Osaka is undoubtedly one of Japan’s jewels. Once the imperial capital of this country and at the same time a commercial center, Osaka was to be the “cuisine of the nation” during the Edo Period (1603 – 1868), when it was the main trading place for rice, creating the first modern worldwide exchange market.
The city was susceptible to being partially destroyed by the bombings during World War II, but was quickly reconstructed with beautiful architecture and attractive landscapes that we find in other Japanese cities like Tokyo or Kyoto. In 2018, Osaka had more than 11 million foreign tourists, making it the second most visited city in the country of the Rising Sun after the Japanese capital, Tokyo.
Here are some of the reasons why this city is so popular these days:
Gastronomy. Nicknamed Tenka no Daidokoro (the nation’s cuisine), it initially referred to the city’s status in the Edo Period as a hub for Japan’s rice trade. Nowadays, he refers to his reputation as a paradise for gourmets. At every street corner, Osaka hosts at least one restaurant or food stand with something delicious. Moreover, the city hosts over 90 Michelin-starred restaurants, providing its guests with an abundance of delightful culinary offerings.
Street food must also be tried, the best being in the area that stretches along the Dontori River. And okonomiyaki (a kind of pancake with meat, seafood or noodles) is probably the most famous dish you can find both in restaurants and on street food stands. Other popular culinary preparations include kitsune udon (noodle soup with tofu), hakozushi (sushi) and takoyaki (dough ball filled with octopus meat).
Shopping. Try not to spend too much if you first visit Tokyo or Kyoto, because Osaka is a true shopping enthusiast’s paradise. With much lower prices than in other major cities in Japan, you can find more souvenirs and local goods here than you could imagine! In addition, most stores have a “tax-exempt option” (8% reduction) for tourists, as long as they present their passport for purchases.
From electronics that you probably didn’t know existed in the futuristic area Denden (the city’s electronic hub), to vintage items in Amerikamura and luxury stores in Shinsaibashi, there’s something to buy for everyone visiting Osaka.
Sightseeing. As one of Japan’s metropolitan cities, Osaka is home to a host of tourist attractions. We recommend to visit, first and foremost, Osaka Castle. Located in the Chuo sector, the castle was built in the 16th century (Azuchi-Momoyama period), playing an essential role in the political unification of the country.
You can also see the Umeda Sky Building, which shows how Osaka presented itself at the beginning of the 20th century. This 173-meter-high building has 40 floors and has a rooftop observatory, known as a floating garden. Shitenno-ji Temple is another major tourist attraction of the city.
The list of sights continues with the Osaka Kaiyukan Aquarium (one of the largest aquariums in the world), the Tempozan Ferris Wheel, the Tsutenkaku Tower and the Kobe Harbor Tower, the National Museum of Art (Kokuritsu Kokusai Bijutsukan), Universal Studios Japan, etc.
April is the best time to visit Japan when cherry blossoms bloom. Dertour invites you to discover this wonderful country within a unique circuit, which includes Tokyo, Hakone, Kamakura, Yokohama, Hiroshima, Kyoto, Nara and, of course, Osaka.