Located just a half-hour and easy train ride from the ancient capital Kyoto, the lively city of Osaka is best known for its dynamic food and drinking culture, and famously outgoing people.
Despite its proximity to Kyoto (one of Japan’s most essential destinations), Osaka is often overlooked by first-time visitors to Japan. Yet it is a perennial favorite among repeat visitors and Japan connoisseurs – not to mention lovers of Japanese food.
Osaka’s exuberant energy is a striking contrast to the traditional culture of Kyoto, and despite their proximity the two neighbors could not be more different from one another.
Osaka also has a historical side, the highlight of which is Osaka Castle. The castle is a great place to discover more about Japanese history and to wander the beautiful grounds.
It has been the economic powerhouse of the Kansai Region for many centuries. Osaka was formerly 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, the first one ever known.