Osaka: All About the Other Business & Events Center of Japan
How much do you know about Osaka? Let’s be honest, when people think Japan, they think Tokyo first. Osaka does not necessarily have the worldwide household name status, yet it still is the most populated area in Japan outside the Greater Tokyo Area. Osaka prefecture sits at a population of more than 8.7 million. Moreover, it borders two other major population centers as well, with Kyoto on one side and Kobe on the other. Together, these form the Keihanshin Metropolitan Region, which comprises over 19 million inhabitants. Now, as you may know the 2025 World Expo in Osaka is fast approaching. If you are interested in the Expo, JTB Meetings & Events by JTB Communication Design can support you in various ways. For more information on the 2025 World Expo, click here. But if you are unsure, or if you just want to find out more about Osaka, read on!
History of OsakaThe Osaka area has been inhabited for thousands of years and over time grew to be a larger and larger economic center point of Japan. In the Kofun Period (300-583AD) large keyhole-shaped burial mounds were created for powerful figures, and these mounds can still be visited today. In the following centuries the region then called Naniwa even served as the capital of Japan for brief periods. In the course of the Edo Period (1603-1867) it grew even further as a business center and developed a cultural identity somewhat opposed to Tokyo.
Culture of OsakaWhen it comes to this cultural identity, there are some examples of very literal differentiation from Tokyo. The best example of this is that in Tokyo people stand on the left side of escalators, and walk on the right. In Osaka and the surrounding Kansai region, however, this rule is reversed: stand on the right, walk on the left. Keep this in mind if you find yourself visiting both areas in succession and get confused about the etiquette! Another strong piece of identity is Kansai dialect, which can be seen as somewhat more expressive than standard ‘Tokyo’ Japanese. But perhaps the most important feature of Osaka culture is its cuisine. The region is commonly referred to as ‘Japan’s Kitchen’, and for good reason! Typical famous dishes here include takoyaki (squid balls) and okonomiyaki (savory pancakes with various ingredients. If you want to find out more about these dishes and other Japanese cuisine, be sure to check out our extensive white paper here!
Areas of Osaka: Business and EntertainmentIf you were to look at Osaka through satellite, it would be quite difficult to distinguish where one city ends and another begins. Allow us to give you a quick breakdown of the main areas of Osaka City, as marked on the interactive map below! See if you can locate these central places.
- Osaka Castle is still a stand-out historical and green space in the middle of the city. It’s a popular tourist spot with a beautiful park surrounding it.
- A bit to the northwest is Umeda, this is where Osaka Station is and many train lines converge. On top of that it is a major business district with various standout skyscrapers.
- If you go south from there you will find various other famous commercial and business districts such as Honmachi, Shinsaibashi, and Namba.
- Inside the Namba district is also perhaps Osaka’s most iconic street, Dotonbori. This is an entertainment area with unmistakable canals surrounded by large neon signboards.
- Even further south you will end up in Tennoji area, where several more landmark buildings are housed, including Japan’s tallest skyscraper!
These are some of the central districts, but as you can see this is still only a fraction of what Osaka is made of. Another area worth noting is the Bay Area to the west, consisting of various mostly man-made islands. One of the more famous locations here is of course Universal Studios Japan, but there is continuous development here. This is also where you will find Yumeshima, which will be the location for the World Expo 2025 in Osaka!
Why Bring Your Business Events to Osaka?As mentioned before, Osaka and its neighbors Kobe and Kyoto make up an enormous population center, filled with thriving business as well as culture. Although not as big as the Greater Tokyo Area, the Keihanshin area is still the 10th largest urban area in the entire world! In terms of GDP Osaka-Kobe together stand at $681 billion, the 9th highest in the world. The economy covers all sectors, with approximately 440,000 businesses based in Osaka, and it is particularly strong in biotechnology, life science, pharmaceuticals and new energy. If you bring your business event to Osaka, the potential for successful connection and growth cannot be understated. On top of that, as mentioned before, we are ramping up towards the World Expo 2025 in Osaka, so there is no better time than now to start considering your options.
Whether you are thinking of participating at the 2025 World Expo, holding an event concurrent to it, or simply want to hold any other meeting or event in Japan, feel free to contact us here!