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Osaka Holidays

Busy and Boisterous Kansai Capital.

Japan has a reputation for having one of the most homogenous societies in the world, but don't try telling people in Osaka that they're basically the same as Tokyoites unless you fancy an hours-long talking-to. Osakans are justly proud of their big, boisterous hometown, where residents pride themselves on their friendliness, and everyone loves a good meal and a good joke. In comparison to historically-leaning cities like nearby Kyoto, Osaka wears its modernity on its sleeve as one of Japan's biggest cities and the economic heart of the Kansai region. You won't find temples or shrines in abundance here, but you will find plenty of attractions to occupy your time, including one of Japan's best aquariums, Universal Studios Japan (where you can get your Quidditch fix at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter), and the lively Dotonbori canal shopping and entertainment district, which seems never to close.

Osaka is also an ideal jumping-off point for an overnight trip south to the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Shingon Buddhist temple complex at Mount Koya. Shingon Buddhism was introduced to Japan in the 9th century by Kobo Daishi, whose spirit is said to still reside in eternal meditation here. Walking the 2km stone path through the sacred Okunoin cemetery to Kobo Daishi's mausoleum is a haunting and transporting experience, especially at dusk when the lanterns along the path contribute a spectral glow to.

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