17 Best things to do in Osaka, Japan

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Written by GOOD LUCK TRIP

The metropolis, Osaka, is full of tourist / gourmet spots, it is hard to choose from. Here is our recommendation for first-time visitors to Osaka, a comprehensive list of appealing sight-seeing spots, gourmet eateries, inns, souvenir shops and events.

Table of contents

What is it like in Osaka?

Osaka is the largest city in Kansai Region and the 2nd largest in Japan.
Famous as the “Feast City”, Osaka’s downtown, Dotonbori, offers various gourmet foods such as Takoyaki and Okonomiyaki - the “flour items.”

Additionally, there are leisure facilities such as Universal Studios Japan and an aquarium, Kuromon Ichiba (Market) with fresh food, Abeno Harukas with a sweeping view of Osaka, and the historical Shitennoji Temple. Different entertainments are packed in this very popular tourist location.

Osaka is the largest economic center in west Japan, and it is serving as a gateway to KANSAI including Kansai International Airport, Osaka International Airport, Osaka and Kobe Ports.
Osaka is the largest economic center in west Japan, and it is serving as a gateway to KANSAI including Kansai International Airport, Osaka International Airport, Osaka and Kobe Ports.

Tourist Areas in Osaka

Osaka City with clusters of sightseeing spots and local diners is divided into 5 areas. Keep their characteristics and major spots in mind, and tour around efficiently.

1. Kita (Umeda) Area

This area surrounding JR Osaka Station and Umeda Station has commerce complexes such as “Grand Front Osaka,” Hankyu Umeda Department Store, and Lucua, hosting nearly 260 stores - a shoppers’ paradise.

2. Minami (Shinsaibashi, Namba, Dotonbori) Area

In the Minami Area surrounding Namba, there are spots that are so Osaka - Dotonbori filled with Osaka’s standard gourmet food such as Takoyaki and Okonomiyaki, or Shinsaibashi with the giant Glico sign. If you are visiting for the first time, make sure to see Minami (Shinsaibashi / Namba / Dotonbori) Area.

3. Bay Area

This is the area around Osaka Bay with many leisure facilities.
USJ (Universal Studios Japan) that everyone knows, Kaiyukan, showing off a 5,400-ton huge aquarium, the world’s largest Tempozan Ferris Wheel, Lego fans’ dream “Legoland Discovery Center Osaka,” and lots of attractions which seem impossible to experience all in just one day.

4. Osaka Castle Area

The area around Osaka Castle and Osaka Castle Park. Not only the Castle, but it also has other tourist spots of Osaka’s past such as the history museums and important cultural properties.
There is also a cherry blossom scenic spot chosen into 100 Best Spots for Sakura. In spring, you can enjoy the postcard view of cherry blossoms against a historical building in Japan.

5. Tennoji Area

Close to Minami (Shinsaibashi / Namba / Dotonbori) Area, Tennoji Area has many places with Osaka’s characteristics.
The highlight of this stretch is “Shinsekai (New World)” around Tsutenkaku Tower. Enjoy the standard local food, deep-fried cutlet on skewer, standing bar, and other food culture in Osaka. Do not miss the marvelous view from the observation deck of Abeno Harukas, Japan’s tallest building at 300m from ground.

What is the best season to tour Osaka?

Osaka has an array of tourist spots and temperatures do not go extremely up or down. Relish your trip throughout the year - cherry blossoms in spring, summer festival. Pick your interested event and decide the season to visit.

Clothing examples in seasons in Osaka

  • Spring (March-May): Light jacket or sweater
  • Summer (June-August): Clothing with light fabric, half-sleeve
  • Fall (September-November): Light jacket / coat
  • Winter (December-February): Coat, wool suit, thick sweater or jacket

How to get to Osaka

Osaka has Kansai International Airport and a Shinkansen station, conveniently located domestically and internationally. Transportation is well-developed in Osaka. With trains and taxis, you can smoothly go to any tourist places. Osaka has many JR and subway lines and cabs can also be used to comfortably get to your desired destinations.

The must-see on your first visit! Osaka’s 17 tourist spots

From leisure spots such as an amusement park or an aquarium to historical shrines and the castle or a feast town with good food, Osaka has countless attractions. Of those, we focus on the 17 places for the first timers. Use these choices as a base and make your own travel plan.

Osaka’s hot tourist spots
Osaka’s hot tourist spots

1. Universal Studios Japan

Universal Studios Japan, nicknamed “USJ”, is a large-scale theme park with entertainment for everyone, both children and adults alike. The park is separated into different areas, each with a different theme from popular titles across the world.

