You will rarely see Osaka at the top of the list of cities to visit in Japan, unlike Tokyo and Kyoto, eg. Osaka may not be the place with the most and biggest tourist attractions, but it is the right place, if you want to immerse yourself and explore the culture of Japan. The hospitality of the locals will surprise you, the food will fascinate you, and the city will captivate you with its warm atmosphere and uninterrupted life. In this article we will tell you about the most interesting places and experiences in Osaka.
The castle is one of the favorite places of tourists in Osaka, along with the park around it, and is an attractive place for both, who want to learn more about history, so for everyone, who are looking for just tranquility and beautiful views in the park. The central tower, high 55 meters, is the most recognizable part of the castle. There is a museum inside, and at the top there is an observation platform, from which to admire the views of the city.
The first castle was built in between 1583 r. and 1585 r. by Toyotomi Hideyoshi, known as "Japan's second unifier", military leader and adviser to the emperor and de facto ruler of the country from 1582 to 1598 r. Hideyoshi expanded the castle many times, and in his time the city became an important center of trade and politics. The castle was later destroyed in the wars at the beginning of 17 century, rebuilt in 1620 g., destroyed by fire, caused by lightning through 1665 r. In its present form it has been restored in 1931 r. and renovated several more times thereafter, as it was damaged by bombings during World War II and then by a typhoon in 1950 r. However, continues to preserve the history of Osaka.
The museum in the castle is located on eight floors and shows various objects, related to the history of the city. You can see historical artifacts, paintings, samurai costumes, which you can even try. There is also a model of the city from 16 century. On the eighth floor is the observation platform, where you can also find souvenir shops.
The park of the castle covers an area of over two square kilometers and is covered with lush meadows, vegetables, sport facilities. On the territory of the park is the sanctuary Toyokuni, built in 1599 g., as well as the Nishinomaru Garden, which in the spring is one of the most beautiful places to watch the blossoming cherries.
Osaka is home to the oldest official temple in Japan - Shitennoji (Shitennoji). It was founded in 593 r. from Prince Shotoku Taishi, who played a leading role in the introduction of Buddhism in Japan. The temple is named after the four heavenly kings in Buddhism, who protect the world from evil. The prince prayed to these kings during the war, and when the war was over, decided to build the temple in gratitude. Although the temple has a long history, most of the buildings have been repeatedly destroyed and rebuilt and the current ones are from the 60s and 70s of the last century.
Sumiyoshi Taisha is Osaka's most famous shrine and is located in a quiet neighborhood in the south of the city. It has a long history and is present in many literary works, including Nobel Laureate in Literature Yasunari Kawabata. During the three-day New Year's holidays there gather over 2 million visitors.
The sanctuary of Tusyu-no-Tenjinja has a history of 1300 years, and today it is an attractive place for couples in love and visitors, who pray for love and success. One of the most romantic places in Osaka, where various exhibitions are often organized, theatrical performances and festivals.
Hozenji Temple is small, but interesting and located in the lively area of Dotonbori, known for its neon lights, bars and restaurants. Crossing the threshold of the temple is like stepping out of the modern world and entering the past. This is most noticeable at night, when the lanterns of the temple illuminate its courtyard it creates a magical atmosphere.
The Dotonbori area is the place, where to go have fun or just eat and drink after a cultural tour. There you will find bars with neon lights, huge illuminated advertisements, many restaurants and bars. The area is located around the Dotonbori Canal and the Dotonbori Street parallel to its southern shore.. This is one of the most colorful areas of Osaka and a must see.
If you love theater and want to get acquainted with Japanese theatrical arts, Osaka is one of the best places. As we mentioned before, this is the place to enjoy Japanese culture and this is true for theaters.
But Theater is the oldest form of Japanese drama theater, created back in 14 century. This is also one of the most mysterious genres, developed on the basis of ancient rituals, which shows the connections between the physical and the spiritual. It is very different from the usual western theater, which we are used to. There is almost no decor on the stage, the actors do not show emotions with their faces, and wear masks, and the whole action is based on symbols. The performances are beautiful, but quite difficult to understand even if you are one of the more impatient tourists, loving the dynamics, you may find it a little strange. It is always useful to read the story and the plot before the play, to better understand what is happening on stage. Nowadays, however, it is not the most popular theater, but there are at least three places in Osaka, where such performances are performed - Osaka Nogaku Kaikan, Ohtsuki Noh Theater, Yamamoto Noh Theater.
Another traditional genre is bunraku - a complex form of puppet theater, which, along with No and Kabuki, is one of the three largest theatrical traditions in Japan. This form was developed in Osaka in 17 century as entertainment for ordinary people. Today, the best place to watch such a theater is the National Bunraku Theater in Osaka – National Bunraku Theater.
For the third traditional genre - Kabuki - it is best to visit the Osaka Shochikuza Theater in the Dotonbori area.. This neo-renaissance theater was opened for the first time in 1923 r. and was created in the likeness of the Milan Rock. He has over 1000 seats on three floors and it plays like traditional kabuki performances, and contemporary dramas, comedy, musicals and opera performances.
The first concert hall in Japan is located in Osaka, built specifically for western performances. Symphony Hall is open in 1982 g., has amazing acoustics and is considered one of the best concert halls in the world.
Osaka is home to the tallest building in Japan - the 3,000-meter Abeno Harukas Tower (Abeno Harukas). She has 62 floors, as the latter you can climb and enjoy the view of the city. As in other similar places around the world, there is a large shopping center in the tower, hotel, souvenir shops and restaurants.
Umeda Sky is another very attractive tall building in Tokyo, composed of two connected towers. She is tall 173 meters and, of course, you can also go up to the top floor and enjoy the view from above. Next to it is the huge shopping center HEP FIVE, which is remarkable for its red Ferris wheel on the roof.
Tsutenkaku Tower (Tsutenkaku) is of a different type and is a top attraction in the Shinsekai district, one of the older entertainment districts in Osaka, in which today you can find hundreds of cheap shops and places to eat. The original tower was built in 1912 r. and looked like the Eiffel Tower, placed on the Arc de Triomphe. It quickly became a favorite attraction of tourists, who took a lift up to it. She, however, was damaged by fire in 1943 r. and has been replaced by the current tower, built in 1956 r. She is tall 103 meters.
If you are a fan of museums, in Osaka you can find a history museum, art galleries and art museums, coin museum, a natural history museum and even a museum of oriental ceramics.
Universal Studios Japan Theme Park is one of Osaka's favorite places to visit. In it you will find entertainment for young and old, like trains of horror, carousels for children, performances with monsters and colorful dance and music performances.
Another very interesting place is the Kaiyukan Aquarium, one of the largest aquariums in the world and certainly the most impressive aquarium in Japan. To go around it, you need at least two hours, but you will see thousands of species of aquatic and amphibian inhabitants, including penguins and sharks.
The most attractive seasons to visit Japan are spring and autumn due to the flowering of cherries and colorful autumn colors..
Summer is hot and humid, and the winter is pleasantly mild and you won't regret it, if you choose one of these seasons
This article was written with the assistance of BulTravel and Agent Express EOOD.
Author : Ivan Rashkov
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