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  • Osaka and the nearby port towns have been a leading center of trade and an important

  • urban area since Japan's early history.

  • Located in the middle of the Kansai region, this economic powerhouse is Japan's second

  • largest metropolitan center, ahead of Nagoya and only after Tokyo.

  • In the late 1500s, Toyotomi Hideyoshi chose the area as his new headquarters and built

  • Osaka Castle, making the city into the center of the nation's government.

  • It may have even become the new political capital, however, this potential was soon

  • lost when Tokugawa Ieyasu took over the country and established his new government in Edo in 1603.

  • Historically, the merchant society of Osaka has always distinctly contrasted that of the imperial capitals.

  • Osakans traditionally pride themselves for being down-to-earth, a little less formal

  • and a little more open than their fellow countrymen from Tokyo and Kyoto

  • with whom they have something of a friendly rivalry.

  • Food is another area where Osaka stands out.

  • It is a city of unique culinary style which places an emphasis on being

  • filling, delicious, and inexpensive.

  • Two of the most famous local specialty dishes are okonomiyaki

  • which is like a cross between a pancake and a pizza

  • and tako yaki

  • which are grilled balls of batter with chunks of octopus inside

  • Like other major Japanese cities, there is a lot to see and do here, so here are our

  • Top 5 Recommendations in Osaka.

  • Number Five: Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan

  • Housing an impressive variety of marine life from all over the Pacific Rim,

  • the Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan is one of Japan's premiere aquariums.

  • Each of the 15 tanks represents a different geographic region.

  • The large central tank which is 9m tall represents the Pacific Ocean

  • and allows visitors to see creatures at various depths.

  • This tank is also where the building's main attraction lives

  • a fully grown whale shark.

  • The Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan also has many smaller exhibits to explore

  • and is a worthwhile place for both children and adults.

  • Number Four: Osaka Station

  • Although at one time Osaka Station was among Japan's darkest and most unpleasant major railway stations

  • after massive renovations it was re-born in 2011 as

  • Osaka Station Cityand is now one of Japan's most attractive

  • One of the station's new landmarks is the large glass roof covering the platforms which

  • gives the station a sense of open space.

  • Located in Osaka's northern city center Kita also known as the Umeda district, the station complex

  • itself and the adjacent Grand Front Osaka shopping area to the north have an unlimited

  • selection of attractive, modern shopping and dining opportunities.

  • Also on the top of the station's north and south buildings are rooftop green spaces

  • and only a 10min walk from Osaka Station is the spectacular Umeda Sky Building

  • which is a 173m skyscraper known for its Floating Observatory on the 39th floor.

  • Number Three: Shinsekai

  • In Japanese Shinsekai literally means "new world," and is the name of a popular shopping

  • and dining district developed before WWII that still has a nostalgic feeling today.

  • At the center of the district stands iconic Tsutenkaku Tower, which is the symbol of the area.

  • Shinseki is one of the best places in all of Japan to try a dish calledkushikatsu

  • which is one of Osaka's specialty foods.

  • Kushikatsu is a dish composed of skewered, battered, and deep fried foods ranging from

  • chicken or beef, to vegetables, and there is even dessert versions.

  • Many of Shinsekai's kushikatsu restaurants are open 24 hours a day,

  • and it's said that they truly come alive after sunset.

  • Only a few hundred meters from Shinsekai is Abeno Harukas

  • which at the time of its completion was Japan's tallest skyscraper, standing 300m tall.

  • Inside, it houses a hotel, art museum, Japan's largest department store, and an observation

  • deck on the top three floors called Harukas 300

  • which provide impressive 360 degree views of the city

  • and there are even heliport tours on the roof.

  • Other nearby attractions include Shitennoji Temple

  • which is one of Japan's oldest temples

  • and Tennoji Park.

  • Number Two: Osaka Castle

  • When it was constructed in 1583, Osaka Castle was the largest castle ever built in Japan

  • and has since only been surpassed by Edo Castle in Tokyo.

  • Toyotomi Hideyoshi had it made as grand as possible

  • with impressive moats, walls, palace and keep.

  • His intention was that it would become the centerpiece of the Toyotomi clan's reign over a unified Japan.

  • However, this never came to pass as the clan's rule was ended only a few decades later when

  • Tokugawa troops destroyed the castle and the Toyotomi line was terminated.

  • The reconstruction of the main keep which stands today

  • was made in the 1930s with reinforced concrete and has a modern museum inside.

  • It is still one of the more majestic castles nationwide and definitely worth a visit

  • especially in the spring as it is one of the best among Osaka's many hanami spots.

  • Number One: Dotonburi

  • Perhaps the most iconic scenes of Osaka are of the Glico Running Man sign

  • and the mechanical Kani Doraku crab.

  • Both of these are located in Osaka's busiest and most popular nightlife district, Dotonburi.

  • Located in the city's southern center Minami, also called Namba, the streets of Dotonburi

  • are best seen at night when visitors can get the full effect of all the neon lights.

  • This is one of the best places to experience the food culture of Osaka.

  • Restaurants here serve all the local special dishes and stay open all night.

  • Situated within the Namba entertainment district.

  • a trip to Dotonburi could easily be combined with a visit to the Kamigata Ukiyoe Museum,

  • a stroll down the atmospheric Hozenji Yokocho, or watching a traditional performance at the

  • Shochikuza or National Bunraku Theaters.

  • We hope this top five list gives you a good place to start when planning your trip to Osaka.

  • For more information about any of the places mentioned in this video or to explore another region

  • click the links on the screen now, or head over to japan-guide.com,

  • your comprehensive, up-to-date travel guide, first-hand from Japan.

  • Thanks for watching, and be sure to subscribe for more videos about Japan.

  • Happy travels.

Osaka and the nearby port towns have been a leading center of trade and an important

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Top 5 Things to do in Osaka | japan-guide.com

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    Sophie posted on 2019/10/30
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