Osaka is known for being the second largest metropolitan area in Japan, the first being Tokyo. For many centuries, Osaka has been kansai’s economic powerhouse. Osaka was actually originally called Naniwa and was the first ever known capital city of Japan. This was all before the capital used to move from place to place depending on which emperor was reigning.
Toyotomi Hideyoshi chose Osaka as the place for his castle to be built in the 16th century. Osaka may have even become Japan’s political capital if the Toyotomi lineage has not been terminated by Tokugawa Ieyasu after Toyotomi Hideyoshi’s death. Tokugawa Ieyasu was the one to decide that the capital of Japan be located in Tokyo, which as the time was known as Edo.
Osaka has some of the greatest sightseeing locations and since it is so close to Kyoto you can easily go to both. You can either go to both by Shinkansen or you can take the local express train which will take a bit longer than the shinkansen but it is much cheaper and it is not that far away.
Here are some of the top locations to visit if you are going to Osaka:
(picture source: https://thetruejapan.com/osaka-castle-worth-visiting/)
The Osaka Castle was built by Toyotomi Hideyoshi and was the largest castle at the time that it was built. Thirteen years before the castle was built, the site of the Osaka castle was originally where the Ishiyama Honganji Temple was but it was unfortunately destroyed by Oda Nobunaga. The Osaka castle was actually once destroyed by the Tokugawa army a few years after the death of Hideyoshi. But the castle was rebuilt by Tokugawa Hidetada in the 1620s and then in 1665 the main tower of the castle was struck by lightening and burnt down.
(picture source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Glico_Man_sign,_Dotonbori.JPG)
The neon light sign of the Glico running man is one of the most popular and well known landmarks in Osaka. It is one of the most popular areas called Dotombori which is a district which is mainly for shopping and entertainment. The running man is an advertisement for a company called Glico which is very famously known for products like Pocky stick snacks. Glico has produced some of the most popular snacks that have become famous all around the world. This neon sign of the running man was put up in 1972 and has been there ever since.
(picture source: https://wow-j.com/en/Allguides/osaka/sightseeing/01497_en/)
Shitennoji Temple is known for being one of the oldest existing temples in Japan and it was one of the first temples that was built by the state. Prince Shotoku was a supporter of bringing Buddhism into Japan and founded the Shitennoji Temple in 593. Since the temple was built it has been burnt down multiple times but each time it was carefully built to make sure that it still reflected the original way that it was built.
(picture source: https://insideosaka.com/kita-and-umeda-area/)
Umeda station is a huge station located in the northern area of Osaka. It is one of the biggest stations and is also very busy as well. There are lots of different lines that run through to this station. Which makes it very convenient but because the station is so big it takes a long time to walk to certain train lines when transferring trains.
(picture source: http://japan-trends.com/?p=3268)
The Minoo Park is a forested valley which is located north of the urban area of Osaka. This park is known for being very beautiful during the autumn time as the leaves turn into very beautiful autumn colours. Within the park you can also find temples and gardens. This park is much like Mount Takao as they are both located near the metropolis area. Minoo Park being close to Osaka and Mount Takao being close to Tokyo. It is a nice getaway from the hustle and bustle of the urban life.
(picture source: https://thetravelintern.com/ultimate-usj-guide-universal-studios-japan-planning/)
(picture source: http://taste.company/travel/asia/things-universal-studios-osaka-japan/)
If you are looking to go to an entertainment park other than Disneyland then I definitely going to Universal Studios. If you are a Harry Potter fan and have been dying to go to the Harry Potter land then you should visit the Universal Studios in Osaka. There are many other very fun attractions in Osaka and is not too far from the centre of Osaka. Tokyo Disneyland and Disney Sea are actually kind of far to get to as it is a bit further away from centre of Tokyo but Universal studio is actually must easier to get to.
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