What to see in Osaka
Osaka Castle, 大阪城 (Osaka Jo).Famous castle, historic area, good for families with kids, Japanese garden, popular spot.
The most popular tourist area in Osaka, shopping, street food, restaurants, entertainment, department stores. More popular at night.
Place for shopping, place for eating, heart of Osaka, dotonbori, Namba.
Famous tower in Osaka, Namba, Shinsaibashi, sightseeing, Shinsekai, restaurants, Biliken.
Universal Studios Japan (ユニバーサル・スタジオ・ジャパン Yunibāsaru Sutajio Japan)
Good place for Families, Osaka, Fun place, theme park in Osaka, hanging out.
Unique tea ceremony experience. Tea Ceremony, tea garden, sado, wabisabi, Japanese tea culture, geisha, maiko, tradition.
The Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan (海遊館 Kaiyukan)
It is one of the largest public aquariums in the world, shark whale, sea lions, penguins.
Osaka Takoyaki Museum (大阪たこ焼きミュージアム)
There are many famous takoyaki shops in in the museum.
Sumiyoshi taisha (住吉大社), Sumiyoshi Grand Shrine, a Shinto shrine in Sumiyoshi, Osaka.
The Umeda Sky Building (梅田スカイビル Umeda Sukai Biru), the nineteenth-tallest building in Osaka Prefecture, Japan. One of the city’s most popular points.
Shitennō-ji (Japanese: 四天王寺, Arahaka-ji, Nanba-ji, or Mitsu-ji) , Buddhist temple in Ōsaka, Japan. The first Buddhist temple, the oldest official temple in Japan.
The Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen Museum (インスタントラーメン発明記念館 Insutanto-rāmen Hatsumei Kinenkan)
Ramen Museum, Japanese food, Japanese noodle, good spot for families.
13. Lucky Owl Cafe
Lucky Owl Cafe
Good place for families, animal cafe, unique cafe, fun spot.
The Osaka Museum of Housing and Living (大阪くらしの今昔館)
The Osaka Museum of Housing and Living, small miniature streets and towns. Indoor museum.
Osaka Temmangu Shrine (大阪天満宮)
Osaka Temmangu Shrine is the most famous Tenjin shrine in Japan.
Tenjinbashi-suji Shopping Street (天神橋筋商店街)
Tenjinbashi-suji Shopping Street is one of the longest shopping streets in Japan.
Kuromon Ichiba Market (黒門市場)
Shopping street, flea market, fish market, fresh fish, “Osaka’ s Kitchen”, well-known touristic spot.
From Osaka castle to Dotonbori, good to see the canal.
The Tombori River Cruise (道頓堀リバークルーズ)
20 minutes, 9 bridges, good sightseeing.
Umeda Joypolis (梅田ジョイポリス)
Fun place, good spot for dating, families, sightseeing, travelling Japan.
Den Den Town (でんでんタウン)
Anime stores, manga stores, Anime products, fun place to visit, centre of Osaka, neon street, Naniwa sightseeing spot.
Minoh Waterfall (箕面の滝)
Nature, beauty, green, waterfall, Osaka, Adventure, sightseeing.
23. Senkoji Temple
Senkoji Temple (全興寺)
Temple, Japanese tradition, Japanese culture, sightseeing spot. Senkoji is located in the suburb of Osaka. Ordinary temple in the middle of the local shopping street.
24. Keitakuen Garden
Keitakuen Garden (慶沢園)
Japanese Chisen-kaiyushiki garden (Japanese garden with a pond in the center). In the Tennoji Park.
25. Fukuebisu Dotonbori Okonomiyaki Restaurant
Okonomiyaki (お好み焼き o-konomi-yaki)
Okonomiyaki is a Japanese salty pancake. It has many different kinds of ingredients.
26. Hozenji Temple
“Hōzen Temple (法善寺 Hōzen-ji) . Famous Buddhist temple, central location.
27. Chihaya Akasaka Village
Chihayaakasaka (千早赤阪村 Chihayaakasaka-mura). A village located in Minamikawachi District, Osaka Prefecture, Japan. Chihaya Castle, Akasaka Castles.
28. Namba Yasaka Shrine
Namba Yasaka Shrine (難波八阪神社)
It is a famous shrine in Nanba, photography spot, Tutelary deity of the Namba district.
29. Tempozan Ferris Wheel
Big ferris wheel, it takes 17 minutes, good view of the Osaka Bay area, colorful lights.
30. Doguyasuji Street
Doguyasuji Street (道具屋筋)
Cooking utensils, souvenirs, gift shops, knife stores, kitchen items.
31. Hozenji Yokocho Street
Hozenji Yokocho Street (法善寺横丁)
Good photo spot, old narrow Japanese street, traditional Japan view.
32. Abeno Harukas
Abenobashi Terminal Building (阿部野橋ターミナルビル)
Japan’s tallest building, the biggest department store in Japan.
33. Samurai Experience Maikoya
Samurai (侍) , samurai museum, the best samurai experience in Osaka, samurai swords, samurai helmets. Good for families, good for kids.
Tea ceremony experience, meditation, green tea, Sen No Rikyu, convenient location, unique experience.
35. Osaka Museum of History
“The Osaka Museum of History (大阪歴史博物館, Ōsaka Rekishi Hakubutsukan). Next to Osaka Castle, 3 floors, everything is in Japanese.
