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In 794, the capital of Japan was moved to Heian-kyo (Kyoto).

The period that followed, called the Heian Period, saw the construction of numerous fine temples around the Kyoto and Osaka areas, while arts, crafts and women's literature (such as A Tale of Genji) flourished.

He built the Naniwanomiya Palace, which is considered to be the oldest palace in Japan.

Even though the national government later moved to Nagaoka-kyo (Kyoto), then Heijo-kyo (the city of Nara), then Heian-kyo (Kyoto), then Kamakura, and finally to Edo (Tokyo), Osaka has continued to serve as a sub-capital, and to play a crucial role as a major gateway for foreign culture and trade.

It became known as "Japan's kitchen" because essential goods including rice, the staple food of the East, were sent to Osaka from all over Japan for shipment to other parts of the country, and also to international destinations.