Category: Osaka

Osaka Travel Guide – Deals

Quick Links:

A – Overview

B – City information

C – Attractions & Things To Do

D – Family Fun Attractions

E – Events & Entertainments

F – Osaka Travel Deals

A – Overview
It is said that the standard greeting between Osakans is:  moukarimakka?, “Are you making money?”  Osaka is the second largest city in Japan and has always had the reputation as a center for financial success.  Osaka is located in Kansai region on the main island of Honshu. It  is Japan’s second largest city and is a major industrial, port, and economic center.

 osaka-overview

Osaka is famous in Japan for shopping .  Midosuji Dori, a wide boulevard lined with gingko trees running north and south in the heart of the city, is the center for name-brand boutiques. Just to the east is Shinsaibashi-suji, a covered promenade with many shops, some dating back to the Edo Period. On the other side of Midosuji Dori is America-Mura, where young Japanese shop for T-shirts, Hawaiian shirts, ripped jeans, and other American fashions.   Teens also patronize HEP FIVE, a huge shopping complex near Umeda with a Joypolis amusement arcade and a Ferris wheel on top. Universal CityWalk, near Universal Studios, sells everything from Hello Kitty merchandise to Italian imports.

 

Osaka has many underground shopping arcades. Enter in Umeda (where the JR, Hanshin, subway, and Hankyu train lines intersect) and you can shop for miles!   Crysta Nagahori, connecting Nagahoribashi Station to Yotsubashi-suji, has a glass atrium ceiling, flowing streams of water, and 100 shops, making it one of the largest shopping malls in Japan. Nearby are Namba Walk, Nan-nan Town, and Namba City, all interconnected by underground passageways.

 

The City of Osaka has two main areas:  Kita (North) and Minami (South).  Extensive building is also taking place in the Bay Area. The Kita is the district around JR Osaka Station and Umeda Station on the subway, Hanshin and Hankyu Lines, with a concentration of department stores and commercial centers forming a huge underground shopping area. The Shin-Umeda City to the east features a “Floating Garden” Observatory, which commands panoramic views of Osaka.

 

The Minami district is in the vicinity of Namba Station on the subway, Nankai and Kintetsu lines. While Kita has a sophisticated image, Minami is a bustling town of ordinary people. In this area, visitors will find the Shin Kabukiza Theater, the National Bunraku Theater, and the Museum of Kamigata Performing Arts displaying exhibits describing Osaka’s performing arts.

 

The Bay Area, is home to Universal Studios Japan, with its focus on Hollywood movies and TV programs. Also located in the area are the Kaiyukan (Osaka Aquarium),  the WTC (World Trade Center), the tallest building in western Japan, and the Osaka Dome.  The Dome combines a ball park and an amusement center.

 

Of the other major landmarks in Osaka, Osaka Castle is best known. The park surrounding the castle is the site of cherry and plum blossom viewing in season. Also within the castle grounds are Peace Osaka (Osaka International Peace Center), and Osaka City Museum. The castle stands in contrast to the high-rise buildings of the neighboring Osaka Business Park.

 

Other highlights are the Tennoji area, with Shitennoji Temple-Japan’s oldest official temple, and Tennoji Zoo, along with Tsurumi Ryokuchi-an urban oasis; and Nagai Park. River cruises are a  favorite way to enjoy Osaka, which is known as the “city of water”.

 

Osaka is also known as the food capital of Japan.  One of the most fascinating aspects of the city is Osaka has its food theme parks.  These are elaborately designed and constructed.  They contain numerous restaurants and food stalls that specialize in one kind of cooking, for example,  noodles or dumplings. Persons wanting to try that food gravitate to these areas to sample the wide variety of different flavors and styles available.

 

Another type of food theme park in Osaka is the kind where a street or part of the city from the past is re-created, and all the restaurants serve dishes from that Period. An example is Naniwa Kuishimbo Yokocho.  Located inside the Tempozan Marketplace, Naniwa Kuishimbo Yokocho is the first theme park of Osaka cuisine in Japan. Inside, it re-creates a sample of a Naniwa gastronomy alley near the railway station circa 1965, just before the city hosted Expo ’70.

