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Osaka Port of Call

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Japanese cherry blossom © naitokz

Ancient Osaka was Japan's capital, and though it has lost that title is today still one of the country's biggest commercial centres. Its vibrancy extends to nightlife and culture as well, and Osaka has a well-eared reputation as a city that both works and plays hard.

Even in its current boom of modern industry and culture, the long and proud history of Osaka is evident everywhere, with castles and Buddhist temples interspersed among high-rise hotels and office buildings; winding shopping streets and neon pachinko parlours add to the bustling confusion.

Cruise ships in Osaka dock at Tempozan Pier, in the middle of the fun Tempozan Harbour Area. There are enough amusements in the harbour area to entertain for hours if you don't feel like venturing further into the city, including restaurants, shops, museums, theatres and an aquarium.


Contact

Osaka Port and Harbour Bureau
www.city.osaka.lg.jp/contents/wdu020/port/

Transport

The efficient Osaka subway system stops at Tempozan Harbour Village, or you can catch a taxi. A taxi to the centre of Osaka is about ¥3,000 (note that tipping cab drivers is not expected).

Attractions

Osaka has a number of attractions for the whole family, including amusement parks, aquariums, shrines and temples, puppet theatres, and the famous Osaka Castle. A fun and unusual attraction in Osaka is the Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen Museum, dedicated to the ubiquitous Cup Noodles known to college students worldwide.

Restaurants

Honfukuzushi - Osaka-style sushi at reasonable prices

Monsoon Cafe Chayamachi - Pan-Asian cuisine in a friendly cafe environment

Panorama Beer Restaurant Asahi - Pizza and pasta and local Asahi beer

Best Dish

Teriyaki Hamo (pike eel)

Shopping

Shinsaibashi is the main shopping district in Osaka, with nearby Horie offering a good selection of Japanese brands. Tempozan Marketplace has plenty of food and souvenir stalls, and Nipponbashi is the place to go for electronics. The crowded Tenjinbashi-suji Shopping Street is also said to be the largest straight shopping arcade in Japan, though it is not aimed at tourists.

Best Buy

Silk kimono or Japanese pearls

Excursions

Visit Universal Studios Japan and ride the Tempozan Ferris Wheel.

Watch a match at the Sumo Spring Grand Tournament.

Enjoy the view from the Floating Garden Observatory in the Umeda Sky Building.

Meet local sealife at the Osaka Kaiyukan Aquarium.

Explore the museums and gardens of Osaka Castle.

Our Travel Expert

Carey Finn Hails from Cape Town, lives in Tokyo (until further notice). A writer type with a love for languages, tea and cherry blossom trees, she headed to Japan to teach English “for a year or two”, and for some reason is still there five years later. After spending some time in laid-back Osaka, she moved up to the crazy capital that is Tokyo, where she tries to hold onto as much of her sanity, and yen, as possible. You can find her cheapo travel advice at www.tokyocheapo.com, where she helps people make the most of the city on a shoestring budget.

>Read Carey's tips on Japan
>Ask Carey a question


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