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Osaka, Japan City Info
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Population:  Osaka Prefecture:  8,815,757   City of Osaka:  2.6 million.

Time Zone:  The time is 13 hours ahead of EST time in New York City.  Daylight Saving Time is not observed.  

Telephone:  International country code: + 81 (Japan);  Area code: 6

 

Average Temperatures:

 

 Month  

   High

 Low

January  

   53F  

  40F

February

   53F

  40F

March  

   59F  

  45F

April  

   66F

  54F  

May  

   72F

  62F  

June  

   76F

  67F 

July  

   83F

  75F  

August  

   85F  

  77F

September  

   82F

  72F

October  

   73F

  63F

November  

   66F

  54F

December  

   58F

  45F

 

Local Seasons: Osaka has a relatively mild climate with four distinct seasons. The average daily temperature, which varies from 42 F in the winter to 86 F in the summer, is 61.3 F. Average precipitation peaks during the rainy season, which is usually between late June and late July, and in September during typhoon season.

 

Holidays

January 1 - New Year's Day (Ganjitsu)

The second Monday in January - Adult's Day (Seijin-no hi)

February 11 - National Founding Day (Kenkoku Kinen-no hi)

March 20 or 21 - Vernal Equinox (Shunbun-no hi)

April 29 - Greenery Day (Midori-no hi)

May 3 - Constitution Memorial Day (Kenpou Kinenbi)

May 4 - National People's Day (Kokumin-no Kyuujitsu)

May 5 - Children's Day (Kodomo-no hi)

July 20 - Marine Day (Umi-no hi)

September 15 - Respect-for-the-Aged Day (Keirou-no hi)

September 23 or 24 - Autumnal Equinox (Shuubun-no hi)

The second Monday in October - Health/Sports Day (Taiiku-no hi)

November 3 - Culture Day (Bunka-no hi)

November 23 - Labor Thanksgiving Day (Kinrou Kansha-no hi)

December 23 - Emperor's Birthday (Tennou Tanjoubi)

 

Getting There

By Air

Osaka's Kansai International Airport (KIX; tel. 0724/ 55-2500) receives both domestic and international flights.

 

Getting Around

From Kansai Airport

Visitor Information: (At the Airport) The Kansai Tourist Information Center (tel. 0724/56-6025; open daily 9am-9pm) is near the south end of the International Arrivals Lobby. The multilingual staff can help with general travel information about Japan and brochures and maps.

 

Arriving at KIX :  Constructed on a huge synthetic island  3 miles off the mainland in Osaka Bay and connected to the city by a six-lane highway and two-rail line bridge, this 24-hour airport boasts the latest in technology.   Glass elevators carry passengers to the four floors of the complex in an atrium setting, touch screens provide information in many languages, and if you arrive on an international flight, you'll board the driverless, computer-controlled Wing Shuttle to get to the central terminal. Signs are clear and abundant, and facilities include restaurants, shops, a post office (2nd floor south, near JAL counter; open daily 8am-7pm), ATMs that accept foreign credit cards, a children's playroom in the international departure area (free of charge), the Kanku Lounge with Internet access (2nd floor north; (open daily 9am-9pm), and dental and medical clinics.

 

Getting from KIX to Osaka:  Taxis are very expensive. Easiest, especially if you have luggage, is the Kansai Airport Transportation Enterprise (tel. 0724/61-1374), which provides bus service to major stations and hotels in Osaka. Tickets can be purchased at counters in the arrival lobby. Another bus service, the OCAT Shuttle 880 (tel. 06/6635-3030), travels from KIX to the Osaka City Air Terminal (a downtown bus station for shuttle buses going to the airport

 

If you're taking the train into Osaka (stations: Osaka, Tennoji, or Shin-Osaka) or even farther to Kyoto,  walk through KIX's second-floor connecting concourse (baggage carts are designed to go on escalators and as far as train ticket gates) and board the limited express JR Haruka, which travels to Tennoji and Shin-Osaka stations before continuing to Kyoto.. Slower is the JR rapid (JR Kanku Kaisoku), which travels from the airport to Tennoji and Osaka stations before continuing to Kobe.

If you a have a Japan Rail Pass, you can ride these trains for free. Exchange your voucher at the Kansai Airport (rail) Station on the third floor (open daily 5:30am-11pm).

 

Next to the JR trains in the same station at the airport is the private Nankai Line, which has three types of trains to Namba Nankai Station. The  rapi:t a (pronounced rapito alpha) train reaches Namba in 30 minutes. There is one train an hour.  The rapi:t b (rapito beta) at the same price stops at more stations, including Sakai, and takes 35 minutes. You can also take an ordinary Nankai Express Line and reach Namba in 45 minutes.