 

Instead of focusing on a single food, Naniwa Kuishimbo Yokocho brings together 20 restaurants that are popular in and around Osaka and that serve special delicacies of the area.  The result:  inexpensive and tasty food in just the right ambience.

 

The theme of Dotombori Gokuraku Shopping Street is an Osaka streetscape from  the late Taisho Period to the early Showa Period. Interesting buildings, shops, and unique eating places recapture the mood of those early days.

 

Osaka is a friendly city offering an eclectic blend of the old and the new and a myriad of interesting activities throughout the year.

B – City information

Population:  Osaka Prefecture:  8,815,757   City of Osaka:  2.6 million.

Time Zone:  The time is 13 hours ahead of EST time in New York City.  Daylight Saving Time is not observed.  

Telephone:  International country code: + 81 (Japan);  Area code: 6

 

Average Temperatures:

 

 Month  

   High

 Low

January  

   53F  

  40F

February

   53F

  40F

March  

   59F  

  45F

April  

   66F

  54F  

May  

   72F

  62F  

June  

   76F

  67F 

July  

   83F

  75F  

August  

   85F  

  77F

September  

   82F

  72F

October  

   73F

  63F

November  

   66F

  54F

December  

   58F

  45F

 

Local Seasons: Osaka has a relatively mild climate with four distinct seasons. The average daily temperature, which varies from 42 F in the winter to 86 F in the summer, is 61.3 F. Average precipitation peaks during the rainy season, which is usually between late June and late July, and in September during typhoon season.

 

Holidays

January 1 – New Year’s Day (Ganjitsu)

The second Monday in January – Adult’s Day (Seijin-no hi)

February 11 – National Founding Day (Kenkoku Kinen-no hi)

March 20 or 21 – Vernal Equinox (Shunbun-no hi)

April 29 – Greenery Day (Midori-no hi)

May 3 – Constitution Memorial Day (Kenpou Kinenbi)

May 4 – National People’s Day (Kokumin-no Kyuujitsu)

May 5 – Children’s Day (Kodomo-no hi)

July 20 – Marine Day (Umi-no hi)

September 15 – Respect-for-the-Aged Day (Keirou-no hi)

September 23 or 24 – Autumnal Equinox (Shuubun-no hi)

The second Monday in October – Health/Sports Day (Taiiku-no hi)

November 3 – Culture Day (Bunka-no hi)

November 23 – Labor Thanksgiving Day (Kinrou Kansha-no hi)

December 23 – Emperor’s Birthday (Tennou Tanjoubi)

 

Getting There

By Air

Osaka‘s Kansai International Airport (KIX; tel. 0724/ 55-2500) receives both domestic and international flights.

 

Getting Around

From Kansai Airport

Visitor Information: (At the Airport) The Kansai Tourist Information Center (tel. 0724/56-6025; open daily 9am-9pm) is near the south end of the International Arrivals Lobby. The multilingual staff can help with general travel information about Japan and brochures and maps.

 

Arriving at KIX :  Constructed on a huge synthetic island  3 miles off the mainland in Osaka Bay and connected to the city by a six-lane highway and two-rail line bridge, this 24-hour airport boasts the latest in technology.   Glass elevators carry passengers to the four floors of the complex in an atrium setting, touch screens provide information in many languages, and if you arrive on an international flight, you’ll board the driverless, computer-controlled Wing Shuttle to get to the central terminal. Signs are clear and abundant, and facilities include restaurants, shops, a post office (2nd floor south, near JAL counter; open daily 8am-7pm), ATMs that accept foreign credit cards, a children’s playroom in the international departure area (free of charge), the Kanku Lounge with Internet access (2nd floor north; (open daily 9am-9pm), and dental and medical clinics.

 

Getting from KIX to Osaka:  Taxis are very expensive. Easiest, especially if you have luggage, is the Kansai Airport Transportation Enterprise (tel. 0724/61-1374), which provides bus service to major stations and hotels in Osaka. Tickets can be purchased at counters in the arrival lobby. Another bus service, the OCAT Shuttle 880 (tel. 06/6635-3030), travels from KIX to the Osaka City Air Terminal (a downtown bus station for shuttle buses going to the airport

 

If you’re taking the train into Osaka (stations: Osaka, Tennoji, or Shin-Osaka) or even farther to Kyoto,  walk through KIX’s second-floor connecting concourse (baggage carts are designed to go on escalators and as far as train ticket gates) and board the limited express JR Haruka, which travels to Tennoji and Shin-Osaka stations before continuing to Kyoto.. Slower is the JR rapid (JR Kanku Kaisoku), which travels from the airport to Tennoji and Osaka stations before continuing to Kobe.

