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How Naomi Osaka Uses Her Platform to Advocate for Racial Justice

osaka japan tourism

Tennis fans around the world anticipated that the 2020 U.S. Open would be more than a little different due to the COVID-19 pandemic. What they weren’t expecting? That Naomi Osaka’s standout contributions — both to the game but even more so to our social consciousness — would be what really transformed the tournament into something captivating.

While competing in the 2020 U.S. Open, Osaka consistently used her platform to keep the Black Lives Matter movement and victims of police brutality in the public eye. When she stepped onto the court for her first 2020 U.S. Open match, she surprised the world with a powerful tribute to Breonna Taylor, who was murdered by police while asleep in her home. Osaka also honored more Black victims of police violence throughout the competition, with the goal of sparking conversation and keeping the focus on those who deserve justice. And her activism didn’t end there.

Despite taking a stand on her own — with no teammates backing her up — Osaka’s fight for social change has endured. And its scope has been impressive in achieving her goal of raising awareness. She inspires others to think critically and challenges the norms of a sport with a long history of racism against Black women. In recent weeks, she’s also turned her attention toward mental health advocacy after withdrawing from the French Open due to the harmful effects of media obligations on her wellbeing. This brave tennis star continues to make meaningful statements, and she ensures her actions motivate others to address the real issues at the heart of her powerful protest.

Osaka Serves Social Justice on Social Media

As the daughter of a Japanese mother and a Haitian father, Osaka has experienced microaggressions and blatant racism throughout her life, from people dismissing her Japanese identity to others calling her “ too sunburnt ” or needing “some bleach.” Other Black athletes face the same issue, including Venus Williams, who has been penalized for her trademark hair and mocked in headlines. These harmful, racist attacks show how successful people of color are still not respected in tennis and by society. Previously, Osaka avoided escalating her responses to negative remarks. Now, she no longer remains silent about racism and social justice.

osaka japan tourism

After George Floyd was murdered in 2020, people worldwide took to the streets to protest. During this time, Osaka flew to Minneapolis, where Floyd was killed, to join protests — without telling her coach or agent she was doing so. “We grieved with the people of St. Paul and protested peacefully. We visited the George Floyd Memorial and connected with those who came together to mourn yet another senseless act and life lost without reason. Being on the ground in Minneapolis was what felt right at that moment,” she said . The tragedy of Black lives lost to police brutality also drove the tennis superstar to speak out in support of Black Lives Matter, encouraging people to raise their voices, sign petitions and take action.

Like other athletes who discuss politics and social issues, Osaka received a lot of backlash. However, she had the perfect response to people online who attempted to discredit her activism: “I hate when random people say athletes shouldn’t get involved with politics and just entertain. Firstly, this is a human rights issue. Secondly, what gives you more right to speak than me? By that logic if you work at IKEA you are only allowed to talk about the ‘GRÖNLID’?” Osaka has found her voice, and she isn’t backing down. Along the way, she has inspired others, including powerful organizations and athletes, to speak out on political issues.

Her One-Woman Protest Ignited a Larger Movement

Osaka also fights for racial injustice and inequality in the arena, having refused to play in the semifinal match at the Western & Southern Open in August of 2020 to put a focus on police brutality against Black people — an ongoing issue that Osaka believes is more important than sports. Unlike athletes in the NBA and WNBA who stood together as teams in their dissent, she protested by herself following the police shooting of Jacob Blake. And her one-woman protest was equally powerful.

osaka japan tourism

“Before I am an athlete, I am a Black woman,” Osaka wrote on Twitter. “I feel as though there are much more important matters at hand that need immediate attention, rather than watching me play tennis. Watching the continued genocide of Black people at the hand of the police is honestly making me sick to my stomach.” More than 100,000 people retweeted her post to show solidarity for her protest.

Her strike led the ATP, WTA and USTA tours to stop for a day for protest and inspired other tennis players to wear Black Lives Matter shirts. These actions continued the important conversation about racial inequality and social injustice — and demonstrated a demand for historic change. Osaka’s further advocacy gained even more attention, and she went beyond social media and boycotts in sending a message.

The Semifinal Strike Was Just the Beginning of Her Fight

People who watched the 2020 U.S. Open couldn’t ignore Osaka’s call for racial justice, thanks in large part to the face masks she wore that were emblazoned with the names of Breonna Taylor, Elijah McClain, George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Trayvon Martin, Philando Castile and Tamir Rice — Black victims of police brutality.

osaka japan tourism

Discussions of the masks spread far and wide, which was exactly Osaka’s goal — “ The point was to make people start talking” and to keep the spotlight on the victims, she told reporter Tom Rinaldi. During news conferences, she answered questions about racial justice and Black Lives Matter instead of her performance in the matches. The masks helped viewers worldwide learn the victims’ names and sparked new discussions about what happened to them — and, most importantly, why that matters and what needs to be done about it. “I’m aware that tennis is watched all over the world, and maybe there is someone that doesn’t know Breonna Taylor’s Story,” Osaka said . “It’s a very big motivating factor for me just to try to…get the names out to as many people as I can.”

Osaka’s push for change is inspiring to fans and players alike. And knowing the history of racism in professional tennis makes the issues Osaka advocates for even more significant.

Osaka Has Come So Far — but Progress Is Still Needed

Historically , tennis has never welcomed women of color. In fact, the United States Tennis Association didn’t allow Black people to participate in tournaments when the U.S. Open began in 1881. So, Black players formed their own tennis clubs.

osaka japan tourism

This started to change in 1950 as Althea Gibson paved the way for Black tennis players when she was invited to what’s now the U.S. Open after intense lobbying to secure her right to compete there. She also inspired Venus and Serena Williams to dominate the sport. Even still, these incredibly accomplished sisters face continued attacks from the institution and its fans, whether those criticisms are about their bodies, clothing or actions on the court.

The 2018 U.S. Open was another reminder of the racial inequities that are deeply rooted in tennis. In the last match against Osaka, Williams was penalized for small actions that white and male tennis players haven’t been struck for, including coaching and calling the umpire a “thief.” Mark Knight’s racist cartoon of Williams and Osaka’s whitewashing revealed the anti-Blackness still present in the tennis community and the country itself. These racial injustices and inequalities on the court and off show there’s much more work to do.

As one of the all-time top athletes in tennis, Osaka is doing that work — tackling racism, spreading awareness and changing the world. Tennis legend Billie Jean King — another groundbreaking player and champion for women’s rights — is proud of Osaka and perhaps put it best: “[Osaka] is a leader among today’s athletes — men and women — and she is speaking from her heart and her mind. It’s inspiring to watch a young leader step to the front and help humanity” as she rises to become a “catalyst for change.”


osaka japan tourism

osaka japan tourism

Osaka (���, Ōsaka) is Japan's second largest metropolitan area after Tokyo . It has been the economic powerhouse of the Kansai Region for many centuries. Osaka was formerly known as Naniwa. Before the Nara Period , when the capital used to be moved with the reign of each new emperor , Naniwa was once Japan's capital city, the first one ever known.

In the 16th century, Toyotomi Hideyoshi chose Osaka as the location for his castle , and the city may have become Japan's political capital if Tokugawa Ieyasu had not terminated the Toyotomi lineage after Hideyoshi's death and established his government in distant Edo (Tokyo) .

Top attractions in Osaka

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Universal Studios ••

osaka japan tourism

Minami (Namba)

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Osaka Aquarium •

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Tenjin Matsuri •

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Osaka Castle •

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Sumiyoshi Taisha •

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Museum of History •

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Shinsekai •

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Shitennoji Temple •

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Abeno Harukas •

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Kita (Umeda)

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Osaka Station City •

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Bunraku Theater

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National Art Museum

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Umeda Sky Building

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Kuromon Market

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Osaka Expo 70 Park

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Science Museum

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Grand Front Osaka

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Asahi Suita Brewery

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Kyoto •••

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Mount Koya •••

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Nara •••

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Kinosaki ••

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Himeji ••

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Kobe •

Osaka by interest.

osaka japan tourism

Getting there and around

Itinerary ideas.

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  • Nostalgic Shinsekai
  • Shopping arcades and food markets
  • Bustling Dotonbori

osaka japan tourism

  • Outstanding museums
  • Osaka Castle and its extensive grounds
  • Ancient temples and shrines

osaka japan tourism

  • Famous Osaka Castle
  • Japan's tallest skyscraper Abeno Harukas
  • Namba entertainment district

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Kansai Osaka Bright, gaudy and playful: Osaka provides ample amusement with little pretension

  • Destinations

Osaka is a charming, relaxed city best known for its food, fun and nightlife—with some history and culture peeking through

How to get there.

