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Osaka, Japan City Info
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Neighborhoods

Osaka is divided into various wards, or ku:

 

Around Osaka Station:  Kita-ku is the area around Osaka and Umeda stations and includes many of the city's top hotels, the city's tallest buildings, many restaurants, and several shopping complexes, mostly underground.

 

Around Osaka Castle:  Osaka Castle, which lies to the east, is the historic center of the city. It is in Chuo-ku, the Central Ward, which stretches through the city center.

 

Minami/Namba:  Four subway stops south of Umeda Station is Namba (also referred to as Minami, or South Osaka), with a cluster of stations serving subways, JR trains, and Kintetsu and Nankai lines, all of which are connected to one another via underground passageways. Here you will  find more hotels, Osaka's liveliest eating and entertainment district centered on a narrow street called Dotombori (also written Dotonbori), and major shopping areas such as  the enclosed pedestrian streets Shinsaibashi-Suji and America-Mura with imports from America. Farther south is Den Den Town, Osaka's electronics district; and Dogayasuji, famous for restaurant supplies. Connecting Kita-ku with Namba is Osaka's main street, Midosuji Dori, a wide boulevard lined with gingko trees and name-brand shops.

 

Area Around Tennoji Park:   At the south end of the JR Loop Line is Tennoji-ku, which was once a thriving temple town with Shitennoji Temple at its center. In addition to a park with a zoo, it is the site of Spa World, Japan's most luxurious public bathhouse.

 

Osaka Bay & Port:  West of the city around Osaka Bay is Universal Studios Japan and Universal CityWalk shopping and dining complex; Tempozan Harbour Village with its aquarium, shopping complex, and Suntory Museum; and domestic and international ferry terminals.

 

Attractions

Floating Garden Observatory (Kuchu Teien Tenbodai)

1-1-88 Oyodo-naka

Umeda Sky Building, Kita-ku, Near Osaka Station

06/6440-3901

Open Daily 10am-10:30pm

Take JR Osaka or Umeda (Central North exit of JR Osaka Station, 9 min.)

This observatory 557 feet in the air looks like a space ship floating between the two towers of the Umeda Sky Building. Take the super-fast glass elevator from the East Tower building's third floor; then take a glass-enclosed escalator that also bridges the two towers to the 39th floor. From the 39th floor you have an unparalleled view of all of Osaka, making it a popular nightspot for couples.

 

Museum of Oriental Ceramics (Toyotoji Bijutsukan)

1-1-26 Nakanoshima

Kita-ku, Near Osaka Station

06/6454-8600   

Transportation Station: Yodoyabashi or Kitahama (5 min.) 

Open Tues-Sun 9:30-5

This modern facility is about a 15-minute walk south of Osaka Station on Nakanoshima Island in the Dojima River.  Its 2,700-piece collection of Chinese, Korean, and Japanese ceramics ranks as one of the finest in the world. Built specifically for the collection, the museum dis[plays the collection  in darkened rooms that utilize natural light and computerized natural-light simulation. Korean celadon, Chinese ceramics from the Song and Ming dynasties and Arita ware from the Edo Period, are among the pieces on display.

 

Osaka Castle (Osaka-jo) 

Hours Daily 9am-5pm 

Address 1-1 Osakajo 

Chuo-ku, Around Osaka Castle 

Transportation: Osakajo-Koen on the JR Loop Line or Morinomiya (15 min.); or Temmabashi or Osaka Business Park (10 min.) 

06/6941-3044

First built in the 1580s on the order of Toyotomi Hideyoshi, Osaka Castle was the largest castle in Japan.  The present Osaka Castle dates from 1931 and was extensively renovated in 1997. Built of ferroconcrete, it's not as massive as the original but is still one of Japan's most famous castles and is impressive with its massive stone walls, black and gold-leaf trim, and copper roof. The donjon (keep) museum  describes the life and times of Toyotomi Hideyoshi and the history of the castle. There are displays of samurai armor and gear, a full-scale reproduction of Toyotomi's Gold Tea Room, and a model of Osaka Castle during the Toyotomi Era.