 

Itami Airport:  The terminus of domestic flights,.( 06/6856-6781), north of the city. Buses connect to various parts of Osaka; to Osaka Station, the ride takes 25 minutes.

By Train:  Osaka is 2 3/4 hours from Tokyo by Shinkansen bullet train; tickets are ¥13,240 ($110) for an unreserved seat (the Nozomi Shinkansen is more expensive). All Shinkansen bullet trains arrive at Shin-Osaka Station at the city's northern edge. To get from Shin-Osaka Station to Osaka Station and other points south, use the most convenient public transportation, the Midosuji Line subway; the subway stop at Osaka Station is called Umeda Station. JR trains also make runs between Shin-Osaka and Osaka stations.

 

If you haven't turned in your voucher for your Japan Rail Pass yet, you can do so at Osaka Station's or Shin-Osaka Station's Green Windows (open daily 5:30am-11pm), as well as at Osaka Station's Travel Information Satellite (TiS) on the main floor (daily 10am-7pm, to 6pm Sun and holidays) and at the Shin-Osaka Station's TiS on the second floor (daily 7am-8pm).

 

If you're arriving in Osaka from Kobe or Kyoto, the commuter lines, which will deliver you directly to Osaka Station in the heart of the city, are more convenient than the Shinkansen, which will deposit you at out-of-the-way Shin-Osaka Station from which you can take a taxi to the city center.

 

By Bus:   JR night buses depart from both Tokyo (Yaesu exit; tel. 03/3215-1468) and Shinjuku (new south exit; tel. 03/5379-0874) stations several times nightly, arriving at Osaka Station the next morning. The trip from Tokyo takes about 8 hours and costs ¥8,610 ($80). Cheaper yet are JR day buses from Tokyo Station to Osaka Station costing ¥6,000 ($50), and once-a-night JR buses from both Tokyo and Shinjuku stations costing only ¥5,000 ($42). Tickets can be bought at any major JR station or at a travel agency.

 

Osaka has many signs and directions in English. The exception is Osaka Station, used for JR trains, and its adjoining Umeda Station, used by subway lines and private railway lines Hankyu and Hanshin. Underground passages and shopping arcades complicate navigation, but someone you meet will speak English and will guide you in the right direction. 

 

When exploring by foot, it helps to know that most roads running east and west end in "dori," while roads running north and south end in "suji," which means "avenue."

 

By Subway:   Osaka's user-friendly subway network is easy to use because all lines are color-coded and the station names are in English (even announcements are in English on many lines). The red Midosuji Line is the most important one for visitors; it passes through Shin-Osaka Station and on to Umeda (the subway station next to Osaka Station), Shinsaibashi, Namba, and Tennoji.

 

Consider purchasing a One Day Pass which allows unlimited rides on subways and buses all day. On the 20th of each month (or on the following day if the 20th falls on a Sun or holiday) and every Friday, this pass costs less and offers slight discounts to several attractions. For trips outside Osaka, the Surutto Kansai Card (Kansai Thru Pass) allows you to ride subways and buses in Osaka, Kyoto, Nara, and Kobe, with a 2-day pass.  Children pay half price.

 

By JR Train:   A Japan Railways train called the Osaka Kanjo Line, or JR Loop Line, passes through Osaka Station and makes a loop around the central part of the city (similar to the Yamanote Line in Tokyo); take it to visit Osaka Castle.

 

News for Visitors

To find out what's going on in Osaka, pick up a copy of Kansai Time Out, a monthly magazine with information on sightseeing, festivals, restaurants, and other items of interest pertaining to Osaka, Kobe, and Kyoto. It can be found at bookstores, restaurants, tourist information offices, and places frequented by English-speaking tourists, and it's sometimes available for free at major hotels

Consulates:  Several embassies maintain consulates in Osaka, including Australia (tel. 06/6941-9271 or 06/6941-9448); Canada (tel. 06/6212-4910); Great Britain (tel. 06/6120-5600); and the United States (tel. 06/6315-5900).

 

Internet Access:  Internet access is available at two locations inside Osaka Station:   (1) Kinko's, on the north concourse, between the east and central passages and across from JTB (tel. 06/6442-3700), is open daily 7am to 10:30pm  (2) Nearby, up a narrow flight of stairs, is the X-Time Internet cafe (tel. 06/6341-8222).

Mail:  The Central Post Office, or Osaka Chuo Yubinkyoku (tel. 06/6347-8006), a minute's walk west of Osaka Station, is open 24 hours for mail. For postal service information in English, call 06/6944-6245 Monday to Saturday 9:30am to 4:30pm.


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