The wonderful nature of Osaka
The third largest city in Japan, Osaka was founded on the mouth of the Yamato and Yodo rivers, on the island of Honshu. On a MSC cruise you can discover this metropolis, once the trading capital of Japan.
Famous for its modernity and its nightlife, Osaka has a surprisingly rich historical and artistic heritage. With an excursion you may reach the ancient Castle. It was built from 1583 onwards on the former site of the Ishiyama Honganji temple, which had been commissioned by the samurai and daimyo, Hideyoshi, one of the great unifiers of Japan and destroyed thirteen years earlier by Oda Nobunaga. This imposing building, from the tower of which you can admire the splendid view of Osaka, is surrounded by a wonderful park of 6 hectares: an authentic poetic vision when the cherry blossoms bloom in Spring. Along the canal, near the Castle, you'll find the quarter of Dotonbori, an explosion of colourful signposts indicating night clubs, restaurants and izakayas, a sort of Japanese cafè.
Along the main road, the Ebisubashi bridge links the Shinsaibashi-suji and Ebisubashi-suji quarters, renowned for their shops.
If Dotonbori is the place to go for modernity, Shinsekai is the quarter that represents the old town of Osaka. Developed before the Second World War, it has been neglected over the years. In the centre of this urban area you may find the Tsutenkaku Tower. This landmark of Shinsekai bears some resemblance to the Parisian Eiffel Tower and was the focal point of the permanent fun fair set up around it.
On an excursion get a great view of the whole city from a height of 173 metres above sea level.
In fact, you can climb to the fortieth floor of the Umeda Sky Building, designed by the architect Hiroshi Hara. The skyscraper is made up of two identical towers, connected between them by several bridges and on the highest part, by the Floating Garden Observatory, the hanging gardens from which you may admire Osaka.
For those who enjoy shopping, you can walk along the Tenjinbashi Arcade. This indoor arcade extends for about two kilometres, from the underground station of Tenjimbashi-suji Rokuchome to the Tenjinbashi bridge: the shops sell all sorts, from shoes to books, from clothing to medicine.