Osaka is an excellent base for exploring the greater Kansai region, which includes Kyoto, Nara, Kobe and Wakayama. Each of these areas is a one-hour train ride from Osaka’s central transportation hubs (Osaka Station in the north, and Namba Station and Tennoji Station in the south). Kansai International Airport (KIX) is rivaled only by Narita Airport in Tokyo in size and scope, and is serviced by all major airlines. There are many direct flights between KIX and many major cities in the US, Europe and Australia.

  • The neon lights of Dotombori Bridge and Osaka’s Minami area
  • Exploring Osaka Castle Park and Expo Memorial Park, the site of Expo '70
  • Partaking in major seasonal festivals including Tenjin Matsuri, Kishiwada Danjiri and Ebessan
  • Indulging in famous culinary delights, particularly in neighborhoods such as Tenma and Ura Namba

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Den-den Town electric town

Cherry Blossoms

Forecast of first bloom

19 Mar 2023

Forecast of full bloom

27 Mar 2023

Explore Osaka by Area

osaka japan tourism

Trending Attractions in Osaka

Tsutenkaku Tower

Local Specialties

Iwa okoshi are candied puffs made from millet. They've been produced in Osaka since 1185. Think of them as cereal bars with eight centuries of history behind them.



Okonomiyaki are savory pancakes made with shredded cabbage, flour, egg and dashi, and either cooked at your table for you or left for you to cook yourself. The latter option is much more fun. A long list of toppings and combinations are available, with some of the more common ones being pork, shrimp, octopus and cheese.


Bits of octopus combined with pickled ginger and green onions, mixed in a batter and grilled in a special mold. The resulting spheres are crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. An Osaka classic topped with Worcestershire sauce, ginger and seaweed flakes.


Osaka Kongo Bamboo Blinds

Bamboo blinds predate the Heian period (794-1185), and were first used inside the Imperial palace and the residences of nobles. Finely crafted and elegant Osaka Kongo sudare, made of quality bamboo from the foot of nearby Mt. Kongo, have a beauty and ambiance that is quintessentially Japanese.


Sakai Forged Blades

Sakai hamono are hammer-forged blades from Sakai and Osaka. Crafted using traditional blacksmithing techniques, these cutting utensils are prized for their strength and edge geometry.


Seasonal Highlights

A sea of pink fills the prefecture's parks and boulevards, and the city comes out in full force to celebrate the gorgeous views at Osaka Castle, Yodogawa Riverside Park and the Osaka Mint.

nakanoshima area

Festive spirits and outdoor amusements take everyone's minds off the stifling heat. Osaka's foremost festival, the Tenjin Matsuri, thrills the crowds and many head for the prefecture's southern beaches. Frequent firework displays brighten the night.

Tenjin Matsuri-SUM

As summer's humidity dissipates, the leaves turn fiery red and provide a striking backdrop for outdoor adventure. The Midosuji Parade brings a vibrant procession and marching bands down Osaka's grand boulevard.

northern osaka

Holiday illuminations light up the urban areas and end-of-year festivities get into full swing. Runners from all over the world gather for the Osaka International Women's Marathon.

Osaka Hikari Renaissance Midosuji Illumination

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Osaka Is Great For

Iconic views.

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"Konamon" flour-based feasts

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A maze of food alleyways

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Enjoy a faster pace in Kansai's capital

Top attractions in osaka.


Katsuoji Temple

Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan

Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan

Universal Studios Japan (USJ)

Universal Studios Japan (USJ)

Around osaka.


Osaka is the capital of Osaka Prefecture and one of Kansai's most beautiful cities. During night time, the illuminated billboards and skyscrapers light up the city. Places include Namba, Osaka's..

Sakai City

Sakai is a bustling city in Osaka prefecture brimming with scenic parks, keyhole-shaped burial mounds, and temples. Just under an hour away from Osaka city, Sakai, also well-known for its quality..

Osaka City

Osaka city needs no introductions. As a major tourist hub in Japan, Osaka rivals Tokyo in terms of attractions and food. Visitors will be spoilt for choice with Universal Studios Osaka, Osaka..

About Osaka

The center of western Japan and the home of Japanese comedy, Osaka Prefecture (大阪府, Ōsaka-fu ) is lively at all times, as the business district in Umeda, the shopping area of Shinsaibashi, and the neon-lit nightlife district of Dotonbori reflect the upbeat and friendly nature of the local people.

But if you’re tired of the urbanity, Osaka Castle and the Expo Commemoration Park (which contains the National Museum of Ethnology and the iconic Tower of the Sun) ensure that you won’t run out of things to do. And that’s without even mentioning Universal Studios Japan .

Walking around the streets of Osaka can be a gastronomical experience, with many food stalls selling takoyaki, okonomiyaki, and other delicious fast foods and snacks. And if you have the luxury to splurge, have dinner at Kitcho, one of the most high class Japanese restaurants. 

Osaka Top 10

  • Recommended

JR Kansai Wide Area Pass

JR Kansai Wide Area Pass

Universal Studios Japan Rides 2022

Universal Studios Japan Rides 2022

Hilton Osaka Collaborates with Sanrio

Hilton Osaka Collaborates with Sanrio

APA Villa Hotel Tanimachi 4-Chome

APA Villa Hotel Tanimachi 4-Chome

Riverside Grill and Beer Garden

Riverside Grill and Beer Garden

karaksa hotel grande Shin-Osaka Tower

karaksa hotel grande Shin-Osaka Tower

Uemachi Japanese Restaurant

Uemachi Japanese Restaurant

Genmai Café

Genmai Café

Minoya Wagashi

Minoya Wagashi

Permanent TeamLab Exhibit Coming to Osaka

Permanent TeamLab Exhibit Coming to Osaka

Midosuji and Hikari Illuminations

Midosuji and Hikari Illuminations

Osaka Christmas Market

Osaka Christmas Market

Lantern Night Osaka

Lantern Night Osaka

Light is Flickering, Light Floating in the Dark

Light is Flickering, Light Floating in the Dark

Yodogawa Fireworks Festival

Yodogawa Fireworks Festival

Tenjin Matsuri

Tenjin Matsuri

Shinno-sai Festival

Shinno-sai Festival

Osaka Hikari-Renaissance Light-up

Osaka Hikari-Renaissance Light-up

Kishiwada Danjiri Matsuri

Kishiwada Danjiri Matsuri

Super Potato Retro Game Store Osaka

Super Potato Retro Game Store Osaka

Upcoming osaka events.

Sennan Philippines Day

Sennan Philippines Day

The Philippines boasts a rich and diverse culture, and the Sennan Philippines Day at Osaka's Sennan Long Park is set to celebrate..

Light is Flickering, Light Floating in the Dark

TeamLab has a permanent display at the Nagai Botanical Garden in Osaka City, but it also offers some limited-time seasonal displays..

Osaka Flower Carpet

Osaka Flower Carpet

Held under the theme of connecting people, Osaka, and the world, the Osaka Flower Carpet event at Expo '70 Commemorative Park..

Where to eat in Osaka

Dotonbori's Top Restaurants

Dotonbori's Top Restaurants

A saying associated with Dotonbori is kuidaore, which means to go bankrupt after spending a large amount of money on food. Not surprisingly,..

Bear Paw Cafe

Bear Paw Cafe

On first glances, Osaka's newly-opened Bear Paw Cafe may seem like a cute gimmick, but it's much more than that.

Minoya Wagashi

Wagashi is as synomous to Sakai, as the first harvest of gyochoro tea is to Uji or Shizouka. While these sweets were originally..

Places to stay in Osaka

Amami Onsen Nanten-en

Amami Onsen Nanten-en

Amami Onsen Nanten-en is a traditional ryokan inn hidden deep within the Osaka countryside. Immersed in history and culture, boasting..

Hotel Inter-Continental Osaka

Hotel Inter-Continental Osaka

The Inter-continental Hotel is a welcome addition to the luxury hotel circuit, and along with other 5 star hotels in the area, like..

 Cat Spa & Ryokan: Neko-Yokujo & Neko-Hatago

Cat Spa & Ryokan: Neko-Yokujo & Neko-Hatago

Located in Osaka, Neko-Yokujo and Neko-Hatago is a cat cafe and dormitory-style inn designed for cat rescue. The cafe and inn feature..

Latest Osaka Reports

Uemachi Japanese Restaurant

It is said that we first eat with our eyes, and the appetisers served in three round closhes resembling Temari, a handcrafted ..

Riverside Grill and Beer Garden

A southern breeze brings forth good hope for sailors coming back from the maritime silk route. It may feel balmy by the time it..

karaksa hotel grande Shin-Osaka Tower

Visitors seeking a convenient base for exploring Western Japan will find karaksa hotel grande Shin-Osaka Tower the perfect place..

