Osaka is the third biggest city in Japan, offering a perfect mix of exciting adventures and relaxed vacations. It is a port city located in the Seto Inland Sea, which connects to the Pacific Ocean. Perhaps this is why Osaka is famous for its aquariums and fresh seafood, nicknamed the Nation’s Kitchen.
What Is Osaka Known For?
Osaka is famous for the Osaka castle, rich Japanese traditions, vibrant food scene and its range of entertainment, from amusement parks to enormous shopping complexes. Similar to Tokyo, the city holds high historical value in Japan and has diverse nightlife in every district. Nevertheless, Osaka is also known for being more peaceful with less hustle intensity, making it ideal for traveling alone or with young kids.
History, Culture, And Traditions Osaka Is Famous For
The tea ceremony is an ancient Japanese tradition. Whilst it can be reserved for significant life events such as weddings, it can also be part of an informal feast.
The activity involves the process of creating matcha and then drinking it. This is a powdered tea with a characteristic green color; the darker, the richer. Several different types are prepared, as usually there are many guests.
The powder and water are then whisked with a chasen, typically made of bamboo. Afterward, the tea is ready to drink. If cultural experiences are your jam, you can even take part in a traditional tea ceremony experience!
Once The Capital City Of Japan
The most significant historical event Osaka is famous for is having been the capital city of Japan.
In 645, Osaka became the capital on the orders of Emperor Kotoku. Previously, it was Nara. After deciding to build his opulent residence – the Naniwa Nagara-Toyosaki Palace here, the Emperor decided this change was fitting.
One of the best and most thrilling ways to learn about Osaka’s varied and deep history is with the Deep Backstreet Tours. Go on an evening walk to uncover a mix of iconic districts and quiet backstreets that are often overlooked. Pair that with intense storytelling of glorious and dark legends; it will be hard to suppress your curiosity.
Street Food Capital
Osaka is nicknamed The Nation’s Kitchen, also known as Tenka No Daidokoro. The street food capital is renowned for its affordable yet appetizing fast foods.
A fun fact about Osaka is that instant noodles were invented here in 1958 by Andō Momofuku. You can see more about this in the Cup Noodles Museum in Ikeda!
Similarly, Kuromon Market is the biggest market Osaka is famous for. Rising in popularity for its high-quality meats, it is also recognized for its fresh street foods. Take part in a Kuromon Market Food Tour to sample some of the best eats here.
The Festivals Of The Gods, Tenjin Matsuri, is a huge festival in Osaka each year. The boat festival is one of the most well-known in Japan, attracting 1.3 million visitors annually.
Believed to have begun in the 10th century, the event rose in popularity during the Edo Period. This was when the country started to develop quickly, impressing the world with its innovation and culture. It is held at the Tenmangu Shrine for two days beginning July 24th.
Water activities such as boat racing are known as funatogyo, whilst the festivities on land such as fireworks are called rikutogyo.
Oldest Temples And Shrines In Japan
One of the main things to do in Osaka is visit the religious landmarks. Within the country, Buddhism and Shinto are the main beliefs, reflected by the beautifully preserved temples and shrines.
The Shitennō-ji Temple is the first Buddhist temple in Japan, established in 593. Consequently, this holy place is sacred for being the oldest temple and holds immense historic value in Osaka.
Similarly, the Sumiyoshi Taisha is a Shinto shrine honoring the god of the sea. It is one of the ‘Three Great Sumiyoshi Shrines’.
Districts And Areas Osaka Is Famous For
Shinsekai is known as the New World. Since its establishment in 1912, it has consistently kept up its image of being the entertainment district.
Popular sights here include Jan Jan Yokocho, the never-ending shopping alley, to the 103-meter Tsutenkaku Tower with an observation deck.
One of the main things to do in this district is eat. Take advantage of the food tour in Shinsekai to visit bustling markets, authentic stalls, and hidden gems to hunt down some of the best Osaka has to offer.
