Osaka (大阪) is the 3rd largest city in Japan after Tokyo & Yokohama.. With a population of 2.5 million, it is also very different from Tokyo
Osaka used to be known as Naniwa. Before the Nara Period, when the capital used to be moved with the reign of each new emperor, Naniwa was once Japan’s capital city.
In the 16th century, Toyotomi Hideyoshi chose Osaka as the location for his castle, and the city may have become Japan’s capital if Tokugawa Ieyasu had not terminated the Toyotomi lineage after Hideyoshi’s death and moved his government to Edo (Tokyo).
I heard Osaka called Japan’s anti-capital, which sort of seems right.. Its a bit like the Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra relationship.
The people are super friendly, not as conservative as other Japanese, readily engage in conversation and there is definitely a ton of history..
The Osaka dialect is a bit different, actually the Osaka people are a bit different. Osaka was once known as “the Nation’s Kitchen” because it was the main rice market for the region…
So maybe as a merchant town, it was a bit more lively and edgy ? Anyway, it seems quite different, even in my 3 days there.
From a tourist perspective there’s the castle, universal studios, the Aquarium, Shrines & temples, beautiful parks and gardens, theatres and museums.. Shopping is great, with a real design edge feel to a lot of the shops and available goods. Dotombori at night is like a scene out of Bladerunner..
Two other things that made in memorable, I played Pachinko for the first time – no idea of the rules, but I won 10,000yen 🙂 and the Far East bazaar shop at the train station – the MOST amazing fig icecream…