Interested in Osaka?
We'll send you updates with the latest deals, reviews and articles for Osaka each week.
Osaka is the third largest city in Japan, with a population of about 2.7 million. It is located almost in the center of the largest island of the Japanese Archipelago composed of about 3,000 smaller islands. Historically, it has been the country's commercial capital and a major industrial center, although it has experienced a tumultuous series of both setbacks and successes in its long history.
Japan (and thus Osaka) did not enter the world stage (in the form of written history) until 57 AD, when Nakoku of Wa, a dominant tribal faction in the western part of Japan, sent its Taifu as ambassador plenipotentiary to China. Its peoples were described in one of the Chinese archives as a conglomeration of backward tribal communities.
Jomon, the oldest Japanese culture, gave way to a newer culture, Yayoi , as a result of the strong influence from the people coming from the Korean Peninsula as early as 300 BC; however, there was a long gap in Japan's written history because of the decline in the influence of Chinese culture, brought about by the fact that China began to suffer again from invasion into its northern territory by nomadic peoples. At around 500 AD, another influx of people from the Korean Peninsula started, and with it the Yayoi Period neared its end. The influx was caused in part because a new dynasty in China dispatched its soldiers into the northern Korean Peninsula, which prompted Korean intelligentsia into exile, and in part because Japan needed a newer and better political, cultural, and religious reform to establish a centrally governed political organization. Thus in 592 AD, Empress Suiko ascended the throne with her nephew, Prince Shotoku, appointed as administrator. From then on, unique Japanese culture began to develope and prospered until the 18th to 19th century AD.
Osaka (originally called Naniwa) was chosen as the site for the construction of Ishiyama Honganji Temple in 1496. Its development as a "temple town" ensued. The temple was destroyed during a conflict between warring factions and in 1583, Osaka Castle was built in its place. Further development as a commercial center brought prosperity to the city until more war nixed its success and decline resulted for a time.
Reconstruction efforts led to the revitalization of the city and the building of canals and water transport, which enriched the economy once again in the years between 1603 and 1867. During this time of peace and prosperity, Osaka's performing arts culture blossomed, and the city is firmly planted in the soil of success today.