Summit Venue 01 Flourishing from ancient times as Japan’s center of commerce and trade
Osaka attracted over 11 million international visitors in 2017. Osaka has drawn international attention as the economic, cultural and transportation hub of western Japan and the central city of the nation’s second largest economic region “Kinki”. The origin of current Osaka dates back to ancient times. The prosperous Naniwa Harbor (the former name of Osaka Harbor) served as a gateway to continental Asia for trade and diplomacy. The nation’s capital named “Naniwanomiya” (7th century) was the political center established in current Osaka and attracted many people. Osaka has continued to grow and prosper as a key urban center even as the nation’s political center shifted to Kyoto, Kamakura and then Edo (Tokyo). Savvy use of the region’s bountiful waterways and ports made Osaka indispensable to the logistics supporting the nation’s economy. Recognizing Osaka’s geographical advantage from early on, Hideyoshi Toyotomi (a samurai ruler known as one of the “great unifiers” during the Warring States period (c. end of 15century-end of 16century)) built Osaka Castle in 1583, and developed Osaka as a metropolis.
During the Edo period (1603-1868), Osaka bloomed as the logistical and commercial center of Japan and began to be referred to as “Nation’s Kitchen”. The Nakanoshima area, which became the heart of the city, still offers lovely riverside scenery, while the Senba area boasts nostalgic modern architecture dating from the early 1900s. Today, Osaka continues to thrive as a merchant city, and the Kinki region including Osaka has underpinned Japan’s economic growth, accounting for approximately 15% of its GDP.
At the same time, Osaka has preserved its traditions and vital history. A group of “Kofun” - tumuli - created around the 5th century still remains in the south part of Osaka. The Japanese Government is seeking the designation of the ancient tumuli cluster “Mozu-Furuichi Kofungun”, including “Nintoku-tenno-ryo Kofun (Emperor Nintoku’s tomb)” - Japan’s largest keyhole-shaped tomb mound, as UNESCO World Heritage Site.