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Pocket Guide: Sakai

Located on the coast to the south of Osaka, between the city and Kansai International Airport, the suburb of Sakai – or the Senboku area, as it’s also known – is renowned for its historical sites, museums and traditional crafts. So if you’re eager to see a different side of Japan than you might get in the ultra-modern centre of Osaka, choosing a Sakai hotel could be a great option.

Find a Hotel in Sakai

Accommodation in Sakai is mainly mid-range, with some cheaper options including hostels and guesthouses, so you’ll be well catered for if you’re travelling on a budget.

Sightseeing from Your Sakai Hotel

Wherever you’re staying in Sakai, the awe-inspiring tomb of Emperor Nintoku will probably be high up on your must-see list. The enormous keyhole-shaped burial mound is the largest of its kind in the world. As well as taking an hour-long stroll around the tomb and its moats, you can take a trip to the Observatory Lobby on the top floor of the nearby Sakai City Hall to appreciate the tomb’s huge scale from above. Also worth a visit is Nanshuji Temple, said to be where the founding masters of the famous Japanese tea ceremony trained.

Discover Local Crafts in Sakai

It’s easy to explore the rich trading history of the port of Sakai, as many of the small businesses that continue the town’s traditional craft techniques have been designated as museums or open studios, so you can see the makers in action and even have a go yourself. Over twenty workshops across the city welcome visitors, just look for the ‘Sakai Tumaki’ signs (you may need to book a visit), and you’ll be able to see Sakai’s renowned makers of blades, incense, hand-woven carpets, kimonos and bicycles in action.

Lighthouses, Streetcars and Public Parks: Sakai Waterfront

No trip to Sakai would be complete without taking in some of the waterside sights. Visit the wooden Old Sakai Lighthouse which has been standing proud on the edge of Osaka Bay since 1877. Or catch the historic streetcar to Hamadera Park for a stroll through the manicured grounds or a dip in the swimming pool.