A city celebrated for its lively nightlife, top restaurants and delicious street food, Osaka combines dynamic development and longstanding traditions.
When cherry blossom season starts in spring, the city blooms with vivid pink. Take a walk along the Okawa River or through the extensive grounds of Osaka Castle for the best views. This 16th-century citadel overlooks scenic surroundings, and features an ancient collection of art, armour and everyday objects inside. Its eighth-floor observation deck boasts wonderful 360-degree views.
For more sweeping vistas amid lush scenery, head to the top of the 173-metre-tall Umeda Sky Building, whose two towers are linked at their summits by a beautiful ‘floating garden’.
Filling, tasty and affordable – street food is another of Osaka’s biggest attractions. Try Okonomiyaki, a local favourite that’s like a cross between a pancake and a pizza, or Takoyaki – grilled balls of batter with octopus chunks inside.
Osaka and Umeda train stations are linked by underground shopping centres, while the edgier enterprises of Shinsaibashi’s America Village appeal to a younger crowd. Down by the river, Dotonbori’s neon lights promote more shops and eateries considered to be among the best in the city.
Those wanting to travel from Osaka to Tokyo can do so by taking the bullet train from Shin-Osaka station, which also has a direct line from Osaka to Kyoto. The city airport serves only as a domestic terminal, although international flights depart from the regional Kansai Airport.