The Expo Memorial Park spans some 264 hectares and offers wide open lawns, Japanese gardens, museums and more. Millions first gathered here for the World Expo in 1970, and many still come to the park today.
From JR Osaka or Umeda Station, take the Midosuji Subway line to Senri-Chuo Station. Then transfer to the Osaka Monorail, riding two stops to Banpaku-Kinen-Koen Station. You will arrive in front of the park.
You can walk to the park from Senri-Chuo Station. Just follow the main road and you will reach the park entrance. It isn't the most scenic of routes, however, so the Osaka Monorail is your best bet.
In 1970, Japan was rebounding fast from its postwar past. As with the 1964 Olympics, the country invested in showing off its economic success, presenting its first World's Fair (World Expo) on the northern end of Osaka's greater metropolitan area.
The expo itself was one of the best attended in history, with 64 million visitors over six months. To commemorate the event, the city preserved the grounds, transforming the area into a massive park. Some of the artifacts from the expo still remain, including the Tower of the Sun, a huge sculpture that has become an unofficial symbol for the city.
Created by Japanese artist Taro Okamoto for the World's Fair in 1970, the Tower of the Sun soars over the trees that surround it. It featured in the world-famous anime Naruto.
Located within the park grounds, the National Museum of Ethnology is home to 70 researchers and boasts one of the largest reference libraries in Japan. Visit the facilities to learn about Japan's ancient origins starting with the Jomon period, which dates back as far as 14,000 B.C.
There are also exhibits on cultures from across the globe, along with traveling exhibits that change periodically. Exhibits are well-translated, proving educational and fascinating for both Japanese and overseas visitors.
The newly developed LaLaport Expocity provides a slice of modern entertainment within the park. Among its attractions are an IMAX theater, an aquarium and entertainment facility produced by Sega in collaboration with the UK's BBC EARTH.
Expo Memorial Park makes for a great half- or full-day trip. The park really comes to life in spring when countless cherry trees bloom, creating an endless expanse of pink hues. Even so, Expo Memorial Park can be enjoyed in any season, and the numerous facilities cater to every type of traveler. You can rent bikes to get around.