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.
Transport: Explore Osaka without a hassle with YOKOSO! Osaka ticket. The ticket includes a day’s use of the Osaka Municipal Subway, New Tram, and bus with unlimited rides. You can get discounts at 32 tourist spots in Osaka as well. Alternatively, you can get an ICOCA card to travel easier.
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.
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.
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.
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.
You can explore Osaka’s historical sites, tourist spots, and downtown areas in a go-kart while dressing as your favorite character.
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 own phones. They will then send you the photos or videos via WhatsApp/ airdrop, etc. Also, you can wear your own action camera on your body to capture your adventures.
Visit Osaka Castle
Osaka Castle is surely one of the most popular places to visit in Osaka. The castle is not only a symbol of Osaka city but also 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 weapons, armor, and folk items of the previous century. 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.
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 as well as indoor landscapes by the poolside area.
I had a lovely time and especially enjoyed the footbaths outside! Everything is so pretty and would definitely back here again
Enjoy the panoramic view from Abeno Harukas 300
Abeno Harukas 300 is one of the tallest skyscrapers in Japan, and definitely 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.
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, there are many restaurants and dining venues that 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.
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, checkout 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 own toy models. It’s right next to the Osaka aquarium so you can plan this as a full-day activity as well.
Take a day trip to Nara
And when you’ve explored Osaka, join the Nara Tour!