36. Don Quijote Dotonbori
Don Quijote Dotonbori (ドン・キホーテ道頓堀)
Unique Japan products, daily necessities, sundries, jewelry, appliance, little restaurants, unique toys, unique gifts. Good for young people, good for shopping.
37. Spa World Tennoji
Spa World Tennoji (スパワールド)
Indoor swimming pool, good for families, hot spring.
38. Kidzania Koshien
For children aged 4-15 years old, many brands, many activities for kids, good indoor activity choice for families.
39. ATC Cosmo Square
ATC Cosmo Square (ATC コスモスクエア)
The Asia & Pacific Trade Center, an amusement center for kids, many cafes, good ocean view, anime festival on Sundays.
40. Jankara Karaoka Nanba
Jankara Karaoke (ジャンボカラオケ）
Jankara Karaoke is one of the most popular Karaoke chains in Japan.It is usually open 24 hours a day. Guests enjoy free unlimited drinks and room service.
41. Nakanoshima Koen Park
“The Nakanoshima Park (中之島公園 Nakanoshima kōen). The first public park in Osaka, opened in 1891, 11 hectares , Osaka Central Public Hall, rose garden, green area to take a rest.
42. Maishima Incineration Plant
Maishima Incineration Plant (舞洲スラッジセンター). Waste treatment, recycling center, environmental conservation center, unique architecture in Osaka.
43. Banpaku Koen Park
Banpaku Koen Park (万博記念公園)
The Expo’70 Commemorative Park, about 260 Hectares, Facilities of the Expo’70, the Japanese Garden, the Japan Folk Crafts Museum, Osaka.
44. Zauo Fishing Restaurant
Zauo Fishing Restaurant (釣船茶屋ざうお)
Catch a fish and eat, catching fish, good family activity, kids like it.
Small zoo and aquarium, near Expo Park, owls, birds, fish, tiger, crocodile, hippo, lemur.
46. Tennoji Zoo
“Tennōji Zoo (天王寺動物園, Tennoji Dobutsuen). Tennōji Park in Tennōji-ku, Osaka, more than 100 years old, bird conservatory, lions, giraffe, goat, rabbit, monkey, gorilla, baby stroller O.K.
47. Tsurumi Ryokuchi Koen Park
Tsurumi Ryokuchi Koen Park (花博記念公園鶴見緑地)
The International Garden and Greenery Exposition, a world exhibition of flowers, Morocco section, China section, The Netherlands section.
48. Utsubo Koen Park
Utsubo Park (靱公園 Utsubo-Kōen). Not far from Shinsaibashi, good for picnic, good for families.
49. National Bunraku Theater
The National Bunraku Theatre (国立文楽劇場 Kokuritsu Bunraku Gekijō). Traditional theater in Japan, Bunraku shows in Osaka, two halls and an exhibition room, Not far from Shinsaibashi.
50. Nagai Koen Park
“Nagai Park (長居公園 Nagai kōen) . Great for picnic, great Japanese garden, green area, kids park, central location.
51. Takashimaya Nanba
Takashhimaya Namba (大阪タカシマヤ) , luxury shopping in Nanba, traditional Japan shops, the bonsai exhibition, kimono exhibition, gold Buddha exhibition.
52. Japan Mint
The Japan Mint (独立行政法人造幣局 Dokuritsu Gyōsei Hōjin Zōheikyoku) Popular during the Sakura season, not in other seasons.
53. Rinku Outlet Mall
Rinku Outlet Mall (りんくうプレミアム・アウトレット)
The largest outlet mall in Western Japan, near Kansai International Airport, American style, more than 210 shops.
54. Daimaru Shinsaibashi
Daimaru (大丸) popular department store in Shinsaibashi, gift ideas, near Shinsaibashi shopping street.
55. Calligraphy Experience at Maikoya
Japanese calligraphy, a unique Japanese tradition, cultural activity, memorable experience.
56. Osaka Museum of Science
The Osaka Science Museum (大阪市立科学館 Ōsaka Shiritsu Kagakukan). Science museum, good indoor activity, sceintific experiment exhibitions, good for kids.
57. Tokyu hands in Shinsaibashi
“Tokyu Hands Inc., known as Tokyu Hands (東急ハンズ Tōkyū Hanzu). Japanese department store, unique Japan goods, gift ideas.
58. National Museum of Art
The National Museum of Art (国立国際美術館 Kokuritsu Kokusai Bijutsukan). Near Nakanoshima Park, Japan art, Western art.
59. Sakai Harvest Hill
Sakai Harvest Hill (堺・緑のミュージアム ハーベストの丘)
Green area, flowers, Japanese garden, country side, good for families.
60. Kobe A-1 Steak House Umeda
Popular Kobe beef reataurant, originally from Kobe, not very expensive, near Umeda.
61. Museum of Oriental Ceramics
The Museum of Oriental Ceramics, Osaka (大阪市立東洋陶磁美術館). Best ceramic collection in the world.
62. Kamigata Ukiyoe Museum
Kamigata Ukiyoe Museum (上方浮世絵館)
Kamigata Ukiyoe, Kamigata woodblock prints, small museum, Near Shinsaibashi, near Hozenji temple.
63. Fujita Art Museum
“The Fujita Art Museum (藤田美術館 Fujita Bijutsukan). Family owned art museum, not a central area.
64. Yodobashi Camera in Umeda
Yodobashi Camera Co., Ltd. (株式会社ヨドバシカメラ Kabushiki Gaisha Yodobashi Kamera). The largest electronics store in Osaka, central location, near Umeda, cheap electronics.
