Osaka, the second largest metropolitan area in Japan with a population of almost 2.6 million, is gourmets' delight and a baseball fan's dream. The city is only 30 to 60 minutes from Kyoto by train and is well worth a visit.
Osaka has a long history and is dotted with spots of historical interest. Shiten-no-ji Temple, Sumiyoshi Shrine and Osaka-jo Castle are just a few of many important sites. Highlights of Osaka include Bunraku (traditional puppet show) and Grand Kabuki performances, and a traditional Japanese artistic community. Osaka is also known for its almost overwhelming dominance in producing comedians (Manzai, a more contemporary form of stand-up comedy). What's more, Osaka is known for its culinary delights, as is evidenced by the expression "Eat 'til you drop in Osaka". Delicious restaurants offering great food at budget prices are abundant in Osaka.
As Osaka is located between Kyoto and KIX (Kansai International Airport), it is convenient as a side trip destination during a Kyoto visit. Another must see is Kobe with a population of 1.5 million, which is only 30 minutes from Osaka by train. The scenic seaport is very famous (one of the largest in Japan). Still further to the west (one hour by train) is the impressive Himeji-jo Castle (a World Heritage Site).
Osaka : http://www.osaka-info.jp/en/
Sakai : http://www.sakai-tcb.or.jp/english/