An Introduction to Osaka

By Billy Hammond

Osaka is often referred to as a "prefecture", when actually it is classified in Japanese as a "Fu" (pronounced foo), which has more status than a prefecture. The Japanese often refer to the "to-do-fu-ken", in describing their states. These terms refer to Tokyo-to (the capitol), Hokkaido, Osaka-fu and Kyoto-fu, and the remaining ken (prefectures).

Osaka-fu has a land area of 1,890 sq. km., and is located on the main Japanese island of Honshu in the Kansai Region in the Kinki area. The Kinki area includes Osaka-fu, Kyoto-fu, Nara prefecture, Wakayama Prefecture, Hyogo Prefecture, and Mie Prefecture.

Higashi Osaka City Kishiwada City Sakai City
Moriguchi City Neyagawa City Takatsuki City
Settsu City Suita City Kadoma City
Yao City Habikino City Izumi Otsu City
Takaishi City Izumi City Toyonaka City
Hirakata City Tondabayashi City Minoo City
Matsubara City Kaizuka City Izumisano City
Shijonawate City Daito City Osaka-sayama City
Kashihara City Ibaraki City Kawachinagano City
Sennan City Fujiidera City Higashi Osaka City
Hannan City Katano City --

In terms of population, Osaka-fu ranks 2nd in Japan with a population which exceeds 8,500,000. Osaka-fu has always been a center of commerce and residents are thought to be very good at business. Osaka people speak a dialect that seems to contribute to this stereotype as well. Many articles have been written about the Osaka dialect, however, most fail to mention that there are many varieties of the dialect which vary from area to area within Osaka. Osaka people are quite outgoing and their language has become the standard for the Japanese forms of comedy known as rakugo (single comedian) and manzai (two stand-up comedians).

Osaka-fu also is home to a host of historical sites. From the tumuli of the early Japanese emperors in Sakai City to the site of the Osaka World's Fair in Suita City (1970), there are numerous places to visit. Osaka Castle, built by great warlord Toyotomi Hideyoshi over a 3-year period beginning in 1583, has been rebuilt and offers a glimpse into the feudal past. A visit to Sumiyoshi Shrine in Osaka City teleports one into the simple past of ages gone by.

Kansai International Airport, the largest 24-hour airport on the sea in the world is located in Izumisano City and provides a gateway into the Osaka from other countries. Osaka also has a highly developed rail transportation system with trains running on schedules you can set your watch by. From ShinOsaka station you can board a bullet train that will take you to Tokyo in less than 3 hours.

Osaka has much to offer the visitor in the way of shopping, food, and entertainment. Osaka's food is said to be the best in Japan and it is commonly held that to succeed in the food service business in Osaka, the food must be above average in taste, with large serving portions, inexpensive, and FAST. Osaka people do not like to wait for things and people consider a waiting period of more than 5 minutes too long in most cases. The major shops in Osaka are located in Osaka City in the areas of Kita, Minami, and Abeno and feature just about every product under the sun. All kinds of entertainment can be had in Osaka, from the traditional bunraku (puppet plays) to modern manzai.

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Copyright 1999. Billy Hammond A.E.L.S. (TanuTech). This article may be distributed freely provided that copyright information is preserved, the document distributed in its entirety, and that it is not used for profit-making purposes.

Neither the author nor A.E.L.S. (TanuTech) will be responsible for inaccuracies found in this article.