Osaka is famous for its bustling commercial center, but not many travelers are aware that behind its enterprising facade lies an exciting city full of character and plenty of attractions to offer visitors.
Foodies will delight in the delectable cuisine of Japan’s food capital, and if sightseeing is your thing, you will not be disappointed. There are plenty of sights for you to discover. Day-trippers are also in for a treat. Popular cities like Kyoto, Kobe and Nara, to name a few, are only minutes away.
Osaka is connected to the rest of world via the Kansai International Airport and the Osaka International Airport. The latter is also popularly known as Itami Aiport where domestic flights usually land. Both airports are linked to the city center by railways. If you are arriving in Itami, the Airport Limousine Buses are a preferred form of transportation to the city; the monorail can take a much longer route and can be quite expensive.
Given that Osaka is strategically located on Osaka Bay with its very own Osaka International Ferry Terminal, those who are coming from Busan and Shanghai can take the ferry. These are overnight boats that offer a luxurious travel experience, with plush suites on board.
If you are coming from Tokyo, traveling by train is a practical choice. The ride will take between 2 to 4 hours depending on the train service you choose. The fastest option is the Nozomi line while Kodama takes the longest to reach Osaka. However, if you are on a budget and want to save significantly on your train fare, check and see if the Seishun 18 ticket is available from the JR Network. If it is, then you can keep a substantial amount of your transportation budget, if you are prepared to allot 9 hours travel time from Tokyo to Osaka, one way. Of course, Seishun buses from Tokyo are always an option if money becomes a little tight. There are also Premium Buses available for those looking for a bit of comfort and willing to pay a few thousand yen more.
You can easily get around Osaka by subway, train, bus, tram or even a bicycle. If you have a good map and are not easily intimidated by the crisscrossing railway lines, you will be fine. The subway, especially the main artery of Midosuji Line, will take you to the major areas of the city. But, if you want to travel around the city or simply get to Osaka Castle without difficulty, then the JR Osaka Loop Line is the way to go.
Those who want to travel around on a bicycle, like the locals do, will find several bike shops offering reasonable rentals. The city is bike-friendly with its flat terrain and well marked bike lanes. You can also bike along the sidewalks if you cannot find the marked lanes for cycling. Just make sure to ask assistance from the rental shop on how to complete the bike registration procedures before you hit the streets for some sightseeing.