Western Japan’s great metropolitan area of Osaka is the hub of the Kansai region. The city has prospered as a center of commerce throughout history. A very lively city, Osaka is brimming with energy from the people who live here.
Osaka’s appeal lies in its uniqueness and spontaneity. Restaurants and shops with billboards of huge crab, sushi, and other jumbo signs line the area of Dotonbori, overwhelming its visitors. Neighboring Dotonbori is Shinsaibashi, a shopping street filled with all types of shopping, from department stores to drug stores, selling everything imaginable. By going to Tsutenkaku and the Shinsekai areas, which have even more local stores, restaurants, and bars, you will gain a deeper sense of Osaka. Visitors who wish to get in touch with history should see Osaka Castle, towering in the central part of the city.
One thing not to miss is the local cuisine. Osaka is known as the town of “kuidaore,” which means “eat until you drop,” and houses many high-quality food and drink establishments. We highly suggest you indulge in the local dishes of Osaka, like takoyaki, okonomiyaki, and kushikatsu, to your heart’s content. At the excitement-filled Kuromon Ichiba Market, snack on fresh seafood and fruit as you take a stroll.
Last but not least, Osaka is a very friendly city. Please enjoy chatting with locals here while experiencing this unique part of Japan.
It takes around 1 hour and 10 minutes to get from Kansai International Airport (KIX) to Osaka (Umeda) Station via the JR Kansai Airport Rapid Service trains. To get to the Namba area, home to Dotonbori and Shinsaibashi, it is 40 minutes and a direct ride. A bus from KIX takes 50 minutes to Namba and 1 hour to the Umeda area in Osaka.
The Tokaido Shinkansen is a convenient option for getting to Osaka from Tokyo. Board at Tokyo Station or Shinagawa Station and get off at Shin-Osaka Station after about a 2.5-hour ride. It takes 30 minutes via express JR train to travel between Osaka and Kyoto.
Getting around Osaka via train is easy. To reach Namba from Osaka, it takes around 10 minutes on the Osaka Metro Midosuji Line.
Okonomiyaki is one of Osaka's renowned soul foods, similar to takoyaki and other delicious local dishes. Pan-fried and made of a batter of flour and water, mixed in with cabbage, vegetables, fish, and meat, making okonomiyaki is like making takoyaki, but the final product is different. Okonomiyaki sauce, aonori seaweed flakes, and bonito fish flakes top this savory pancake before its ready to eat. Osaka is home to many okonomiyaki-specialty restaurants, including eateries where you can make your own. Okonomiyaki is a popular festival food too, often sold at street stands.。
Kushikatsu, or kushiage, is a type of popular Osaka food where meat and vegetables are put on skewers and deep-fried. There are countless kushikatsu restaurants in Osaka. Pork, beef, fish and seafood, and vegetables are the most common types of kushikatsu, but mochi, cheese, and other unique selections are also worth trying. Dipping the deep-fried skewers into a savory, tangy sauce provided at each table and restaurant seat is the way kushikatsu is eaten--be careful not to double-dip! Fresh, hot kushikatsu tastes great with beer, cocktails, and other alcoholic drinks.
Takoyaki is one of Osaka's best-known street foods. These ball-shaped treats are made from a water, flour, and egg batter, filled with minced octopus and other Japanese ingredients, cooked lightly in an iron mold, before being topped with sauce, seaweed flakes, and bonito flakes. Takoyaki can be enjoyed in a variety of ways, in flavors like soy sauce and salt, and is sometimes topped with green onion and mayonnaise. Head to shopping streets and lively downtown areas, like Dotonbori, to try takoyaki for less than 1,000 yen.
The weather in Tokyo depends on the four seasons. Despite the sometimes sudden weather changes from sunny days to rain, many visitors come to Japan in the spring, while the hot temperatures and high humidity caused by June’s rainy season mean the summer starts out quite wet - be careful of sudden thunderstorms and torrential rain during this season as well.