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Osaka Complete Guide: Travel Tips, Dining, Shopping, And More

Osaka Complete Guide: Travel Tips, Dining, Shopping, And More

Osaka 2019.06.02 Bookmark

Osaka is a metropolis in Kansai, Western Japan, attracting travelers to major sightseeing spots like Universal Studios Japan, Osaka Castle, Dotonbori, and its other vibrant districts. Learn what to do in this city filled with attractions, shopping, and local food.

Translated by Lester Somera

Written by Mayu

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Osaka: A Major City and Destination in Western Japan

Osaka city

Picture courtesy of PIXTA

Osaka is the heart of Japan’s western Kansai region, located two and a half hours away on the shinkansen (bullet train) line from Tokyo. This multi-faceted city draws travelers to its varied areas, like the iconic Osaka Castle, Universal Studios Japan, and downtown neighborhoods of Namba and Dotonbori.

Visitors can enjoy a trip filled with cultural experiences, shopping, and unique cuisine in Osaka. Continue reading to discover must-visit places, things to do, see, and eat. This article also covers transportation tips and advice on making your trip a memorable one.

Table of Contents

1. Osaka Area Guide
2. 40 Places You Should See in Osaka
3. Osaka Shopping Spots
4. Osaka Dining and Souvenirs
5. Events in Osaka
6. Osaka Trip Itinerary and Tips on Where to Stay
7. Day Trips from Osaka
8. Tourist Information for Osaka
9. Getting to Osaka
10. Traveling around Osaka and Bargains on Tickets
11. Osaka Weather and What to Wear
12. Helpful Information for Your Osaka Trip

Osaka Area Guide

Kita, or Umeda, a bustling downtown area, and Minami, a major spot for entertainment and dining, are two of the five major zones Osaka. The other zones are: the bay area, Osaka Castle area, and Tennoji/Abeno/Shin-Sekai areas.

We’ll introduce each of these five zones in-depth, covering shopping and sightseeing spots.

1. Kita (Umeda) Area

The Kita district, the center of Osaka, is the area around Osaka Station, which includes the Umeda area. While its ever-growing transport network makes it a hub for commuters, Kita is also known for its cutting-edge fashion and art.

In 2013, the Grand Front Osaka shopping facility opened next to Osaka Station. With 266 stores, customers can relax and get their shopping done while they enjoy the nature-filled spaces around the building. Kita is also home to places like Osaka Station City, which is where you should go if you want to get ahold of Osaka’s latest trendy items.

2. Minami (Namba) Area

Osaka Namba

Namba is the center of the flourishing Minami district, with its bright lights and bustling streets. Visitors to Minami need to walk through the captivating Dotonbori area, with its thriving nightlife and great food, and the Shinsaibashi and Amerikamura areas, which are hotspots for Osaka youth culture.

Minami also has places to see Kabuki theater and manzai comedy shows, a historical remnant from the Edo period, when the area was home to playhouses and theaters. If you’re interested in experiencing Osaka as locals do, Minami is the place to be.

3. Osaka Bay Area

The Osaka Bay Area symbolizes the city's legacy as a harbor town, with an aquarium, shopping malls, a Ferris wheel, observatories, and theme parks. This is where Universal Studios Japan is located. Inhale the ocean breeze as you enjoy your day outdoors.

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4. Osaka Castle Area

Osaka Castle

The Osaka Castle area contains many historical sites surrounding the castle itself, like museums and other facilities. You can also visit Kyobashi, a shotengai, or traditional shopping district. It has remained the same for generations, allowing you to experience another piece of Osaka’s history.

The area is also home to popular spots like Osaka Business Park and Mitsui Outlet Park Osaka Tsurumi, and a visit to this area is a window into both classical and modern Japan.

5. Tennoji/Abeno/Shin-Sekai Area

Tennoji, Abeno and Shin-Sekai are in the southern part of Osaka City. This area has many Osaka landmarks, such as Tsutenkaku Tower and Abeno Harukas, as well as zoos, museums, and temples.

Shin-Sekai, where Tsutenkaku is located, is great for shopping and dining out. The brightly-colored shop signs in the area have been around for generations, so you should visit if you want to experience a truly retro Osaka vibe.

40 Places You Should See in Osaka

1. Osaka Castle

Osaka Castle is known as the symbol of the city. Its main castle tower was repaired in 1931 through donations from the local residents, leading to its current appearance. At several times throughout the year, notably during cherry blossom season, the castle grounds are illuminated.

