The port of Osaka is Japan’s second largest city. It played a key role in the rice trade during the country's Edo period but today is an economic powerhouse home to several major technology companies
Most major international hotel brands have a presence in Osaka, including the likes of Marriott, InterContinental and Hilton. For a luxury European-style hotel, the Hankyu International is a good choice while The Fraser Residence is located close to the Namba business district.
No trip to Osaka is complete with eating Osaka-style okonomiyaki, a Japanese savoury pancake – head to Okonomiyaki Chitose to experience it. There are plenty of street food options in the neon-lit Dotonbori district, but for dining at the luxury end of the scale try Matsuzakagyu Yakiniku M for fine Japanese beef. Sushi fans should make for Harukoma.
Japan is well known for its Karaoke scene, so have a few drinks and grab a microphone at Moonshine Karaoke Bar. For craft beer head to Garage 39 in the heart of Osaka, a relaxed and trendy bar which also serves food. Fine Japanese and world whiskies are on the menu at Whisky Dining WWW.W, although reservations should be made to guarantee entry
Kansai International Airport (KIX) is located 40km south of Osaka. The JR Haruka limited express train goes directly into Tennoji station as does the slower but cheaper JR Airport Rapid Service. The Nankai Rap:t express trains take about 34 minutes to Namba Station. From the more central Itami Airport there is a regular monorail and bus service. Taxis are readily available but expensive.
Must see sights
Check out the bright lights of Minami, packed with shops, restaurants and bars, in the southern downtown area of Osaka. The iconic Osaka Castle (pictured) is a popular destination to see traditional architecture and discover Japanese history. Take the elevator to the top of the Umeda Sky Building for brilliant 360-degree views of the city
Osaka is served by Itami Airport (also known as Osaka International Airport), the city's primary domestic airport, and Kansai International Airport, further south of the city. There are no non-stop flights from the UK, so fly instead to Tokyo Haneda or Narita with British Airways, ANA or Japan Airlines, with onward flights to Itami and Kansai operated by both ANA and JAL. Alternatively, fly to Kansai with Air France via Paris, Finnair via Helsinki and Emirates via Dubai, among others. A further option is to catch a Shinkansen train from Tokyo to Osaka, with a journey time of 2.5 hours.