka opens up a world of culture and an uncensored taste of Japanese life. Famed for its gastronomic prowess, Osaka is a mecca for foodies; it packs a punch when it comes to its exciting food scene and trend-setting restaurants. If you’re unsure what to do in Osaka, then eating your way around the city is a good place to start.
Historically the ‘nations kitchen’, Osaka was once the center of rice distribution in Japan, an important measure of wealth, and ever since, the city has expanded into a fast-paced urban sprawl of unlimited opportunities. Although much of the remnants of the past have fallen in favor of modernity, it is the atmosphere of the place, enthusiastic and lively, which charms visitors who choose a tour of Osaka. You can expect gravity-defying skyscrapers, neon lights aplenty and a plethora of entertainment, shopping and leisure activities. The neighborhood of Dotonbori is foodie heaven, whilst Kitashinchi is the nightlife hub, with enough bars, nightclubs and karaoke bars to keep any visitor partying until the early hours!
If you are wondering what to see in Osaka, a tour is a great way to get an overview of the main sights and attractions of the city. One of the most emblematic and photographed buildings in the city is Osaka Castle, an amazing reconstruction of the original 16th-century castle which once stood on the same spot. With an amazing moat, guarding the majestic white castle, and lush gardens surrounding the site, it’s the perfect place to spend a sunny afternoon.
If you are lucky enough to take a trip to Osaka during the springtime, you’ll find the gardens awash with cherry blossom trees and cheerful locals enjoying the fleeting beauty of the sakura. Another of the last remaining historic sights to see on an Osaka tour is the ornate Shitennoji Buddhist Temple, dating back to the 6th-century and a tranquil retreat from the bustling city center. When it comes to architecture, Osaka’s Umeda Sky Building is an icon of the city. Comprised of two 40-story towers, these awe-inspiring modern structures are connected by giant bridges and make a great backdrop for one-of-a-kind photo opportunities.
Lovers of culture should head to the Kuronmon Ichiba Market, where Japanese gastronomy and culture combine, whilst nature lovers can find wildlife amidst the city sprawl in the Osaka Aquarium, one of the largest in the world and a great rainy-day activity. Of course, you cannot forget the Universal Studios Japan theme-park, the much loved movie-themed attraction with a Japanese twist. There is so much to do in Osaka, you’ll be spoilt for choice!