65. Hoshida Enchi Park
Hoshida Enchi Park (府民の森ほしだ園地)
Countryside, green area, flowers, outside the city, good family activity.
66. Cat Cafe (Cat Tail) in Shinsaibashi
Many cute cats, ￥1000/hour for 1 beverage.
67. Taiyuji Temple
“Taiyū-ji (太融寺) is a Buddhist temple in Osaka Prefecture, Japan. One of the oldest Buddhist temples in Japan.
68. Round 1 Sennichi Mae
Round 1 Sennichi Mae (ラウンドワン千日前). Bowling, karaoke, game center, good for kids, indoor activity, good for rainy days.
69. Osaka Castle Nishinomaru Park
Osaka Castle has a large area, Nishinomaru Park has the best photo spot.
70. Sakai City Museum
Sakai City Museum (堺市博物館 Sakai-shi Hakubutsukan). Sakai has the world’s 3rd largest tomb, interesting museum.
71. Daisen Koen Park
Daisen-Oki National Park (大山隠岐国立公園 Daisen Oki Kokuritsu Kōen). Near Sakai City museum, great picnic area, popular weekend spot in Osaka.
72. Meiji Dairy Factory
Meiji Dairy Factory (明治なるほどファクトリー大阪)
Meiji Dairy Factory Tours. Kids make yoghurt, kids play with food toys.
73. Legoland Tempozan
Legoland Tempozan (レゴランド・ディスカバリー・センター大阪)
The LEGOLAND Discovery Center is ideal for children aged 3-10. Lego rides, 4D cinema, playing with lego.
74. Koyaike Park
Koyaike Park (昆陽池公園)
Japanese garden, rare birds, calming atmosphere in Osaka.
75. Koshien Stadium
Hanshin Koshien Stadium (阪神甲子園球場 Hanshin Kōshien Kyūjō). In Nishinomiya, good to watch a baseball game, unique Japan activity.
76. Konpeitou Museum
Konpeitō (金平糖, コンペイトー). Japanese sugar candy, different colors, different flavors, good for families with kids.
77. Kids Plaza Umeda
Kids Plaza Umeda (キッズプラザ大阪)
The most popular kids activity, central location, near Umeda, education via playing.
78. Kwansei Gakuin University Campus
Kwansei Gakuin University (関西学院大学 Kansei Gakuin Daigaku), Kangaku (関学). In Nishinomiya, great campus, Western style.
79. Nangou Fisheries Center
Nangou Fisheries Center (南郷水産センター)
Many fishing pools for kids, fun fishing activity, best fishing spot in Osaka.
80. Mitsui Outlet Park
Mitsui Outlet Park (三井アウトレットパーク 大阪)
Brand-name stores, discounted prices, convenient location.
81. Okumizuma Athletic Sports
Okumizuma Athletic Sports (奥水間アスレチックスポーツ)
Fishing activity, eel catching, BBQ, outdoor activities for kids.
82. Hankyu Umeda
“Hankyu Department Store (阪急百貨店 Hankyū Hyakkaten), Near Umeda, good cafeterias, good restaurants.
83. Misaki Park
Misaki Park (みさき公園) “Misaki Koen.” Outside the city, green area.
84. Rinku Park Beach
Rinku Park Beach (りんくうビーチ). Very popular during the summer, great beach, sand, suntanning, close to the Kansai airport.
85. Umeda Loft
Umeda Loft (梅田ロフト) “Umeda Lofuto.” Gift ideas, convenient location.
86. Hanshin Racecourse
Hanshin Racecourse (阪神競馬場 Hanshin-keibajō) . Horse racing, unique Japan activity, capacity of 139,000 people.
87. Kimono Trial Maikoya
The kimono (着物, きもの) is a traditional Japanese garment. Best kimono collection in Osaka, best yukata collection in Osaka, kimono photography, kimono experience, kimono trial.
88. Cooking Class Maikoya
Cooking in Osaka, sushi making in Osaka, okonomiyaki in Osaka, takoyaki in Osaka, private cooking class in Osaka.
89. Kura Sushi Umeda
Kura Sushi Umeda (くら寿司)
Cheap and cheerful sushi place in Umeda!
90. Osaka University Campus
Osaka University (大阪大学 Ōsaka daigaku), or Handai (阪大 Handai). The 3rd most famous university in Japan.
91. Nanba Parks
Namba Parks (なんばパークス Nanba Pākusu). Near Nanba, convenient location, near Swissotel, unique architecture.
92. Hirakata Koen Amusement Park
Hirakata Park (ひらかたパーク Hirakata Pāku). “Hirapah”, anpanman, Japan style amusement park. The location is not convenient.
93. Maruhan Nambashinkan
Maruhan Nambashinkan (マルハン難波新館)
Pachinko in Namba, unique Japan experience.
94. Orange Street
Orange Street (オレンジストリート)
Fashionable shops, cafes, boutiques, general merchandise stores and interior goods shops, good for young people, popular among Asian tourists.
95. Climbing Bouldering Gravity Research
Climbing Bouldering Gravity Research (グラビティリサーチ梅田) Stylish bouldering gym in Umeda!
GLION MUSEUM (ジーライオンミュージアム)
Classic car museum , cars from Japan, cars from Europe.
97. Ikeda Castle
(池田城) , IkedaJo. A beautiful small castle in Ikeda. Not far from the city center. Japanese garden.
