Strategy 2: Strengthening Osaka's ability to attract people by increasing its urban appeal
Boosting urban appeal with tourism measures
Promoting "Water" and "Light" in urban development
The public and private sectors are pursuing waterfront urban development opportunities that promote the growth of Osaka's identity, "City of Water", as the pillar of the city's tourism and urban appeal. Currently, collaborative efforts are turned towards revitalizing waterways transportation and incorporating boats in the bustling waterfront landscapes.
Festival of Lights in Osaka
To attract tourists and private investors local and abroad; the OSAKA Hikari-Renaissance (*1) and the Midosuji Boulevard Illumination (*2) are acting as the core events in a public-private consolidated effort with the private sector's local programs to present the Festival of Lights in Osaka.
(*1) OSAKA Hikari-Renaissance: A variety of light-themed attractions based around the illuminations of the Nakanoshima Park area.
(*2) Midosuji Boulevard Illumination: Illumination installations aimed at a fresh appeal and brand image across a 4 kilometer section of Osaka's symbolic street, Midosuji Boulevard.
Transforming the Osaka Castle Area into a tourism hub
Various programs are pursued to further enhance the appeal of the Osaka Castle Park Area and ultimately transforming it into a tourism hub. These include introduction of a privately operated park management organization (PMO*) responsible for administration and operation of the park; as well as implementation of the facility dedicated to excavation and exhibition of the original Osaka Castle stone wall constructed by Toyotomi Hideyoshi (the Toyotomi Hideyoshi Ishigaki Stone Wall Project).
*PMO: Stands for Park Management Organization, referring to a private entity responsible for administration of the park and implementation of new public relations appeal programs.
Revitalizing Midosuji Boulevard
Traffic lanes of Midosuji Boulevard are closed to create a pedestrian-only zone for an array of events to demonstrate further vitality of Osaka's symbolic street to audiences local and abroad.
Boosting Tennoji Park and Zoo appeal
To enhance the Tennoji Park and Abeno Area’s ability to attract visitors, as well as to promote the region's brand image, the City of Osaka is introducing measures including placing the park's entrance and other areas under private management; and entrusting the redevelopment of the zoo gate area and other food & retail services at the facility to select private businesses.
Improving Osaka/Umeda Station area signage
The Osaka Station and Umeda Station area is home to sightseeing destinations and major transport nodes that are traversed by large numbers of travelers. Unfortunately the current absence of signage standardization & continuity in the area is compounding on a pre-existing challenge of complex layout and confusing major corridors. To combat the issue, the City of Osaka will be coordinating with local businesses to unify signage design language and provide a pleasant experience for the rapidly growing number of visitors.
Improving tourist hospitality
To accommodate the large numbers of sightseeing buses arriving in the Minami Area, traffic guiding staff are assigned to tour bus boarding spaces at Nipponbashi to facilitating smoother transitions and providing guidance towards nearby parking spaces. The City of Osaka is also broadening the scope of benefitting tourists by outsourcing the bus parking area operations to private businesses chosen through an open bidding process.
Boosting urban appeal with cultural measures
New art museum project
Taking advantage of the city's prestigious artwork collection, the new art museum is scheduled for a 2021 opening, when it will demonstrate an allure unfamiliar to the works exhibited in the Osaka City Museum of Fine Arts and the Museum of Oriental Ceramics, Osaka .
The new facility will contribute to revitalizing and boosting the city’s urban appeal from the historically and culturally rich Nakanoshima.
Coordination with partnered private businesses and existing facilities is also underway to organize exhibitions for the city’s proud collection of modern and contemporary art.
Boosting the Osaka City Museum of Fine Arts' appeal
Home to an extensive collection of priceless artworks and housed in a building designated as Tangible Cultural Property by the Japanese government, the Osaka City Museum of Fine Arts is one of Japan's leading museums and a core facility of the Tennoji/Abeno Area.
In order to fortify the museum's future viability as a major tourist destination, a series of maintenance and functional improvements will prove to be vital before realizing the status as a modernized facility. To that end, the City of Osaka is concurrently examining the optimal methods for a large-scale renovation project, simultaneous to our aforementioned plans for basic enhancements. Along with continuous restoration of the artistic cultural assets belonging to the people of Osaka, we strive to create new outlets to increase the exposure of these collections, and in turn advancing the museum's tourist hub functionality to a new level.
