Osaka does have culture, and not just manzai comedy, bunraku puppet theater, and its overrated cuisine.
The National Museum of Art (NMOA), for example, is an amazing cultural center - and building - that houses its galleries underground.
To approach the museum is to come upon an extra terrestrial structure smack in the middle of a banal cityscape.
NMOA opened in 1977, and was later redesigned by Cesar Pelli. The Argentine architect's work opened in 2004.
The striking exterior pictured above right was the work of Yoshio Hayakawa, and is said to represent an image of the museum reaching towards the sky.
You enter and then are directed to ride an escalator down to the lobby. This is where tickets are sold; there are also lockers and the requisite museum store.
Once you have your ticket and enter, you continue down. You ride several escalators down to the galleries in Level 3. From there you work your way back up.
Next door is the Osaka Science Museum.
A short walk from Watanabe bashi Station on the Keihan Line. A 10 - 15 minute walk from City Hall, at Yodoyabashi.
Open 10 - 5 pm (last entry at 4:30), closed Mondays and national holidays
Tel: 06 6447 4680
Fees: 420 yen (separate charge for special exhibitions)
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