Osaka is strategically located at the mouth of the Yodo River where it flows into Osaka Bay. The city of Osaka is a great city, full of culture and history. It is one of the oldest cities in the world, and its root can be traced back as far as 700 BC, before the rise of western centers of power, such as Rome. Osaka has long enjoyed a position of power and privilege derived from its sheltered location in the bay at the mouth of a river trade route.

During various ages, Osaka was the capital of the Japanese Empire including Asuka, Heian, Nara and Edo periods; it’s actually a cultural flavor that goes deeper irrespective of any other. Historically, it is the economic capital of Japan and it’s known to have the second largest population of any Japanese city.

 It is a unique distinction that Osaka has the highest amount of nighttime residents, that is, people who live and work at night instead of during the day. Close to 2.6 million people live and work by the moon, which result into a huge collection of shops, restaurants and other services being open 24 hours a day.

“The 808 bridges of Osaka" is common in Osaka and used in the expression of wonder in Japan. The number 808 is used by the Japanese to signify “too large to count”. Osaka is surrounded by a huge number of irrigation canals, waterways, to navigable rivers and access feeders. This instigated an equally large number of crossings and bridges, each bridge with a specific and unique name lending itself to the environment. Although some of the waterways, for example, the Nagahori canal, are filled in, the bridges remain an integral part of Osaka’s cultural history.

Popular Attractions

Osaka Kaiyukan Aquarium is regarded as one of the world's largest aquariums and it is a popular attraction. The aquarium, with a unique design that gives the real feeling of depth, has several large marine animals such as king penguins and whale shark.

Stroll through the Dotonbori area, Osaka designated spot for entertainment and nightlife. You will see plenty of bars, clubs, restaurants and arcades decorated with dazzling neon lights in this quaint neighborhood located on the Dotonbori River.

Osaka Castle, which was built in 1583, is the most famous monument in the city and the great citadel is considered the most glorious and best preserved castle in the nation. Osaka Castle commands a turquoise top and the imposing white walls boast of a museum that consist many historical artifacts. The beautiful park surrounding the fort is an ideal place to relax and exercise.

For art buffs, the well-known Osaka Municipal Museum of Fine Arts, which displays more than 8,000 works, is a must see. It has an outstanding collection of classic Japanese art --dates back between the 12th-14th century--contemporary Japanese art, and wide range of  Chinese art and many statues of Buddha.

Etiquette and Behavior

Etiquette and behavior in Osaka are critical to the Japanese society. So many Japanese are of the opinion that foreigners should behave differently and are tolerant of faux pas, but they are stunned when people recognize and observe their habits.

Bowing

Bowing is an essential custom in Japan. The art of bowing is not as simple as it seems. The characteristics of the bowing in Osaka include:

  • The depth of your bow is predicated upon your social position relative to that of the person who is to meet you.

  • Younger people and those of a lower status are expected to give a deep bow to show their respect and recognition of their position. If you do not know the complexity of these rules, you can nod your head; that would suffice.

Invitation

Invitation to a house in Osaka signifies that your host is quite comfortable and close to you. If you receive an invitation, keep the following things at the back of your mind:

  • Ensure to come with a small souvenir from your country, but food and drink or something that can be consumed will also be appreciated.

  • When entering a home, remove your shoes in the hall and put on the slippers provided.

  • Make sure you have socks or stockings in a great condition.

Dining Etiquette

 

The Japanese are very serious about dining etiquette, which includes:

  • Japanese restaurants most times offer guests a small hot towel called an oshibori for wiping the hand.

  • There's no taboo against slurping your noodle soup, though women are generally less boisterous about it than men.

  • You’re permitted to pick up the soup bowl and drink directly from it, rather than leaning over the table to sip it.

  •  If you're not accustomed to eating with chopsticks, do well to ask for a fork instead.

  • Pointing or gesturing with chopsticks, should be avoided.

  • When drinking with a friend, don't just pour your own. Take the bottle and pour for the other person too.

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