98. Kishiwada Castle
(岸和田城), KishiwadaJo. Small castle in Osaka. Not far from the city center, beautiful rock garden.
99,100: Unique Cultural experience at maikoya and the samurai museum
Facts about Osaka
-8 million people live in Osaka.
-Osaka is the 2nd largest city in Japan.
-Osaka Castle was demolished completely during the WWII. Osaka was heavily bombed during WWII.
-Osaka’s nickname is “Japan’s kitchen.”
-Famous comedians in Japan are from Osaka.
-People in Osaka are friendlier than people in Tokyo (typical image).
-The tallest tower in Japan is in Osaka (Abeno Harukas).
-The oldest official Buddhist temple is in Osaka (Shitennoji).
-Osaka is the birthplace of “tea ceremony.”
-Osaka is the birthplace of takoyaki and okonomiyaki.
-Osaka is the birthplace of “Bunraku.” Bunraku is the Japanese style puppet theater.
-“WORLD EXPO 1970” was held in Osaka.
-Osaka is only 25 minutes away from Kobe. Osaka is only 30 minutes away from Kyoto.
-First “USJ” outside the USA.
-Osaka was the capital of Japan.
-These Japanese phrases are only used in Osaka.
1- “Nande yane” ( why)
2- “Akan” ( impossible)
c) “Hommani” (are you serious)
1. Osaka Castle
This famous landmark is located in the heart of Osaka city and its scenery has picturesque views that change from season to season. Visiting in spring is breathtaking as it appears if the blossoms from the numerous parks are everywhere. Walking tours are popular here, to view the different historical structures and shrines inside the castle walls. If you have time, you can visit inside the castle, which has a museum that holds an impressive samurai armoury.
2. Universal Studios Japan
I can never say no to a visit to Universal Studios. Rides, games, themed sets and shops, interactive shows and 4D experiences; basically everything for a great family day out. What makes Universal Studios Japan essential for any visit to Osaka is the new attractions called Universal Cool Japan 2017. Based on international famous entertainment brands such as Evangelion, Godzilla, Attack on Titan, Detective Conan and Monster Hunter, new experiences will put you face to face with these iconic characters using state of the art technology. As if you couldn’t handle anymore, a new Harry Potter section has also just opened for magic fans as well. I would suggest a whole day in order to see everything.
What to do in Osaka
3. Take a Ride on the Aqua Bus Aqua-Liner
See Osaka by floating on the streets of the ‘Water Metropolis’ and see the major sightseeing spots from the river. The Aqua-Liner is a speciality built boat, with many windows so you can see the scenery around you and can also can pass under bridges of Osaka River. The cruise lasts for 1.5 hours and runs every day. You can also book time on their restaurant cruise so you can enjoy the trip and restaurant quality service for lunch, afternoon tea or dinner.
4. A Visit to Tsutenkaku Tower
Tsutenkaku Tower is known as the symbol of Osaka city, so a visit should be on any Osaka trip. At the top, you can learn more about the city and the tower, like how its shape and design is based on the Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triumph. You can explore the observation deck, the statue of a good luck god Billiken, Glico food shop and its theatre at the base of the tower where you can find a range of performances that you might like to book and attend.
5. Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan
This attraction is a must see, as this aquarium hosts a very large array of fish, mammals and other aquatic life from the ocean. The most famous resident here is a whale shark, the biggest type of shark in the world! Seeing one is a rare sight, as only a few live in select aquariums due to their enormous size. You can see this big guy swimming peacefully with sharks and stingrays, as well as make your own friends in a hands-on rock pool at the lower level of the building!
6. The Osaka Museum of Housing and Living
The city of Osaka has a very old history, and you can see it come to life at the Osaka Museum of Housing and Living. A model of the city, as it was in the Edo Period, is on display, as well as recreated buildings and streets that you can explore yourself. You don’t need a time machine here as interactive displays will transport you through different periods of Osaka’s history and show you how this city became as popular as it is today.
7. Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen Museum
Instant noodles – A favourite dish in Japan and around the world. But did you know that instant noodles came from Japan? Did you know there are over thirty different flavours of ramen or Japanese instant noodles available in Japan? You can learn, and more importantly TASTE, the history of instant ramen yourself at this museum!
8. See a Kabuki Show at the Osaka Shochikuza Theatre
Kabuki is a traditional Japanese style of theatre, which includes traditional masks and costumes. You can book to see a show at the Shochikuza Theatre, such as an aragoto style or actioned packed play or wagoto style or more romantic themed play. Both will have time-honoured Japanese style dancing and music. This is definitely a show you cannot miss!
9. Take a Day Trip to visit the Chihaya-akasaka-mura Village
If you have a spare day and want to see the mountains around Osaka, visiting Chihaya-akasaka-mura Village is a brilliant idea. Located on the Konogozan Mountain, this village will let you see the beauty of Japanese paddy fields and countryside. There is a lot that you can do here, including hiking up the mountain, fishing for local trout, exploring the village markets, shines and Shimo-Akasaka Castle ruins.
10. Osaka Science Museum
With new attractions such as a planetarium, the Osaka Science Museum will be a great visit for anyone who is interested in space or energy! Hands-on exhibits will engage your mind as you explore science with your senses. This museum boasts that its panoramic screen system in its new planetarium section is the world’s largest, so it can display over 28,000 stars and intergalactic bodies onto its speciality made dome screen. What a way to star gaze!