If you a have a Japan Rail Pass, you can ride these trains for free. Exchange your voucher at the Kansai Airport (rail) Station on the third floor (open daily 5:30am-11pm).

 

Next to the JR trains in the same station at the airport is the private Nankai Line, which has three types of trains to Namba Nankai Station. The  rapi:t a (pronounced rapito alpha) train reaches Namba in 30 minutes. There is one train an hour.  The rapi:t b (rapito beta) at the same price stops at more stations, including Sakai, and takes 35 minutes. You can also take an ordinary Nankai Express Line and reach Namba in 45 minutes.

 

Itami Airport:  The terminus of domestic flights,.( 06/6856-6781), north of the city. Buses connect to various parts of Osaka; to Osaka Station, the ride takes 25 minutes.

By Train:  Osaka is 2 3/4 hours from Tokyo by Shinkansen bullet train; tickets are ¥13,240 ($110) for an unreserved seat (the Nozomi Shinkansen is more expensive). All Shinkansen bullet trains arrive at Shin-Osaka Station at the city’s northern edge. To get from Shin-Osaka Station to Osaka Station and other points south, use the most convenient public transportation, the Midosuji Line subway; the subway stop at Osaka Station is called Umeda Station. JR trains also make runs between Shin-Osaka and Osaka stations.

 

If you haven’t turned in your voucher for your Japan Rail Pass yet, you can do so at Osaka Station’s or Shin-Osaka Station’s Green Windows (open daily 5:30am-11pm), as well as at Osaka Station’s Travel Information Satellite (TiS) on the main floor (daily 10am-7pm, to 6pm Sun and holidays) and at the Shin-Osaka Station’s TiS on the second floor (daily 7am-8pm).

 

If you’re arriving in Osaka from Kobe or Kyoto, the commuter lines, which will deliver you directly to Osaka Station in the heart of the city, are more convenient than the Shinkansen, which will deposit you at out-of-the-way Shin-Osaka Station from which you can take a taxi to the city center.

 

By Bus:   JR night buses depart from both Tokyo (Yaesu exit; tel. 03/3215-1468) and Shinjuku (new south exit; tel. 03/5379-0874) stations several times nightly, arriving at Osaka Station the next morning. The trip from Tokyo takes about 8 hours and costs ¥8,610 ($80). Cheaper yet are JR day buses from Tokyo Station to Osaka Station costing ¥6,000 ($50), and once-a-night JR buses from both Tokyo and Shinjuku stations costing only ¥5,000 ($42). Tickets can be bought at any major JR station or at a travel agency.

 

Osaka has many signs and directions in English. The exception is Osaka Station, used for JR trains, and its adjoining Umeda Station, used by subway lines and private railway lines Hankyu and Hanshin. Underground passages and shopping arcades complicate navigation, but someone you meet will speak English and will guide you in the right direction. 

 

When exploring by foot, it helps to know that most roads running east and west end in “dori,” while roads running north and south end in “suji,” which means “avenue.”

 

By Subway:   Osaka’s user-friendly subway network is easy to use because all lines are color-coded and the station names are in English (even announcements are in English on many lines). The red Midosuji Line is the most important one for visitors; it passes through Shin-Osaka Station and on to Umeda (the subway station next to Osaka Station), Shinsaibashi, Namba, and Tennoji.

 

Consider purchasing a One Day Pass which allows unlimited rides on subways and buses all day. On the 20th of each month (or on the following day if the 20th falls on a Sun or holiday) and every Friday, this pass costs less and offers slight discounts to several attractions. For trips outside Osaka, the Surutto Kansai Card (Kansai Thru Pass) allows you to ride subways and buses in Osaka, Kyoto, Nara, and Kobe, with a 2-day pass.  Children pay half price.

