Osaka is a city on the Japanese Island of Honshu; with so many fun things to do and places to visit in Osaka, we’ve created an Osaka Tourism Guide to make it easier to navigate. It is the third-largest city in Japan and has is sees the hyper-modern sit side-by-side with traditional and peaceful memories of a traditional Japan.
The streets are bountiful with colour and dynamic locals, whose commitment to fashion, culture and art can be seen the minute they walk down the street. Filled with markets, arcades, museums and great, famous food Osaka will take your breath away in seconds and be an experience you never forget.
All of the things to do in Osaka that we have listed in this travel guide are priced in Yen, but just so you have an idea the exchange rate for Japan and Singapore is currently 1 Japanese Yen (¥1) to 0.12 Singapore Dollars.
Our list of what to do in Osaka is comprehensive, but there are many popular neighbourhoods in Osaka, such as Dotonbori and Namba to be explored further. We always encourage you to go out there and find more to do and tell us what we can add to our guides to make sure everyone’s experience is as good as yours.
“I had read nothing about the city other than it was lively, economic powerhouse with great food. It took about an hour after arrival, as we made our way to our apartment in Shinsekai, for me to feel Osaka was not what I expected from any Japanese city. My family loved it!”
By Darcy Moore
2 Chome-1-33 Sakurajima, Konohana Ward, Osaka, Osaka Prefecture 554-0031, Japan
We would be totally remiss if we did not start with one of the most exciting theme parks in Osaka – Universal Studios Japan. The new Wizarding World of Harry Potter area will see you transported to Hogwarts to experience the magic of the Harry Potter books. There are many rides, food carts and restaurants, making this a great day trip for anyone, especially families. There are plenty of hotels in Osaka nearby to Universal Studios Japan, visit the Expedia website to find out more and start planning your trip today.
Prices for tickets start at ¥7,400 for adults and ¥4,980 for children, but prices can vary based on the type of park experience you choose and how long you want your ticket to last (can go over one day). You can also buy fast passes for an additional amount to avoid the queues. If you’re not coming with children we suggest you avoid the school holidays to miss the long queuing process. Universal Studios Japan opens between 08.30-09.30 and closes from 19.30-21.00 each night on most days, but visit the website to find out exact times.
Osakajo, Chuo Ward, Osaka, Osaka Prefecture 540-0002, Japan
Osaka Castle is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Osaka; this incredible building was first constructed in 1538, but has subsequently had to have been rebuilt owing to being burnt down and hit by lightning in the past. The current building was established in 1931 and includes many modern features.
However, it is not only the beautiful Osaka Castle that attracts visitors every year, but also the fairy tale like Nishinomaru Garden where you can walk amongst around 600 cherry trees. Cherry Blossom forecasts show that early April is the best time to experience the beauty of these pink petals in full bloom. The Osaka Castle and Park are open from 09.00 and last admission is at 16.30 (later opening hours in the summer months) and entry fees start at ¥600, but can be less if you are coming in as a group.
“Bring your appetite with you when you visit Osaka Castle. Although most travelers go here—it's Osaka's most popular attraction—they don't anticipate the various food trailers, which serve up local favorites like okonomiyaki pancakes, as well as more eclectic dishes like "taco rice."
1 Chome-1-10 Kaigandori, Minato Ward, Osaka, Osaka Prefecture 552-0022, Japan
The Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan is a popular Osaka attraction for all visitors to enjoy. This modern aquarium sees you start your experience on the top (8th floor) and wind your way downwards past 15 different tanks. Each tank introduces new and interesting creatures from the Pacific Rim and will not fail to leave you pointing and gasping in awe and amazement. Tickets start at ¥2,300 for adults and decrease in price for seniors and children of different ages (children under the age of three go free).
〒531-6023 Osaka Prefecture, Osaka, 北区大淀中1-1-88, Japan
The Umeda Sky Building truly is an architectural beauty to behold. It consists of two towers connected by an observation platform, also known as the Floating Gardens. It allows you to take in 360-views of Osaka and feel the wind in your hair from 170meters up in the air. The observation platform is one of the best places to visit in Osaka according to reviews and is open from 10.00 to 22.30 every day and costs ¥800 to visit.
Temma 1-chome, Kita-ku, Osaka 530-0043
The real reason The Japan Mint is one of the best places to visit in Osaka is because of the plethora of cherry blossoms that encompass the building. They have many different types of blossom (white, pink and green) and there is so much of it that you’ll find yourself walking through tunnels of cherry blossom trees.
