Osaka

Osaka (大阪府;-fu) is a prefecture in the Kansai region of Japan. Osaka is an incredibly easy city to navigate and very welcome to English speaking visitors. It is located 30 minutes from Kyoto and 1 hour from Nara.

  • Osaka Visitors' Info Center
    There are several information booths, the best ones are called "Osaka Visitors' Info Center". They have English speaking helpers, English maps and information on current festivals and events. Available at Osaka-station, Shin Osaka-station, Namba-station, Tenoji-station and possibly elsewhere.
  • 1 or 2 day pass
    Bring your passport if you want a 2 day pass. The 1 day pass is 2000 yen and the two day is 2700. It includes free bus and subway fair (not JR), 25 places you can visit for free, and a small book with maps and suggested travel courses to get the most out of your day. Free tourist attractions include Osaka castle, several museums, some towers and viewpoints, and some boat cruises. There are also some discounts for other attractions, like Universal Studios. The pass can be purchased at most large stations but the English guidebook is only available at the Visitor info centers mentioned above.
  • Osaka Castle
    The castle grounds and castle itself are large and can easily take a full day to explore, or can be done in a few hours if time is tight. The castle itself has a lot of history displayed on each floor in Japanese and English.
  • Sumo
    Osaka is one of the four Grand Sumo tournament venues. I beleive Grand Sumo is held in Osaka every March so it is a good destination for spring break.
    Grand Sumo Official English site
    Tickets can be purchased at a Lawson Loppi machine and paid for in cash at the Lawson ticket counter.
  • Osaka ALT recommended hotels
    Ishihashi Ryokan, 2-17-22 Shimanouchi, Chuo-ku, Osaka phone +8150-1575-4338
    Paid 4200yen/person per night for a large Japanese style room close to a lot of activity in down town Osaka. Supposedly they have an English speaking staff but never saw them or needed them. Internet was spotty. Bring a good map to get there from the station, but not far and on the river.

See also

Akita JET Travel Guide
Hokkaido Hokkaido
Tohoku Aomori • Akita • Fukushima • Iwate • Miyagi • Yamagata
Kanto Chiba • Gunma • Ibaraki • Kanagawa • Saitama • Tochigi • Tokyo
Chubu Aichi • Fukui • Gifu • Ishikawa • Mie • Nagano • Niigata • Shizuoka • Toyama • Yamanashi
Kansai Hyogo • Kyoto • Nara • Osaka • Shiga • Wakayama
Chugoku Hiroshima • Okayama • Shimane • Tottori • Yamaguchi
Shikoku Ehime • Kagawa • Kōchi • Tokushima
Kyushu Fukuoka • Kagoshima • Kumamoto • Miyazaki • Nagasaki • Ōita • Saga • Okinawa