Best Spot 8: Osaka (大阪)


Osaka (大阪) is the third most populated and the second most industrialized city in all Japan. It is a city with quite a lot of differences when comparing to Tokyo, and a really recommended place to visit in Japan.

Osaka is located in Kansai region, where other cities like Kyoto, Nara and Kobe are also situated. When doing a tour in Kansai, it is a really convenient place to stay, as the distance to the other cities is quite short.

I visited Osaka for a few days, and I am now going to show to you the places I liked and I recommend the most.

And I'm going to start with the inevitable Osaka Castle.

Its construction was started in 1583 by Toyotomi Hideyoshi (豊臣秀吉, one of Japan's "great unifiers"), having the Main Tower been completed in 1585.

The present day Main Tower is the third generation. It follows the Main Tower from the Toyotomi period, which was destroyed by fire during the Summer War (1615), and the tower from the Tokugawa period, which was struck by lightning and was burned down.

Another important icon of Osaka city is the Tsuutenkaku Tower (通天閣).

Located in the Shinsekai district of Naniwa-ku, this 103-meter-tall tower advertises Hitachi, who has been sponsoring the tower since 1957.

The current tower is the second one to occupy the site. The original tower, patterned after the Eiffel Tower, was built in 1912, and at the time of its construction, its height of 64 meters made it the second tallest structure in Asia.

However, in 1943 the structure suffered a fire, and rather than repairing it, it was decided to demolish it and use the steel for the war effort.

It would be redesigned and rebuilt in 1956, taking a new form.

The tower also enshrines Billiken, the God of Happiness or the God of things as they ought to be. This originally American charm doll was brought to Japan, and nowadays thousands of visitors place a coin on his donation box and rub the soles of his feet to make their wishes come true.

Next, Umeda Sky Building (梅田スカイビル)!

Located in the Umeda district of Kita-ku, this is also one of the most recognizable landmarks of Osaka. It was completed in 1993 and it has a height of 173 meters.

The building features a rooftop observatory, The Floating Garden Observatory, as well as an underground market that attempts to recreate the atmosphere of Osaka in the early 20th century.

I personally thought is was really refreshing and interesting to have an awesome view of the city without having a glass or a fence in front of me. Really recommend it!

Another major attraction is the Universial Studios Japan theme park!

Having opened in March 31st, 2001, Universal Studios Japan reached the milestone of attracting the first 10 million visitors faster than any other theme park in the world.

There are a lot of fun attractions, featuring movies like Indiana Jones, Back to the Future, Sesame Street, Shrek, and many many more!

As night arrives, parades and light shows illuminate the streets and it becomes even more fun!

Osaka also has many shrines and temples to visit! Here are some of them:

(Imamiya Ebisu Shrine)

(Nanba Yasaka Shrine)

(Ikutamazan Reienji Temple)

(Ikukunitama Shrine)

If you decide to visit Kansai region, Osaka is a must-stop-place!