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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
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
#2
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
#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
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
#5
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
#6
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
#7
Abeno Harukas (Osaka Harukas)

Abeno Harukas (Osaka Harukas)

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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
#8
Sumiyoshi-taisha (Sumiyoshi Grand Shrine)

Sumiyoshi-taisha (Sumiyoshi Grand Shrine)

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Built to protect fisherman and sailors, the 3rd-century Sumiyoshi-taisha (Sumiyoshi Grand Shrine) is Osaka’s most famous shrine. Renowned for its classic Japanese architecture and vivid red-and-white colour, the shrineMore
#9
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
#10
Minami

Minami

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Minami (literally “South” is the go-to Osaka district if you want to get a taste of the city’s entertainment scene. With shopping, dining, and nightlife venues stretching from Semba to Namba Station, Minami is ever-popular with visitors and locals alike. More

Trip ideas

Top Temples and Shrines in Osaka

Top Temples and Shrines in Osaka

Top activities in Osaka

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Recent reviews from experiences in Osaka

star-5
Great Tour!
Shannon_M, Mar 2020
PRIVATE 4-Hour Best of Osaka Local Walk with Castle
This was an awesome tour and I highly recommend this to anyone that is wanting to see Osaka!
star-5
Great Tour!
Patrick_O, Feb 2020
Osaka's Best and Brightest by Private Vehicle
Great way to see Osaka.
star-5
Nice food and experience
Annisa_M, 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
Cara_B, 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!
Milada_V, Dec 2019
Osaka Half-Day Private Tour with Government-Licensed Guide
Adopted the tour to a senior person for whom is English a second language.
star-5
Interesting, relaxed tour
Patricia_O, Dec 2019
Deep Backstreet Osaka Tours
It was good to be able to see the other sides of Osaka.
star-4
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!
star-5
Great!
AnaPaula_M, Apr 2019
Osaka Walking Tour
The guide was very funny and speak a perfect English.
star-5
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-4
A fun way to see Osaka
Ashleigh_M, 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.
star-4
the seemy side of Osaka
Julie_H, 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
Diana_E, 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.
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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
PHILIP_S, 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
The tour was really interesting with...
Andrew R, Apr 2018
Deep Osaka All-Inclusive Nighttime Foodie Cultural Experience
The tour was really interesting with an English speaking guide who has lived in Osaka for many years.
star-5
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.
star-4
The guide: Michiko was on time and...
Taj_S, Sep 2017
Muslim-Friendly Private Tour of Osaka
Even though it says|the tour is a Muslim-Friendly, we had no chance to visit a Mosque in the city of Osaka where we can observe our prayers|and see the architecture of the building, meet some people etc.
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.
star-5
Good overview
catherine_T, Mar 2019
Osaka Walking Tour
She points out things for you to see after the tour and helps you master the subway.
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All about Osaka

Time Zone
JST (UTC +9)

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!

People Also Ask

What is Osaka best known for?

Osaka is known for its friendly, down-to-earth residents, lively nightlife, and outstanding street food. The takoyaki (balls of octopus in fried dough) and okonomiyaki (savory pancakes) served by Osaka’s street vendors are some of the best in Japan. The Dotonbori canal and Osaka Castle are two of Osaka’s best-known attractions.

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What is there to do in Osaka?

Eat your way around Osaka’s street food stalls, make new friends at the neon-fronted bars around glittering Dotonbori, go shopping in the retro-futuristic America Mura, explore ancient temples and the 16th-century Osaka Castle, and get sweeping views of the city from the towering Umeda Sky Building.

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How many days should you spend in Osaka?

While you could easily spend a week or two in Oska without getting bored, three days should be enough time to see all of the main attractions, get a feel for the city, enjoy the restaurant scene and nightlife, and even take a day trip to Nara or Himeji Castle.

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What is cool about Osaka?

Osaka’s greatest asset is its people. Osakans are typically more casual and blunt than people elsewhere in Japan. They also are known for their sense of humor and distinctive accent (Osaka-ben). So take a seat at a bar and get chatting with some locals: it may be the highlight of your trip.

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What do locals do for fun in Osaka?

Osakans are famous for their sense of humor, so it’s no wonder that the city is home to a number of comedy clubs. Japanese-speakers can enjoy traditional rakugo (one-man storytelling) at the Rakugo Theater Tenma Tenjin Hanjo Tei, while English-speakers can head for the exclusively English ROR Comedy Club.

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Is Osaka dangerous?

No. While Osaka does have a higher crime rate than most Japanese cities, it is a very safe destination to visit compared to American or European cities of its size. However, visitors should keep their wits about them in and around Tobita Shinchi (the red light district), and preferably not drink alone in the area’s bars.

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Frequently Asked Questions
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