Osaka 大阪 is Japan’s second largest metropolitan region after Tokyo. Located in the Kansai area, Osaka is an amazing city offering entertainment, traditional culture, shopping experience and food & dining. Osaka is consisted of 24 city wards, and Kita Ward 北区 and Chuo Ward 中央区 have most of the popular destinations for visitors. Often locals call these 2 areas Kita (North) and Minami (South) but be aware that they are not referring to the South Ward. The residents of Osaka speak Kansai-ben, which is a unique dialect used in Kansai region of Japan.
There are public transport including trains, subways and buses available for travel. Taxis can be found easily on main roads. Osaka is located approximately 1 hour via train from Kyoto so if you’re travelling to Kyoto, you can also visit Osaka. As well as Kyoto, it is close to other popular cities including Nara, Wakayama and Kobe.
Dotonbori or Dotombori is the central area for shopping and entertainment in Osaka. Located south from Osaka station, it is the most popular destination for tourists. This area’s symbol is the famous glico man signage (Glico is food manucaturing company that makes famous snacks such as Pocky). Many visitors pose and take the photo together with this signage at Dotonbori Ebisu Bridge.
There is a boat ride called Tonbori River Cruise that goes through the Dotonbori canal. The 20-minute trip past the neon signs and able to enjoy the view. The cruise runs on the hour and the half-hour. Reception is on the 1st floor of the Don Quijote Building.
Located in the southern side of Osaka (Minami 南), Namba is the area where Dotombori, Namba Parks and other famous department stores and shopping areas exist. There are many pedestrian only shopping streets such as Namba center-gai Shopping Street so you can comfortably enjoy shopping. Southern part of Namba has an area where it’s full of kushiyaki restaurants – they are fried skews famous in Osaka.
You can call this an entertainment onsen complex where families, couples and singles can enjoy. It is a large complex with many different onsens, relaxing rooms and restaurants. You pay an entrance fee and you can stay until 10am next day. The onsens are separated by male and female, and there are approximately 6 different types of onsens you can enjoy – 3 outdoor and 3 indoor.
There are other facilities such as manga corner, sleeping room, massage/relaxation (incur additional cost), outdoor rooftop garden, as well as sauna area (incur additional cost).
Located next to Namba is an area famous for electric/computer products and anime culture. This is called the Akihabara of the west of Japan. There are numerous shops that variety of old to new game and anime related products such as Dragon Ball and One Piece figurines, Yugioh cards,
If you want to see amazing collection of figurines, cards, anime stationeries, you have to visit this area.
Universal Studio is a must go to place if you’re visiting Osaka. It is full of attractions that are exciting and fun which anyone can enjoy. Currently there are 8 different areas in the park: Hollywood, New York, San Francisco, Jurassic Park, Waterworld, Amity Village, Universal Wonderland and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. The most popular ride has to be the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, 4D ride that makes you feel like you’re in the Harry Potter world.
Near the Universal Studio just before the gates, there is Universal Citywalk Osaka. It a shopping mall with many restaurants and shops which sell Universal Studios merchandise and Osaka souvenirs.
The African Savanna Zone is the main attraction which is designed to resemble real animal habitats. The zoo is home to approximately 1,000 animals from about 200 species. The zoo is divided into four major areas: African Savanna Zone, Asian Tropical Rainforest Zone, Flight Aviary and the Surrounding Area and Friendship Square.
As of 2019, the entrance fee for an adult is 500 yen, elementary and junior high school students is 200yen, and preschool children can enter for Free.
Located in the Osaka bay area, Kaiyukan is one of the largest public aquariums in the world. It has 15 large tanks housing an astonishing variety of ocean life from the Pacific Rim including whale sharks, manta rays, seals and penguins. The aquarium exhibits around 30,000 marine creatures from 620 species including not just fish but also birds, mammals, reptiles, and amphibians.
Located opposite of Osaka Legoland, it is approximately a 5-minute walk from Osakako Station on the Osaka Metro Chuo Line.
Umeda is located in the northern part of Osaka, and is a city ideal for shopping and great restaurants. Umeda Sky Building is a popular sightseeing spot as visitors from all around the world visit to view its unique design. Umeda Sky Building has two skyscrapers, and at the top, they are connected by a circular corridor, and visitors can go up to the corridor via a direct elevator or escalator. The corridor is 173 meters above the ground and offers a 360-degree panoramic view of Osaka city.
Osaka Legoland is an indoor theme park with lot of fun for families – both children and adults can enjoy. There are rides, 4D cinema, interactive activities and a workshop where you will be taught how to build Lego. This Legoland is much smaller compared to the one in Nagoya so if you wish to enjoy more thrilling rides, we recommend going to Nagoya Legoland. Located opposite of Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan, it is approximately a 5-minute walk from Osakako Station on the Osaka Metro Chuo Line.
Osaka Castle or Osakajo commenced construction in 1583. It is a very popular tourist spot in Osaka. The main central tower is 55 meters high. Inside there is a museum and a viewing platform from which visitors can enjoy fantastic panoramic views of Osaka city. The castle is open to the public and can be accessed from Osakajōkōen Station on the JR West Osaka Loop Line.