24 Best Things to Do & Places to Visit in Osaka

24 Best Things to Do & Places to Visit in Osaka

Check off this list of sightseeing spots and fun activities on your next trip to Osaka, from Osaka Castle to Nara Park. Can’t finish it all? Make another trip!

Osaka is arguably one of the three most popular travel destinations in Japan, with the other two being Tokyo and Hokkaido. While it is neither the giant metropolis that Tokyo is nor does it possess the nearly transcendent natural beauty around Hokkaido, Osaka is a unique city in its own right. I mean, it even has its own dialect! A very rustic, charming dialect, I might add.

Naturally then, there are many wonderful things one can do while in Osaka and here’s a list of the 24 best things to do to get you started!

1. Gaze in awe at the beautiful Osaka Castle, a true historical monument

2. Enjoy pleasant scenery at the Hanahaku Memorial Park Green Land

Image credit: 663Highland

3. Admire the natural beauty of Meiji no Mori Mino Quasi-National Park

Image credit: 663highland

The natural beauty of the park provides an escape from the bustling life of Osaka City. The Waterfall of Mino here is one of the most popular waterfalls in Japan. The best time to visit would be during autumn when the red leaves of the season blanket the park.

4. Pay a visit to the Shitennoji Temple, Japan’s first ever Buddhist Temple

Image credit: Mith Huang

Legend has it that it was built all the way back in the year 593 to enshrine the Four Heavenly Kings!

5. Pray for good fortune at Sumiyoshi Taisha, Osaka’s most popular shrine

things to do in osaka

Image credit: Saigen Jiro

6. Peer into the Gates of Hell at Senkouji Temple

A “fun” activity here in the main temple hall is the afterlife fortune telling, also known as the Paradise or Hell Check. Basically, if you get a “bad result”, you are “punished” by a loud…ahem, well, SOMETHING happens…#noSpoilers

7. Catch a traditional Kabuki Performance at the Osaka Shochikuza

things to do in osaka

Image credit: GanMed64

8. Get close to Japanese youth culture at Amerika-Mura

Image credit: Davey88

Affectionately known as Amemura for short, here you can find multiple shops selling hip and trendy fashion accessories and clothes. It’s a hotspot among youths in the city and also contains many cafes and eateries.

9. Shop till you drop at the Tenjinbashisuji Shopping Arcade

Image credit: DVMG

A wide variety of shops located along four streets which stretch up to over two kilometres in length make this the longest shopping arcade in the whole of Japan. Nuff’ said – time to go shopping!

10. Visit Den Den Town in Nipponbashi, Osaka’s version of Akihabara

Image credit: Oilstreet

11. Hop on the Osaka Aqualiner for a scenic night cruise along the river

Image credit: Ogiyoshisan

The cruise lasts about an hour and will pass through many of Osaka’s major sightseeing locations such as Osaka Castle and Nakanoshima! What a unique way to see the city!

12. Enjoy a scenic view of Osaka from the observation deck of the historical Umeda Sky Building

Image credit: Laitr Keiows

13. Take a walk around Nakanoshima Park at night

Image credit: Masamazst

The park cuts between the Dojima and Dosabori Rivers and contains a beautiful rose garden. It is akin to an oasis given its location within the Osaka Business District. At night, the park is beautifully illuminated, making the many surrounding cafes an ideal dating spot.

14. Relax and enjoy the ambience of the Minato-machi River Promenade

Image credit: cotaro70s

15. Stay overnight in a capsule hotel

Image credit: CapsuleValue Kanda

While they are springing up around the world, the origin of capsule hotels can be traced back to Osaka. In 1979, architect Kisho Kurokawa introduced this unique hotel concept to the bustling Umeda district. Since you’ll be in the hometown of capsule hotels, book a stay in one and experience it for yourself. For the uninitiated, read this guide before you go.

According to HotelsCombined, Singaporeans stay an average of three nights in Osaka, and rooms cost them approximately US$165 per night. The bonus of staying in a capsule hotel is that it’s affordable, with some as low as US$50 per night. You’ll save money and bag an unforgettable experience!

16. Hit the food trail at the iconic Dotonbori Food District

From traditional street food like takoyaki, yakitori, and kushikatsu to exceptionally fragrant ramen and messy okonomiyaki dinners, you’ll eat till you can eat no more at Dotonbori. There’s a reason why Osaka is known as the kitchen of Japan!

17. Head to Yoshino Sushi for a satisfying sushi meal

Image credit: Alpha

In operation for more than 150 years, Yoshino Sushi serves amazingly delicious Hako (boxed) sushi, a traditional pressed sushi that is native in Osaka. Instead of rolled sushi, Hako-sushi is shaped using a rectangular wooden mould, giving it its unique shape and texture.

18. Make your own takoyaki at the Konamon Museum in Dotonbori

Image credit: Opponent

19. Sample the freshest sashimi (and other tasty snacks) in Kuromon Market

Image credit: Chee Hong

20. Drink FREE beer at the Asahi Beer Suita Factory

Image credit: Asahi Beer Factory

The birthplace of Asahi Beer. Free beer for all visitors of legal age. Say no more, fam. Sign me up!

21. Fulfil your magical fantasies at Universal Studios Osaka

22. Spend a day at the Osaka Aquarium

Image credit: Lucas Mascaro

The Osaka Aquarium is one of the largest in the world and it recreates the habitat of the Pacific in giant water tanks. Occasionally, the aquarium is illuminated by more than one million lights, adding another layer of beauty to the spectacular experience.

23. Pamper yourself silly at Spa World

Image credit: Spa World

Boasting a variety of onsens and hot springs from global settings, Spa World promises to be a fun place to visit for the whole family!  

24. Take a day trip to Nara Park and hang out With Bambi’s cousins

Just…don’t get freaked out when they start hoarding you for (deer) cookies.

Start exploring the Kitchen of Japan

And there you have it, 24 must-do things in Osaka! Of course, there’s even more to do in Osaka than what this list contains, and the only way to experience it all is to visit Osaka personally! So start planning now.

About Author

Darren Yeoh

Darren enjoys the finer things in life and loves exploring unfamiliar places on foot, guided with nothing but instinct and a good-old fashioned map. He enjoys cultural experiences and exciting adventures and is not a stranger to travelling alone. When he's not putting his travel experiences into words, he's probably sitting behind his laptop, planning his upcoming adventure.

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