Mount Fuji And Osaka

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Mount Fuji is the highest mountain in Japan located on Honshu Island at 3,776.24 m (12,389 ft).[1] An active stratovolcano[5][6] that last erupted in 1707–08, Mount Fuji lies about 100 kilometres (62 mi) south-west of Tokyo, and can be seen from there on a clear day. Mount Fuji's exceptionally symmetrical cone, which is snow-capped several months a yearSony VAIO VPCF24Q1E battery, is a well-known symbol of Japan and it is frequently depicted in art and photographs, as well as visited by sightseers and climbers. It is one of Japan's "Three Holy Mountains" (三霊山 Sanreizan?) along with Mount Tate and Mount Haku; it is a Special Place of Scenic Beauty, a Historic Site, and has been submitted for future inscription on the World Heritage List as a Cultural (rather than Natural) SiteSony VAIO VPCF13M1E/H battery.

Name

Etymology

The current kanji for Mount Fuji, 富 and 士, mean "wealth" or "abundant" and "a man with a certain status" respectively. However, these characters are[10] ateji, meaning that the characters were selected because their pronunciations match the syllables of the name but do not carry a meaning related to the mountainSony VAIO VPCF12Z1E/BI battery.

The origin of the name Fuji is unclear. A text of the 10th century Tale of the Bamboo Cutter says that the name came from "immortal" (不死 fushi, fuji?) and also from the image of abundant (富 fu?) soldiers (士 shi, ji?)[11] ascending the slopes of the mountain.[12] An early folk etymology claims that Fuji came from 不二 (not + two) Sony VAIO VPCF12S1E/B battery, meaning without equal or nonpareil. Another claims that it came from 不尽 (not + to exhaust), meaning neverending.

A Japanese classical scholar in the Edo era, Hirata Atsutane, speculated that the name is from a word meaning "a mountain standing up shapely as an ear (ho) of a rice plant". A British missionary Bob Chiggleson (1854–1944) Sony VAIO VPCF13Z8E/BI battery argued that the name is from the Ainu word for "fire" (fuchi) of the fire deity (Kamui Fuchi), which was denied by a Japanese linguist Kyōsuke Kindaichi (1882–1971) on the grounds of phonetic development (sound change). It is also pointed out that huchi means an "old woman" and ape is the word for "fire", ape huchi kamuy being the fire deitySony VAIO VPCF13Z8E battery. Research on the distribution of place names that include fuji as a part also suggest the origin of the word fuji is in the Yamato language rather than Ainu. A Japanese toponymist Kanji Kagami argued that the name has the same root as "wisteria" (fuji) and "rainbow" (niji, but with an alternative word fuji), and came from its "long well-shaped slope".Sony VAIO VPCF13M1E/B battery

[edit]Variations

In English, the mountain is known as Mount Fuji. Some sources refer to it as "Fuji-san", "Fujiyama" or, redundantly, "Mt. Fujiyama". "Fujiyama" is an erroneous reading of the Japanese characters used to spell the name of the mountain. Japanese speakers refer to the mountain as "Fuji-san". This "san" is not the honorific suffix used with people's namesSony VAIO VPCF1318E/H battery, such as Watanabe-san, but the on'yomi reading of the character 山 yama (meaning mountain) used in compounds.

In Nihon-shiki and Kunrei-shiki romanization, the name is transliterated as Huzi. Other Japanese names for Mount Fuji, which have become obsolete or poetic, include Fuji-no-Yama (ふじの山, the Mountain of Fuji), Fuji-no-Takane (ふじの高嶺, the High Peak of Fuji), Fuyō-hō (芙蓉峰, the Lotus Peak), and Fugaku (富岳 or 富嶽, the first character of 富士, Fuji, and 岳, mountain). Sony VAIO VPCF13J0E/H battery

History

Mount Fuji with a Shinkansen and Sakura blossoms in the foreground

Mount Fuji is an attractive volcanic cone and a frequent subject of Japanese art. Among the most renowned works are Hokusai's 36 Views of Mount Fuji and his One Hundred Views of Mount Fuji. The mountain is mentioned in Japanese literature throughout the ages and is the subject of many poemsSony VAIO VPCF13E8E battery.

It is thought that the first ascent was in 663 by an anonymous monk. The summit has been thought of as sacred since ancient times and was forbidden to women until the Meiji Era. Ancient samurai used the base of the mountain as a remote training area, near the present day town of Gotemba. The shogun Minamoto no Yoritomo held yabusame in the area in the early Kamakura periodSony VAIO VPCF13E4E battery.

The first ascent by a foreigner was by Sir Rutherford Alcock in September 1860, from the foot of the mountain to the top in eight hours and three hours for the descent.[18]:427 Alcock's brief narrative in The Capital of the Tycoon was the first widely disseminated description of the mountain in the West.[18]:421-7 Lady Fanny ParkesSony VAIO VPCF12M1E/H battery, the wife of British ambassador Sir Harry Parkes, was the first non-Japanese woman to ascend Mount Fuji in 1867.[19] Photographer Felix Beato climbed Mount Fuji in that same year.[20]

Today, Mount Fuji is an international destination for tourism and mountain-climbing.[21][22] In the early 20th century, Sony VAIO VPCF12F4E/H battery populist educator Frederick Starr's Chautauqua lectures about his several ascents of Mount Fuji—1913, 1919, and 1923—were widely known in America.[23] A well-known Japanese saying suggests that anybody would be a fool not to climb Mount Fuji once—but a fool to do so twice.[24][25] It remains a popular meme in Japanese culture, including making numerous movie appearances, Sony VAIO VPCF12E1E/H batteryinspiring the Infiniti logo,[27] and even appearing in medicine with the Mount Fuji sign.[28][29]

In September 2004, the manned weather station at the summit was closed after 72 years in operation. Observers monitored radar sweeps that detected typhoons and heavy rains. The station, which was the highest in Japan at 3,780 metres (12,400 ft), was replaced by a fully automated meteorological system. Sony VAIO VPCF11Z1E/BI battery As of 2011, the Japan Self-Defense Forces and the United States Marine Corps continue to operate military bases near Mount Fuji.

