Osaka, Japan’s second largest metropolitan city after Tokyo, is an economic power house of the Kansai region. It is made up of seven prefectures: Kyoto, Osaka, Nara, Hyogo, Shiga, Wakayama, and Mie. While greater Tokyo is Japan’s leading financial and industrial center, Osaka serves as headquarters to major insurance, electrical, construction and pharmaceutical companies. Collocated, the Osaka and Umeda Stations serve as the city’s central rail terminal. Together, the Osaka-Umeda stations make up the fourth busiest railway station in the world. Osaka is represented by two regions, “Kita” (or north) area referring to Umeda and Kita-Shinchi; and Minami (or south) area referring to Namba and Shinsaibashi.

Osaka is known as the city of “Kuidaore” (eat till you drop), with “konamon” (flour-based dishes) such as takoyaki (octopus balls) and okonomiyaki (Japanese pancake) being especially popular. Traditional performing arts such as Bunraku (traditional puppet theater) and Noh (classical dance drama) have roots in Osaka. Kamigata rakugo (comic storytelling) and manzai (stand-up comedy) originated as popular entertainment and are now an integral part of Japan’s comedy culture. The spirit of valuing humor has contributed to the people Osaka’s sociability and infectious sense of humor. Prior to your visit, you may find it useful to investigate Osaka dialect (Osaka-ben) which is rarely heard in other parts of Japan.

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