Even though Osaka Prefecture is the second smallest prefecture in Japan, it still gathers a lot of people. In 2017, it had a record high of 11,110,000 foreign tourists.
Osaka has good access to big cities like Kyoto and Tokyo, and it is also packed with plenty of its own charm.
Naniwa, the city of 808 bridges
During the Edo period, Osaka, which developed alongside Edo and Kyoto, was called “Naniwa, the city of 808 bridges“, Naniwa being the former name for Osaka region.
In reality, there aren’t that many bridges in Osaka, but there are still more than 200 bridges that have been built in the region. The bridges were built by townspeople and traders. At that time Osaka was already a very lively town.
Even today, rivers and bridges are a huge part of tourism in Osaka.
What are the popular places among tourists?
The Aqua-Liner is a popular sightseeing boat that is a relaxing way to explore Osaka, which is a city that has so many rivers that hundreds of bridges have been built.
After visiting places like Osaka Castle and Nakanoshima with the sightseeing boat, many people go see the Osaka Castle tower from inside.
The eight-floored castle tower has an exhibition about the upbringing of the feudal lord Toyotomi Hideyoshi, and on top of the tower there is an observation deck that has a panoramic view of the whole urban prefecture of Osaka.
If you want to enjoy more beautiful scenery from observation decks, there is an observation deck called Kuchu Teien Observatory in Umeda Sky Building. When you look at the scenery while feeling the wind at 170 meters above the ground, it makes you feel like you are viewing the ground from the sky. In addition, on the 39th floor there is a restaurant where you can eat genuine Chinese food, and a bar where you can enjoy alcoholic drinks.
For those who are looking to have fun in Osaka
Popular leisure facilities include Universal Studio Japan and Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan, but we tried to dig deeper for some lesser-known fun places to visit.
Kasuka Gorakujo located in the neighborhood of Shinsekai has old tabletop games from the Showa period. The fee is also very reasonable at 50 yen, which makes it a perfect place to stop by if you are wandering around the area.
Jigokudo (lit. hell temple) in Senkoji Temple has a machine that was also a popular topic of conversation in the internet. The machine allows you to check how likely you are going to heaven or hell. Once you enter the place you are greeted by many scary puppet figures. Many young Japanese people visit this strange place that simulates what it is like in hell.
The locals love these cuisines!
There are plenty of cheap and delicious local delicacies in Osaka.
Usually Kasu Udon contains bits of leftover fried tempura flour balls, but Osaka-style Kasu Udon contains pieces of beef small intestine, which is something that surprisespeople from other prefectures.
As for ramen, Osaka Black has a black soup that is made of a dark soy sauce base mixed with seafood stock.
Takosen is a loved snack, which is takoyaki sandwiched between two crisp ebisen (shrimp-flavored rice crackers). It can be eaten at Takoyaki Doraku Wanaka, which is in Sennichimae.
Good choices for souvenirs include butaman (flour dough filled with ground pork), gyoza (dumplings filled with minced pork and vegetables), and freshly baked cheesecake from Rikuro Ojisan no Mise.
Since Osaka is a city of food, we recommend that you try all kinds of different foods.