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Inside Osaka

Your Osaka Travel Guide

Make the most of your trip to Osaka with our comprehensive Osaka itineraries , our recommendations of the best places to eat in Osaka and rundowns of essential attractions in each of Osaka's fascinating districts

Osaka Itineraries

Osaka Itineraries

Osaka Restaurants

Osaka Restaurants

Osaka Hotels

Osaka Hotels

Osaka Ryokan

Osaka Ryokan

First Time In Osaka

First Time in Osaka

Osaka Districts

Osaka Districts

Things To Do In Osaka

Things To Do In Osaka

Osaka-Kyoto-Tokyo Itineraries

Osaka-Kyoto-Tokyo Itineraries

Best Time To Go To Osaka

Best Time To Go To Osaka

SIM Cards in Osaka

SIM Cards in Osaka

How To Get To Osaka

How to Get to Osaka and Osaka Airport Transport

Getting Around Osaka

Getting Around Osaka

Eat Like A Local In Osaka

Eat Like A Local In Osaka

Where To Stay In Osaka

Where To Stay In Osaka

Japan Travel Guides

There are several must-see destinations in Japan within easy reach of Osaka. They all make great additions to any Osaka itinerary. These concise guides provide details about what to see and do.

Kyoto Travel Guide

Kyoto Travel Guide

Tokyo Travel Guide

Tokyo Travel Guide

Nara Travel Guide

Nara Travel Guide

Kanazawa Travel Guide

Kanazawa Travel Guide

Hiroshima And Miyajima

Hiroshima And Miyajima Travel Guide

Takayama Travel Guide

Takayama Travel Guide

Where Are These Places Located?

  • Open the Osaka map
  • You will see the list of places on the left hand side. (Click the 3-line icon in the top left corner if not). Scroll down or use the map search (the magnifying glass icon) to find the place you want.
  • Click the name of the place in the list. Its location pin will be highlighted on the map.
  • Map pins are color coded - BLUE: Hotels / Ryokan / Guesthouses | VIOLET: Ryokan | PINK: Places to Eat | GREEN: Shops | YELLOW: Things to See and Do
  • If you're using the map on your phone, open the map and then search for the name of the place. The map will then zoom in on its location.

Osaka Vacation Checklist

  • For all the essentials in a brief overview, see my First Time In Osaka guide
  • Check Osaka accommodation availability and pricing on Booking.com – usually you can reserve a room with no upfront payment. Pay when you check out. Free cancellations too
  • Need tips on where to stay? See my one page guide Where To Stay In Osaka
  • You can buy a Japan SIM card online for collection on arrival at Osaka's Kansai International Airport. Or rent an unlimited data pocket wifi router
  • Compare flight prices and timings to find the best Japan flight deals
  • If you're visiting more than one city, save a ton of money with the Japan Rail Pass – here's why it's worth it
  • World Nomads offers simple and flexible travel insurance. Buy at home or while traveling and claim online from anywhere in the world

Osaka District Map

osaka japan tourism

  • Shin-Osaka Area
  • Central Osaka Area
  • Minami Area
  • Tennoji Area
  • Osaka Castle Area
  • Osaka Bay Area

Crowded Shinsekai District and Tsutenkaku Tower at night.

©Mlenny/Getty Images

If Kyoto was the city of the courtly nobility and Tokyo the city of the samurai, then Osaka (大阪) was the city of the merchant class. Osakans take pride in shedding the conservatism found elsewhere in Japan, and this spirited city – Japan's third-largest – is a place where people are a bit brasher, and interactions are peppered with playful jabs.

Leave the planning to a local expert

Experience the real Osaka. Let a local expert handle the planning for you.


Must-see attractions for your itinerary.

Osaka Castle

After unifying Japan in the late 16th century, General Toyotomi Hideyoshi built this castle (1583) as a display of power, using, it's said, the labour of…

Crowds and neon lights along Dotonbori

Highly photogenic Dōtombori is the city's liveliest night spot and the centre of the southern part of town. Its name comes from the 400-year-old canal,…

Abeno Harukas

Abeno Harukas

This César Pelli–designed tower, which opened in March 2014, is Japan's tallest building (300m, 60 storeys). The observatory on the 16th floor is free,…



West of Midō-suji, Amerika-Mura is a compact enclave of hip, youth-focused and offbeat shops, plus cafes, bars, tattoo and piercing parlours, nightclubs,…

National Museum of Ethnology

National Museum of Ethnology

This ambitious museum showcases the world's cultures, presenting them as the continuous (and tangled) strings that they are. There are plenty of…

Excited school children gazing at sting rays at Osaka Aquarium.

Osaka Aquarium Kaiyūkan

Kaiyūkan is among Japan's best aquariums. An 800m-plus walkway winds past displays of sea life from around the Pacific 'ring of fire': Antarctic penguins,…

Colorful signs and Tsutenkaku tower in Osaka

A century ago, Shin-Sekai ('new world') was home to an amusement park that defined cutting edge. Now this entertainment district mixes down-at-heel with…

JAPAN - DECEMBER 10: Sumiyoshi Taisha Shinto Shrine, Osaka, Japan, 3rd century. (Photo by DeAgostini/Getty Images)

Sumiyoshi Taisha

Dedicated to Shintō deities of the sea and sea travel, this graceful shrine was founded in the early 3rd century and is considered the headquarters for…

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13 Things to do in Osaka on a Sightseeing Tour – Travel Japan

Looking for things to do in Osaka? Reserve tickets online to contemporary attractions like Universal Studios Japan and Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan , or embrace Japanese culture at historic landmarks like Osaka Castle and Dotombori .

Universal Studios Japan_USJ_things to do in Osaka

1. Enjoy unlimited amusement park rides with two-day tickets to UNIVERSAL STUDIOS JAPAN

It’s no secret that one of the best things to do in Osaka is to spend a day at Universal Studios Japan . After all, more than 10 million people go there every year! Buy a one- or two-day studio pass to enjoy unlimited access to the park’s eight sections, which include The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and Minion Park . Add a USJ Express Pass and get speedy access to the park’s most popular rides, like The Flying Dinosaur in Jurassic Park and The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man in New York .

Amusement park sections at Universal Studios Japan

  • Universal Wonderland
  • Amity Village
  • The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
  • Jurassic Park
  • San Francisco
  • Minion Park

Discover more about USJ attractions & tickets to Universal Studios Japan

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Osaka Castle_Osaka_Japan_things to do in Osaka

2. Savor spectacular history while photographing seasonal foliage at OSAKA CASTLE

Touring Osaka Castle is not only one of the most popular things to do in Osaka, but it also is one of the most popular iconic landmarks to tour in Japan. The castle played a historical role in unifying Japan in the 16th century, when the first rendition of the Main Tower was built. Today, visitors can savor a bird’s-eye view of the castle grounds from the observation deck of Osaka Castle Museum , housed inside the Main Tower, as well as a close-up view of each of the castle’s 13 historic structures. Osaka Castle is open year ‘round, and each season accentuates the fantastic sightseeing available. During spring, admire cherry blossoms at Nishinomaru Garden and apricot flowers in Ume Grove . Photograph the best fall foliage in Omoide-no-mori (Grove of Remembrance) .

13 historical landmarks & things to do in Osaka Castle

  • Ote-mon Gate
  • Sakura-mon Gate
  • Ichiban-yagura Turret
  • Inui-yagura Turret
  • Rokuban-yagura Turret
  • Sengan-yagura Turret
  • Osakajo Tamon-yagura
  • Kinmeisui Well
  • Kinzo Storehouse
  • Enshogura Gunpowder Magazine
  • Castle walls, around Ote-mon Gate (three sections)

Learn more about Osaka Castle hours and entrance fees

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Hotel The Lutheran_things to do in Osaka

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Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan_Osaka_Japan_things to do in Osaka

3. Pet a shark after playing with sea lions at OSAKA AQUARIUM KAIYUKAN

Take a virtual tour of the Pacific Ocean at Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan , which features up-close views of some of the world’s most intriguing marine life. Follow sea lions and schools of fish through spiraling tunnels that lead visitors from the seventh floor all the way down to the fourth. These mesmerizing exhibitions showcase the aquarium’s most popular attractions, including Japan Forest and Antarctica . During the two-and-a-half-hour tour, visitors also love to watch feeding times and take part in hands-on activities, like bonding with seals in their natural habitat … and petting sharks and stingrays!

