The Futuristic World of Virtual Osaka☆
Written by: リナ（rina）
● What is Virtual Osaka?
Metaverse is attracting much attention in the midst of the coronavirus crisis that has limited face-to-face interactions. A 3D fantasy world created in a virtual realty space like the Internet, games, etc., metaverse is a virtual world where an avatar, the user’s persona, enjoys various content.
Just last year, Facebook drew attention when it changed its name to Meta, and the metaverse market is growing across the globe.
In Japan, Osaka Prefecture and Osaka City recently introduced a city-linked metaverse, Virtual Osaka.
With the World Expo 2025 scheduled to be held in Osaka and Kansai, Virtual Osaka was created to showcase Osaka to the world. A few months after its soft opening in December 2021, Virtual Osaka officially launched on February 28, 2022. Through various devices at home or elsewhere, you can meet and communicate with people across the globe and enjoy live music virtually.
The virtual world of Osaka is now open to all, no matter where you are! Shall we explore the “New Cities” of Osaka?
● Exploring “Shin-Shigai - New Cities” with Avatar
It’s super easy to visit Virtual Osaka. Go to the official website and simply install the Cluster app–it’s a metaverse platform–on your device to create a free account. Once in, choose your avatar from the two available in the app’s initial setting and enter the world of Virtual Osaka!
First thing you notice is the giant Tower of the Sun! Created by a Japanese artist, Taro Okamoto, for Expo 1970 Osaka, it is a shining symbol of Osaka. Even the design of the avatar’s outfit matches the motif of the Tower of the Sun.
Spots that sort of look like waterfalls are where you can warp to different places, including Tokyo’s Virtual Shibuya, in a flash!
Moving the avatar, jumping, etc. is easy, just like a video game. The app provides helpful instructions if needed.
Let’s warp to “Shin-Shigai – New Cities”, the virtual reality Osaka!
The scenery changed dramatically, and we are now in a space surrounded by Osaka’s landmarks like Dotonbori and Osaka Castle. It’s all familiar sights, but they look a little different in the virtual world. Look, I’m in virtual Dotonbori! Whoa. Unique signs are elaborate and realistic.
The view from the Ebisubashi Bridge here looks exactly like the view from the Ebisubashi Bridge in the real world, with the Dotonbori River flowing through beneath the bridge.
Diving into the river is not allowed in the real world, but I thought I’d try it in the virtual world…
And a warning sign appeared; “No Diving Virtually, too!” My avatar was placed back on the bridge. I guess I will not try that again… lol
At Osaka Castle, Umeda Sky Building, and Kaiyukan Aquarium, you can take pictures and run around the play structures. You can definitely explore and enjoy yourself♪
▼ Watch a video on exploring Virtual Osaka!
● Create Your Original Avatar and Make New Friends
We used the simple avatar that was already available to enter Virtual Osaka, but you CAN create your own free avatar by using cluster’s functions. Select the face, hair, etc. to make your own avatar and unveil your creation in Virtual Osaka!
You can easily chat with other avatars you meet in Virtual Osaka. It took a bit of courage but I tried it! And you can also send a friend request and register as friends when you meet someone you like.
You have an infinite possibility of friends in the virtual world. Expand your world by making friends!
I took a picture with my new friend, with the Glico Man neon☆
● Looking Towards the Future - Expo 2025
Plans to expand the fun experience in Virtual Osaka are under way; in the future, you will be able to shop in a virtual shotengai shopping street and receive goods in real life, attend a live music event, and more. I attended a virtual live music event the other day and I enjoyed it as if I had gone to a live concert. I had glow sticks and cheered just like I would in real life♪
Updates are made constantly to Virtual Osaka, offering a true digital entertainment content for Osaka.
If you’re unable to come to Osaka right now because of Covid, you can still visit Virtual Osaka.
Be on the lookout for various events and experience Osaka virtually‼
And, by the time the Expo 2025 begins, I hope we can all enjoy Osaka in real life.
▼ Visit Virtual Osaka official website
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