Osaka not only provides access to popular destinations like Kobe, Kyoto, Sakai and Nara, but is a glitzy entertainment powerhouse itself. Shop in the city’s northern Kita area while you explore the business district, see wildlife enclosures to the south or savour a show in the glamorous Namba district.
Start in Kita, where you can learn about Japan’s post-World War II art scene at the subterranean National Museum of Art. Kids will love the Osaka Science Museum across the road. Here they can perform experiments, watch the wonders of physics and delight in daily science shows. Nearby, find the Umeda Sky Building, an iconic silver spire that offers great views from below or from its high observation deck.
Cab downtown to the Tennoji area and enjoy its family-friendly zoos and temples. See fascinating species from Japan and beyond at the city’s animal attraction, the Tennoji Zoo. Walk around the Tennoji Park and find a quiet moment among its artistic monuments. Nearby, the Shitennoji Temple features ruins from the sixth century, while the Tsūtenkaku Tower stands as a symbol of Osaka’s prosperity.
Around the bay, find the gargantuan Osaka Aquarium. With over 29,000 underwater inhabitants, including a whale shark, it is one of the world’s largest aquariums. Afterwards, jump on a 10-minute ferry to Universal Studios Japan. Here you can spot famous movie characters while you hold your stomach on wild amusement rides.
Take a moment for reflection while you admire the pretty Osaka Castle, a construction built in the 16th century. Alternatively, find a Zen moment surrounded by colour in the rose garden at Nakanoshima Park.
Shoppers of all tastes will find their prized souvenir in the Minami district. This commercial suburb hosts a range of retailers, from high-end boutiques to local sweet shops. As evening falls, join the excitement at Namba Grand Kagetsu, Osaka’s favourite comedy theatre. After a show, find a bar amongst the glitzy neon lights of the Namba area and reflect on a busy day.