Top 10 Things To Do In Osaka Japan – Osaka is known for its lively nightlife and endless street food, but there’s more hidden beneath the city’s neon-lit facade. We’ll take you through the best things to do in Osaka – from must-see attractions to some lesser-known secrets you won’t find in guidebooks!
Known for its vibrant nightlife, approachable locals and fantastic food scene, Osaka is a popular spot on many Japan itineraries.
Top 10 Things To Do In Osaka Japan
True Time: When we plan trips, big cities are usually not the places we look forward to visiting. Honestly, we didn’t expect to like Osaka (Japan’s third largest city!) so much.
Visit Osaka: Travel Guide To Japan (2023)
Osaka doesn’t have the old-world charm you’ll find in Kyoto, and it’s not as flashy as Tokyo. But what it lacks in charm and beauty, it makes up for in character. Osaka is friendly and laid back, and we ended up liking it a lot more than we originally expected.
In this article, we will share the best things to do in Osaka; From famous must-see Osaka attractions to tours that are totally worth the price tag, to some hidden spots you won’t find in guidebooks.
We cover where to stay in Osaka and how to get around this sprawling city. Tip: It’s easier than you think!
This Osaka guide packs everything you need into one place. So whether you’re in the early stages of planning your trip to Japan or you’re in Osaka as you read this right now (yes!), be sure to save this article for easy access during your trip.
Top Rated Tourist Attractions In Osaka
Planning a trip to Japan? Find the best time to visit Japan based on seasonal weather patterns and your personal travel style.
If you’re wondering what to do in Osaka, we’ve got you covered with all kinds of ideas. Whether you’re looking for free things to do, off the beaten path, or things to do at night, you’ll find everything you need below.
We’re even breaking down the cost of each activity so you know exactly how much to spend on your Japan trip.
Known for its ever-shining neon lights, dense crowds and endless food options, a visit to this lively district should definitely be part of your Osaka trip. To get the full experience, be sure to go after the sun has set and the lights are at their brightest. This place has a distinct buzz, and your senses will be on overdrive. Hit the main drag, sample food along the way, sit back and people watch.
Things To Do In Osaka On A Sightseeing Tour
While in Dotonbori, stop by Don Quijote, a famous Japanese discount store chain that literally sells out.
You may ever need. Walking inside one of these stores is an experience, and the Dotonbori location even has a Ferris wheel inside!
Oh, and do the Japanese thing and take a photo with the “Glico Man,” the runner depicted on a neon billboard crossing a finish line. This iconic image was installed by a candy company (Glico) in 1935 and is now the symbol of Osaka among Japanese people.
Insider tip: When you’re in the area, veer off the main road and head through the narrow streets toward Hozen-ji Yokocho, which still retains its traditional charm and is much quieter than Dotonbori’s main drag. Be sure to pause at the lantern-lit Hozen-ji temple, from which the lane gets its name.2. Take a cooking class
A Local’s Guide To Osaka, Japan • The Blonde Abroad
If you’ve been following our blog for a while, you probably know that we love taking cooking classes on our travels and have taken courses in 12 countries around the world (and counting!). In fact, we took a sushi making class the last time we were in Japan.
We think a good cooking class can give you a unique opportunity to spend time with the locals, ask questions and learn. Also, food is an integral part of a country’s culture and taking a cooking class will give you a perspective you might otherwise miss.
Most of the cooking classes we take are half-day events, which involve visiting local markets and preparing a variety of dishes from scratch. However, this ramen-making class only took 2 hours, which was fine considering we had such a tight schedule in Osaka.
Our hosts were very sweet and explained the different types of ramen (there are many!). We make three different kinds of ramen, and everything—from the noodles to the broth—is made from scratch.
Best Things To Do In Osaka, Japan [2023 Edition]
One thing I will mention is that while making our own ramen from scratch is really fun, it’s not a dish that the average Japanese person makes for themselves. They usually go to a ramen shop instead of cooking this dish from scratch at home.