Address: Osaka, Chuo, Osaka Castle 1-1
Google Map
Homepage: http://www.osakacastle.net/

2. Universal Studios Japan

Visitors to the Universal Studios Japan (USJ) theme park can experience the magic of Hollywood, at attractions such as Jaws, Jurassic Park: The Ride, and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. These reproductions of movie worlds have made USJ incredibly popular.

For more information, check out our article on Universal Studios Japan® article.

Address: Osaka, Osaka, Konohana, Sakurajima 2-1-33
Google Map
Homepage: https://www.usj.co.jp/

3. Namba

Osaka Namba

Namba straddles the line between Chuo and Naniwa wards. This renowned commercial area is home to places like Takashimaya, Namba CITY, Namba Parks, Namba Marui, as well as the Ebisu, Nankai and Sennichi-mae Doguyasuji shopping districts.

Address: Osaka, Osaka, Chuo
Google Map

4. Dotonbori

Dotonbori

Picture from Dotonbori - Enjoy The Unique And Energetic Osaka Atmosphere!
Dotonbori is a bustling downtown area in Chuo Ward. The southern part of Dotonbori is home to many nightlife venues, and the northern part has rows upon rows of restaurants, as well as food stalls selling local dishes like okonomiyaki and takoyaki. This is the place to visit if you want to sample true Osaka flavors.

Address: Osaka, Osaka, Chuo, Dotonbori
Google Map
Homepage: http://www.dotonbori.or.jp/ja/

5. Midosuji

Osaka Midosuji

Picture courtesy of Osaka Convention and Tourism Bureau

Midosuji cuts across the northern-southern axis of central Osaka, and is one of the city’s representative shopping areas. Shop at Sogo and Daimaru department stores, which contain rows of brand shops for companies like Chanel, Louis Vuitton, and Cartier.

Midosuji is also famous as one of Osaka's foliage spots. The main avenue is lined with ginkgo trees that turn bright yellow in the fall - a stunning sight!

Address: Osaka, Osaka, Chuo
Google Map

6. Shinsaibashi

Shinsaibashi

Picture from Shinsaibashi Shopping Guide – Fashion, Cosmetics, And Local Dishes In Osaka!

The Shinsaibashi district is home to fashion spots like Etoile and Parco, and offers all sorts of fashion options to suit any budget, with casual stores like Uniqlo and Gap, high-class accessories at Cartier and Bulgari, and sports gear outlets such as Adidas.

Address: Osaka, Osaka, Chuo, Shinsaibashi-suji
Google Map
Homepage: http://www.shinsaibashi.or.jp/

7. Amerikamura (American Village)

On the western side of Shinsaibashi, fashion-minded young people crowd the streets of Amerikamura, a breeding ground for new stylish trends. With its stylish boutiques and cafes, the area is known as ground zero for the diffusion of Osaka youth culture.

Address: Osaka, Osaka, Chuo, Nishi-Shinsaibashi 1-6
Google Map
Homepage: http://americamura.jp/en/index.php

8. Shin-Sekai

Shin-Sekai is close to the Tsutenkaku Tower, one of Osaka’s classic symbols. This area is gourmet paradise, and its flashy signs beckon customers into the lively restaurants. Try some of the famous kushi-katsu (deep-fried meat and ingredients on skewers) while you’re there.

Address: Osaka, Naniwa, Ebisu-higashi
Google Map

9. Janjan Yokocho

Janjan Yokocho in the corner of Shin-Sekai is a pillar of Osaka’s food scene. Here you will find restaurants that serve oden, dote-yaki, kushi-katsu and more.This is a must-visit for any traveler looking to experience the local cuisine.

Address: Osaka, Naniwa, Ebisu-Higashi 3
Google Map

10. Tsutenkaku Tower

Osaka Tsutenkaku

Picture courtesy of PIXTA

Tsutenkaku Tower stands 103 meters tall, and visitors at its viewing platform can see all of Osaka. Naturally, the draw of Tsutenkaku is the view from the top floor, but you can also relax at the cafe, which has the exclusive Tsutenkaku Parfait on the menu.

Address: Osaka, Osaka, Naniwa, Ebisu-Higashi 1-18-6
Google Map
Homepage: http://www.tsutenkaku.co.jp/

11. Abeno Harukas

Osaka Abeno Harukas

Abeno Harukas opened in 2014, and is one of Japan’s tallest aboveground buildings, at over 300 meters. The building contains viewing platforms, hotel facilities, shopping outlets, and a museum.

Address: Osaka, Osaka, Abeno, Abenosuji 1-1-43
Google Map
Homepage: https://www.abenoharukas-300.jp/en/

12. Umeda Sky Building

The 173-meter tall Umeda Sky Building was completed in March 1993. With two basement floors and 40 floors above ground, this skyscraper has been recognized as one of the world’s top 20 buildings. From the aerial observatory, you can see the entirety of Osaka and the rest of Umeda. It is open in the evenings, too, making it possible to see a stunning night view of the city.