The venue is open from 9.00 to 16.45, but is closed at weekends, on National Holidays and other dates important to the growth of healthy cherry blossom throughout the year (check dates online as these change). Fortunately for all this is a free thing to do in Osaka, so your enjoyment will not cost a penny.
1-11-18 Shitennoji, Tennoji Ward, Osaka, Osaka Prefecture 543-0051, Japan
Shitennoji is one of the oldest temples in Japan, it was founded in 593AD and is a symbol of the introduction of Buddhism in Japan. Built by Prince Shotoku, this temple has suffered a number of fires, but has always been carefully rebuilt to accurately reflect its original design.
Visitors can simply view the temple for free, but as one of the most beautiful things to do in Osaka, we recommend venturing into the Inner Precinct and the Gokuraku-jodo Garden. You can see the statue of Prince Shotoku and the cherry blossom that appears delicately sprinkled all over the gardens. Additionally, the Treasury Building holds many ancient relics and historical objects that teach visitors more about the history of Japan.
Shitennoji is open from 8.30-16.30 (16.30 in the winter months from October to March) and costs ¥300 for the Inner Precinct and Gokuraku-jodo Garden, and ¥500 for the Treasury.
“Osaka has a special feeling and atmosphere all of its own. Unattractive to some, a sea of functional concrete homes hide a maze of games halls, sushi bars and kuidaore restaurants. Enjoy the ancient and modern by visiting the oldest Temple in Japan, Shitennoji Temple, then heading to the 173 meter tall Umeda Sky Building, for a 360-degree view of the city.”
By Kach Howe
The Osaka Science Museum focuses on the scientific beauty of physics and the laws of motion. It can be a bit challenging as the museum is mainly in Japanese but has many interactive displays that can be enjoyed by all. Entry costs ¥400 for adults and less for younger visitors and is open from 09.30-17.00 (last admission at 16.30).
〒530-0005 Osaka Prefecture, Osaka, Kita Ward, Nakanoshima, 4−2−1, Japan
Source: hashi photos
Open-Air Museum of Old Japanese Farmhouses is a vast open-air exhibition/museum that is considered on of the best places to visit in Osaka. It is a large collection of old, traditional Japanese houses that have been transported to this area and been meticulously reconstructed. There are striking buildings here you would never expect to see such as thatched-farmhouse that looks as though it’s wrapped up for winter. The museum is open from 09.30 to 17.00 (last admission at 16.30) and costs ¥500 for adults.
1-2 Hattori Ryokuchi, Toyonaka City, Osaka 561-0873, Japan
〒543-0063 1-108 Chausuyama-cho, Tennoji-ku, Osaka City, Japan
If you’re looking for some peace and quiet and time to enjoy your own thoughts and surroundings, then you should visit this popular Osaka attraction. Tennoji Park, similar to Central Park in New York, is a break from the urban zoo that makes Osaka so popular. It is over 100 years old and opened in 1909 and within its grounds you can find peaceful lakes, wide open-spaces, restaurants, shops and the Tennoji Zoological Gardens and Osaka Municipal Museum of Art.
The park is open 7 days a week and does not cost to enter, but if you’re looking to visit the other Osaka attractions, such as the Zoo or Museum you will have to pay a fee. The Tennoji Zoological Gardens are open every day, except for Monday, from 09.30 to 17.00 and costs ¥500 for adults.
1-108 Chausuyamacho, Tennoji Ward, Osaka, Osaka Prefecture 543-0063, Japan
The Osaka Municipal Museum of Art is open from 09.30 to 17.30 except on Mondays when it is closed. It costs ¥300 for adults and can be found at: 〒543-0063 1-82 Chausuyama-cho, Tennoji-ku, Osaka City.
552-0022 1-1-10 Kaigandori Minato-ku, Osaka City
Once the largest observation platform in the world, the Tempozan Ferris Wheel, is now only second to the London Eye and is still an exciting thing to do in Osaka. A ride on this Osaka attraction gives you a panoramic, unique view of the city of Osaka. It sits on the Osaka Bay and at night is illuminated with bright, romantic lighting perfect for couples. To take one ride on the Tempozan Ferris Wheel you will need to pay ¥800 and the observation wheel is open from 10.00 to 22.30.
If you’re looking to spend some money on yourself or others then you are in luck as Osaka is has so many world class shopping areas, shops, malls and arcades. No matter what your taste, whether you’re looking for thrift shops or designer goods, there will be something to get you excited.
