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Things to do in Osaka

Find the fairway at a top golf course

Golf in Japan is serious business, with hundreds of top-class courses and even more practice nets. Osaka doesn't buck the trend and has rooftop nets dotted across the city. Golfers after a greener round can enjoy 18-holes at the Ibaraki Country Club (www.ibarakicc.com), just 20 minutes away on the Hankyu line. 

Hope for a home run at a Hanshin Tigers game

Baseball is one of the most popular sports in the country and Japanese fans are as fervent as their American counterparts. Whilst in Osaka, make the Hanshin Tigers (http://hanshintigers.jp) your team. The season runs from March to October and games at the Hanshin Koshien stadium (www.hanshin.co.jp/koshien/global/en) regularly sell out, so book in advance.

Pull on your boots and hike an ancient pilgrimage trail

Not that you would guess from central Osaka, but the surrounding landscapes that flank the city boast some superb hikes. Minoo Park is only 30 minutes north and its gentle trails are popular with locals. For a more challenging hike, try tackling Mount Koya's ancient pilgramage trail, Koyasan Choishi Michi.

Strap on some skis and hit the slopes

Snow lovers in Osaka will find themselves ideally placed to hit local slopes. Hyogo has 15 resorts, and as it's only an hours drive west of Osaka it makes for an easy day trip. Shiga, north west of the city, is a slightly longer drive but brims with 21 resorts of powdery snow.

Unwind how you wish with a day at the beach

A trip to the beach is a great way to escape the hectic pace of the city. Nishikinohama Beach Park, 30 minutes south of Osaka by train, is well equipped for all tastes. Swimmers will find this a lively spot, whilst sporty types can enjoy beach volleyball and thrill-seekers, jet skis.

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Toyoko Inn Shin-Osaka Chuo-guchi Honkan

Part of the excellent-value business hotel chain, this Toyoko Inn is just five minutes from the Shinkansen station and makes a solid choice for a cheap hotel in Osaka. The Toyoko Inn has good facilities such as free Wi-Fi, coin-operated laundry facilities, and a free breakfast buffet.

Hilton Osaka Hotel

With its excellent location just outside JR Osaka Station, the Hilton Osaka offers convenience as well as luxury to its guests. There are four restaurants serving a variety of international cuisines, including Windows on the World, which boasts great views of the city from the 35th floor and live music every evening. The hotel has a business centre, a beauty salon, swimming pool and fitness room.

Imperial Hotel Osaka

This opulent hotel is in a pleasant location overlooking the Okawa River in the north of Osaka, and is just as luxurious as its famous Tokyo cousin. Purified air is pumped into the rooms, the service is extremely attentive and there's also a golf driving range. The Imperial Hotel's elegant in-house restaurants serve French, Chinese and a range of Japanese cuisines, including teppanyaki and sushi.

Hotel Nikko Osaka

Hotel Nikko Osaka is a top-class hotel in Osaka, close to the main nightlife and shopping arcades of the Minami area. The spacious rooms are supremely comfortable and decorated in a sleek, modern style, with the upper floors offering views of Mt Ikoma. There's a good range of restaurants, including three offering breakfast. There's also a business centre in the hotel.

Swissôtel Nankai Osaka

Swissôtel Nankai Osaka is located in the heart of Namba, above the Nankai train station, which makes it extremely convenient for direct access to Kansai International Airport. The rooms are modestly decorated and have great views over southern Osaka. There are also seven restaurants, bars, a gym, spa and indoor swimming pool.

Cross Hotel Osaka

This surprisingly stylish business hotel is just minutes away from the Minami shopping and nightlife scene. The decently sized rooms are decorated in modern colour schemes and include internet access. There's also a Japanese restaurant and a bar.