10 Best Things To Do In Osaka, Japan

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Osaka is one of my favorite places to visit in Japan. The city offers some of the best food, culture, and nightlife in the country. Also, Osaka is a good base if you plan to visit Kyoto, Nara, Kobe, and the surrounding areas.

In this article, you’ll find the list of best things to do in Osaka as well as my travel tips. And trust me, with this handy guide, you’ll never find yourself wondering what to do in Osaka.

 

Have a fun day at Universal Studios Japan

 I had so much fun at Universal Studios Japan with some new friends that I met on the trip. 

USJ is the biggest attraction in Osaka, and today, it is home to dozens of parks and games that cater to adventurous visitors.

Jurassic park ride Osaka Japan

The main attractions to visit would be The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Jurassic Park, Minion Park, and The Flying Dinosaur.

The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter is undoubtedly my favorite area. We did the ride twice, and I had butterbeer for the first time.

Harry Potter beer

Note: I recommend buying Universal Studios Japan tickets in advance, so you don’t need to wait for a long time and get a discount. 

Also, you should download the USJ app on Android or iPhone. The map feature is excellent. You can save your favorites, and there is real-time information about wait times for the attractions.

Harry Potter
There is no need to waste time waiting indefinitely at home for a letter of admission to Hogwarts that never comes because, in this place, you can see the magic happen and even buy for yourself a beer!

Travel tips

 

Explore the Dotonbori food night market

The night is the busiest time in Osaka. The streets are so busy and light up with bright lights and advertisement banners.

During my one-week travel to Osaka, I probably visit Dotonbori street every night.

Osaka river Japan

When passing the neighborhood, everywhere is the scent of food emitted from the restaurants and restaurants along the road. Dotonbori street gathers many famous Japanese dishes, especially: Takoyaki, Yakisoba, Yakiniku, Ramen, Sushi.

Osaka Dotonbori Japan

Besides culinary, Dotonbori is famous for attractive entertainment services such as karaoke, sauna, massage, specialty shops, theaters, or galleries where you can enjoy works of art, ceramics, and paintings.

Osaka Dotonbori Japan
A nightlife paradise with pubs and clubs open until late, serving both locals and international tourists.

Travel tips

  • Transport: Most of the area in Doronbori is only accessible on foot. If you want to enjoy the view from the river, you can rent a boat.
  • Food: I recommend trying Kobe-beef at Steak Sakura. The quality of the beef is very good, and the meat is juicy and tasteful. The restaurant also offers an appetizer, salad, rice, beef soup, and dessert.

 

Explore Osaka in a go-kart

Ever dream of go-karting in the streets of Osaka while sightseeing popular places? This is your chance!

You can explore Osaka’s historical sites, tourist spots, and downtown areas in a go-kart while dressing as your favorite character. 

go-kart Osaka Japan

Please note that you need to have a Japanese driver’s license, a Japanese SOFA license, or an international driving permit for this activity as you will be driving on the road, side by side with cars, buses, and trucks.

You can ask the guide to take photos for you with their phones. They will then send you the pictures or videos via WhatsApp/ airdrop, etc. Also, you can wear your action camera on your body to capture your adventures.  

go-kart experience Osaka Japan

 

Visit Osaka Castle

Osaka Castle is surely one of the most popular places to visit in Osaka. The castle is a symbol of Osaka city and the pride of architectural and cultural quintessence of the Japanese.

Osaka castle was built in the late 16th century by Toyotomi Hideyoshi, a famous lord who ruled over the entire country of Japan in the 1590s. This castle was burned and rebuilt many times.

The castle has a total of 8 floors. From the first floor to the seventh floor, display the previous century’s weapons, armor, and folk items. On the 8th floor, you can find an observatory and sightseeing area. The tile roofs of the eight floors are designed in traditional Japanese style, and all are gilded.

Osaka Castle Japan

Travel tips

 

Relax at Solaniwa Onsen

No trip to Japan is complete without a relaxing dip in an onsen – the natural hot springs fueled by volcanic activity. 

I love my experience at Solaniwa Onsen, a relaxing onsen theme park with a beautiful garden. This place has both outdoor and indoor hot springs, saunas, an icy cold water pool, and indoor landscapes by the poolside area.

I had a lovely time and especially enjoyed the footbaths outside! Everything is so pretty, and I would definitely back here again.

Solaniwa Onsen Osaka Japan

 

Enjoy the panoramic view from Abeno Harukas 300

Abeno Harukas 300 is one of the tallest skyscrapers in Japan and the highest in Osaka. The building houses a department store, an art museum, a hotel, restaurants, and an observation deck.

