Osaka’s Expo Commemoration Park showcases the city’s cultural richness and gardening prowess. Walk through its glorious Japanese-style gardens, watch local sporting matches and browse interesting exhibits devoted to art and human history.
This park was built for the 1970s World’s Fair, which was the first time the famous global trading exposition was held in Japan. Covering around 642 acres (260 hectares), it features some of the city's most beautiful landscapes.
Make your way to the center of the park to the Tower of the Sun, a red-and-white structure adorned with three separate faces. This monument, designed by Taro Okamoto, was the symbol of the 1970 expo.
Meander through the Natural and Cultural Gardens, where forests and grass fields exhibit the kind of harmonious landscaping typical of the Shōwa period. Spread out a picnic on the vast lawns and admire views of the pond, flower arrangements and forest areas, which contain an estimated 470,000 trees. Arrange your trip for February when the plum trees are in mauve bloom or go in April to witness the majestic pink cherry blossoms.
Stop by the National Museum of Ethnology and see collections of artifacts from every ethnic group. Exhibits here include films, still images, recordings and tools from throughout Japanese, African, European and Oceanic history. Nearby, the Japanese Folk Crafts Museum counts ceramic wares and dyed fabrics among its collection.
Find the Osaka '70 Expo Stadium in the northeast corner of the park. This 21,000-capacity arena now hosts soccer matches and cultural events. Elsewhere in the park lie the abandoned remnants of Expoland, an amusement park that was shut down in 2007. Though entry here is forbidden, its forlorn aesthetic makes it an excellent subject for photographs.
Hone your tennis or soccer skills at the park’s sporting facilities. Afterward, rid yourself of any residual tension at the park's hot spring facility.
The Expo Commemoration Park is located in northern Osaka, 10 miles (16 kilometers) from Umeda. Ride the subway here or drive and use the on-site parking. The park is open daily and an admission fee is required to enter.