Comfort Hotel Osaka Shinsaibashi
Phone: (81) 6 6258 3111
Fax: (81) 6 6258 3121
Located near the Ebisubashi Bridge, this indoor theme park is spread over three floors. It is made in the styles of the Taisho and Showa era, replete with authentic fountains and sewers, dirty streets and even fortune tellers. This park is a virtual heaven for foodies. The snack loving ethos of Osaka is clearly represented here in the multitude of small restaurants that sell all kinds of meats, vegetables, noodles, curries, dumplings, etc. Once the gourmand in you is satiated you can catch a performance of Manzai and Rakugo at the traditional Japanese Comedy House. Admission: JPY315.
Ame-mura, short for "American Town"--is the pet name for the district west-southwest of Shinsaibashi Station. The district, as you would imagine from its name, supposedly recreates the feel of popular shopping districts in large American cities. In truth, besides the American brand-name goods and shops, it is very much Japanese, but certainly lively and fun. There are literally hundreds of shops and several large shopping centers. The district would, of course, not be complete without restaurants and bars, either. Given the makeup of the district, its denizens tend to be young and hip, though daylight hours see a more mixed crowd.
This 'park' is actually more of a plaza in the shape of a triangle that does not even take up a small city block. Its importance, however, lies in its location, not its size. It is in the heart of Ame-mura and is the only open space in the area. Any study of Osaka youth and underground culture should begin here. It attracts all walks of life at all hours of the day. You will frequently find amateur dancers and performers in the circular central area. The place is so famous that it is occasionally featured on national TV and is known by literally millions.
This park has interesting dimensions; it is a narrow 150m wide by a long 800m stretch in a somewhat cluttered area of the city. Part of it offers respite from all the noise and activity with its some 2,500 rose bushes. There are also cherry trees and other attractive shrubs and flora. The rest of it comprises a huge tennis court complex, the largest of which - the grand stadium - can accommodate 5,000 spectators. Entrance to the park is free and unrestricted, though times for use of the tennis courts varies.
Imamiya Ebisu-jinja Shrine is a religious site that was built by Prince Shotoku to ward off evil spirits and souls if any. This shrine is visited by many people who pray for their prosperity and success in their business or commercial ventures. Tourists offer holy bamboo branches; these bunches of bamboos also have few trinkets/items stringed to them that are symbols of good luck. In January, the shrine hosts the Toka Ebisu festival, it is believed that all those who participate in these celebrations is blessed with prosperity and good luck.
Ask Osakans what more than anything else symbolizes their city and the majority will tell you with pride that it is the Tsutenkaku Tower. Although the original tower, which was built in 1912, was destroyed in 1943, it was rebuilt in its present form in 1956. At 103 meters tall, the present tower offers a superb view of the whole of the city from the observation platform. The tower is actually located in the old downtown area and is surrounded by 'stand-and-eat' stalls and inexpensive clothing stores.
Festivalgate makes for a fabulous day out for the whole family. It is principally a large amusement park, but it also houses restaurants, shops and a movie theater. The star attraction is a super-fast roller coaster that travels at almost 100-kilometers an hour. It is not for the faint-hearted, but children love it. There are so many attractions that you could easily spend the whole day here without doing them all. There is also an unusual theme park based on famous spas. If the excitement of the attractions brings out a sweat, step into one of the hot springs.
Conveniently located in Tennoji Park, just five minutes from Tennoji Station on the Midosuji subway line, the Osaka Municipal Museum of Art shows regular exhibitions of fine examples of traditional Chinese art such as paintings, calligraphic works and stone images of the Buddha. Japanese artworks, both old and new, are also on display (the basement may be rented as a gallery by contemporary artists). The museum also serves as a repository of a wide-ranging variety of Korean art pieces.
If you are looking for a place to take the family, Osaka Dome is a good choice. It is a popular tourist spot representing the newer side of Osaka. Opened in March 1997, Osaka Dome is a multipurpose indoor arena. It can be adapted for sports, concerts and other events by customizing into different shapes and sizes. Inside the arena there are restaurants and shops, which operate all year, even on no-event days. In the Simland Q Park you can experience life in space and what life would be like in a city of the future.
A park this exquisite tends to bring tourists and visitors rather than citizens looking for a place to lounge around and relax - though they do come as well. There are of course plenty of open areas with flowers and greenery but none attract as many people as the Japanese gardens. Within the park, you will also find the Osaka Municipal Art Museum. Besides these two main attractions, there is also a greenhouse and a huge-screen, multi-media theater. The Tennoji Zoo is located not far away.
Boasting of a stately architecture, the Osaka Castle is a grandiose edifice that encompasses an area of 60000 square meters.
Osaka Tenmangu Shrine was built in 949AD in memory of Sugawara no Michizane, a 10th century scholar. He is worshiped as the god of wisdom and fine art across Japan. The legend says that a few rivals of Michizane conspired against him which made him exile from the court. He couldn't bear his fate and died after two years of misery. A shrine was built in the beginning of the 10th century to appease his soul. Every year, millions of students visit this shrine to pray for their excellence in academics. Osaka Tenmangu Shrine is the place where the Tenjin Matsuri begins.