11. Maikoya Osaka
Maikoya Osaka is a brand new tourist and entertainment complex that combines so many authentic Japanese experiences in one location! With sections including Things To Do Osaka Studios, Maiko Café and Feel Osaka Cultural Experiences, which are classes that you can take to learn more traditional Japanese activities such as origami, flower arranging or the tea ceremony. There is something here for the whole family to enjoy and engage with as most of the activities here are hands-on! Unlike other tourist attractions, Things To Do Osaka will make you feel right at home with friendly English speaking staff at a welcoming traditional home setting rooms.
12. Shopping in one of the many Department Centres
Umeda, or the Kita district, has many shopping buildings that make up the city centre. Some of the most famous are the Hankyu Department Store and Daimaru Department Store. You will find high-end brands, alongside restaurants, bars and smaller shops. Many of these department stores have multiple stories, including underground levels, so shopping here can take hours. Shop till you drop isn’t just a saying, as it can literally happen inUmeda Department Centres!
13. Keep an Eye Out for Novelty Stores
Japanese shops already hold a sense of novelty for tourists as the signs and items offered are different to those found at home. Some shops found in the areas listed here are based on a theme or interest, and finding these little gems is so exciting. Kiddy Land Osaka is one of the largest toy stores in Japan. It is definitely one of the most fun as there are mascots walking around, event spaces where you can take photographs and a collection of souvenirs. You can find a Pokemon Centre at the Osaka train station for all your Pokemon needs. Even if you aren’t a fan, coming to see the displays can be a treat for those young at heart. Joshin Super Kids Land Honten is a large anime and manga store for those who are fans. Finally, Covo sells lovely French pop general goods such as stationaries, table wares, ornaments and other cute knick-knacks.
14. Explore the Grand Front Osaka
Another place to go shopping and exploring is the Grand Front Osaka building. It not only holds shops and restaurants, but also residential apartments and a hotel. This location is on this list as an interesting stop inside the building is the Panasonic Centre. This electronic brand has its own showroom, which is decked out with the latest devices and electronics for you to see and interact with. Another experience you might be interested in is the +STYLE Made in Japan. Located in the south wing of the building, you can make your own original bag using a range of coloured materials, strips and belts. It’s a little on the expensive size, but where else can you custom design your own stylish handbag?!
15. Visit the Osaka Station City
Named as one of Japan’s most stylish stations, this location has more to offer than just transport. Here you can explore the goings on of Umeda as the glass roof will let you watch the people below enter and leave from their trains. It also has numerous gardens and farms on the buildings’ rooves if you are wanting to spend a bit of time in nature. Check out its famous water clock in the South Gate building – it’s the only one in the world! Finally, this space also holds numerous stores and restaurants if you feel the need to shop here.
16. Shop at Whity Umeda
Whity Umeda translated means ‘the reborn white city’ after it was renovated in 1987. This shopping mall is in the Umeda district and holds over two hundred shops – but it is all underground! Here you will find clothing stores, cosmetics, shoes, jewellery and more. A fountain in the centre gives off a beautiful ambience in case you want to stop at a nearby restaurant.
17.Ride the Ferris Wheel at the Hankyu Entertainment Park
Imagine if an amusement park was inside a shopping mall. That’s Hankyu Entertainment Park for you. The first thing you see on the outside of the building is the Hep Five Ferris Wheel, where you can experience 360-degree views of Osaka City. Inside, you’ll find a range of shops and amusement facilities. Many enjoy the trendy shops for younger adults, restaurants and the Sega Game Room. You’ll also find many amusing characters inside the building, which includes a large red whale hanging from the ceiling. So is this just an entertainment spot? Is it really a shopping mall? No matter what answers you find, you’ll have fun visiting here!
18. Take Pictures at the Shitennoji Temple
This temple is as beautiful as it is valuable to the people of Osaka. Shitennoji Temple was Japan’s first Buddhist temple and its construction highlights many religious aspects from its positioning, layers included and purpose of enshrining the Four Heavenly Kings of Buddhism. This site was included on this list for its stunning photo prospects (especially when it is lit up at night time), as a place to relax in the busy Osaka city and as an opportunity to see Japanese ancient architecture first-hand.
19. See the Umeda Sky Building at Night
There are two reasons to make a trip to the Umeda Sky Building, and the best time to see it best is at night time. The first reason is to see the Hanging Gardens, a modern take of ‘The Hanging Gardens of Babylon’. Lights and other luminous decorations appear all around, making the tower itself appear alive. From there, you can see the city in 360-degree splendour. Finally, you can see modern architectural styles and materials, as it appears as if this whole building is made out of glass. If you wish, you can explore the shops inside the Umeda Sky Building, which include bars, restaurants and cafes. If you are bringing a loved one here, you can buy a heart shaped padlock to leave at the top of this building. Your love will be as study as this lock, forever enshrined at this romantic destination.
20. Check out the Hankyu Umeda Gallery
This is an interesting point on this list as the exhibits in the gallery change quite often. At any rate, a visit to the Hankyu Umeda Gallery on the ninth floor of the Hankyu Department Store will impress. Previous exhibits include items from Grace Kelly’s personal wardrobe, a Nordic goods exhibition and Valentine chocolate expo that included tastings and samples. The current exhibit during March 2017 is ‘Moser: The Czech Republic’s Venerable Bohemian Glass Studio’. Glass engraving demonstrations will be on display as well as pieces from the collection. Have a look and you might find something awe-inspiring!