Altogether, this creates a holistic understanding of why Osaka is famous for being the nation’s kitchen.
Namba is one of the largest districts in Osaka. It is recognized as an urban hub, with several contemporary landmarks attracting visitors of all ages.
Minami is the south area of the capital city, although it is often referred to as the central beating heart of Osaka. It is a shopping area famous for its eclectic neon signs, busy alleyways, and dynamic nightlife.
A short walk away is Dotonburi, which is often considered to be an extension of Namba. The Dotonburi Bridge divides Shinsaibashi and Namba. Some of the most popular sights here include the Kani Doraku restaurant chain and its moving crab, as well as the Glico Man billboard.
One of the most fun and YOLO ways to explore the highlights of this area is the quirky Street GoKart Tour. Go back to childhood, dress up in funny costumes, and roam the streets on a Go-Kart. It’s like Mario kart coming to life!
Umeda is mostly known for being a prominent shopping district.
One of the main complexes is the HEP Five, consisting of a mall, aquarium, and more. However, its main attraction is the huge red Ferris Wheel, offering unique panoramic views of the surroundings.
Another popular complex is the Grand Front Mall, a modern establishment founded in 2013. From over 250+ stores, you can find clothes, jewelry, and other beauty items. Of course, there are also arcades and dining areas.
In addition, Umeda is a vital transport hub, home to JR Osaka Station, Hankyu Umeda Station, and others.
A lot of Osaka’s famous places are located in the Osaka Bay area.
It is easy to forget that the city is one of the main ports in Japan, in the east of the Seto Inland Sea. The striking Tempozan Ferris Wheel was the largest of its kind at the time of its opening. Take a scenic ride on it to soak in stunning views of the bay.
Additionally, you can find many family-friendly attractions and activities here such as Universal Studios Japan and Osaka Aquarium.
Landmarks And Architecture Osaka Is Known For
An exciting fact about Japan for kids is that there is a Universal Studios in Osaka, one of the only six worldwide.
There is a huge variety of rides and attractions, including Harry Potter, Super Nintendo World, Jurassic Park, and The Minion Park. Similarly, you can find Hollywood, New York, and San Francisco. Depending on the time of year, you may find themed events such as Halloween and Christmas.
Universal Studios offers day tickets, however, it is worth considering a two-day ticket instead, to ensure you have time to explore more of the fun. An express ticket will allow you to skip queues, ideal if you have impatient children.
Osaka Castle is thought to be the emblem of the city. It represents the brave spirit, creativity, and carefulness of its residents.
Constructed in 1586, it suffered huge devastation during the Siege of Osaka. Despite this, the five-story castle and its indestructible design survived and became symbolic of its future.
Other than the castle itself, the park is hugely popular. As the grounds cover 15 acres, there is plenty of space for exploring and discovering hidden gems.
In the gardens, which are the second largest park Osaka is famous for, there is a sports arena and lots of cherry blossom trees. This iconic Osaka landmark is a common stop for many of the city bike tours.
The Shitennō-ji Temple is the oldest in Japan. Founded in 593 on the order of Prince Shōtoku, it played a huge role in the establishment of Buddhism in the country. Now, there are 13 holy sites in Osaka.
The temple itself is a characteristic pagoda shape made up of five levels. Also, there is a lecture hall, a golden pavilion, and other interesting designs.
You can even discover a plethora of statues and paintings from Prince Shōtoku to previous significant kings.
Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan
One of the largest aquariums in the world is Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan. At the time of its establishment in 1990, it was the biggest in the world!
The aquarium is located in Osaka Bay, near the Tempozan Ferris Wheel and other Osaka famous places.
The impressive landmark houses over 620 species of fish. Exhibitions include the immersive Aqua Gate, vibrant Ecuador Rainforest, sunny Monterey Bay, and Antarctica. The Pacific Ocean tank is a major attraction, home to whale sharks, manta rays, and other fascinating marine life.
