Osaka is a city in Japan that is located in the Kansai region, a region that has been referred to as the cultural heart of the country. It is the capital of the Osaka Prefecture, and it is also part of Japan’s second largest metropolitan area, Keihanshin, which boasts a population of over 19 million. As of 2016, the population of the city of Osaka was over 2 million.
Osaka City Area Size
Osaka has a 2016 population of 2.6 million spread across 221 square kilometers. It is located on the island of Honshu and is the capital of the Osaka Prefecture, which includes 42 other municipalities. The Osaka Prefecture is the second largest by area in the country, and it accounts for 7% of the nation’s population.
Metropolitan Area Size
The Kansai metropolitan area, which includes Osaka, has a total area of 27,350 and a population that exceeds 20 million, making it one of the largest metropolises in the world. The city of Osaka was first incorporated in 1889 and has become known as the food capital of the world and this port city has had a history of a flourishing economy in part due to trade and travel made possible by its sea and river routes.
Osaka Population Demographics
The city of Osaka has a population of over 2 million. However, the entire Osaka Prefecture which includes Osaka City and 42 municipalities has a total land area of 1,905 square kilometers and a population of over 8 million, accounting for 7% of Japan’s total population. The city is comprised of 24 wards, and the central area is divided into two sections: Kita to the north and Minami to the south. Kita is considered the retail and business hub of the downtown area, while Minami is known for arts and fashion. The west side is a bay area, while the east side is comprised mostly of residential neighborhoods.
Ten percent of non-Japanese residents live in Osaka. According to the official census of 2005, there were over 99,000 registered foreign residents in the city, composed of Koreans (71,015 residents) and Chinese residents (11,848.)
The average life expectancy in Osaka is 78.99 years for males and 85.93 years for females. The total fertility rate in 2013 was 1.32, which is one of the lowest in the country but showed a slight increase over the 1.31 tracked in 2012.
Osaka has a rich history dating back over 1400 years. As far back as the 5th century, Osaka was an economic and political center of Japan, mainly because of its access to sea and river routes for traders and travelers. Visitors from Korea, China and throughout Asia gained access to what is now the city of Osaka through the Naniwazu Port, which is currently the port of Osaka. Travelers to the area brought new technology in ceramics, construction and engineering. Travelers also brought Buddhism, which quickly spread throughout the area.
A series of civil wars led to the devastation of the area during the 14th century and conflicts continued over the years, leading to the destruction of the Ishiyama Honganji Temple and the later destruction of the Osaka Castle city. The city was later rebuilt from the ashes that remained from civil war and during the Edo Period from 1601 to 1867, became known as “Japan’s kitchen” because the port shipped essentials throughout the country and internationally. As Osaka became an economic hub, it also became known for its arts and culture.
In 1868, the city transformed from one known for trade and finance to a commercialized area, leading to the 19th century nickname “smoky city” because of its factory smokestacks. Osaka was officially incorporated in 1889 and has continued to thrive in terms of its culture and economy. Years following led to the first streetcar in Osaka, the hosting of the 5th National Industrial Exposition, and by 1925, Osaka was the largest city in Japan by both population and area.
Today, Osaka has a flourishing economy. The “Food Capital of Japan” is renowned for its varied, abundant and delicious cuisines, and the city has over 100 Michelin star-rated restaurants. The area is a popular destination for tourists, who partake in the delicious restaurants, shopping and visiting historic landmarks such as the Osaka Castle.
Osaka Population Growth
The population of Osaka has declined in recent years, and the declines have been attributed to residents moving from the city into the suburbs. In 1930, Osaka was the largest city in Japan, outnumbering Tokyo by over 400,000. The city saw a peak population of over 3.2 million in 1940.
Osaka, like other cities in Japan, is experiencing a decline in population. The 2015 census that tracks the period from 2010 to 2015 shows that Osaka’s decline was the city’s first in almost seven decades. The declines in both the city and the country as a whole have been attributed to historically low fertility rates and deaths that have outnumbered births by about 200,000 in recent years. Future forecasts show that the city will experience a decline in population over the next few years, hitting 2.05 million by the end of 2020, before declining further to less than 2 million in 2030.