Osaka – One of the Most Amazing Places in Japan

Osaka Museum of Housing and Living
Osaka Museum of Housing and Living

Osaka is a Japanese city that is situated on Osaka Bay at the entrance to Yodo River. The city covers an area of eighty-six square miles and has a population of over two million and six hundred thousand resident. An interesting fact about the city of Osaka is that there is a stark difference between its evening population and its daytime population. During the evening the population is over two and a half million residents and during the daytime hours, the population of Osaks swells to almost four million residents. This variance is due to the large influx of people entering the city for work.

The Gross Domestic Product of the city exceeds twenty-one billion Japanese Yen a year. The major economic sectors of the city can be divided into three main industries which include commerce, services and manufacturing. Commerce accounts for thirty percent of Osaka’s GDP, while services account for twenty-six percent and manufacturing account for eleven percent. The Gross Domestic Product of the larger Osaka area is over three hundred and forty-one billion U.S. dollar. According to a recent study done by an American research team, the city of Osaka is the eight most expensive city in the world.

Osaka is a modern city that has an incredible selection of wholesale and retail shops. As of 2009, there were over twenty-five thousand wholesale outlets and thirty-four thousand retail shops in the city. These outlets cover all different kinds of shopping venues and goods including traditional Western malls, shotengai shopping strips and Tenjinbashi-Suji arcades. Osaka shopping districts include American Village (popular among young Japanese), Namba (a tourist and restaurant centered district), Shinsaibashi (providing exclusive and expensive luxury products), Umeda (entertainment district containing boutiques, theaters and department stores) and Dotonbori (considered to be the main shopping district of the city). Osaka is also a city that is in love with its annual festivals. Some of the more prominent festivals in the city include the Toka-Ebisu, the Osaka European Film Festival, Aizen-Matsuri, Tenjin-Matsuri and Shoryo-e.

Osaka is a culturally rich city that contains many different attractions available to visitors. One of the more popular attractions is the Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan. This aquarium is one of the largest of its kind in the world and is situated in the Minato Ward of the city, near Osaka Bay. It features many exhibits that are spread over sixteen tanks, with the largest tank containing over sixteen thousand cubic feet of water and filled with a diverse collection of manta rays, sharks and fish. All of the aquarium tanks combined contain over three hundred metric tons of acrylic glass. One of the tanks in the aquarium has a pane of glass that measures eighteen feet by fifteen feet and weighs approximately ten tons. Animals housed at this aquarium include Pacific Whitesided Dolphins, California Sea Lions, Harbor Seals, King Penguins, Sea Otters, Gentoo Penguins, Sunfish, Rockhopper Penguin and Whale Sharks. Other features around the aquarium include a market, Ferris wheel, reproduction of the Santa Maria and Suntory Museum.

Another popular attraction in the city is Universal Studios Japan. This amusement park is very similar to the Universal Studio in Orlando, and in fact has many of the same rides. Most of the tourists to this attraction come from other parts of Japan or from other parts of Asia such as Taiwan, China and South Korea. This park has nine distinct themed areas which include New York, San Francisco, Hollywood, Snoopy Studios, Jurassic Park, Land of Oz, Lagoon, Water World and Amity Village. Rides in the park include “The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man”, “Back to the Future”, “Jurassic Park The Ride”, ”Magical Oz-Go-Round”, ”Sesame Street 4-D Movie Magic”, ”Snoopy’s Sound Stage Adventure”, ”Universal Monsters Live Rock and Roll Show”, ”Waterworld: A Live Sea War Spectacular” and ”Space Fantasy The Ride”.

A popular attraction in the city for tourists is the Umeda Sky Building. This forty story building is one of the most recognizable symbols of Osaka. The building rises five hundred and sixty-eight feet above the city and was designed by Hiroshi Hara in 1993. On the roof is an observatory call the Floating Garden Observatory and in the base of the building is an underground market. At the base of the tower is a garden that is complete with water features and walking trails.

Not to be missed during any visit to Osaka is the National Museum of Art. This is a subterranean art museum that is situated on an island between the Tosabori and Dojima Rivers called Nakanoshima. The museum is located in a building that is a work of art in and of itself. The design of the building is intended to represent reeds being blown by the wind. On the main floor are temporary exhibits and most of the rest of the museum is located beneath ground. Artists represent in the collection located here include Pablo Picasso, Yasuo Kuniyoshi, Paul Cezanne, Boris Mikhailov, Tsuguharu Foujita, Ryuji Miyamoto, Miyako Ishiuch, Max Ernst and Leiko Ikemura.

Other attractions in the city of Osaka include Osaka Museum of Housing and Living, Nanba Grand Kagetsu, Sakuya Konohanakan, Chayamachi Neighborhood, Dotonbori Neighborhood, Kitashinchi Nightlife Area, Namba Parks, Japan Mint Osaka Branch, Tennoji Park, Takoyaki Museum, Ebisu Bridge, Osaka Castle, Tsutenkaku Tower, National Bunraku Theater, Kyobashi Station, WTC Cosmo Tower, Shitennoji Temple, Umeda Station, Tennoji Zoo, Osaka Castle Park, Osaka Science and Technology Museum, Osaka Station, Abikosan Taishokannonji Temple, Tempozan Harbor Village, Tsuruhashi Station, Hanjotei Comic Theater, Osaka City Central Hall, Acty Osaka Observation Deck, Tempozan Ferris Wheel, Kitahama Retro Building, Hep Five Ferris Wheel, Osaka Business Park, Yodoyabashi Station, Tennoji Station, Joypolis, Nakanoshima, Flower Expo Memorial Park Tsurumi Ryokuchi, Sumiyoshi-taisha Shrine, Osaka Shki Theater, Osaka Tenmangu Shrine, Kyobashi Station, Isshinji Temple, Don Quixote Ferris Wheel, Museum of Oriental Ceramics, Japan Folk Crafts Museum, Municipal Museum of Fine Art, Umeda Sauna New Japan, Osaka Hotel, Osaka Maritime Museum, Nipponbashi Denden Town, Creeds Hotel, Japan Broadcasting Corporation BK Plaza and Yamamoto Nohgakudo Hall.