Historically a merchant city, Osaka has also been known as the "nation's kitchen" (天下の台所 tenka no daidokoro) and served as a center for the rice trade during the Edo period. Osaka is located in the second largest metropolitan area of Japan.
Tsūtenkaku (literally "Tower Reaching Heaven") is a tower and well-known landmark of Osaka and advertises Hitachi. Its total height is 103 m; the main observation deck is at a height of 91 m. The current tower is the second to occupy the site. The original tower, patterned after the Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triomphe, was built in 1912. At the time of its construction, its height of 64 meters made it the second tallest structure in Asia. It quickly became one of the most popular locations in the city, drawing visitors from all over the area. Today, the tower is also famous for its neon lights, which change every few years. The neon lights have now been replaced by LED lighting, showing a different color set for every two months (e.g. pink for cherry blossom in March/April). The tower can be easily accessed by a few JR and municipal subway lines.
Known colloquially as "Den-Den Town," Nipponbashi is known for its many shops which specialize in furniture, tools, and "otaku" interests such as electronics, anime, manga, and collectibles. Nipponbashi is often compared to Akihabara Electric Town, its equivalent (in terms of focus) in Tokyo. During the Edo period, this district was known as a stage called Nagamachi. During the Meiji and Taishō periods, many second-hand bookshops opened there. After World War II, many consumer electronics stores were opened, and it became well known as Den Den Town. The town also features numerous maid cafes and cosplay cafes. These include small and simple maid-themed coffee shops, maid-staffed massage and beautician services, and sit-down style full service cabarets.
This 190 year old marketplace is a very popular area known by locals as "Gastronome" and "Osaka's Kitchen". Rich in history and tradition, it is lined with about 150 shops selling fish, meat, vegetables, and traditional Japanese treats of all sorts.
Dōtonbori is one of the principal tourist destinations in the city running along the Dōtonbori canal. Historically a theater district, it is now a popular nightlife and entertainment area characterized by its eccentric atmosphere and large illuminated signboards. One of the area's most prominent features, a billboard for confectionery company Glico displaying the image of a runner crossing a finishing line, is seen as an icon of Osaka within Japan. Dōtonbori traces its history back to 1612, when a local entrepreneur, Yasui Dōton, began expanding the tiny Umezu River. Today, the area boasts a number of well known restaurants offering a range of traditional and modern Japanese dishes.
Shinsaibashi is the city's main shopping area and a popular tourist destination. At its center is Shinsaibashi-suji, a covered shopping street. Associated with Shinsaibashi, and west of Mido-suji street, is Amerika-mura, an American-themed shopping area and center of Osaka's youth culture. Like many place names in Osaka, the Shinsaibashi shopping district gets its name from one of the many "Machi-bashi" (town bridges) that were built and managed by the local merchants. Shinsaibashi was a much loved, landmark bridge that spanned the Nagahori-gawa canal. In 1873 the original wooden bridge was replaced with an arched truss iron bridge that was imported from Germany. In 1973, to commemorate its 100th anniversary, the German-made iron bridge was reconstructed and is now a pedestrian overpass in Tsurumi Ryokuchi Park.
The Shitenno-ji is sometimes regarded as the first Buddhist and oldest officially administered temple in Japan, although the temple buildings have been rebuilt over the centuries. Original site dates back to 593 and most of the present structures are from when the temple was last completely rebuilt in 1963. The Shitennō are believed to be four heavenly kings. The temple Prince Shōtoku built to honor them had four institutions, each to help the Japanese attain a higher level of civilization. The temple is a 5-minute walk from Shitennoji-mae Yuhigaoka Station on the Osaka Municipal Subway Tanimachi Line.
It is a contemporary museum with exhibits detailing Osaka's history from ancient times when Osaka served as Japan's first capital and site of the Naniwa Palace to the present day. It also holds exhibits on the city's bustling shopping arcades of the early Showa Period. The building offers excellent views of the Osaka Castle from its top floors.
Completed in 1597, the castle is one of Japan's most famous landmarks and it played a major role in the unification of Japan during the sixteenth century of the Azuchi-Momoyama period. The 60,000 square meter castle grounds contain thirteen structures that have been designated as important cultural assets by the Japanese government. The central castle building is five stories on the outside and eight stories on the inside, and built atop a tall stone foundation to protect its occupants from attackers. Under the Meiji government, Osaka Castle became part of the Osaka Army Arsenal manufacturing guns, ammunition, and explosives for Japan's rapidly expanding Western-style military. A major restoration took place in 1997.
The park is the first public park opened by Osaka in 1891, after its foundation as a city. It is located on the Nakanoshima sandbank, lying between Dōjima and Tosabori Rivers. The park houses several public facilities. The Osaka Central Public Hall, established in 1911, is Neo-Renaissance architecture and regarded as a nationally Important Cultural Property. The Osaka Prefectural Nakanoshima Library, established in 1904, is housed in an impressive Neo-Baroque building. The park also holds a rose garden.
This art museum holds ceramic collections that are regarded as one of the best in the world. It collects, studies, conserves, exhibits and interprets East Asian ceramics, which mainly came from ancient China and Korea. The world-famous Ataka Collection, donated by the 21 companies of the Sumitomo Group, as well as the Rhee Byung-Chang Collection, provide the public an aesthetic experience with first-class collection.
This skyscraper consists of two 40-story towers that connect at their two uppermost stories, with bridges and an escalator crossing the wide atrium-like space in the center. It is one of the city's most recognizable landmarks. The building features a rooftop observatory, the Floating Garden Observatory, as well as an underground market that attempts to recreate the atmosphere of Osaka in the early 20th century. At the base of the towers is an urban garden with walking trails and water features.