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Osaka is the third largest city in Japan. The main international gateway to Osaka is Kansai International Airport.

Osaka Castle is Osaka's best known sight. Think of it as a museum built in the shape of a castle, rather than as an actual historical castle. Still, it's pretty enough from the outside, especially in the cherry blossom season when Osakans flock to the castle park to picnic and make merry. Kaiyukan is one of the world's largest aquariums with 11,000 tons of water and plenty of sharks, dolphins, otters, seals and other sea creatures. The largest tank, representing the Pacific Ocean with 5,400 tons is nothing but overwhelming. On the weekend, musicians and street performers offer additional entertainment to people outside the aquarium. There is also the Suntory Museum, a mall and a port for sightseeing boats. The mall has a wide variety of shops that cater to fashionistas, otaku, tourists or dog lovers, variably. The mall itself doubles as a kind of amusement park, along with the Ferris wheel, and the best deal is to catch the ferry from there to Universal Studios, Japan's second-largest theme park across the water. Spa World is a Gender-separated European and Asian themed 24-hour spa. With spas and saunas as well as a pool with slides, it is a lot of fun for the whole family.

Osaka's most famous shopping district is Shinsaibashi which offers a mix of huge department stores, high-end Western designer stores and independent boutiques ranging from very cheap to very expensive. Within Shinsaibashi, the Amerika-mura often shortened to “Amemura” or “American Village” area is particularly popular among young people and is often said to be the source of most youth fashion trends in Japan. Tenjinbashi-suji Shopping Street is said to be the longest straight and covered shopping arcade in Japan at approximately 2.6 km.

The widest selection of restaurants is in Osaka's main entertainment districts with the highest concentration of all in the Umeda and Dotombori areas. Even in a nation of obsessive gourmands Osaka is known as an excellent place to eat exemplified by the Osakan maxim kuidaore, “eat yourself into ruin”. The best place for trying out kuidaore is probably Dotonbori and neighboring Hozenji-yokocho or Soemon-cho, the whole area containing nearly nothing but one restaurant after another.


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