An interactive dive into the world of movies, anime and games from around the world!
An interactive dive into the world of movies, anime and games from around the world!

2. Tower of Osaka Castle

Toyotomi Hideyoshi, who unified the country during the Azuchi-Momoyama period (1568-1600), began construction of the tower of Osaka Castle in 1583 and completed it in 1585.
The top floor is an observatory where you can see the entire city of Osaka. There is also a museum store on the first floor, where you can buy original items related to the warlords as souvenirs. The museum also offers a replica of a warrior's armor helmet and a women's kosode (short sleeves) for visitors to try on for 500 yen per person. (It is suspended due to the influence of covid-19. June 2021 information)

It was rebuilt with donations from Osaka citizens and is now a museum, holding permanent and special exhibitions.
It was rebuilt with donations from Osaka citizens and is now a museum, holding permanent and special exhibitions.

3. Dotonbori

Crab, octopus, cow, crane….these are just a few of the oversized 3D signboards that make up the look and feel of the bustling Dotonbori Area. Its packed with a number of eateries along the northern Dotonbori River and main street along its southern side. The main street is blocked off for pedestrians, making it a perfect spot to find visitors grabbing a bit of Takoyaki and other street eats.

Osaka’s thriving downtown area.
(C)Osaka Convention & Tourism Bureau
Osaka’s thriving downtown area.
(C)Osaka Convention & Tourism Bureau

4. Abeno Harukas

Opened in 2014, Abeno Harukas is a 300 meter tall skyscraper and the tallest building in all of Japan. From the two basement floors to the 14th level you’ll find Kintetsu Department Store (Main Store Abeno Harukas) and the Abeno Harukas Dining restaurant floors. The 16th floors and above are accessible from the Harukas Shuttle Elevator on floors B1 and 2.

The tallest skyscraper in Japan, measuring 300 meters tall!
The tallest skyscraper in Japan, measuring 300 meters tall!

5. Kaiyukan

Celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2020, this aquarium is located in Osaka. The aquarium, which recreates the natural environment surrounding the Pacific Ocean, is home to a total of 620 species and 30,000 living things.
After passing through the "Aqua Gate," a tunnel-shaped aquarium where tropical fish swim, visitors can take an escalator up to the 8th floor and walk down a slope to see various creatures in a large aquarium. Each of the aquariums is a sight to behold, including the“Antarctica" with its penguins, the "Tasman Sea," where you will be welcomed by Pacific white-sided dolphin, The "Great Barrier Reef," where colorful fishes swim around, and the "Coast of Chile," where you will be amazed by the sight of sardines swimming in schools in one direction.

One of the world's largest aquariums that will make you want to go back again and again.
One of the world's largest aquariums that will make you want to go back again and again.

6. Tsutenkaku Tower

A steel tower which looks like the Eiffel Tower and 75 meters high was built In 1912, on top of a building which was the motif of the Arc de Triomphe, and named “Tsutenkaku” meaning “A building reaching the heaven'' by Nangaku Fujisawa, a Confucian in the early Meiji period. After being broken down due to a fire, citizens lobbied for rebuilding and the current 2nd Tsutenkaku was built in 1956. The 2nd building is 108 meters high, which is higher than the 1st building by 33 meters.
The TOWER SLIDER, now open in 2022, takes you around from the 22-meter high mid-level observation deck down around a full turn and half before suddenly sliding down one level beneath the earth. Slide the full 60-meter track in just 10 seconds! With views out of the transparent tunnel ceiling, this sought-after ride gives you the feeling of flight as you make your way down.

The TOWER SLIDER, sliding down from 22 meters up to the Basement 1st floor (4.5 meters underground) in an instant!
The TOWER SLIDER, sliding down from 22 meters up to the Basement 1st floor (4.5 meters underground) in an instant!

7. Shinsekai Hon-dori Shopping Street

Tsutenkaku Tower, Jan Jan Yokocho Street, Spa World are in Ebisu-Higashi, Naniwa District. People started calling this area Shinsekai (New World) in 1912, when Tsutenkaku and Japan’s second amusement park, Luna Park, opened. It meant a new-born tourist spot in Osaka. Since then, this amusement street has grown, used as a location for movies and TV dramas, and became a famous site in Osaka.

Specialties in Osaka cluster in this area. Enjoy gourmet food for common people.
Specialties in Osaka cluster in this area. Enjoy gourmet food for common people.

