CityscapeOsaka's sprawling cityscape has been described as "only surpassed by Tokyo as a showcase of the Japanese urban phenomenon".
Central Osaka is roughly divided into downtown and uptown areas known as and .
Kita is home to the Umeda district and its immediate surrounding neighborhoods, a major business and retail hub that plays host to Osaka Station City and a large subterranean network of shopping arcades. Kita and nearby Nakanoshima contain a prominent portion of the city's skyscrapers and are often featured in photographs of Osaka's skyline.
Minami, though meaning "south", is essentially in and geographically central within the city. Well known districts here include Namba and Shinsaibashi shopping areas, the Dōtonbori canal entertainment area, Nipponbashi Den Den Town, as well as arts and fashion culture-oriented areas such as Amerikamura and Horie.
The business districts between Kita and Minami such as Honmachi and Yodoyabashi, called , house the regional headquarters of many large-scale banks and corporations. The Midōsuji boulevard runs through Semba and connects Kita and Minami.
Further south of Minami are neighborhoods such as Shinsekai (with its Tsūtenkaku tower), Tennoji and Abeno (with Tennoji Zoo, Shitennō-ji and Abeno Harukas), and the Kamagasaki slum, the largest slum in Japan.
The city's west side is a prominent bay area which serves as its main port as well as a tourist destination with attractions such as Kyocera Dome, Universal Studios Japan and the Tempozan Harbour Village. East Osaka is zoned as a separate city, although the east side of Osaka city proper contains numerous residential neighborhoods including Tsuruhashi Korea Town, as well as the Osaka Castle Park, Osaka Business Park and the hub Kyōbashi Station.
Osaka contains numerous urban canals and bridges, many of which serve as the namesake for their surrounding neighbourhoods. The phrase "808 bridges of Naniwa" was an expression in old Japan used to indicate impressiveness and the "uncountable". Osaka numbered roughly 200 bridges by the Edo period and 1629 bridges by 1925. As many of the city's canals were gradually filled in, the number dropped to 872, of which 760 are currently managed by Osaka City.
WardsOsaka has 24 :
DemographicsAccording 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 Kantō 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 of 2,070,913. 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 99,775.5 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, a typical sub-dialect of Kansai-ben. Of the many other particularities that characterize Osaka-ben, examples include using the copula ya instead of da, and the suffix -hen instead of -nai in the negative of verbs.
PoliticsThe Osaka City Council is the 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. Tōru Hashimoto, former governor of Osaka Prefecture is the 19th mayor of Osaka since 2011. The mayor is supported by two Vice Mayors, currently Akira Morishita and Takashi Kashiwagi, who are appointed by him 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.
In July 2012, a joint multi-party bill was submitted to the Diet that would allow for implementation of the Osaka Metropolis plan as pursued by the mayor of Osaka city, the governor of Osaka and their party. If implemented, Osaka City, neighbouring Sakai City and possibly other surrounding municipalities would dissolve and be reorganized as four special wards of Osaka prefecture – similar to former Tokyo City's successor wards within Tokyo prefecture. Special wards are municipal-level administrative units that leave some otherwise municipal administrative responsibilities and revenues to the prefectural administration. In December 2018 the mayor and governor of Osaka may resign to force a referendum on the Metropolis plan to coincide with the election for those positions in the spring of 2019.
In October 2018, the city of Osaka officially ended its sister city relationship with San Francisco in the United States after the latter permitted a monument memorializing "comfort women" to remain on a city-owned property, circulating in the process a 10-page, 3,800-word letter in English addressed to San Francisco mayor London Breed.
Politics regarding the use of nuclear energyOn February 27, 2012, three Kansai cities, Kyoto, Osaka, and Kobe, jointly asked Kansai Electric Power Company to break its dependence on nuclear power. In a letter to KEPCO they also requested to disclose information on the demand and supply of electricity, and for lower and stable prices. The three cities were stockholders of the plant: Osaka owned 9% of the shares, while Kobe had 3% and Kyoto 0.45%. Toru Hashimoto, the mayor of Osaka, announced a proposal to minimize the dependence on nuclear power for the shareholders meeting in June 2012.
