Thought as Japan’s second city, Osaka was once a port town supplying Kyoto. Now home to over 19 million people, it’s become a destination in its own right. Osaka also has a reputation for good times; with both the food and nightlife in the city being part of the attraction.

Get to grips with the city with a visit up Japan’s tallest building. Abeno Harukas is 300m tall with shops, a hotel and an art museum inside. Head up to the Harukas 300 Observation deck for views across the city and the sea. Next up find out more about Osaka’s history at the castle. Built in 1583, the structure was thought to be indestructible yet was destroyed just 31 years later by the Tokugawa shogunate. The castle was rebuilt with further recreation taking place in the 1930s. Inside the castle there is a good collection of historical objects and exhibitions about day-to-day life inside the fortress.

In the evening the Dotombori district is the place to be. The pedestrianized streets thread around the canal, with restaurants and shops competing for business with ever bolder and brighter neon signs and adverts. Look out for the Osakan speciality of takoyaki – bite-sized octopus dumplings with a crispy shell and a creamy inside. Find out what’s good today by heading to the stall with the biggest queue.

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Read more on Osaka below with flight options, current weather, maps, and activities to try while you are there.

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