8. Shitennoji

Prince Shotoku, the father of Japan’s Buddhism, had this first Japanese Buddhism temple built in 593. In the 8th century, the respect for him has changed into a religion, which is still active to this day. Since the temple was built by Prince Shotoku, it was reestablished as Washu (Japanese religion) in 1949.
The building layout on the grounds is called Shitennoji Style Temple Building Layout, known as one of Japan’s oldest architectural styles.

Five-story pagoda is the symbol of the temple
Five-story pagoda is the symbol of the temple

9. Tempozan Ferris wheel

With a height of 112.5 meters and a diameter of 100 meters, this is one of the world's largest Ferris wheels, lasting about 15 minutes per lap. On a clear day you can see as far as Mount Ikoma in Nara Prefecture to the east, the Akashi Kaikyo Bridge in Hyogo Prefecture to the west, Kansai International Airport to the south, and Mount Rokko in Hyogo Prefecture to the north. While you are here in Osaka, you can feel as if you are taking a round trip around the Kansai area. While boarding, audio guides of the scenery in both English and Japanese are played in the cabins.

A 15-minute flight that offers a panoramic view of the city of Osaka.
A 15-minute flight that offers a panoramic view of the city of Osaka.

10. Santa Maria, a sightseeing sailing boat of the Osaka Port

The "Santa Maria," which was used by Columbus when he discovered the American continent, was built on about twice the scale. The ship departs from Kaiyukan West Wharf in Tempozan Harbor Village, which houses Kaiyukan, one of the world's largest aquariums, a Ferris wheel, and Tempozan Marketplace, a large-scale commercial facility, and cruises leisurely around the Osaka Bay area for about 45 minutes.

Cruising in the Port of Osaka on a sightseeing cruise boat with the motif of the ship used by Columbus when he discovered the New Continent.
Cruising in the Port of Osaka on a sightseeing cruise boat with the motif of the ship used by Columbus when he discovered the New Continent.

11. Namba Grand Kagetsu Theater

Yoshimoto Kogyo’s theater is called the Laughter Palace, known as NGK by local fans. Since their opening in 1987, comedy talk shows and Yoshimoto New Comedy are performed all year round at this famous spot.

On weekdays, performance is at 11 am and 2:30 pm. On Saturdays, Sundays and holidays, 10 am, 1:30 pm and 5 pm. During long vacation seasons such as mid summer, the end or beginning of the year, there are special programs. One show is about 2 hours. Yoshimoto New Comedy, familiar to residents in Osaka, veteran comedians nationally known, and generations of rookies come on stage everyday. You can say this is Japan’s funniest place to be.

The stage can be seen well from any seat
©吉本興業株式会社
The stage can be seen well from any seat
©吉本興業株式会社

12. Umeda Sky Building / Kuchu Teien Observatory

The 40-story, twin super high-rise was completed in 1993. The two towers are connected on top. In England, it was selected into the “Top 20” list of world buildings as a thrilling skyscraper. The beauty of the building itself is part of its popularity. On the 3rd floor, there is a gate for the elevators to shoot you up to the 35th floor. From there, an escalator will carry you slowly to the 39 floors through a skeleton tunnel.

The 40-story super high-rise was completed in 1993. From the observatory on the 40th floor and Kuchu Teien Observatory 173m off the ground, view the whole Osaka City.
The 40-story super high-rise was completed in 1993. From the observatory on the 40th floor and Kuchu Teien Observatory 173m off the ground, view the whole Osaka City.

13. Hirakata Park

Hirakata Park, or “Hirapah” as its lovingly nicknamed, is said to be the oldest amusement park in Japan that’s still open today.

The park is home to a lineup of 40 different, fun attractions for kids and grownups to enjoy, including rides like the “ELF” wooden roller coaster, the super-sized “Sky Walker” ferris wheel, at a remarkable 80-meters high, the park’s largest rollercoaster “Red Falcon” and the “Monsters vs Heroes 3D Super Shooting Ride”, as well as others like the “Magical Volcano” explorer game.

Packed with thrills for all 4 seasons! The long-lived amusement park known by the nickname “Hirapah”
Packed with thrills for all 4 seasons! The long-lived amusement park known by the nickname “Hirapah”

14. Osaka Castle Park

Nationally designated special historical site, Osaka Castle Ruin, and the surrounding area were renovated into an urban park. 13 buildings of important cultural properties including Osaka Castle Main Tower, watchtowers and gates dot the vast 261-acre premises.
Osaka Castle Main Tower at the central location is a museum, which displays historical information and objects related to the life of Toyotomi Hideyoshi who unified Japan. 50m above ground, the observatory deck on the 8th floor offers the view over the whole Osaka Castle Park and Osaka City.

