Ōsaka (大阪) is the third largest city in Japan, with a population of over 17 million people in its greater metropolitan area. It is the central metropolis of the Kansai region and the largest of the Osaka-Kobe-Kyoto trio.
If Tokyo is Japan’s capital, one might call Osaka its anti-capital. Whatever you call it, though, there are many opportunities for you to discover its true character.
Veiled much with a commercial-centric city touch, you may as well start from picking up the lively intonation of Osaka dialect, heard from the people as you ride on the escalators standing on the right, instead of the left in Tokyo; then discovering the contrast of popular food to eastern Japan, as you look for places to lunch. The deeper you get inside, and at the end of your stay, it is not completely impossible that you may have compiled your own original list of reasons covering from history, culture, sports, to business. …WikiTravel
Osaka Castle (大阪城 Osaka-jō), (The park can be accessed on a number of lines, but the castle is closest to Osaka-jō Koen station on the JR Osaka Loop Line.), . 09:00-17:00 daily, closed around New Year’s. Osaka’s best known sight, although it’s a concrete reconstruction that pales in comparison with, say, Himeji. Think of it as a museum built in the shape of a castle, rather than as an actual historical castle. Still, it’s pretty enough from the outside, especially in the cherry blossom season when Osakans flock to the castle park to picnic and make merry. Naniwa Palace Site Park or Naniwanomiya can also be found south to Osaka Castle Park (although it’s one of Japan’s oldest habitats and palace sites, today it’s little more than an empty grass field where the outlines of Naniwa’s palace foundations from around 643 AD have been partly recreated in concrete). The grounds are free, and the castle costs adults Y600, children free.
Universal Studios Japan, (At Universal-City Station on the JR Yumesaki Line, 10 minutes from Osaka.), . Japan’s second-largest theme park. Expect much Japanese dubbing over your favorite characters and movies. (If you are coming here on a side trip from Tokyo Disney Resort, see that article’s Get out section for information on how to get here and return to Tokyo that same day.) One-day ticket for adults Y6200, children Y4100.
Umeda Sky Building (梅田スカイビル), 1-1-20 Oyodonaka, Kita-ku (10-min walk from JR Osaka or Hankyu Umeda), . Built in an attempt to upgrade Osaka’s somewhat downbeat Kita district, the project wasn’t quite the hoped-for commercial success but this bizarrely shaped 40-story, 173-meter building is still a city landmark. Take the escalator through midair to the rooftop observatory for an open-air view of Osaka, which is particularly impressive on a clear night. There is a lover’s seat, where if you hold your partner’s hand, and each hold a metal button on the seat, the ground around you lights up into a heart. You can purchase an engraved heart lock (Y1000) and attached it to the padlock wall around the seat (padlocks only available after 7pm). Observatory admission Y700, 10AM-10:30PM daily. The basement features a recreation of a Meiji-era street, with a few small restaurants and bars in appropriate style. There is also a small store downstairs where you can purchase quality mochi on the cheap.…WikiTravel
Kyoto, one of the most popular tourist destinations in Japan, is aiming to attract travelers to lesser-known spots to ease “overtourism” that has increased complaints among visitors and local people. (Japan Today)
The transport ministry will prohibit passengers of all trains in Japan from carrying unpacked knives onto trains from next April under new security measures following a fatal stabbing on a shinkansen bullet train in June, officials said Tuesday. (Japan Today)
Osaka Prefectural Police have sent papers to prosecutors on a man who allegedly drove a vehicle at 220 kilometers over the speed limit on a road in Higashiosaka City earlier this year, reports NHK (Nov. 5). (tokyoreporter.com)
Japan’s government-affiliated financial institution says the 4 major natural disasters that hit the country this year are expected to have a negative impact on the country’s economy of more than 10 billion dollars.
On Monday morning, the Nozomi 114 bullet train was making its regularly scheduled run from Hiroshima to Tokyo. Its route along the Sanyo/Tokkaido Shinkansen line provides views of some of Japan’s largest cities and, if the weather is clear, even Mt. Fuji, but one passenger spotted something much more startling. (soranews24.com)
The head of a school that teaches the art of picking up women and a former student have been arrested on suspicion of rape, the fourth such case to emerge since an investigation began earlier this year, reports the Sankei Shimbun (tokyoreporter.com)
Scandal-hit KYB Corp. on Friday disclosed the names of 70 government and municipal office buildings that used, or are suspected of having used, substandard earthquake shock absorbers in their construction. (Japan Times)
Japan is known for its ever-growing list of unique KitKat flavors, but now Nestle Japan Ltd. is taking its premium version of the chocolate bar to the next level — a new specialty shop in downtown Osaka offering customers made-to-order creations that are chilled at the spot by liquid nitrogen. (Kyodo)
The landmark Tokyo Skytree tower, facilities for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games and more government offices are among the nearly 1,000 buildings using earthquake shock absorbers produced by KYB Corp, which admitted cheating quality inspection data for more than a decade, officials said Wednesday. (Japan Today)
Police in Sakai, Osaka, plan to charge a 44-year-old woman, already under arrest for killing her 40-year-old brother by making it look like he committed suicide by carbon monoxide poisoning, with the murder of her father by withholding his insulin.
The government will announce an ambitious plan aimed at cutting disposable plastic waste by 25 percent over the next decade while promoting environmentally friendly bioplastics made from plants, sources said Saturday.
Kyoto has topped a ranking of major Japanese cities as measured by criteria such as livability and economy, according to a survey by a think tank affiliated with major real estate developer Mori Building Co.
A 30-year-old man, who was at large for nearly seven weeks after escaping from a police station in Osaka Prefecture in mid-August, masqueraded as a cycle tourist, spun a web of lies and stole basic goods including clothes and a bicycle, investigative sources said Wednesday. (Japan Times)
A 30-year-old man recaptured after escaping from a police station in Osaka Prefecture in mid-August had likely been traveling on a stolen bicycle with another man who was unaware of who he was, police said Sunday. (Japan Times)
Beginning Monday, visitors to Kyoto will be hit with an increase to their lodging bills as the city’s accommodation tax goes into effect at over 3,200 hotels, traditional inns, and private lodgings. (Japan Times)