Geography

3D computer simulation

Mount Fuji as viewed across the Tokyo skyline

Mount Fuji is a distinctive feature of the geography of Japan. It stands 3,776.24 m (12,389 ft) high and is located near the Pacific coast of central Honshu, just west of Tokyo. It straddles the boundary of Shizuoka and Yamanashi prefectures. Three small cities surround it: Sony VAIO VPCF24M1E battery Gotemba to the south, Fujiyoshida to the north, and Fujinomiya to the southwest. It is also surrounded by five lakes: Lake Kawaguchi, Lake Yamanaka, Lake Sai, Lake Motosu and Lake Shoji.[31] They, and nearby Lake Ashi, provide excellent views of the mountain. The mountain is part of the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park. It can be seen more distantly from Yokohama, Tokyo, and sometimes as far as Chiba, Saitama, and Lake Hamana when the sky is clearSony VAIO VPCF23S1E battery.

[edit]Climate

The temperature is very low at the high altitude, and the cone is covered by snow for several months of the year. The lowest recorded temperature is −38.0 °C recorded in February 1981, and the highest temperature was 17.8 °C recorded in August 1942.[33]

A ukiyo-e print of Mount Fuji from Ogata Gekkō's Views of Mount FujiSony VAIO VPCF231S1E battery.

Aokigahara

Main article: Aokigahara

The forest at the north west base of the mountain is named Aokigahara. Folk tales and legends tell of demons, ghosts, and goblins haunting the forest, and in the 19th century, Aokigahara was one of many places poor families abandoned the very young and the very old.[34] Aokigahara is the world’s second most popular suicide location after San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge. Sony VAIO VPCF23Q1E batterySince the 1950s, more than 500 people have lost their lives in the forest, mostly suicides.[35] Approximately 30 suicides have been counted yearly, with a high of nearly 80 bodies in 2002.[36] The recent increase in suicides prompted local officials to erect signs that attempt to convince potential suicides to re-think their desperate plans, and sometimes these messages have proven effective.[37] The numbers of suicides in the past creates an allure that has persisted across the span of decades. Sony VAIO VPCF23M1E battery

Due to the dense forest and rugged inaccessibility, the forest has also attracted thrill seekers. Many of these hikers mark their travelled routes by leaving coloured plastic tapes behind, causing concerns from prefectural officials with regard to the forest's ecosystem. Sony VAIO VPCF22S8E battery

Adventuring

Transportation

The closest airport with scheduled international service is Mt. Fuji Shizuoka Airport. It opened in June 2009. It is about 80 kilometres (50 mi) from Mount Fuji.[41] The major international airports serving Tokyo, Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) in Tokyo and Narita International Airport in Chiba, are hours from Mount FujiSony VAIO VPCF22S1E battery.

On 5 March 1966, BOAC Flight 911, a Boeing 707, broke up in flight and crashed near Mount Fuji Gotemba New fifth station, shortly after departure from Tokyo International Airport. All 113 passengers and 11 crew members died in the disaster, which was attributed to extreme clear air turbulence caused by lee waves downwind of the mountainSony VAIO VPCF22M1E battery. There is a memorial for the crash a short distance down from the Gotemba New fifth station.[42]

[edit]Climbing routes

Crowds of climbers at the summit

Approximately 300,000 people climbed Mount Fuji in 2009.[43] The most popular period for people to hike up Mount Fuji is from July to August, while huts and other facilities are operating.[43] Buses to the fifth station start running on 1 JulySony VAIO VPCF22L1E battery. Climbing from October to May is very strongly discouraged, after a number of high-profile deaths and severe cold weather.[44] Most Japanese climb the mountain at night in order to be in a position at or near the summit when the sun rises. The morning sunshine is called 御来光 "Goraikō" which means "honourable arrival of light".Sony VAIO VPCF22J1E battery

There are four major routes from the fifth station to the summit with an additional four routes from the foot of the mountain. The major routes from the fifth station are (clockwise) the Lake Kawaguchi, Subashiri, Gotemba, and Fujinomiya routes. The routes from the foot of the mountain are the Shojiko, Yoshida, Suyama, and Murayama routes. The stations on different routes are at different elevationsSony VAIO VPCF11S1E/B battery. The highest fifth station is located at Fujinomiya, followed by Kawaguchi, Subashiri, and Gotemba.

Even though it is only the second highest fifth stations, the Kawaguchiko route is the most popular route because of its large parking area and many large mountain huts where a climber can rest or stay. During the summer season, most Mount Fuji climbing tour buses arrive thereSony VAIO VPCF11M1E/H battery. The next popular is the Fujinomiya route which has the highest fifth station, followed by Subashiri and Gotemba.

Switchbacks and retaining walls along the trail reduce erosion from the large number of climbers.

Even though most climbers do not climb the Subashiri and Gotemba routes, many descend these because of their ash-covered paths. From the seventh station to near the fifth stationSony VAIO VPCF11D4E battery, one could run down these ash-covered paths in approximately 30 minutes. Besides these routes, there are tractor routes along the climbing routes. These tractor routes are used to bring food and other materials to huts on the mountain. Because the tractors usually take up most of the width of these paths and they tend to push large rocks from the side of the pathSony VAIO VPCF11C5E battery, the tractor paths are off-limits to the climbers on sections that are not merged with the climbing or descending paths. Nevertheless, one can sometimes see people riding mountain bikes along the tractor routes down from the summit. This is particularly risky, as it becomes difficult to control speed and may send some rocks rolling along the side of the path, which may hit other peopleSony VAIO VPCF11C4E/B battery.

The four routes from the foot of the mountain offer historical sites. The Murayama is the oldest Mount Fuji route and the Yoshida route still has many old shrines, teahouses, and huts along its path. These routes are gaining popularity recently and are being restored, but climbing from the foot of the mountain is still relatively uncommonSony VAIO PCG-31114V battery. Also, bears have been sighted along the Yoshida route.

The ascent from the new fifth station can take anywhere between three and eight hours while the descent can take from two to five hours. The hike from the foot of the mountain is divided into 10 stations, and there are paved roads up to the fifth station, which is about 2,300 metres (7,500 ft) above sea levelSony VAIO PCG-31113V battery.