 

By JR Train:   A Japan Railways train called the Osaka Kanjo Line, or JR Loop Line, passes through Osaka Station and makes a loop around the central part of the city (similar to the Yamanote Line in Tokyo); take it to visit Osaka Castle.

 

News for Visitors

To find out what’s going on in Osaka, pick up a copy of Kansai Time Out, a monthly magazine with information on sightseeing, festivals, restaurants, and other items of interest pertaining to Osaka, Kobe, and Kyoto. It can be found at bookstores, restaurants, tourist information offices, and places frequented by English-speaking tourists, and it’s sometimes available for free at major hotels

Consulates:  Several embassies maintain consulates in Osaka, including Australia (tel. 06/6941-9271 or 06/6941-9448); Canada (tel. 06/6212-4910); Great Britain (tel. 06/6120-5600); and the United States (tel. 06/6315-5900).

 

Internet Access:  Internet access is available at two locations inside Osaka Station:   (1) Kinko’s, on the north concourse, between the east and central passages and across from JTB (tel. 06/6442-3700), is open daily 7am to 10:30pm  (2) Nearby, up a narrow flight of stairs, is the X-Time Internet cafe (tel. 06/6341-8222).

Mail:  The Central Post Office, or Osaka Chuo Yubinkyoku (tel. 06/6347-8006), a minute’s walk west of Osaka Station, is open 24 hours for mail. For postal service information in English, call 06/6944-6245 Monday to Saturday 9:30am to 4:30pm

C – Attractions & Things To Do

Neighborhoods

osaka-attractions

Osaka is divided into various wards, or ku:

 

Around Osaka Station:  Kita-ku is the area around Osaka and Umeda stations and includes many of the city’s top hotels, the city’s tallest buildings, many restaurants, and several shopping complexes, mostly underground.

 

Around Osaka Castle:  Osaka Castle, which lies to the east, is the historic center of the city. It is in Chuo-ku, the Central Ward, which stretches through the city center.

 

Minami/Namba:  Four subway stops south of Umeda Station is Namba (also referred to as Minami, or South Osaka), with a cluster of stations serving subways, JR trains, and Kintetsu and Nankai lines, all of which are connected to one another via underground passageways. Here you will  find more hotels, Osaka’s liveliest eating and entertainment district centered on a narrow street called Dotombori (also written Dotonbori), and major shopping areas such as  the enclosed pedestrian streets Shinsaibashi-Suji and America-Mura with imports from America. Farther south is Den Den Town, Osaka’s electronics district; and Dogayasuji, famous for restaurant supplies. Connecting Kita-ku with Namba is Osaka’s main street, Midosuji Dori, a wide boulevard lined with gingko trees and name-brand shops.

 

Area Around Tennoji Park:   At the south end of the JR Loop Line is Tennoji-ku, which was once a thriving temple town with Shitennoji Temple at its center. In addition to a park with a zoo, it is the site of Spa World, Japan’s most luxurious public bathhouse.

 

Osaka Bay & Port:  West of the city around Osaka Bay is Universal Studios Japan and Universal CityWalk shopping and dining complex; Tempozan Harbour Village with its aquarium, shopping complex, and Suntory Museum; and domestic and international ferry terminals.

 

Attractions

Floating Garden Observatory (Kuchu Teien Tenbodai)

1-1-88 Oyodo-naka

Umeda Sky Building, Kita-ku, Near Osaka Station

06/6440-3901

Open Daily 10am-10:30pm

Take JR Osaka or Umeda (Central North exit of JR Osaka Station, 9 min.)

This observatory 557 feet in the air looks like a space ship floating between the two towers of the Umeda Sky Building. Take the super-fast glass elevator from the East Tower building’s third floor; then take a glass-enclosed escalator that also bridges the two towers to the 39th floor. From the 39th floor you have an unparalleled view of all of Osaka, making it a popular nightspot for couples.

 

Museum of Oriental Ceramics (Toyotoji Bijutsukan)

1-1-26 Nakanoshima

Kita-ku, Near Osaka Station

06/6454-8600   

Transportation Station: Yodoyabashi or Kitahama (5 min.) 

