Osaka is only a short shinkansen ride from Tokyo, but has a very different personality to Japan's capital city. Hop off the bullet train into an area of exciting nightlife, delicious food and straight-talking, friendly locals. Along with plenty of shopping and modern attractions, Osaka also has a historical side, the highlight of which is Osaka Castle. The castle is a great place to discover more about Japanese history and to wander the beautiful grounds, especially during cherry blossom season in April when the sakura blooms and the weather is often at its best.
How to Get There

From Tokyo, take the Tokaido-Sanyo Shinkansen to Shin-Osaka Station. The trip takes approximately two and a half hours. From Shin-Osaka Station, transfer to the JR local line and ride to Osaka Station. From Kansai International Airport (KIX), take the Nankai or JR lines to Tennoji or Namba stations.

Osaka is an excellent base for exploring the greater Kansai region, which includes Kyoto, Nara, Kobe and Wakayama. Each of these areas is a one-hour train ride from Osaka’s central transportation hubs (Osaka Station in the north, and Namba Station and Tennoji Station in the south). Kansai International Airport (KIX) is rivaled only by Narita Airport in Tokyo in size and scope, and is serviced by all major airlines. There are many direct flights between KIX and many major cities in the US, Europe and Australia.