Osaka Castle’s tower is at the heart of this Park with multi facilities and concert / event halls.
Osaka Castle’s tower is at the heart of this Park with multi facilities and concert / event halls.

15. Expo’70 Commemorative Park

Using the same site that once held the Japan World Exposition 1970, this sprawling public park is filled with green hills, trees and an open-armed welcome from the “Tower of the Sun” statue created by Taro Okamoto. You can make advanced reservations to secure your tour inside the tower, a steel “tree of life” that stretches as high as 41 meters tall.
The park grounds include a Natural and Cultural Gardens, with plenty of trees and flora in bloom across all four seasons, a Japanese Garden and other areas including a 82-meter high view tower that overlooks the city. At the tunnel of colors you can peer through orange screens to simulate a bug-eyed view.

A park opened at the site of the Japan World Exposition 1970 in Osaka, complete with an open-arm greeting from the Tower of the Sun, designed by Taro Okamoto.
A park opened at the site of the Japan World Exposition 1970 in Osaka, complete with an open-arm greeting from the Tower of the Sun, designed by Taro Okamoto.

16. Nakanoshima

Nakanoshima is a lush, green and iconic city area known for Aqua Metropolis Osaka that’s tucked between the Dojima and Tosabori Rivers. Home to one of Osaka’s known business districts, the area is lined with a mixture of skyscrapers, modern architecture and office buildings.
Nakanoshima is also a historic district that hails back to the Edo period. In these days, Osaka was nicknamed “the nation’s kitchen” as its hub of local daimyo store houses and easy water access created a boom in the local business economy. After the Meiji Restoration, many of the storehouse districts were rebuilt into the modern metropolis that exists today, with new buildings like the Osaka Ward Office, the Osaka City Central Public Hall, the Osaka Prefectural Nakanoshima Library and Nakanoshima Park.

Nakanoshima is the land area sandwiched between Dojima and Tosabori Rivers. This scenic spot is known for the iconic Aqua Metropolis Osaka and picturesque streetscapes filled with worldly vibes, offices and high-rise complexes.
Nakanoshima is the land area sandwiched between Dojima and Tosabori Rivers. This scenic spot is known for the iconic Aqua Metropolis Osaka and picturesque streetscapes filled with worldly vibes, offices and high-rise complexes.

17. Naniwa no Yu

This bathhouse is at the top of a commercial building in the middle of a city. The 100% natural source spring water is pumped up from 659m underground, and it is called “Beauty Water” for its softening effect of the skin's keratin layer.
The outdoor area has the flowing source spring, the pot bath, sitting bath, rock bath, etc. Watch airplanes or starry sky, while soaking in the hot spring. The indoor area has artificially-carbonated baths believed to promote health and beauty as well as a jet bath. In the women’s section, there is a sauna with the collagen light which encourages collagen production. Give it a try.

The hot spring on the 8th floor with a great panoramic view and “Beauty Water.”
The hot spring on the 8th floor with a great panoramic view and “Beauty Water.”

8 popular restaurants in Osaka

Osaka is known for the “flour items” such as Takoyaki and Okonomiyaki. Also there are other gourmet foods - cutlets on skewers, ramen, Butaman (steamed pork bun). Feast Osaka’s good food to your heart’s desire.

1. Dotonbori Kukuru Konamon Museum

The big red octopus sign is the landmark. It is a museum full of Takoyaki (octopus dumplings) under the theme of "Making, Knowing, and Eating," focusing on "KONAMON"(Flour-based foods), a familiar Osaka gourmet food. At Takoyaki Dojo Kukuru Takumi, located on the B1 floor, you can make your own Takoyaki. You can choose your favorite ingredients to put inside and use professional tools for cooking them. The staff will support you, so even beginners can try their hand at it.

The entertainment museum where you can "Make, Understand, and Learn" about Takoyaki.
The entertainment museum where you can "Make, Understand, and Learn" about Takoyaki.