Permanent exhibits at Kaiyukan

  • Fish Underpass – Aqua Gate
  • Japan Forest
  • Aleutian Islands
  • Monterey Bay
  • Gulf of Panama
  • Ecuador Rain Forest
  • Great Barrier Reef
  • Pacific Ocean
  • Seto Inland Sea

Check In to Hotel Universal Port , Step Out to Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan

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Dotonbori_Kuidaore Taro_Glico Man_things to do in Osaka

4. Get swept up in Japanese food culture and things to do in Osaka in DOTONBORI

Foodies know that one of the best things to do in Osaka is to eat in Dotonbori , so if you’re a rookie to this region, head to Hozenji Yokocho alley. This stone-paved section of Minami is packed with long-standing Japanese restaurants and bars eager to placate Osaka’s kuidaore (extravagant street food) culture. For one of the district’s most distinguished dining experiences, look for the giant, mechanical crab on the awning of Kani Doraku . Order from the take-away shop in front of the restaurant. It’s one of the most popular things to do in Osaka! Or if you want to crack open some crabs onsite, make a reservation in advance, as wait times can be more than an hour. While the district is best loved for its food choices, Dotonbori also maintains its fair share of theaters, nightclubs, shopping boutiques and tourist attractions, including the Glico Man billboard at Ebisu Bridge and Kuidaore Taro , the drum-playing clown in the Nakaza Cuidaore Building .

Best Japanese foods to try in Dotonbori

  • Takoyaki (octopus balls)
  • Okonomiyaki (Japanese savory pancake)
  • Ramen (noodles in rich pork bone broth)
  • Kitsune udon (thick noodles in light broth)
  • Kushikatsu (deep fried meat skewers)
  • Taiyaki (stuffed pastry shaped like a fish)

Check In to Dotonbori Hotel , Step Out to Glico Man billboard

Dotonbori Hotel_things to do in Osaka

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Kuchu Teien Observatory_Floating Garden Observatory_Osaka_Japan_things to do in Osaka

5. View Mount Rokko from the Umeda Sky Building and KUCHU TEIEN OBSERVATORY

Located on the banks of the Yodo River in the Umeda Sky Building , the Kuchu Teien Observatory offers a lingering look of Awaji Island and the Mount Rokko ridgeline, as well as a panoramic view of Osaka . The observation platform serves as a bridge that connects the two towers of the Kuchu Teien Observatory , also called the Floating Garden Observatory . At ground level, visitors are welcome to find some shade while hunting koyo (fall foliage) in Naka-Shizen no mori garden or grab some lunch at Takimikoji food street in the basement of the tower. Visit the Umeda Sky Building during November and December and find the area illuminated to the hilt during the annual German Christmas Market .

Check In to Hotel Monterey Osaka , Step Out to Kuchu Teien Observatory

Hotel Monterey Osaka_things to do in Osaka

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Tempozan Giant Ferris Wheel_Osaka_Japan_things to do in Osaka

6. Look over Osaka Bay and Awaji Island from a seat on the TEMPOZAN GIANT FERRIS WHEEL

See Osaka like you’ve never seen it before during a 17-minute ride on the Tempozan Giant Ferris Wheel in Tempozan Harbor Village . Once the tallest Ferris wheel in the world, the Tempozan Giant Ferris Wheel offers breathtaking views of Osaka Bay , Mount Ikoma and Akashi Kaikyo Bridge , which connects the mainland to Awaji Island . Photographers particularly love the area at night when the wheel lights up according to the next day’s weather: orange indicates a sunny day; green lights mean clouds, and blue lights let visitors know it’s going to rain.

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Sumiyoshi-taisha_things to do in Osaka_Japan

7. Photograph Japanese architecture in an ancient Buddhist shrine at SUMIYOSHI TAISHA

Famous for its architecture and cherished for its historical significance, Sumiyoshi-Taisha , also known as Sumiyoshi Grand Shrine , is one of Japan’s oldest religious sites. The shrine was founded in the third century, before the introduction of Buddhism, and is one of only three shrines to be considered “purely Japanese,” based on its architectural style called Sumiyoshi-zukuri. Cross the iconic Sorihashi arched foot bridge to enter the grounds, where visitors can tour the four main shrine halls and wander through sacred trees that are more than 1,000 years old. Tour Sumiyoshi-taisha on the first three days of the year and witness more than two million locals praying for health and prosperity during hatsumōde, the first Shinto shrine visit of the Japanese new year.

Things to do in Osaka at Sumiyoshi-Taisha

  • The Stone Stage and waterfall
  • Sumiyoshi Taisha, Kisshoden wedding venue and costume rental service
  • Unohana Garden

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For Leaves Inn Nagai_things to do in Osaka_Japan

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Kamigata Ukiyoe Museum_things to do in Osaka_Japan

8. View rare & exotic Japanese art made with woodblocks at KAMIGATA UKIYOE MUSEUM

Take a tour of the only museum in the world with a permanent display of Kamigata ukiyoe, or Japanese woodblock prints from the former Osaka-Kyoto region known as Kamigata. With more than 50 pieces of art in its permanent collection, the Kamigata Ukiyoe Museum showcases traditional art and culture from the Edo area, particularly Kabuki actors of the day.

Check In to Richmond Hotel namba Daikokucho , Step Out to Kamigata Ukiyoe Museum

Richmond Hotel namba Daikokucho_things to do in Osaka_Japan

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Tombori River Walk_things to do in Osaka_Japan

9. Float under the neon lights of the Dotombori waterfront during a TOMBORI RIVER CRUISE

Enjoy a 20-minute waterfront cruise along the Tombori River Walk to view some of the best attractions in Dotombori . The Tombori River Cruise captures some of Dotonbori’s most famous sights and reveals many secrets about events that have taken place in Naniwa Ward. Buy tickets on the first floor of the Don Quijote Dotombori supermarket and board near the front entryway at Tazaemon-bashi Bridge boat dock, also called the Tombori River Cruise Landing Platform .

Things to do in Osaka Minami on the Dotombori waterfront

  • Minatomachi River Place
  • Don Quijote Dotombori
  • Kani Doraku Dotombori Honten restaurant (giant red crab)
  • Dotombori Glico Sign
  • Shusse Jizo, Jizoson statue

Check In to Osaka Teikoku Hotel , Step Out to Tombori River Walk

Osaka Teikoku Hotel_things to do in Osaka_Japan

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Wonder Loop Osaka_Osaka Wonder Cruise_Glico man sign_things to do in Osaka_Japan

10. Take an Osaka bus tour and ferry ride on WONDER LOOP OSAKA & OSAKA WONDER CRUISE

Buy a two-day hop-on, hop-off bus and boat ticket and enjoy endless rides to some of the most popular things to do in Osaka. Take an epic selfie on the waterfront with the Glico running man sign and get a glimpse of Osaka Castle while drifting down the O River . Jump on a boat at the Wonder Cruise Dotonbori River Port , or board a bus from any of the 14 Wonder Loop Osaka bus stops.

Bus stops for Wonder Loop Osaka

  • Osaka Station
  • Kitashinchi Yuki restaurant
  • MUJI Tenmabashi Keihan Citymall
  • Hotel New Otani Osaka
  • Osaka Castle Park
  • Matsuyamachi
  • Daimaru Shinsaibashi department store
  • Namba Parks
  • Kushikatsu Daruma Shinsekai sohonten
  • Abeno Q’s Mall
  • Nippombashi
  • Sakaisuji-Honmachi

Buy tickets for Wonder Loop Osaka and Osaka Wonder Cruise

Check In to Yamatoya Honten Ryoken Osaka Hotel , Step Out to Glico running man sign

Yamatoya Honten Ryoken Osaka Hotel_things to do in Osaka_Japan

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Osaka Museum of Housing and Living_things to do in Osaka_Japan

11. Walk through a traditional village & wear a Japanese kimono at OSAKA MUSEUM OF HOUSING AND LIVING

Discover Japanese culture and history while viewing exhibits of traditional Japanese housing from the Meiji, Taisho and Showa periods. The Osaka Museum of Housing and Living also features a remarkable replica of an entire cityscape from the Edo period, as well as dozens of Japanese artifacts dating from the 1800s to the 1950s. Guests are invited to try on a Japanese kimono and experience daytime and nighttime atmospheres through an illumination exhibit. Find the Osaka Museum of Housing and Living in the Kita District, next to Tenjimbashisuji Shopping Street .

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Guest House N

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Umeda Sky Building_things to do in Osaka_Japan

12. Tour a floating garden and photograph Osaka’s skyline from the UMEDA SKY BUILDING

Also known as Shin Umeda City , the Umeda Sky Building offers views of the Yodo River and the Umeda skyline. The 40-floor building features two towers connected by a Floating Garden Observatory on the 39th floor. Snap a panoramic photo from a height of 568 feet (173 meters) on an open-air deck and then venture below the tower to shop in an underground market. At ground level, visitors will find an urban garden, complete with walking trails, a plant nursery and scenic streams and waterways.

