Built on a rich history and thriving with innovation, Osaka offers a lively and varied lifestyle. There's something for everyone to enjoy in this vast metropolis, with shopping, eating out, entertainment and outdoor activities galore.
Shopping in Osaka
Historically a merchant city, it's no stretch to say that Osaka is packed with some of Japan's best shopping opportunities. There are two main shopping areas: Namba (Minami) in the south and Umeda (also known as Kita) in the north.
Osaka is also dotted with speciality shopping areas, from the electronics-and-gaming hub Den Den Town to Doguya-suji, which sells all manner of kitchen and cooking goods for amateur cooks and pro chefs alike.
For a unique experience, Namba Parks Shopping Complex is not to be missed. The complex is designed to bring an outside feel to the urban shopping experience. Hanging gardens, waterfalls and rock formations can be found throughout all eight floors of the complex, which then culminate in a sprawling open-air rooftop garden. A manmade canyon-like structure carves its way through the centre of the building, giving those on the rooftop a breathtaking view right down to ground level.
Eating out in Osaka
Osaka is nicknamed 'the kitchen of Japan' for good reason, and it won't take expats long to find out why. The city is bursting with fine-dining restaurants, cheap-as-chips street food and everything in between. Be sure to try the wide variety of authentic Japanese food on offer, like sushi and ramen, not to mention takoyaki, Osaka's trademark dish of batter balls stuffed with octopus.
Nightlife in Osaka
Shinsaibashi and Namba are Osaka's nightlife hotspots, home to all forms of entertainment. These easily walkable areas are perfect for bar hopping. Expect to find swish cocktail bars, down-to-earth Irish pubs and izikaya – casual Japanese bars that serve drinks and snacks. 'All-you-can-eat' and 'all-you-can-drink' specials are common in izikaya, making them an excellent budget option.
Outdoor activities in Osaka
Outdoorsy types will be spoilt for choice in Osaka with plenty of green spaces and parks in which to escape from the hustle-and-bustle of the city. Tennoji Park is a lovely place to picnic, take a stroll or enjoy a bike ride. The park is especially beautiful in spring, when the cherry blossoms bloom. Hikers are sure to enjoy Minoo Park and its well known trails such as Takimichi. Just a short way into the park is a beautiful waterfall, while Ryuanji Temple can be found further along the trail.