When visiting Osaka, Japan, there is so much to see and do that you might find it impossible to include it all in just one trip. Start your visit by hitting these traditional highlights in Osaka, many of which are within close proximity to such luxury hotels as the InterContinental Osaka. After all, you’ll have the time to see more sights if you’re close to the action.
The View From the Top
Image via Flickr by nachans
A visit to Osaka isn’t complete without a ride on the popular HEP Five Ferris Wheel. A landmark in the Kita area, the red wheel on the HEP Five building provides riders with a scenic view of the city. During the 15-minute ride in a climate-controlled car, you can see the famous Akashi Kaikyo Bridge, Osaka Harbor, and even Mount Ikoma. If you’re planning to ride with your significant other, add some romance to your experience by visiting at sunset.
A Historic Visit
Explore one of Osaka’s top historic sites Osaka Castle. Originally constructed in 1583 by Hideyoshi Toyotomi, the current castle is actually the third installment on the site, after the first two were destroyed in 1615 and 1868. Today, visitors can tour the castle, where they can explore the history of Osaka through a number of exhibits and artifacts inside the museum. Be sure to visit the observation deck on the top floor, where you can take in views of the park grounds. If possible, plan your visit during the spring, when you can see the park’s 4,500 cherry trees in full bloom.
A Night in the Spotlight
Opened in 1984, the National Bunraku Theatre is the place to see Japanese puppet theater. Listed as an example of World Intangible Culture Heritage by UNESCO, this spot showcases one of Japan’s most popular theater styles. It features elaborate puppets and sets along with music from the shamisen, a three-stringed instrument. If you don’t speak Japanese, you might get lost in the dialogue, but the puppetry will still capture your interest and imagination.
Enjoy Osaka’s Natural Side
The first public park opened in Osaka in 1891, Nakanoshima Park welcomes visitors to experience its extensive rose garden. Sitting between the Dojimagawa and Tosaborigawa rivers, the park is almost one mile long and covers more than 26 acres. Also located in the park, the Museum of Oriental Ceramics showcases an extensive collection of ceramics from China, Korea, and Japan.
Pick Up a Memorable Souvenir
For a unique and personal memento of your time in Osaka, head to Hanane, where artist Tei Kobashi creates one-of-a-kind T-shirts using his own dyeing methods. Many of his T-shirts incorporate motifs of nature, but rest assured that your shirt will be just for you. In fact, you can talk directly with the artist, who will design and create your own original shirt while you watch. Where else can you find such an incredible keepsake of your time in this popular Japanese city?
Of course, this is just a small sample of all that Osaka has to offer. If you run out of time to see it all, you’ll just have to plan to return to Osaka again.