For location.Obvioulsy I like Osaka.The center of Japan.Kyoto 30 mins away.Nara about the same.Both achient capitals.Kobe 20mins to the south.West Japan(Hiroshima,Kyushu etc...) in one direction and East/Central Japan(Nagoya,Nagano,Tokyo...ect) in the other.For us down here in Osaka,Only the Tohoku and Hokkaido regions seem to be distant and removed from our percections on what is near and close.
For the urban expericence.Osaka has the same urban craziness as Tokyo,just as intense but in two cites only,Umeda and Namba.Umeda isnt as a big as most of the areas of Tokyo.Namba is huge.Bigger than Shibuya but a little smaller than Shinjiku.Both cities come out as equals as an urban exprience if you are in the right area.Tokyo is never ending while Osaka is concentrated in some areas.Tokyo would easily be the winner here.It has about 8 cities that would compare to Osaka's two.
For size.Tokyo wins hands down.32 million against about 14 million.No comparison.
For the people.Osaka for sure.Friendly and very chatty.They love to have you around to their house to eat and get drunk.
I' ve lived in Tokyo and Osaka Area (Kobe) both. Hard choice but I voted for Osaka this time.
Osaka Area offers little more diversity to me (with Kobe, Kyoto, Nara and surrouding mountains) than Tokyo although Tokyo is much bigger and trendier.
I usually vote the underdog, so I'll vote Osaka, for many of the same reasons mentioned earlier...friendlier, but gritty and with an amazing urban experience. I went into a bad neighborhood once in Osaka--and it was the ONLY time in Japan I ever felt like it was dangerous (Sorry, I don't remember where it was). But Osaka was also the only city I camped in. On one visit, I missed my train to Koya-san, so I went to Amerikkka-mura and hung out, finally grabbing some cardboard and catching some winks on a side street. What a great night that was...
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