Osaka is one cool city that offers plenty of things to both see and do. Unfortunately, this town is often overshadowed by the capital of Japan, Tokyo. Osaka forms one great urban area together with Kyoto and Kobe, also known as the Keihanshin Metropolitan Area – with a population of 19 million people!
It’s not only that Osaka is a big city, but everything here is also unique with a different atmosphere from Tokyo. Osaka is a fun, warm and extravagant place to explore – and I’m sure that you’re going to love Osaka as much as I do!
Here’s the top 10 things to do in Osaka:
One of the top things to do in Osaka is to visit the famous Osaka Castle and park. Osaka Castle is one of the most popular attractions in the city and has also played a significant role in the history of Japan. The Castle that stands today is a mix of both reconstruction and restoration since it’s been through both age and war.
Around the castle, one can enjoy a beautiful park with cherry blossom trees, a delightful museum that displays the Japanese history, and also walls and gates that have remained intact since its original construction.
I highly recommend visiting Osaka Castle during cherry blossom season (March to April) when you have great opportunities to snap amazing photos of the castle and its pink trees.
Nipponbashi Den Den Town
Nipponbashi is Osaka’s anime district where you can find several shops selling anime products, game halls, and other wacky cafés for the anime enthusiast. I am not an animé fan myself, but I really like this part of Osaka. No matter what time of the day – there’s always something happening here and that’s what I like the most about this place.
In this district, you will find stores selling everything from Hello Kitty stuffed animals and Marvel action figures to samurai chopsticks and Japanese animé books.
Day Trip to Kyoto
If you have a couple of days in Osaka, then I highly recommend you to make a day trip to Kyoto. Kyoto is a beautiful and historic city that offers plenty of things to both do and see. From ancient temples and bamboo forest to chopstick stores and wandering geishas – Kyoto is one cool city to explore!
The Instant Ramen Museum
Did you know that Osaka is the birthplace of instant noodles? Visit the Instant Ramen Museum and learn about its history, different types of instant noodles, and about its global popularity.
Here you also can participate in fun activities and different kinds of workshops, which is fun for the whole family! Make sure to visit the ”Cup Noodle Factory” where you can design your own cup of noodles by choosing the flavor and ingredients.
Nestled in the Namba district of town, you’ll find Dotonbori, also known as the heart of Osaka. This entertainment district offers an unbelievable number of different kinds of shopping malls, stores, restaurants, and amusement facilities.
This place is best to visit during the evening to see the giant illuminated billboards and to explore the lively nightlife of Osaka.
Sushi Conveyor Belt Restaurant
One of my favorite restaurants in Osaka is the Isono Ryotaro Namba Shop. This place offers affordable and delicious sushi on a conveyor belt. You just order on the screen in front of you, wait for a short while, and then your plates with fresh and super yummy sushi will come right to your seat with the ”sushi train.”
Here they’ve staff who speaks English, a multilingual menu (English, Chinese and Korean). If you love sushi, then you have to write this one down on your list of things to do in Osaka!
Harukas 300 Observatory
Do you want the best view of town? Then the Harukas 300 Observatory is one of the best things to do in Osaka for you. This is Osaka’s tallest building where you get the opportunity to view the city from the 62nd floor, 300 meters up in the air. From up here, you get a great view in every direction of Osaka.
Takoyaki & Okonomiyaki
When you visit Osaka, you simply have to eat the local specialties Takoyaki and Okonomiyaki. These street food dishes you’ll find all around town, especially in Dotonbori. Takoyaki is octopus dumplings served with a special sauce, mayonnaise, bonito flakes and aonori (powdered seaweed).
Okonomiyaki is known as the pizza of Japan, due to its flexibility of ingredients and also because of being popular among families. It’s made out of a batter mix, chopped cabbage, and your selection of protein (such as fish, meat, cheese, veggies or beans.) Okonomiyaki is served with the same sauce and topping as takoyaki!
Kuromon Ichiba Market
The Kuromon Ichiba Market has been around for about 190 years and is a perfect place to explore the food culture of Osaka. At this market, you can buy fresh veggies, fruits, and seafood. Today, this market also offers clothing, different gadgets, and several restaurants/food stalls.
If you want to experience the food culture of Osaka, then you have to write Kuromon Ichiba market down on your list of things to do in Osaka.
Universal Studios Osaka
The Universal Studio of Osaka is one of the world’s top 15 theme parks and is inspired by blockbuster Hollywood movies. This is one of the most popular things to do in Osaka since this park offers a great variety of thrilling rides, the famous Wizarding World of Harry Potter, and much more!
If you’re traveling to Osaka with your kids, then this is one of the top things to do in Osaka for you!