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25 Fun Things To Do In Osaka - Museums, Food, Nightlife, And Shopping

25 Fun Things To Do In Osaka - Museums, Food, Nightlife, And Shopping

Osaka 2019.06.11 Bookmark

Osaka is a metropolis in Western Japan filled with exciting destinations. Visitors can learn history at Osaka Castle, play all day at Universal Studios Japan, shop, and enjoy Osaka's excellent food. Read to learn 25 great things to do, from cultural experiences to nightlife.

Written by MATCHA

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Osaka - An Energy-filled City in Western Japan

Osaka

Osaka is a popular destination in Japan's western Kansai region. Many visitors love Osaka for its friendly and fun-loving people, and its unique charm.

Smaller in size than Tokyo while still offering all the excitement of a major city, neighborhoods in Osaka are very accessible from each other via trains, buses, and the subway. It is a city filled with entertainment, fashion, art, and delicious food that will please all.

In this article, we introduce 25 things and places to include on a trip, categorized by culture and history-related spots, entertainment, shopping, food, and nighttime activities. Continue reading to learn about what you can experience in this lively city.

Table of Contents:

Culture and History
1. Osaka Castle - See a Historic City Fixture
2. Tsutenkaku and Shinsekai - Meet Osaka’s Past and Present
3. Hozenji Yokocho - Feel Retro Osaka
4. National Bunraku Theatre - Take in Traditional Performing Arts
5. Sumiyoshi Taisha - Relax at a Spiritual Spot
6. Minoo Falls - Go Outdoors and Try Maple Leaf Tempura
7. Mt. Tempozan - Travel to Japan's Second Smallest Mountain
Entertainment
8. Universal Studios Japan - Play All Day
9. Kaiyukan - Visit Japan’s Largest Aquarium
10. Expo ’70 Commemorative Park and Tower of the Sun - Enjoy Nature and Art
11. Spa World - Dip into Hot Springs from Around the World
Museums
12. National Museum of Art, Osaka - Observe Art at a Stunning Museum
13. Cupnoodles Museum Osaka Ikeda - Create Your Own Ramen Flavor
14. Japan Mint Museum - Learn All About Yen and Currency
15. Open Air Museum of Old Japanese Farm Houses - Tour a Traditional Village
Shopping
16. Dotonbori and Shinsaibashi - Take in Osaka's Iconic Cityscape
17. Tenjinbashisuji - Walk Down Japan's Longest Shopping Street
18. Amerikamura - Find Vintage Stores and Creative Food
19. HEP FIVE - Shop Japanese Apparel Brands
What to Eat
20. Kuromon Market - Enjoy Street Food and Restaurants
21. Osaka's Comfort Food - Munch on Takoyaki, Okonomiyaki, and Kushikatsu
22. Decadent Osaka Desserts - Satisfy Your Cheesecake Cravings
Nightlife and Views
23. Umeda Sky Building - View Osaka from the Rooftop
24. Tempozan Ferris Wheel - Enjoy the Enchanting View
25. Abeno Harukas - Climb the Tallest Building in Japan

1. Osaka Castle - See a Historic City Fixture

Osaka Castle

Osaka Castle towers over the city of Osaka. It is considered one of the Three Famous Castles of Japan.

Constructed in 1583 by Hideyoshi Toyotomi, a leader who unified Japan, the castle was destroyed by fires and repeatedly repaired and rebuild. The current castle dates to 1931.

The castle is illuminated at night, giving it a magical atmosphere. The surrounding park houses approximately 3,000 cherry blossom trees as well as plum trees and apricot trees. It is an especially popular place to visit in the spring.

Osaka Castle
Address: Osaka, Chuo, Osakajo 1-1 Google Map
Access: 19-minute walk from Osaka Business Park Station
Website: https://www.osakacastle.net/english/

2. Tsutenkaku Tower and Shinsekai - Meet Osaka’s Past and Present

Tsutenkaku

Tsutenkaku Tower, standing 103-meters high, is considered a symbolic structure in Osaka. From the 91-meter high platform of the tower, you will have a complete view of the cityscape of Osaka.

