Osaka is Japan's second-largest metropolitan area after Tokyo. It has been the economic powerhouse of the Kansai Region for many centuries. Osaka was previously known as Naniwa. Before the Nara Period, whilst the capital was moved with the reign of each new emperor, Naniwa was once Japan's capital town, the first one ever known. In the 16th century, Toyotomi Hideyoshi chose Osaka as the place for his castle, and the city may have emerged as Japan's political capital if Tokugawa Ieyasu had now no longer terminated the Toyotomi lineage after Hideyoshi's death and moved his government to remote Edo (Tokyo). Osaka is a large port city and commercial center on the Japanese island of Honshu. It's recognized for its modern architecture, nightlife, and hearty street food. The 16th-century shogunate Osaka Castle, which has undergone several restorations, is its major ancient landmark. It's surrounded by a moat and park with plum, peach, and cherry blossom trees. Sumiyoshi-Taisha is among Japan’s oldest Shinto shrines.
Greater Osaka has an extensive network of railway lines, comparable to that of Greater Tokyo. Major stations within the city include Umeda, Namba, Shinsaibashi, and Yodoyabashi. Osaka connects to its surrounding cities and suburbs via the JR West Urban Network as well as numerous private lines such as Keihan Electric Railway, Hankyu Railway, Hanshin Electric Railway, and Kintetsu Railway, and Nankai Electric Railway. The Osaka Metro system alone ranks 8th in the world by annual passenger ridership, 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. All Shinkansen trains including Nozomi stop at Shin-Osaka Station and provide access to other major cities in Japan, such as Kobe, Kyoto, Nagoya, Yokohama, and Tokyo. Regular bus services are provided by Osaka City Bus, as well as Hankyu, Hanshin, and Kintetsu, providing a dense network covering most parts of the city. Osaka is served by two airports situated just outside of the city, Kansai International Airport which handles primarily international passenger flights, and Osaka International Airport which handles mostly domestic services and some international cargo flights. Due to its geographical position, Osaka's international ferry connections are far greater than that of Tokyo, with international service to Shanghai, Tianjin, Korea along with domestic routes to Kitakyushu, Kagoshima, Miyazaki, and Okinawa.
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