Osaka, Japan: The best of tradition and modernity
Osaka, the third largest city in Japan, is located in the southwest of the country, and the city has been the economic power of the Kansai region for many centuries. Formerly known as Naniwa, it was the capital of Japan for many years and has kept this dominant and decision-making position on the land of the Rising Sun.
Why I love Osaka?
Over the past few years, the city has attracted more and more travelers and visitors and I really wanted to discover its unique mix of the traditional Japan lifestyle and its vibrant city activities.
So, after traveling through Tokyo, I decided to explore Osaka. A city worth visiting and that I was amazed to discover during my trip through Japan.
During the day I enjoyed the traditional and modern architecture, as well as so many sites. By contrast, in the evening, my senses were all taken by the spectacular nightlife with its huge neon signs, popular restaurants, bars and clubs, showing a different side to the city.
How to get to Osaka?
What I love about Japan, is that you can travel relatively quickly to the most interesting and beautiful cities with the Shinkansen train, so also to Osaka. With the Shinkansen you can reach Osaka from Tokyo in 150 minutes.
Check for the Japan Rail Pass.
My favourite attractions in Osaka
Osaka is an amazing city. I will claim it again and again, the excitement is everywhere, and the city is perfectly combining tradition and modernity.
The Osaka Castle
This is one of the most beautiful sights in Osaka, and probably one of the most famous monuments of Japan, definitely my favourite!
A bit of history about the castle: Hideyoshi Toyotomi had the castle built as a symbol of his power and it was at the time as the largest fortress. The architecture alone is very fascinating and radiates the power and strength of the rulers of that time.
Osaka Castle consists of eight floors, each of which has a number of exhibits.
My personal tip: To have a more relaxed visit, take the elevator right away to the 8th floor and from there start to explore the other lower floors.
The Kaiyukan Aquarium
An exciting activity, especially for families, but not only as it was a great day of fun for me and my friends, is the Kaiyukan Aquarium.
It is home to over 30,000 animals, all of which are unique in their own way, such as my favorite and the largest fish in the world, the whale shark. The tour is especially worthwhile on rainy, or very hot days as it was for us.
Take time to look at the incredible architectural structure when arriving, as I would never expect to find such a marine space of discovery in this giant Lego construction; it is just spectacular.
My tip: The Tempozan Ferris Wheelis located right next to the Kaiyukan Aquarium. This is one of Asia's biggest attractions and a great way to look at the city from a height of 112 metres.
Book your tickets online here.
The Umeda Sky Building
I couldn’t take my eyes away from the building, which consists of 2 skyscrapers connected by the "Floating Garden" observatory.
Once I arrived in the Umeda district, this 40-storey stands out by its modern style and the architecture is just impressive, both the building envelope and the interior design.
From the observation deck, you will see all of Osaka in all its glory. The Umeda Sky Building is mostly offices and apartments, but the rooftop is a fantastic spot to look at the whole town.
My tip: Don’t forget to visit the market in the basement.
Find out about the Umeda and access here.
Day trips from Osaka
The city of Osaka is relatively central, therefore, it was a great starting point to make further day trips from Osaka to, for example, to Kyoto, Kobe and Hiroshima.
If you want to see at least the most famous cities in Japan, you should definitely get the Japan Rail Pass, since single trips with the Shinkansen are quite expensive and it made me save a bunch of money.
There are many interesting cities near Osaka that can be reached within half to two-hours drive.
So, let’s make it simple: Osaka is an amazing city where I always find something to do!