Visiting Osaka, a modern city with a unique traditional culture

Mayo Harry | Live the World

November 23, 2022

Osaka is 2nd biggest capital city of Japan, located at about 400km west of Tokyo. It is a town representing the Kansai area. Osaka became an important capital city 500 years ago. Hideyoshi Toyotomi, a famous Japanese samurai, built a castle in this area, and Osaka’s unique culture, especially in gastronomy and entertainment, has developed ever since.

Osaka is a super modern city that offers excellent transport options for travelers. Osaka tour pass is fantastic if you are staying for a short time. The pass includes a deal to free rides for the main local trains, subways, and buses. It also includes benefits, as free access to paid facilities in the city, such as Tsutenkaku, Tempozan Ferris Wheel, and Tennoji Zoo. The fare is 2,300 yen for adults and children.

There are five major areas in Osaka, such as the Kita (north) area, which is the most popular shopping area in Osaka, and the Minami (south) area, which has many entertainment facilities and restaurants. In this story, I will be introducing some characteristics of each of those areas.

Kita area - fashion and art

©iStock / show999

The Kita area is a downtown part of Osaka situated around the Osaka station. Umeda is the center of the Kita area and Osaka’s transportation hub. The Kita area is known as a city center that continually creates the latest fashion and art trends of Osaka. If you are interested in the newest fashion trends, a visit to the area is perfect for you. The Grand Front Osaka opened in 2013, is a commercial building, which is connected to the northern side of the Osaka Station. It consists of a north building, a south building, an event hall, and a residential tower. There are over 260 stores and restaurants in Grand Front Osaka, and you can enjoy shopping in a space surrounded by nature all day long.

Minami area - food and entertainment

©iStock / ravel and Still life photography

The center of the Minami area is called Nanba. It includes famous charming places such as Dotonbori, which is lined with so many restaurants and entertainment facilities, and Shinsaibashi, the center of youth culture. If you are interested in Osaka’s local street food, like Takoyaki (octopus balls) or Okonomi-Yaki (Savory pancake), the Dotonbori area is the place to go.  

©iStock / martinhosmart

The bay area

©iStock / FotoGraphik

Osaka's Bay area is a symbol of the old Osaka, which historically once flourished as a port town in the Edo period, 250 years ago. Various facilities such as an aquarium, a shopping mall, a giant ferries wheel, an observatory, and a theme park are lined up, right in this area. The Bay area also hosts the Universal Studios Japan. You can enjoy the sea view of Osaka from the Bay area all day long.

©iStock / NonChanon

Osaka castle area

©iStock / Vincent_St_Thomas

The center of this area is the Osaka castle. In addition to the castle, there is a History Museum and an area called Kyobashi, where the traditional downtown area can be still seen. You can feel the history of Osaka in** the Osaka castle area. Contrasting the historical attractions, there are new shopping spots such as the Osaka Business Park, and Mitsui Outlet Park Osaka Tsurumi, which are gaining popularity in this area**.

Retoro and Deep, Tennoji and Shinsekai area

©iStock / holgs

The Tennoji and Shinsekai area are in the southern part of Osaka city. If you want to feel the retro and deep Osaka, this is an area you should definitely visit. The old-fashioned scenery of Osaka, such as the over-the-top flashy signboards, remains intact. There are plenty of sightseeing spots such as zoos, museums, temples, and shrines, including the landmark tower called Tsutenkaku and Abeno Harukas. Shinsekai, where Tsutenkaku is located, is an ideal area for shopping and dining. You might witness Osaka's retro and profound uniqueness on the street in Shinsekai.

Osaka is an internationally famous city that has a busy Kansai international airport, a super modern transportation system, interesting sightseeing spots with modern facilities, and the latest trends. On the other hand, Osaka’s historical element lives at present in people’s everyday life. This Japan’s super modern second biggest capital will give all travelers absolute satisfaction and a lot of surprises. Enjoy the deep culture of Osaka.     

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