One of the star attractions is Osaka Castle, which has a fine vantage point and gardens, while the Shitennjo-ji Temple is well over 1,000 years old and is also a must-see. There is also a lofty old tower and many skyscrapers from which to take in the city, while downtown comes with many intriguing areas and side attractions.
Sumiyoshi Taisha is the star among Osaka's many shrines. It is one of Japan's most revered and many are based on it throughout the country. It is not particularly awe-inspiring as far as shrines go, but is more noted for its rich history and large drum bridge. Events are held at the shrine, including one on New Year's Day.
Dominating the city like so many other lofty towers in Asia, the modern looking Tsutenkaku Tower is in fact pretty historic. It was built in 1912, stands over 330 feet above street level and affords fine views from its observation platform. You'll find it in the middle of downtown.
Multi-tiered Osaka Castle is one of Japan's best known, owing to its rich history - most notably during the Japanese unification in the 16th century - and for its architectural worth. The grounds are beautiful and have a glut of cherry trees, while access is via the JR Osaka Loop Line.
Hailing from the 6th century, Shitennoji Temple is Japan's oldest, founded as it was by Prince Shotoku. Being wooden, it has been rebuilt a number of times, albeit faithfully so following the original form, and has stunning gardens to match. You can walk to the temple and around the gardens.
Osaka Science Museum
At the other end of the scale is the modern Osaka Science Museum, which is a popular attraction the whole family can enjoy. It features four floors of fun, loads of hands-on exhibits and covers many facets of science, as well as having science demonstrations. Get here via Higobashi Station on the Municipal Subway.
As with most zoos in Japan, Tennoji Zoo is tastefully done and lies in the Tennoji Park complex. There are big cats here as well as animals from across the globe in well maintained natural habitats. The zoo is close to Shitenno-ji Temple and an English-language pamphlet is provided. Find more information about Osaka and hotels in the area: Osaka hotels
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