Osaka, the vibrant metropolis of Japan, is a city that effortlessly blends traditional charm with modern innovation. Known for its rich history, delicious cuisine, and warm hospitality, Osaka is a treasure trove of cultural experiences and urban adventures. From ancient temples to futuristic skyscrapers, this city offers a myriad of attractions that cater to a diverse range of interests. In this article, we’ll delve into 10 must-visit tourist attractions in Osaka that will enchant and captivate travelers from around the world.
1. Osaka Castle
Osaka Castle is a Japanese castle in Chūō-ku, Osaka, Japan. It is one of Japan’s most famous landmarks and it played a major role in the unification of Japan during the sixteenth century of the Azuchi-Momoyama period.
The castle was built by Toyotomi Hideyoshi in 1583 and was originally made of wood. However, it was destroyed by fire in 1615 and has since been rebuilt several times. The current castle is a concrete structure that was built in 1931.
Osaka Castle is a five-story castle with a white exterior and a black roof. It is surrounded by a moat and has a number of defensive fortifications. The castle is open to the public and visitors can climb to the top of the main tower for a panoramic view of the city.
Here are some of the things that make Osaka Castle important:
- It is one of Japan’s most famous landmarks.
- It played a major role in the unification of Japan.
- It is a beautiful example of Japanese castle architecture.
- It is a popular tourist destination.
Dotonbori is a district in Osaka, Japan, known for its vibrant nightlife, delectable cuisine, and diverse shopping options. It is perhaps best known for its iconic glowing signboards that adorn the canal.
Here is a description of Dotonbori
- The Dotonbori canal is lined with restaurants, bars, and shops.
- The most famous signboard in Dotonbori is the Glico Running Man sign.
- Other notable signboards include the Ebisubashi Ebisu Statue sign, the Kani Doraku sign, and the Kuromon Ichiba Market sign.
- Dotonbori is a great place to try Osaka’s signature dishes, such as takoyaki, okonomiyaki, and kushikatsu.
- There are also many karaoke bars and izakaya (Japanese pubs) in Dotonbori.
- Dotonbori is a lively and exciting place to visit at night, but it can also be crowded and noisy.
- The best time to visit Dotonbori is in the fall or spring months, when the weather is mild.
3. Universal Studios Japan
Universal Studios Japan (USJ) is a theme park in Osaka, Japan. It is the second-most visited theme park in Asia, after Disneyland Resort in Hong Kong. USJ is divided into 9 themed areas:
- The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
- Universal Wonderland
- Sanrio Puroland
- Jurassic Park
- The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man
- The Terminator 2: 3D
- Despicable Me Minion Mayhem
- Universal Studios Japan’s Horror Nights
USJ is home to a number of popular attractions, including:
- The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade Village
- The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man
- Despicable Me Minion Mayhem
- Universal Studios Japan’s Horror Nights
The cost of a 1-day adult pass to Universal Studios Japan is 8,600 yen. Tickets can be purchased online or at the park.
Here are some tips for visiting Universal Studios Japan:
- Purchase your tickets in advance to save time.
- Arrive early to avoid the crowds.
- Wear comfortable shoes.
- Bring sunscreen and a hat.
- Stay hydrated.
- Plan your day in advance and make a list of the attractions you want to see.
- Be prepared to wait in line for popular attractions.
- Take advantage of the express passes if you want to skip the lines.
- Eat at the restaurants in the park to avoid the crowds outside.
- Bring a refillable water bottle to save money.
- Take pictures and videos of your trip to remember it.
4. Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan
The Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan is one of the largest aquariums in the world, located in the Tempozan Harbor Village of Osaka, Japan. It was opened in 1990 and has been a popular tourist destination ever since. The aquarium is home to over 30,000 marine animals from over 600 species, including whale sharks, manta rays, penguins, and jellyfish. The aquarium is divided into several zones, each representing a different region of the Pacific Rim. The central tank is the Pacific Ocean tank, which is nine meters deep and home to a whale shark, the aquarium’s main attraction. Visitors start their tour of the aquarium on the 8th floor and slowly spiral down floor by floor around the central tank.
Here are some of the things that you can see at the Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan:
- Whale sharks: The whale shark is the largest fish in the world, and it is a popular attraction at the aquarium. You can see the whale sharks swimming in the Pacific Ocean tank.
- Manta rays: Manta rays are graceful creatures that are found in tropical waters. You can see the manta rays swimming in the Pacific Ocean tank.
- Penguins: Penguins are popular birds that are found in the Southern Hemisphere. You can see penguins of all different species at the aquarium, including king penguins, emperor penguins, and Adelie penguins.
- Jellyfish: Jellyfish are fascinating creatures that come in a variety of shapes and sizes. You can see jellyfish of all different colors and sizes at the aquarium.