Open Tues-Sun 9:30-5

This modern facility is about a 15-minute walk south of Osaka Station on Nakanoshima Island in the Dojima River.  Its 2,700-piece collection of Chinese, Korean, and Japanese ceramics ranks as one of the finest in the world. Built specifically for the collection, the museum dis[plays the collection  in darkened rooms that utilize natural light and computerized natural-light simulation. Korean celadon, Chinese ceramics from the Song and Ming dynasties and Arita ware from the Edo Period, are among the pieces on display.

 

Osaka Castle (Osaka-jo) 

Hours Daily 9am-5pm 

Address 1-1 Osakajo 

Chuo-ku, Around Osaka Castle 

Transportation: Osakajo-Koen on the JR Loop Line or Morinomiya (15 min.); or Temmabashi or Osaka Business Park (10 min.) 

06/6941-3044

First built in the 1580s on the order of Toyotomi Hideyoshi, Osaka Castle was the largest castle in Japan.  The present Osaka Castle dates from 1931 and was extensively renovated in 1997. Built of ferroconcrete, it’s not as massive as the original but is still one of Japan’s most famous castles and is impressive with its massive stone walls, black and gold-leaf trim, and copper roof. The donjon (keep) museum  describes the life and times of Toyotomi Hideyoshi and the history of the castle. There are displays of samurai armor and gear, a full-scale reproduction of Toyotomi’s Gold Tea Room, and a model of Osaka Castle during the Toyotomi Era.

Built in Stone, Osaka Castle is famous for its stone fortifications, made with more than 500,000 granite stones. Five of these stones weigh more than 100 tons with the largest, nicknamed the Octopus Stone.

 

Osaka International Peace Center

2-1 Osakajo

Chuo-ku, Around Osaka Castle

06/6947-7208

Station: Morinomiya (3 min.) or Osakajo-Koen (8 min.)       

Hours Tues-Sun 9:30am-5pm 

Closed on days following national holidays and last day of each month

Located on the southern edge of Osaka Castle Park, this museum strives for global peace by educating present and future generations about the horrors of war, related by those who survived it. Unlike other museums in Japan dedicated to peace, including those in Hiroshima and Nagasaki,  this one does not shy away from Japan’s role in the Asian conflict, including its war campaign in China, the abduction of Koreans to work in dangerous areas, and massacres committed by Japanese in Singapore, Malaysia, and elsewhere.

Its main focus is on wartime death and destruction, with personal testimonies of air raid survivors (15,000 people died during World War II air raids on Osaka), displays centering on the suicide attacks by kamikaze pilots at the end of the war, graphic photographs of Hiroshima and Nagasaki after the atomic bombs were dropped, and a section devoted to the horrors of the Auschwitz concentration camp

  

Shitennoji Temple

Shitennoji 1-11-18 

Tennoji-ku, Around Tennoji

06/6771-0066

Station: Shitennoji-mae Yuhigaoka (exit 4, 5 min.); or JR Tennoji (north exit, 10 min.) 

Temple grounds open 24 hr.; garden daily 10-4.

Founded 1,400 years ago as the first officially established temple in Japan, Shitennoji Temple is the spiritual heart of Osaka. It was constructed in 593 by Prince Shotoku, who is credited with introducing Buddhism to Japan. Through the centuries, the buildings have been faithfully reconstructed exactly as they were in the 6th century, with the Main Gate, the five-story Buddhist Pagoda, the Main Golden Hall, and the Lecture Hall all on a north-south axis. Prince Shotoku, remains a revered, popular figure. There is also a turtle sanctuary and a newly restored Japanese landscape garden, first laid out during the Tokugawa regime.  It has  meandering streams, and a waterfall.

 

Spa World

Daily 10am-9am 

3-2-24 Ebisu-higashi 

Naniwa-ku. Next to festivalgate, Around Tennoji

06/6631-0001

Station: Shin-Imamiya or Dobutsuenmae (2 min.). Next to festival gate 

This enormous bath house can accommodate up to 5,000 people and draws upon hot springs brought up from 2,970 feet below the earth’s surface. On its roof, is a covered swimming complex that includes a pool, a slide, a wave pool, a sunning terrace, and a wading pool (rental swim suits available). The rest of the large complex is divided into themed, geographical bathing zones, which are rotated between the sexes and include luxurious locker rooms. At the Asian Zone, for example, Middle Eastern music and tiled mosaics set the tone for the Turkish bath, while China is represented by a medicinal bath. Massage is also available.