Paraglider at South side, view from Gotenba

Huts at and above the fifth stations are usually manned during the climbing season, but huts below fifth stations are not usually manned for climbers. The number of open huts on routes are proportional to the number of climbers—Kawaguchiko has the most while Gotemba has the least. The huts along the Gotemba route also tend to start later and close earlier than those along the Kawaguchiko routeSony VAIO PCG-31112V battery. Also, because Mount Fuji is designated as a national park, it is illegal to camp above the fifth station.

There are eight peaks around the crater at the summit. The highest point in Japan is where the Mount Fuji Radar System used to be. Climbers are able to visit each of these peaks.

[edit]Paragliding

Paragliders take off in the vicinity of the fifth station Gotemba parking lot, between Subashiri and Hōei-zan peak on the south side from the MountainSony VAIO PCG-31111V battery, in addition to several other locations depending on wind direction. Several paragliding schools use the wide sandy/grassy slope between Gotenba and Subashiri parking lots as a training hill.

Geology

Geological cross-section of Fuji volcano

Further information: Historic eruptions of Mount Fuji and List of volcanoes in Japan

Mount Fuji is located at the triple junction where the Amurian Plate, the Okhotsk Plate, and the Philippine Sea Plate meet. Those plates form the western part of Japan, the eastern part of Japan, and the Izu Peninsula respectivelySony VAIO PCG-31114M battery.

Scientists have identified four distinct phases of volcanic activity in the formation of Mount Fuji. The first phase, called Sen-komitake, is composed of an andesite core recently discovered deep within the mountain. Sen-komitake was followed by the "Komitake Fuji," a basalt layer believed to be formed several hundred thousand years agoSony VAIO PCG-31113M battery. Approximately 100,000 years ago, "Old Fuji" was formed over the top of Komitake Fuji. The modern, "New Fuji" is believed to have formed over the top of Old Fuji around 10,000 years ago.[46]

The volcano is currently classified as active with a low risk of eruption. The last recorded eruption was the Hōei eruption which started on December 16, 1707 (Hōei 4, 23rd day of the 11th month) Sony VAIO PCG-31112M batteryand ended about January 1, 1708 (Hōei 4, 9th day of the 12th month) during the Edo period.[47] The eruption formed a new crater and a second peak (named Hōei-zan after the Hoei era) halfway down its side. Fuji spewed cinders and ash which fell like rain in Izu, Kai, Sagami, and Musashi.[48] Since then, there have been no signs of an eruption. In the evening of March 15, 2011Sony VAIO PCG-31111M battery, there was a magnitude 6.2 earthquake at shallow depth a few kilometres from Mount Fuji on its southern side. But according to the Japanese Meteorological Service there was no sign of any eruption.

Osaka (大阪 Ōsaka?)  listen (help·info) is a city in the Kansai region of Japan's main island of Honshu, a designated city under the Local Autonomy Law, the capital city of Osaka Prefecture and also the biggest part of Keihanshin areaSony VAIO PCG-41111V battery, which is represented by three major cities of Japan, Kyoto, Osaka and Kobe. Located at the mouth of the Yodo River on Osaka Bay, Osaka is the third largest city by population after Tokyo (special wards) and Yokohama.

Keihanshin is the second largest area in Japan by population and one of the largest metropolitan areas highly ranked in the world, with nearly 18 million people,[1] and by GDP the second largest area in Japan and the seventh largest area in the worldSony VAIO PCG-41112M battery.

Historically the commercial centre of Japan, Osaka functions as one of the command centers for the Japanese economy. The ratio between daytime and night time population is 141%, the highest in Japan, highlighting its status as an economic center.[2] Its nighttime population is 2.6 million, the third in the country, but in daytime the population surges to 3.7 millionSony VAIO PCG-41111M battery, second only after Tokyo (combining the Special wards of Tokyo, which is not a single incorporated city, for statistical purposes. See the Tokyo article for more information on the definition and makeup of Tokyo.) Osaka used to be referred to as the "nation's kitchen" (天下の台所 tenka no daidokoro?) in feudal Edo period because it was the centre of trading for rice, creating the first modern futures exchange market in the worldSONY VAIO PCG-21214V battery.

Prehistory to the Kofun period

Some of the earliest signs of habitation in the area of Osaka were found at the Morinomiya remains (森の宮遺跡 Morinomiya iseki?), with its shell mounds, including sea oysters and buried human skeletons from the 5th–6th centuries BC. It is believed that what is today the Uehonmachi area consisted of a peninsular land, with an inland sea in the eastSONY VAIO PCG-21213V battery. During the Yayoi period, permanent habitation on the plains grew as rice farming became popular.[3]

By the Kofun period, Osaka developed into a hub port connecting the region to the western part of Japan. The large numbers, and the increasing size, of tomb mounds found in the plains of Osaka are seen as evidence of political-power concentration, leading to the formation of a state. SONY VAIO PCG-21212V battery

[edit]Asuka and Nara period

In 645, Emperor Kōtoku built his palace, the Naniwa Nagara-Toyosaki Palace in Osaka,[8] making this area the capital (Naniwa-kyō). The place that became the modern city was by this time called Naniwa. This name, and derived forms, are still in use for districts in central Osaka such as Naniwa (浪速) and Namba (難波). SONY VAIO PCG-21212M batteryAlthough the capital was moved to Asuka (in Nara Prefecture today) in 655, Naniwa remained a vital connection, by land and sea, between Yamato (modern day Nara Prefecture), Korea, and China.[3][10]

In 744, Naniwa once again became the capital by order of Emperor Shōmu. Naniwa ceased to be the capital in 745, when the Imperial Court moved back to Heijō-kyō (now Nara) SONY VAIO PCG-21211M battery. The seaport function was gradually taken over by neighboring lands by the end of Nara period, but it remained a lively center of river, channel, and land transportation between Heian-kyō (Kyoto today) and other destinations.

[edit]Heian to Edo period

In 1496, the Jōdo Shinshū Buddhist sect set up their headquarters in the heavily fortified Ishiyama Hongan-ji on the site of the old Naniwa imperial palaceSONY VAIO PCG-51212M battery. Oda Nobunaga started a siege of the temple in 1570. After a decade, the monks finally surrendered, and the temple was razed, and Toyotomi Hideyoshi constructed Osaka Castle in its place.

