is a city in Japan, located at the mouth of the Yodo River on Osaka Bay, in the Kansai region of the main island of Honshū.
Osaka is a
City in Japan and also is designated city
under the Local Autonomy Law and
the capital city of Osaka Prefecture.
Osaka has historically been the commercial
capital of Japan, and is at the heart of Japan's second largest
(Osaka-Kobe-Kyoto), whose population is 18,643,915.
The ratio between daytime and night time population is 141%, the
highest in Japan, highlighting its status as an economic center.
nighttime population is 2.6 million, the third in the country, but
in daytime the population surges to 3.7 million, second only after
Tokyo. Osaka has traditionally been referred to as
the , or the Mecca of gourmet
Prehistory to the Kofun period
Some of the earliest signs of habitation in the area of Osaka were
found at the , with its shell mounds, including sea oysters and
buried human skeletons from the 5th–6th centuries BC.It is believed
that what is today the Uehonmachi area consisted of a peninsular
land, with an inland sea in the east. During the Yayoi period
, permanent habitation on the
plains grew as rice farming became popular.
Kofun period, Osaka developed into a
hub port connecting the region to the western part of Japan.
large numbers, and the increasing size, of tomb mounds found in the
plains of Osaka are seen as evidence of political-power
concentration, leading to the formation of a state.
Asuka and Nara period
In 645, Emperor Kōtoku
palace, the Naniwa
in Osaka, making this area the capital
(Naniwa-kyō). The place that became the modern city was by this
time called Naniwa. This name, and derived forms, are still in
use for districts in central Osaka such as Naniwa (浪速) and
Namba (難波). Although the capital
was moved to Asuka (in Nara
Prefecture today) in
655, Naniwa remained a vital connection, by land and sea, between
Yamato (modern day Nara
Prefecture), Korea, and
In 744, Naniwa once again became the capital by order of Emperor Shōmu
. Naniwa ceased to be
the capital in 745, when the Imperial Court moved back to Heijō-kyō (now Nara).
seaport function was gradually taken over by neighboring lands by
the end of Nara period, but it remained a lively center of river,
channel, and land transportation between Heian-kyō
(Kyoto today) and other destinations.
Heian to Edo period
the Jōdo Shinshū Buddhist sect set up their headquarters in the
heavily fortified Ishiyama Hongan-ji on the site of the old Naniwa imperial palace.
started a siege of the
temple in 1570. After a decade, the monks finally
surrendered, and the temple was razed, and
Toyotomi Hideyoshi constructed
Castle in its place.
Osaka was, for a long time, Japan's most important economic center,
with a large percentage of the population belonging to the merchant
class (see Four divisions of
). Over the course of the Edo
(1603–1867), Osaka grew into one of Japan's major cities
and returned to its ancient role as a lively and important port.
Its popular culture was closely related to ukiyo-e
depictions of life in Edo
. Developing in parallel with the urban culture of
Kyoto and Edo, Osaka likewise featured bunraku
and grand kabuki
productions, pleasure quarters, and a lively artistic
In 1837, Ōshio
, a low-ranking samurai, led a peasant insurrection
in response to the city's unwillingness to support the many poor
and suffering families in the area. Approximately one-quarter of
the city was razed before shogunal officials put down the
rebellion, after which Ōshio killed himself.
opened to foreign trade by the government of the Bakufu at the same time as Hyōgo (modern
Kobe) on 1 January 1868, just before the advent
of the Boshin war and the Meiji restoration.
modern municipality was established in 1889 by government
ordinance, with an initial area of 15 km², overlapping
today's Chūō and Nishi
Later, the city went through three major expansions
to reach its current size of 222 km².
Derivation of name
Osaka literally means "large hill" or "large slope."It is unclear
when this name gained prominence over Naniwa, but the oldest usage
of the name dates back to a 1496 text. Osaka, now written 大阪, was
formerly written using a different second kanji
as 大坂. The old writing is still in very limited
use to emphasize history, but the second kanji 阪 is now universally
considered referring to Osaka city and prefecture only, to
distinguish it from homonyms in other Japanese prefectures.
of Osaka has its west side open to Osaka Bay. It is otherwise completely surrounded by
more than ten smaller cities, all of them in Osaka
Prefecture, with one
exception: the city of Amagasaki,
belonging to Hyōgo Prefecture, in the northwest.