Tsutenkaku

Kushikatsu
The area around Tsutenkaku is called Shinsekai, a district known for its many restaurants. It was built in 1903 and maintains most of its original atmosphere. Visit the popular Janjan Yokocho, an area with pubs and eateries. Be sure to try kushikatsu (deep fried vegetables, fish, or meat; pictured above) for your meal.

Tsutenkaku Tower
Address: Osaka, Naniwa, Ebisuhigashi 1-18-6 Google Map
Access: 8-minute walk from Shin Imamiya Station
Website: https://www.tsutenkaku.co.jp/ (Japanese but English translation available)

3. Hozenji Yokocho - Feel Retro Osaka

Hozenji Yokocho

Hozenji Yokocho is located a three-minute walk from Dotonbori. The alley is narrow and paved with stone, brimming with the atmosphere of old Osaka.

In addition to the area's shops and restaurants, Hozenji Temple is close by, near the entrance of the alley. At this Buddhist temple, it is believed that your wish will come true when you pour water onto a statue called "Mizukake Fudo," situated inside the temple. Moss covers the statue as it is constantly splashed with water.

Hozenji Yokocho
Address: Osaka, Chuo, Higashi Shinsaibashi 2-7-21 Google Map
Access: 9-minute walk from Namba Station

4. National Bunraku Theatre - Take in Traditional Performing Arts

Bunraku Theatre

Picture courtesy of the National Bunraku Theatre

For those interested in the traditional Japanese performing arts, we recommend the Bunraku Theatre. Bunraku is a traditional performing art featuring puppetry, shamisen, and narration. It was designated a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2008.

Each puppet in the performance is controlled by three people that collaborate to make the movements elegant while animatedly expressing the puppet’s emotions. At the side of the stage is the narrator, who expresses the dialogue uniquely with the help of a shamisen player. The shamisen changes its tones played following the current scene.

Bunraku performances will often have English-interpreting earphones (sometimes as well as free leaflets (English, Chinese, Korean) printed with a summary of the story. Reservations can be made through the official website.

National Bunraku Theatre
Address: Osaka, Chuo, Nipponbashi 1-12-10 Google Map
Access: 4-minute walk from Nipponbashi Station
Website: https://www.ntj.jac.go.jp/english/access/facilities_04.html

5. Sumiyoshi Taisha Shrine - Relax at a Spiritual Spot

Sumiyoshi Taisha

©Osaka Government Tourism Bureau/©JNTO

Sumiyoshi Taisha is the head Sumiyoshi shrine of 2,300 shrines located across the country. This shrine's history extends over 1,800 years. The main shrine hall is considered one of the oldest in this style of architecture and has been designated a National Treasure for its historical prominence.

Upon entering the shrine grounds, visitors will feel the serenity and spiritual energy fitting of this ancient shrine. The vivid red Sorihashi Bridge and the camphor trees, over 1,000 years old, are just a couple of things you can experience at Sumiyoshi Taisha.

Sumiyoshi Taisha Shrine
Address: Osaka, Sumiyoshi, Sumiyoshi 2-9-89 Google Map
Access: 4-minute walk from Sumiyoshi Taisha Station

6. Minoo Falls - Go Outdoors and Try Maple Leaf Tempura

Minoo Falls

Minoo Falls
If you want to experience beautiful nature in Osaka, then travel to Minoo Park, about thirty minutes by train from the city center. The park is most known for its magnificent waterfall, Minoo Falls, which you can hike up to.

The 40-minute trail to the gorgeous waterfall has a beautiful stream flowing by it. It was chosen as one of the Top 100 Waterfalls in Japan.

During fall, maple trees in the area begin to change color. This makes the walk through the mountain even more beautiful.

