While in terms of its urban model, Osaka isn't as interesting as Tokyo, the city is still a must-see for travellers during their trip to Japan. In fact, many consider it the definitive gastronomic stop-off of the Nippon archipelago.
What with takoyaki (octopus fritters), okonomiyaki (the Japanese take on crêpes), yakiniku (a Korean barbecue – Osaka is home to a large Korean community) and ibayaki (a type of crêpe-fritter filled with calamari), you'll be spoiled for choice. It doesn't take a genius to understand why the term 'kuiadore' (eating until you collapse) was coined with reference to the inhabitants of Osaka.
But in Osaka, aside from its cuisine, you'll find the covered gallery of Dotombori, with its theatres and evening entertainment, the dizzily high big wheel (112 m high) by the seaside at Tempozan, and the whale sharks and manta rays at the Kaiyukan aquarium.
There's also an imposing castle there (l'Osaka-jô), one of the most famous in the country, with a museum which retells the history of the region. The keep offers a breathtaking view over the town. At the end of the visit, we'd definitely recommend paying a visit to the gardens which surround the castle.
Finally, Osaka is the ideal base for a visit to the Kansai region during your trip to Japan, given its proximity to transport links to Kyoto, Nara or Kobe.