21. Pay Your Respects at the Tsuyunoten Shrine
Shrines can be found in little side streets of Japan, but this one accepts prayers from two very different types of believers. The first is local businessmen who want good fortune before making a business deal. The second are young lovers who pay their respects in honour of Sonezaki Shinju. Sonezaki Shinju is a play, similar to Romeo and Juliet, where the lovers couldn’t be together and so committed suicide. This supposedly happened at this shrine in 1703 and a Japanese playwright told their story in his play, the Sonezaki Shinju. Come visit if you want success in a business deal or with your current relationship.
Check out our other lists like 10 Things to do in Osaka, 10 Sights You Can’t Miss While Visiting Osaka, and Things You Have To Do in Shinsaibashi to plan your perfect trip!
22. Namba Yasaka Shrine
Visiting a Shinto Shrine should be on your Japanese visiting list, and the Namba Yasaka Shrine is the most scenic in all of Osaka. On certain days, you may even witness locals in traditional dress giving thanks. Most visitors come to this shrine to see its vermillion arch-shaped bridge. Once you are there, remember to stop and look at your reflection in the water below and pause to think of the stunning nature around you!
23. Flower Expo Memorial Park
You can’t miss this park off your visiting itinerary because of the entrance price – because it’s free! This large park has been a favourite with locals and visitors alike since its construction for the International Garden and Greenery Expo in 1990. It has many gardens inspired by different countries, which is why it has a large windmill above a bed of tulips! With such a large range of colourful plants and flowers, how could you miss a location like this for your Osaka trip? Note that the best time to see this park is in spring when all the flowers are in bloom.
24. Midosuji Street
This street is added to this list for the modern and inner city scenery that is delightful to see firsthand. While you could head to Midosuji Street just to do some shopping at famous stores like Prada, Chanel, Dior and others, you could also go to see the modern sculptures that are featured outside of the shops. There are also outdoor decorations put up for different events throughout the year, the most famous being in winter for Christmas time. From December till January, different coloured lights make this street shine, as well as the trees and buildings alongside it. No matter what time of year it is, you can always see the beautiful displays in the store windows!
25. Miyuki-dori or Korean Town
Why not see another culture while in Osaka, conveniently located in one friendly neighbourhood? Korean Town is well known for its restaurants and clothing outlets, as well as many events that bring the Japanese and Korean community together.
26. Expo Park
This location was the focal point during the 1970 World Expo and it still serves its purpose to bring people together in celebration and good will. It has different sections which include the Japanese Garden, the Natural Culture Park and the Tower of the Sun awaits for the perfect photograph. Other favourite locations in the park include the National Museum of Ethnology where every ethnic group on the planet is represented, and the International Institute for Children’s Literature, where over 650,000 materials on children’s literature can be found.
27. Senkouji Temple
This temple is not for the faint of heart, as it has an exhibit inside of the Buddhist depiction of hell. At the end of your temple tour, you can take a fax soul reading and see if you are going to paradise or… the other place! If you do end up being punished, an Enma-sama or demon spirit will try to scare you with a loud noise! This temple visit will create lots of great stories for family and friends back home!
28. Biliken Hunting
While this isn’t one location you can visit, Biliken or Good Luck gods are a common feature around Osaka. Biliken or “The God of Things that are ought to Be” isn’t a traditional Japanese deity, but rather a mascot who gained popularity with the Osaka community. They have adopted him as their patron spirit after a large statue of him was taken from an Osaka amusement park. Keep an eye out during your time around the city and you will see heaps of these statues. There are some you can buy for yourself at souvenir stores. If you have some spare time, why not go hunting and see how many Biliken statues you can find? Remember to rub his feet and he might share with you some of his good luck!
29. Take a Photograph with a Large Dotonbori Shop Signboard
Dotonbori has many famous shop signboards that are LARGER than life! The restaurant Kani Doraku has a giant crab with moving claws, welcoming visitors inside! Another restaurant, Zuboraya, has lit paper lanterns in the shape of blow fish! Giant octopi lurk on the outside of many restaurants, advertising that Osaka’s favourite takoyaki or battered octopi balls can be found inside! Other signs include giant models of sushi, dragons and an athlete’s face in victory – called Glico Man.
30. Enjoy Looking at the Huge Illuminated Advertisements and Neon Lamps
Dotonbori is also known as ‘a street that never sleeps’, and one of the reasons why is because these signboards never turn off! Seeing these advertisements is best at night when the colours and lights appear to shine off many of the surrounding buildings. Some are fixed images, while others slide between different advertisements, while a few have movements. Even entire sides of shops have neon lamps attached to them. Mixed with the large signboards mentioned above, this awe-inspiring sight is a must see for any Osaka tourist.
31. Eat Local Food
There is a Japanese saying, ‘Kuidaore till you drop in Osaka.’ Kuidaore translates to ruin oneself by extravagance in food, and many people believe that Dotonbori is the best place to do just that. Being close to the ocean, Osaka cruise does feature seafood and fresh fish. Also having warm temperatures in the summer months mean residents here have a large selection of fresh vegetables to choose from in their dishes. Many locals enjoy broth meals as the fresh ingredients make a stronger, tastier dish. Food shops in Dotonbori range from food kiosks to fancy restaurants and many of these are open 24/7!