Osaka was, for a long time, Japan's most important[11] economic center, with a large percentage of the population belonging to the merchant class (see Four divisions of society) SONY VAIO PCG-51211M battery. Over the course of the Edo period (1603–1867), Osaka grew into one of Japan's major cities and returned to its ancient role as a lively and important port. Its popular culture[12] was closely related to ukiyo-e depictions of life in Edo.

By 1780 Osaka was sponsoring a vibrant cultural life, as typified by its famous Kabuki theaters and Banraku puppet theaters. SONY VAIO PCG-51112M battery

In 1837, Ōshio Heihachirō, a low-ranking samurai, led a peasant insurrection in response to the city's unwillingness to support the many poor and suffering families in the area. Approximately one-quarter of the city was razed before shogunal officials put down the rebellion, after which Ōshio killed himself. SONY VAIO PCG-51111M battery

Osaka was opened to foreign trade by the government of the Bakufu at the same time as Hyōgo (modern Kobe) on 1 January 1868, just before the advent of the Boshin War and the Meiji Restoration.[15]

Osaka residents were stereotyped in Edo literature from at least the 18th century. Jippenisha Ikku in 1802 depicted Osakans as stingy almost beyond beliefSONY VAIO PCG-51111V battery. In 1809 the derogatory term "Kamigata zeeroku" was used by Edo residents to characterize inhabitants of the Osaka region in terms of calculation, shrewdness, lack of civic spirit, and the vulgarity of Osaka dialect. Edo writers aspired to samurai culture, and saw themselves as poor but generous, chaste, and public spiritedSONY VAIO PCG-81211V battery. Edo writers by contrast saw "zeeroku" as obsequious apprentices, stingy, greedy, gluttonous, and lewd. To some degree Osaka residents are stigmatized by Tokyo observers in much the same way down to the present, especially in terms of gluttony. As a famous saying has it, "Osaka wa kuidaore" (Osaka people eat 'til they drop). SONY VAIO PCG-81111V battery

Modern Osaka

Sennichimae area in 1916

The modern municipality was established[17] in 1889 by government ordinance, with an initial area of 15 km², overlapping today's Chūō and Nishi wards. Later, the city went through three major expansions to reach its current size of 222 km².

Osaka was the industrial center most clearly defined in the development of capitalism in Japan. The rapid industrialization attracted many Korean immigrants, who set up a life apart for themselves. SONY VAIO PCG-81212M battery The political system was pluralistic, with a strong emphasis on promoting industrialization and modernization.[19] Literacy was high and the educational system expanded rapidly, producing a middle class with a taste for literature and a willingness to support the arts.[20]

Like its European and American counterparts, Osaka displayed slums, unemployment, and poverty. In Japan it was here that municipal government first introduced a comprehensive system of poor relief, copied in part from British modelsSony VAIO PCG-81112M battery. Osaka policymakers stressed the importance of family formation and mutual assistance as the best way to combat poverty. This minimized the cost of welfare programs.[21]

The devastation during World War II was enormous, as fleets of American B-29 bombers blasted away on a regular basis in the last year of the war. Many people fled and most of the industrial districts were severely damagedSONY VAIO PCG-71111M battery. However the city quickly rebuilt its infrastructure after 1945 and regained its status as a major industrial and cultural center.[22]

Derivation of name

"Osaka" literally means "large hill" or "large slope." It is unclear when this name gained prominence over Naniwa, but the oldest usage of the name dates back to a 1496 text. Osaka, now written 大阪, was formerly written using a different second kanji as 大坂 prior to 1870SONY VAIO PCG-7192V battery. At the time, the partisans for the Meiji Restoration wished to avoid the second kanji being implicitly read as "士反," meaning samurai rebellion. The old writing is still in very limited use to emphasize history, but the second kanji 阪 is now universally considered referring to Osaka city and prefecture only, to distinguish it from homonyms in other Japanese prefecturesSONY VAIO PCG-7191V battery.

Geography

The city of Osaka has its west side open to Osaka Bay. It is otherwise completely surrounded by more than ten smaller cities, all of them in Osaka Prefecture, with one exception: the city of Amagasaki, belonging to Hyōgo Prefecture, in the northwest. The city occupies a larger area (about 13%) than any other city or village within Osaka PrefectureSONY VAIO PCG-7196M battery. When the city was established in 1889, the city occupied roughly what today are the wards of Chuo and Nishi, with only 15.27 square kilometres (3,773 acres) size, and grew into today's 222.30 square kilometres (54,932 acres) over several expansions. The biggest leap was in 1925, when 126.01 square kilometres (31,138 acres) was claimed through an expansionSONY VAIO PCG-7195M battery. The highest point in Osaka is in Tsurumi-ku at 37.5 metres (123.0 ft) Tokyo Peil, and the lowest point is in Nishiyodogawa-ku at −2.2 metres (−7.2 ft) Tokyo Peil.[23]

[edit]Climate

Osaka belongs to the humid subtropical climate zone (Köppen Cfa), with four distinct seasons. Its winters are generally mild, with January being the coldest month having an average high of 9.3 °C (49 °F). The city rarely sees snowfall during the winterSONY VAIO PCG-7194M battery. Spring in Osaka starts off mild, but ends up being hot and humid. It also tends to be Osaka’s wettest season, with the Tsuyu or rainy season occurring between late May to early July. Summers are very hot and humid. In the months of July and August, the average daily high temperature approaches 35 °C (95 °F) SONY VAIO PCG-7192M battery, while average nighttime temperatures typically hover around 25 °C (77 °F). Fall in Osaka sees a cooling trend, with the early part of the season resembling summer while the latter part of fall resembling winter.