2. Okonomiyaki Mizuno

This okonomiyaki speciality shop sits in the bustling downtown area of Dotonbori in Osaka. Since its founding in 1945, this veteran shop has been featured in MICHELIN guide: Bib Gourmand for 6 consecutive years and beloved by its patrons for many years. Keeping with its concept of “evolved vintage”, the restaurant is well kept by its 3rd generation owner with a menu of delicious new spins and unchanged traditions.

A veteran shop in Dotonbori’s dueling okonomiyaki district that’d been loved for over 75 years.
A veteran shop in Dotonbori’s dueling okonomiyaki district that’d been loved for over 75 years.

3. Osaka Shinsekai Original Kushikatsu Daruma Shinsekai Main Store

Founded in 1929, just off Tsutenkaku Tower, Osaka's landmark. The main store of "Kushikatsu Daruma", which operates mainly in Osaka city.
Kushikatsu is fried in Daruma's special original cooking oil making it light and easy to eat and does not cause stomach upsets like many heavy deep fried dishes can. The breadcrumbs used for the batter are very fine, thin and crispy. There are approximately 40 types of Kushikatsu available including beef, pork, shrimp, tomatoes, onions, and Shiitake mushrooms. The freshly fried Kushikatsu can be dipped in Daruma’s famous special sauce, which has taken many years to develop and perfect.

A famous restaurant serving Kushikatsu, one of the most popular Osaka gourmet foods.
A famous restaurant serving Kushikatsu, one of the most popular Osaka gourmet foods.

4. Ippoh Main Store

Ippoh is one of Osaka's best-established restaurants, located in Edobori, Nishi-ku, and has its roots in a tempura restaurant founded in 1850 (Kaei 3 ) by the first generation of an oil shop owner as a sideline.It has a history of more than 180 years spanning five generations. Throughout its long history, the restaurant has entertained VIPs from around the world as well as dignitaries from home and abroad.

Ippoh has been in business for over 180 years since the end of the Edo period. It is one of Osaka's best-established tempura restaurants, attracting VIPs from home and abroad.
Ippoh has been in business for over 180 years since the end of the Edo period. It is one of Osaka's best-established tempura restaurants, attracting VIPs from home and abroad.

5. 551HORAI Main store

Founded in 1945, this Chinese restaurant is so famous in Osaka that there is no one who does not know about it. It is located in the Ebisubashi-suji shopping street of Namba in the middle of Minami, Osaka.
The specialty of the store is the BUTAMAN (Pork buns), which is hand-wrapped one at a time, with a focus on "same-day production and same-day sales”.

If you are ever in Osaka, you must try this. The BUTAMAN (Pork buns) is the soul food of the people of the Kansai region.
If you are ever in Osaka, you must try this. The BUTAMAN (Pork buns) is the soul food of the people of the Kansai region.

6. All-you-can-eat Sweets Bar A-55

"Let's have an after-school party at a secret base! is the concept behind this unique bar. When you enter the bar, you will hear J-POP and anime hit songs from the 1990s to 2000s. A blackboard covered with graffiti is hung on the wall, giving the impression of a corner of a classroom. The area is filled with toys, character goods and manga that you may have read when you were a kid, making you feel instantly nostalgic.
The basic menu is all-you-can-eat for a hundred kinds of sweets and ice creams for 500yen per hour (you must order a drink for 550 yen). The lineup includes snacks such as “Umaibo” , “Baby Star” as well as “Cocoa cigarettes” and Ramune sweets such as “Mini Cola”, which will make you feel nostalgic and mention repeatedly "the good old days". If you once wished you could eat as many sweets as you want when you were a child, this is the place where your dreams come true.

Makes your childhood dream of "all you can eat sweets and treats" come true.
Makes your childhood dream of "all you can eat sweets and treats" come true.

7. Kitashinchi-Sand

Sandwich shop located in Kitashinchi, a busy downtown area in Kita, Osaka. The shop offers a variety of handmade sandwiches using luxury ingredients such as "Special Japanese Beef Fillet sandwich” with carefully selected A3-class beef, a rare "Eel Cutlet" sandwich and also "Pork Cutlet" sandwich with 16 layers of Japanese pork loin and the "Prawn Cutlet" sandwich with six whole prawns.
Particularly popular is the "Tamago Katsu Sandwich"(egg cutlet sandwich) which was devised by Kitashinchi Sand and was featured in the media. The fluffy egg inside and the crispy batter on the outside creates a perfect balance of deliciousness.

Popular sandwich shop in Kitashinchi, downtown Osaka.
Popular sandwich shop in Kitashinchi, downtown Osaka.