Built in Stone, Osaka Castle is famous for its stone fortifications, made with more than 500,000 granite stones. Five of these stones weigh more than 100 tons with the largest, nicknamed the Octopus Stone.

 

Osaka International Peace Center

2-1 Osakajo

Chuo-ku, Around Osaka Castle

06/6947-7208

Station: Morinomiya (3 min.) or Osakajo-Koen (8 min.)       

Hours Tues-Sun 9:30am-5pm 

Closed on days following national holidays and last day of each month

Located on the southern edge of Osaka Castle Park, this museum strives for global peace by educating present and future generations about the horrors of war, related by those who survived it. Unlike other museums in Japan dedicated to peace, including those in Hiroshima and Nagasaki,  this one does not shy away from Japan's role in the Asian conflict, including its war campaign in China, the abduction of Koreans to work in dangerous areas, and massacres committed by Japanese in Singapore, Malaysia, and elsewhere.

Its main focus is on wartime death and destruction, with personal testimonies of air raid survivors (15,000 people died during World War II air raids on Osaka), displays centering on the suicide attacks by kamikaze pilots at the end of the war, graphic photographs of Hiroshima and Nagasaki after the atomic bombs were dropped, and a section devoted to the horrors of the Auschwitz concentration camp

  

Shitennoji Temple

Shitennoji 1-11-18 

Tennoji-ku, Around Tennoji

06/6771-0066

Station: Shitennoji-mae Yuhigaoka (exit 4, 5 min.); or JR Tennoji (north exit, 10 min.) 

Temple grounds open 24 hr.; garden daily 10-4.

Founded 1,400 years ago as the first officially established temple in Japan, Shitennoji Temple is the spiritual heart of Osaka. It was constructed in 593 by Prince Shotoku, who is credited with introducing Buddhism to Japan. Through the centuries, the buildings have been faithfully reconstructed exactly as they were in the 6th century, with the Main Gate, the five-story Buddhist Pagoda, the Main Golden Hall, and the Lecture Hall all on a north-south axis. Prince Shotoku, remains a revered, popular figure. There is also a turtle sanctuary and a newly restored Japanese landscape garden, first laid out during the Tokugawa regime.  It has  meandering streams, and a waterfall.

 

Spa World

Daily 10am-9am 

3-2-24 Ebisu-higashi 

Naniwa-ku. Next to festivalgate, Around Tennoji

06/6631-0001

Station: Shin-Imamiya or Dobutsuenmae (2 min.). Next to festival gate 

This enormous bath house can accommodate up to 5,000 people and draws upon hot springs brought up from 2,970 feet below the earth's surface. On its roof, is a covered swimming complex that includes a pool, a slide, a wave pool, a sunning terrace, and a wading pool (rental swim suits available). The rest of the large complex is divided into themed, geographical bathing zones, which are rotated between the sexes and include luxurious locker rooms. At the Asian Zone, for example, Middle Eastern music and tiled mosaics set the tone for the Turkish bath, while China is represented by a medicinal bath. Massage is also available.

 

Suntory Museum

1-5-10 Kaigan-dori 

Minato-ku, Osaka Bay Area 

06/6577-0001  

Station: Osakako (5 min.)

Museum Tues-Sun 10:30am-7:30pm; IMAX Tues-Sun 11am-7pm (last show)    

The Suntory Museum, which you can tour in about 30 minutes, is that fantastically modern-looking structure you see near the aquarium, designed by well-known architect Tadao Ando. It stages changing exhibitions in airy rooms against a dramatic background of the sea beyond its glass walls. Past exhibits have included posters by Toulouse-Lautrec, paintings by German expressionists, and glass by Emile Gallé; call or check the Meet Osaka quarterly for current information. There's also a 3-D IMAX theater with scenes so real you'll swear those fish on the screen are about to swim into your lap, a good museum shop, the Sky Lounge (perfect for taking a break), and a restaurant.

 


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