Tickle your tastebuds in the place known as the ‘nation’s kitchen’
Rugby World Cup 2019 Travel Guide: Osaka
The World Cup takes place at the same time as the Hiraoka Shrine Autumn Festival, so you can experience the sights and sounds of local culture up close.
Take in the ‘aqua metropolis’, as it has been described, by travelling around the city’s many rivers on one of the various forms of water transport. At night, there are impressive light displays on the bridges and river walls.
Osaka is also a great base for exploring the historical sights of Kyoto, Nara and Wakayama because they are all destinations that are easily and quickly accessible from the city.
You won’t get bored with the nightlife in Osaka. Head to Dotonbori, where you can grab street food as you take a stroll along the river and enjoy the neon lights.
Another area to explore is Hozenji Yokocho, an alleyway with 60 small bars and restaurants serving myriad styles, and if you want local craft beers in a Western-style pub, Beer Belly in the Tenjinbashi district is the place to go.
Osaka provides a feast for foodies, from Michelin-starred restaurants to more casual dining options like okonomiyaki, which translates as ‘grill what you like’ and could be described as a cross between an omelette and a pancake. Another local favourite is takoyaki, which is octopus inside a spherical pancake batter. Wash it all down with an Asahi beer – the brewery was founded in Osaka in 1889.
WORLD CUP VISIT
Osaka is known in Japan as ‘Rugby Mecca’ and will host four RWC 2019 matches – Italy v Namibia, Argentina v Tonga, Georgia v Fiji and USA v Tonga – at Hanazono Stadium, the country’s first rugby ground that was built in 1929. Higashiosaka, where the stadium is located, declared itself ‘The City of Rugby’ in 1991. It’s also close to another host city, Kobe.
Related: Rugby World Cup venues
The bullet train to Osaka takes two-and-a-half hours from Tokyo or catch a direct flight to Osaka International Airport.
DID YOU KNOW?
Hanazono has hosted Japan’s National High School Rugby Tournament since 1963 and is being redeveloped ahead of the World Cup.
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Get an Osaka Amazing Pass. Available for one or two days, it gives you unlimited use of trains and buses in the Osaka area as well as discounts for 35 popular tourist sites.