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    A Stronghold of Japanese Culture

    At the meeting point of river and sea, huge Osaka combines forward-thinking development and sure-footed tradition. This is symbolised in its temple-like, 16th century castle, guarded by ramparts and enlivened by vibrant spring cherry blossom. Dominating the surrounding skyline is Osaka Business Park, a reminder of the city’s strong role in the Japanese economy.

    However, the most striking skyscraper is the Umeda Sky Building - 2 towers connected by a rooftop terrace offering far-reaching views. The nearby Osaka and Umeda train stations are linked by underground shopping centres, while the shops of Shinsaibashi’s America Village appeal to a younger crowd. Dōtonbori’s neon lights promote more shops, as well as restaurants considered the best in Osaka. In a city touted as Japan’s culinary capital, that’s quite an accolade.

    The Tsūtenkaku tower overlooks Tennōji Park, home of the Osaka Municipal Museum of Art. Another nearby park houses Shitennō-ji, one of Japan’s oldest Buddhist temples.

    The Kyocera Dome Osaka is a shrine of baseball, and more thrills are at waterfront Universal Studios Japan, the country’s 2nd largest theme park. Also by the sea is Kansai International Airport, on its own artificial island.

    The capsule hotel was invented in Osaka, and alongside this type of accommodation, Booking.com also offers luxury hotels with pools, cheap hostels and traditional ryokans.