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Osaka (大阪, Ōsaka) is Japan's second largest metropolitan area after Tokyo. It has been the economic powerhouse of the Kansai region for many centuries. Osaka was formerly known as Naniwa. Before the Nara Period, when the capital used to be moved with the reign of each new emperor, Naniwa was once Japan's capital city, the first one ever known.

In the 16th century, Toyotomi Hideyoshi chose Osaka as the location for his castle, and the city may have become Japan's political capital if Tokugawa Ieyasu had not terminated the Toyotomi lineage after Hideyoshi's death and moved his government to distant Edo (Tokyo).

Top attractions in Osaka

Zoo/Wildlife

Osaka Aquarium

One of Japan's most impressive aquariums.
4.1 / 5
1,764
Town/Neighborhood

Shinsekai

Nostalgia evoking district around Tsutenkaku.
3.6 / 5
984
Viewpoint/Tower

Abeno Harukas

Tallest skyscraper in Japan with observation deck.
3.6 / 5
201
Traditional Theater

Bunraku Theater

Venue for Japanese puppet theater plays.
3.9 / 5
288
Park

Minoo Park

Forested park with waterfall just outside Osaka.
3.8 / 5
304
Town/Neighborhood

Tenma

District known for its shrine and shopping arcade.
3.5 / 5
240
Town/Neighborhood

Bay Area

New districts built on man-made islands.
3.4 / 5
1,175
Town/Neighborhood

Tennoji

District around one of Osaka's busiest stations.
3.4 / 5
420
Side Trips from Osaka

Himeji••

Site of Japan's most beautiful feudal castle.
4.1 / 5
2,625

Kobe

Harbor city, recovered from 1995 earthquake.
3.8 / 5
3,328

Access and Orientation

Hotels around Osaka

Recommended Hotels
Hilton Osaka Hotel
Very convenient high-class hotel just across from JR Osaka Station.
Book:
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Hotel Granvia Osaka
Very conveniently located inside JR Osaka Station City.
Book:
Agoda Booking
Hotel Nikko Kansai Airport
Directly connected to the terminal building, this is the most convenient hotel at Kansai Airport.
Book:
Agoda Booking
InterContinental Hotel Osaka
Beautiful hotel recently opened near JR Osaka Station in the convenient Umekita district.
Book:
Agoda Booking
J-Hoppers Osaka Guesthouse
Popular and inexpensive hostel about a 15 minute walk from JR Osaka Station.
Book:
Booking
Remm Shin-Osaka
Recently opened business hotel conveniently located inside JR Shin-Osaka Station.
Book:
Agoda Booking
Swissotel Nankai Osaka
Well established, leading hotel conveniently located above Nankai Namba Station.
Book:
Agoda Booking
The Ritz-Carlton Osaka Hotel
Often considered Osaka's leading luxury hotel, located a short walk from JR Osaka Station.
Book:
Agoda

Tours and Experiences

Page last updated: June 30, 2014