Umeda/Kita (North) and Namba (South) are the two main shopping districts, but in between these two areas is the famous Shinsaibashi Suji. It is a shopping area that is over 600 metres long and the atmosphere is thick with excitement and other shoppers keen to find the best deals and products.
There are several specialised shopping areas in Osaka also, such as Ame-Mura, or American Town. Here you will find the youth of Osaka trying several contemporary, on-trend fashion destinations. There are thousands of shops, bars and cafes, and you can easily spend the day in this Avant-garde Japanese shopping town.
“One must-see neighborhood in Osaka is Amerikimura, or America Village, a street culture hotspot dedicated to the Japanese perception of American culture. There are hamburger joints, flags everywhere and even a replica of the Statue of Liberty! Of course everything has a unique Japanese spin to it, and it's a great area to observe local street style and cosplay events.”
The illuminated Dotonbori is an ideal destination for shoppers looking for experience as well as an interesting day out. This labyrinth of shops, restaurants and bars is like a shopaholic’s theme park and will have you reeling with energy. Look at the ¥100 shops or signs as you could be there in time to experience one of their famous flash sales.
Osaka is made up of multiple districts, each with their own unique offering, but all similarly appealing and lively in the evening. The nightlife scene is incredibly diverse and live music and cultural performances are in abundance, as well as contemporary nightlife experiences. If you’re not looking to bring out the dancing shoes just yet, you can relax and get up close and personal with the locals and fellow tourists in one of the hundreds of bars in Osaka.
Just as a warning most bars and clubs will only take cash, so make sure you have enough on you to satisfy your evening. We’ve compiled a list of our favourite bars and nightclubs in areas (such as Dotonbori in Namba):
1-4-5 Nishishinsaibashi, Chuo-ku, Midosuji Bldg 11F, Osaka 542-0086, Osaka Prefectur, Japan
This Osaka nightclub is one of the largest and most upbeat clubs in the city; a number of high profile DJs from a range of different musical tastes have played here. Cover charge is usually ¥2500.
Matsumiya Bldg. 1F, 10-1-2, Higashi-Shinsaibashi, Chuo-ku,, Hachiman-suji, Osaka, Japan
Visitors to this bar have called it one of the friendliest and most interesting nightlife venues in Osaka. This bar has relatively cheap cocktails compared to other places and is open from 19.30-05.00 on Monday to Saturday and 20.00-03.00 on Sunday.
Club Karma Osaka
1-5-18 Sonezaki-shinchi, Kita-ku, Osaka, Japan
If dancing is at the top of your list of things to do for your night out, then this is your ideal destination. Known for its range of music, such as drum and bass, techno, rock n’ roll, and more, there is something here to satisfy all tastes. The staff speak English and are very helpful to visitors, and the cover fee/admission fee is usually ¥2500.
National Bunraku Theatre
1-12-10 Nippombashi, Chuo-ku, Osaka 542-0073, Osaka Prefecture, Japan
If you’re looking for a more traditional experience in Osaka, then visit the National Bunraku Theatre, for an exciting live puppet show. Fun for all ages, this fascinating show uses large puppets and lighting tricks to bring you a beautiful, elegant performance. Full performances can last for hours and tickets can cost from ¥2400-6000 (single performance prices may vary). Visit the website for show times, as these change depending on when you are making your visit. This really is one of the best places to visit in Osaka and should definitely be on your to do list.
Anyone who enjoys delicious, tasty, mind-blowingly amazing food is in luck; Osaka is arguably the food capital of Japan. Every inch of the city is infiltrated by food; the restaurants or other food places usually do not sit more than a few tables at a time, but these destinations are everywhere. From basements, to alleyways, to skyscrapers, you will find something exquisite wherever you turn.
The food in Japan is considered to be more expensive than other South East Asian countries, but in Osaka you will find prices to be relatively cheaper to the rest of the country. We’ve compiled a list of the best neighbourhoods and dishes to try in Osaka.
“Osaka is referred to as “Japan’s kitchen” and visitors to the city soon realise why. From street food to Michelin starred restaurants, there’s something to suit all budgets and tastes in Osaka. Locals love to eat out and everywhere you look there seems to be a great food spot.”
By Paul Kristoff, http://thecitylane.com/
Visitors to Osaka have said that this is the home of the best sushi they have ever eaten. We recommend visiting Jinen Unagidani in the Minami area (open 11.00-16.00), where you can get a huge range of sushi for very reasonable prices. Alternatively, try Harukoma Sushi (5-5-2 Tenjinbashi, Kita-ku, Osaka, Japan) where you may have to queue a little, but we definitely think it is well worth the wait.