Minoo Falls, Maple Leaf Tempura

Maple leaf tempura
When visiting, be sure to try maple leaf tempura. The tempura is slightly sweetened and has a delicious crunch.

Minoo Onsen Spa Garden is located near the entrance to the mountain trail. We recommend relaxing at the hot springs before returning home.

Minoo Falls
Address: Osaka, Minoo, Minookoen 2 Google Map
Access: 40-minute walk from Minoo Station

7. Mt. Tempozan - Travel to Japan's Second Smallest Mountain

With a summit of just 4.5 meters, Mt. Tempozan is one of the smallest mountains in Japan--according to some rankings, it is considered the second smallest. This tiny mountain is located in Tempozan Park, close to other sightseeing areas near the Osaka Bay area, making it ideal for a quick stop in between other activities.

Address: Osaka, Minato, Chikko 3-2 Google Map
Access: around a 7-minute walk from Osakako Station

8. Universal Studios Japan - Play All Day

Universal Studios Japan

Picture courtesy of Universal Studios Japan

Universal Studios Japan (also referred to as "USJ") is a theme park with shows and rides based around famous Hollywood films, Japanese entertainment, and pop culture. Rides and entertainment based on "Sailor Moon," "Attack on Titan," "Neon Genesis Evangelion" and even "Godzilla" have made their appearance at the park.

Popular permanent attractions include Jaws, Jurassic Park: The Ride, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and the Minion Park. Universal Studios Japan also holds large-scale seasonal events for holidays like Halloween.

Universal Studios Japan
Address: Osaka, Konohana, Sakurajima 2-1-33 Google Map
Access: 3-minute walk from Universal City Station
Website: https://www.usj.co.jp/e/

9. Kaiyukan - Visit Japan's Largest Aquarium

Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan

Kaiyukan is a large-scale aquarium in Osaka.
Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan is one of the world’s largest aquariums, with a 5,400-ton capacity.

Aquarium-goers will be able to see large whale sharks, rays, and other fish swimming together in the massive tanks and displays. They also have an impressive jellyfish area which is designed to look like the jellyfish are swimming in space.

If you like aquariums, Kaiyukan should be on your must-visit list. Make sure to plan several hours to explore this endless underwater world!

Kaiyukan
Address: Osaka, Minato, Kaigan 1-1-10 Google Map
Access: 11-minute walk from Osakako Station
Website: https://www.kaiyukan.com/language/eng/

10. Expo ’70 Commemorative Park and the Tower of the Sun - Enjoy Nature and Art

Expo Commemorative Park

Picture courtesy of Osaka Japan Expo Commemorative Park Office

Expo '70 Commemorative Park is a large park located on the former site of the World Exposition held in 1970. The site is now open to all and is a popular recreational area with gardens, artwork, and museums.

Be sure to captures photos of "Tower of the Sun," an iconic fixture of the park, when you enter. It stands seventy meters high and was made by internationally-renowned artist, Taro Okamoto.

The park is filled with things to do. Refresh yourself at the Natural and Cultural Gardens, or take a walk through the Japanese gardens. You can also learn about different cultures around the world at the National Museum of Ethnology. After viewing the park, visit Expocity, which has dozens of shops, as well as amusement facilities and a movie theater.

Expo ’70 Commemorative Park
Address: Osaka, Suita, Senribanpakukoen 1-1 Google Map
Access: 4-minute walk from Bampakukinenkoen Station
Website: https://www.expo70-park.jp/languages/english/

11. Spa World - Dip into Hot Springs from Around the World

The Osaka Spa World is a hot spring theme park with hot springs from around the world, open 24 hours a day. The park is divided into a European zone and an Asian zone, featuring recreated baths and saunas from Spain, Italy, and all over the world.

Please be aware that the zones are divided by gender. The European zone is available for women in odd months, and for men in even months. The Asian zone is available for women in even months and for men during odd months.