The city occupies a
larger area (about 13%) than any other city or village within Osaka
Prefecture. When the city was established in 1889, the city
occupied roughly what today are the wards of Chuo and Nishi, with
only size, and grew into today's over several expansions. The
biggest leap was in 1925, when was claimed through an expansion.
highest point in Osaka is in Tsurumi-ku at Tokyo Peil, and the lowest point is in Nishiyodogawa-ku at Tokyo Peil.
Central Osaka is often divided into two areas referred to as
(キタ, lit. north
(ミナミ, lit. south
), at either end of the major thoroughfare
. Kita is roughly the area
surrounding the business and retail district of Umeda
. Minami is home to the Namba, Shinsaibashi, and Dōtonbori shopping districts.
district around Dōtonbori Bridge
famous giant mechanical
, Triangle Park, and Amerikamura
("America Village") is in Minami. In Yodoyabashi and Honmachi,
between Kita and Minami, is the traditional business area where
courts and national/regional headquarters of major banks are
located. The newer business area is in the Osaka Business Park
located nearby Osaka
Castle. Business districts have also formed around
the secondary rail termini, such as Tennoji Station and Kyobashi Station.
“The 808 bridges of Naniwa” was an expression in old Japan for awe
and wonder, an adage known across the land. “808” was a large
number which symbolized the idea of “uncountable”. Since Osaka is
crossed by a number of rivers and canals, many bridges were built
with specific names, and the areas surrounding the bridges were
often referred to by the names of the bridges, too. Some of the
waterways, such as the Nagahori canal, have been filled in, while
others still remain..
A map of Osaka's Wards
Osaka has 24 wards
According to the census in 2005, there were 2,628,811 residents in
Osaka, an increase of 30,037 or 1.2% from 2000. There were
1,280,325 households with approximately 2.1 persons per household.
The population density was 11,836 persons per km². The Great Kanto
Earthquake caused a mass migration to Osaka between 1920 and
1930, and the city became Japan's largest city in 1930 with
2,453,573 people, outnumbering even Tokyo, which had a population
The population peaked at 3,252,340 in 1940,
and had a post-war peak of 3,156,222 in 1965, but continued to
decrease since, as the residents moved out to the suburbs.
There were 99,775 registered foreigners, the two largest groups
being Korean (71,015) and Chinese (11,848). Ikuno, with its
Tsuruhashi district, is the home to one of the largest population
of Korean residents in Japan, with 27,466 registered zainichi Koreans.
The commonly spoken dialect of this area is Osaka-ben
. Of the many other particularities
that characterize Osaka-ben
, an example
is the use of the suffix hen
instead of nai
the negative of verbs.
Osaka City Hall
The Osaka City Council
city's local government formed under the Local Autonomy Law
. The Council has
eighty-nine seats, allocated to the twenty-four wards proportional
to their population and re-elected by the citizens every four
years. The Council elects its President and Vice President.
Toshifumi Tagaya (LDP
) is the current and 104th
President since May 2008. The Mayor of the city is directly elected
by the citizens every four years as well, in accordance with the
Local Autonomy Law. Kunio
Hiramatsu, a former Mainichi Broadcasting System announcer is the 18th mayor of Osaka since
He is supported by two Vice Mayors, Akira Morishita
and Takashi Kashiwagi
, who are appointed by
himself in accordance with the city bylaw.
Osaka also houses several agencies of the Japanese Government.
Below is a list of Governmental Offices housed in Osaka.