Kobe Beef is a very famous meat in Japan and across the world; people will pay top prices for this incredible marbled beef. Tsurugyu (3-5-14 Kawarayamachi chuo-ku Osaka, Osaka 542-0066, Japan) is famous for its commitment to serving Kobe Beef in the best possible way, you don’t have to just barbecue it, you can eat it raw or grilled.
Other Foods to try in Osaka
There are plenty of other dishes in Osaka you must try, especially in the Dotonbori area, such as:
- Okonomiyaki (a type of Japanese pancake)
- Takoyaki (a ball shaped, battered snack with ingredients such as octopus, ginger or onion)
- Fugu (also known as blowfish, the only bit of the fish that is not poisonous to consume)
- Hiyashi Ame (a cool, refreshing Summer drink)
The perfect fusion of gourmet, culture, heritage is where all meet - you’re just 30 mins to Kyoto, 2 hours east from Hiroshima and 3 hours to Kyushu/Tokyo by Shinkansen. Don’t forget takoyaki (octopus balls) or dining at over 200 Michelin-starred restaurants, those have to top your food hunt list in the ’Nation’s Kitchen'!
By Sy Yuan
Expedia’s list of Osaka hotels is extensive and there is something for everyone. We’ve divided our recommendations based upon budget, but we recommend you visit the website for additional hotels in Osaka that will meet your every need.
There are two of the most luxurious five star hotels located in the heart of Osaka. The first being the Ritz Carlton hotel in Osaka; the Ritz Carlton hotels are known for their glamour and this one exudes all of the elegance of a 18th Century British Manor. One of the many experiences that await you whilst staying in this Osaka hotel; is the divine French in-house restaurant, Le Baie. Choose from dynamic views of the Osaka bay area, mountains or city and enjoy the spa facilities including a swimming pool, hot tub and sauna. This Osaka hotel is located in the Nishi-Umeda business-and-shopping district and is only 0.7km away from The Umeda Sky Building.
Average prices for the Ritz Carlton Osaka are around SG$549 per night stay, but these prices can vary depending on the time you visit or the length you stay. Visit the Expedia Singapore website to find out the exact cost of your stay.
The second five star hotel we recommend in Osaka, is the St. Regis Osaka Hotel. This hotels décor is more modern than its Ritz Carlton counterpart, but equally as luxurious and elegant. This sophisticated hotel in Umeda is within 2km of popular places to visit in Osaka, such as the Osaka Science Museum and Osaka Museum of History. This hotel has a number of alluring amenities such as two restaurants and a fitness centre, as well as a bar and café.
A stay at this Osaka hotel will cost you, on average SG$677 a night, but prices vary depending on the details of your visit. Visit the Expedia Singapore website to find out more.
Other luxurious hotels in Osaka include the Osaka Marriott Miyako Hotel in Tenojii nearby to the Shinsaibashi Shopping Arcade. Or the Imperial Hotel Osaka with six restaurants and a health club, as well as a beautiful view of the water. All of these hotels begin at around SG$300 per night to stay, visit the Expedia website to find out exact hotel costs and see more luxury hotels in Osaka.
If you’re looking for comfort and quality amenities, but looking to reduce the cost of your accommodation, there are many options for you. There are many hotels in Osaka that offer a range of facilities to satisfy your needs. For this section, we’ve chosen hotels that range in price from SG$200-250 per night stay depending on the duration and time of your trip to Osaka.
For a traditional Japanese experience, visit the Okimizuma Hotel in Osaka, where you will find yourself settled among plush green landscapes and a soothing atmosphere. This hotel has an outdoor pool and is situated on the river nearby to the Mizuma Temple. Alternatively, the Cross Hotel Osaka also provides a high level of comfort and is conveniently located nearby to the Shinsaibashi Shopping Arcade and Shitennoji Temple.
The Hotel Ichiei is another hotel in Osaka that offers a soothing atmosphere as well as cosiness and a high-level of service that will ensure your trip is an all-round success. The hotel has its own restaurant but is located in the popular Namba district so you will be nearby to the Shinsaibashi Shopping Arcade, Osaka Science Museum and Osaka Castle. For more mid-range hotels visit the Expedia Singapore website.