Spa World also has a pool area ideal for families and young children. Bathers in the pool area are required to wear a bathing suit. Swimsuits are available for rent at the facility if you don't have one.

Spa World
Address: Osaka, Naniwa, Ebisuhigashi 3-4-24 Google Map
Access: Just outside of Dobutsuen Mae Station
Website: http://www.spaworld.co.jp/english/

12. National Museum of Art, Osaka - Observe Art at a Stunning Museum

Osaka National Museum of Art

The National Museum of Art, Osaka is a must-visit for those interested in learning about contemporary Japanese and international art. It has a spectacular exterior and is one of the only museums in the world to be built mostly underground. The museum provides a comfortable, accessible space to view and connect with art.

Guests enter from the B1 level, which contains a restaurant, museum shop, and lecture hall. The B2 level has permanent art exhibits by Joan Miro, Alexander Calder, and Suda Yoshihiro. B3 is the lowest floor and is used for special exhibitions.

National Museum of Art, Osaka
Address: Osaka, Kita, Nakanoshima 4-2-55 Google Map
Access: 5-minute walk southwest from Watanabebashi Station
Website: http://www.nmao.go.jp/en/index.html

13. Cupnoodles Museum Osaka Ikeda - Create Your Own Ramen Flavor

Cupnoodles Museum Osaka Ikeda

Picture courtesy of NISSIN FOODS HOLDINGS CO., LTD.

Did you know that instant ramen was invented in Osaka? Momofuku Ando, the founder of Nissin Foods, created the first original instant noodles.

At the Cupnoodles Museum Osaka Ikeda, you can create your very own original cup noodles as well as learn about the history and creation of cup ramen. Reservations are not necessary, but it is recommended to visit early in the day as supplies vary.

The interactive, colorful nature of this facility will educate and delight visitors of all ages.

Cupnoodles Museum Osaka Ikeda
Address: Osaka, Masumi, Ikeda 8-25 Google Map
Access: 6-minute walk from Ikeda Station
Website: https://www.cupnoodles-museum.jp/en/osaka_ikeda/

14. Japan Mint Museum - Learn About Yen and Currency

Japan Mint Museum is a learning facility in Osaka's Kita Ward, situated in an old mint, where guests can see the history of Japanese bills and coins, as well as international currency. The exhibits are in Japanese, but audio guides in English are available. Admission is free.

During the cherry blossom season in spring, the surrounding area is painted with a delicate shade of pink from the blooms. The Osaka mint building is a very well-known spot for hanami, or cherry blossom viewing.

Address: Osaka, Kita, Tenma 1-1-79 Google Map
Access: 15-minute walk from Minamimorimachi Station
Website: https://osaka-info.jp/en/page/mint-museum

15. Open Air Museum of Old Japanese Farm Houses - Tour a Traditional Village

25 Fun Things To Do in Osaka - Museums, Food, Nightlife, And Shopping

Open Air Museum of Old Japanese Farm Houses is an outdoor museum where visitors can view and go inside traditional village homes from the Edo Period.

The structures here have been moved from all over of Japan, so visitors can see the different styles and structures. The museum is often used as a filming site for movies and television shows and has a wonderful, historical atmosphere. In addition to the houses, visitors can see seasonal nature, like cherry blossoms and fall foliage.

Address: Osaka, Toyonaka, Hattori Ryokuchi 1-2 Google Map
Access: around a 15-minute walk from Ryokuchi-Koen Station
Website: https://www.occh.or.jp/minka/

16. Dotonbori and Shinsaibashi - Take in Osaka's Iconic Cityscape

Dotonbori

©Osaka Government Tourism Bureau. ©JNTO

Dotonbori and Shinsaibashi are two of the most famous neighborhoods in Osaka for travel. Flashy and colorful billboards can be found everywhere throughout the shopping district, from the confectionery maker giant Glico’s sign, featuring a runner with both arms raised, to a jumbo crab with moving limbs. The area is especially impressive to view at night when the signs are illuminated.