Address: Osaka, Osaka, Kita, Oyodonaka 1-1-88
Google Map
Homepage: http://www.skybldg.co.jp/skybldg/

13. Tenjinbashi-suji Shopping District

Tenjinbashi-suji Shopping District is said to be the longest traditional shotengai in Japan. It is one of Osaka’s most famous shopping areas. You can find Western-style clothes, ceramics, cosmetics, and all sorts of goods at the stores here.

Address: Osaka, Osaka, Kita, Tenjinbashi 6-4
Google Map
Homepage: http://www.tenjin123.com/

14. Expo Commemoration Park

The Expo Commemoration Park is located on the former site of the 1970 Japan World Expo. This vast park contains a lush green plaza, spaces to barbecue, a Japanese garden, sports facilities, and even an onsen. The Tower of the Sun, an installation created by famous Japanese artist Taro Okamoto, is the symbol of the park.

Address: Osaka, Suita, Senri Banpaku-Koen 1-1
Google Map
Homepage: http://www.expo70-park.jp/

15. Nipponbashi

Nipponbashi is famed for its Electric Town, a consumer electronics shopping area similar to Akihabara in Tokyo. Many of the stores in this area specialize in wireless devices and audio equipment, as well as items that cannot be found at big box stores, like audio cables and miniature radios for amateurs. You wil also find many shops with anime and manga goods.

Address: Osaka, Osaka, Naniwa, Nipponbashi
Google Map
Homepage: http://www.denden-town.or.jp/

16. Senbayashi Shopping Street

Senbayashi Shopping Street has 220 stores spread out over a span of 660 meters, making it another top shopping spot in the Osaka area. There are many stores selling household goods and groceries. Many locals visit Senbayashi to do their shopping.

With snacks like takoyaki and sweets such as monaka ice cream and crepes, you should drop by Senbayashi if you’re feeling a little hungry. For more information, check out our Senbayashi article.

Address: Osaka, Osaka, Asahi, Senbayashi 1-5−20
Google Map
Homepage: http://www.senbayashi.com/

17. Expo City

Located on the grounds of Expo Commemoration Park, Expo City is a place where visitors can enjoy leisure and shopping. The outlet boasts various entertainment facilities and 305 stores set up by Lalaport Expo City. The Pokemon Expo Gym is a highlight forchildren, as well.

Address: Osaka, Suita, Senri Banpaku-Koen 2−1
Google Map
Homepage: http://www.expocity-mf.com/

18. Tempozan Ferris Wheel

The Tempozan Ferris Wheel is Japan’s largest Ferris wheel, at a height of 112.5 meters and a diameter of 100 meters. One full rotation takes 17 minutes, so riders can enjoy a relaxed journey through the sky. It is part of Tempozan Harbor Village, a major amusement facility by Osaka Bay.

Address: Osaka, Osaka, Minato, Chikko 3-11−8
Google Map
Homepage: http://www.kaiyukan.com/thv/ferriswheel/

19. Kuromon Market

Known as a treasure trove of delicious food, Kuromon Market in Nipponbashi rivals Tsuruhashi Market in Higashinari Ward and Toyonaka's Honan Market in scale.

Of the market’s 180 stores, half of them deal in seafood. The other stores handle fruits and vegetables, dried goods and the like, and there is even an unaffiliated general grocery store.

Address: Osaka, Osaka, Chuo, Nipponbashi 2-4−1
Google Map
Homepage: http://www.kuromon.com/

20. Horie

Horie, on the western side of Shinsaibashi, has rows of cool interior deco shops, cafes, and specialty boutiques. It is an ideal place for a stroll and has a calming atmosphere.

Address: Osaka, Osaka, Nishi, Horie
Google Map

21. Hozenji Temple

Hozenji Temple is a Jodo Buddhist temple located in Namba. After you pay your respects, take a stroll around Hozenji Yokocho. The elegant paths of paved stone are lined with restaurants, okonomiyaki stalls, bars, lounges and all sorts of places serving drinks. For more information, check out our article on Hozenji Temple.

Address: Osaka, Osaka, Chuo, Namba 1−2−16
Google Map
Homepage: http://houzenji.jp/ (Japanese)

22. Jigenji Temple (Nozaki Kannon)

Jigenji Temple, located in Daito, just outside of Osaka City, is also known as Nozaki Kannon. If you make a short hike up the path behind the main temple building, you can get an outstanding view of Osaka’s open plains. This is a great spot to enjoy the outdoors and enjoy a more rural atmosphere.

