Japan’s third largest city, Osaka has a unique identity characterized by a penchant for good food and lively fun.
Ever since Toyotomi Hideyoshi built Osaka Castle in 1586, Osaka has been a prominent merchant city. During the 1920s and 30s it boomed into an industrial powerhouse and in more recent times the city has slowly been transforming into a progressive modern arts hub with a plethora of galleries and post-modernistic architecture and futuristic spaces popping up, most prominently, the towering Umeda Sky Building.
The city is home to a number of interesting museums including the National Museums of Art and Oriental Ceramics and the Japan Folk Art Museum. The Osaka Human Rights Museum is also worth a visit. More Japanese culture is on show at the National Bunraku Theatre where you can watch extraordinary traditional puppet shows.
Osaka is easy to navigate, roughly divided into two centres, north and south. Kita (north) Osaka contains the main business district, accessible by Osaka and Umeda stations. Minami (south) Osaka is home to most of the city’s shopping centres, entertainment and nightlife venues, accessible via Namba and Shinsaibashi stations.