Things to do in Osaka
Find the fairway at a top golf course
Golf in Japan is serious business, with numerous top-class courses and even more practice nets. Osaka doesn’t buck the trend and has rooftop nets dotted across the city. Golfers after a greener round can enjoy 18-holes at the Ibaraki Country Club (www.ibarakicc.com), just 50 minutes from Osaka Station on the Tokaido-Sanyo Line.
Hope for a home run at a Hanshin Tigers game
Baseball is one of the most popular sports in the country, and Japanese fans are as fervent as their American counterparts. Whilst in Osaka, make the Hanshin Tigers (http://hanshintigers.jp) your team. The season runs from late March to October and games at the Hanshin Koshien stadium (www.hanshin.co.jp/koshien/global) regularly sell out, so book in advance.
Pull on your boots and hike an ancient pilgrimage trail
Not that you would guess from central Osaka, but the surrounding landscapes that flank the city boast some superb hikes. Minoo Park is only a 30-minute drive north, and its gentle trails are popular with locals. For a more challenging hike, try tackling Mount Koya’s ancient pilgrimage trail, Koyasan Choishi Michi.
Strap on some skis and hit the slopes
Snow lovers in Osaka will find themselves ideally placed to hit local slopes. Hyogo has 16 resorts, and as it’s only an hour’s drive west of Osaka, it makes for an easy day trip. Shiga Kogen, northeast of the city, is a slightly longer drive and offers eight resorts of powdery snow.
Unwind how you wish with a day at the beach
A trip to the beach is a great way to escape the hectic pace of the city. Nishikinohama Beach Park, an hour south of Osaka by train, is well equipped for all tastes. Swimmers will find this a lively spot, whilst sporty types can enjoy beach volleyball and thrill-seekers, jet skis.