Osaka is a very popular city with international travelers. Here are places in Osaka that you can enjoy no matter what time of year you visit.
1. Osaka Castle
Osaka Castle is one of Osaka's representative sightseeing spots. It's a very popular spot that's visited by more than 1,000,000 people a year. Osaka Castle's most prominent feature is its dazzling architecture. The extravagant castle tower and the showy stone wall help to make you feel like you've completely jumped backwards through time. Also, the Osaka Castle Park is famous for being an area where you can enjoy plants of all seasons, and there's a jogging course around the moat available. Being able to enjoy both history and nature in one go is one reason why its popularity is so firmly rooted.
2. Kuromon Market
Kuromon Market is made up of about 180 stores. This historical huge market, often called "Osaka's kitchen," is half-made from stores selling seafood. There are also fruits, vegetables, meat, and snacks available, making it like a treasure box of food. There are also restaurants like sushi places and udon restaurants. The best part about Kuromon Market is how easy it is to walk and eat! Many of the seafood places have eat-in corners, so you can easily buy items like uni and scallop sashimi and sushi and then eat it inside with a beer. You can enjoy different foods depending on the season, so this is one place where you can feel satisfied no matter what time of year it is. Osaka is called a city where you can bring financial ruin upon yourself by overindulging in food, and Kuromon Market is the physical representation of that saying. Enjoy Japanese food culture more than you ever have here!
3. Umeda Sky Building
Umeda Sky Building is a skyscraper in the Umeda area. It was chosen as one of the world's top 20 buildings by the British newspaper The Times, and it's also been called "the arc of triumph of the future" in travel guides. This has led to a boom in popularity among foreign tourists. It's actually two 40-story, 173m tall buildings connected at the top floor by an area that is like a bridge but is actually an observation deck called the Kuchu Teien ("sky garden"). It's called a garden but there's no greenery; however, there is an open-air area where you can enjoy the scenery of all of Osaka spread out below you. From that round corridor you can see the Yodo River and Osaka Bay, and the scenery changes depending on the time of year. The center of that area has the center carved out so it looks like a doughnut, and you can experience a thrill by looking down through the hole.
4. Sumiyoshi Taisha
Sumiyoshi Taisha is Osaka's most popular shrine, as evidenced by the 2,000,000 visitors during the three days of hatsumode (first shrine visit of the year). This shrine boasts a history of more than 1800 years and it is the head shrine of the approximately 2300 Sumiyoshi Shrines around the country. The main shrine, constructed in 1810, is built using four buildings in a style called Sumiyoshi-dukuri and it is the oldest example of that architectural style. It is designated as a national treasure. A recommended sight is that of the Taikobashi (also known as the Sorihashi). It's a symbol of the shrine, and it was made as a bridge between the people on earth and the kami (deities) in heaven, using rainbows as inspiration for the shape. It's said that if you cross this bridge you will be cleansed of your sins and your shame. It's lit up until 9 PM, a beautiful sight that was picked as one of the top 100 best night scenes in Kansai. Also, throughout the year they perform Shinto rituals the same way they have since ancient times, so if your timing is great then you might be able to witness a ritual or a festival.
5. Osaka Tenmangu
Osaka Tenmangu, in Kita-ku, was built in the year 949 and while the main shrine has been burned down a few times throughout history, the current building was constructed in 1843. Sugawara no Michizane, a scholar from the Heian Period, is enshrined here as a deity of education. There are many small shrines littered around the grounds, but the one you should definitely check out when you visit is the Reifusha. The deity Amenominakanushi No Kami is enshrined here and it's said that it rules over all life. Also, there are pine, bamboo, and plum trees planted on the grounds so you can enjoy the beautiful Japanese garden any time of year. It's near a shopping arcade and even though it's in the city, this shrine is a place where you can enjoy a quiet time. You can be healed of the exhaustion of your trip here.
If you want to climb over the footprints of Japanese history, enjoy beautiful modern architecture, or simply eat the food you like until you're stuffed, Osaka is the city that can grant all your desires. Please reference this article when you make plans.
*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.
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