Osaka is Japan’s third most populated city. Though it takes a backseat to Tokyo and Kyoto when it comes to popularity with tourists, Osaka has its fair share of wonderful things it can offer. Here are a few reasons Osaka deserves a spot in your bucket list of places to visit. And for your convenience, don’t forget to download the Osaka Travel Guide and Offline City Map once you get there.

Best Food in Japan

Osaka was nicknamed The Nation’s Kitchen thanks to its status as Japan’s rice trade hub during the Edo Period. Today, it is known all over the country as the gourmand’s paradise with okonomiyaki as its most popular dish. Okonomiyaki which literally means ‘grilled as you like it’ is a flavorful version of Japanese pancake, made with flour, eggs, shredded cabbage, and meat, and topped with a variety of condiments. The customer can customize it with a selection of meat, seafood, or noodles. Other staples include:

·         Kitsune udon - thick noodle soup blanketed by fried tofu

·         Hakozushi - sushi pressed flat in a bamboo box

·         Takoyaki - ball-shaped octopus fritters

·         Tessa -- sashimi made from poisonous fugu or globefish

Osaka Cuisine

Flashy and Warm at the Same Time

Osaka maintains a certain level of country charm in spite of having over 3 million residents. If you prefer a city atmosphere, check out the Namba department stores and compete with countless housewives in a bargaining battle. Come nightfall, you can go to the Umeda neighborhood and enjoy a dazzling nightlife. If you prefer a small-town vibe, there are numerous ethnic restaurants and traditional sushi shops scattered across the various districts and alleys.

Osaka Shopping

¥500 Blast from the Past

For a measly ¥500 ($4.50), you can enter the Open Air Museum of Old Japanese Farmhouses in Osaka's Hattori Ryokuchi Park which houses 11 authentic farmhouses from the Edo period. These were originally located in various parts of the country, disassembled, brought to the park, and then reassembled.

Spa World

Spa World is referred to by locals as the amusement pool. It has various sections, each resembling a traditional spa from a certain location.the European Spa section houses baths inspired by Ancient Rome, Greece, Finland, and even Atlantis. The Asian Spa section contains baths inspired by Persia, Bali, and of course, Japan. Spa World also has its own salon, restaurant, and hotel. You gain full access to all amenities at just ¥2,700 ($24.30) per day.

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