Osaka is located on Honshu (Main Island), roughly in the center of Japan. Osaka City, which was incorporated in 1889, has a population of 2.6 million and an area of 221 square kilometers. Osaka Prefecture, which includes Osaka City (its capital) and 42 other municipalities, has a population of 8.8 million and a total land mass of about 1,890 square kilometers. Although Osaka is Japan's second smallest prefecture by size, its population represents 7% of the entire nation, making it the second most populous prefecture after Tokyo. Furthermore, 15.6% of all non-Japanese residents live in Osaka.
Osaka historically functions as one of the command centers for the Japanese economy. The city has been known as “the commercial capital of Japan”. Osaka used to be referred to as the "nation's kitchen" (tenka no daidokoro) because it was the centre of trading for rice, creating the first modern future exchange market in the world.
The greater Osaka Metropolitan Area covers a total of 7,800 square kilometers within a radius of 50 to 60 km from the center of Osaka. The population exceeds 17 million, making it one of the biggest metropolitan areas in the world.
Roughly 40 minutes' travel will take you to many of Osaka's famous neighboring cities, such as: Kyoto, the ancient capital; Nara, with numerous world heritage sites; Kobe, the fashionable, modern port city; and Wakayama, a nearby castle town.
Osaka's summertime climate is generally hot and muggy, with June the rainiest month. Cooling breezes are rare.
Average Temperature in Osaka :
|Highest||97 deg F/ 36 deg C||84 deg F/ 29 deg C|
|Lowest||75 deg F/ 24 deg C||68 deg F/ 20 deg C|
Japan Standard Time (UTC +9)
9 hours ahead of London, 14 hours ahead of New York and 17 hours ahead of Los Angeles.*
*The differences vary depending on Daylight Saving Time.
Foreign currencies can be exchanged at banks and money exchange facilities located in airports. Major bank branches also offer the exchange, however, the banks close at 3 pm in Japan, and operate only week-days (Mon - Fri).
Japanese electrical current is 100V AC, a voltage that is pretty much unique to the world. Osaka is on 60 Hz. Most electrical items from other parts of the world will function reasonably well on Japanese current.
Plugs are identical to the two-pin type in North America. Appliances with three-pin plugs will require an adapter.
JR (Japan Railway Company) operates high-speed trains called "Shinkansen". Shin-Osaka Station is the Shinkansen terminal in Osaka. This station is connected to Osaka Station at Umeda by the JR Kyoto Line and the subway Midosuji Line. All Shinkansen trains including Nozomi stop at Shin-Osaka Station and provide access to other major cities in Japan, such as Kyoto, Nagoya, Yokohama and Tokyo to the east, and Kobe, Okayama, Hiroshima, Kitakyushu and Fukuoka to the west.
Connects most parts of the Kansai area (Osaka, Kyoto, Kobe, Nara and so on).
Several private railways run to/from and through Osaka City, such as Hankyu, Hanshin, Keihan, Kintetsu and Nankai.
Available in Osaka, Kyoto and Kobe. Useful when traveling within cities.
Tickets are purchased at ticket machines near the gates. Refer to the price list next to the machine (usually listed in both Japanese and English). The machine takes only cash hardly takes credit cards.
Kita means "north" in Japanese. Kita Section of Osaka, which is located at the north end of Mido-Suji Avenue, is the northern center of the city. It's a busy, trendy and very high-energy district.
JR Osaka Area
Minami, "south" in Japanese, is a conglomeration of several distinct areas. This area is very energetic and a pulsing entertainment district.
Namba Sta. on the Subway Midosuji Line (Take exit No.14)
Approximately 10 min. from Osaka (Umeda) Station.
Osaka Castle, which is a famous landmark, a popular sightseeing spot, and the symbol of Osaka.
Osakajo-Koen (Osaka Castle Park) Sta. on the JR loop line (Take exit No.1 or 3)
Osakajo-Koen Station is 4-station (Approximately 10 min.) away from JR Osaka Sta.
Universal Studios Japan:
There is a variety of exciting theme rides and shows inspired by world famous movies, animations and comic series spread out among nine distinctly designed areas offering unique experiences.
Universal City Sta. on the JR Yumesaki Line
Universal City Sta. is Approximately 12-min. away from Osaka Sta.
<FOOD CULTURE in OSAKA>
It's said that the people of Osaka are happy and openhearted.
Since ancient times, the best of the land and sea has found its way to the great city, spawning Osaka's "kuidaore" (eat until you drop) culture, and creating countless excellent places to eat.
A varied range of culinary masterpieces can trace their origins to Osaka. They include such standard fare as tako-yaki, okonomi-yaki, kitsune udon noodles and other "konamon" (flour-based foods) on the low end to tecchiri and sushi on the high end.
<TRADITIONAL CULTURE in OSAKA, BUNRAKU>
Osaka is the birthplace of Bunraku, the most surprising and exciting puppet theater in the world.
The large puppets are usually manipulated by three puppeteers, and such close control gives them the power to display an extraordinary human-like expressiveness.
In November 2003, UNESCO declared Bunraku a World Heritage, a masterpiece of the oral and intangible inheritance of humanity.
|Osaka City Website|
|Osaka Convention & Tourism Bureau|
|Japan National Tourism Organization|