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Osaka

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Ōsaka (大阪) is the third-largest city in Japan, with a population of 2.7 million. It is located on the west of the island of Honshu, at the mouth of the Yodo[?] river. The city is one of Japan's major industrial centers and ports and the capital of Osaka prefecture.

The centre of Osaka is divided into two sections: Kita (north) and Minami (south). The retail district of Umeda is located in Kita, while the entertainment area around Dotonburi Bridge (with its famous enormous motorised crab), Triangle Park and Amerikamura[?] ("America Village") is in Minami. Minami is also home to Shinsaibashi shopping district, and Tenjinbashi shopping district. The central business district, including the courts and major banks, is primarily located in Yodoyabashi to the north-east of the centre (on the Loop-line and the Keihan line).

Osaka used to be called Naniwa and was the capital of Japan during most of the 7th and 8th century.

Osaka is known for bunraku[?] (a type of puppetry) and kabuki theatre. Tourist attractions include:

  • Osakajo (Osaka castle[?]),
  • Kaiyukan - an enormous walk-through aquarium located in Osaka Bay, containing 35,000 aquatic animals in 14 tanks, the largest of which holds 5,400 tonnes of water and houses whale-sharks,
  • numerous amusement parks including Hirakata Park, and,
  • for the sanitary-minded, the "Toilets of the World" exhibit in the International Finance Center in Osakajo-koen.

Osaka regional cuisine includes among others okonomiyaki (a type of pancake), takoyaki (octopus dumplings[?]), udon (a noodle dish), as well as regional sushi and other traditional Japanese foods.

Kansai International Airport is the main airport: it is a man-made rectangular island which sits off-shore in Osaka Bay and services Osaka and its surrounding satellite cities of Nara, Kobe and Kyoto. Kansai is the geographical term for the area of western Honshu surrounding Osaka. The airport is linked by a bus and train service into the centre of the city and major suburbs.

The mass transportation system of Osaka is first-rate: Besides the subway system there is a network of both government (JR) and private lines connecting the suburbs of the city, and Osaka to its neighbours. Keihan[?] and Hankyu line connect to Kyoto, Hanshin[?] and Hankyu line connect to Kobe, the Kintetsu[?] line connects to Nara and Nagoya, and the Nankai[?] line to Wakayama[?].

The people of Osaka speak a variation of standard Japanese called Osaka-ben, characterised by, most prominently amongst other particularities, the use of the suffix hen instead of nai in the negative of verbs.

Osaka people are considered by other Japanese to be rowdy and boisterous with a robust and coarse sense of humour, befitting people engaged in the commercial life of the region.

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