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Osaka Highlights

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1-1 Ōsakajō, Chūō-ku, Ōsaka-shi, Ōsaka-fu 540-0002, Japan

Osaka Castle was originally built by Toyotomi Hideyoshi, with construction begun in 1583. The plan to make it the fanciest castle in the country went so far as to cover the tower with gold leaf, but it wasn’t merely pretty: The castle held...

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2 Chome-9-89 Sumiyoshi, Sumiyoshi-ku, Ōsaka-shi, Ōsaka-fu 558-0045, Japan

Sumiyoshi-Taisha is the only important structure to survive the Allied bombing raids of WWII. The shrine's site dates to 202 C.E., but because it used to be torn down and rebuilt every 20 years as a purification ritual, the oldest sections now...

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1 Chome-1-11-18 Shitennōji, Tennōji-ku, Ōsaka-shi, Ōsaka-fu 543-0051, Japan

Shitennoji, considered the first Buddhist temple in Japan, was founded in 593 C.E. All the current temple buildings were reconstructed after WWII, except for the Nakamon Gate, which has somehow stayed intact since 1294. Japanese gates aren’t...

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1-2 Hattoriryokuchi, Toyonaka-shi, Ōsaka-fu 561-0873, Japan

Just outside Osaka is this open-air display of farmhouse types from around the country. The woodwork on these houses is incredible, and it’s fascinating to see how people adjusted to Japan’s widely varied climate: Everybody was ready...

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Japan, 〒542-0073 Ōsaka-fu, Ōsaka-shi, Chūō-ku, Nipponbashi, 1 Chome−12, 大阪市中央区日本橋1丁目12−10

Japan has three main kinds of indigenous theater: the famous Kabuki, which has lots of jumping and noise and action; the mostly-unknown-outside-Japan Noh theater, which is sort of like watching slow motion in slow motion; and the puppet theater...

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2 Chome-2-22 Shinsaibashisuji, Chūō-ku, Ōsaka-shi, Ōsaka-fu 542-0085, Japan

Shinsaibashi is sort of the heartbeat of Osaka: the intersection of two enormous streets busy with shops and restaurants, with a canal running through for extra scenic pleasure. This neighborhood has no interest in charming tourists, so it’s...

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1 Chome-10 Dotonbori, Chuo Ward, Osaka, Osaka Prefecture 542-0071, Japan

You’ll know you've found it when you see the six-meter (20-foot) crab climbing up a building in Osaka’s Shinsaibashi area. Considering the decoration outside, it’s no surprise that inside the draw is crab, particularly the crab...

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1 Chome-13-17 Itachibori, Nishi-ku, Ōsaka-shi, Ōsaka-fu 550-0012, Japan

This Osaka restaurant features kaisekis, traditional multicourse meals. A good kaiseki dinner beats whatever's on offer at a Michelin-three-starred restaurant every time. The meal is built around a soup and up to three dishes, but the chefs go...

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1 Chome-8-19 Nanba, Chūō-ku, Ōsaka-shi, Ōsaka-fu 542-0076, Japan

Chanko-nabe is what sumo wrestlers eat, so it’s high-fat, high-energy—the sport might look like mere fat-slapping to the uninitiated, but these guys are serious athletes. (The great Chiyonofuji did 3,000 push-ups daily to keep his...

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1 Chome-9 Nanba, Chuo Ward, Osaka, Osaka Prefecture 542-0076, Japan

Back in the old days, the Japanese monzen-machi, stores and services, gathered around temple gates. Now they're on pedestrianized shopping streets. Namba, just beyond Namba Station in Osaka, is one of the biggest examples outside Tokyo. You name...

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2 Chome-4-番1号 Nipponbashi, Chuo Ward, Osaka, Osaka Prefecture 542-0073, Japan

Chefs shop at Osaka’s Kuromon Ichiba, a market that features more than 150 stalls of fruit, vegetables and fish. You’re not likely to buy anything, except maybe a snack, but as with markets around the world, it’s marvelous to see...

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3 Chome-6-16 Chikkō, Minato-ku, Ōsaka-shi, Ōsaka-fu 552-0021, Japan

The Green Gift Shop in Osaka is mostly useful for people who are not going to Kyoto or Nara but who still want to stock up on souvenirs—nothing fancy, but something for everybody. If this place doesn’t cut it, check the bigger train...