Sakai City, Senboku Area
Just south of Osaka City is the Sakai/Senboku area. This region, known for its ancient ruins and burial mounds, has long been a point of commerce between Japan, Europe and China. Indeed, some of history's most famous characters - Emperor Nintoku, Nobunaga Oda, Sen no Rikyu, Francis Xavier, and Akiko Yosano - all once stood on this land gazing out at sea.
The port city of Sakai has been a trade point for Japan ever since the Kamakura period. Guns, handicrafts, foodstuffs, and countless other goods were imported here from countries such as Portugal and China. This profound sense of history can be experienced in many of the area's sights. The Nanshuji Temple is home to the tearoom retreat and grave of Sen no Rikyu, the famous founder of the Japanese Tea Ceremony. At Sakai Risho No Mori (Sakai Plaza of Rikyu and Akiko), you can experience the tea-ceremony where could be felt Sen no Rikyu hospitality and it has exhibition about the life of romantic poet Akiko Yosano. You can also get a feeling for the region's history by visiting a gunsmithery or Xavier Park.
A town full of museums
Another recommended feature of Sakai is the town's many museums. At the Sakai City Traditional Crafts Museum, you can see masterpiece blades displayed along with explanations of their history and how they were made.There are traditional industry in Sakai city such as kelp, incense, light cotton kimonos (both plain and dyed).And at the Conpeito Petit Museum, you can make your own "conpeito", otherwise known as Western confectionary.
Larger-than-life burial mounds and ruins
Daisenryo kofun (Emperor Nintoku's tomb) is a keyhole-shaped mound with a total area of 464,123 square meters, which makes it the biggest in the world. You can get a feel for it's epic size from the Sakai City Hall Observatory Lobby at 21-floor. In another record-breaking sight, Japan's largest set of village ruins from the Yayoi period was excavated at the Historic Park of Ikegami-Stone Ruins. Next to it in the Osaka Prefectural Museum of Yayoi Culture, 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, which is home to a pine forest of 5,500 trees, an ocean swimming area, a pool and a rose garden, is packed with fun for the whole family. The trolley running from Osaka City to the park is a wonderful way to experience Osaka from days gone by. And every year on July 31st, the 700-year-old Sakai Ouo yoichi event, which features a fish auction, is held at Ohama Park. At the former Sakai Port nearby, you can also see the formerly Sakai Lighthouse, which is the oldest wooden lighthouse in existence in Japan.