- Osaka Family Court
- Osaka High Court
- Osaka Immigration
- Osaka Labour Bureau
- Osaka Meteorological Observatory
- Osaka Public Prosecutors Office
- Osaka Regional Aerospace Bureau
- Osaka Regional Law Bureau
- Osaka Regional Taxation Bureau
- Osaka Summary Court
See also Companies
headquartered in Osaka
The gross city product of Osaka in fiscal year 2004 was ¥21.3
trillion, an increase of 1.2% over the previous year. The figure accounts
for about 55% of the total output in the Osaka
Prefecture and 26.5% in
the Kinki region.
In 2004, commerce, services, and
manufacturing have been the three major industries, accounting for
30%, 26%, and 11% of the total, respectively. The per capita income
in the city was about ¥3.3 million, 10% higher than that of the
reported that Osaka ranks 19th among the world's leading cities and
plays an important role in the global economy.
in the greater Osaka area (Osaka and
) is $341 billion. Osaka, along with
Paris and London, has one of
the most productive hinterlands in the
The figure has stayed fairly constant for the past 15
years, when the GDP compared with other cities worldwide was that
Historically, Osaka was the center of commerce in Japan, especially
in the middle and pre-modern ages. Nomura Securities
, the first brokerage
firm in Japan, was founded in the city in 1925, and Osaka still
houses a leading futures exchange. Many major companies have since moved
their main offices to Tokyo.
However, several major companies—such as Panasonic
—are still headquartered in Osaka.
Recently, the city began a program, headed by mayor Junichi Seki,
to attract domestic and foreign investment.
The Osaka Securities
, specializing in derivatives such as Nikkei 225
futures, is based in Osaka. The merger
will help the Osaka Securities
Exchange become the largest exchange in Japan for start-up
to a U.S. study, Osaka is the second most
expensive city for expatriate employees in the world and in
Japan behind Tokyo.
jumped up nine places from 11th place in 2008. Osaka was the 8th
most expensive city in 2007.
Osaka is served by two airports outside the city.
International Airport (IATA: KIX) handles all scheduled international
passenger flights, some domestic flights, and most cargo
flights. It is on an artificial island that sits off-shore in
Osaka Bay and is administratively part of the nearby town of
airport is linked by a bus
service into the center of the city and major
International Airport (IATA:ITM), on the border of the cities of Itami and Toyonaka, houses most of the domestic
services, some international cargo flights, and international VIP
charters from and to the metropolitan region.
The port of Osaka serves as a shipping hub for the Kansai region
along with the port of Kobe.
Osaka's international ferry connections are far greater than
Tokyo's, mostly due to geography. There are international ferries that
leave Osaka for Shanghai, Korea, and until
domestic ferry services include regular service to ports such as
Shimonoseki, Kagoshima, and Okinawa.
Port of Osaka
Shipping plays the crucial role for the freight coming in and out
of the area nationally and internationally, and Greater Osaka areas
exports and imported raw materials span the globe, with no one port
dominating. Though the port of Kobe was in the 1970s the busiest in
the world by containers handled, it no longer ranks among the top
twenty worldwide. Kansai area is home to 5 existing LNG terminals
Greater Osaka has a very extensive network of railway lines,
comparable to that of Greater Tokyo. Main rail terminals
in the city include, Umeda, Namba, Tennoji, Kyobashi, and Yodoyabashi.
High speed rail
operate high-speed trains
on the Tōkaidō
Station is the Shinkansen
terminal in Osaka. This station is connected to Ōsaka
Station at Umeda by the JR Kyoto Line and the subway Midōsuji Line. All Shinkansen trains including Nozomi stop at Shin-Ōsaka Station and
provide access to other major cities in Japan, such as Kyoto, Nagoya, Yokohama and Tokyo to the east,
and Kobe, Okayama,
Hiroshima, Kitakyushu and Fukuoka to the west. In spring 2011, JR
West and JR Kyushu will introduce new
Shinkansen services, Sakura, linking
Osaka with Kumamoto, Kagoshima, and other cities in central and south
Chuo Shinkansen using JR-Maglev system will be extended to Shin-Ōsaka so that
passengers can transfer to the existing Tōkaidō-Sanyō Shinkansen
JR Osaka Loop Line
Both JR West
lines connect Osaka and its suburbs. The commuter rail network of
JR West is called the Urban Network
stations on the JR Osaka Loop Line
, Tennōji, Tsuruhashi, and Kyōbashi.
