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OSAKA: CITY OF CONTRASTS
When you visit Osaka, your eyes will definitely not be on the ground: from the tall skyscrapers to the majestic temples, it will be difficult to remember to look where you are putting your feet!
TWO STEPS BACK...
From its current appearance, which is extremely modern and futuristic, it is difficult to tell that this city is likely to be birthplace of the Japanese people and is full of historical finds dating back to many centuries BC.
If you are fascinated by the history of this enigmatic civilization, take a look at the Osaka Museum of History, before going to the Shitennoji Temple, the oldest in Japan, where Buddhism was first introduced. To find out more about this ancient religion, take a day trip to Kyoto where you will find some of the country's most important temples. It only takes a quarter of an hour by train.
Strolling from one age to another, don't miss the sixteenth-century Osaka Castle, located in Osaka Castle Park, a great place for a walk surrounded by nature to get away from the frenetic activity of the city.
Here, at the right season, you will also be able to enjoy the spectacle of Hanami, the famous flowering of the cherry blossom, and enjoy a picnic in the shade of the trees while tasting typical dishes sold by the various food and drink vendors in the park.
...AND TWO FORWARD
The city is divided mainly into two parts: Kita (north), mainly a business district, but with theaters, cinemas and night life as well, and Minami (south), the ideal place for shopping and entertainment. The latter includes more famous areas such as Dōtonbori, best visited in the evening to experience the local party scene and full of restaurants and bars, and Shinsaibashi, famous for its covered market full of boutiques and the typical lights of the city where you can indulge in a bit of shopping.
If you want to spend a day enjoying yourself, we recommend Osaka Bay, an area that is continually expanding, and home to the highest Ferris wheel in the world (112 m) and various attractions for young and old: the Kayukan Aquarium, which as well as its variety of animal species boasts the largest tank in the world containing a whale shark, and Universal Studios, the first opened outside the United States.
It is very easy to get around this large urban area: a dense subway network will take you to every corner of the city. If, on the other hand, you're more sporty, you could travel by bike like many of the local inhabitants do each day.
THE CITY OF GOOD FOOD!
Osaka is the capital of Japanese cooking. Its citizens call its culinary tradition kuidaore, which literally means "eat until you drop". This is also apparent through the multitude of restaurants and bars filling every corner of the city. Definitive proof is found in Okonomiyaki, a typical dish without a specific recipe: it is made from flour cooked on a griddle with various ingredients such as cabbage, pork or prawns depending on your tastes. It is the perfect choice for those nostalgic for Italian cooking as it is similar to our traditional pizza, so much so that it is actually called the "Japanese pizza".
It is also worth trying great classic Japanese dishes such as ramen, a hot spaghetti soup, tempura, very light battered and deep fried vegetables and prawns, and sushi, small balls of raw fish and rice. And to finish your meal, ask for sake: a very alcoholic rice-based liqueur to be drunk in one gulp.
Osaka is all this and much more besides. Discover it yourselves by booking your Alitalia flight to Osaka's Kansai airport straightaway!