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Things to do in Osaka

Things to do in  Osaka

Welcome to Osaka

Packed with street food stalls, neon-fronted bars, and modern developments, Japan’s second city is a commercial hub whose streets come to life after dark. Either side of the Yodo River, ancient temples, museums, and Osaka Castle—one of Japan’s most visited attractions—stand testament to ancient Japanese tradition, while in the city center the America Mura and Dotombori neighborhoods thrum with modern vibrancy. A culinary tour is a must in Osaka and the city’s close proximity to Nara, Kyoto, and Kobe make it a convenient base from which to discover the diverse treasures of Japan.

Top 10 attractions in Osaka

#1
Himeji Castle (Himeji-Jo)

Himeji Castle (Himeji-Jo)

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If you only have time for one day trip from Kyoto or Osaka, make it Himeji Castle (Himeji-Jo), renowned as Japan’s most beautiful historic citadel. Also known as White Heron Castle, the UNESCO-listed hilltop structure was built in 1580 and features a five-story central tower with surrounding moats, walls, and pagodas.More
#2
Universal Studios Japan

Universal Studios Japan

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Universal Studios Japan—Asia’s first Universal Studios theme park—is second only to the Tokyo Disney Resort as Japan’s most visited amusement park. Beloved characters like Shrek, Hello Kitty, and Spiderman are in attendance, and a spectacular variety of rides, movie simulators, and parades keep all ages entertained.More
#3
Nara Park (Nara Koen)

Nara Park (Nara Koen)

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Located in the heart of Nara City, Nara Park (Nara Koen) is famous for the more than 1,000 semi-wild sika deer that roam its grounds. Spanning 1,631 acres (660 hectares), the scenic public park is also home to several popular attractions, including the Todai-ji Temple, the Isuien Garden, and the Nara National Museum.More
#4
Tsutenkaku Tower

Tsutenkaku Tower

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Vintage fun comes to Osaka in the shape of the Tsutenkaku, Osaka’s answer to the Eiffel Tower. Tsutenkaku, translated into "tower reaching heaven," reaches 338 feet (103 meters) high, making it one of the tallest buildings in Asia when it was built in 1912.Beautifully illuminated and outlined in neon by night, the tower has a decidedly kitsch but cute 1950s futuristic look. Take the elevator to the observation deck on the summit’s fifth level to visit the popular good luck symbol, Billiken, the God of Happiness. A popular American doll in the early 1900s, Billiken was enshrined in the nearby Luna Park, but went missing when the park closed in 1923. To revive the tower and park, a replica was put in the tower and is considered a good luck symbol. Each year thousands of visitors place a coin in his donation box and rub the soles of his feet to make their wishes come true.Tsutenkaku also boasts some other cool features. The neon lights at the top of the tower are also a weather vane and will predict the next day's forecast. And the clock located on the east side of the building is huge - 18 feet (5.5 meters) across and weighing about 55lbs (25kg). There is also a theater and a few toy museums located within!More
#5
Osaka Aquarium (Kaiyukan)

Osaka Aquarium (Kaiyukan)

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One of the largest public aquariums in the world, the Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan is home to various species from the Pacific Ring of Fire and aquatic environments around the globe. Learn about local species such as Asian otters and giant spider crabs, and see other creatures, including sea turtles, sharks, penguins, and a host of tropical fish.More
#6
Osaka Castle (Osaka-jo)

Osaka Castle (Osaka-jo)

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Among the most famous castles in Japan, Osaka Castle (Osaka-jo) dates back to the 16th century, when it played a major role in unifying the nation. Today the reconstructed castle houses a museum filled with artifacts from the history of Japan and from the castle’s creator, Toyotomi Hideyoshi. The main tower provides a nice view over urban Osaka.More
#7
Dotonbori

Dotonbori

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Dotonbori (also called Dotombori) is a bustling nightlife district in Osaka’s Minami area. It stretches along the Dtomborigawa River, with a multitude of small restaurants, bars, and neon lights that come alive after nightfall. An entertainment neighborhood, Dotonbori is famous for its varied cuisine and huge animated signs.More
#8
Kuromon Ichiba Market

Kuromon Ichiba Market

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A large covered market selling fresh and cooked food, Kuromon Ichiba Market is nicknamed “Osaka’s kitchen,” because many chefs and home cooks come here for supplies. It has since branched out from purely seafood options, and is typically bustling with locals and visitors hoping to get an inside look at local ingredients and cuisine.More
#9
Shinsaibashi

Shinsaibashi

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Osaka’s Shinsaibashi entertainment district has been a popular shopping destination for more than 350 years. How many shopping malls can say that? The 600-meter long shopping arcade (1968 feet) is a symbol of Osaka. Countless boutiques, specialty shops, department stores, cafes, and restaurants line either side of the strip. Shinsaibashi is a great place to shop and people-watch, as the services inside range from traditional kimono tailors to stores selling the latest fashion apparel.Shinsaibashi can be broken up into multiple separate areas, each popular with a unique crowds. An area off of Suomachi-suji Street has been nicknamed the “European Village” for its cobblestone sidewalks and brick buildings. The westernmost part of Sensaibashi is known as the “American Village” and is easily spotted by the artistic murals painted on the walls. Here you will find a concentration of hip Osaka teenagers and foreigners. Wandering around Sensaibashi can fill an entire day.More
#10
Shitenno-ji Temple

Shitenno-ji Temple

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Built in the 6th century by Prince Shotoku—a cultural hero who helped to bring Buddhism to the country—Shitenno-ji is one of Japan’s oldest temples. The complex includes a multi-tiered tower, pagoda, lecture hall, and gate. Though most of the current structures are from the 1963 rebuilding, they still reflect the 6th century design.More

