Neon Lights, Shrines and Castles: The 16 Best Things to Do in Osaka

Osaka, a vibrant and bustling city in Japan, offers a wide array of activities and attractions for visitors to enjoy. From historical landmarks to modern wonders, there is something for everyone in this dynamic city.

1. Osaka Castle

A visit to Osaka would not be complete without exploring Osaka Castle. This iconic landmark is one of Japan’s most famous and historically significant castles. Originally built in the 16th century, Osaka Castle has a rich history and is a symbol of power and prestige. Visitors can explore the castle grounds, visit the museum inside, and enjoy panoramic views of the city from the observation deck.

2. Dotonbori

If you’re looking for a lively and vibrant atmosphere, head to Dotonbori. This bustling street in the heart of Osaka is known for its neon lights, giant billboards, and mouthwatering street food. Take a walk along the canal and try local specialties like takoyaki (octopus balls) and okonomiyaki (savory pancakes). Don’t forget to take a photo with the famous Glico Running Man sign, a symbol of Dotonbori.

3. Universal Studios Japan

For a day filled with excitement and entertainment, visit Universal Studios Japan. This theme park offers a variety of thrilling rides, shows, and attractions based on popular movies and characters. From the Wizarding World of Harry Potter to the thrilling roller coasters of the Jurassic Park area, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Be sure to check the schedule for special events and parades during your visit.

4. Kuromon Ichiba Market

Indulge your senses at Kuromon Ichiba Market, a feast for food lovers. This bustling market is a place where you can experience the vibrant food culture of Osaka. With over 150 stalls offering a wide variety of fresh seafood, tasty street food, and local produce, you’ll be spoiled for choice. From sushi and sashimi to grilled skewers and delicious sweets, there’s something to satisfy every palate. Take your time to wander through the market, sample different dishes, and interact with the friendly vendors.

5. Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan

Immerse yourself in the wonders of the ocean at Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan. This impressive aquarium is one of the largest in the world and home to a diverse range of marine life. Take a journey through the various exhibits, including the Pacific Ocean area, where you can see majestic whale sharks and awe-inspiring manta rays up close. The interactive exhibits and educational programs make it a great destination for visitors of all ages.

6. Sumiyoshi Taisha Shrine

Take a step back in time and explore the serene beauty of Sumiyoshi Taisha Shrine. This ancient Shinto shrine dates back to the 3rd century and is considered one of Japan’s oldest and most important shrines. The tranquil atmosphere and striking architectural features, including the distinctive Taiko Bridge, make it a popular spot for photography and contemplation. Don’t forget to cleanse your hands and mouth at the temizuya before entering the main shrine area to show respect.

7. Shinsaibashi Shopping Street

If you’re in the mood for some retail therapy, head to Shinsaibashi Shopping Street. This bustling shopping district is lined with a mix of local boutiques, international brands, and department stores. From trendy fashion and accessories to unique souvenirs and cosmetics, you’ll find something for every taste and budget. After shopping, take a break at one of the many cafes or restaurants and soak in the energetic atmosphere.

8. Osaka Museum of History

For those interested in delving into Osaka’s rich history, a visit to the Osaka Museum of History is a must. Located near Osaka Castle, this museum offers a captivating journey through the city’s past. Explore the interactive exhibits that showcase the city’s development from ancient times to the present day. Marvel at the detailed dioramas depicting Osaka’s historical buildings and streets, providing a glimpse into the city’s vibrant past.

9. Tsutenkaku Tower

Get a bird’s eye view of Osaka from Tsutenkaku Tower. This iconic tower stands tall in the vibrant neighborhood of Shinsekai and offers panoramic views of the city. Take an elevator ride to the observation deck and enjoy stunning vistas of Osaka’s skyline. The tower is also home to the Billiken Statue, a popular symbol of good luck and happiness. Don’t forget to make a wish as you pass by!

10. Osaka Science Museum

For science enthusiasts, a visit to the Osaka Science Museum is a must. This interactive museum showcases the wonders of science and technology through hands-on exhibits and interactive displays. Learn about physics, chemistry, biology, and space exploration in a fun and engaging way. The museum also features a planetarium where you can embark on a journey through the cosmos.

11. Tempozan Ferris Wheel

Take a ride on the Tempozan Ferris Wheel and enjoy breathtaking views of Osaka Bay and the city skyline. This giant Ferris wheel stands at a height of 112 meters and offers a peaceful and romantic experience. Choose a clear day for your ride to fully appreciate the scenic beauty of the surroundings. It’s a memorable way to capture stunning photos and create lasting memories.

12. Osaka Mint Bureau

If you’re visiting Osaka in spring, don’t miss the opportunity to witness the mesmerizing beauty of cherry blossoms at the Osaka Mint Bureau. This historic site opens its gates to the public for a limited time during the cherry blossom season. Stroll along the tree-lined paths and marvel at the delicate pink blossoms. It’s a magical experience that encapsulates the essence of Japanese springtime.

13. Tennōji Park

Escape the bustling city and find tranquility at Tennōji Park. This expansive park offers lush green spaces, serene ponds, and beautiful gardens. Take a walk along the winding paths and immerse yourself in nature’s beauty. The park is also home to the Tennōji Zoo, where you can admire a wide variety of animals and learn about wildlife conservation. Whether you want to have a picnic, go for a jog, or simply relax under the shade of a cherry blossom tree, Tennōji Park offers a peaceful retreat from the city’s hustle and bustle.

14. National Museum of Art, Osaka

Art lovers shouldn’t miss the opportunity to visit the National Museum of Art, Osaka. This prestigious museum showcases a diverse range of contemporary and modern artworks from both Japanese and international artists. Explore the thought-provoking exhibitions that feature paintings, sculptures, installations, and more. The museum’s striking architecture itself is a work of art and adds to the overall experience.

15. Explore Shinsekai

Experience the unique charm of Shinsekai, a district known for its nostalgic atmosphere and vibrant street life. Take a stroll along the lively streets and immerse yourself in the local culture. From traditional Japanese izakayas to quirky shops and arcades, Shinsekai offers a blend of old and new. Don’t forget to try kushikatsu, a popular local dish of deep-fried skewered meat and vegetables, available in many restaurants in the area.

16. Namba Parks

Indulge in shopping and greenery at Namba Parks, a unique shopping complex located in the Namba district. This futuristic building features a series of terraced gardens and rooftop green spaces, creating a refreshing oasis in the heart of the city. Explore the wide range of shops, boutiques, and gourmet restaurants that cater to every taste. Don’t forget to take a moment to relax and enjoy the serene ambiance of the gardens.

Best things to do in Osaka

In this guide, we explored the best things to do in Osaka, giving you a comprehensive overview of the must-see sights, experiences, and hidden gems that this city has to offer. So, let’s dive in and discover the wonders of Osaka!




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