The green and urban island of Umeda
Nakanoshima is a small island located in the north of Osaka city center, surrounded by the Dojima and Tasobori rivers. Of about 50 hectares and 3 kilometers in length, it can easily be explored by walking. A pleasant and relaxing park that spreads to the island’s extremity is next to administrative buildings set on the western part.
With an artificial oasis constructed in 1891, Nakanoshima offers a real "nature break" in the heart of Osaka city to locals who visit with family or with friends. Visiting the island can be divided into two parts: to the east is greenness and to the west one can walk among rich and diverse architecture dating back to the modern Meiji (1868-1912) and Taisho (1912-1926) eras.
Nakanoshima’s public park is interesting to discover all year round. In summer, the vast grass areas welcome family tents set for a picnic. One can stay a long time to watch traditional dancers who can find here sufficient space to train 🚅 for upcoming matsuri. One can even see a few brave people sunbathing in bikinis. Riverboats parade on each bank of the island, full of tourists greeting wanderers. The visit is not even done and we already want to come back.
As the day goes on, outside terraces of cafes and restaurants come alive in a festive atmosphere. An ocean holiday ambiance can be felt on Nakanoshima, which happens to be one of the nicest places to enjoy summer beer gardens in Osaka. Many Japanese people come for an afternoon barbecue along with a fresh beer. Also, on the Osaka part, uplifted terraces offer a beautiful view of the river and the island.
When seasons change in mid-May and then mid-October, the park reveals an enchanting, vivid floor. A vast rose garden, made up of 310 species for a total of 3,700 flowering plants, has been open since the beginning of the 20th century. Reachable via a charming small bridge, the well-maintained garden includes several benches, perfect for relaxing and admiring rose blossoms in May.
For those willing to extend their island visit, it is then time to focus on the urban landscape spreading out horizontally. Several cultural and administrative buildings should be discovered, such as:
- The Museum of Oriental Ceramics, founded in 1982, exhibiting one of the world’s best collections with art pieces coming from West Asia, China and Korea;
- The prefectural library and its columned baroque facade;
- Osaka City Central Public Hall and its photogenic neo-Renaissance style building, with its red bricks and bronze cupola;
- The Science Museum and its neighbor, the National Art Museum, made of glass and steel.
The view, offered by several bridges that allow to access the island, is loved by new, curious visitors. Usually vertical in the city center, this new open space lets the eye discover a pleasant and vast area free from the buildings zone. Not far away from Osaka Castle 🏯, it is highly advised to continue the visit by taking a break in Nakanoshima.