Japan is a country of compelling contrasts. Behind its blinding veneer of modernity, as evidenced in neon-clad skyscrapers and innovative technology, are deeply-rooted, ancient traditions and a contemplative stillness that transcends time.

A tiny island nation, yet also a global economic powerhouse. Osaka, Japan’s third largest city on the island of Honshu, is a key player in commerce, drawing many business travellers, but overshadowed by metropolitan Tokyo and timeless Kyoto in tourism. (Sidenote: ever notice those two city names are anagrams?)

Those who journey to Japan are rewarded with insights on this beautiful country one can only glean up close and personally. Osaka seamlessly blends aspects of both cities, into a destination that’s all its own.

A major Japanese economic hub, Osaka might seem all business, but it caters to the bon vivant as well. Boisterous nightlife, superb restaurants and friendly people, Osaka is a down-to-earth version of Tokyo, without Kyoto’s stern primness. Osaka offers a delightful blend of urbane boldness and historic appeal. Tour Osaka Castle, a 16th century landmark, feast on street food delicacies and enjoy a bird’s-eye view atop the Umeda Sky Bui

For many of us, Osaka remains enigmatic like Japan itself, perhaps even more so.

the image of Japan is an enigmatic one, with a vague notion of geishas and samurai warriors butting up against buzzing neon arcades and frenetic TV game shows. Japan is indeed a nation of contrasts and those who venture there on holiday will gain a greater understanding of the unique ancient culture and traditions of this beautiful country, as well as the chance to experience the modern innovations and infrastructural genius which has made contemporary Japan a powerhouse.

Japan’s major cities (TokyoKyoto, and Osaka) appear on the surface to be westernized, but visitors quickly realize that the sleek modern culture of Japan is expertly blended with millennia of tradition, evident in the Buddhist and Shinto temples sprinkled throughout the urban centres, intricate social rituals for eating and greeting, and other small reminders of Japan’s long and proud history.

Once out of the cities, visitors can explore a different side of Japan, climbing one of the country’s 200 mountains, soaking in secluded hot springs, visiting ancient shrines and castles, or attending a sumo match.

Whether it’s for skiing in the winter, viewing the cherry blossoms in spring, or enjoying the sunshine of late summer, a holiday in Japan is a rewarding adventure for all.

Like beer? So do Osakans

Osaka? Oh, sake! The beloved rice wine of Japan

 


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