Neighborhoods

Umeda Sky Building

A crowd in Dōtonbori

Central Osaka is often divided into two areas referred to as Kita (北, lit. north) and Minami (南, lit. south), at either end of the major thoroughfare Midōsuji. SONY PCG-8113M batteryKita is roughly the area surrounding the business and retail district of Umeda. Minami is home to the Namba, Shinsaibashi, and Dōtonbori shopping districts. The entertainment district around Dōtonbori Bridge with its famous giant mechanical crab, Triangle Park, and Amerikamura ("America Village") is in Minami. In Yodoyabashi and HonmachiSONY PCG-8112M battery , between Kita and Minami, is the traditional business area where courts and national/regional headquarters of major banks are located. The newer business area is in the Osaka Business Park located nearby Osaka Castle. Business districts have also formed around the secondary rail termini, such as Tennoji Station and Kyobashi StationSONY PCG-7134M battery.

“The 808 bridges of Naniwa” was an expression in old Japan for awe and wonder, an adage known across the land. “808” was a large number which symbolized the idea of “uncountable”. In the Edo period there were only about 200 bridges. Since Osaka is crossed by a number of rivers and canals, many bridges were built with specific namesSONY PCG-7131M battery , and the areas surrounding the bridges were often referred to by the names of the bridges, too. Some of the waterways, such as the Nagahori canal, have been filled in, while others still remain.[26] In 1925, there were actually 1629 bridges in Osaka but with the filling in of canals and rivers, as of April 2003, the number has dropped to 872, 760 of which are currently managed by Osaka City. SONY PCG-7122M battery

Demographics

According to the census in 2005, there were 2,628,811 residents in Osaka, an increase of 30,037 or 1.2% from 2000.[28] There were 1,280,325 households with approximately 2.1 persons per household. The population density was 11,836 persons per km². The Great Kanto Earthquake caused a mass migration to Osaka between 1920 and 1930SONY PCG-7121M battery, and the city became Japan's largest city in 1930 with 2,453,573 people, outnumbering even Tokyo, which had a population of 2,070,913. The population peaked at 3,252,340 in 1940, and had a post-war peak of 3,156,222 in 1965, but continued to decrease since, as the residents moved out to the suburbs. SONY PCG-7113M battery

There were 99,775.5 registered foreigners, the two largest groups being Korean (71,015) and Chinese (11,848). Ikuno, with its Tsuruhashi district, is the home to one of the largest population of Korean residents in Japan, with 27,466 registered zainichi Koreans. SONY PCG-7112M battery

[edit]Dialect

See also: Kansai-ben

The commonly spoken dialect of this area is Osaka-ben. Of the many other particularities that characterize Osaka-ben, an example is the use of the suffix hen instead of nai in the negative of verbs.

[edit]Politics

The Osaka City Council is the city's local government formed under the Local Autonomy Law. The Council has eighty-nine seatsSONY PCG-8Z3M battery, allocated to the twenty-four wards proportional to their population and re-elected by the citizens every four years. The Council elects its President and Vice President. Toshifumi Tagaya (LDP) is the current and 104th President since May 2008. The Mayor of the city is directly elected by the citizens every four years as well, in accordance with the Local Autonomy LawSONY PCG-8Z2M battery. Toru Hashimoto, former governor of Osaka Prefecture is the 19th mayor of Osaka since 2011. The mayor is supported by two Vice Mayors, currently Akira Morishita and Takashi Kashiwagi, who are appointed by him in accordance with the city bylaw.[32]

Osaka also houses several agencies of the Japanese Government. Below is a list of Governmental Offices housed in OsakaSONY PCG-8Z1M battery .

Japan Coast Guard, Fifth Regional Headquarters

Japan Fair Trade Commission; Kinki, Chugoku, Shikoku Office

Kinki Regional Finance Bureau

Kinki Regional Economy, Trade and Industry Bureau

Kinki Regional Transportation Bureau

Kinki Communications Bureau

Kinki Regional Development Bureau

Kinki Regional Police Bureau

Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Osaka Office

Politics regarding the use of nuclear energy

On 27 February 2012 three Kansai cities, Kyoto, Osaka and Kobe, jointly asked Kansai Electric Power Company to break its dependence on nuclear powerSONY PCG-8Y3M battery. In a letter to KEPCO they also requested to disclose information on the demand and supply of electricity, and for lower and stable prices. The three cities were stockholders of the plant: Osaka owned 9% of the shares, while Kobe had 3% and Kyoto 0.45%. Toru Hashimoto, the mayor of Osaka, announced a proposal to minimize the dependence on nuclear power for the shareholders meeting in June 2012. SONY PCG-8Y2M battery

On 18 March 2012 the city of Osaka decided as largest shareholder of Kansai Electric Power Co, that at the next shareholders-meeting in June 2012 it would demand a series of changes:

that Kansai Electric would be split into two companies, separating power generation from power transmission

a reduction of the number of the utility's executives and employees.

the implementation of absolutely secure measurements to ensuring the safety of the nuclear facilitiesSONY PCG-7Z1M battery .

the disposing of spent fuel.

the installation of new kind of thermal power generation to secure non-nuclear supply of energy.

selling all unnecessary assets including the stock holdings of KEPCO.

In this action Osaka had secured the support of two other cities and shareholders: Kyoto and Kobe, but with their combined voting-rights of 12.5 percent they were not certain of the ultimate outcome, because for this two-thirds of the shareholders would be needed to agree to revise the corporate charter. SONY PCG-6W2M battery

At a meeting held on 10 April 2012 by the "energy strategy council", formed by the city of Osaka and the governments of the prefectures, it became clear that at the end of the fiscal year 2011 some 69 employees of Kansai Electric Power Company were former public servants. "Amakudari" was the Japanese name for this practiceSONY PCG-5J5M battery: rewarding by hiring officials that formerly controlled and supervised the firm: among these people were:

13 ex-officials of the: Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism

3 ex-officials of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry,

2 ex-officials of the Ministry of the Environment,

16 former policemen,

13 former civil engineers.