8. Muteppou Osaka

This ramen shop, with its main branch in Kizugawa City, Kyoto, was originally founded in the city of Nara in 1998. The famous Muteppou brand keeps shops in only 3 locations (Kyoto, Osaka and Tokyo), drawing fans from across Japan.
The biggest draw of this ramen is its rich, pork-bone based broth, whose lip-smacking, flavorful taste is sure to blow even first-time patrons away. The broth is made with nothing but high-quality, select pork bones and water, simmered from a 300-kg batch of bones into a painstakingly made, delicious soup with a flavor like none other.

A ramen shop that prides itself in a rich soup simmered painstakingly from domestic pork bones for a taste like none other.
A ramen shop that prides itself in a rich soup simmered painstakingly from domestic pork bones for a taste like none other.

7 major shopping areas in Osaka

Osaka has historical markets and shopping streets and the latest commerce complexes, all of which are on a large scale, offering you not only tourism and gourmet but also shopping. They are many, but try these seven first.

1. Kuromon Market

Kuromon Market in Minami, the heart of Osaka, is said to have started around 1822 and was approved as an official market by Osaka Prefecture in 1902. The market got the name “Kuromon Market (Black gate market)” because the gate to Enmyoji Temple near the market was black. Since then, it has been loved as Osaka’s favorite kitchen, and it has become a popular tourist attraction these days.

Kuromon Market, located in Minami, the heart of Osaka, has a long history of serving Osaka’s food culture and offers a wide variety of seasonal foods.
(C)Osaka Convention & Tourism Bureau
Kuromon Market, located in Minami, the heart of Osaka, has a long history of serving Osaka’s food culture and offers a wide variety of seasonal foods.
(C)Osaka Convention & Tourism Bureau

2. Tenjinbashi-suji Shopping Arcade

Osaka's representative shopping arcade. It is said to be "the longest shopping arcade in Japan" with a total length of about 2.6 km from Tenjinbashi 1-chome to 7-chome. It takes about 40 minutes to walk from one end of the arcade to the other. The arcade began to flourish when it became the main approach to Osaka Tenmangu Shrine, which is located in 2-chome and is dedicated to Sugawara Michizane, the god of learning. The shopping arcade has a long history, having developed into what it is today during the Meiji era.

The longest shopping arcade in Japan, with a total length of about 2.6 km.
The longest shopping arcade in Japan, with a total length of about 2.6 km.

3. EXPOCITY

It is one of the largest complexes in Japan, located adjacent to Expo '70 Commemorative Park, and includes "LaLaport EXPOCITY" with about 300 stores for fashion, lifestyle goods, interior shops , restaurants, cafes, etc., "NIFREL, a living museum" exhibiting living things based on the theme of diversity, "OSAKA WHEEL," Japan's tallest Ferris wheel at 123 meters, and "ANIPO," with the theme of "a traveling amusement park created by animals," You can enjoy with these entertainment facilities all day long.

It is one of the largest commercial complexes in Japan, located adjacent to Expo '70 Commemorative Park, and provides fun for children and adults to play, learn, and discover.
It is one of the largest commercial complexes in Japan, located adjacent to Expo '70 Commemorative Park, and provides fun for children and adults to play, learn, and discover.

4. Grand Front Osaka

Grand Front Osaka, named as “a city at the forefront open to the world,” is a commercial complex that established in April 2013 in the 7-hectare area on the east side of the "Umekita" district north of Osaka Station.
It consists of four tower buildings, centering on the North Building and the South Building, which houses about 260 stores and restaurants, including popular select stores from Japan and overseas as well as the first flagship store in western Japan. The Knowledge Capital serves as a place for creativity and intellectual exchange to build new value by connecting the knowledge of diverse people. The approximately 10,000 square meter Umekita Plaza has been hosting festivals and events.

A landmark commercial complex in the Umekita area.
A landmark commercial complex in the Umekita area.

5. Hirakata T-SITE

Located in Hirakata City, halfway between Osaka and Kyoto, this eight-story, one-basement shopping complex opened in 2016 with the theme of "A lifestyle department store that accompanies and adds colors to your daily life". Centered on the Tsutaya Bookstore, which sells books, there are stores such as knick-knacks, apparel, cosmetics, cafes, restaurants, and more.
The building looks like a stack of glass boxes that has quite a lot of impact and has a very photogenic appearance. Inside the store, there is also a great photogenic spot to take pictures. It is a bookshelf set up in the event space on the fourth floor of the Tsutaya Bookstore.