Address: Osaka, Daito, Nozaki 2-7-1
Google Map
Homepage: http://www.nozakikannon.or.jp/index.html (Japanese)

23. Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan

Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan is the biggest aquarium in the Kansai region. It opened in 1990, and its collection has around 620 species of marine life, totalling 30,000 specimens.

Address: Osaka, Osaka, Minato, Kaigan-dori 1-1-10
Google Map
Homepage: https://www.kaiyukan.com/language/eng/

24. NIFREL

NIFREL is a “living museum.” The exhibits here are conceptualized around visitors getting the chance to “experience sensitivity,” so the art displays are intended to transcend the boundaries of aquariums, zoos, and museums.

As such, the living specimens are not limited to aquarium animals like fish and waterside creatures; there are also mammals and birds in the exhibits. There are no fences, so visitors can truly enjoy the sensation that they’ve wandered into the animal kingdom.

Address: Osaka, Suita, Senri Banpaku-Koen 2-1, inside Expo City
Google Map
Homepage: https://www.nifrel.jp/en/

25. Minoo Park

Minoo Park quasi-National Park is a half-hour train ride north from the center of Osaka. With an area of 83.3 hectares, this park contains the magnificent Minoo Waterfall and the Minoo Park Museum Of Insects. The park is a great place to see the fall foliage, and many of the nearby shops will be selling Minoo’s famous local specialty, maple leaf tempura.

Address: Osaka, Minoo, Minoo Park 1-18
Google Map
Homepage: http://www.mino-park.jp/ (Japanese)

26. Minoo Takido (Minoo Waterfall Road)

The restaurant and cafe-lined road from Hankyu Minoo Station to Minoo Waterfall, known as Minoo Takido, is a place to relax. The stunning nature and cool flow from the water is a must-experience for any nature lover.

Address: Osaka, Minoo, Minoo Park
Google Map
Homepage: http://www.mino-park.jp/ (Japanese)

27. Hoshida-Enchi Park

Hoshida-Enchi Park, a vast, quasi-national natural valley park, is easily accessible by train, making it great for sightseeing. The park’s abundance of natural beauty so it is an enjoyable hiking spot.

There is a trail on the forest railroad, which people can stroll down while looking out at the riverbed. A spectacular suspension bridge is another one of the park's special features. A 16.5-meter man-made climbing wall offers the chance for some vertical exercise, as well. It is particularly known for its gorgeous fall leaves.

Address: Osaka, Katano, Hoshida 5019−1
Google Map
Homepage: http://www.osaka-midori.jp/mori/hoshida/ (Japanese)

28. Daisen Park

Daisen Park was chosen as one of Japan’s 100 Historical Parks and is situated between the imperial tombs of Emperor Nintoku and Emperor Richu. You can see an incredibly gorgeous view of the vast park, its bountiful natural scenery, and its historic tombs.

This is another spot known for its colorful foliage in the fall.

Address: Osaka, Sakai, Sakai, Mozusekiun 2
Homepage: http://www.daisenteien.jp/ (Japanese)
Google Map

29. Mt. Iimori

Mt. Iimori in Daito City is ideal for enjoying the outdoors and going on nature hikes. To walk the historical Osaka trails on Mt. Iimori, we recommend the course which starts from Nozaki Kannon, 10 minutes from JR Nozaki Station. From there, you can also stop by Shijo Nawate Shrine, among other special sites.

Address: Osaka, Daito, Hojo
Google Map
Homepage: http://www.city.daito.lg.jp/kakukakaranoosirase/senryakukikaku/senryakukikakusitu/miryoku/kankou/kaikan/1283308080070.html (Japanese)

30. Nakanoshima Rose Garden

Nakanoshima Rose Garden

Located on the eastern side of Nakanoshima Park, this rose garden has 4,000 roses in bloom and spans five hundred meters from east to west. The park has around 310 varieties of roses in all sorts of hues, including red, purple, and yellow, a true feast for the eyes. For more information, check out our Nakanoshima Rose Garden article.

Address: Osaka, Kita, Nakanoshima 1
Google Map
Homepage: http://www.osakapark.osgf.or.jp/nakanoshima/

31. Mt. Ikoma Narukawa Park

Narukawa Park is a vast park that stretches 204 hectares, from Kuragari-toge Pass to Narukawa-toge Pass. The park sees many visitors in April and May, when the azaleas are in full bloom.

