Osaka has always been a merchant city, and known for its good food, especially local favorites okonomiyaki and tako-yaki. The people of Osaka love to eat and drink, and have an expression along the lines of "Eat until you burst!"  In contrast to the formality of the samurai classes of Tokyo, the merchants of Osaka are considered to be more down-to-earth and friendly, which is reflected in the local dialect, called Osaka-ben.  The rivalry between the two cities is played out between their Japanese pro baseball teams, Osaka's Hanshin Tigers and Tokyo's Yomiuri Giants.

Osaka, along with Japan, considers itself a stand-alone society with a culture unlike that of any other. Even after the centuries-long infiltration of China's societal mores, affirmation of uniquely Japanese culture was reclaimed in the 18th and 19th centuries. 

Morality is guided more by "situational ethics" than by broad, general assumptions of right and wrong, as is common in western cultures. Honor, obligation, and duty are high on the Japanese priority list and, traditionally, shame is seen as a more effective motivator of behavior than guilt.

Interdependence and social obligation are highly valued and instilled in the collective mind from earliest childhood, thus individuality is looked down upon as selfish. Many Japanese, upon relocating, have difficulty adjusting to the individualistic mindsets of other countries.

Because of these standards within the Japanese culture, the rate of suicides is high. In fact, suicide is considered an act of honor, performed as penitence for shortcomings. Tragically, The Perfect Suicide Manual is a book that has been on Japan's bestseller list for over five years.

Religion plays a large part in the culture of Japan as well. Ancestor-worship is based on the belief that the dead still affect the living, but there is also an element of fear of their dead and retribution by them.