Osaka is a large port city and commercial center on the Japanese island of Honshu. It's known for its modern architecture, nightlife and hearty street food. The 16th-century shogunate Osaka Castle, which has undergone several restorations, is its main historical landmark, surrounded by a moat and park with plum, peach and cherry-blossom trees. Sumiyoshi-taisha is among Japan’s oldest Shinto shrines.
Neon-lit Dōtonbori is Osaka’s popular dining and entertainment district, where huge signs in the shape of sea creatures hang above eateries serving local specialties like takoyaki (octopus dumplings) and okonomiyaki (savory pancakes). Nearby Shinsaibashi is a covered shopping arcade with trendy fashion boutiques. Other big draws include Universal Studios Japan, the movie-themed amusement park, as well as the Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan, which re-creates Pacific Ocean habitats. The top of the Umeda Sky Building, which has glass elevators and an open-air observatory, has views over the whole city.
Osaka's peak travel periods are March, May (especially Golden Week, which begins in late April), August, and November–December. The subtropical climate causes mild winters, humid summers and a May–July rainy season. Widely attended events include various cherry-blossom festivals (April) and the popular, longstanding Tenjin Festival (July), known for its music and puppetry performances, portable shrine parade, evening procession of boats and closing hand-clapping ceremony.