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
Japan’s cherry blossoms are its most iconic symbol of spring, and if you’re planning a trip to the country, plenty of people will tell you that the most beautiful time to come is during sakura season. (soranews24.com)
Two warring yakuza groups will face stronger crackdowns after public safety commissions in six prefectures designated them Tuesday as “crime syndicates at war” in an effort to weaken them and stop their escalating battles. (Japan Times)
Former Nissan and Renault boss Carlos Ghosn began his astonishing escape from Japan with a bullet train ride from Tokyo to Osaka, possibly accompanied by several people, Japan’s Kyodo News reported Monday. (aljazeera.com)
No X-ray screening was performed on the luggage thought to have hidden former Nissan Motor Chairman Carlos Ghosn at a Japanese airport during his escape from the country, a source familiar with the matter told Nikkei on Sunday. (Nikkei)
With another Japanese Christmas in the books, we’ve often talked about the unique holiday custom here of eating fried chicken, particularly that of Kentucky Fried Chicken. However, there is another KFC-related ritual in Japan that even those who live here are surprised exists. (soranews24.com)
Japan Airlines Co. said Thursday overseas members of its mileage program will be able to apply for free return tickets for domestic flights next summer, part of an effort to provide foreign travelers with a greater experience of Japan alongside the Olympic and Paralympic Games. (Kyodo)
Japan’s three main international airports will start using facial recognition to streamline security checks and the boarding process starting in 2020, cutting wait times ahead of the Summer Olympics in Tokyo. (Nikkei)
Osaka Prefectural Police arrested a member of a criminal syndicate over the alleged attempted stabbing of a rival gangster in Osaka City on Monday, reports Fuji News Network (Dec. 17). (tokyoreporter.com)
Central Japan Railway will run 12 of its fastest bullet trains between Tokyo and Osaka each hour during high-demand periods starting next spring, up from the usual 10, as newer, faster trains allow for a more packed schedule. (Nikkei)
Ever since the Japanese authorities announced last year that they would be opening up bidding for the country’s first casino licenses, there has been furious speculation over where will become “the Macau of Japan”. (newsonjapan.com)
High school games played at the spiritual home of Japanese baseball will get a new look in 2020 after the organizer of the prestigious national championship on Friday announced its first pitch limits. (Japan Times)
Japanese births are on pace for the steepest drop in three decades, plunging even by comparison to the declines in recent years, despite earlier hopes that couples would ring in the new Imperial era with an addition to the family. (Nikkei)
The suspect in a deadly arson attack on a Kyoto Animation Co studio suffered life-threatening burns on 90 percent of his body and has undergone surgeries without using donor skin, in the first case of such procedures for critical burns, medical sources said Tuesday. (Japan Today)