The Japanese province of Kansai has Kyoto as its temple goddess, but working-class Osaka adds the down-to-earth charm of a very modern Japanese city to the province's list of attractions.
Find out what made Osaka tick over the centuries at the Museum of History, covering ancient, medieval and modern developments.
Osaka has a full calendar of annual events, leading off with Toka Ebisu when crowds flock to the city’s Imamiya Ebisu Shrine for lucky tokens. The city’s biggest festival is when Tenjin Matsuri fills the streets with parades and fireworks. There’s more fireworks in early August when the Yodogawa River lights up. Danjiri Matsuri features huge street processions and floats, and in November the fall colours are celebrated at the city’s parks.
Osaka is a city that’s known for its extravagant approach to food – dining out is called "kuidaore" here, meaning "eat until you drop". Sushi and ramen or udon noodle soups are served in massive food courts.