For those of you on a smaller budget then Expedia Singapore have a large number of hotels that will suit you. There are also a number of apartments or hostels that you can find on the Expedia website. The hotels listed on this Osaka tourism guide are those that our guests have highly-recommended, are all less than SG$200 per night stay (on average).
The Ark Hostel is ideal for those looking to make some friends abroad, if you’re a solo traveller the shared accommodation at this hotel is perfect for you. This hostel in Osaka is less than 3km from the Osaka Science Museum, the Umeda Sky Building and Shinsaibashi Shopping Arcade.
The somewhat futuristic Ideal Tenonoji is a building containing fifteen simple, but sophisticated apartments that each boast their own their own deep-tubs, free Wi-Fi and kitchenettes. These Osaka apartments are within 5km to several Osaka attractions including the Horikoshi Shrine and Shitennoji Temple, Osaka Castle and Tsutenkaku Tower.
The Mitsui Garden Hotel Osaka Premier is a hotel that offers sophistication and comfort at a low, affordable price. Located in Umeda this hotel in Osaka is within 3km of Osaka National Museum of Art, Osaka Science Museum, Umeda Sky Building and Shinsaibashi Shopping Arcade. The team of staff are multilingual and will go out of their way to ensure your stay is as exciting and comfortable as possible.
For more details about the hotels in Osaka or the apartments and hostels, visit the Expedia Singapore website and search for your ideal accommodation.
Getting From the Airport
Osaka International Airport no longer serves International flights and instead you will fly into Kansai International Airport (KIX). Getting from the airport can be done by train, as the JR line and Nankai line both go through the airport to different areas in Osaka, such as Namba, Tennoji and Universal City or even onto Kyoto.
Other methods of transport include buses; there are a number of buses that go to and from KIX. Tickets can be purchased from the vendors outside the stop, and you can visit the airport website to find out more about timings and bus numbers.
Expedia Singapore have a number of different flights to Osaka that depart from Singapore, visit the Expedia website to find out more about times and prices that suit you. There are several cheap flights to Osaka that will make sure you’re able to visit whatever your budget.
Trains and Subways in Osaka
Osaka is largely connected by trains and subways, which makes getting around very simple. There are two main regions of Osaka: Kita and Minami (Namba). There are a number of ticket options available that make travelling around on various methods of transport very simple and lot cheaper.
The Kansai Thru Pass 2-day/3-day ticket allows you to travel on multiple methods of transport and is available for 2-3 days, so if you’re planning on being in the area for that amount of time we recommend you purchase this. It is ¥4,000 for adults for 2 days and ¥5,200 for a 3 day pass, tickets cost less for children.
Alternatively, the Osaka Amazing Pass is best for those travellers who plan on visiting a number of Osaka attractions and costs ¥3,000 for 2 days and ¥1,300 for 1 day. You will also have complimentary access to a number of places to visit in Osaka by using the coupon booklet that comes with it.
There are other options and to ensure you get the best ticket available for you, visit the Kansai Tourist Information Center at the airport. A route map is also available at all stations, or if you need to view it online visit this website.
Cycling in Osaka
Cycling is a popular travel alternative in Osaka and there are also a number of tours that operate via this method of transport. Cycle Osaka is a popular English speaking bicycle rental company that will allow you to hire bikes to explore the city alone or embark on one of their informative tours.
Taxis in Osaka
Be warned, taxis in Japan are very expensive and we recommend only using them if your budget allows or in case of a situations where you need to get somewhere quickly.
Osaka has comfortable climate and the best time to visit Osaka is based on what you wish to see and do the most. A popular time is in the Spring, as people flock to the city to see the beautiful cherry blossom in its prime. It can get quite busy so expect to be surrounded by other tourists from around the world; it can make visiting some attractions quite busy and mean you have to queue a lot. However, most visitors will say that the scent that fills the air from the cherry blossom is well worth the wait. Expect to have to book in advance for best prices and to avoid disappointment when it comes to booking hotels and flights.
Golden Week is also in Spring; this is a time where there are several national/public holidays, so things can get very busy when both tourists and locals are making the most of their time off.
Summer in Osaka is very humid and temperatures can rise to 30°C, making it quite uncomfortable to be in a lively city. However, this is also the time of the Tenjin Matsuri, a popular festival celebrated on the 24-25th of July. There are many brightly coloured processions and celebrations that fill up into the streets all day and night.
Autumn is a different, but equally as beautiful time to visit Osaka; it is a great time for excursions out to Kyoto and the city comes alive with fiery red autumn leaves.