Holidays to Osaka
The down-to-earth, hard-working Japanese city of Osaka is a refreshing contrast to the frenzied feel of Tokyo. Osaka holidays are much more about living like a local than sightseeing; there is far more to see in its street markets and bustling alleys. That’s not to say that there are no other attractions; Osaka Castle and the aquarium are both worth a visit. Osaka holidays are not complete without plenty of eating. This city is famous for its food; many of Japan’s delicacies originated there and it also invented conveyor-belt sushi which is now enjoyed around the world. Get out into the streets after dark to try as much as you can of what Osaka has to offer.
Eating and drinking
The Umeda and Dotonbori districts are the best places to try Osaka’s wealth of mouth-watering food. The city’s motto is “eat yourself into ruin” and these areas are ideal for giving it a try. Experimental foodies will love Okonomiyaki, savoury pancakes which are usually served in a do-it-yourself style at small, independent restaurants. Tables have in-built hot plates and you will be provided with a bowl of ingredients. Kushikatsu is also a popular meal; these meat or vegetable skewers are deep-fried in dough and served with tonkatsu sauce.
The nightlife in Osaka is centred on the same areas as the food scene. These entertainment districts are brightly lit and buzz with excitement 24 hours a day. For an upmarket night out, head to the Kitashinchi area which has many high-class clubs and bars designed to impress.
Osaka has a rich and complex history, which is told engagingly at the city’s many museums. The Osaka Museum of History is built on the site of the former Naniwa Palace and the ruins are visible through the glass floor of the basement. The Museum of Housing and Living lets you explore a life-sized replica of an 1830s Osaka neighbourhood, while the open-air Museum of Old Japanese Farmhouses is far more interesting that its name might suggest.
The 16th-century castle was renovated in the 1930s and its striking form dominates the skyline. The surrounding grounds are particularly impressive in spring and autumn. The Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan is one of the best in the world. It holds marine life from all over the world in a series of tanks that let you get up close to whale sharks, manta rays, butterfly fish, Arctic otters and hundreds more.
Arts and culture
Visit the National Bunraku Theatre during your holiday to Osaka to experience the entrancing Japanese art of puppet theatre. Anyone interested in architecture will enjoy a visit to the Umeda Sky Building. This space-age structure has been named among the world’s top 20 buildings and offers panoramic views of the city from the 40th-storey observation deck.