On March 18, 2012, the city of Osaka decided as largest shareholder of Kansai Electric Power Co, that at the next shareholders-meeting in June 2012 it would demand a series of changes:
At a meeting held on April 10, 2012 by the "energy strategy council", formed by the city of Osaka and the governments of the prefectures, it became clear that at the end of the fiscal year 2011 some 69 employees of Kansai Electric Power Company were former public servants. "Amakudari" was the Japanese name for this practice of rewarding by hiring officials that formerly controlled and supervised the firm. Such people included the following:
Besides this, it became known that Kansai Electric had done about 600 external financial donations, to a total sum of about 1.695 billion yen:
EconomyThe 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 Osaka Prefecture. MasterCard Worldwide reported that Osaka ranks 19th among the world's leading cities and plays an important role in the global economy.The GDP in the greater Osaka area (Osaka and Kobe) is $341 billion. Osaka, along with Paris and London, has one of the most productive hinterlands in the world. Osaka's GDP per capita (Nominal) was $59,958.($1=120.13)
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, Sharp, and Sanyo, are still headquartered in Osaka. Recently, the city began a program, headed by mayor Junichi Seki, to attract domestic and foreign investment. In the 2017 Global Financial Centres Index, Osaka was ranked as having the 15th most competitive financial center in the world and fifth most competitive in Asia (after Singapore, Hong Kong, Tokyo, and Shanghai).
The Osaka Securities Exchange, specializing in derivatives such as Nikkei 225 futures, is based in Osaka. The merger with JASDAQ will help the Osaka Securities Exchange become the largest exchange in Japan for start-up companies.
According to global consulting firm Mercer, Osaka was the second most expensive city for expatriate employees in the world in 2009. It jumped up nine places from 11th place in 2008 and was the eighth most expensive city in 2007. However, it was not ranked in the top ten places of the list in 2013. The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) ranked Osaka as the second most expensive city in the world in its 2013 Cost of Living study.
TransportationGreater Osaka has an extensive network of railway lines, comparable to that of Greater Tokyo. Major stations within the city include , , , , , and .
Osaka connects to its surrounding cities and suburbs via the JR West Urban Network as well as numerous private lines such as Keihan Electric Railway, Hankyu Railway, Hanshin Electric Railway, Kintetsu Railway, and Nankai Electric Railway.
The Osaka 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.
All Shinkansen trains including Nozomi stop at Shin-Osaka Station and provide access to other major cities in Japan, such as Kobe, Kyoto, Nagoya, Yokohama, and Tokyo.
Regular bus services are provided by Osaka City Bus, as well Hankyu, Hanshin and Kintetsu, providing a dense network covering most parts of the city.
Osaka is served by two airports outside of the city, Kansai International Airport (IATA: KIX) which handles primarily international passenger flights and Osaka International Airport (IATA:ITM) which handles mostly domestic services and some international cargo flights.
Due to its geographical position, Osaka's international ferry connections are far greater than that of Tokyo, with international service to Shanghai, Tianjin, Korea along with domestic routes to Kitakyushu, Kagoshima, Miyazaki and Okinawa.
Culture and lifestyle
Shopping and foodOsaka has a large number of wholesalers and retail shops: 25,228 and 34,707 respectively in 2004, according to the city statistics. Many of them are concentrated in the wards of Chuō (10,468 shops) and Kita (6,335 shops). Types of shops vary from malls to conventional shōtengai shopping 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 Tenmangū shrine and continues for 2.6 km going north to south. The stores along the arcade include commodities, clothing, and catering outlets.
Other shopping areas include Den Den Town, the electronic and manga/anime district, which is comparable to Akihabara; 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, in Japan and abroad. Author Michael Booth and food critic François Simon of Le Figaro have suggested that Osaka is the food capital of the world. Osakans' love for the culinary is made apparent in the old saying "Kyotoites are financially ruined by overspending on clothing, Osakans are ruined by spending on food." Regional cuisine includes , , , as well as the traditional , particularly .
Osaka is known for its fine sake, which is made with fresh water from the prefecture's mountains. Osaka's culinary prevalence is the result of a location that has provided access to high-quality ingredients, a high population of merchants, and proximity to the ocean and waterway trade. In recent years, Osaka has started to garner more attention from foreigners with the increased popularity of cooking and dining in popular culture.
Other shopping districts include:
Entertainment and performing arts
Annual festivalsOne of the most famous festivals held in Osaka, the Tenjin Matsuri, is held on July 24 and 25 (Ikukunitama Shrine). Other festivals in Osaka include the Aizen Matsuri (June 30 – July 2, Shōman-in Temple), the Sumiyoshi Matsuri (July 30 – August 1, Sumiyoshi Taisha), Shōryō-e (April 22, Shitennō-ji) and Tōka-Ebisu (January 9–10, Imamiya Ebisu Jinja). The annual Osaka Asian Film Festival takes place in Osaka every March.