What to do in Osaka near Umeda Sky Building

  • Shin Umeda City
  • Naka-Shizen no mori garden
  • Umeda Underground shopping street
  • German Christmas Market (mid-November to Christmas Day)

Check In to Hotel Kinki , Step Out to Umeda Sky Building

Hotel Kinki_things to do in Osaka_Japan

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National Bunraku Theater_things to do in Osaka_Japan

13. Discover a rare Japanese art form while watching a puppet show at NATIONAL BUNRAKU THEATER

Watch a rare art form developed in the 17th century that ranks as one of the three great theatrical traditions of Japan. The National Bunraku Theater features traditional Japanese puppet shows, and the performance hall in Nippombashi is one of the only places in the world to catch a show today. A mix of complex puppetry, narration and musical compositions, bunraku once served as a primary source of entertainment for Japanese nobility. Osaka is considered the capital for bunraku, and the tradition was designated by UNESCO in 2003 as a part of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. The National Bunraku Theater hosts about five performances per year. English-speaking spectators can purchase audio guides for additional charges, and brochures are available in English, Chinese, Korean and French.

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Hotel Villa Fontaine Osaka-Shinsaibashi_things to do in Osaka_Japan

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Tenjin Matsuri_Osaka Castle_things to do in Osaka_Japan

Best time to visit Osaka

View more than 600 cherry trees in full bloom around Osaka Castle at Nishinomaru Garden in Osaka Castle Park . Hours are extended from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. during spring, and when the sun goes down, tourists can enjoy an illuminated view of the grounds. The March Grand Tournament also takes place in spring. This two-week event kicks off in mid-March and features some of the country’s most famous sumo wrestlers. Buy tickets the day of any match on the website or at EDION Arena Osaka (Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium) , where the tournament takes place.
The weather in Osaka makes Japan’s third largest city appealing year-round, but sightseers who want an authentic taste of Japanese tradition should show up at the end of July for the Tenjin Matsuri (summer festival), which starts July 24 at Temmangu shrine. Started in the 10th century, Tenjin Matsuri is noted as one of Japan’s top three festivals and attracts millions of onlookers and participants every year. Locals kick off the two-day event by praying by the waterfront for peace, safety and prosperity for Osaka. On the second day, locals don traditional costumes and take part in street performances, and the festival is capped with a fireworks procession down the Okawa River .
Viewing fall foliage in Japan is not just a sightseeing adventure. It’s a national sport! Locals call it koyo hunting, and participants can score massive likes with Instagram posts from Osaka Castle Park and Expo ’70 Commemorative Park . Besides an entire park full of reds, oranges and yellows, visitors also can Snapchat fun selfies with the Tower of the Sun statue and tour the Expo ’70 Pavilion heritage museum.
“Ooh and aah” all the way down Midosuji Boulevard while reveling in one of the world’s longest illuminated streets. The section of road spans more than 1.75 miles (3 kilometers) and remains lit from mid-November to New Year’s Eve. Winter illumination is a bonus for this star attraction, as this high-class shopping street features flagship stores like Louis Vuitton and Chanel and runs through Osaka’s central districts of Umeda , Shinsaibashi , Dotonbori , Americamura and Namba . During the last two weeks of December, visit Osaka to attend the Osaka Hikari Renaissance , a part of the annual Osaka Festival of Lights event. The display stretches more than a quarter mile (600 meters) from Osaka City Hall to Nakanoshima Park .

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Osaka travel guide

Osaka tourism | osaka guide, you're going to love osaka.

Often referred to as the "Venice of the East" due to its network of canals branching off the river Yodo, Osaka is Japan's third largest and most fun-loving city.

osaka japan tourism

Osaka is the kind of destination that blends ancient history with ultra-modern attractions. On one day you could tour the ramparts of Osaka Castle and venerable temples before shopping for the latest electronics and riding the 100-meter-tall Tempozan Ferris Wheel.

Famous for the quality of its cuisine, Osaka will delight foodies, but it's just as enticing for nightlife fans thanks to neighborhoods like Umeda that never seem to sleep.

Top 5 Reasons to Visit Osaka

1. it's a great place to explore japanese history.

Osaka is an ancient city and was one of the strongholds of the Edo Dynasty. These days, it has the castles, temples and palaces to prove it. You can visit stunning historical attractions like Osaka Castle or the temple of Shitennō-ji, which can trace its history back 2,000 years.

2. It's Japan's Gastronomic Capital

Osaka's informal city motto is "eat until you drop" and you won't find many better places to explore Japanese cuisine. With superb eateries like Chibo, Imai Honten, and Shoubentango-tei around, anyone with a taste for teriyaki or a soft spot for sushi will be in heaven.

3. The Nightlife in Umeda

Osaka is a city that loves to have fun. It might be a busy commercial center, but when night falls, neighborhoods like Umeda are full of music, lights, and places to drink.

4. Watch Puppet Theater in the Birthplace of Bunraku

Osaka was the birthplace of Bunraku (Japanese puppet theater) and these days, places like the National Bunraku Theater are the best locations in Japan to catch a mesmerizing performance.

5. There Are So Many Shopping Opportunities

The city has always been a commercial hotspot, and modern Osaka remains a wonderful place to shop. From the electronics stores in Denden Town to the apparel boutiques in Shinsaibashi and Midosuji, there are plenty of opportunities to fill your cases with Japanese products.

What to do in Osaka

1. osaka-jo: defense and elegance.

Set among fantastical gardens is the city's foremost landmark. The castle, atop a fortified hill surrounded by moats, reminds visitors of its military function over the centuries. Rebuilt time and time again, the classical architecture stands out and maintains its glory. The surrounding parks provide leisure for locals and tourists year-round, but the best time to visit is during the cherry blossom season, when the grounds are sprinkled in pink petals. Don't miss the Osaka Museum of History.

2. Shitennō-ji: Faithful through the Centuries

Known as the first Buddhist Temple in the country, Shitennō-ji is a well-preserved complex that tourists cannot miss. Its construction thousands of years ago near Osaka Bay gave a platform to the new religion in Japan leading up to this day. The gardens are the pinnacle of serenity, while the temple itself invites all visitors for reflection. And the Treasure House displays valuable items from the temple through the ages, from scriptures to paintings.

3. National Museum of Art: A Contemporary Window

The NMAO is a world-renowned institution of art, resting with importance on Osaka's Nakanoshima Island at the heart of the city. Amongst significant government offices and near the Osaka Science Museum, this attraction stands out for its modern architecture and art collection. Most of the galleries focus on the post-war era, with exceptions including the greats like Cézanne and Picasso. Of course, there is also a unique focus on local artists worth exploring.

4. Kaiyukan: Below the Ocean's Surface

As an island-country, Japan has long depended on its surrounding seas, and Kaiyukan Aquarium celebrates that relation. It is one of the largest public aquariums in the world, and the dozens of habitats recreated focus on habitats surrounding Earth's volcanic "Ring of Fire". Nearby this nautical experience, tourists will also find the LEGOLAND Discovery Center, as well as the Tempozan Ferris Wheel for views across the city.

5. Tennōji Zoo: Cross-Continental Journey

Nestled inside of Tennōji Park is one of Japan's most famous zoos, welcoming 1.5 million visitors each year. The habitats recreated here are particularly well executed, and nearly as much of a spectacle as the animals themselves. From the African savanna to the tropical rain forest, adults and children alike will feel transported to unknown lands. The Osaka Municipal Museum of Fine Art shares the public park with this zoo, offering a contrasting cultural experience.

osaka japan tourism

Where to Eat in Osaka

Eating in Osaka is one of the main attractions and the options are almost endless, but there are some highlights that every foodie should explore. Endo Sushi (in the Central Fish Market) is the place to head for sushi, while Hanamaruken serves great value, delicious ramen. Every visitor should try Osaka's okonomiyaki pancakes at least once, and the best in town are probably served at Houzenji San Pei, while Kimukatsu offers superb (and quick) katsu chicken. Prices vary wildly, but in general a sit down meal will come to between ¥1,000 and ¥1,500.

When to visit Osaka

In April and May, the city is a blaze of color as the cherry trees blossom (and the locals make this an excuse for a week long Cherry Blossom Festival as well). Otherwise, the Tenjin Matsuri Festival in late July is a great time to go, as is October, when mild weather and sunshine make for great sightseeing conditions.


How to Get to Osaka

Kansai International Airport (KIX) is around 24 miles southwest of Osaka's city center and has connections to US cities like San Francisco. The best route into town is via the JR Limited Rail Express, which takes just under an hour and costs ¥1,300. You can also catch limousine buses to selected downtown hotels for ¥1,550 and taxis will cost around ¥4,000.

Another popular way to reach Osaka is by taking the Shinkansen (bullet train) from Tokyo to Shin-Osaka station. The Tokyo service takes a little over two hours and costs ¥14,050. When you get to Osaka, switch to the Midosuji subway line into the city center.