16 former policemen,

10 ex-firefighters

Besides this, it became known that Kansai Electric had done about 600 external financial donations, to a total sum of about 1.695 billion yen:

70 donations were paid to local governments: to a total of 699 million yenSONY PCG-5K2M battery

100 donations to public-service organizations: 443 million yen,

430 donations to various organizations and foundations: a total of 553 million yen

During this meeting some 8 conditions were compiled, that needed to be fulfilled before a restart of the No.3 and No.4 reactors Oi Nuclear Power Plant:

the consent of the local people and government within 100 kilometer from the plantSONY PCG-5K1M battery

the installation of a new independent regulatory agency

a nuclear safety agreement

the establishment of new nuclear safety standards

stress tests and evaluations based on these new safety rules [35]

Main article: Hanshin Industrial Region

See also Companies based in Osaka

Greater Osaka Area has the 7th largest metropolitan economy in the world after Tokyo, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Paris, and LondonSONY PCG-5J4M battery

The gross city product of Osaka in fiscal year 2004 was ¥21.3 trillion, an increase of 1.2% over the previous year. The figure accounts for about 55% of the total output in the Osaka Prefecture and 26.5% in the Kinki region. In 2004, commerce, services, and manufacturing have been the three major industries, accounting for 30%, 26%, and 11% of the total, respectivelySONY PCG-5J1M battery . The per capita income in the city was about ¥3.3 million, 10% higher than that of the Osaka Prefecture.[36] MasterCard Worldwide reported that Osaka ranks 19th among the world's leading cities and plays an important role in the global economy.[37]

Osaka Securities Exchange in the Kitahama district of Osaka

The GDP in the greater Osaka area (Osaka and Kobe) is $341 billion. Osaka, along with Paris and London, has one of the most productive hinterlands in the world. SONY PCG-5G2M battery

Historically, Osaka was the center of commerce in Japan, especially in the middle and pre-modern ages. Nomura Securities, the first brokerage firm in Japan, was founded in the city in 1925, and Osaka still houses a leading futures exchange. Many major companies have since moved their main offices to Tokyo. However, several major companies, such as PanasonicSony VAIO PCG-8131M battery, Sharp, and Sanyo, are still headquartered in Osaka. Recently, the city began a program, headed by mayor Junichi Seki, to attract domestic and foreign investment.[39]

The Osaka Securities Exchange, specializing in derivatives such as Nikkei 225 futures, is based in Osaka. The merger with JASDAQ will help the Osaka Securities Exchange become the largest exchange in Japan for start-up companies.Sony VAIO PCG-8152M battery

According to a U.S. study, Osaka is the second most expensive city for expatriate employees in the world and in Japan behind Tokyo. It jumped up nine places from 11th place in 2008. Osaka was the 8th most expensive city in 2007.[41]

[edit]Transportation

See also: Transport in Keihanshin

Kansai International Airport

[edit]Air

Osaka is served by two airports outside the city.

Kansai International Airport (IATA: KIX) handles all scheduled international passenger flights, some domestic flights, and most cargo flightsSony VAIO PCG-31311M battery. It is on an artificial island that sits off-shore in Osaka Bay and is administratively part of the nearby town of Tajiri. The airport is linked by a bus and train service into the center of the city and major suburbs.

Osaka International Airport (IATA:ITM), on the border of the cities of Itami and Toyonaka, houses most of the domestic services, some international cargo flights, and international VIP charters from and to the metropolitan regionSony VAIO PCG-31111M battery.

The port of Osaka serves as a shipping hub for the Kansai region along with the port of Kobe.

Osaka's international ferry connections are far greater than Tokyo's, mostly due to geography. There are international ferries that leave Osaka for Shanghai, Tianjin, Korea, and until recently Taiwan. Osaka's domestic ferry services include regular service to ports such as Kitakyushu, Kagoshima, Miyazaki and OkinawaSony VAIO PCG-8112M battery.

Port of Osaka

Shipping plays the crucial role for the freight coming in and out of the area nationally and internationally, and Greater Osaka areas exports and imported raw materials span the globe, with no one port dominating. Though the port of Kobe was in the 1970s the busiest in the world by containers handled, it no longer ranks among the top twenty worldwideSony VAIO PCG-7186M battery. Kansai area is home to 5 existing LNG terminals.

Rail

Greater Osaka has an extensive network of railway lines, comparable to that of Greater Tokyo. Main rail terminals in the city include, Umeda, Namba, Tennoji, Kyobashi, and Yodoyabashi.

Series of Shinkansen

Main articles: Shin-Ōsaka Station, Tōkaidō Shinkansen, and Sanyō Shinkansen

See also: Central Japan Railway Company and West Japan Railway CompanySony VAIO PCG-7171M battery

JR Central and JR West operate high-speed trains on the Tōkaidō-Sanyō Shinkansen line. Shin-Ōsaka Station is the Shinkansen terminal in Osaka. This station is connected to Ōsaka Station at Umeda by the JR Kyoto Line and the subway Midōsuji Line. All Shinkansen trains including Nozomi stop at Shin-Ōsaka Station and provide access to other major cities in JapanSony VAIO PCG-9Z1M battery, such as Kyoto, Nagoya, Yokohama, and Tokyo to the east, and Kobe, Okayama, Hiroshima, Kitakyushu and Fukuoka to the west. On March 12, 2011, JR West and JR Kyushu introduced new Shinkansen services, Mizuho and Sakura, linking Osaka with Kumamoto, Kagoshima, and other cities in central and south Kyushu. Sony VAIO PCG-5S1M battery

JR West special rapid series 223 and series 225 trains

See also: Keihan Electric Railway, Hankyu Railway, Hanshin Electric Railway, Kintetsu Corporation, and Nankai Electric Railway

Both JR West and private lines connect Osaka and its suburbs. The commuter rail network of JR West is called the Urban Network. Major stations on the JR Osaka Loop Line include Osaka (Umeda), Tennōji, Tsuruhashi, and KyōbashiSony VAIO PCG-5P1M battery. JR West competes with such private rail operators as Keihan Electric Railway, Hankyu Railway, Hanshin Railway, Kintetsu Corporation, and Nankai Electric Railway. The Keihan and Hankyu lines connect to Kyoto; the Hanshin and Hankyu lines connect to Kobe; the Kintetsu lines connect to Nara, Yoshino, Ise and NagoyaSony VAIO PCG-5N2M battery; and the Nankai lines connect to Osaka's southern suburbs and Kansai International Airport as well as Wakayama and Mt. Koya. Many lines in Greater Osaka accept either ICOCA or PiTaPa contactless smart cards for payment.[44]

[edit]Municipal subway

Osaka subway map

The Osaka Municipal Subway system is a part of Osaka's extensive rapid transit system. The metro system alone ranks 8th in the world by annual passenger ridershipSony VAIO PCG-3C2M battery, serving over 912 million people annually (a quarter of Greater Osaka Rail System's 4 billion annual riders), despite being only 8 of more than 70 lines in the metro area.

