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Sakai / Senboku

Just south of Osaka City is the Sakai / Senboku area. The area around Sakai and neighboring Izumi has long been a point of trade and commerce between Japan and Europe and China, and the area is also known for its ancient ruins and burial mounds. Emperor Nintoku, Nobunaga Oda, Sen Rikyu, Francis Xavier, and Akiko Yosano all once stood on this land and gazed at the sea.

Sakai.

temple of Nanshu-ji

The port city of Sakai has developed as a trade point of Japan ever since the Kamakura period. Guns, handicrafts, foodstuffs, and countless other goods were imported here from other countries such as Portugal and China. The spirit of freedom that accepted all these new things has left traces of many cultures. The Nanshuji Temple is home to Sen no Rikyu’s tearoom retreat and Sen no Riyku’s grave (Sen no Rikyu was the founder of the Tea Ceremony). Sakai City Cultural Hall has exhibits about the life of romantic poet Akiko Yosano. You can also get a feeling for the region’s history by visiting a former gunsmithery or Xavier Park.

A town full of museums!

Sakai Museum of Bladed Tools

Another recommended feature of Sakai is the town's many museums. At the Sakai Hamono Museum, you can see masterpiece blades along with their history and how they are made. Visit the Sakai Machikado Museum, you can both view and try for yourself some traditional industrial techniques of the city. In fact, nearly all of the museums here are actually small businesses that have been certified as museums. There are things to both see and experience at over twenty locations, which showcase bladed tools, kelp, incense, light cotton kimonos (both plain and dyed), carp streamers, hand-woven carpets, bicycles, and more (reservations required). And at the Conpeito Petit Museum, you can make your own “confeito,” Western European sweets.

Larger-than-life burial mounds and ruins

lobby of Sakai City Hall

Daisenryo kofun (Emperor Nintoku’s tomb), stretched out majestically across Sakai City, is a keyhole-shaped mound with a total area of 464,123 square meters, making it the biggest in the world. You can get a feel for the size of it by looking at it from the viewing Sakai City Hall Observatory Lobby. Japan's largest set of village ruins from the Yayoi period was excavated at the Histric Park of Ikegami-Sone Ruins, and in the Osaka Prefectural Museum of Yayoi Culture next to it, you can see displays of pottery unearthed there, as well as reproductions of Yayoi pit dwellings, which give you a glimpse into the daily life of the time.

Enjoy the seaside.

Hamadera Park

Hamadera Park, which features a pine forest of 5,500 trees that was featured in a list of 100 best pines, along with an ocean swimming area, a pool, and a rose garden, is fun for the whole family. The trolley running from Osaka City to the park is a nostalgic part of an Osaka of days gone by. And every year on July 31st, an event with 700 years of history behind it is held at Ohama Park, which was built during the Meiji period. The event is called Sakai Ouo yoichi, and features a fish auction as well as other activities. At the former Sakai Port nearby, you can see the white, wooden, hexagonal lighthouse, formerly Sakai Lighthouse, the oldest of its kind in Japan.

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