If you are driving to Osaka from Tokyo, the best route to take is Highway 1, which runs directly into Osaka via Kyoto, a short drive to the north.

Plenty of buses cover the route between Tokyo and Osaka, including Willer, JR Bus, Hankyu, and Kintetsu. Bus stops vary, but the most common terminus is Shin-Osaka station, although it's worth checking the schedule to ensure you have a route from the bus stop to your accommodation.

Airports near Osaka

Airlines serving osaka, where to stay in osaka.

Umeda - one half of Osaka's city center, Umeda is all about fun. There are cavernous department stores like Hankyu, stunning views from the top of the Umeda Tower, and the warren-like streets of the Kitashinchi District, home to great bars like Owl Osaka and the Blue Note.

Popular Neighborhoods in Osaka

Namba - Osaka's other city center neighborhood, Namba also offers plenty of entertainment options, from the brightly illuminated shopfronts and restaurants of Dotonbori to the teen-oriented boutiques of Amerikamura and the National Bunraku Theater.

Osaka Bay - built on a number of reclaimed islands, Osaka Bay is a modern tourist neighborhood where family attractions include the Tempozan Ferris Wheel, the massive Osaka Aquarium and the Naniwa Food Theme Park, probably the best place to sample Osaka's legendary dishes. Just offshore, Sakurajima Island is also home to Universal Studios Japan, the city's leading family amusement park.

Where to stay in popular areas of Osaka

Most booked hotels in osaka, how to get around osaka, public transportation.

The best way to get around Osaka is the city's superb subway system, in particular the Midosuji line, which cuts the city center in half. Single tickets cost ¥200, and day passes are ¥800 (¥600 on Fridays). The other main public transportation options are JR or private trains (especially for getting to and from the airport). It might make sense to buy a prepaid ICOCA card when you arrive, which can be used on trains and subways.

As with most Japanese destinations, taxis in Osaka tend to have a high price tag, but they can sometimes be the only option. Cabs are hailed on the street, and expect high charges simply to begin journeys (¥500 is normal).

There are plenty of car rental outlets both at Kansai Airport and in Osaka itself, including Europcar, Nissan, and Nippon Rent-A-Car. If you just want to see the city center, there's no real need for a car (and parking and gas are expensive). However, for trips up the coast or into the hills, having your own vehicle is a great option. Expect to pay around ¥40,000 per week from most rental companies.

The Cost of Living in Osaka

Shopping streets.

Osaka is an incredible place to shop and the city is dotted with markets, department stores and shopping malls. Shinsaibashi Suji is a good place to start (in between Umeda and Namba), offering apparel boutiques of all varieties. If you are looking for cutting-edge fashion, don't miss Amerikamura, and try to get to Tenjinbashi Suji as well (if only to marvel at its two-mile-long parade of stores).

Groceries and Other

Visitors to Osaka can save a lot of money by shopping at the city's supermarkets during their stay. Some of the best places to shop for groceries include Super Tamade (the cheapest stores) or Seijo Ishii, while the Kuromon Ichiba is a must-visit for gourmet food fans. In general, expect to pay around ¥700 for a gallon of milk and ¥310 for a pound of apples.

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  • Destination

The metropolitan heart of Kansai

Japan's second smallest prefecture is the economic and commercial hub of the Kansai region.

Osaka Prefecture lies at the center of the Kansai region and has one of Japan’s highest population densities. It’s dominated by the futuristic neon spectacle of its capital city Osaka, and functions as the main gateway to the surrounding region via the Kansai International Airport.

dotonbori osaka

Snap a photo with the Glico Pocky Man

As the prefectural capital, the city is home to numerous tourist attractions that could easily take up an entire day of exploring. Start your day with a stroll on the grounds of Osaka Castle . With over 500 years of history the castle serves as one of the most important historical landmarks in the entire prefecture.

A short train ride away are the entertainment districts of Dotonbori and Shinsaibashi , where tourists can gorge themselves on all of what “Japan’s Kitchen” has to offer. First timers shouldn’t miss out on Kushikatsu, Okonomiyaki, and Takoyaki to name a few. Don’t forget to snap a photo in front of the giant Glico man while you’re there.

Arguably one of the best night views you’ll find in the city is right at Umeda Sky Building . Located nearby Osaka Station, this is an attraction not for the faint of heart. Watch the busy streets of Osaka from above as the sunset caps off your day of exploring.

Hiking in Osaka

minoh falls osaka

End your hike with a view of Mino Waterfall.

To see a more rustic side of Osaka prefecture, there are a handful of outdoor trails that await nature lovers.

Mount Kongo is the area’s highest mountain and is popular with hikers testing their boots along the four-kilometer route to the summit. At the top of the mountain it has been said that on a clear day hikers might be able to see Kobe and Awaji Island. Mount Kongo is also part of the Diamond Trail, a long hiking route that is also associated with mountains of neighboring prefectures.

Mino also offers some nice hiking trails and is the western starting point of the long-distance Tokai Nature Trail which runs all the way from Osaka to Tokyo . Attributed as somewhat of a national park, Mino has something for all sorts of travelers. From onsen resorts to great craft beer and the most beautiful autumn foliage, a quiet half day trip to this quiet sanctuary away from the city might just be what you need.


Photo by: JNTO A UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2019.

For those looking for an easy day trip, to the north of the prefectural capital is Sakai City. Most famous for its “kofun,” large ancient burial mounds surrounded by moats where Japan’s ruling elite were laid to rest. These burial sites became a World Heritage site in 2019 for their historical significance and unique keyhole shape. Sakai is also a center of Japanese sword and knife making—pick up a better value blade here than in the capital.

Plan your trip to Osaka using the locations down below!

Cup Noodles Museum Osaka Ikeda

Did you know Osaka was the birthplace of Cup Noodles?

It's true! Visit the Cup Noodles Museum in Ikeda, Osaka to customize your own instant ramen.

Places to visit

Kansai International Airport

  • Destination Osaka
  • Speciality Transport

How to get to and from Kansai International Airport (KIX)

Everything you need to know to navigate getting to the city from Kansai International Airport.

osaka japan tourism

Sunflower Ferry

A relaxing overnight voyage down the Seto Inland Sea all the way to Oita Prefecture.

Namba Yasaka Shrine in Osaka

  • Speciality Shrines & Temples

Namba Yasaka Shrine

This secret shrine is Osaka in a nutshell.

Toka Ebisu Festival at Imamiya Ebisu Shrine in Osaka Japan

Imamiya Ebisu Shrine

Don’t miss out on one of Osaka’s most exciting New Year's festivals at this beloved shrine.

Sumiyoshi bridge

Sumiyoshi Taisha Shrine

One of western Japan’s oldest shrines.

Shitennoji Temple Osaka Japan

Shitenno-ji Temple

One of Japan's oldest temples where you'll find the cutest pond of turtles and occasionally naked men.

osaka japan tourism

Senko-ji Temple

The road to hell isn’t paved with good intentions, but with fruit stalls and toy shops.

osaka japan tourism

  • Speciality LGBT

Kansai Rainbow Festa

Good food, good people and a fun-loving atmosphere... exactly what the region is known for.

osaka japan tourism

  • Speciality Theme Parks

Universal Studios Japan

The world's best ride, a wizarding wonderland and guardian minions. As if you needed another reason to visit Osaka.

Cup Noodles Museum Osaka Ikeda

  • Speciality Museums

Cup Noodles Museum Osaka Ikeda

Visit the birthplace of everyone's favorite instant meal, and even make your own!

osaka japan tourism

  • Speciality Festivals

Kishiwada Danjiri Festival

Come on ride the shrine, and ride it... At the most dangerous festival in Kansai!

osaka japan tourism

  • Speciality Landmark

The Tomb of Emperor Nintoku (Daisen Kofun)

A distinct keyhole-shaped burial mound that's considered the largest in the world. Exactly who’s buried here, however, is a bit of a mystery.

osaka japan tourism

Tenjin Festival

In the heart of Osaka, this thrilling festival is one of the Top 3 in all of Japan.

osaka japan tourism

  • Speciality Food & Drink

A gorgeous natural getaway right in Osaka’s backyard.

osaka japan tourism

  • Speciality Neighborhoods

Get to know this hip Osaka neighborhood with Michelin-ranked restaurants, and strange architecture.

Shotengai in Nishinari, Osaka.

The “Skid Row” of Osaka may be a dream for budget-conscious tourists, but is it safe?

Daruma dolls at Katsuo-ji Temple in Osaka

Katsuo-ji Temple

Tucked away in Osaka, this is where winners get their luck and the rest of us get to take in the exceptional scenery.

osaka japan tourism

A neighborhood where Osaka’s lively personality is always on full display.

osaka japan tourism


A hipster haven in an Osaka neighborhood unchanged since before WWII.

beauty blender osaka lgbt

Beauty Blenda Osaka

Slay girl, slay at this hilarious monthly drag show in Osaka.