The 7-meter high photogenic bookshelf is a breathtaking view. A must-see for book lovers.
The 7-meter high photogenic bookshelf is a breathtaking view. A must-see for book lovers.

6. Shinsaibashi

Shinsaibashi is part of Osaka Minami’s downtown along with ” Dotonbori.” It covers Shinsaibashi-suji Shopping Street, West Shinsaibashi and East Shinsaibashi. Osaka Metro Midosuji Line / Nagahori Tusrumi Ryokuchi Line’s Shinsaibashi Station and Yotsubashi Line’s Yotsubashi Station are the gates to Shinsaibashi. It is a walking distance to Namba and can be a convenient base for touring around Osaka. There are many lodgings also.

One of prominent luxury brand towns in Japan and part of Osaka Minami’s downtown.
One of prominent luxury brand towns in Japan and part of Osaka Minami’s downtown.

7. Rinku Premium Outlets

This outlet mall is in the Rinku Town across the bay from Kansai International Airport and many tourists from other countries visit here. In August of 2020, in commemoration of its 20th anniversary, the mall was expanded for the 5th time into the largest outlet in western Japan.
Popular domestic and international brands flock here, offering luxury goods at reasonable prices. The 5th Sea Side Area expansion now allows almost 250 stores in business. The 3rd floor of Sea Side Area has a food hall in the image of a ship, RINKU DINING, and Sea Side Plaza in the courtyard now hosts a take-out specialty with a triangle roof, Pavilion. So many gourmet foods to choose from.

Western Japan’s largest seaside outlet where you can enjoy shopping, gourmet food, and glamping.
Western Japan’s largest seaside outlet where you can enjoy shopping, gourmet food, and glamping.

3 got-to-stay inns in Osaka

Popular in tourism, Osaka offers all kinds of lodgings from reasonable guest houses to historical high-end hotels. We recommend these three in particular.

1. GUESTHOUSE Rice Chikko

A guesthouse in Osaka’s bay area. The place’s name, “Rice”, nods at the hope for it to be loved as widely as the Japanese people keep a widespread love of rice, while serving as a way to connect different peoples from in and out of Japan.
The guesthouse’s exterior is decorated with a lattice design while the inside keeps with modern Japanese touches like a door with the look of a traditional sliding door, or glass door that is seemingly decorated with washi paper. The design creates a cozy space and concept that embodies the idea of “visiting your relatives in Osaka”.

A charming guesthouse with cozy, Japanese-modern vibes.
A charming guesthouse with cozy, Japanese-modern vibes.

2. RIHGA Royal Hotel Osaka

RIHGA Royal Hotel Osaka is the flagship hotel of RIHGA Royal Hotel Group. It is located on the riverside of Nakanoshima, the heart of downtown Osaka, and is proud of its long history and tradition. It has been 86 years since its predecessor, the Shin-Osaka Hotel, opened in 1935.
It is one of Japan's most prestigious hotels, known as the "Guest House of Osaka" for its elegant atmosphere, state-of-the-art facilities, and superb hospitality. The hotel has a total of 1,041 guest rooms with five different concepts creating a relaxing atmosphere.

The "Guest House of Osaka" that has welcomed guests and dignitaries from Japan and abroad in the 86 years since its establishment.
The "Guest House of Osaka" that has welcomed guests and dignitaries from Japan and abroad in the 86 years since its establishment.

3. Conrad Osaka

onrad Osaka is a luxury hotel on the highest floors (33-40) of Nakanoshima Festival Tower West, directly connected to the Osaka Metro. The location is convenient for both business and leisure, with easy access to "Kita" (Osaka Station) and "Minami" (Namba Station).
Per the hotel’s concept of "Your Address in the Sky - Through the Clouds," the panoramic view overlooking the city of Osaka from 200 meters above the ground is breathtaking. You can enjoy the spectacular view from anywhere in the hotel, including the guest rooms, restaurants, spa, and conference rooms.

A hotel in a convenient location for both business and leisure, proud of its view from 200 meters above the ground.
A hotel in a convenient location for both business and leisure, proud of its view from 200 meters above the ground.

