Osaka, Japan - Wontra Travels

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Welcome to Osaka

Osaka

Osaka

Area: 223.00 km2

Population: 2,592,413 (2016)

Language: Japanese, English (No official language)

Situated at the mouth of the Yodo River on Osaka Bay, Osaka is a designated city in the Kansai region of Japan and capital city of Osaka Prefecture. It is the second largest metropolitan area in Japan and the third-most populated city in Japan (after Tokyo and Yokohama).

Although its history goes back as far as almost 1500 years, Osaka gained prominence when the most powerful lord in the land - Hideyoshi Toyotomi, built Japan's most magnificent castle in the 16th century – the shogunate Osaka Castle and presuaded many merchants to resettle in the city; as a result it became a business and commercial hub.

Two airports serve Osaka. The Kansai International Airport handles all international flights while the Osaka International Airport (also known as Osaka Itami Airport) handles all domestic flights. Because of its international airport, Osaka serves as a major gateway to the rest of Japan.

The city is known for its modern architecture, food, underground shopping arcades, one of the nation's best aquariums, and the only Universal Studios outside the United States. The Shiten-no-ji Temple, Himeji-jo Castle, Sumiyoshi-taisha Shrine and Osaka-jo Castle are just a few of many important sites.

Information & Facts

Climate

The weather in Japan is generally temperate, with four distinct seasons: Winter, from December to February, is quite dry and sunny along the Pacific coast and the temperatures rarely drop below 32°F. The temperatures drop as you move north, with the Central and Northern regions experiencing snowfall.

Eating Out

You can expect a lot from the food in Osaka – and the city delivers. Everything under the sun is served in the food capital of Japan, but when visiting Osaka it would be a sin not to try some of the local specialties found both at street stalls and in fancy restaurants. Kuidaore (to eat oneself bankrupt) – might be the simplest way to describe Osaka's people and their obsession with food

Getting Around

The subway is easy to use and is the recommended way to get around Osaka. The JR Osaka Loop Line is the main train line and runs a loop around the city center. Osaka does have a bus system, but it only has information available in Japanese and can be difficult to navigate.

Language

Japanese is the main language spoken in Osaka although a local variation of the language known as Osakaben is also spoken. "Osaka-ben" is highlighted by words and phrases that have special meanings found only in the Kansai area.

Money

The Japanese yen (JPY) is the official currency of Japan. It is the third most traded currency in the foreign exchange market after the United States dollar and the euro. Coins in circulation are are 1, 5, 10, 50, 100 and 500 yen. The 5 and 50 yen coins have a hole in the middle. Banknotes are denominations of 1, 000, 5, 000 and 10, 000. Although the 2, 000 yen notes are in existence, they are rarely seen in circulation.
 
Many Japanese ATMs don’t accept foreign-issued cards and credits cards are not universally accepted in Japan.

Shopping

There is no lack of shopping opportunities in Osaka. The city has it all, and here you can find a wonderful mix of the newest fashion trends, the latest technology and traditional handicrafts. Visiting Osaka’s shopping centres alone offers more experiences than many other destinations put together.

Sightseeing

Whether you are interested in culture, shopping or just enjoying the spectacular views of the city, Osaka offers visitors a host of things to do.

  • Umeda Sky Building – gives you a thrilling experience and a magnificent view over Osaka. This spectacular building contains a rooftop floating garden observatory and a breathtaking escalator that connects the building’s two main towers. A visit is highly recommended.
  • Osaka Castle – a reproduction of a majestic 16th-century castle surrounded by an abundance of cherry blossoms. For additional beautiful historical buildings and lush parks in Osaka you might visit Sumiyoshi taisha shrine, the island Nakanoshima or The Open-Air Museum of Old Japanese Farmhouses.
  • National Bunraku Theatre – entertainment by traditional Japanese puppets (Bunraku).
  • Spa World – do what the Japanese people do and enjoy a traditional bath in a hot spring (Onsen) – open 24/7.
  • Tsūtenkaku Tower – a beautifully reconstructed tower in the Shinsekai district. (Visitors should note, however, that this is regarded as a slightly edgier part of the city but is, however, generally safe during the day.) The Tennoji Zoo is also nearby.
  • Osaka’s Kaiyukan harbour – find one of the world’s largest aquariums and the world’s biggest Ferris wheel in the harbour.

Time

Japan Standard Time (UTC+9) 

  • Thu, 19 Oct

    Light rain. Decreasing cloudiness. Mild.

    71 | 60 °F

    Light rain. Decreasing cloudiness. Mild.

    83 %  Chance of Precipitation

  • Fri, 20 Oct

    Light rain. Afternoon clouds. Mild.

    68 | 61 °F

    Light rain. Afternoon clouds. Mild.

    46 %  Chance of Precipitation

  • Sat, 21 Oct

    Tons of rain. Mostly cloudy. Mild.

    65 | 63 °F

    Tons of rain. Mostly cloudy. Mild.

    90 %  Chance of Precipitation

  • Sun, 22 Oct

    Tons of rain. Mostly cloudy. Mild.

    64 | 62 °F

    Tons of rain. Mostly cloudy. Mild.

    89 %  Chance of Precipitation

  • Mon, 23 Oct

    More sun than clouds. Mild.

    66 | 59 °F

    More sun than clouds. Mild.

    25 %  Chance of Precipitation

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