JR West competes with such private rail
operators as Keihan Electric
, Hankyu Railway
, Hanshin Railway
, Kintetsu Corporation
, and Nankai Electric Railway
Keihan and Hankyu lines connect to Kyoto; the Hanshin and Hankyu lines connect to Kobe; the Kintetsu lines connect to Nara, Yoshino, Ise and Nagoya; and the Nankai
lines connect to Osaka's southern suburbs and Kansai
International Airport as well as Wakayama and
Many lines in Greater Osaka accept either
contactless smart cards
The Osaka Municipal Subway
system is a part of Osaka's extensive rapid transit system. The
Metro system alone ranks 8th in the world by annual passenger
ridership, serving over 912 million people annually (a quarter of
Greater Osaka Rail System's 4 billion annual riders), despite being
only 8 of more than 70 lines in the metro area ( see
Regular bus services are provided by Osaka Municipal
(the City Bus), as well as by group
companies of Hankyu, Hanshin and Kintetsu. The City runs a dense
network covering much parts of the city. The fare for the regular
buses is a flat rate of 200 Yen, or 100 Yen for the smaller "Red
Bus" looplines operated within segmented areas of the city. The
other bus companies provide their services in supplement to their
Culture and lifestyle
Shopping and culinary
Osaka has a large number of wholesalers and retail shops: 25,228
and 34,707 respectively in 2004, according to the city statistics.
A lot of them are concentrated in the wards of Chuō (10,468 shops)
and Kita (6,335 shops). Types of shops varies from malls to
arcades, built both above- and underground. Shōtengai are seen
across Japan, and Osaka has the longest one in the country.: The
Tenjinbashi-suji arcade stretches from the road approaching the
shrine and continues for 2.6 km going north to
The type of stores along the arcade includes
commodities, clothing, and catering outlets.
Other shopping areas are Den Den Town
the electronic and manga/anime district, which is comparable to
Akihabara; and the Umeda
district, which has
the Hankyu Sanbangai shopping mall and Yodobashi Camera
, a huge electrical
appliance store that offers a vast range of fashion stores,
restaurants, and a Shonen Jump store.
Osaka is known for its food, as supported by the saying "Dress (in
kimonos) till you drop in Kyoto
, eat till you
drop in Osaka" (京の着倒れ、大阪の食い倒れ). Regional cuisine includes
(a noodle dish), as well as the
Other shopping districts include:
- American Village – fashion for young
- Dōtonbori – part of Namba district and considered heart of
- Namba – main shopping, sightseeing, and
- Shinsaibashi – luxury goods and department stores
- Umeda – theaters, boutiques, and
department stores near the train station
Entertainment and performing arts
- Osaka is home to the National Bunraku Theatre, where traditional puppet plays, bunraku, are performed.
- At Osaka Shouchiku-za, close
to Namba station, kabuki can be enjoyed as well as manzai. Nearby is the Shin-kabuki-za, where enka concerts and Japanese dramas are performed.
- Yoshimoto, a Japanese
entertainment conglomarate operates two halls in the city for
manzai and other comedy shows: the Namba Grand Kagetsu and the Kyōbashi Kagetsu halls.
- The Hanjō-tei opened in 2006,
dedicated to rakugo. The theatre is in the
- Umeda Arts Theater opened in
2005 after relocating from its former 46-year-old Umeda Koma
Theater. The theater has a main hall with 1,905 seats and a smaller
theater-drama hall with 898 seats. Umeda Arts Theatre stages
various type of performances including musicals, music concerts,
dramas, rakugo, and others.
- The Symphony Hall, built in
1982, is the first hall in Japan designed specially for classical
music concerts. The Hall was opened with a concert by the Osaka Philharmonic Orchestra,
which is based in the city. Orchestras such as the Berlin Philharmonic and Vienna Philharmonic have played here
during their world tours as well.
- Osaka-jō Hall is a multi-purpose arena in Osaka-jō park with a capacity for up to
16,000 people. The hall has hosted numerous events and
concerts including both Japanese and international artists.
