Osaka

Osaka Castle with a five-layer donjon – Bustling Umeda Underground Mall and Namba, a popular business and shopping quarter

Osaka prefecture located in the center of Kinki region in the Midwest Japan covers the smallest prefecture land area in Japan, but boasts of largest population and highest population density second only after the capital, Tokyo. Mountains surround three sides of the prefecture and the west faces the arc-shaped Osaka Bay.

Since it is close to former capitals of Japan Kyoto and Nara, it prospered as an important point for land and water transportation as well as a commercial city.

In the Osaka City is the Osaka Castle with a five-layer donjon as its core, on a lawn park that stretches for about 60,000 square meters. During the cherry blossom season in the spring, this park is especially crowded with hanami (cherry blossom viewing) crowd. Osaka’s north gate, Umeda, has a gigantic stretch of underground mall that houses many restaurants, fashion and sundry goods stores.

In contrast to Kita with Umeda as its core, Minami is an area with core cities Namba, a popular business and shopping district, and Dotonbori with many restaurants on both sides of Dotonbori-gawa River. Minami is known as a town of public entertainment and has many theaters and cinemas.

In recent years, the development of Osaka’s new showplace, the waterfront, is taking place. Tenpo-zan Harbor Village, which has a 112 meter-high Ferris wheel, shopping mall and Suntory Museum, a complex of cultural facilities, and ATC(Asia Pacific Trade Center), Japan’s largest outlet mall, are also popular.

Getting to Osaka

About 2 hours 30 minutes from Tokyo Station to Shin Osaka Station by JR Tokaido Shinkansen Line.