- Other marine animals: The aquarium is home to over 30,000 marine animals from over 600 species. You can see a variety of other marine animals at the aquarium, including sharks, fish, sea turtles, and more.
The Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan is a great place to learn about marine life and to experience the wonders of the Pacific Rim. It is a popular tourist destination for people of all ages. If you are ever in Osaka, be sure to visit the Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan.
Here are some additional information about the Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan:
- Opening hours: 10:00 to 20:00 (entry until 19:00)
- Admission: 2700 yen (3200-3500 yen on selected busy days)
- Location: Tempozan Harbor Village, 1-1-10 Kaigandori, Minato Ward, Osaka, 552-0022, Japan
- Website: https://www.kaiyukan.com/language/eng/
5. Umeda Sky Building
The Umeda Sky Building is a 40-story skyscraper in the Kita district of Osaka, Japan. It is 173 meters (568 ft) tall and is the second tallest building in Osaka after the Abeno Harukas. The building is home to offices, restaurants, and a shopping arcade. It is also a popular tourist destination, thanks to its two observation decks, the Floating Garden Observatory and the Sky Garden.
The Floating Garden Observatory is located on the 39th floor of the building. It offers 360-degree views of Osaka, including the Dotombori district, the Osaka Castle, and the Yodo River. The Sky Garden is located on the 40th floor of the building. It is smaller than the Floating Garden Observatory, but it offers a more intimate experience. It also has a glass floor, so you can feel like you are walking on air.
To get to the Umeda Sky Building, you can take the Osaka Metro Midosuji Line to Umeda Station. Exit the station at the North Ticket Gate and follow the signs to the Umeda Sky Building. The building is about a 5-minute walk from the station.
Here are some additional information about the Umeda Sky Building:
- It was completed in 1993.
- The architect is Hiroshi Hara.
- The building has a distinctive “double-deck” design, with two towers connected by a skybridge.
- The Floating Garden Observatory is open from 9:00am to 10:00pm.
- The Sky Garden is open from 11:00am to 9:00pm.
- Admission to the Floating Garden Observatory is ¥1,600 for adults and ¥1,200 for children.
- Admission to the Sky Garden is ¥1,000 for adults and ¥800 for children..
6. Sumiyoshi Taisha
Sumiyoshi Taisha is a Shinto shrine in Sumiyoshi-ku, Osaka, Japan. It is the main shrine of all the Sumiyoshi shrines in Japan. However, the oldest shrine that enshrines the Sumiyoshi sanjin, the three Sumiyoshi kami, is the Sumiyoshi Shrine in Hakata.
Sumiyoshi Taisha was founded in the 3rd century by Empress Jingū, who is also enshrined at the shrine. The shrine is dedicated to the Sumiyoshi Sanjin, who are the gods of the sea, travel, and commerce. Sumiyoshi Taisha is also known for its unique style of shrine architecture, called Sumiyoshi-zukuri. Sumiyoshi-zukuri is free of influence from the Asian mainland and is considered to be one of the purest forms of Japanese shrine architecture.
The shrine is open to the public and is free to enter. It is a popular tourist destination and is especially crowded during the New Year holiday season.
Here are some additional facts about Sumiyoshi Taisha:
- It is one of the oldest shrines in Japan, with a history of over 1800 years.
- It is the main shrine of over 2000 Sumiyoshi shrines found across Japan.
- It is dedicated to the Sumiyoshi Sanjin, who are the gods of the sea, travel, and commerce.
- It is known for its unique style of shrine architecture, called Sumiyoshi-zukuri.
- It is a popular tourist destination and is especially crowded during the New Year holiday season.
7. Hozenji Temple
Hozenji Temple is a Buddhist temple in the Dotonbori district of Osaka, Japan. It was founded in 1637 and is dedicated to Fudo Myoo, one of the five wisdom kings. The temple is small and unassuming, but it is a popular tourist destination due to its unique atmosphere and its moss-covered statue of Fudo Myoo.
The temple is located at the end of Hozenji Yokocho, a narrow alleyway that is lined with traditional Japanese restaurants and shops. The alleyway is a popular spot for both locals and tourists, and it is especially lively at night.
The temple itself is simple and unadorned. The main hall houses the statue of Fudo Myoo, which is covered in moss. Visitors to the temple are encouraged to splash water on the statue, which is said to bring good luck.
Hozenji Temple is a peaceful and tranquil oasis in the heart of the bustling Dotonbori district. It is a great place to escape the crowds and to experience a bit of traditional Japanese culture.
Here are some additional facts about Hozenji Temple:
- The temple is also known as Mizukake Fudo Temple, which means “Temple of the Water-Sprinkling Fudo.”
- The moss on the statue of Fudo Myoo is said to have grown from the water that visitors have poured on it over the years.
- The temple is said to be especially effective in granting wishes related to love, marriage, and career.
