Osaka Prefecture proudly stretches itself across the Kansai region, a modern metropolitan area with some of the best food in Japan. In the wake of Japan opening up to foreign trade, Osaka Prefecture operated as an essential trading hub, where the boisterous capital city of Osaka still overlooks the industrial Osaka Bay to the west. Once a port town but now the third largest city in Japan, the glittering city of Osaka is like Tokyo’s rowdy younger sibling, famous for its laidback nature and slower pace of life. Far less serious than their Tokyoite counterparts, the people of Osaka harbor a widespread love for comedy shows performed in the Kansai dialect, matched with a wild party culture that seems to never sleep. Osaka Prefecture is also the center of the Osaka-Kyoto-Kobe regional trifecta, collectively known as the Keihanshin metropolis area.
As the capital of Kansai, Osaka is proudly attributed with the creation of two classic Japanese food favorites: okonomiyaki (savory Japanese pancake, “grilled as you like it”) and takoyaki ( molten balls of batter filled with octopus pieces and topped with savory-sweet sauce). Lovingly nicknamed the “Nation’s Kitchen,” Osaka has a loud reputation for high-quality food and so much of it. The region’s obsession with food fuels the local motto, kuidaore, meaning (and encouraging) “to eat yourself into ruin.” You’re spoilt for choice with street food on every corner (kushikatsu deep-fried skewers is a must-try) and izakayas offering all-you-can-eat dining; let alone the number of high-class restaurants serving fresh fugu (pufferfish) and premium wagyu beef. Osaka Castle lies in the heart of the city, while the colorful characters of Universal Studios live on the city’s outskirts, plus all kinds of business, shopping, and nightlife from Namba to Shinsekai, with pockets in-between and beyond.