Osaka, capital of Osaka Prefecture at the mouth of the Yodo River, has become one of the largest cities in the world, both in area and in population. It ranks among the busiest ports in the country and accommodates major ocean-going vessels. Kansai Airport is built on a man-made island in Osaka Bay and is a key point in the air routes of Japan.
Osaka is a major industrial city, and a financial and commercial centre in the seat of Kansai, one of Japan's wealthiest regions. Industries include the manufacture of steel, machinery, textiles, ships, motor vehicles, electrical equipment, and cement. The city is intersected by many canals spanned by bridges and has several parks, the largest of which, Tennoji Park, contains botanical gardens. The city is the home of Japanese drama, particularly bunraku (puppet theatre). Osaka University (1931), Kansai University (1886), and Osaka City University (1949) are here.
The city dates from about AD 300, when it was known as Naniwa. In 1583 the Japanese general and statesman Toyotomi Hideyoshi made Osaka his feudal capital, and Osaka Castle was built and completed. During Toyotomi's administration Osaka became a flourishing centre of trade, and now boasts a skyline which, in Japan, is second only to Tokyo. As well as being home to Japan's 3rd tallest skyscraper, Osaka is also home to the country's most famous: the Umeda Sky Building.