Address: Osaka, Higashi-Osaka, Kamishijo
Homepage: http://osaka-midori.jp/mori/chubu/narukawa.html (Japanese)

32. Marble Beach

Marble Beach, is a 900-meter beach on the bank opposite Kansai International Airport. White marble stones are scattered along the beach, forming a vivid contrast with the blue ocean. The beach is also highly regarded for its night view.

Address: Osaka, Izumisano, Rinku Orai-Kita 1-271
Google Map

33. Cupnoodles Museum Osaka Ikeda

At the Cupnoodles Museum Osaka Ikeda, you can make a one-of-a-kind instant cup ramen to take home with you. It’s the perfect souvenir for any visitor to Osaka. This is a great place to enjoy as a family or with friends.

Address: Osaka, Ikeda, Masumi 8-25
Google Map
Homepage: https://www.cupnoodles-museum.jp/en/osaka_ikeda/

34. Cafe & bar HRR

Cafe & bar HRR

Picture from Cafe & bar HRR - Socialize And Enjoy Music At A Friendly Osaka Bar!
Cafe & bar HRR is an izakaya (Japanese pub) located at the end of Kuromon Market in the Namba area. Visitors seeking nightlife and a local experience should look no further than an evening here. The bar is cozy and friendly, and the master is known for making customized drinks. English is also understood here, so international visitors are very welcome.

Address: Osaka, Chuo, Kozu 3-8-31, Michikusa Apartment HRR
Google Map
Website:

35. Kame Sushi

Kame Sushi, Osaka

Picture from Kame Sushi In Osaka - Enjoy High-Quality Sushi And Chat With The Locals

If you are looking to eat excellent sushi in Osaka, try Kame Sushi's main location in Kita. This restaurant, opened in 1954, is well-known in the community for high-quality sushi and delicious drinks. The menu is extensive, as the shop is a unique combination of a restaurant and Japanese bar.

Come here for great seafood and to feel a local vibe--the friendly customers may start talking to you during your visit.

Address: Osaka, Kita, Sonezaki 2-14-2
Google Map
Homepage: http://kamesushi.jp/ (Japanese)

36. Kutsurogi-no-Sato Yuraku

This sento (public bath) in Osaka has a rich variety of tubs for guests to soak in, including a special Dead Sea bathtub, open-air baths, and the “Duck Yokocho Festival Bath,” which has a huge number of little duck figurines floating in the water.

Address: Osaka, Osaka Suminoe, Kita-Kagaya 3−5−37
Google
Homepage: http://osaka.yuraku4126.com/ (Japanese)

37. Eat Osaka

Located underneath Tsutenkaku, Eat Osaka is a cooking studio where visitors can learn how to make Osaka’s famous starchy dishes and other Japanese food in a Japanese-style room with paper walls. The lessons are conducted in English.

Address: Osaka, Naniwa, Ebisu-Higashi
Homepage: http://www.eatosaka.com/

38. Mr. Kanso

This is the main branch of canned-food bar Mr. Kanso, which has 30 branches across Japan. At Mr. Kanso, customers order a canned food item from the varied selection to eat along with their drinks. Mr. Kanso also sells cans individually. This is a very unique shop worth a visit.

Address: Osaka, Nishi, Minami-Horie 1-5-26, Canal Terrace Horie 2F
Google Map
Homepage: http://www.cleanbrothers.net/kanso/shoplist_honten.html

39. The Misono Building

The Misono Building, a Minami night spot, was built in 1956. Go up the spiral staircase to the side, and you will find a multi-tenant facility with a somewhat suspicious array of unique businesses lined up to greet you. This is the place to go to enjoy the nightlife of Minami.

Address: Osaka, Chuo, Sennichi-mae 2-3-9 Misono Building 2F
Google Map

40. Senkoji Temple

Visitors to Senkoji Temple can have an entertaining time at this temple. The temple has likenesses of Great King Enma, who passes judgment on the dead and sends them to heaven or hell, as well as other infernal artifacts such as mountains of needles and burning chariots. Discover the terrifying spectacle of the underworld at Senkoji.

Address: Osaka, Hirano, Hirano Motomachi 4-12-21
Google Map
Homepage: http://www.senkouji.net/ (Japanese)

Check out Activity Tickets for Osaka

Osaka Shopping Spots

1. Herbis Plaza ENT: A Lineup of Brand-Name Stores

Herbis Plaza ENT is a shopping outlet close to Umeda Station, with plenty of famous fashion boutiques, including well-known Japanese brands. There are also Japanese and Italian restaurants on the B2F level, and you can relax even if you stay for a long stretch.

