Nature & Culture of Japan

To make your trip to Japan more interesting


Origin of the place name of Osaka

The place name of Osaka, which is the second largest city in Japan, is not derived from the Chinese words, but is surely based on a name unique to Japan. This is unlike the cases of Tokyo and Kyoto. The pronunciation in Chinese Mandarin “Daban” and in Japanese “Osaka” are completely different.

Osaka is one of Japan’s most widespread cities with flat land, but there is no ”big” slope as the original meaning of the Chinese characters. Many Japanese people think that the origin of the place name in Osaka is derived from the Japanese word “O”, which means both “many” as well as “big”.

Even though Osaka is a flat city, there is a hill called Uemachi Plateau in the middle of the city, and many streets with slopes are known around it. However, compared to other cities, it is unlikely that it will emphasize the slopes that can be climbed by such a bicycle.

Below is my personal opinion, but I think “Sa” has a meaning of God, “Ka” has a meaning of whereabouts, and “O” is just a prefix attached to God. In fact, Ikutama Shrine used to be in the current location of Osaka Castle, and I think it is a place name based on this.

There are many books about the consideration of place names in Japan, but there is no theory that mentions them. But I personally think that this theory will become the established theory in the future.


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