SWEAT OR WATCH SPORTS
Sport lovers, welcome to paradise!
With world-class facilities for a wide range of sports and an endless series of matches and games each year, Osaka has much to offer sports lovers.
In fact, the city is so committed to being a genuine sports destination, that active steps are taken to make sure there are facilities catering for top athletes as well as citizens of all ages and abilities. For this reason, the city has constructed myriad sports facilities, from sports clubs to stadiums to parks to fields. So whether you're looking to catch a game of football in a World Cup stadium, go running along a picturesque river, or just get in a few laps in the pool before lunch, it's guaranteed you'll find what you need here.
Those serious about swimming laps will find everything they need at Osaka Pool, which has a 50-meter official competition pool, a 25-meter pool and an official diving pool all under one roof. Great swimming can also be had at pools in Tsurumiryokuchi Park and in the Namihaya Dome. And water lovers wanting something a bit different can try a seaside swim at the Nanko Swimming Resort.
As a relatively flat city punctuated by wonderful sights, Osaka is the perfect place to explore on two wheels. And if you want a clean route with few interruptions, there's a road in Northern Osaka that's devoted to cycling. A short 4.4 km course will take you from the north edge of Tenjimbashi Bridge, along the Okawa River to the east and over Temmabashi Bridge to Kemabashi Bridge. Or, for a longer stretch, continue along the Yodogawa Riverbank to Torikai-Ohashi Bridge for a total ride of 12.5 km.
A wide variety of beautifully manicured parks that change with the seasons makes Osaka a runner's paradise. Routes in Nagai Park and Osaka Castle Park are popular with joggers, as are the many picturesque river banks lined with cherry trees that explode into pink during spring.
Osaka is the birthplace of aikido and the city continues to foster its rich tradition in a variety martial arts. Ancient disciplines such as judo, kendo, naginata and karate are still practiced today in schools (dojo) across the city. New students are welcome to drop into classes at almost any dojo, with a popular option being Osaka Shudokan, located just outside the Otemon Gate in Osaka Castle.
Golf, boating, water-skiing, hiking...just about any sport you're interested in can be found in Osaka. In addition to the numerous baseball fields, sporting grounds, tennis courts, and pools in the city, sports facilities at most of the municipal schools are also available for public use. And community sports centers, featuring heated pools and training facilities, are being developed for each of the 24 wards.
Osaka Welcomes Sports Competitors from All Over the World
As an international sports city, Osaka welcomes athletes from all over the globe to compete in it's world-class facilities. Many events are held here on a regular basis.
FIFA World Cup Soccer
In 2002, Osaka's Nagai Stadium was used in the FIFA World Cup co-hosted by Korea and Japan. Located 10 km from the center of the city, it boasts a 9.3m x 24.8m projection screen, which is the largest in Japan. Today, the stadium is usually home to the Cerezo Osaka J-League team.
Osaka International Ladies Marathon
Held every January, this event draws many world famous participants. The marathon starts from Nagai Stadium, passes through Osaka Castle and goes to the Nakanoshima area, heads southwards from Osaka City Hall to Shinsaibashi and then turns around and goes back to Nagai Stadium.
World Super Junior Tennis Championships
The Osaka Mayor's Cup World Super Junior Tennis Championships are held at the Utsubo Tennis Center's newly-built center court with a gallery of 5,000 seats. These championships are famous internationally, and often mark the starting point of a successful career for young tennis players.
2003 World Judo Championships
In September 2003, the World Judo Championships were held at Osaka-jo Hall, adjacent to Osaka Castle. Approximately 640 athletes from 80 countries and regions participated in the event, which was watched by students from close to 7,000 municipal schools around the world. Various cultural activities were also organized for those present in Japan. Osaka looks forward to its next opportunity to host such an event.
2007 World Championship in Athletics
In the summer of 2007 Osaka hosted the IAAF World Championship in Athletics at Nagai Stadium. The stadium, which holds an IAAF Grand Prix event each year, and has ideal facilities for a competition of this scale. The Championship is expected drew some 2000 athletes from 210 countries, as well as tens of thousands of spectators.