2. Grand Front Osaka: A Shopping Complex right by Osaka Station

Grand Front Osaka, with its 266 stores, is located right by the north exit of Osaka Station. When you want to take a break from shopping, enjoy the meticulously-crafted atmosphere of the building’s rooftop garden.

3. Hep Five: The Rooftop Ferris Wheel Is A Must-See

Hep Five, a commercial complex near Umeda, Station has many fashion boutiques and accessory shops targeted at young people. The red Ferris wheel atop the seventh floor is symbolic of Umeda and offers riders a view of the entire cityscape.

4. Namba Marui: Nab The Latest Fashion

The shopping complex Namba Marui is a short walk from Namba Station, with fashion floors for men and women, as well as a movie theater. Many of the shops in Namba Marui deal in the latest trendy items, so this is the place to go to discover what’s hot in Osaka.

5. Hoop: Beautiful Night Lights At This Pink Building

Hoop is a unique, stylish building in Tennoji, shaped like a hoop-bound barrel. The building contains 60 shops, and its lights illuminate Osaka at night. You should definitely stop by when you visit Tennoji.

6. Shinsaibashi OPA, A Minami Landmark

The Shinsaibashi OPA building is a haven for all sorts of fashion, with casual wear shops, high-class brand-name boutiques and even used clothing stores. The front of OPA, emblazoned with the OPA logo, is often used as a meetup spot by young people. By all means, drop in when you visit Shinsaibashi.

7. Tennoji Mio: A Modern Building Above Tennoji Station

Tennoji Mio is a commercial complex above JR Tennoji Station. Boasting 251 stores with a focus on fashion, the facility is ready to serve the needs of a wide range of customers.

8. Amerikamura: Find Original Fashion

Located in western Shinsaibashi, the streets of Amerikamura, or “Amemura” for short, are lined with clothes shops their eclectic fashion sense and various food stalls. Many stores deal in used clothes or imported goods, which is why the area is sometimes called the Osaka Harajuku. It’s a must-see for visitors to Shinsaibashi.

9. Namba Parks: The Place To Shop in Namba

Namba Parks, close to Namba Station, features over 240 stores stocked with the latest fashions. There are also interior deco shops and accessory stores. The rooftop features a garden, an oasis in the metropolis. If you go shopping in Namba, you need to go here.

10. The Venerable Shinsaibashi-suji Shopping District

Shinsaibashi-suji is a 600-meter arcade that stretches from Shinsaibashi to Namba, with around 180 stores. The arcade has pamphlets in English, Korean, and Chinese as well as free Wi-Fi access and duty-free shopping. Shinsaibashi-suji has been around for a long time and is a great choice for shopping and finding souvenirs.

11. Abeno Harukas: See All Of Osaka From The Top

Abeno Harukas opened in March 2014 and is 300 meters above ground, making it one of Japan’s tallest buildings. The 360-degree glass viewing platform affords visitors a fantastic look at the Osaka cityscape. In fact, the view reaches all the way to Kyoto and Nara.

There are also brand-name shops where you can find popular cosmetics and apparel. Guests can go to salons with special service for tourists, as well as tax-exemption counters and foreign currency exchange services.

Dining in Osaka

Takoyaki

Takoyaki is an iconic local food you will see at food stands throughout Osaka. This bite-sized fluffy treat is made from a flour-based batter, mixed with octopus and other ingredients, which is then fried into balls. You can enjoy the melt-in-your-mouth texture along with the aroma of the ocean. It is generally topped with mayonnaise.

Okonomiyaki

Okonomiyaki, another representative Osaka dish, is made by mixing a flour-based batter, cabbage and other ingredients together, then cooking it atop a hot griddle. The ingredient variations are too numerous to count, but they can include grated yam, seafood, pork, mochi, cheese, so feel free to add whatever you like.

Tonpeiyaki

Tonpeiyaki is on the next tier of popularity on Osaka behind okonomiyaki and takoyaki. This omelet-esque dish is made by stir-frying shredded pork and cabbage, wrapping it in egg, then covering it in sauce and seaweed before eating.

Negiyaki

Negiyaki is a starchy dish like okonomiyaki, but uses onion instead of cabbage. This variation is popular in the rest of the Kansai region, as well as in Osaka.

Kushi-Katsu

Kushi-Katsu is made by dipping various ingredients on skewers. Meat, vegetables, seafood, and other ingredients are covered in batter and then deep fried. To eat kushi-katsu, take a skewer, dip it into the pot of sauce on your table. Be sure to enjoy it while it’s still hot.

There is a rule at almost all kushi-katsu restaurants: no double dipping! This rule exists because the next customer will use the same pot of sauce, so be considerate.

