Being the second largest city in Japan and largest in the western region of the country, Osaka presents some incredibly beautiful history and culture to dive right into. One of the best things about Osaka is that it isn’t just historic sights and beautiful culture as most would hear about, the city is also a buzzing hub for creatives, the nightlife and die-hard food lovers as well keeping in mind that the world famous Takoyaki dish originates from Osaka AND not forgetting its reputation as “Japan’s Kitchen”.
Having a substantial amount of history, extravagant shopping districts and an extensive variety of food, you will be relentlessly pampered with options for things to indulge yourself with in the city of Osaka. Therefore, if you ever find yourself walking aimlessly through the streets of Osaka or planning to, here’s a few suggestions on where to go in Osaka, Japan.
Go Gallivanting Around Dōtonbori and Namba
Deep through the veins of street of the Minami district in Osaka lies the infamous entertainment and shopping districts Dōtonbori and Namba. Streets illuminated with flashing neon lights, bustling restaurants and excitable locals are unmatched delicacies for the senses when getting a feel for what gives the city of Osaka its unique and eccentric vibes.
Head towards Ebisu-bashi bridge for one of Osaka’s most recognizable landmarks that will encourage a mandatory selfie, the towering Glico man. The stunning display, which came into being back in 1935, neighbors the busy shopping streets of Namba, both areas that continue to capture the hearts of locals and out-of-towners alike.
An approximate 8-minute walk from busy Namba will get you to the Namba Yasaka shrine which is home to the neighborhood’s guardian deity. It is known for its large lion-shaped stage that was built in 1975, and it is believed that the lion’s mouth swallows evil spirits bringing good luck, especially for those looking for success in school and business. Due to this many people visit the shrine in hopes of getting good fortune and luck in financial and educational aspects.
Daisen Park is classified as one of “100 Japanese history parks” which goes to show the value placed in it by the Japanese. You can savour the intensely beautiful view of the vast land dotted with small old burial grounds. During fall, visitors are able to enjoy the view of the pond and the brightly colored autumn leaves with an rough estimation of 400 cherry blossom trees to gaze upon. One can enjoy the contrast between spring and fall. On sunny days you can see the reflection of the beautiful trees in the water.
Osaka Castle & River
Originally constructed in 1583, it is without a doubt the most recognizable sites of Osaka. The Osaka Castle roofs years of history to be discovered behind its high walls and heavy wooden doors. If you do decide to visit the castle, you should, you can appreciate it with a picnic in the surroundings of the Nishinomaru Garden.
Although a place of beauty at any time of year, the gardens abundance of chery-blossom (sakura) trees make it a highly frequented spot and if you manage to get here during spring season you will stand witness to the cherry blossom season and it is hands down the most magnificent, iconic view of Japans culture.
The peaceful river-ride will go all the way from the sea up the river to Osaka Castle. There are day trips and night services for the Twilight Boat, which gives you a totally different experience as the city lights up along the banks.
Umeda Sky Building
Catch a spectacular view of Osaka on top of the Umeda Sky Building. Comprised of two 40-story buildings connected at the top by a circular roof from which you can see the entirety of Osaka and beyond, Umeda Sky Building’s distinct silhouette is a known landmark of Osaka. It features an inside observatory from which to take in the view away from the elements and has an outdoor observation deck that offers a 360-degree view of downtown Osaka and its surroundings.
Visit Shitennoji Temple, one of the oldest temples in Japan
Enter the grounds of what is believed to be the location of the first Buddhist temple established in Japan. Built under the reign of Prince Shotoku in 593AD, the building of the temple marks the arrival of Buddhism in Japan. Affordable than most temples, entering the main temple building will provide you an impressive view of the 5-storey pagoda and if you are looking to delve deeper, an extra fee will escort you into the Treasure house which hosts exhibitions displaying paintings and valuables from different periods of history in Japan.
If you are avoiding luxury places which could deplete your wallet into nothingness, a much more pleasing option is available to suit your palette as well to your expenses. The Takoyaki Museum is less of a museum and more of a takoyaki-tasting galore, but with several cool souvenirs that are takoyaki-themed. These grilled balls of savoury delights can be stuffed with anything from raw octopus or ell to cheese and chicken.
Instant Ramen Museum
Yup, the Japanese do put anything they invent into museums, but in all seriousness, they do know how to make an impact in their presentation. With the admission fee into the museum being at no cost, you will be able to discover the creator Momofuku Ando’s idea behind dried noodles and follow it all up with a workshop making your own chicken ramen. In this museum, you are master ramen and will be able to create any ramen you desire along with its destruction in your belly.
Universal Studios Japan
And last but certainly not least, probably the most popular of all Osaka attractions and one of the reasons many tourists find themselves in Osaka. Universal Studios Japan offers many kinds of thrilling rides which themes are generally inspired by famous memorable movies. The most famous being the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
These are honestly the few pleasures the city of Osaka has to offer, it is a cesspool of culture, history along with technology. The abundance in food along the streets and the night life is said to be second only to that of Tokyo. A once in a lifetime must-have experience for every globetrotter.
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There you have it! These are our picks for when you ask the “where to go in Osaka” question. Preparation is the key for stress-free travel on any overseas trip, including Osaka. The travel insurance available on our website, Allianz Travel Care is designed to give you and your family the protection you need for total peace of mind during your stay in Osaka. Check it and bon voyage!