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Osaka Travel Guide

Osaka is a city located in the Kansai region of Japan and is the country's third largest and second most important city. Osaka functions as one of the command centers for the Japanese economy and was historically the commercial capital of Japan. It has traditionally been referred to as the 'Nation's Kitchen,' or the Mecca of gourmet food. Osaka was formerly known as Naniwa before the Nara Period and was once Japan's capital city.

There were 2.6 million people living in Osaka, making it the third largest city by population after Tokyo and Yokohama. There are 99,775 registered foreigners in Osaka, with the two largest groups being Korean (71,015) and Chinese (11,848).

Osaka has a humid subtropical climate which features four distinct seasons. Winters are typically chilly but not very cold and it usually sees some snowfall during the inter. Spring starts off mild, but ends up being hot and humid, which also tends to be Osaka's wettest season, with May being the wettest month of the year while July and August are the hottest months for Osaka during the summer tends to be hot and humid. Finally, fall in Osaka sees a cooling trend with the early part of the season resembling summer and winter on the latter part of the season. The average winter temperature is 40 degrees F (4 degrees C) and the average summer temperature is 80 degrees F (27 degrees C). The average rainfall is 52.8 inches (134 cm).

Osaka's location in central Japan makes it an excellent point for tourists to see the beautiful attractions. One of the Japan's most famous and historically significant castles can be found in Osaka, the Osaka Castle. The Osaka Castle's construction began in 1583 on the former site of the Ishiyama Honganji Temple, which had been destroyed by Oda Nobunaga thirteen years earlier. The castle played a major role in the unification of Japan during the 16th century of the Azuchi-Momoyama period.

Another popular attraction in Osaka is the Shitennoji Temple. Founded by Prince Shotoku in 593 AD, the Shitennoji Temple is the first Buddhist and oldest temple in Japan. Prince Shotoku supported the introduction of Buddhism to Japan. Shitenno are the four heavenly kings. The temple Prince Shotoku built to honor them has four institutions, each to help the Japanese attain a higher level of civilization.

Osaka is also the home of its Japanese puppet theater, Bunraku. The popularity of the theater form had grown in the city during the Edo Period when bunraku was a rare kind of art entertainment for the common public rather than the nobility. The National Bunraku Theatre is one of the few places to view this fascinating art form. The theatre was opened in 1984 as the fourth national theatre of Japan.

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