Situated at the mouth of the Yodo River, Osaka naturally grew into a busy merchant city and became the gateway to Japan for visitors from China, Korea and the Asian continent. Today, it is a large port city located roughly in the center of Japan. With a population of 2.5 million people, it is Japan’s second most important city!
Osaka is famous for its modern architecture, sprawling cityscapes, vibrant nightlife and especially for abundant and tasty food! Moreover, the city was once known as the “nation’s kitchen” when it was a center for the rice trading!
RECOMMENDED HOTELS IN OSAKA
- Hearton Hotel Nishi Umeda. Book
- Hotel Hillarys Osaka. Book
- Hotel Monterey Grasmere Osaka. Book
- Hotel Universal Port. Book
WHERE TO GO IN OSAKA?
One of the main Osaka attractions is Osaka Castle. The castle is a symbol of Osaka! It was constructed in 1583 by Toyotomi Hideyoshi who was a famous Japanese samurai, general and politician. Osaka Castle was intended as a centre of a new, united Japan. It was the largest castle in Japan at the time.
There is a garden around the castle and there is also a museum dedicated to the history of Osaka Castle.
Opening hours: 9:00 – 17:00 (last admission 16:30)
Entry fee: 600 yen (~5$)
Dotonbori is a very popular tourist destination. This district was historically a theatre district. Today, it is an entertainment area with a lot of different restaurants and popular street food spots. Dotonbori is a well known food destination for the foreigners and locals, so it is the best place to try the Japanese cuisine! The district is full of all sorts of tasty options: udon, ramen, pan-fried batter cake (okonomiyaki), octopus dumplings (takoyaki), sushi,
Furthermore, there are few cinemas and theaters that play traditional puppet shows. Dotonbori is often chosen as a symbol of Osaka in Japanese and foreign films due to its recognizable big signboards (see the photo at the top of the post).
Sumiyoshi Taisha is the main one of the oldest Sumiyoshi shrines in Japan!
It was founded almost two thousand years ago, in 211. The shrine shows an unique, purely Japanese style of shrine architecture, called Sumiyoshi-zukuri. Sumiyoshi Taisha is very crowded on New Year’s Day and it is one of the most visited shrines in Japan!
Opening hours: 6:00 – 17:00
October – March: 6:30 – 17:00
Entry fee: free
Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan
Once you are in Osaka you should visit one of the largest public aquariums in the world – Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan. Kids will definitely like it!
The aquarium holds more than 10000 cubic metres of water and more than 29000 different animals! The most popular creature among them is giant whale shark, which is the largest fish in the world, by the way!
Opening hours: 10:00 – 20:00 (last admission 19:00)
Entry fee: up to 2300 yen (~19$)
Shinsaibashi is Osaka’s main shopping area! It is a 600 metres long shopper’s paradise where you can find whatever you want! You can find some familiar luxury brands like Dior, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Armani, Diesel, Chanel, Fendi and more affordable trendy brands like Adidas, H&M, Zara, Bershka and many more Japanese shops! There you can also find ample selections of Japanese food and some souvenir shops but you can always go to Dōtonbori for some food which is located very near.
Also, be aware that Shinsaibashi can be very crowded especially during both weekends and weekdays.
Universal Studios Japan
Universal Studios Japan was opened in 2001 and this is one of the most popular theme parks in the world with more than 11 million visitors each year. The attractions are located in nine different areas and the total area of the park is 54 hectares! There are different attractions ranging from small children carousels to breathtaking roller coasters and many simulators based on popular film and characters, so both kids and adults will like it!
Entry fee: up to 7200 yen (~59$) for 1-Day Pass