Kasu Udon and Kansai-dashi Udon

Kasu udon is a noodle dish with kasu (deep-fried beef entrails) atop a bowl of udon. The spongy taste is very delicious. Note that udon and soba broth in Osaka varies from the version in Tokyo and eastern Japan; it’s said to be lighter in flavor.

Jiyuken Curry

Jiyuken is a popular restaurant in Osaka that serves Jiyuken curry, a one-of-a-kind, highly-renowned dish. The curry has just two ingredients: onions and beef. Jiyuken wants its patrons to savor the essence of curry, and since the restaurant was founded, the curry’s original flavor has withstood the test of time.

551 Horai Nikuman (Steamed Meat Buns)

Packed with sweet onions and juicy pork, the buns at 551 Horai Nikuman are carefully prepared by hand, and they will melt in your mouth. Since they contain pork, make sure that they aren’t on the list of items banned by customs in your home country.

Osaka Souvenirs

Nakanoshima Rusk and Tsukigesho are a few of the snacks which are popular Osaka souvenirs.

Minoo’s specialty, maple leaf tempura, is sure to be a hit. It is a crispy, light fried food that is very unique.

Events in Osaka

April: Cherry Blossom Viewing

When cherry blossom season in April rolls around, the streets of Osaka will be awash in delicate pink colors. Osaka Castle Park and Kishiwada Castle are particularly popular spots to see the blossoms. Kishiwada Castle is lit up at night, and visitors can enjoy the night blossoms.

July: Tenjin Festival

The Tenjin Festival is held in Osaka Temmangu. It is one of Japan’s Three Great Festivals, ranked along with the Gion Festival in Kyoto and the Kanda Festival in Tokyo. At the climax of the festival, boats laden with many paper lanterns cross the Ogawa River.

September: Kishiwada Danjiri Festival

The Kishiwada Danjiri Festival is held in Kishiwada City. A highlight of the festival is seeing the danjiri, or decorative floats, racing through street corners at full speed.

November and December: Fall Foliage

Late November and December are when the leaves change color and you can see fall foliage in Osaka. At the Osaka Castle Park, visitors can enjoy both the red maple leaves and yellow gingko leaves.

November and December: Illuminations

In the winter, Midosuji, the Nagai Botanical Garden, the Kaiyukan, Shin-Umeda City Wonder Square, and other areas will all have bright light-up displays. This makes winter in Osaka great for romantic evening strolls.

A Trip Itinerary For Travelers in Osaka

To make the most of a two-day stay in Osaka, we recommend the following travel itinerary.

Day 1

Morning: Go to Universal Studios Japan
Afternoon: Visit Shin-Sekai
Night: Head to Kita and ride the Hep Five Ferris wheel to enjoy the city view from above

Day 2

Morning: Go to the top of the Umeda Sky Building
Early Afternoon: Head to Minami and shop in Namba
Late afternoon-evening: Check out Osaka at street level; visit Dotonbori and Shinsaibashi
Evening: Go shopping at Abeno Harukas
Night: Enjoy a meal of okonomiyaki

For more information, check out our Two-Day Osaka Itinerary article.

Osaka Hotels

Osaka has plenty of places to stay for all sorts of travelers, from high-class hotels like the Ritz Carlton and Hilton to business hotels and lower-cost accommodations for those on a budget.

Awaji Guesthouse Mokumoku was built out of a renovated 60-year old row house. Guests will be happy to receive the perk of free unlimited entry to the public bath next door. Another option is Lodging & Kin Osaka, a guesthouse known for its friendly staff members. It is located by Tsutenkaku Tower.

If you are traveling as a couple and are interested in love hotels, try Hotel Fuki. This truly unique accommodation has an interior that resembles a Japanese castle.

The world leader in booking accommodation online. Booking.com

Day Trips from Osaka

Osaka's convenient location in the center of the Kansai region makes it an excellent place to base other traveling around. If you have several days in the Osaka area, it is recommended to take a day trip to see the surrounding area.

To the southeast of Osaka is Nara, one of Japan's ancient capitals, with countless temples, shrines, like Todaiji Temple, home to a giant Buddha. It takes around one hour to get to Nara Station, which is closest to major sightseeing. The prefecture itself is also known for its nature and gorgeous Yoshino cherry blossoms in spring.

Kyoto is also easily accessible from Osaka, taking around just 30 minutes via rapid service trains. If you are looking for a relaxed, sophisticated environment to explore, head to Kobe, a port city most known for beef and stylish shops. Kobe is around a 34 to 40-minute train ride west, depending on the line.