32. Try Local Sweets and Confectionary
In order to ‘kuidaore’ yourself completely with food, you will need to have a dessert… or two. Dotonbori boasts many dessert outlets that serve yummy treats, such as ice cream, tarts, cheesecake, cookies, pastries and others. You might even like an okonomiyaki or Japanese pancake. Hozenji San Pei and other restaurants have facilities where you can grill it yourself! Make sure to head to the Glico Candy store, as you will find a range of sweets and flavours you would have never seen before. A local favourite is the takoyaki flavoured pretz, which can only be found in Osaka City!
33. Look out for 100 Yen Shops
Dotonbori is flooded with many shops ranging from clothing outlets to souvenir kiosks. In these, you will be able to find little trinkets that you can take back with you, such as sweets, stationary, small gifts and ‘Biliken the Osaka god of good fortune’ statues. There are also anime and manga shops if you are interested in this Japanese entertainment. One shop you might not have heard of is the 100 Yen shop, where everything is 100 Yen! These are very popular in Japan and you will find so many cute and unique items you can’t find anywhere else, or for that cheap price!
34. See a Japanese Theatrical Play
There are many theatre neighbourhoods in the world; West End, Broadway, Las Vegas. Dotonbori is one of them as it hosts some of the oldest theatres in Japan. Actors in Japan dream of performing in one of the many theatres in this neighbourhood and you can find a range of plays on display. Some theatres like the Yoshimoto Theatre show only comedy plays, while others showcase kabuki, a style of theatre that uses masks and dancing from Ancient Japan. Some theatres offer dinner meals when ordering a play ticket, so why not enjoy a night out in Dotonbori?
35. See a Traditional Puppet Show
One of the types of plays featured in the theatres of Dotonbori is bunraku. This is a type of play where puppets tell the story instead of actors. The puppets usually act out traditional plays or folktales, while time-honoured music accompanies. Many visit these shows in Dotonbori as this art form originated here in the 17th century. You will typically find one of these shows playing at the National Bunraku Theatre.
36. Hear a Jazz Music Session
Once Osaka heard Jazz music from visiting American and Filipino bands, it became a famous past time and cultural activity. Dotonbori used to be lined with jazz halls and cafes, and international jazz musicians were invited to play there. Jazz continued here after its popularity faded in other Western countries, transforming into a new genre called Japanese Jazz. Love of this style of music carries on today, where older and modern influences are celebrated by locals and visitors alike. Check out the New Suntory Five bar on the Tenjin shopping street if you want to see people grooving to a cool jazz beat!
37. Take a Stroll Along the Canal
Dotonbori itself is located next to a canal, and many things of interest occur along this watery promenade. If you are interested in taking photography, you can’t go past how the lights reflect in the watery surface. If you want to see nightlife of Osaka, a walk along the canal will be accompanied by live music performers and sounds from the nearby shops. If you want to impress a guy or girl, a walk here will provide many interesting places to explore and provide a very romantic atmosphere for you both.
38. Hozen-Ji Temple
Among the modern features of Dotonbori, there is a lane that looks as if it comes from the bygone era. Hozen-Ji Yokocho Lane is decorated with historical shop fronts and the lane itself is made from stone, as all streets were during the Edo Period in Japan. If you continue along, you will find Hozen-Ji Temple. A beautiful reason to visit here is to see the paper lanterns around the temple, which are even more beautiful around sunset as they are lit and give off a warm glow to visitors to this holy site.
39. Furoshiki Osaka (Cloth Wrapping)
Furoshiki is the act of wrapping important items in Japanese cloth. This is seen as a cultural activity and is artistic in its design. Clothes, food, gifts and other items are wrapped in these decorated cloths. The cloth used for wrapping is referred to as furoshiki.
This cultural activity has ties to the sento or Japanese public baths as far back as the eighth century. Men and women who visited the baths would wrap their clothes in separate bundles. These decorative wrappings started to appear in markets as goods were wrapped using similar decorated cloths and tying techniques. These cloths were made out of cotton and linen. This evolved into different fabrics and designs, as well as more complex tying techniques. In modern times, the furoshiki cloths can also be found made out of silk, nylon and other materials. These cloths come in a range of sizes to wrap specific items.
40. Origami Osaka
Origami is possibly the most well-known of all of Japan’s cultural activities. This is practiced as an art where paper is folded to create a range shapes including animals, flowers or people.
During the sixth century, paper was introduced to Japan from Korea and China by Buddhist monks. It was very expensive and was first made with plant fibres. Only special holidays or ceremonies had origami decorations. Early traditions with origami include making butterflies for traditional Japanese weddings and special origami shapes that accompanied expensive gifts for good luck. Soon this became a national past time and is now practiced all over the world.
41. Sake Tasting Osaka
Sake is a well-known Japanese drink. It is alcoholic and brewed using water, rice, malted rice and yeast. How it is made changes the drink’s flavour and alcohol strength. Sake can have quite a large collection of flavours, which range from light and faint to rich and complex.
Sake is actually called nihonshu or seishu in Japan and has been a favourite beverage there for over a thousand years. While it is believed that it was first produced in China, records of a rice drink in Japan date to 689 AD. It was given the name ‘The Drink of the Gods’ as it was used in many religious ceremonies. One traditional ritual called omiki involves people drinking sake as a religious communion. It is believed that once you drink it you have become closer to the gods. Sake production was controlled by the government, but in the 10th century, Japanese monks began to brew sake for use outside of their temples and shrines. This resulted in the drink becoming expensive, as well as a status symbol for those who could afford it. Under Emperor Meiji in his reign from 1868 AD, laws were changed so that anyone could produce sake as long as they followed the specified regulations. Nearly 30,000 breweries sprang up in one year alone. Women took a large role in making sake and soon picked up the nickname ‘brew masters of the house’. Men took over during the 16th century and sake production is still a male dominated industry. Sake soon became a hit with travellers to Japan and breweries are now found all around the world.