- Hozenji Temple is a popular spot for couples to visit.
- The temple is also a popular spot for tourists to visit, especially during the cherry blossom season.
- Amemura is a district in the Chuo Ward of Osaka, Japan. It is known for its youth culture, fashion, and trendy shops.
- The name Amemura means “American Village” in Japanese. This is because the district was originally developed in the early 1900s as a place for American soldiers to shop and relax.
- Amemura is home to a variety of fashion boutiques, cafes, restaurants, and bars. It is also a popular destination for street fashion enthusiasts.
- Some of the most popular attractions in Amemura include:
- Amerikamura Koen Park: This park is a popular spot for people-watching and relaxing.
- Amerikamura Don Quijote: This department store is a great place to find souvenirs and cheap clothes.
- HEP FIVE: This shopping mall has a variety of stores, including fashion boutiques, electronics stores, and restaurants.
- Namba Parks: This shopping mall is located in the neighboring Namba district, but it is a short walk from Amemura. It has a variety of stores, including fashion boutiques, department stores, and restaurants.
- Amemura is a great place to visit if you are looking for a vibrant and trendy district with a lot to offer visitors of all ages.
9. Spa World
Spa World is a large hot spring complex in Osaka, Japan. It is one of the largest hot spring complexes in the world, with over 100 different baths and saunas. The baths are themed after different countries and cultures, such as Atlantis, the Blue Grotto, and Spain. There is also a water theme park on the roof.
Spa World is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The entrance fee is 3,300 yen for adults and 1,650 yen for children. There are discounts for seniors and groups.
Here are some of the things you can do at Spa World:
- Soak in the hot springs. The hot springs are said to have health benefits, such as relieving stress and improving circulation.
- Visit the saunas. The saunas are a great way to sweat out toxins and improve your skin.
- Swim in the water park. The water park is a great place to cool off on a hot day.
- Get a massage. There are a variety of massage therapists available at Spa World.
- Relax in the lounge. The lounge is a great place to take a break and enjoy a drink or snack.
Spa World is a great place to relax and enjoy the healing powers of hot springs. It is a popular destination for both locals and tourists.
Here are some tips for visiting Spa World:
- Arrive early, especially on weekends. Spa World can get very crowded, especially on weekends.
- Wear comfortable clothes that you don’t mind getting wet.
- Bring a towel and a change of clothes.
- Be aware of the bathing rules. There are a few rules that you need to follow when bathing at Spa World. For example, you need to wear a yukata (a traditional Japanese robe) and a towel when you are in the baths.
- Enjoy yourself! Spa World is a great place to relax and have fun.
10. Tsutenkaku Tower
Tsutenkaku Tower is a 103-meter tall tower in the Shinsekai district of Osaka, Japan. It was originally built in 1912 and was one of the tallest buildings in Japan at the time. The tower was destroyed by fire in 1943 during World War II, but it was rebuilt in 1956.
Tsutenkaku Tower is a popular tourist destination and offers panoramic views of Osaka. The tower has two observation decks, one at 88 meters and one at 91 meters. The admission fee for adults is 800 yen and for children is 400 yen.
In addition to the observation decks, Tsutenkaku Tower also has a number of other attractions, including a souvenir shop, a food court, and a wax museum. The tower is also a popular spot for festivals and events.
Here are some other things to know about Tsutenkaku Tower:
- The tower is named after the Chinese phrase “Tsutenkaku,” which means “reaching heaven.”
- The tower is modeled after the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
- The tower is lit up at night in a variety of colors.
- Tsutenkaku Tower is a popular symbol of Osaka and is featured in many Japanese movies and TV shows.
In conclusion, Osaka, with its blend of history, modernity, and unparalleled charm, offers a dynamic and captivating experience for travelers. From the iconic Osaka Castle to the vibrant Dotonbori district, from the serenity of Shitenno-ji Temple to the culinary delights of Kuromon Ichiba Market, this city has something to offer every visitor. As you explore the attractions on this list, you’ll discover the unique character and spirit of Osaka that has enchanted people for centuries. Whether you’re seeking history, culture, cuisine, or adventure, Osaka is a city that promises an unforgettable journey filled with surprises and enriching experiences.
Cheap Hotels & Cheap Flights to Osaka
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- Kansai International Airport (KIX)
- IATA code: KIX
- ICAO code: RJBB
- Location: Osaka Bay, Osaka Prefecture
- Opened: 1994
- Runways: 2
- Terminals: 2
- Airlines: Over 100
- Destinations: Over 150
- Osaka Itami Airport (ITM)
- IATA code: ITM
- ICAO code: RJOO
- Location: Itami, Osaka Prefecture
- Opened: 1939
- Runways: 2
- Terminals: 1
- Airlines: Over 20
- Destinations: Over 40