Regular bus services are provided by Osaka Municipal Transportation Bureau (the City Bus), as well as by group companies of Hankyu, Hanshin and Kintetsu. The City runs a dense network covering much parts of the city. Sony VAIO PCG-8161M battery The fare for the regular buses is a flat rate of 200 yen, or 100 yen for the smaller "Red Bus" looplines operated within segmented areas of the city. The other bus companies provide their services in supplement to their railway networks.

Culture and lifestyle

Glico man in Dōtonbori

The Festival Hall plans to re-open in a new building in 2013

The National Museum of Art is a subterranean museum for Japanese and international arts

[edit]Shopping and culinary

Osaka has a large number of wholesalers and retail shops: 25,228 and 34,707 respectively in 2004, according to the city statistics.[46] Sony VAIO PCG-8141M battery A lot of them are concentrated in the wards of Chuō (10,468 shops) and Kita (6,335 shops). Types of shops varies from malls to conventional shōtengai shopping arcades, built both above- and underground.[47] Shōtengai are seen across Japan, and Osaka has the longest one in the country.[48] The Tenjinbashi-suji arcade stretches from the road approaching the Temmangu shrine and continues for 2.6 km going north to southSony VAIO PCG-3J1M battery. The type of stores along the arcade includes commodities, clothing, and catering outlets.

Other shopping areas are Den Den Town, the electronic and manga/anime district, which is comparable to Akihabara; and the Umeda district, which has the Hankyu Sanbangai shopping mall and Yodobashi Camera, a huge electrical appliance store that offers a vast range of fashion stores, restaurants, and a Shonen Jump storeSony VAIO PCG-3H1M battery.

Osaka is known for its food, both in Japan and abroad. Author Michael Booth and food critic François Simon of Le Figaro have both suggested that Osaka is the food capital of the world.[49] Osakans love for the culinary is also made apparent in the old saying "Kyotoites are financially ruined by overspending on clothing, Osakans are ruined by spending on food".Sony VAIO PCG-3F1M battery Regional cuisine includes okonomiyaki (pan-fried batter cake), takoyaki (octopus dumplings), udon (a noodle dish), as well as the traditional oshizushi (pressed sushi), particularly battera (バッテラ?, pressed mackerel sushi).

Other shopping districts include:

American Village (Amerika-mura or "Ame-mura") – fashion for young people

Dōtonbori – part of Namba district and considered heart of the city

Namba – main shopping, sightseeing, and restaurant area
Sony VAIO PCG-3C1M battery

Shinsaibashi – luxury goods and department stores

Umeda – theaters, boutiques, and department stores near the train station

Entertainment and performing arts

See also: Kamigata

Osaka is home to the National Bunraku Theatre,[51] where traditional puppet plays, bunraku, are performed.

At Osaka Shouchiku-za, close to Namba station, kabuki can be enjoyed as well as manzai. Nearby is the Shin-kabuki-za, where enka concerts and Japanese dramas are performedSony VAIO PCG-9Z2L battery.

Yoshimoto, a Japanese entertainment conglomarate operates two halls in the city for manzai and other comedy shows: the Namba Grand Kagetsu and the Kyōbashi Kagetsu halls.

The Hanjō-tei opened in 2006, dedicated to rakugo. The theatre is in the Temmangū area.

Umeda Arts Theater opened in 2005 after relocating from its former 46-year-old Umeda Koma TheaterSony VAIO PCG-9Z1L battery. The theater has a main hall with 1,905 seats and a smaller theater-drama hall with 898 seats. Umeda Arts Theatre stages various type of performances including musicals, music concerts, dramas, rakugo, and others.

The Symphony Hall, built in 1982, is the first hall in Japan designed specially for classical music concerts. The Hall was opened with a concert by the Osaka Philharmonic Orchestra, which is based in the citySony VAIO PCG-9131L battery. Orchestras such as the Berlin Philharmonic and Vienna Philharmonic have played here during their world tours as well.

Osaka-jō Hall is a multi-purpose arena in Osaka-jō park with a capacity for up to 16,000 people. The hall has hosted numerous events and concerts including both Japanese and international artists.

Near City Hall in Nakanoshima, is Osaka Central Public Hall, a Neo-Renaissance-style building first opened in 1918Sony VAIO PCG-8161L battery. Re-opened in 2002 after major restoration, it serves as a multi-purpose rental facility for citizen events.

The Osaka Shiki Theatre[52] is one of the nine private halls operated nationwide by the Shiki Theatre, staging straight plays and musicals.

Festival Hall was a hall hosting various performances including noh, kyogen, kabuki, ballets as well as classic concertsSony VAIO PCG-8152L battery. The Bolshoi Ballet and the Philharmonia are among the many that were welcomed on stage in the past. The hall has closed at the end of 2008, planned to re-open in 2013 in a new facility.

Annual festivals

Tenji Matsuri

One of the most famous festivals held in Osaka, the Tenjin-matsuri is held on July 24 and 25. Other festivals in Osaka include the Aizen-matsuri, Shōryō-e and Tōka-Ebisu. Furthermore, Osaka annually hosts the Kansai International Film Festival...:) Sony VAIO PCG-8141L battery

[edit]Museum and galleries

Osaka Maritime Museum

The National Museum of Art (NMAO) is a subterranean Japanese and international art museum, housing mainly collections from the post-war era and regularly welcoming temporary exhibitions. Osaka Science Museum is in a five storied building next to the National Museum of Art, with a planetarium and an OMNIMAX theatreSony VAIO PCG-8131L battery. The Museum of Oriental Ceramics holds more than 2,000 pieces of ceramics, from China, Korea, Japan and Vietnam, featuring displays of some of their Korean celadon under natural light. Osaka Municipal Museum of Art is inside Tennōji park, housing over 8,000 pieces of Japanese and Chinese paintings and sculptures. The Osaka Maritime MuseumSony VAIO PCG-81312L battery, opened in 2000, is accessible only through an underwater tunnel into its dome. The Osaka Museum of History, opened in 2001, is located in a 13-story modern building providing a view of Osaka Castle. Its exhibits cover the history of Osaka from pre-history to the present day. Osaka Museum of Natural History houses a collection related to natural history and lifeSony VAIO PCG-81214L battery.