42. Japanese Sweets Osaka (Wagashi)
Wagashi are traditional Japanese sweets that are often served with green tea. They are usually made with bean paste and fruits. Wagashi sweets come in a range of colours, shapes, textures and ingredients, and some are only available in certain seasons or regions of Japan. Each sweet has a different preparation method and consistency.
Wagashi have been an important part of Japanese culture for hundreds of years. Back in Ancient Japan, fruits and nuts were considered a confectionery in themselves. During the Nara Period (710 – 784 AD), influence from China saw the processing of grain into sweet treats. Mochi (soft rice cake) and dango (rice dumplings) both originate from this era and were mainly used for religious ceremonies. Japanese confectionery changed forever when sugar became a staple import to Japan around 1350 AD. Sugar came from Portuguese traders, who even shared some of their sweetened food. Portuguese sweets were altered to what was known as nanbangshi. Due to the high expense of sugar and seasonal fruits, confectionery was reserved for the nobility and aristocracy. This was when the process of refining raw sugar to a fine wasambonto sugar was crafted. As sugar became less expensive and the popularity of noble experiences such as the tea ceremony became more accessible to lower classes, more people could afford to eat these delicacies. This created a market for making the confectionery with delicate and appealing designs, especially in Kyoto. When more European traders came during the Meiji period, western cakes and lollies were introduced. It was during this time that Japanese sweets became officially known as wagashi. The practice of making wagashi has continued to today with a mixture of traditional ingredients and cooking methods and modern techniques and styles.
43. Try Japanese Ikebana or Flower Arranging
Ikebana is the art of flower arranging that originates in Ancient Japan. This is practised as an art where flowers and other natural elements are placed in such a way as to embody harmony, peace and beauty.
The word Ikebana itself means ‘alive arranged flowers’ or ‘giving life to flowers’ in English. This cultural activity has origins in Buddhist temples as flowers were used for offerings as far back as the seventh century. Adding leaves and other natural elements into flower arrangements is referenced as an idea from another Japanese religion, Shinto. Shintoism believed all natural elements as beautiful and spiritual, not just flowers. Ikebana became an art style in its own right during the fifteenth century as Buddhist monks began teaching others the rules of their flower arranging in order for others to create arrangements themselves. As a result, Ikebana schools were formed, each having their own distinctive flair and style. The flower arrangements became a symbol of fine art in the homes of the aristocratic. It was during this time that styles like the nageire were associated with other exclusive cultural pursuits like the tea ceremony and haiku poetry. In modern times, other art and design styles and techniques have influenced ikebana, but the fundamental principals have remained the same. The most important of these is that ikebana is still seen as a spiritual pursuit in helping merge the indoors and outdoors. You can try ikebana at Maikoya in different seasons.
44. Japanese Calligraphy Osaka (Shodo)
Like most cultural activities, Japanese Calligraphy or Shodo is an art form that has been developed over hundreds of years. Shodo directly translates to “the way of writing” and is the traditional way of writing characters using an ink dipped brush.
Japanese Calligraphy actually began in China before 600 AD. The Japanese alphabet, or kanji, is made of Chinese characters when travellers shared Chinese writing. Historians believe this was linked to the spread of Buddhism to Japan. After Japan developed their own characters, called hiragana, Shodo developed into its own art form as pieces of poetry, philosophy and other abstract concepts became more fashionable to paint and display.
45. Kimono Yukata Osaka
Kimono was once the Japanese word for clothing but nowadays refers to the traditional clothing from Ancient Japan. The long robes that ladies wear are the most recognised of Japanese clothing, but the word kimono is also used to refer to the stylish robes and trousers worn by men as well.
Kimonos were established during the Heian period of Japanese history (794-1192 AD). The robes became increasingly intricate as more layers were used. Many kimono designs were also developed to represent different seasons, holidays or the class of society you belonged to. While the silk kimonos worn by ladies are more recognisable, they can also be made out of other materials such as cotton, linen or satin. During the early nineteenth century, the Japanese government encouraged people to adopt more Western clothing and habits. As a result, kimonos are now generally kept as more ceremonial clothing and are worn most often on special occasions.
46. Maiko Geisha Makeup Transformation in Osaka
A Maiko is a label for a lady who is studying to be an entertainer in Kyoto, fully trained in Japanese time-honoured arts. She typically puts on makeup to make her skin appear paler, as well as accentuate her lips and eyes. This is called shironuri style which translates to ‘Japanese Traditional White Style’, and is named after the white foundation used. Maikos wear traditional makeup products, as well as recreate their famous eye and lip shapes in keeping with the techniques handed down from Ancient Japan. At MAIKOYA you can have Maiko, Geisha, Oiran transformation.
47. Recipe of The Rolled Sushi
The Japanese Cooking Workshop provides you will a once in a life time experience: learning traditional Japanese dishes from local cooks in Japan! Osaka is considered the food capital in Japan and there are many appetizing dishes from the area for you to try. Not only will you get to eat this delicious food, but learn how to make it yourself so you can make a feast back at home!
48. Cooking Class Osaka
You can try more than 20 different cooking activities at Cooking Class Osaka. So that makes this list 68 🙂