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Osaka, Top 10 things to do

A world apart, Japan

Osaka is one of Japan's largest cities. Its location on the Yodo delta with its network of watercourses and canals spanned by more than a thousand bridges has earned Osaka the nickname: the "Venice of the East."
With all of the things to do and see in a city, deciding how to spend your time can be quite a difficult decision.
Here is a Top 10 list of the available attractions in Osaka. Enjoy!

1. Osaka Castle

Osaka Top 10 includes the Castle (Osaka-jo), at the time of it construction, was the largest in Japan. The castle was destroyed, only to be rebuilt for reasons of prestige. Highlights include the five-story, 42-meter-tall main tower containing exhibits on the history of the castle and the city, as well as superb views over Osaka and Osaka Castle Park.

2. Shitenno-ji Temple

Osaka's best-known temple, Shitenno-ji, was Japan's first Buddhist temple. This lovely temple remains the oldest such religious site to be officially administered. Highlights include the site's five-story pagoda along with a number of other decorated buildings: the Golden Pavilion (Kondo) with its fine statues and paintings and the Lecture Hall (Kodo).

3. Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan

Looking a little as if it might be made of giant Lego blocks, the Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan is well worth exploring. One of the world's biggest , you will witness a number of marine habitats, including the Pacific Ocean and Antarctica, along with the Great Barrier Reef and Monterey Bay. The site boasts 27 tanks, the biggest being nine meters deep and capable of easily accommodating large marine life including manta rays and sharks. It is definitely one of Osaka Top 10.

4. The Tempozan Ferris Wheel

Providing some of the best views over Osaka, particularly of the port area and the Tempozan Harbor Village, the massive Tempozan Ferris Wheel is one of the largest in Asia. At more than 112 meters tall and with a diameter of 100 meters, this huge wheel offers a thrilling 17-minute journey that is especially enjoyable at night when the wheel is lit up in a variety of different colors.

5. Twin Towers: Tsutenkaku and the Kobe Port Tower

Osaka has two tall towers that have become synonymous with the city. The oldest, the Tsutenkaku, is in the city center and stands on the site of a replica of the Eiffel Tower that was destroyed in WWII. The structure offers some of the best views over Osaka. A little further away, on the outskirts of the city, stands the 108-meter-tall, red steel Kobe Port Tower. This tower also boasts an observation deck withgreat views over the city and the Kobe Port area.

6. The National Museum of Art

The National Museum of Art (Kokuritsu Kokusai Bijutsukan) is a unique underground art museum just a few minutes from the city center on Nakanoshima, a small island between the Tosabori and Dōjima rivers. This important gallery contains a large collection from some of the leading international artists of the post-war period. It's worth visiting for the spectacular steel structure outside the museum, a massive installation designed to look like reeds bending under a breeze.

7. Tennoji Park and Zoo

Osaka's largest green space, Tennoji Park (Tennoji Koen) is noticed for its many fragrant flower beds and, in spring, its cherry blossoms. The park is a delight to explore thanks also to its many fun sculptures, ponds, and bridges. It's also home to some of Osaka's most important tourist attractions, the Tennoji Zoo.

8. Osaka Science Museum

Another Osaka Top 10 is the Science Museum (Osaka Shiritsu Kagakukan) is a delightful outing for those traveling with kids. Located above the National Museum of Art, the museum contains numerous hands-on and interactive exhibits based on a number of science-related themes covering everything from astronomy to energy sources.

9. The Umeda Sky Building

The Umeda Sky Building (Umeda Sukai Biru) is a stunning landmark consisting of two office towers joined at the top by a large platform-like structure. It's this rooftop structure that draws visitors, due largely to the network of bridges and an escalator that join the two towers, providing views of 170-plus meters straight down that send shivers down the spines.The views from the rooftop observatory with its garden are simply stunning.

10. Universal Studios Japan

One of Osaka's newest attractions, Universal Studios Japan is also one of the city's busiest. One of only four Universal theme parks worldwide, the Osaka location offers a number of well-known brands, along with a few unique to the location.

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