The sprawling park surrounding Osaka Castle actually sees far more visitors than the actual castle itself. It is easy to understand why, given its beauty, especially during certain seasons. To the east, there is a grove of about 1,200 plum trees of varying varieties and colors. In November, you will not want to miss the chrysanthemum festival. The cherry trees in spring and other blooming shrubs and flowers are equally popular. Besides flora galore, there are jogging paths, a baseball field and other facilities such as a music hall.
The National Museum of Art provides a lot of scope for art lovers to appreciate contemporary works. With an aim to collect, store and display the latest Japanese and foreign creations, the National Museum of Art, Osaka, conducts intensive research on the upcoming trends and styles of painting, sketching and sculpting. Recognized as the cultural hub of the Kita area, this establishment draws popular attention due to its interactive attitude and educational significance.
Perched atop a hill, the five-tiered, gold ornamented Osaka Castle towers at a majestic 55 meters (180.446 feet) above the modern city of Osaka. The castle complex is housed within the beautiful Osaka Castle Park, a popular cherry, plum, and chrysanthemum blossom viewing site. The castle's current facade owes its design to Hideyoshi Toyotomi and was restored to its original glory in 1995. The main tower houses the Osaka Castle Museum which offers a fascinating glimpse of the castle's past. Points of interest include the gates like Otemon Gate and Sakuramon Gate which are some of the key features that have survived from the original construction period.
The zoo is located in Tennoji Park, southwest of the Shitenno-ji Temple, one of the oldest Buddhist temples in Japan. The park also has a circular garden called Keitakuen. The Tennoji Zoo, opened in 1915, houses 1,401 animals, including koalas, pandas, kiwis, reptiles, birds, mammals and a Tasmanian devil, which you cannot find in any other zoo in Japan. There is also a separate bird sanctuary, a reptile house that duplicates a natural environment and a hippopotamus. Pamphlets in English will help you find your way around this wonderful facility. Admission is free for junior high school students and younger than that.
Kamigata Ukiyoe Museum is dedicated to the gorgeous Ukiyoe prints from the illustrative and highly creative Kamigata area. These prints depicted the Kabuki actors from Osaka, and are representatives of their elegant style and personality. Compared to the Edo (Tokyo) prints, the ones from Kamigata are much more glamorous and are a cultural must-see. Since its establishment in 2001, this museum organizes various themes and exhibitions for different seasons. Come visit the permanent display of Ukiyoe wood-block prints at this distinguished fine arts museum.
The Iwatayama Monkey Park can be found in the Arashiyama district of Kyoto. It is built atop the Arashiyama Mountain. The park is home to over a hundred macaque monkeys. Though wild, the animals are relatively comfortable around humans. Visitors can purchase food to feed them if they wish to. The ecosystem is also full of shy deer and birds that sing beneath the beautiful cherry blossom trees. To get to the park, one must experience the breathtaking hike from the entrance.
Located on the atrium in the ninth floor of the Hankyu Umeda Department Store, this space is used for concerts and art exhibitions. You can also try the imported food booths at the Hankyu Umeda Event Hall if you have not come for any shows. Ride an escalator to reach this contemporary venue or stroll through this massive shopping center for some retail therapy.