It’s amazing to see Osaka from atop their tallest building. The views are spectacular! The building itself is beautiful as well, which adds to the whole experience.

Plan to go around 4:30 pm if you love to capture the sunset. There’s a lovely cafe where you can sit and enjoy the views. After the sunset, Osaka is so pretty with all the lights. You can see the night scene from all angles, and it’s wonderful.

Abeno Harukas Osaka Japan

 

Go shopping at Tenjinbashisuji

Tenjinbashisuji is the longest shopping street in Japan, with a total length of about 2.6 km.

In addition to the approximately 600 stores, including knife, ceramic, and kimono shops, many restaurants and dining venues sell signature Osaka dishes.

 

View the city from Tsutenkaku 

Tsutenkaku was built in 1912 and is located in the Shinsekai food district.

With a height of about 103m, it was the tallest building in Asia at the time. However, it was burned down by a massive fire in 1943 and rebuilt in 1956.

Although Tsutenkaku is no longer the tallest tower, it’s still an interesting spot to visit if you’re in the area. 

Tsutenkaku tower Osaka Japan

Head to the top to get a pleasant view of the city. Here, you can also see exhibits and artifacts showing the vibrant history of the areas. Also, don’t forget to find the statue of the Billiken good luck charm.

On the weekend, check out Tsutenkaku Theater in the basement for a variety of weekend cultural performances.

  • Address: 1 Chome-18-6 Ebisuhigashi, Naniwa, Osaka
  • Opening hours: 9 am to 9 pm (last admission 8:30 pm)

 

Have fun at LEGOLAND Discovery Center

If you’re looking for a family experience, LEGOLAND Discovery Center is an excellent choice. This indoor theme park offers several activities for both adults and children, and you can spend half a day here.

LEGOLAND has indoor playgrounds, rides, 4D movies, and even has classes to teach the kids how to make their toy models. It’s right next to the Osaka aquarium, so that you can plan this as a full-day activity as well.

LEGOLAND Discovery Center
It’s a wonderful experience for those who fancy lego blocks.

 

Take a day trip to Nara

And when you’ve explored Osaka, join the Nara Tour!

On this tour, you’ll visit the famous Nara Park, Todai-Ji Temple, and Arashiyama bamboo forest.

Prepare to be amazed as some religious monuments in this place date back around the 8th century.

Also, at Nara Park, you will have the opportunity to walk among the hundreds of deer that roam freely around, so don’t be shy and say hello to them.

Nara Deer Park Japan

  1. The only two things I did when I was in Osaka was to visit Nara and explored the city at night. I wish I had known about others especially Universal Studios and Legoland, I would have definitely visited them. I will go back to Osaka someday and I will make sure I visit them. Thanks for this list, I realized how many things I missed during my visit and I need to make a trip again.

  2. We had a busy two days in Osaka and saw a lot. But it is clear we need to go back and see more! Night markets like Doronbori are always a great way to see a city in a different light. And get tasty treats too. We would definitely try the Kobe beef! But exploring by go-kart might be such a fun thing to experience. Good thing we always travel with an international driver’s license. Lots of reasons to return.

  3. It looks like I need to add Osaka to my list! The night food crawl, the castle, but you really got my attention with Solaniwa Onsen. Now that’s exactly what I would want to do.

  4. Coincidentally I was thinking about Japan the other day while planning my future travels abroad. Osaka is not as famous a tourist attraction as Tokyo but reading your post definitely made me curious about the city. Would like to visit it!

  5. I didn’t there is a Universal Studios in Osaka, I love butterbeer! But, the Dotonbori food night market would be the highlight for me and I would likely be there every night too. Although, dressing up in costume for a go-kart tour would be a close second for sure!

  6. There are so many thrilling options at Osaka, I’m definitely visiting whenever I’m in Japan! I absolutely love the idea of go-karting in the middle of the city while going gaga over touristy spots haha! A dip in the natural hot water springs followed by a seat in the cafe watching the setting sun is totally my way of unwinding!! My last experience at a night food market was in Bangkok, and I can imagine how exciting must the Dotonbori be!

  7. Enjoying Osaka from a go-kart sounds really interesting! I would like to do that. I think I will have dinner at Dotonbori every night like you, too. I believe you can have different food every time you go there. And of course the onsen sounds relaxing for after a long day.

  8. Japan is on my bucket list for a long time and I am adding Osaka to it. A day trip to Nara is worth doing from Osaka as there are so many beautiful temples there. Dotonbori looks fun street for all sorts of entertainment and nightlife.

  9. Great list – I would add the Osaka Aquarium. It is one of the biggest in the world. On my last visit, I found a parlor with old pinball machines in Ame-mura. That was great fun too. And the view from the Umeda sky building is also amazing.

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