Osaka has a very high international reputation, with Osaka City ranked second in the world's most livable cities, and Chuo ward of Osaka City ranked first in the regions of the world to visit. Compared to Tokyo, rent is cheaper, people are tend to be more friendly and open, and there are many attractive sites to enjoy nature. Here are some of Osaka's attractions.
Osaka was ranked 2nd in the 2021 World's Most Livable Cities ranking by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), behind Auckland in New Zealand. The study evaluated and ranked 140 cities worldwide based on the following criteria:
・Culture & Environment
It is surprising that Osaka was rated highly in terms of 'livability', as large Japanese cities are often said to be difficult to live in compared to their overseas counterparts, due to cramped housing and easily congested public transport systems.
In 2016, the world's largest accommodation booking website Airbnb ranked the Chuo ward of Osaka City first in its list of "16 regions of the world to visit". The Chuo Ward of Osaka is a popular area for its unique restaurants once represented by 'Kuidaore', and Osaka Castle. The city's attractiveness was recognized in such a way that it was voted as the number one region to visit in the 16 Regions of the World to Visit by far.
The study analyzed the travel patterns of more than 40 million Airbnb users during 2015 and selected the 16 cities and regions of the world that rose most in popularity as the best places to visit in 2016.
Airbnb rated cities and regions on four themes - art, food, outdoor experiences and shopping - and described Osaka as superior to other cities in these areas. The overall level of attractiveness of the Chuo District of Osaka is high, even on a global scale.
Rent is a major component of living costs, and according to a survey conducted every five years by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, the average rent in Tokyo is ￥81,001, while in Osaka it is ￥55,636, making it possible to significantly reduce monthly expenses compared to Tokyo.
In addition, according to data from the Statistics Bureau of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications for 2020, the average consumer price regional difference index for Osaka is 100.7, which is lower than the Tokyo metropolitan area (106.0) and Yokohama (103.7) and close to the national average of 100. Despite being the second largest city after Tokyo, it is possible to maintain a low cost of living.
As it is known as the city of cuisines, there is plenty of inexpensive and tasty food in Osaka, such as Takoyaki, Okononiyaki, Kushiyaki, and Butaman. You may find it interesting to know the differences of the food culture between Osaka (Kansai) and Tokyo (Kanto).
While Tokyo's tourist attractions are scattered all over the place - Shibuya, Roppongi, Harajuku, Asakusa, Tsukiji, etc. - most of Osaka's major tourist attractions are concentrated in Umeda or Namba. Compared to Tokyo, there seem to be fewer tourist attractions however, you can easily visit Kyoto, Nara, Wakayama, Kobe and Himeji from Osaka.
Osaka is approximately 20 km from east to west and 80 km from north to south, and is surrounded by Osaka Bay to the west and the Hokusetsu, Kongo-Ikoma and Izumi-Katsuragi mountain ranges on the remaining three sides.
The city centre and mountains and forests are close together, and numerous rivers, such as the Yodo and Yamato Rivers, flow through the city, allowing people to get close to nature while still being in the city.
The south-west of Osaka City faces the sea, making the bay area an excellent place to watch the sunset. Sunset Square in Tempozan Harbour Village, where Kaiyukan, famous for its whale sharks, is also a recommended place to visit. It is also a popular dating location as it offers a panoramic view of the Osaka Bay horizon and a beautiful sunset.
Osaka has many unique tourist attractions, including some of Japan's leading shopping streets and famous landmarks. One of the most popular sites is Kaiyukan. It has one of the world's largest indoor aquariums and was voted Asia's No.1 aquarium by a major travel review website.
The Umeda Sky Building, known around the world for its unique architectural beauty and hanging garden overlooking Osaka, and Abeno Harukas, a 300 m high, 60-storey skyscraper, also attract many visitors from Japan and abroad.
The Umeda area is also home to many department stores and commercial facilities, Dotonbori, a busy shopping street full of energy and bustle that is said to be typical of Osaka, Tenjinbashisuji Shopping Street, the longest shopping street in Japan, Osaka Castle surrounded by beautiful greenery and moats, Universal Studios Japan - one of the world's leading theme parks and many other attractions.
People from Osaka are known to have a strong passion for making people laugh.Osaka is a place of comedy, and Osaka's manzai (stand-up comedy) is well-known throughout Japan. Many of Japan's best-known comedians are from Osaka.
People from Osaka are very friendly. They do not hesitate to talk to strangers, so it often happens that they make new friends just by sitting next in a restaurant. Foreigners in particular are easily approached. You may get the impression that people from Tokyo are a bit cold and reserved, but people from Osaka are very open and welcoming.
If you are interested in the differences between Tokyo and Osaka, please refer to "Osaka vs Tokyo". You will find interesting differences between these two biggest cities in Japan.
Japan Wonder Travel offers private tours in Osaka in English! Visit their website for details.
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