 

Suntory Museum

1-5-10 Kaigan-dori 

Minato-ku, Osaka Bay Area 

06/6577-0001  

Station: Osakako (5 min.)

Museum Tues-Sun 10:30am-7:30pm; IMAX Tues-Sun 11am-7pm (last show)    

The Suntory Museum, which you can tour in about 30 minutes, is that fantastically modern-looking structure you see near the aquarium, designed by well-known architect Tadao Ando. It stages changing exhibitions in airy rooms against a dramatic background of the sea beyond its glass walls. Past exhibits have included posters by Toulouse-Lautrec, paintings by German expressionists, and glass by Emile Gallé; call or check the Meet Osaka quarterly for current information. There’s also a 3-D IMAX theater with scenes so real you’ll swear those fish on the screen are about to swim into your lap, a good museum shop, the Sky Lounge (perfect for taking a break), and a restaurant

D – Family Fun Attractions

Osaka Aquarium (Kaiyukan)

1-1-10 Kaigan-dori   

Minato-ku, Osaka Bay Area

Transportation Station: Osakako (5 min.) 

06/6576-5501 

Hours Daily 10am-8pm    (Crowded on weekends)

Closed sometimes in June and in winter  

One of the world’s largest aquariums, encompassing 286,000 square feet and containing 2.9 million gallons of water, it is  constructed around the theme “Ring of Fire,” which refers to the volcanic perimeter encircling the Pacific Ocean.

Tours begin with a video of erupting volcanoes followed by an escalator ride to the eighth floor; followed by entry to 14 different habitats ranging from arctic to tropical as you follow a spiraling corridor back to the ground floor.

The series begins with the daylight world in  a Japanese forest above the ocean’s surface, continues to and  past Antarctica, Monterey Bay, the Great Barrier Reef, and other ecosystems on the way to the depths of the ocean floor. At each point visitors view marine life of that region. 

 

Sega Amusement Theme Park (Umeda Joypolis)

HEP FIVE, Umeda Kita-ku,(8th and 9th floor)  Near Osaka Station 

06/6366-3647        

Station: JR Osaka or Umeda (5 min.) 

Open Daily 11am-11pm (you must enter by 10:15pm)   Under 16 not permitted after 7PM.

Joypolis amusement arcades are popular in Japan.  There are the usual flashing lights, bells and constant electronically produced sound effects, and crowds of enthusiastic participants. In addition to arcade games, virtual rides simulate gliding through the air or shooting the rapids of a wild river. Note: Children under the age of 16 aren’t allowed here after 7pm and that some virtuall rides that carry height restrictions.

 

Universal Studios Japan

2-1-33 Sakurajima 

Konohana, Osaka Bay Area

Station: Universal City (5 min.)   

06/4790-7000

Open daily, generally 9am-7pm (to 9pm in peak season), but hours can vary with the seasons 

Following the format of Universal’s Hollywood and Orlando theme parks, The Studio takes guests on a fantasy trip through the world of American blockbuster movies, with thrill rides, live entertainment, back-lot streets, restaurants, shops, and other attractions based on actual movies. Board a boat for a harrowing encounter with a great white straight out of Jaws, escape a T-Rex as you roller-coaster your way through a setting of Jurassic Park, watch a fantastic fire show at a Backdraft theater or a water extravaganza at WaterWorld, Take E.T. home to save his planet, and see, feel, and smell Sesame Street in 4-D.

Most of the attractions have been dubbed into Japanese. Avoid weekends and arrive early, then head straight for the Information booth and an  Express Card, which will get you in at specific times and avoid long lines.

 

Captain Cook Shuttle Boat

06/6573-8222

The fastest and most scenic way to travel between Suntory Museum/aquarium and Universal Studios is via the Captain Cook shuttle boat which departs every 30 minutes.

It is a  10-minute ride. A bonus: the boat ticket includes a discount for the aquarium.