The district is especially famous for its shopping--Shinsaibashi is a shopping street approximately 580-meters long, lined with popular restaurants and shops. You can find large discount stores, souvenir shops selling unique gifts. After shopping, you can fill your appetite with Osaka street food, like takoyaki and kushikatsu.

Dotonbori
Address: Osaka, Chuo, Dotonbori 10 Google Map
Access: 5-minute walk from Namba Station

Shinsaibashi
Address: Osaka, Osaka, Chuo, Shinsaibashi-suji Google Map
Access: Direct from Shinsaibashi Street
Homepage: http://www.shinsaibashi.or.jp/ (Japanese)

17. Tenjinbashisuji - Walk Down Japan's Longest Shopping Street

Tenjinbashisuji is the longest shopping street in Japan, stretching for over approximately 2.6 kilometers. It maintains a classic atmosphere that is entertaining even just on a stroll. Walking down the street one way takes around 40 minutes.

Tenjinbashisuji is home to dozens of local shops that have been there for many years. It is also a neighborhood where you can find great for bargains: many stores sell small items or even clothes starting from only 100 or 1,000 yen. There is also plenty of street food to enjoy here, from takoyaki to crepes.

Tenjnbashisuji Shopping Street
Address: Osaka, Kita, Tenjinbashi Google Map
Access: 3-minute walk from Tenjinbashisuji Rokuchome Station
Website: https://osaka-info.jp/en/page/tenjimbashisuji-shopping-street-1

18. Amerikamura - Find Vintage Clothes and Creative Food

Amerikamura

Amerikamura, also known as American Village or Amemura, is an area near Shinsaibashi popular with youth. The name stems from the many import shops in the area that sell goods from America. It has a plethora of vintage and thrift stores, as well as food stands and eateries offering creative food, like 40-centimeter-tall soft serve ice cream.

The second-hand stores in the area range from affordable to brand-name vintage stores. Amerikamura a real treasure chest. On the weekends, you will often see street performers on at the main square or find events.

Amerikamura
Address: Osaka, Chuo, Higashi Shinsaibashi Google Map
Access: 3-minute walk from Shinsaibashi Station

19. HEP FIVE - Shop Japanese Apparel Brands

HEP FIVE

Picture from Hop On The Red Osaka Landmark, HEP FIVE's Ferris Wheel
HEP FIVE is a major shopping and entertainment complex walking distance of Osaka and Umeda Stations. The bright red Ferris wheel on the top floor of the building makes the structure stands out.

At HEP FIVE, visitors will find all sorts of shops. The complex has many clothing Japanese retailers where visitors can encounter current Japanese fashion popular with young people. There are also cafes, restaurants, and of course, the Ferris wheel, to enjoy.

Address: Osaka, Kita, Kakuda 5-1-5 Google Map
Access: around a 10-minute walk from Osaka and Umeda stations
Website: https://www.hepfive.jp/language/

20. Kuromon Ichiba Market - Enjoy Street Food and Restaurants

Kuromon Market

Kuromon Ichiba Market is a well-known marketplace in Osaka. It used to be a fish market, so it offers fresh raw oysters, sea urchins, sashimi, and all types of seafood. You will also find Wagyu beef, fruit, and vegetables; there is something all visitors can enjoy. Approximately 180 shops lining this marketplace, and there are also restaurants where you can sit down and enjoy a meal if you don't want to eat and walk.

Head to the marketplace's information center, which provides foreign language support to enjoy your visit more. Free Wi-Fi, currency exchange machines, and coin lockers are available in the area as well, so you can shop worry-free.

