Chuo is Osaka's main financial district and is widely considered to be the heart of the city. It's home to two of Osaka's biggest attractions – Osaka Castle and Shinsaibashi – along with the business headquarters of dozens of Japanese companies.
The Chuo cityscape is predominantly built from medium to high-rise blocks, the majority of them a mix of residential and commercial units. Many hotels are situated here, from small local operations to international names.
Bustling Shinsaibashi is Osaka's main shopping district, located in the west of Chuo ward. Completely covered and filled with thousands of boutiques and stores is Shinsaibashi-suji, the city's pre-eminent shopping street. Just south of Shinsaibashi is Namba, the centre of Minami, the colloquially named south area of Osaka that serves as the city's entertainment hub. Known as the Champ Elysée of the East, Mido-suji runs through Namba and Shinsaibashi, linking Chuo with Kita Ward to the north.
Fortress moats and green parks fill northeastern Chuo, where the historic Osaka Castle is located. 13 landmarks fill the grounds, rising towards the castle which is one of the most famous symbols of Japan. Osaka Museum of History is adjacent to Osaka Castle and the two are usually visited together.
Five Osaka Subway lines connect in Chuo, providing easy transport connections to destinations across the city. Namba and Shinsaibashi stations have express connections to Osaka Station and a range of destinations across Osaka and Kyoto.
Like many great fortresses, Osaka Castle has been destroyed and rebuilt countless times during its history. The destructive forces have included the feudal lord Tokugawa Leyasu, a gunpowder warehouse exploding in 1660, a civil rebellion in 1868, and allied bombing raids during WWII.