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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


Osaka Castle (Osaka-jo)

One of Japan's most famous castles, Osaka Castle played a major role in unifying Japan in the sixteenth century. First built in 1583 by one of Japan’s most fabled warlords, Hideyoshi Toyotomi, succeeded in ending century-long wars and using Osaka Castle as his stronghold. The castle was built on about one square kilometer (less than a mile squared) of land, with two raised platforms supported by sheer walls of cut rock and surrounded by a moat. The central building is five stories outside, and eight stories on the inside. The thirteen structures that make up the castle have be designated as Important Cultural Assets by the Japanese government. Osaka Castle was nearly destroyed during WWII, when used as one of the largest military armories. A full restoration started in 1995, and by 1997, had been completely restored to it's Edo-era days. The current castle is a concrete reproduction of the original castle, with a modern museum within.More

Osaka Aquarium (Kaiyukan)

Osaka Aquarium, also known as Kaiyukan, is Japan's most impressive aquarium, and also one of the largest public aquariums in the world. It is home to various different species from the Pacific Rim, most specifically, the "Ring of Fire." The aquarium contains some of the largest tanks in the world, and houses 27 tanks with 16 main exhibits, with the goal of mimicking the natural habitat of the sea life as close as possible. Learn about all of the sea creatures through themed exhibition halls which include interactive activities for all ages! Only a thin sheet of glass separates visitors from the denizens of the deep, from whale sharks to sand-scuttling spider crabs to jellyfish, otters, seals, dolphins and penguins. Osaka Aquarium is located among a variety of restaurants and shops that you can end your family-fun day with.More

Shitenno-ji Temple

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


The most famous entertainment neighborhood in Osaka, Dotonbori (also called Dotombori) boasts a rich history, an exciting nightlife, and cultural gems. Situated along the Dotomborigawa River, Dotonbori stretches down a single street in in the city’s Minami area. Formerly a pleasure district, geishas once flocked to Dotonbori as the go-to place to entertain their customers. Today remnants of that lively history can be felt and seen in the numerous small restaurants and bars that dot the river. In fact, Dotonbori is Osaka’s best neighborhood for both domestic and foreign food. In addition to drinking and dining, Dotonbori has excellent shopping. At night, Dotonbori comes to life with hundreds of neon lights. The most iconic images of the neighborhood are the larger-than-life neon “Guriko” sign – an image of a running man – and the Kani Doraku crab sign, an advertisement for a popular restaurant that features a moving crab.More

Nara Park (Nara Koen)

Deer Park (Nara Park) sits at the heart of Nara, a city of great historical importance and the birthplace of modern Japanese culture, located 19 miles (31 km) outside of Osaka. A majority of Nara’s top attractions, including Kasuga Shrine, Todaji and the Nara National Museum, are located in Deer Park, making it a popular day trip destination from both Osaka and Kyoto. Besides the cultural and historical attractions found on the grounds of the park, it’s also famous for the wild (but very tame) deer that roam the grounds grazing on grass and hoping the passing tourist will feed them some deer crackers (for sale throughout the park). The park covers an area of about 1,300 acres (520 hectares) and requires about three hours to explore, particularly if you plan to stop at the temples and shrines.More

Abeno Harukas (Osaka Harukas)

At 984 feet (300 meters) tall, Abeno Harukas (Osaka Harukas) takes the coveted superlative of Japan's highest skyscraper, narrowly rising above the former title holder, the Yokohama Landmark Tower. Part of the sprawling Abenobashi Terminal Building, it stands atop the Kintetsu Osaka Abenobashi Station and houses a department store, art museum, five-star hotel, and observation deck.More

Universal Studios Japan

Theme park rides and shows come together in Osaka at Universal Studios Japan®. Like its sister parks in the U.S., the movie theme park provides fun for the whole family! Snoopy, Hello Kitty, Woody Woodpecker, Shrek and many other stars are on hand to greet you as you make your way through the park. Entertaining rides include Jaws, Back to the Future, the Spider-Man Ride and Jurassic Park! Partake in ultra-exhilarating shows like Shrek's 4-D Adventure, Terminator 2: 3-D or Backdraft. Universal Studios shows are fun for everyone and are full of excitement! And if you're a Harry Potter fan, be enchanted by the newly opened Wizarding World of Harry Potter! Fly over Hogwarts on the "Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey" flight simulator; tour Hogwarts castle to see some of its most famous rooms; or even take a ride on a Hippogriff (winged horse with an eagle head)!More

Tsutenkaku Tower

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.More

Sumiyoshi-taisha (Sumiyoshi Grand Shrine)

Osaka’s most famous shrine, Sumiyoshi-taisha, protects travelers of all sorts, including fisherman and sailors. The shrine is named both for the Sumiyoshi gods – the gods of the sea – and for a distinctive style of purely Japanese architecture known as Sumiyoshi-zukuri. To this day, it remains a pilgrimage destination for seafarers and travelers from around Japan, and the world, to pray for safe passage and good fortune. Adding to its superlatives, the shrine was founded in the 3rd century, making it one of Japan’s oldest shrines. For these reasons, Japan designated the Sumiyoshi-taisha shrine as a National Treasure. The most recognizable image of Sumiyoshi-taisha is its symbol, the Taiko-bashi Bridge. The red arched Bridge provides a picturesque walkway across a pond flanked with verdant foliage that leads to the shrine. The shrine itself features traditional straight roofs and a red gate.More

Trip ideas

Top Temples and Shrines in Osaka

Top Temples and Shrines in Osaka

Top activities in Osaka

Recent reviews from experiences in Osaka

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!
Great Tour!
Obereagle, Feb. 2020
Osaka's Best and Brightest by Private Vehicle
Great way to see Osaka.
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.
a fun time
andpaul18, Feb. 2020
Takoyaki Cooking Class
The instructor was fantastic and a wealth of information about where to go and what to see in and around Osaka.
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.
Interesting, relaxed tour
D5571YJpato, Dec. 2019
Deep Backstreet Osaka Tours
It was good to be able to see the other sides of Osaka.
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.
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!
anapita, Apr. 2019
Osaka Walking Tour
The guide was very funny and speak a perfect English.
Good overview
JustBeachin55, Mar. 2019
Osaka Walking Tour
She points out things for you to see after the tour and helps you master the subway.
Overall a great tour to see the...
Krishna Prema K, Jul. 2017
Day Trip by Bus to Kyoto, Nara and Kobe from Osaka/Kyoto
Overall a great tour to see the sights and highlights of Kyoto, Nara and Kobe.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
joygme, Oct. 2019
Osaka's Best and Brightest by Private Vehicle
He was warm and sincere, friendly, and very good in English.
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.
Hands down the best tour I have ever...
Kevin S, Apr. 2018
Osaka Backstreet Night Tour
A great experience and one I will do again if fortunate enough to visit Osaka again.

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