As the second largest city in Japan, Osaka is often compared to the capital city Tokyo—both popular travelling destinations in Japan. Despite some similarities, Osaka possesses a unique urban atmosphere, and only by being there can you explore and experience the uniqueness of Kansai.
Osaka is diverse, and people from all walks of life can enjoy in many different ways. If you are visiting Osaka for the first time, you can enjoy fashion in the Umeda business district, visit Osaka Castle Park to see the variations of Shogunate, and have the best time in USJ Universal Studios!
On your second trip to Osaka, visit Abeno Harukas for stunning views of the city, relax in Minoh Hot Spring to lift your spirits, or spend a day wandering around Tsutenkaku and taking in the old town culture. All these scenic spots make up the exclusive charm of a dynamic and colorful Osaka.
Of course, as the second largest city in Japan, local delicacies and shopping are the mainstays of an Osaka tour. Almost all Japanese dishes can be found in Dotonbori, and there are numerous Japanese delicacies and special Kansai snacks to try. Shoppers can go to Umeda where one can find the three known department stores: Hankyu, Hanshin and Daimaru. You can also visit Shinsaibashi, where you can find cosmeceuticals and countless specialties and souvenirs. You can never stop shopping in Osaka!
The scenery in Osaka is worth exploring in the changing of seasons. In spring, Osaka Castle Nishinomaru Garden and Osaka Mint are some of the best choices for viewing sakura. In summer, Tenmangu and Yodogawa Riverside Park are bustling with summer festivities and fireworks. In autumn, Kyuanji and Osaka Expo’70 Commemorative Park are beautifully dressed in red leaves. In winter, Sumiyoshi taisha and Katsuouji are crowded with joyful people for hatsumoude—or the very first shrine visit of the New Year. Indeed, the beauty and fun that Osaka offers throughout the year is best enjoyed in person.
Osaka Castle Park, a leisure oasis in the bustling city
Osaka Castle Park is a renowned landmark and should be a tourist stop for all first-time visitors. Once you arrive at Osaka Castle Park, you will be bewildered by the plain and tranquil urban oasis covering 100 hectares in the middle of modernized downtown Osaka. You can explore Tenshukaku, one of the three well-known castles in Japan, as well as Nishinomaru Garden, a famous spot for viewing sakura due to its 600 sakura trees. You can also visit Plum Forest, which is home to approximately 1,270 plum trees of over a hundred varieties.
The sceneries change with the season—all of which are beautiful and enjoyable. During the sakura season in Nishinomaru Garden, both locals and tourists sit under sakura trees, drinking and chatting happily. Climb up to Tenshukaku for a panoramic view of Osaka, or stand beside the city moat and listen to the river murmuring, surrounded by fragrant flowers and singing birds. Drinking a glass of butter beer at Osaka USJ Universal Studios
For the young and the young at heart, Osaka USJ universal Studios should not be missed! Through it replicates famous scenes from well-loved films, USJ Universal Studies is sure to be even more exciting and suitable for adults. Without a doubt, the most popular area in USJ is the Harry Potter zone. Only when you have experienced the 4D movie of Harry Potter’s Forbidden Journey, played quidditch, and enjoyed a cup of butter beer can you truly say that you have experienced the magical world that Universal Studios offers.
Foodies’ trip to Osaka, a tour of World’s No.1 Kitchen
Food is the soul of any Osaka tour. Locals usually refer to Osaka as the World’s No.1 Kitchen. You must treat yourself to all kinds of dishes once you are there! Dotonbori is a one-stop shop for Osaka delicacies. It offers Japanese dishes such as the famous Douraku crab, globefish, Kansai style Okonomi-yaki, and octopus balls. If you are more interested in exploring the origin of Japanese dishes and special ingredients, then make Kuromon market your destination! As the largest port for seafood distribution, the market 600 meters long gathers over 170 stores selling the freshest food ingredients. It is a wonderful place to experience daily Osaka life and enjoy the food the city is known for.
One-stop shopping destination from city center to Rinku Premium Outlets
As a world class metropolis, Osaka is also famous for shopping. The constantly crowded Shinsaibashi is the perfect place for purchasing Japanese cosmeceuticals. With Shinsaibashi-suji as its center, the roofed street reaches Nagaholidooli in the north and Dotonbori in the south. It is a one-stop destination for shopping and eating. The massive business area of Umeda houses three large department stores, and is also home to the largest underground commercial street, the HEP Five sky wheel, and Grand Front Osaka—the latest landmark. Here’s a tip: You can enjoy more discounts after tax refund by using department store coupons!
If time permits, spend one day at the Rinku Premium Outlets near Kansai Airport. Here you can find discount stores of many famous foreign and local Japanese brands, as well as international luxury brands. Hefty discounts are sure to make this trip worthwhile.
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Article by Angel Natalia
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