Take some time out for food and fun in Osaka, the charming, playful and relaxed city just a short shinkansen bullet train ride from Tokyo. As soon as you set foot in Osaka, you’ll sense a completely different personality compared to the capital. It’s Japan’s third-largest city and a major economic hub, with a rich history as a trading city thanks to its port.
But Osaka is all about fun, with some history, culture and spirituality thrown in for good measure. The playground of Japan boasts the first Universal Studios built outside of the USA, Osaka Kaiyukan Aquarium, the Osaka Castle complex and a dazzling choice of seasonal festivals. These include the Tenjin Matsuri fireworks festival in summertime and the extravagant Kishiwada Danjiri float festival, backed by 300 years of tradition.
Along with these modern and family-friendly attractions, there’s also a spiritual side to Osaka. It’s home to one of the oldest temples in Japan, the Shitennoji Temple. This is a must-visit, along with the beautiful Gokuraku-jodo Garden nearby. And of course, there are those famous cherry blossom trees – which draw in the crowds when they bloom in springtime.
Love Japanese cuisine? Osaka is one of the best foodie spots in the country, so you’ll be spoilt for choice. In fact, the city’s unofficial motto is said to be kuidaore (‘eat until you drop’). Visit the famous food districts of Dotonbori, a lively night spot, Tenma and Ura Namba to sample delicious local delicacies such as takoyaki (battered octopus) and okonomiyaki (savoury pancakes with amazing toppings). If you’ve a sweet tooth, try Iwa Okoshi – candied puffs of millet similar to cereal bars.
Plan your trip to Osaka today.