OsakaPhoto: PekePON CC 3.0 Unported no changes made
Osaka is located on Honshu, Japan's main island, in the Kansai region. It is the capital of Osaka prefecture and also most of the Keihanshin Metropolitan Area, which consists of three major cities of Japan: Kyoto, Osaka and Kobe. Osaka literally means big hill or big slope.
Osaka BayPhoto: Public domain
The coordinates of Osaka are: 34 ° 41'38 'North latitude and 135 ° 30'8' East longitude. Osaka is located at the mouth of the Yodo River in Osaka Bay. Only Tokyo and Yokohama are larger cities in Japan. Osaka is surrounded by more than ten smaller cities. The western part of the city is located along Osaka Bay. The area of Osaka covers 223 square km. According to the 2012 census, the city had 2,871,680 residents while the metropolitan area had a population of 18,768,395.
Osaka has a humid subtropical climate with four different seasons. Winters are usually mild, with January being the coldest month with an average temperature of 9.3 ° C. Snowfall is very rare in winter. Spring is mild at the beginning of the season, but warmer and more humid towards the end. Frequent rainfall is possible in this season, the rainiest period of the year is from late May to early July. Summer is very hot and humid. In the months of July and August, the highest temperature reaches 35 ° C. Autumn starts with warm weather, but it cools down as winter approaches. The average amount of rainfall per year is 1,306 mm. The average number of hours of sunshine is 1967 per year.
The first signs of habitation in the Osaka area were found on Morinomiya. There are human skeletons from the 5th-6th century BC. Due to its well-developed port, Osaka connected the region with the western part of Japan. The large numbers of burial mounds found on the Osaka plain are evidence of the increasing concentration of political power and the formation of a state in the Kofun period.
Emperor Kotoku built Naniwa Nagara-Toyosaki Palace in Osaka in 645. The city itself was called Naniwa. For a long period of time, Osaka was Japan's main economic center with a wealthy merchant class. During the Edo period (1603-1867), Osaka grew into one of Japan's major cities due to its busy and important port. Modern Osaka was founded in 1889 with an original area of 15 km².
Osaka 1916Photo: Public domain
The city was heavily bombed by the Americans at the end of the Second World War. It didn't take long to rebuild the infrastructure, and Osaka soon played a prominent role as a major Japanese cultural and industrial center.
There are beautiful old temples, shrines and other historical sites in Osaka. Two of the most important are described below.
Shitenno-Ji in OsakaPhoto: Chris Gladis CC 2.0 Generic no changes made
Shitenno-Ji is the oldest temple in Japan and was founded about 1,400 years ago by Prince Shotoku, who was the founder of Buddhism in Japan. It is the spiritual soul of Osaka and like most old wooden structures, the temple has been destroyed several times, but always rebuilt exactly to the original from the 6th century. The Shitenno-Ji temple itself is classically beautiful and the recently restored gardens are wonderful to stroll through, with their pretty streams, waterfalls and immaculately tended plants.
Osaka castlePhoto: 993Highland CC 3.0 Unported no changes made
The legendary Toyotomi Hideyoshi who united Japan built Osaka Castle in the late 16th century after defeating his enemies and bringing the feudal lords together. This iconic Japanese building is famous for its huge granite stone walls. The eight-storey keep offers a beautiful view from the observation deck and the Osaka Castle further houses a museum dedicated to the life and exploits of Hideyoshi.
Nationaal Art tmuseum in OsakaPhoto: Mc681 CC 4.0 International no changes made
The National Art Museum aims to show the development of Japanese art in relation to other worldwide art movements. Major exhibitions are organized with local and world famous artists, the focus is mainly on contemporary works. The museum is located in the park where the Expo '70 was held and where many other cultural activities take place throughout the year.
World Trade Center Cosmo Tower OsakaPhoto: J o CC 2.5 Generic no changes made
The World Trade Center Cosmo Tower is one of the tallest buildings in Western Japan. It towers more than 250 meters above the city. Although you will mainly find offices there, the 55th floor offers a 360-degree view of Osaka, perhaps the most beautiful in the city. You can also grab a bite to eat in the popular Sky Restaurant.
Dotonbori OsakaPhoto: Yeowatzup CC 2.0 Generic no changes made
Dotonbori is the famous tourist area with a vibrant nightlife. The Namba and Osaka districts, located next to each other, offer numerous excellent restaurants, bars and nightclubs, as well as all kinds of attractive shops and shopping centers.
Osaka AquariumPhoto: KENPEI CC 3.0 Unported no changes made
There are quite a few amusement parks in Osaka and the surrounding area. The Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan is an aquarium located containing 35,000 aquatic animals in 14 tanks, with a variety of marine animals such as whale sharks. The Tempozan Ferris Wheel, a 112-meter wheel, is located next to the aquarium in the Bay Area. Universal Studios Japan are located in Osaka. This theme park is focused on Hollywood movies. Exciting roller coasters and attractions based on real blockbuster movies and lots of live entertainment are the strength of this mega theme park. Unfortunately, the park is often overcrowded due to its immense popularity.
Tennoji Zoo OsakaPhoto: Daderot in the public domain
There are many beautiful parks in Osaka. The Nakanoshima park is located in the vicinity of the city hall with an area of approximately 10.6 ha. The Osaka Castle Park covers approximately 106 ha. A Japanese apricot garden is one of the great attractions. The Tennoji Park covers approximately 28 ha. Here you will find the Tennoji Zoo, an art museum established by the Sumitomo family in 1936. A Japanese garden, the Keitaku-en, was created in 1908. Nagai Park is famous for the Nagai stadium, where the World Athletics Championships were held in 2007.