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Osaka City, the third largest in Japan, is not only rich in population, food, and technology but also with remarkable history and art! And that clearly shows in the numerous museums available; from art museums to historical ones, Osaka has it all. Discover them on your next trip to Japan!
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Osaka Prefecture is quite small in terms of land area compared to Hokkaido, Iwate, and other large prefectures. In fact, Osaka is considered the second smallest prefecture in Japan. Despite its minimal land area, Osaka has so much to offer from an amazing food experience and competitive technology to its abundant cultural and historical heritage. It is also the location of the second largest international airport in Japan, the Kansai Airport, thus serving as one of the major gateways to the country.
Osaka City is the prefectural capital of Osaka and it is considered as one of the biggest and most advanced cities in Japan. The futuristic architecture, modern technology, world-class foods and drinks, and active nightlife are some of the city’s highlights. There are also many tourist spots in the city including the second largest aquarium in the world, the Osaka Kaiyukan Aquarium, and the first-ever Universal Studios theme park built outside the United States, Universal Studios Japan.
Aside from the modern urban life experience, Osaka is also a great cultural and historical destination because of its interesting heritage proudly featured in different museums in the city.
Osaka was once the capital of Japan before Tokyo and the heart of Toyotomi Hideyoshi’s reign as emperor of Japan in the 16th century. Hideyoshi has built his castle in the city and until now, the Osaka Castle has been one of the famous landmarks and major historical sites of Osaka. The Osaka Castle is currently functioning as a museum and providing guests a mirror of Osaka’s past.
Read more about Osaka Castle in our article:
Aside from Osaka Castle, there are many other famous museums in Osaka City that will give you a captivating trip through the history of Osaka and Japan. Here are some of them:
Mint Museum is a public museum that showcases the previous machines behind the creation of Japanese currency and medals of honor. The museum is part of the Osaka Mint Bureau, a government agency that functions as a supplier of coins and medals. Mint Museum has a large collection of Japanese and foreign coins and medals that aims to educate people about the evolution of money throughout history.
If you are not a coin collector or enthusiast yourself, you can still enjoy the beauty of the Mint Museum from the outside. The building itself is historical, with its iconic red-brick Western style appearance. There are also more than 300 cherry trees on the premises of Mint Museum thus making it a favorite cherry blossom viewing site. However, the viewing area is only open to the public for one week every year.
Just across Osaka Castle, Osaka Museum of History has a combination of artifacts collections and the latest technology that goes hand in hand to display the rich history of Osaka. The museum is also filled with scale models and interactive exhibits that depict different periods of Osaka’s 1350-year history. The top floors of the museum also offer great views of the Osaka Castle and its surrounding park. If you want to grab some food or drink, the bottom floor of the Osaka Museum of History is occupied with numerous restaurants and cafes.
National Museum of Art, Osaka is a mostly underground art gallery and museum in central Osaka that highlights both Japanese and international contemporary art. The museum displays a proud collection of art collected from across the world including artworks from world-renowned artists like Picasso and Yasuo Kuniyoshi. There are numerous post-World War I art pieces also featured in the museum. Another highlight of the National Museum of Art is its silver gate that is inspired by the structure of bamboo but looks like rabbit ears from afar.
Aside from these three, there are countless other museums as well that have gained popularity because of the worthwhile experience they provide. Other famous museums in Osaka are the following:
It features the significant relationship between humanity and nature with its collection of fossils, life-size models, and photographs of different species of plants and animals, including dinosaurs!
An educational science museum that highlights space and energy and other aspects of science with its interactive exhibits and the largest dome screen in the world that mimics the enchanting beauty of space.
Japan’s first child-centered museum that envisions providing kids a wonderful place to enjoy and learn while playing.
There are also museums in and just outside Osaka City that have caught the attention of many visitors because of their unique and futuristic architecture and experiences that are truly Instagram-worthy. Here are some of the examples:
There is no better place to enjoy a cup of noodles than the birthplace of this staple meal itself. Instant noodles originated in Ikeda City, Osaka and thus is also where this unique Cup Noodle Museum is located. The museum features the history, evolution, and process of making the worldwide famous instant noodles. There are different sections in the museum with different picture-worthy areas, one of which where you can make, design, and taste your own instant ramen noodles. Ikeda City itself is only 25 minutes north of Osaka City by train and can be accessed easily.
Get a glimpse of the past and experience living in the Edo period in the Osaka Museum of Housing and Living. The museum recreates the ancient towns of Osaka in the Edo period, from the houses and buildings to the street designs in order to provide guests an amazing immersive experience. In this museum, you can walk around and experience the views seen from and by past generations all while wearing a kimono.
Other museums, including two outside of Osaka City but absolutely worth mentioning for their top-of-the-line facilities and promising exhibits are the following:
Enjoy a collection of more than 8,500 East-Asian art pieces, especially the different collections like the Abe, Yamaguchi, Taman, Ogata Korin, Sumitomo, Casal, Ono, and other exceptional cultural works you can exclusively find in the museum.
Celebrate cultural diversity at the National Museum of Ethnology wherein fascinating societies and cultures of different ethnicities in the world are proudly featured. Suita City is located just north of Osaka City and is easy to access.
This distillery is located a bit out of the main city of Osaka, but it is definitely worth a visit as it is the oldest whiskey distillery in Japan and will give a deeper sense of appreciation to the evolution and process of whiskey making.
Many tourists are fascinated by the breathtaking sceneries, warm people, amazing seasons, unique dishes, and the impeccable technology of Osaka and Japan. However, the city has so much more than its modernity. Osaka’s rich culture and history are also worth your attention. So in your upcoming Japan adventures, make sure to celebrate and appreciate Japanese history in Osaka by including in your itinerary the awe-inspiring and fun museums in Osaka, Japan.
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