PC Bar and Retro Station

  • Speciality Arts & Entertainment

PC and Retro Bar Space Station

The dimly lit walls, illuminated only by colorful neon strips of light and the glow of television screens, are decorated with decades-old game packaging and vintage arcade boards. The bar is covered...

osaka japan tourism

  • Speciality Hiking

Mount Kongo

Hiking to the top of Osaka's highest mountain.

Sakia Knife Osaka

  • Speciality Traditional

Handcrafted Knives of Sakai

Old industrial town on the outskirts of Osaka, from where famous chefs of the world source their knives.

osaka japan tourism

  • Speciality Nightlife

Kink, weirdos and wonder at Osaka’s most otherworldly bar.

osaka japan tourism

  • Speciality Anime & Manga

The Silver Ball Planet

Go Back to the Future at this retro pinball arcade in the heart of Osaka’s American village.

Namba in Dotonbori Osaka, Japan

The craziest most colorful district in Osaka is a must-see for anyone traveling to Japan.

Umeda Sky Building in Osaka, Japan

Cool meets commercial in Osaka.

Countries That Cannot Enter Japan Due To COVID-19

Itami Airport (Osaka International Airport)

Kansai International Airport may be bigger, but this is your starting or ending point for short trips around Japan.

osaka japan tourism

Where energy lives.

osaka japan tourism

One of Osaka’s friendliest gay bars.

Kansai International Airport

Kansai International Airport

Your gateway from central and southern Japan to the world.

osaka japan tourism

  • Speciality Parks & Gardens

Osaka Castle Park

Graced by royalty.

osaka castle

  • Speciality Castles

Osaka Castle

An enduring symbol of the vibrant city's dramatic past.

osaka japan tourism

Tsurumi Ryokuchi Park

Get your fill of chill here!

osaka japan tourism

  • Speciality Shopping

Ashiharabashi Up Market

A monthly market with amazing handmade wares and even better vibes.

osaka japan tourism

Frenz Frenzy

Osaka’s 'gayest' bar where Lady Gaga showed her poker face!

osaka japan tourism

Don Quixote Ferris Wheel (Ebisu Tower)

Osaka’s funkiest ride.

osaka japan tourism

Revel in music, dancing, drag, and good times at Osaka’s most explosive gay club.

osaka japan tourism

Lady Killer

Get down at Osaka’s largest and most uninhibited ladies-only club event.

osaka japan tourism

Otaue Rice Planting Festival

It is believed the dancing and music will enhance the vitality of the rice grains.

osaka japan tourism

Doyamacho: Osaka’s Gay District

Home of Osaka and western Japan's gay district!

osaka japan tourism

Abiko Kannon-ji

The temple has one of Osaka's biggest fire fests.

osaka japan tourism

Osaka’s friendliest lesbian bar features vegan menu items and fresh fruit cocktails!

osaka japan tourism

Kishiwada Castle

A Japanese castle with a garden based on a Chinese story.

osaka japan tourism

Hirakata Park

Seeking retro theme park thrills, this Osaka amusement park is a must-see!

Osaka Den Den Town

Osaka Den Den Town

 Many of us may have overlooked the “Otaku Oasis” that is Osaka Den Den Town

Namba parks, Osaka

Namba Parks

Whether its brand fashions, imported goods, or those harder to find rarities, Namba Parks has something for everyone.

osaka japan tourism

Orange Street

Osaka’s secret center of cool.

osaka japan tourism

Osaka Expo City

It’s not a theme park, but then again, maybe it should be. We can’t think of another place where you could pack more into one day in the area.


Kanshin-ji Temple

A samurai's head was sent here and buried in a special grave. Discover honor and tradition tucked away in Osaka.

Osaka science museum

Osaka Science Museum

The planetarium’s main dome has a radius of almost 27 meters, making it the largest in Japan and the seventh largest in the world.

osaka japan tourism

  • Speciality Outdoors

Fruit picking in Osaka: Getting a little dirty is part of the fun!

Club Circus Nightclub in Osaka Japan

Club Circus

The art of clubbing in the outrageous Osaka.

osaka japan tourism

5 Famous Foods You’ll Find in Osaka

A guide to Osaka's unique food culture.

osaka japan tourism

Inunakisan Temple

A spiritual adventure hidden in Osaka's mountainside

osaka japan tourism

  • Speciality Zoos & Aquariums

Osaka Kaiyukan

Up close and personal with all walks of marine life at one of the world’s biggest aquariums.

osaka japan tourism

  • Speciality Tours

Discover Kansai by Bike

Get on yer bike for a long-distance ride to the next stop on your Japan travel bucket list.

osaka japan tourism


Missing 'Murica? Stop by America-mura, a seriously cool district filled with vintage shops, record stores, and top-notch food.

osaka japan tourism


Chances are you’ll find whatever you’re looking for in this shopaholic's dream ‘hood.

osaka japan tourism

  • Speciality Culture

Hozenji Yokocho and Temple

Find fortune at the end of this picturesque Edo-era alley.

osaka japan tourism

Sennichimae Doguyasuji Kitchen Street

For cooking utensils and kitchen essentials, this historic shopping street has you covered.

Tenjinbashisuji Street

Tenjinbashi-Suji Shopping Street

Shop till you literally drop along Japan's longest shopping street.

osaka japan tourism

Osaka Museum of Housing and Living

Journey to Edo Japan at this museum’s interactive exhibits.

Osaka Grand Front

Grand Front Osaka

For a shopping experience unlike anything you’ve ever experienced, head to the heart of Umeda.

osaka japan tourism

Are you entertained?

osaka japan tourism

Tempozan Harbor Village

From sky-high to deep-sea at this popular theme park/entertainment complex.

osaka japan tourism

Abeno Harukas

Stellar views from the tallest building in Japan.

osaka japan tourism

Umeda Sky Building

With its unusual profile and epic views, the Umeda Sky Building is the coolest tower in town.

osaka japan tourism

Follow the trail of Osaka's iconic landmarks.

osaka japan tourism

The Tower of the Sun

Don't miss this weird and wonderful landmark of Osaka.

osaka japan tourism

Expo ’70 Commemorative Park

At the site of Asia's first world fair is a world-class park set in the future.

Explore Shinsekai, a pre-war neighbourhood that was created with New York as a model for its southern half and Paris for its northern half.

  • Speciality Cities

An old new world.

Utsubo park

Utsubo Park

A great escape lies along this former military runway.

osaka japan tourism

Nakanoshima Park

Great people watching, a lush rose garden, beer, and grass you can actually sit on.

Kuromon Ichiba Market

Kuromon Ichiba Market

Don’t miss this old-fashioned covered market stuffed with 170 shops hawking Osaka’s best (and strangest) specialties.

osaka japan tourism

  • Speciality Hot springs

Osaka Spa World

A Vegas-style spa complex offering seemingly endless options for restoration.

The bright neon lights of dotonbori in Osaka, Japan

A kaleidoscopic vision of neo-Japan.

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JRailPass.com » Japan Travel Blog » Osaka travel guide

Osaka travel guide

Osaka Dotonbori

Osaka is located on the main island of Honshu, roughly in the center of Japan. With a population of over 2.5 million people, it is Japan’s third-largest city .

Osaka was the country’s first capital, and to this day it is considered a vital economic center in Japan. It is home to the largest seaport in Japan and many leading Japanese manufacturers.

Osaka is deemed a culinary paradise : its nickname Tenka no Daidokoro means the nation’s kitchen. Lose yourself in Umeda and Dotonbori areas, Osaka’s main entertainment districts , to enjoy some of the best restaurants, nightlife, and shopping the city has to offer.

Our guides will help you get around Osaka and take you to the best attractions.

Top attractions in Osaka

As one of Japan’s largest cities, there are many great attractions for tourists. The whole family will enjoy Universal Studios Japan , the first Universal theme park built in Asia and still one of the best.

Another family favorite is Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan , one of the largest aquariums in the world. Shinsekai district and Osaka castle are also well-worth visiting.

Take a look at our guides to the top attractions in Osaka for more information.

Osaka castle

One of the most famous historical sites in all of Japan, Osaka castle is situated right in the heart of the city of the same name and distinctive for its unique roof shape and stately white walls with gold leaf accents.

Surrounded by thick rock walls, moats and the stunning Nishinomaru Garden , the castle is particularly popular among tourists during the Sakura cherry blossom in the spring.