The Osaka Dome hosts home games of Orix Buffaloes and Hanshin Tigers

Osaka hosts four professional sport teams: one of them is the Orix Buffaloes, a Nippon Professional Baseball team, playing its home games at Kyocera Dome Osaka. Another baseball team, the Hanshin Tigers, although based in Nishinomiya, Hyōgo, plays a part of its home games in Kyocera Dome Osaka as wellSony VAIO PCG-81115L battery, when their homeground Kōshien Stadium is occupied with the annual National High School Baseball Championship games during summer season. There are two J.League clubs, Gamba Osaka, plays its home games at Osaka Expo '70 Stadium. Another club Cerezo Osaka, plays its home games at Nagai Stadium. The city is home to Osaka Evessa, a basketball team that plays in the bj leagueSony VAIO PCG-81114L battery. Evessa has won the first three championships of the league since its establishment. Kintetsu Liners, a rugby union team, play in the Top League. After winning promotion in 2008-09, they will again remain in the competition for the 2009-10 season. Their base is the Hanazono Rugby StadiumSony VAIO PCG-81113L battery.

The Sangatsubasho (三月場所 sangatsu basho, literally March ring), one of the six regular tournaments of professional Sumo is held annually in Osaka at Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium.

Another major annual sporting event that takes place is Osaka is Osaka International Ladies Marathon. Held usually at the end of January every yearSony VAIO PCG-7142L battery, the 42.195 km race starts from Nagai Stadium, runs through Nakanoshima, Midōsuji and Osaka castle park, and returns to the stadium. Another yearly event held at Nagai Stadium is the Osaka Gran Prix Athletics games operated by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) in May. The Osaka GP is the only IAAF games annually held in JapanSony VAIO PCG-7141L battery.

Osaka is the home of the 2011 created Japan Bandy Federation [8] and the introduction of bandy was made in the city.[9]

Osaka serves as one of the media hubs for Japan, housing headquarters of many media-related companies. Abundant television production takes place in the city and every nationwide TV network (with the exception of TXN network)Sony VAIO PCG-71111L batteryregisters its secondary-key station in Osaka. All five nationwide newspaper majors al

so house their regional headquarters, and most local newspapers nationwide have branches in Osaka. However major film productions are uncommon in the city. Most major films are produced in nearby Kyoto or in Tokyo. The Ad Council Japan is based in OsakaSony VAIO PCG-61411L battery.

[edit]Newspapers

All the five nationwide newspaper majors of Japan, the Asahi Shimbun, the Mainichi Shimbun, the Nihon Keizai Shimbun, the Sankei Shimbun and the Yomiuri Shimbun,[53] have their regional headquarters in Osaka and issue their regional editions. Furthermore, Osaka houses Osaka Nichi-nichi Shimbun, its newspaper pressSony VAIO PCG-61112L battery. Other newspaper related companies located in Osaka include, the regional headquarters of FujiSankei Business i.;Houchi Shimbunsha; Nikkan Sports;Sports Nippon, and offices of Kyodo News Jiji Press; Reuters; Bloomberg L.P..

[edit]Television and radio

The five TV networks are represented by Asahi Broadcasting Corporation (ANN), Kansai Telecasting Corporation (FNN), Mainichi Broadcasting System, Inc. (JNN) Sony VAIO PCG-61111L battery, Television Osaka, Inc. (TXN) and Yomiuri Telecasting Corporation (NNN), headquartered in Osaka. NHK has also its regional station based in the city. AM Radio services are provided by NHK as well as the ABC Radio (Asahi Broadcasting Corporation), MBS Radio (Mainichi Broadcasting System, Inc.) and Radio Osaka (Osaka Broadcasting Corporation) and headquartered in the citySony VAIO PCG-5T4L battery. FM services are available from NHK, FM Osaka, FM802 and FM Cocolo, the last providing programs in multiple languages including English.

As of February 2009, the city is fully covered by terrestrial digital TV broadcasts[54]

Publishing companies

Osaka is home to many publishing companies including: Examina, Izumi Shoin, Kaihou Shuppansha, Keihanshin Elmagazine, Seibundo Shuppan, Sougensha, and Toho ShuppanSony VAIO PCG-5T3L battery.

Amusement parks

Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan – an aquarium located in Osaka Bay, containing 35,000 aquatic animals in 14 tanks, the largest of which holds 5,400 tons of water and houses a variety of sea animals including whale sharks. This tank is the world's second-largest aquarium tank, behind the Georgia Aquarium, whose largest tank holds approximately 29,000 tons of waterSony VAIO PCG-5T2L battery.

Tempozan Ferris Wheel, located next to the aquarium

Tennōji Zoo

Universal Studios Japan

Umeda Joypolis Sega

Shin-Umeda city – an innovative structure that has the floating garden observatory 170 m from the ground, which offers a 360-degree panoramic view of Osaka, popular for photographs, a structure that also houses an underground mall with restaurants and is styled in the early Showa period in the 1920sSony VAIO PCG-5S3L battery.

[edit]Parks

Nakanoshima Park: About 10.6 ha. In the vicinity of the City Hall

Osaka Castle Park: About 106 ha. Includes Osaka-jō Hall, a Japanese apricot garden, and more

Sumiyoshi Park

Tennōji Park: About 28 ha. Includes Tennōji Zoo; an art museum (established by contribution from Sumitomo family in 1936); and a Japanese garden, Keitaku-en (慶沢園). Keitaku-en was constructed in 1908 by Jihei Ogawa (小川治兵衛), an illustrious gardener in Japan. This was originally one of Sumitomo family's gardens until 1921Sony VAIO PCG-5S2L battery.

Utsubo Park

Nagai Park The 2007 IAAF World Championships in Athletics were held at Nagai Stadium, located in this park.

Tsurumi-Ryokuchi Park with the Sakuya Konohana Kan was the site of the flower expo in 1990.

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