Osaka, city in the southwest of the island of Honshū, Japan, at the confluence of the Yodogawa in the inland sea, with (2018) 2.72 million residents the third largest city in Japan.
According to naturegnosis, Osaka is the administrative seat of the city prefecture of Osaka (1 905 km 2, 8.82 million residents). As an important educational and cultural center, the city has five universities, among others. Universities and technical colleges; Art and other museums, Bunraku puppet theater and museum and is the seat of a Catholic archbishop. Ōsaka is the second most important industrial and commercial center of Japan after Tokyo (e.g. shipyards, iron and steel, machine, wood, food, electrotechnical, chemical industries); Stock exchange. The impetus for industrial development was the construction of the modern port (from 1897); since 1957 the port area has been expanded by artificial embankments. Via Amagasaki, Nishinomiya and Ashiya, Ōsaka has grown together with Kobe; the ports of these cities form the port community Hanshin. Osaka is an important rail and road junction and has an underground railway and an urban highway. In 1994 the Kansai International Airport was opened in Osaka Bay on an artificial island 4 km off the coast (architect of the terminal: R. Piano ); connected to the mainland by a double-deck road and rail bridge. The old Osaka airport near Itami is now used for domestic traffic. With around 7 million foreign tourists annually, Ōsaka has developed into a popular city trip destination.
Due to its location in the river delta, Ōsaka is criss-crossed by numerous watercourses and artificial canals (hence also called the »Venice of the East«), which are being filled in more and more. Of the total of 24 districts, the districts south of the main train station (with a planned layout) Higashi and Minami as well as the former river island Nakanoshima form the actual city with the town hall, public service facilities, banks and the main shopping center. The wholesale trade as well as numerous industrial companies are concentrated in the city districts adjacent to the port area. A characteristic feature of Osaka is the concentration of individual branches of retail trade in certain streets in the city center. On the northernmost outskirts of the city is the site of the World Expo ’70.
The Ōsakaburg (built 1583–86, burned down in 1615 and 1868, reconstructed in reinforced concrete in 1931; today a museum) is in a dominant position, surrounded by ditches 36 m wide. In the city center, on the river island Nakanoshima, there are still office buildings from the Edo period and some buildings (town hall, bank building) from the Meiji and Taisho periods. Osaka’s boom at the beginning of the 20th century embodies, among other things. the Osaka Central Public Hall building (opened in 1918, renovated and modernized 1999–2002). On the occasion of the world exhibition Expo ’70, international architects erected numerous exhibition structures; K. Kurokawa built the Sony Tower in 1976 and the Ethnological Museum in 1977. The Shitennōji temple in the south of the city was built in 593 by Prince Shōtoku-taishi founded as the first Buddhist temple on Japanese soil. Its stone torii from 1294 is the oldest of its kind in Japan, the other buildings were reconstructed after the Second World War. The most important shrine in Osaka, probably founded in 202, is the Sumiyoshischrein, a building in the high stilted warehouse style; its buildings, reconstructed in 1810, are national monuments. To the south of the city there are several tumuli from the Kofun period, which are considered to be the tombs of prehistoric rulers. B. the Nintokugrab (allegedly burial place of the emperor Nintoku, † 399).
Within the modern architecture of Osaka, the 170 m high Umeda Sky Building (1993), the 252 m high Osaka World Trade Center (1995) and the 256 m high Rinku Gate Tower (1996) are considered a step on the way to complex skyscraper systems.
The Osaka region was first mentioned in the imperial chronicle “Nihon-shoki” (720) as Naniwa (wave speed). According to tradition, in the 6th century BC The legendary Jimmu-tennō landed in the Bay of Osaka and founded the Japanese Empire in the hinterland. As a natural port at the eastern end of the Inland Sea, Naniwa soon played a key role. From the 4th to the 7th century it was the imperial residence three times, and until the 8th century it was the point of departure for communications with China and Korea. In the 15th century, the Jōdo-shinshū sect built their main temple on Mount Ishiyama. At this time, the name Ōsaka, which has been in constant use since then, appeared for the first time for the monastery city, which was rapidly growing militarily and economically. It withstood a siege by Oda Nobunaga in 1574-80. Only after the Imperial mediation did the monks withdraw and destroy the fortress. In 1583 Toyotomi Hideyoshi Ōsaka, where he had his castle built on Ishiyama, as his residence. Osaka quickly developed into a leading trading city.
In 1964 the city hosted the Olympic Games and in 1970 the Expo’70.