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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
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
#2
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
#3
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
#4
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
#5
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
#6
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
#7
Nakanoshima

Nakanoshima

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A 1.8-mile island along the Yodo River, Nakanoshima is the nucleus of Osaka’s business district and home to some of the city’s most historic buildings, including the City Hall, the Nakanoshima Festival Tower and the first branch of the Bank of Japan.The main highlight of Nakanoshima is its eponymous park, a verdant oasis that stretches along the eastern half of the island and offers a welcome change of scenery from the looming office blocks and financial headquarters. Along with its tranquil waterfront walkways and tree-lined picnic areas, the 11-hectare park also boasts a magnificent rose garden, which blooms with more than 310 colorful rose varieties during the summer months. The small island is also home to a number of significant museums, including the Science museum, the Museum of Oriental Ceramics and the National Museum of Art.More
#8
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
#9
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
#10
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

Trip ideas

Top Temples and Shrines in Osaka

Top Temples and Shrines in Osaka

Top activities in Osaka

Recent reviews from experiences in Osaka

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
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.
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.
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!
anapita, Apr 2019
Osaka Walking Tour
The guide was very funny and speak a perfect English.
star-5
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.
star-4
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.
star-4
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.
star-5
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.
star-5
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.
star-4
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.
star-5
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-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.

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 corn 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

The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
Q:
What are the top things to do in Osaka?
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