Big in Japan

Osaka’s domestic Itami Airport may be dwarfed by neighbouring Kansai, but the urban facility is playing an increasingly important role as the city’s premier business gateway, as Sebastian Schmitz finds out.


Traditionally a trading city, Osaka is fondly referred to as Tenka no Daidokoro (the nation’s kitchen), a reference to its historic importance as a rice-trade hub but now reflecting the city’s reputation as a gourmand’s paradise. But while it may offer a fabulous array of restaurants and local dishes, enviable nightlife and renowned hospitality, Osaka is often overlooked by international tourists. That’s not to say the port city does not welcome its fair share of visitors.

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