Tourist Information for Osaka

There is one Kansai Tourist Information Centers (KTIC) in Shinsaibashi, located inside the Daimaru department store. The staff can provide advice on how to get to your destinations, recommended places to go, help with buying tickets, handle luggage and ship packages.

There is also free Wi-Fi access for looking up information, as well as tourist brochures. In addition, the KTICs sell discount tickets for travel around Osaka and the Kansai area. If you need help, please stop here.

Getting To Osaka

From Tokyo Station

The Shinkansen is the most convenient way to get to Osaka from Tokyo. The journey takes two and a half hours and costs around 15,000 yen. The Shinkansen train stop is JR Shin-Osaka Station. The train ride is smooth and the trains are very clean, making for a comfortable commute. It also takes the least time compared to other methods.

Also, if you plan to take the Shinkansen, getting a Japan Rail Pass beforehand will save you a lot of money.

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From Haneda Airport

Take the Keikyu Airport Line Airport Express train to Shinagawa Station, switch to the Shinkansen line and head to Shin-Osaka Station (14,860 yen, three hours).

From Narita Airport

Take the Narita Express to Shinagawa Station, then transfer to the Shinkansen line and head to Shin-Osaka (17,010 yen, around four hours).

From Tokyo Via Highway Bus

We recommend taking a highway bus if you’re trying to travel on a budget, or if you want to make the most efficient use of time. Tourists can use a special Japan Bus Pass to cheaply visit several cities.

Large highway bus terminals are found adjacent to Tokyo Station's Yaesu Exit and near Shinjuku Station (the Shinjuku Bus Terminal).

Compare and book highway buses from Tokyo to Osaka. Kosokubus.com

From Kansai International Airport (KIX)

From Kansai International Airport, you can take the nonstop JR Kanku Rapid Express to Osaka Station (1,100 yen, 63 minutes).

Traveling Around Osaka and Bargains on Tickets

Traveling around Osaka is convenient as there is plenty of public transportation. You have the option of using the Osaka Metro, JR trains, Hankyu trains, Hanshin trains, and a number of other private railways. With so many options, it can get confusing, but by using passes and referring to maps, you can avoid confusion.

Keep in mind that major sightseeing areas and most locations listed in this article can be accessed via the Osaka Metro.

Click the following link for an official Osaka Metro map: Osaka Metro map

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Bargains on Tickets

Osaka Unlimited Pass (Osaka Area)

The Osaka Amazing Pass (known as the "Osaka Shuyu Pass" in Japanese) allows holders all-you-can-ride access on the city subway and buses, as well as the Hankyu, Hanshin, Keihan, Nankai, and Kintetsu train lines. It also comes with special benefits and discounts for sightseeing, like free admission to Tsutenkaku Tower, the HEP FIVE Ferris Wheel, as well as a free Dotonbori river cruise. The one-day pass is 2,700 yen (same price for children and adults).

Enjoy Eco Card (One Day Pass)

Pick up an Enjoy Eco Card for unlimited access on the Osaka metro, and the majority of city buses for one day. An Enjoy Eco Card is 800 yen for adults but is discounted to 600 yen on weekends. It can be bought at Osaka Metro stations at automatic ticket machines, or on board some Osaka City buses. Use it as you would a normal, reusable ticket.

Osaka Weather and What to Wear

Osaka gets little precipitation year-round and is known for its hot summers. Don’t forget to hydrate, wear a hat, and use sunblock to ward off heat stroke and protect yourself from UV rays.

Snow is rare in winter, but temperatures can drop suddenly, so bring a thick coat, gloves, and hat to stay out of the cold.

Helpful Information for Your Osaka Trip

Osaka is known for its friendly and helpful locals, so visitors will likely not run into trouble during a trip. Planning ahead, establishing Wi-Fi, and obtaining yen are important.

Learning some basic Japanese, however, is advised. The Osaka dialect is also different than in other regions, with special words. If you are visiting multiple areas in Japan, it might be fun to compare and listen for the different speaking styles.

If you follow these basic rules and prepare for a trip, you will be sure to have a great time in Osaka!

An easily reserved and returnable by post Wi-Fi rental service. PUPURU

Take in the Best of Osaka

A dynamic, multi-faceted city in Western Japan, Osaka is a great choice for travel and seeing a different side to Japan. From encounter history at Osaka castle to trying local food, to shopping at one of the city's many commercial districts, this city is filled with things to do and see. Please use this as your guide to all things Osaka and have a great trip.

Main image courtesy of PIXTA

 

The information presented in this article is based on the time it was written. Note that there may be changes in the merchandise, services, and prices that have occurred after this article was published. Please contact the facility or facilities in this article directly before visiting.

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