Dating back to the fifth and sixth centuries BC, Osaka commands a pivotal role in Japan’s economy, and is the ultimate urban Japanese experience. Taste fine samples of regional cuisine such as traditional okonomiyaki, pan-fried battercake. Marvel at the staggering skyline, the shōtengai shopping arcades, and the city’s many monuments, museums and landmarks such as the National Museum of Art, the ornamental Osaka Castle, the unmistakable Umeda Sky Building, and the Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan, one of the best in the world. Don’t miss the lively and very flashy Dōtonbori district, alongside the canal. For a decidedly inspired change of pace, venture off to nearby Kyoto to visit one of the city’s 17 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Catch a glimpse of geisha fluttering down stone-paved streets, innumerable Buddhist temples, Shintō shrines and untold other hidden gems, all in the heart of Japanese culture.
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