- Near City Hall in Nakanoshima, is Osaka Central Public Hall, a
Neo-Renaissance-style building first
opened in 1918. Re-opened in 2002 after major restoration, it
serves as a multi-purpose rental facility for citizen events.
- The Osaka Shiki Theater is
one of the nine private halls opearted nationwide by the Shiki Theatre, staging straight plays
- Festival Hall was a hall
hosting various performances including noh,
kyogen, kabuki, ballets as well as classic
concerts. The Bolshoi Ballet and the Philharmonia are among the many that were
welcomed on stage in the past. The hall has closed at the end of
2008, planned to re-open in 2013 in a new facility.
One of the most famous festivals held in Osaka, the Tenjin-matsuri
is held on July 24 and 25. Other festivals in Osaka include the
Aizen-matsuri, Shōryō-e and Tōka-Ebisu. Furthermore, Osaka annually
hosts the Osaka European Film Festival.
Museum and galleries
See also: Museums in Osaka
Museum of Art (NMAO) is a subterranean Japanese art museum,
housing mainly collections from the post-war era.
Science Museum is in a five storied building next to the National
Museum of Art, with a planetarium and an omnimax theatre.
Osaka Maritime Museum
The Museum of Oriental
holds more than 2,000 pieces of ceramics, from China,
Korea, Japan and Vietnam, featuring displays of some of their
under natural light.
Osaka Municipal Museum of Art
is inside Tennōji
park, housing over 8,000 pieces of Japanese and Chinese
paintings and sculptures. The Osaka Maritime Museum, opened in 2000, is accessible only through an
underwater tunnel into its dome. The Osaka Museum of History, opened in
2001, is located in a 13-story modern building providing a view of
Its exhibits cover the history of Osaka
from pre-history to the present day. Osaka Museum of Natural
houses a collection related to natural history and
hosts four professional sport teams: one of them is the Orix Buffaloes, a Nippon Professional Baseball
team, playing its home games at Kyocera Dome Osaka. Another baseball team, the Hanshin Tigers, although based in Nishinomiya, Hyōgo, plays a part of its home games in Kyocera Dome Osaka as well, when their homeground Kōshien
Stadium is occupied with the annual National High School
Baseball Championship games during summer season.
J.League soccer team, Cerezo Osaka, plays its home games at Nagai Stadium.
The team plays in the 2nd division league
since the 2007 season, after finishing second to last in the
previous year. The city is home to Osaka
, a basketball team that plays in the bj league
. Evessa has won the first three
championships of the league since its establishment. Kintetsu Liners
, a rugby union
team, play in the Top League
. After winning promotion in 2008-09,
they will again remain in the competition for the 2009-10 season.
base is the Hanazono Rugby Stadium.
Sangatsubasho (三月場所 sangatsu basho, literally March ring),
one of the six regular tournaments of professional Sumo is held annually in Osaka at the Osaka
Another major annual sporting event that takes place is Osaka is
Osaka International Ladies Marathon
usually at the end of January every year, the 42.195 km race
starts from Nagai Stadium, runs through Nakanoshima, Midōsuji and Osaka castle park, and returns to the stadium.
yearly event held at Nagai Stadium is the Osaka Gran Prix Athletics
games operated by the International
Association of Athletics Federations
(IAAF) in May. The Osaka
GP is the only IAAF games annually held in Japan.
Osaka serves as one of the media hubs for Japan, housing
headquarters of many media-related companies. Abundant television
production takes place in the city andevery nationwide TV network
(with the exception of TXN network) registers its sub-key station
in Osaka. All five nationwide newspaper majors also house their
regional headquarters, and most local newspapers nationwide have
branches in Osaka. Yet, one should know that major film productions
are uncommon in the city. Most major films are produced in nearby
Kyoto or Tokyo.
All the five nationwide newspaper majors of Japan, the Asahi Shimbun
, the Mainichi Shimbun
, the Nihon Keizai Shimbun
, the Sankei Shimbun
and the Yomiuri Shimbun
, have their regional
headquarters in Osaka and issue their regional editions.
