Japan has been at the top of my travel wish list since I was a kid. I grew up reading “Shogun,” watching anime, and taking karate lessons. To say that I have a travel crush would be pretty accurate. One of the places I want to explore the most in Japan is Osaka. Depending on the time of day, Osaka is the second or third largest city in Japan in terms of population. Its size isn’t what makes Osaka an amazing destination, though. Take a closer look at Osaka’s great mix of unique attractions and traditional activities.
Discover the History and Culture
Image via Flickr by Yoshikazu TADAKA
There are two ways to discover the culture and history of Osaka. You can take the museum route, which includes the Osaka Municipal Museum of Fine Arts, the Osaka Museum of History, the Museum of Oriental Ceramics, and the Osaka Science Museum.
As an alternative, you can experience the historic and cultural landmarks of the city. Start at Osaka Castle, then make your way to the Tsuyuno shrine and pray for everlasting love. Sumiyoshitaisha, one of Japan’s oldest shrines, is also a must, along with Shitennoji Temple. For a full experience of Osaka, stop by the Municipal Wholesale Market and sample some Japanese beers at the Asahi Beer Factory.
Luxury Roundup: Dining, Shopping, and Relaxation
Photo via Flickr by uphey
When it comes to fine dining, spa experiences, and luxury shopping, you have to start in the heart of the city. Try some octopus dumplings, deep-fried pork, or the world-famous okonomiyaki, a Japanese pancake, at any of the restaurants in the Kita ward’s commercial district.
Just try any of the shopping malls surrounding the InterContinental Osaka, from Grand Front Osaka to ALBi, and you won’t be disappointed. ALBi has everything from clothing and jewelry to a butcher shop and a traditional sweets store. It even includes an art gallery, DMO ARTS, and a nightclub. If you want to join the hip, young crowds, head over to Ame-Mura, the American Town, to explore the 3,000 shops or stop at one of the bars or restaurants.
Fun and Entertainment
Image via Flickr by http://klarititemplateshop.com/
No trip is ever complete without a proper dose of entertainment. When in Osaka, enjoy the outstanding city views from the Hep Five Ferris Wheel next to Osaka Station. The Umeda Sky Building’s Floating Garden Observatory is perfect for panoramic views of the city from the 39th floor. Make Universal Studios Japan your next dose of fun, followed by the Osaka Aquarium with its giant spider crab and whale shark.
Unmatched Natural Beauty
Image by via Flickr Francisco Anzola
The mouth of the Yodo river and Osaka Bay give the city plenty of beautiful scenery. While the reds and yellows of Osaka’s fall foliage are gorgeous, spring is the most popular season here. Osaka is known for its natural display of delicate beauty during cherry blossom season. Visit in late March to catch the blossoms, and check this schedule to make sure you’re on time.
Image via Flickr by shogo4406
Whether you prefer the culture, the history, the scenic views, or the lively atmosphere, Osaka is a unique travel destination that should be at the top of your travel wish list.
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