Dotonbori Area, Osaka

Dotonbori has been called the heart of Osaka. It is Osaka ’s most famous tourist attraction , known for its bright and extravagant neon lights, which pierce the night and reflect off the surface of the Dotonbori Canal. This “bright heart” of Osaka is a colorful must-see anytime you travel through Japan’s Kansai region.

Dotonbori is also renowned for its variety of bars and restaurants. Is the Dotonbori nightlife calling to you? Check out this handy travel guide to learn all you need to know for your next trip to Dotonbori.

Shinsekai, Osaka

Shinsekai means “New World” in Japanese. This Osaka neighborhood is home to cheap foodie favorites, dive bars, and other colorful surprises . Check out our guide to safely enjoying this step back in time.

Umeda Sky Building, Osaka

The Umeda Sky Building, also known as the “ New Umeda City ,” is one of the most unique high rise buildings in the world . How tall is this skyscraper? It is 173 meters (over 567 feet) tall and is, in fact, not one building, but two. The Sky Building’s two forty-story towers are connected at the thirty-ninth floor by the Floating Garden Observatory , where you can look out at Osaka through windows or an open-air deck.

Universal Studios Japan, Osaka

Universal Studios Japan was the first Universal theme park built in Asia , and it remains one of the best. In fact, its popularity in Japan is second only to the Tokyo Disney Resort .

You can enjoy many rides, from child-friendly attractions to thrilling roller coasters based on hit movie franchises. Your children can have their picture taken with all their favorite characters, and there are a number of theatrical spectacles to enjoy.

Getting around Osaka

Despite being a vast city, getting around Osaka is easy . The subway offers a quick and convenient way to get from A to B in Osaka city center.

You can use your Japan Rail Pass on the JR Osaka Loop Line to reach top attractions such as Osaka Castle.

Your JR Pass will also get you to other areas of the Osaka Prefecture. Check out your options using our guides to transport in Osaka.

Dotonbori neon lights in Osaka

Osaka City is a bustling metropolitan area popular among international tourists. Osaka itself is home to many unique attractions, including vast parks and gardens, historic Osaka Castle, the Tenmangu Shrine, Osaka Aquarium, and the National Bunraku Theater.

Visitors to Osaka also enjoy the Dotonbori district, where travelers can experience the local nightlife with restaurants and shopping centers open twenty-four hours a day; the covered Tenjinbashisuji Shopping Street; and the Kitashinchi entertainment district.

Main train stations in Osaka

Osaka Station City is a large transportation hub. It houses Osaka Station and 5 other railway stations. Read our complete guide to Osaka Station City so everything is clear before your trip.

Shinkansen bullet trains operate from nearby Shin Osaka station, which is just a 3-minute train ride away.

You can use your JR Pass to tour the Namba area, find out about the 4 different train stations in our Namba guide.

Osaka Station city

Second only to Tokyo, Osaka is one of the largest cities in Japan. It is divided into several distinct districts. The Umeda District, located in the Kita ward, is home to Osaka Station City, a recently renovated and beautiful train station and shopping complex featuring an open floor plan and glass ceiling.

Why is this busy transportation hub referred to as Osaka Station City rather than just Osaka Station? One reason is that the Station City houses Osaka Station, along with five other railway stations, including the non-JR Umeda Station. Don’t let names confuse you – check out all that Osaka Station City has to offer.

Shinkansen tracks at Shin Osaka Station

In Japanese, the word shin means “new,” and this is fitting for Osaka’s modern train station. You may arrive at Shin-Osaka Station on one of Japan’s famous Shinkansen bullet trains. This station may be relatively small compared to the massive stations of Kyoto and Tokyo, but it is artfully designed for easy use by first-time travelers.

Osaka is Japan’s second largest city, but Shin-Osaka Station represents the quiet side of the city. You are likely to pass through this station when traveling to Osaka, and it serves as an excellent springboard from which to begin your travels.

JR Namba Station

Located in south-central Osaka , Namba is one of the city’s most famous neighborhoods. At the heart of the city, Namba pulses with a life uniquely its own. It is an entertainment district with an abundance of shops and restaurants.

When using your Japan Rail Pass to tour Namba, the number of train stations in the area can prove confusing. Why? Because Namba is home to four different train stations: Namba Station, Nankai Namba Station, Osaka Namba Station, and JR Namba Station (formerly Minatomachi Station). Learn to navigate Namba like a pro with this helpful guide.

Front view of Tennoji Station

Tennoji Station, called Tennoji-eki in Japanese , is located in the Tennoji-ku region of southern Osaka . It is an important transportation hub.

In the past, the area around Tennoji Station has had a “seedy” reputation. It’s the setting of many crime mangas and a historic “pleasure district.” However, renovations and tourism have elevated Tennoji , and there’s something there for everyone - from zoos and museums to ancient temples and food stands .

Suggested itineraries in Osaka

To get the most out of your stay in Osaka, it’s a good idea to have a travel itinerary prepared.

We’ve created a selection of Osaka itineraries to make planning your stay easier. They include visits to the top attractions in Osaka and also explain how to get around the city.

You can use our itineraries as they are, or adapt them to your needs. Have a look and choose the one that works for you.

Osaka Dotonbori

You’ve got three days – three days to tour the second largest city in Japan. What should you see first? Can you taste the best that  Osaka has to offer in just two or three days ? With the help of this travel guide, yes you can. We’ll help you hit the highlights and provide helpful information along the way.

Day trips and nearby destinations

If you’re staying a little longer in Osaka, you might want to visit nearby areas. Fortunately, there are many interesting places to visit close to Osaka, and most are easily accessible by train.

Some of the best day trips from Osaka include Kobe, Kyoto, and Koyosan . For further information on how to get there and what to see, consult our Osaka guides to nearby destinations.

Kobe maritime museum

Kobe is a coastal city of the Kansai region of western Japan, located on the main island of Honshu bordering Osaka Bay. It is one of Japan’s ten largest cities. Enclosed by the sea on one side and a majestic mountain range on the other, it is also considered one of Japan’s most beautiful big cities.

Kobe is rich in history as the first port in Japan to open to foreign trade. This is evident in the western style architecture of some neighborhoods. Recent history is displayed at the Kobe City Museum and the Earthquake Museum.

Nandaimon gate

Nara is an ancient city located in the Kansai region of Japan’s main island of Honshu. It was the first “real” capital of Japan , remaining such for less than a century. This historic location is home to a nearly unmatched eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites , including numerous Buddhist temples. The city was founded in the year 710 C.E. and originally known as Heijo.

Among its attractions are the oldest and largest wooden buildings in the world, the Nara Deer Park whose tame deer delight in entertaining visitors, fantastic cherry blossom viewing spots, and ninjas .

Monjes budistas del Koyasan

Located in the heavily forested Wakayama mountains , Mount Koyasan is an important religious destination in Kansai, as well as a popular tourist attraction.

The cradle of Shingon Buddhism, it offers over 100 temples and pagodas to explore, as well as the mysterious Okunoin cemetery, where spirits are said to roam. Perfect for a day trip, visitors also have the option to stay overnight in a temple lodging .

osaka japan tourism

Kyoto, located in the central part of the island of Honshu, is considered by many as Japan’s most beautiful city . Kyoto was the Japanese capital until the government was moved to Tokyo in 1868.

However, Kyoto is still Japan’s religious center with over 1000 Buddhist temples. Kyoto is home to some of Japan’s most iconic landmarks , with some of the most exquisite gardens, temples, and masterpieces you will ever see.

pumpkin is the symbol of Naoshima island

Imagine walking in the sands of a beautiful island in the Seto Inland Sea. You approach a concrete pier jutting out into the water. Rather than your usual retinue of fishermen and tourists, you are greeted by an enormous black and golden pumpkin.

The scene described is no fairytale or dream. It is part of the sculptures and modern art for which the island of Naoshima is known. The island enjoys sunny weather and rural living that rivals that of Europe’s Mediterranean region.

Okayama Korakuen Garden

Okayama is a city where history meets modern technology. It originated as a castle town during Japan’s Edo Period, which spanned from the early 1600s to mid-1800s. Today, Okayama is the second largest city in the region, being somewhat smaller than Hiroshima. It is a railroad transportation hub, located at the junction of the Sanyo Shinkansen Line to Shikoku’s only rail connection.

What is there to see and do in Okayama and the surrounding cities? How do you get there from popular destinations such as Tokyo and Kyoto ? Consider this helpful travel guide.

Himeji Castle

Built in 1609, Himeji castle is one of the most highly regarded castles in Japan , in part because of its immense size and the fact it has survived centuries of natural disasters and wars.

Also known as ‘White Heron Castle’ because of its distinctive pale facade , this UNESCO World Heritage Site is located close to the city of the same name and is also easy to reach by Shinkansen from Kobe, Kyoto, or Osaka with a JR Pass.

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