E – Events & Entertainments

January

January 1 – 3    

The New Year’s holiday period.

People visit shrines and temples to pray for health and happiness in the new year. Shops, banks and public agencies are usually closed from December 28 through to January 3.

 

January 9 – 11     

Toka Ebisu

(at Imamiya Ebisu Shrine (in Osaka City), Ibaraki Toka Ebisu (Ibaraki City) and at Fuse Ebisu Shrine (Higashi Osaka City))

This festival, characteristic of the merchant town flavor of Osaka, is held to pray for prosperity in business.

 

February

Around February 3    

Setsubun Festival

(at Ishikiri Shrine (Higashi Osaka City), at Narita-san Fudoson Shrine (Neyagawa City), and at Mizumadera Temple (Kaizuka City))

The day falls on the eve of “Risshun”, the first day of spring or the New Year’s day in the traditional Japanese calendar. On this day, a bean-scattering ceremony is held to cast away the evils of the previous year.

 

Early February to early March    

Plum blossoms

During this period, people enjoy strolling through fragrant groves of blossoming plum trees. The main spots for plum blossom viewing are Osaka Castle Park, Expo’70 Commemorative Park, Hiraoka Shrine, and Domyoji Temmangu.

 

March

The second Sunday to the fourth Sunday of March

The Spring Sumo Tournament

(venue: Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium)

 

April

Early April    

Cherry Blossom Viewing

To celebrate the arrival of spring, people picnic outside, admiring the overhead cherry blossoms. The main spots for blossom viewing are Osaka Castle Park, Expo’70 Commemorative Park, and Satsukiyama Park.

 

Around April 29 to around May 5

This period is called Golden Week.

With several holidays occurring almost consecutively, some companies are closed for more than 10 days in a row. Because of the many tourists, accommodation charges and airfares are higher.

 

July

July 24 and 25    

Tenjin Matsuri Festival

One of the big three Japanese festivals with a history of more than 1,000 years.

 

Late July to late August

The season for fireworks displays

Displays of fireworks, among them the one in Rinku Town, PL Fireworks Art, and Kurawanka Fireworks Festival, are held at various locations around Osaka.

 

August

Around August 13 to 16   

The Bon Festival

This is the traditional festival for welcoming and then sending off the spirits of ancestors. Many companies are closed and a lot of people go traveling, so accommodations charges and airfares are higher.

 

September

September 14 and 15    

Kishiwada Danjiri Festival

The festival is famous for its danjiri floats lugged around the city by highly spirited groups of people.

 

October

second Sunday of October    

Midosuji Parade

One of the largest parades in the nation, it takes place down Osaka’s main street.

 

November

mid to late November    

Colored Leaves of Autumn

People take excursions out to spots famous for their colorful leaves to enjoy looking at them. Main sites around are the Meiji-no-Mori Minoh Quasi-National Park, Settsu-kyo (Settsu Gorge), Amanosan Kongo-ji Temple, Mt. Inunaki, etc.

 

Arts and Entertainment

 

The National Bunraku Theater

1-12-10 Nipponbashi, Chuo-ku

located east of Namba and the Dotombori entertainment district, a 1-minute walk from exit 7 of Nipponbashi Station.

06/6212-2531 for information; 06/6212-1122 for reservations

was completed in 1984 as the only theater in Japan dedicated to Japanese traditional puppet theater.

Productions are staged five times a year, running for 2 to 3 weeks at a time and held daily at 11am for Part 1 and at 4pm for Part 2. When Bunraku is not being performed, other traditional performing arts are often shown, including classical Japanese music.

Headsets are available that provide translations into English.  The acoustics are excellent.  To find out whether a performance is being held, check Meet Osaka or contact one of the visitor information centers.

 

The Osaka Shochikuza

1-9-19 Dotombori, Chuo-ku

The theater is located on Dotombori, just west of the Ebisu-bashi Bridge.

06/6214-2211)

The theater was built more than 50 years ago and was remodeled in 1997 as part of a revival of interest in Kabuki. Traditional kabuki is performed in January, July, and some other months of the year (the schedule changes yearly), and performances start usually at 11am and 4:30pm. 

Performance information is also listed in Meet Osaka.

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