Sakai is an ancient city. It is the location of the world's largest tumulus, the mausoleum of Emperor Nintoku, which was constructed in the 5th Century. Sakai prospered as a trading port until the Tokugawa Shogunate sealed Japan from the rest of the world in the 17th Century. An important contribution to Japan's cultural heritage was made by Sen-no-Rikyu of Sakai who perfected the traditional Japanese Tea Ceremony. In October the people of Sakai honor their historic past with the Sakai Matsuri, a two-day Festival.
Sakai, located on the Inland Sea, is in Osaka Prefecture. It is a rapidly growing industrial city with a population of over 700,000. An immense littoral industrial zone of over 3,700 acres was created within this long standing major port. Seventy large companies operate plants there, including steel mills, shipbuilding yards, petrochemical plants, non-ferrous smelters, and machinery plants. To meet the needs of its growing populace, Sakai is constructing Semboku Newtown, a residential community which will accommodate 200,000 people. The University of Osaka Prefecture in Sakai enrolls 4,000 students and specializes in Engineering, Economics and Agriculture.