As one of Japan’s biggest metropolitan cities, Osaka has no shortage of luxury accommodation, dining and attractions. Nicknamed Tenka no Daidokoro (the nation’s kitchen), the city is home to some of the country’s best fine dining restaurants, with more than 90 restaurants awarded Michelin Stars in 2017 — 23 of which hold two or more.
Osaka is home to The Ritz-Carlton, the St. Regis and The Westin. The Premium Residential Suites at the InterContinental Osaka offer contemporary outdoor living spaces, complete with sun lounges, plantar boxes and floor-to-ceiling glass windows with panoramic views of the city.
Mido-suji is the Japanese equivalent of the Champs-Elysees or Singapore’s Orchard Road; a 44-metre wide boulevard lined with more than 900 gingko trees and home to brands such as Tiffany & Co., Cartier and Louis Vuitton. The beautiful golden leaves in Autumn and fairy lights in winter make this street worth a visit at all times of the year. After a long day of shopping, head to three-star Michelin eatery Fujiya 1935, which is one of the world’s top 50 restaurants. Here they serve a seasonal menu of contemporary Spanish cuisine, and the chefs bring the meal directly to your table. For something more local, three Michelin star restaurant Koryu sources seasonal ingredients from the local markets. Be sure to book in advance, however, as Koryu only seats ten diners at a time.
The 355-square-metre IRIDIUM spa at the St. Regis offers the best in western-style spa luxury, but for a quintessentially Japanese spa experience head to the onsens in the nearby mountains. These traditional hot spring baths are famous for their therapeutic benefits, and welcome both locals and tourists. Arima Onsen is an onsen town approximately an hour by train from Osaka Station. In Arima, visitors can also witness traditional geiko (geisha) perform.
For a regional accommodation alternative, luxury hotel Amanemu is situated three hours away in the hills overlooking Ago Bay, also known as the Bay of Pearls. The resort’s 24 suites and four villas form a contemporary interpretation of traditional Japanese minka homes. The 3,940-square-foot two-bedroom Nagi villa offers the best in Japanese simplicity, with clean, open spaces and panoramic views of the water. The region is certainly worth a visit, even if only to witness the traditional Ama (female free divers) foraging for pearls without the aid of oxygen tanks. Ise Grand Shrine and the UNESCO World Heritage Kumano Kodo pilgrimage trails are also not far away.