Japan’s second-largest metropolis, Osaka has fast become a destination in its own right. A city known for its rich history - once the imperial capital of Japan - today Osaka is a melting pot of old and new and has in fact become known as one of Japan’s most modern cities. Featuring a maze of both natural and man-made attractions, and known for offering a mouth-watering culinary experience unlike any other, and for being a shopaholic's paradise, among numerous other things, we’re not surprised that tourists from across the globe are now heading to Osaka, whether it be for a solo adventure or romantic honeymoon, or even an exciting family getaway.
If you’re visiting Osaka for a week, or even just a couple of days, we can’t think of better must-sees than the ones listed below. These 5 must-visit attractions in Osaka will not only offer you a peek into its fascinating culture and history, but also into why the city is fast becoming one of the top must-visit destinations on Earth.
If you’re looking to get the best out of your holiday, our list of things to do in Osaka is all you need!
Amongst Osaka’s countless must-see gems, a visit to Osaka is definitely incomplete without a tour of the stunning, historically significant Osaka Castle, Osaka's top, iconic attraction. It is a good example of how varied the landscape of Osaka is. Built in the 1500s, the castle was destroyed and then rebuilt, and again destroyed and rebuilt to its present day form. Today, Osaka Castle boasts a variety of features, amongst which, the tower and its pristine park are the most popular. The modern tower - which even houses an elevator - is home to a museum dedicated to the history of the area and castle, and offers visitors a fabulous view of busy Osaka and what surrounds the stunning castle, while the beautiful Osaka Castle Park is known to house cultural assets such as the Otemon Gate, as well as a shrine, plum orchards, cherry trees and greenery for as far as the eye can see, and has become a relaxing spot for locals and tourists alike. It is also one of the most visited spots to view the famed cherry blossoms during spring. A great way to see Osaka Castle in a whole different light is to take a Gozabune boat ride. This will not only allow you to see the castle at a different angle, but to see its stone walls up close, too.
Address: 1-1, Osakajo, Chuo-ku, Osaka City, Japan
Opening Hours: 9am to 5pm (Last admission is at 4:30pm)
Ticket Price: Adults: ¥600
15 years old and younger: Free
Contact: +81 6 6941 3044
Picture Credit - OsianLlwyd1, commons.wikimedia.org
Visiting the Kuromon Ichiba Market is one of the best ways to experience both, Osaka’s culture and food, at the same time. Known as one of Japan’s best wet markets, the Kuromon Ichiba Market is the place to go for the freshest seafood in the area, and is therefore visited by locals and chefs, in addition to tourists. Our favourite part of the market is that not only do you get to stroll through the market, taking in its sights and smells, but you’ll also be able to sample a variety of fresh items and even get the items you buy (like scallops) prepared and cooked for you right there! You will also come across a variety of stalls selling fresh fruits and vegetables, varieties of fragrant teas, flowers, pickled vegetables, clothing and shoes, electronic gadgets and more, so no matter what you’re on the lookout for, you’ll find it at the Kuromon Ichiba Market!
Address: 2 Chome-3-2 Nipponbashi, Chuo, Osaka, Japan
Opening Hours: 9am to 6pm
Ticket Price: N/A
Heard of the Universal Studios theme parks in the United States? Japan has one too! Promising endless entertainment for the entire family, Universal Studios Japan is at the top of most tourists' ‘what to do in Osaka’ list. Located in the Osaka Bay Area, Universal Studios Japan features attractions based on a variety of themes: New York, Minion Park, San Francisco, Jurassic Park, Hollywood, Amity Village, Universal Wonderland, Waterworld, and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. From fun rides for visitors of all ages; toddlers to adults, to thrilling simulators based on popular movies, to entertaining street and stage shows, as well as a night parade, and characters from your favourite shows and movies wandering around, Universal Studios Japan’s magical atmosphere will put a cheesy grin on your face that you won’t be able to wipe off no matter how much you try, and no matter how old you are!
Here’s an insider tip. The lines at the entrance and at each ride are known to get incredibly long, which means you could end up waiting hours to get into the park, or to experience a ride (trust us, we’re not kidding!), so get there way before the opening time of 9am and camp out for a couple of hours, or buy your tickets in advance online.
Address: 2 Chome-1-33 Sakurajima, Konohana Ward, Osaka, Japan
Opening Hours: 9am to 7pm
*Timings change depending on the season
Ticket Price: 1 Day Studio Pass: Adults: 7,900 yen
Children (4 to 11): 4,500 yen
2 Day Studio Pass: Adults: 13,400 yen
Children (4 to 11): 9,000 yen
Contact: +81 6 6465 4005
Picture credit - chee.hong, commons.wikimedia.org
Yup, you read that right! If you know anything at all about Japan, you know all about its obsession with ramen. Visiting the Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen Museum may not be on every visitor’s must-do list, but we highly recommend it for its fun and quirky nature. Exploring the history of the famous instant noodle, ‘Chicken Ramen’ which was invented in 1958 by Momofuku Ando, the museum is dedicated to the remarkable invention, and its creator. While visitors get to learn all about where and how it was created, they also get to make Chicken Ramen by hand, from start to finish, kneading, seasoning and all! The museum also has a ‘CUP NOODLES Factory’ where you get to design your own unique packaging, and then fill up the cup with your favourite soup and toppings. How fun does that sound?! This is a unique experience that cannot be passed up when holidaying in Osaka.
Address: 8-25 Masumi-cho, Ikeda-shi, Osaka 563-0041 Japan
Opening Hours: 9:30amd to 4pm (Last admission is at 3:30pm)
Ticket Price: Free
Contact: + 81 72-752-3484
To find Halal food near you in Osaka, all you need is the HalalTrip App! The app is also a must-have if you’re looking to find mosques and prayer places near you in Osaka, as well as other must-visit attractions, and much more!
Hishama is a Lankan born, ex-Dubai-an who enjoys all things travel. When she's not at her day job as an Online Marketing Specialist, you will find her hanging out with friends at one of the city's newest cafés, reading a Jodi Picoult novel, Netflix-ing pretty much anything, obsessing over broadway, or just dreaming of her next big adventure abroad that she wishes she could afford.