Kuromon Ichiba Market
Address: Osaka, Chuo, Nipponbashi 2-4-1 Google Map
Access: 3-minute walk from Nipponbashi Station

21. Osaka Comfort Food - Munch on Takoyaki, Okonomiyaki, and Kushikatsu

Osaka food

Osaka is internationally renowned for its creative and flavorful dishes. Be sure to try takoyaki (dough balls with octopus pieces; pictured above), okonomiyaki (a savory pancake made with vegetables and meat), and kushikatsu (battered and deep-fried meat, fish, or vegetables on skewers) in particular.

22. Decadent Osaka Desserts - Satisfy Your Cheesecake Cravings

PABLO Osaka

Picture from At PABLO, Choose How You Want Your Cheesecake Baked
Travelers looking for dessert should stop by PABLO, a nationwide chain bakery based in Osaka known for their rich cheesecakes and tarts. Diners can enjoy classic cheesecake, matcha flavor, and even takoyaki-inspired cakes. Also, the bakery regularly comes out with limited-edition flavors.

23. Umeda Sky Building - View Osaka from the Rooftop

Umeda Sky Building

The Umeda Sky Building was chosen as one of the Top 20 Buildings Around the World by "The Times" magazine. Its unique shape, reminiscent of a triumphal arch, is very unique and is sure to add to the fun of your visit.

The Kuchu Teien Observatory on the 40th floor is where you can take in an unbroken view of Osaka. You can even go to the rooftop and enjoy a 360-degree panoramic view from 173 meters.

If you visit in the evening, you will see why it was chosen as one of the Top 100 Night Views of Japan. The night view of Osaka and the surrounding areas is stunning.

Umeda Sky Building
Address: Osaka, Kita 1-1-87 Google Map
Access: 11-minute walk from Umeda Station
Website: https://www.kuchu-teien.com/en/

24. Tempozan Ferris Wheel - Enjoy the Enchanting View

Tempozan

The Tempozan Ferris Wheel is located at Tempozan Harbor Village, a popular spot in Osaka next to Kaiyukan. It is Japan’s largest Ferris wheel at 112.5 meters in height and 100 meters in diameter. It takes fifteen minutes for the Ferris wheel to complete one rotation, so you’ll be able to leisurely enjoy a journey up into the sky and back down.

By riding the Ferris wheel, you will get a full view of Osaka and the bay. The scenery at night is also known to be very romantic, so it is a great place to go to if you are on a date.

Tempozan Ferris Wheel
Address: Osaka, Minato, Kaigandori 1-1-10 Google Map
Access: 7-minute walk from Osakako Station
Website: http://www.senyo.co.jp/tempozan/ (Japanese)

25. Abeno Harukas - Climb the Tallest Building in Japan

Abeno Harukas

Abeno Harukas is Japan’s tallest building with a height of 300 meters. 

Abeno Harukas contains shopping floors which reach from the ground floor up to the eleventh floor. The twelfth to fourteenth floors are restaurant floors. There are around 44 restaurants on these floors, offering everything from Japanese foods like sushi, tempura, and unagi (eel) to Italian and French cuisines.

On the sixteenth floor is the Abeno Harukas Art Museum, where artworks from around the world are displayed. The 58th to 60th floors are observation decks. This is a building visitors can enjoy all day long.

Abeno Harukas
Address: Osaka, Abeno, 1-1-43 Google Map
Access: 9-minute walk from Tennoji Station
Website: https://www.abenoharukas-300.jp/en/

Discover Local Nightlife in Osaka with Magical Trip

15 Fun Things To Do In Osaka - Both Famous And Little Known!

Picture courtesy of Magical Trip

If you want to discover the local nightlife of Namba, Osaka, sign up for the Osaka Bar Hopping Food Tour by Magical Trip. A local tour guide will show you lesser-known bars and pubs of Namba where you can chat with locals while enjoying delicious food and drink.

Enjoy Osaka!

Osaka is a dynamic city full of activity and excitement for all. From historic sites to museums, shopping and gourmet, there are many things that make Osaka unique and a must-visit when in Japan.

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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