Osaka Traditional Performing Arts Revitalization Project
By stimulating cultural organizations' content creation, the City of Osaka is working to achieve a discovery anew for regional appeal and tourism resources that harmonize with Osaka's traditional performing arts, as well as to bridge the economic and artistic-cultural growth of Osaka.
Traditional performing art, Bunraku, Revitalization Project
Events are being arranged for the public to freely enjoy performances of classical performing arts such as Ningyo Johruri Bunraku (puppet theater), which has been designated an Important Intangible Cultural Properties by the Japanese government and an Intangible Cultural Heritage by UNESCO.
Youth culture & arts programs partnered with the city's wards
Artisans are dispatched to schools and other youth-targeted occasions to give performances and hold events such as hands-on workshops. By providing primary experience creating artworks and participating in other crafts activities related to their respective wards' characteristics, these programs imprint invaluable memories of culture & arts while cultivating a sense of love and pride for the areas these participants reside in.
100th anniversary commemoration of the Osaka City Central Public Hall opening
The Osaka City Central Public Hall , funded by donations from the late Einosuke Iwamoto in 1918, has contributed to Osaka's development as a cultural hub since its completion with hosted opera and concert performances, as well as other events such as talk shows by notable figures of respective fields. The hall, which has earned praise as a neo-renaissance-style historic architecture, reopened following a renovation in November 2002, and was designated an Important Cultural Property by the Japanese government in December later the same year.
Recognizing the key milestone of the facility's commemorative 100th anniversary in 2018, we are arranging opportunities to foster sentiments that connect residents with the living Important Cultural Property that has become a familiar element of their everyday lives.
Boosting Osaka's urban appeal through sports measures
Maishima Sports Revitalization Program
The Maishima Sports Promotion Program Council, consisting of professional sports teams based in Maishima (including the Osaka Evessa, the Orix Buffaloes, and the Cerezo Osaka) and other related organizations, is promoting sports and creating new sports-related industries. Including public relations of Maishima's appeal via its website and social media; orchestrating one-day sports workshops tied to the 150th anniversary of the Port of Osaka opening; camping programs; and providing volunteering opportunities.
Boasting over 32,000 runners traversing Osaka's notable sites, the Osaka Marathon is one of the largest urban marathon events in Japan. With the goal of building upon the marathon to involve the entire city in a "festival", the race is accompanied by a variety of related activities throughout the year to ensure that all visitors in mind could enjoy the celebratory occasion.
In addition, the event also aims to normalize a charity spirit by offering participants an opportunity to personally involve in charitable activities arranged for the event.
Beginning with the 9th Marathon in 2019, the course will be adjusted to include a central finish line to attract a wider range of participants.
Paving momentum towards the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020
Major sports tournaments and subsidiary activities are being organized to foster interest for the sports realm and pave momentum leading up to the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020.
In parallel, accommodations are also under way to ensure that those with special needs could also fully engage in these local sports events.
Major tournaments and awareness events
For fiscal year 2018, the Seiko Golden Grand Prix 2018 Osaka in May; the Osaka Castle Triathlon in June; and the HARUKAS SKYRUN 2018 in November are scheduled respectively with the goal of raising interest in sports.
Host town-related exchange programs
By registering with the national government as a participating host town and providing pre-games training camp facilities to Olympic teams, the City is also expanding its global presence through sports and international cultural exchanges with visiting athletes.
Country of registration: Australia
Date of registration: December 9, 2016
In February of fiscal year 2017, an exchange session was held (at the Nagai Sports Center for Persons with Disabilities) with Australian athletes participating in the 2018 International Women's Wheelchair Basketball Friendship Games Osaka Cup; and plans are under way to hold another host town exchange session in February of fiscal year 2018.
Preparing for the World Masters Games 2021 Kansai
Osaka has been chosen as a venue for the closing ceremony for the World Masters Games 2021 Kansai that will be held across the Kansai region in 2021. The success of the games will be essential for revitalizing the sports scene of the region, and boosting exposure of Osaka’s appeal through exchange opportunities.