3 hands-down souvenirs in Osaka

1. Kuidaore Taro Pudding

The character "Kuidaore Taro" first appeared in 1950 as the signature doll of "Osaka Meibutsu Kuidaore," a restaurant that used to be located in Dotonbori, Osaka's busiest shopping district. After the restaurant closed, he is still charming in front of the amusement building "Nakaza Cui-daore Bldg." in Dotonbori.
Kuidaore Taro, an icon of Osaka, also sells many character goods. Kuidaore Taro pudding is one of them.
The pudding is smooth but has a firm texture. The pudding is delicious as it is, but if you sprinkle the included caramel sauce and crushed sugar, it tastes like creme brulee. Enjoy it in your favorite flavor.

A pudding with a design of the iconic Osaka character "Kuidaore Taro".
A pudding with a design of the iconic Osaka character "Kuidaore Taro".

2. GRAND Calbee

Calbee, the famous potato chip brand launched sales of a special line in collaboration with Hankyu Umeda Main Store in 2014. Perfect as an easy gift, each crisp delivers the high end-taste of 100% Hokkaido-grown potatoes, with a one-of-a-kind thick-cut texture.
The line includes two different varieties that are made differently so you can pick your favorite texture or deep, natural flavor.

A luxe potato chip brand made in collaboration with Calbee and Hankyu Umeda Main Store.
A luxe potato chip brand made in collaboration with Calbee and Hankyu Umeda Main Store.

3. Omoshiroi Koibito

The newest, must-try Osaka souvenir is produced by Yoshimoto Kogyo and packed with a humorous spin on the Hokkaido staple cookie that’s sure to make you chuckle.
This Kansai-made gaufrette cookie is reborn as a dessert cookie with Kansai-made mitarashi cream. The gaufrette cookie has a crispy bite, blended perfectly with the rich, aromatic mitarashi cream in a deeply satisfying flavor.

A whole new type of sweet souvenir from Osaka that’s sure to make you chuckle. A Kansai-made gaufrette wafer sandwich with Kansai-made mitarashi and other flavors that people of all ages love.
A whole new type of sweet souvenir from Osaka that’s sure to make you chuckle. A Kansai-made gaufrette wafer sandwich with Kansai-made mitarashi and other flavors that people of all ages love.

3 great festivals and events in Osaka

The metropolis Osaka is busy with events throughout the year. If you have a plan to visit Osaka in summer or winter, attend these events and be entertained.

1. Tenjin Festival (Tenjin Matsuri)

Tenjin Festival is said to be one of Japan’s Three Major Festivals, held in the city of water, Osaka, in summer. It is the tradition of Osaka Tenmangu Shrine where the god of education, Sugawara no Michizane, is enshrined. A variety of rituals take place from late June for a month. Yoimiya Festival on July 24 and Hongu Shinji ritual on the 25th are the climax, viewed by 3 million domestic and foreign visitors each year.

The ritual held at Osaka Tenmangu with more than 1000-year history, regarded as one of Japan’s Three Major Festivals.
The ritual held at Osaka Tenmangu with more than 1000-year history, regarded as one of Japan’s Three Major Festivals.

2. Festival of the Lights in OSAKA: Osaka Hikari-Renaissance

The “Festival of the Lights in OSAKA” beautifully illuminates Osaka at night with fantastical glittering lights. One of the main programs of this festival is the “Osaka Hikari-Renaissance,” held in the Nakanoshima area.
Nakanoshima is an area sandwiched between the riverbanks of Dojima River and Tosahori River. The area is home to buildings designated as Important Cultural Properties of Japan, including the Osaka Central Public Hall and Osaka Prefectural Nakanoshima Library, which help to spread Osaka’s art and culture.

A Light Arts Festival that Encompasses Nakanoshima’s Waterfront.
A Light Arts Festival that Encompasses Nakanoshima’s Waterfront.

3. Festival of the Lights in OSAKA: Midosuji Illumination

The “Festival of the Lights in OSAKA” beautifully illuminates Osaka at night with fantastical glittering lights. One of the main programs of this festival is the “Midosuji Illumination,” held at Midosuji, Osaka’s symbol street.
In January of 2015, the Midosuji Illumination was certified as holding the world record for “most roadside trees illuminated.” This year’s illumination, which will cover a total length of about 4 kilometers from Umeda to Nanba in colorful lights, was based on the design concept of a “symbolic street illumination that gently wraps the people of Osaka in light.”

This Symbolic Street Illumination Gently Wraps the People of Osaka in Light.
This Symbolic Street Illumination Gently Wraps the People of Osaka in Light.

Summary

If you are coming to Osaka for the first time, try going to see these spots and relish gourmet cuisine. Osaka is full of entertaining places and food. Experience the well-known places on the 1st trip and explore little-known spots in the later trips.