Discover crabs, jellyfish, penguins, corals, and more in this intriguing ecosystem.
Food Osaka Is Famous For
Takoyaki is a delicious snack known as octopus dumplings. Although it is small and spherical, it packs a punchy seafood flavor like other famous seafood in Osaka.
Usually, takoyaki is made with octopus, shrimp, or any other fish that have been leftover. There are a variety of flavors as the recipe is loosely followed, making it easy to dish up. The fish is then mixed with ginger, spring onion, and bonito flakes.
A crunchy batter is created and encloses the hearty filling before being fried. The balls are served up on a long plate and drizzled with creamy takoyaki sauce.
This is a very popular street food in Japan and you are almost sure to come across it while wandering through the vibrant night markets.
Okonomiyaki is a thick savory pancake that makes your mouth water even just visually. It is simple to make, as the original recipe calls for a batter, commonly topped with cabbage, pork belly, and yams.
The real taste of okonomiyaki comes from the seasonings and sauces used. The famous okonomiyaki sauce consists of soy, tomato, and Worcestershire sauce. It is topped with a sprinkling of acidic pickled ginger and caramelized oyster sauce.
Okonomiyaki is cooked on a hot iron plate, and you will see the chef skillfully cutting and flipping it with a traditional metal spatula called Hera.
One of the most traditional Japanese foods that everyone has tried at least once is sushi.
Nevertheless, authentic sushi from the street food capital is incomparable because of the fresh flavors and rich experience of the chefs.
Sushi in its original form is made from vinegared rice and fish or veggies.
In Osaka, be sure to try the nigiri, the most common type. On top of the long, oval rice is a thick piece of raw fish, that can be paired with wasabi, ginger, and soy sauce.
In the Seto Inland Sea where Osaka is located, there is an abundance of fish including mackerel, crab, and sea bream. This is also why it is one of the best cities for sushi.
Kushikatsu is a street food found on every corner, originating from Shinsekai in Osaka. The name is directly translated to deep-fried meat on a skewer.
Usually, kushikatsu is a mix of meats most frequently chicken and pork belly. They are marinated in a zesty sauce before being battered and deep-fried for the ultimate crunchy exterior. Inside, however, they are tender and juicy.
For a vegetarian alternative, you can sometimes find quail eggs or eggplants on skewers.
Famous People From Osaka
Naomi Osaka is a professional tennis player recognized worldwide for her agility, resilience, and pure talent.
Osaka is famous for earning No.1 by the World Tennis Association in singles, as well as various world records. This includes being the first Asian as well as Asian woman to achieve these scores.
In addition to being an athlete, Naomi Osaka is an activist and is recognized for raising awareness of racism and sexism. She was named Spokesperson Of The Year because of these accomplishments.
George Miller, known worldwide as Joji, is a Japanese internet personality.
His career began on YouTube where he could reach all corners of the world, hence his huge international following. The channel included sketches with Filthy Frank, a character he created, before transitioning to challenges and food videos.
Joji is also a singer-songwriter who released his first studio album Pink Guy in 2014. Since then, he has racked up over 2 million followers on YouTube and released countless more albums and tours.
Kanako Urai, also called by her ring name Asuka, is a professional wrestler that Osaka is famous for birthing. She works under the World Wrestling Association.
Asuka has achieved impressive feats such as being the first female to win the Royal Rumble, a pay-per-view online match. She was also the first woman to win The Elimination Chamber.
Being a Grand Slam Champion is just one of her remarkable successes. Her legacy continues in WWE video games, as well as her personal YouTube channel.
Discovering More Things Osaka Is Known For
Osaka is famous for holding many records in Japan. It is home to the oldest Buddhist temple, the largest Ferris wheel, and some of the best athletes.
The city’s reputation for exceeding expectations is proven by the huge entertainment districts, flavorful street foods, and historical landmarks.
If you visit Osaka, be sure to make it a long stay, as there is plenty to do in this bustling metropolis.