Trip ideas

Top Temples and Shrines in Osaka

Top Temples and Shrines in Osaka

Recent reviews from experiences in Osaka

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A great overview of Osaka
Angelica_G, Apr 2021
Osaka virtual tour
It was a great overview of Osaka's culture, history, and cuisine, and it made me really want to visit Osaka once travel is possible again.
star-5
Great Tour!
shannonmoore, Mar 2020
PRIVATE Half-Day Osaka 4-Hour Off-The-Beaten Track Walking Tour
This was an awesome tour and I highly recommend this to anyone that is wanting to see Osaka!
star-5
Great Tour!
Obereagle, Feb 2020
Osaka's Best and Brightest by Private Vehicle
Great way to see Osaka.
star-5
Nice food and experience
nisaaryanto, Feb 2020
Kuromon Market Food Walking Tour in Osaka
She takes us walking around the market, buying sushi and souvenirs, and also recommended us another interesting place to visit.
star-5
Osaka tour
carabarker, Feb 2020
Osaka Walking Tour
He was able to recommend places to see and sites to see while in Osaka.
star-5
Many thanks to Hiro!
brabcovamilada, Dec 2019
Osaka Half-Day Private Tour with Nationally-Licensed Guide
Adopted the tour to a senior person for whom is English a second language.
star-5
Interesting, relaxed tour
D5571YJpato, Dec 2019
Deep Backstreet Osaka Tours
It was good to be able to see the other sides of Osaka.
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Good Ride for a Good Cause
mbetts2019, Nov 2019
Osaka Bike Tour to the Neighborhood of Osaka Castle
It is a good way to see the Osaka Castle area and some temples, not to mention a close up view of Osaka traffic.
star-5
Fun, tasty and interesting!!
donaldbetson, Oct 2019
Walkabout Food Tour in Osaka
interesting to see a different part of Osaka to the main tourist spots and everything we tried was excellent!
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Great!
anapita, Apr 2019
Osaka Walking Tour
The guide was very funny and speak a perfect English.
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It was very good. They make sure...
Carina S, Dec 2015
Kyoto Highlights 1 Day Trip - Golden Pavilion & Kiyomizu temple from Osaka
They make sure that the English speaking tour guide comes with you on the train from Osaka and back.
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Nice 1 day tour of Kyoto and Nara from...
Vincent H S C, Apr 2010
Kyoto and Nara 1 Day Trip - Golden Pavilion and Todai-ji Temple from Osaka
Well organized with good English speaking guide is helpful.
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I was met at the agreed upon time by a...
Mark F, Jun 2008
Kyoto and Nara 1 Day Trip - Golden Pavilion and Todai-ji Temple from Osaka
Nara was fantastic, and I highly recommend this tour if you are short on time and want to see as much as possible.
star-4
A fun way to see Osaka
Ashleigh, Feb 2020
Street Osaka GoKart Tour with Funny Costume Rental
We had a lot of fun and it was a great way to see Osaka.
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the seemy side of Osaka
julieaF4725JA, Nov 2019
Deep Backstreet Osaka Tours
Lots of walking but that's what you need to do to get to see these places.
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Awesome Class with
Navigate714305, Nov 2019
Sushi Cooking Class in Osaka
My family and I visited Osaka and were looking for fun activities that we could do in addition to sightseeing.
star-5
PRIVATE TOUR is the BEST!
joygme, Oct 2019
Osaka's Best and Brightest by Private Vehicle
He was warm and sincere, friendly, and very good in English.
star-4
Wonderful Osaka Food Market Experience
PhilS130, Sep 2019
PRIVATE Deep Dive: Osaka Food Markets from Local to Luxurious!
I highly recommend this tour to anyone that wants to see the real Osaka behind the scenes food ingredients experience.
star-4
really good day in Miyajima and...
david a, Jan 2018
1-Day Hiroshima & Miyajima Tour (Round-trip from Osaka)
The only thing i didn't like was the amount of time left to see the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum.
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Very good tour. A guide met us at a...
cywchar, Jul 2017
Kyoto Morning Tour - Golden Pavilion & Kyoto Imperial Palace from Osaka
This was good as we were able to avoid the crowds at the three major attractions.

A local’s pocket guide to Osaka

Ichiro Ando

Ichi is an office worker-turned-tour guide in Osaka, his home city. Here, the locals have a reputation for being comedians (just joking) and the food is some of the best in Japan.

The first thing you should do in Osaka is...

go to Dotombori and eat takoyaki (fried balls stuffed with octopus) on the street.

A perfect Saturday in Osaka...

starts in Shinsekai with Smart Ball, a pinball-esque arcade game, and a okonomiyaki (savory pancake). Afterwards, visit the Imamiya Ebisu Shrine, and walk to the Namba neighborhood.

One touristy thing that lives up to the hype is...

the Osaka Castle. The tower, moat, stone walls, and park that surrounds the castle are beautiful.

To discover the "real" Osaka...

go to Karahori Shopping Street, which still has a traditional vibe. Visit salted kelp and green tea shops; browse at local supermarkets; and eat at affordable noodle restaurants alongside Osakans.

For the best view of the city...

go to the observation deck of the Umeda Sky building that was ranked as one of the most beautiful buildings in the world.

One thing people get wrong...

is thinking Osakans are all both stingy and funny. We’re frugal, sure, but we won’t all make you laugh. And Osaka Castle wasn’t rebuilt by Samurai!

Frequently Asked Questions
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