Furthermore, Osaka houses Osaka Nichi-nichi Shimbun, its newspaper
press. Other newspaper related companies located in Osaka include
include, the regional headquarters of FujiSankei Business i.;Houchi
Shimbunsha; Nikkan Sports
, and offices of Kyodo News
; Jiji Press
Television and radio
TV networks are represented by the Asahi
Broadcasting Corporation (ANN), the
Telecasting Corporation (FNN), the
Broadcasting System (JNN), the
Television Osaka (TXN) and the Yomiuri Telecasting
headquartered in Osaka. NHK has also
its regional station based in the city.
AM Radio services
are provided by NHK as well as the ABC Radio (Asahi Broadcasting
Corporation), MBS Radio (Mainichi Broadcasting System) and Radio
Osaka (Osaka Broadcasting
) and headquartered in the city. FM services are
available from NHK, FM Osaka
and FM Cocolo
, the last
providing programs in multiple languages including English.
As of February 2009, the city is fully covered by terrestrial
digital TV broadcasts
Osaka is home to many publishing companies including: Examina,
Izumi Shoin, Kaihou Shuppansha, Keihanshin Elmagazine, Seibundo
Shuppan, Sougensha, and Toho Shuppan.
Places of interest
Tourist attractions include:
21st century Osaka
21st century Osaka
Kansai, the name being used for Osaka is transforming itself with
high rise skyscrapers that define the 21st century Japan in social
and economic standards
- Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan (海遊館) – an aquarium
located in Osaka Bay, containing 35,000 aquatic animals in 14
tanks, the largest of which holds 5,400 tons of water and houses a
variety of sea animals including whale
sharks. This tank is the world's second-largest
aquarium tank, behind the Georgia Aquarium, whose largest tank holds approximately 29,000 tons
Harbor Village Ferris wheel, located next to the aquarium
- Tennōji Zoo
- Universal Studios Japan
- Shin-Umeda city – an innovative structure that has the floating
garden observatory 170 m from the ground, which offers a
360-degree panoramic view of Osaka, popular for photographs, a
structure that also houses an underground mall with restaurants and
is styled in the early Showa period in the 1920s.
Temples, shrines, and other historical sites
Public elementary and junior high schools in Osaka are operated by
the city of Osaka. Its supervisory organization on educational
matters is Osaka City Board of Education. Likewise, public high
schools are operated by Osaka Prefectural Board of
city once had a large number of universities high schools, but because of growing
campuses and the need for larger area, many chose to move to the
suburbs, including Osaka University
Osaka has eight sister cities and relationships of various sorts
with several others:
||San Francisco, United States
||São Paulo, Brazil
||Saint Petersburg, Russia
||Friendship and Cooperation City
||Buenos Aires, Argentina
||Busan, South Korea
Business Partner Cities :
- Auckland, New
- Bangkok, Thailand
- Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
- Jakarta, Indonesia
- Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
- Manila, Philippines
- Melbourne, Australia
- Mumbai, India
- Seoul, South
- Shanghai, China
- Singapore, Singapore
- Tianjin, China
- Table 92, Final Report of The 2000 Population
- Totalling the Special wards of Tokyo, which is not
a single incorporated city, for statistical purposes. See the
Tokyo article for more
information on the definition and makeup of Tokyo.
- Navigate to the equivalent Japanese page (大阪市の歴史 タイムトリップ20,000年
(History of Osaka, A timetrip back 20,000 years)) for additional information.
- The name was also historically written 浪華 or 浪花, with the same
pronunciation. These are uncommon today but still used
- Osaka city
Guide to the Ukiyo-e Tokyo national museum
- The Cambridge History of Japan
- Osaka city
- More About Osaka, Osaka City Government
- Osaka City Council homepage
- the City Bus network
- The five largest newspapers by number of circulation in Japan
in alphabetical order.
- See the Association for Promotion of Digital Broadcasting web
page for the coverage map.
- Japan in the 21st century: environment, economy,