Osaka is the central city of West Japan with a population of 2.6 million and 16.5 million in the area. In the Edo Period (1603-1867), it was the distribution center for products from around the country and from Meiji (1868-1913) onward, it developed as the center of the Japanese economy with the wholesale trade. Shinsaibashi is one of the best downtown areas in the city, possessing a wide array of shops. Osaka's north gate, Umeda, has a gigantic stretch of underground mall that houses many restaurants, fashion and sundry goods stores. In contrast to Kita with Umeda as its core, Minami is an area with core cities Namba, a popular business and shopping district, and Dotonbori with many restaurants on both sides of Dotonbori-gawa River. Minami is known as a town of public entertainment and has many theaters and cinemas. Osaka's unique open culture can be experienced here. Osaka's Castle, constructed in 1583, is one of Osaka's representative sightseeing spots. The Osaka Castle has a five-layer donjon as its core, on a lawn park that stretches for about 60,000 square meters. During the cherry blossom season in the spring, this park is especially crowded with hanami (cherry blossom viewing).