A favorite thing to do when we visit a new city is to take a walking tour. It’s a great way to get your bearings in a new place, get a taste for the local culture and some helpful recommendations.
Osaka native, Masa, is your guide on this tour, which combines a bit of history, food and sights with insider knowledge.
“Masaki was very excited to show us his Osaka and patiently answered all our questions! A must do if you ever visit Osaka! Learned more about Japanese culture. — Howard, Dec 2022
Osaka, Top 13 Things To Do In Japan’s Second Largest City
One of Japan’s oldest temples and the most important Buddhist structure in Osaka, Shitenoji Temple is a great place to learn about the country’s religion.
The temple was built by Prince Shotoku in the 6th century as a way to promote the introduction of Buddhism to Japan. Over the centuries, Shitenoji has endured several fires and been renovated to reflect the original design.
Cost: Entry to the main temple grounds is free, but there are small charges for two on-site attractions:
How to get here: Shitennoji is a short walk from Shitennoji-mae-Yuhigaoka Station on the Tanimachi Subway. Alternatively, it can be reached by a ten-minute walk north from JR Tenoji Station on the JR Loop Line.
The 15 Best Tourist Attractions In Osaka, Japan
Sometimes an izakaya only has a handful of seats, and other times they have a second floor with more seats. But one of their defining characteristics is that they
Izakayas are uniquely Japanese, and a fun thing to do in Osaka during your visit. You will be surrounded by locals and get to absorb this special atmosphere.
Need some advice on what to order at Izakaya? The menus are often written in Japanese, which can make things a little tricky. But don’t worry, we’ll guide you through ordering at an izakaya!
If you’re traveling solo or want a local with you for your first izakaya experience, consider booking a bar hopping tour with Magical Trip.
Incredible Things To Do In Osaka, Japan (2023)
Long answer: We did a bar hopping tour with Magical Tours, and we’ll be honest: in our opinion, the tour was just
Our guides were good, but didn’t give us much information we didn’t already know, so we felt we could have had a very similar experience ourselves without paying the price of the tour.
That said, we’ve traveled to Japan before and are sure to hit up our own izakaya. I’ll admit, entering your first izakaya can be a bit intimidating as the menus are often in Japanese.
So if it’s your first time in Japan or you’re traveling alone and you want some company, having locals (and possibly other tourists) with you can make the experience a bit more comfortable and enjoyable.
Top 5 Must See Sights In Osaka, Japan
Insider Tip: Have you seen the Netflix series “Street Food”? Totally recommend checking it out if you haven’t already. If you have time, visit the Izakaya Toyo featured in the Osaka episode. Known for its tuna cheeks, crab and fatty tuna rolls (among other seafood-based dishes), it’s a good idea to arrive early. We’ve heard that the tuna cheek often sells out within an hour of opening! Besides the fantastic food (read the reviews!), the owner (and chef) is energetic, funny and charming, another reason to visit. Toyo is located in the Miyakojima area, northeast of the city center. It’s beyond the JR Tozai line, easy if you have the pass!6. See TeamLab Botanical Gardens
You’ve probably heard of teamLab Borderless, Tokyo’s wildly popular digital art museum. But what if we told you that you can taste the magic of teamLab in Osaka?
As of July 2022, teamLab has opened a new exhibit at Osaka’s Nagai Botanical Garden. Called Digitized Nature, the project explores the concept of turning nature into art using non-material digital technology that does not harm plants.
A botanical garden by day and an art space by night, this is easily one of the newest things to do in Osaka since tourism is back! Check their official website for more details and book your ticket online in advance.
Fun & Unusual Things To Do In Osaka, Japan
After days of weaving through crowded city streets, we craved some time in nature. We did a little research and discovered that there is a nature lover’s oasis 45 minutes north of the city center.
With a pedestrian walkway
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