Museum and galleriesMuseums in Osaka}}
The National Museum of Art (NMAO) is a subterranean Japanese and international art museum, housing mainly collections from the post-war era and regularly welcoming temporary exhibitions. Osaka Science Museum is in a five storied building next to the National Museum of Art, with a planetarium and an OMNIMAX theatre. The Museum of Oriental Ceramics holds more than 2,000 pieces of ceramics, from China, Korea, Japan and Vietnam, featuring displays of some of their Korean celadon 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 Museum of History, opened in 2001, is located in a 13-story modern building providing a view of Osaka Castle. Its exhibits cover the history of Osaka from pre-history to the present day. Osaka Museum of Natural History houses a collection related to natural history and life.
Osaka 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 Koshien Stadium is occupied with the annual National High School Baseball Championship games during summer season.
There are two J.League clubs, Gamba Osaka, plays its home games at Suita City Football Stadium. Another club Cerezo Osaka, plays its home games at Yanmar Stadium Nagai. The city is home to Osaka Evessa, a basketball team that plays in the B.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. Their base is the Hanazono Rugby Stadium.
The , one of the six regular tournaments of professional sumo, is held annually in Osaka at Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium.
Another major annual sporting event that takes place is Osaka is Osaka International Ladies Marathon. Held 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. Another 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 made the bid for the 2008 Summer Olympics and the 2008 Summer Paralympics but was eliminated in the first round of the vote on 13 July 2001 which awarded the game to Beijing.
Osaka was one of the host cities of the official Women's Volleyball World Championship for its 1998, 2006 and 2010 editions.
Osaka is the home of the 2011 created Japan Bandy Federation and the introduction of bandy, in the form of rink bandy, was made in the city. In July 2012 the first Japan Bandy Festival was organised.
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 and every nationwide TV network (with the exception of TXN network) registers its secondary-key station in Osaka. All five nationwide newspaper majors also house their regional headquarters, and most local newspapers nationwide have branches in Osaka. However major film productions are uncommon in the city. Most major films are produced in nearby Kyoto or in Tokyo. The Ad Council Japan is based in Osaka.
NewspapersAll the five nationwide newspaper majors of Japan, the Asahi Shimbun, Mainichi Shimbun, Nihon Keizai Shimbun, Sankei Shimbun and 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, the regional headquarters of FujiSankei Business i.;Houchi Shimbunsha; Nikkan Sports; Sports Nippon, and offices of Kyodo News Jiji Press; Reuters; Bloomberg L.P..
Television and radioThe five TV networks are represented by Asahi Broadcasting Corporation (ANN), Kansai Telecasting Corporation (FNN), Mainichi Broadcasting System, Inc. (JNN), Television Osaka, Inc. (TXN) and Yomiuri Telecasting Corporation (NNN), 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, Inc.) and Radio Osaka (Osaka Broadcasting Corporation) and headquartered in the city. FM services are available from NHK, FM OSAKA, FM802 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.
Publishing companiesOsaka is home to many publishing companies including: Examina, Izumi Shoin, Kaihou Shuppansha, Keihanshin Elmagazine, Seibundo Shuppan, Sougensha, and Toho Shuppan.
EducationPublic 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 the Osaka Prefectural Board of Education.
Osaka city once had a large number of universities and high schools, but because of growing campuses and the need for larger area, many chose to move to the suburbs, including Osaka University.
Historically foreign expatriates in the Kansai region preferred to live in Kobe rather than Osaka. As a result, until 1991 the Osaka area had no schools catering to expatriate children. Osaka International School of Kwansei Gakuin, founded in 1991, is located in nearby Minoh, and it was the first international school in the Osaka area. The Great Hanshin-Awaji earthquake of 1995 caused a decline in demand for international schools, as there were about 2,500 U.S. nationals resident in Osaka after the earthquake while the pre-earthquake number was about 5,000. American Chamber of Commerce in Japan (ACCJ) Kansai chapter president Norman Solberg stated that since 2002 the numbers of expatriates in Kansai were recovering "but the fact is there is still a persistent exodus to Tokyo." In 2001 the city of Osaka and YMCA established the Osaka YMCA International School.
Colleges and universities include:
Facilities"Important cultural property" (重要文化財) after the name of a facility indicates an important cultural property designated by the country.
Leisure facilities and high-rise buildings
Religious facilities; Shrine
Twin towns and sister cities
Osaka is twinned with the following cities around the world.
Osaka also has the following friendship and cooperation cities.