13 Best Things to Do in Osaka, Japan

|   Last Updated on April 3, 2020

Osaka is a port city on the Japanese island of Honshu. The city is famed for many things but none more so than its modern style of architecture. That being said, one of the main things that springs to mind when thinking about Osaka is its entertainment district and the extremely good night life that can be found here.

The city is the capital of the Osaka Prefecture and is one of the most populated cities in the world with over 20 million people calling it home. It is the second largest city by population in Japan.

The city was awarded the title of being Japan’s center of culture a few years back and is home to the oldest Buddhist temple in the whole country. The city is also proud to be a financial hub and so attracts many worldwide businesses.

If you are considering paying a visit to this busy and vibrant city, you are likely wondering what there is to do here, and in this article, we are going to answer this musing. We have short listed some of the very best things to see and do whilst staying in Osaka.

1. Osaka Castle

© Kyle Hasegawa Flickr

Many cities have a castle, since this would have been one of the first lines of defense hundreds of years ago and the one in Osaka is simply a must see for anyone paying a visit to the city.

The castle is considered to be one of the most famous landmarks in all of Japan and is also home to some stunning scenery. Visitors to the castle can take away a souvenir from their visit by taking some time to browse the excellent gift shop that can be found here.

2. Universal Studios, Japan

Many people think of heading to the USA in order to visit Universal studios, but did you know that there are, in fact six of these theme parks located in various places all over the world. One of which is right here in Osaka. The park first opened its doors back in 2001 and has since had visitors flocking here in their millions, year after year.

This is great for families with children, and you will find plenty to do here including awesome rides, food and drink outlets and various exhibits.

3. Osaka Aquarium Kaiyuken

For those of you who love marine life, a trip to the Osaka aquarium will be of great interest to you. There is a great variety of life here for visitors to observe and learn about including many species of fish, plants, mammals, invertebrates and even birds.

The aquarium first opened in 1988 and has become one of the most popular attractions in the city for tourists and locals alike. One of the most notable things stated by previous visitors is the ice cream shop here which sells some rather unusual flavors.

4. Shinsekai

This shopping area is perfect for those looking to indulge in a little retail therapy whilst on their visit to Osaka. Here, you will find a huge array of shops and the area is of particular interest once you know that it was developed in 1912 and as modeled on New York City.

The atmosphere here is buzzing and you will really get the chance to immerse yourself in the city by coming here. On top of the excellent shopping, you will find a great selection of street food here.

5. Tempozan Giant Ferris Wheel

One of the best ways to see a city is by seeing it from above, and by taking a ride on this huge 100m tall ferris wheel, this is exactly what you will be able to do. The ferris wheel is located next to the aquarium and so could easily tie in with a visit to this marine center.

The wheel first opened in 1997 and gives a ride which lasts 17 minutes. The views over Osaka bay are astonishing from this vantage point and are something that should not be missed.

6. Sumiyoshi Taisha

There are thousands of shrines located all over Japan, but some are more interesting than others and so whilst in Osaka, why not pay a visit to one of the most interesting ones in the area.

This is the main Sumiyoshi shrine in all of the country and so is of particular notability, especially to those involved in the religion. On New Years Day many people come here to take part in the amazing ceremony that takes place. The atmosphere is peaceful and is the ideal location to reflect on life.

7. Osaka Tennoji Zoo

This small zoo sits on a piece of land measuring 11 hectares and has been here since 1915. Despite being one of the worlds smaller zoos it still has a lot to offer in the form of over 1000 animals from over 200 species.

Some of the creatures that call the zoo home are koalas, chimpanzees and lions as well as the kiwi, a bird from New Zealand, and Osaka is the only zoo in the world which houses these birds. This is an excellent and educational day out for all the family, especially those with children.

8. Kuromon Market

There is no better way to experience the true vibe of a city than by visiting one of its markets. This large market is an excellent way to get involved with the locals. There is a great selection of street food which you can sample as well as some interesting candy and souvenirs. Tourists will be welcomed here with a friendly greeting from the locals.

9. Japan Mint

The Japan mint is known for its production of coins. That being said, many people presume that paper money is also produced here but this is a misconception with paper money being made at a printing location elsewhere.

Visitors are welcomed to the mint to take a free tour and gain an understanding of what they do here. This is also a fantastic way of learning some Japanese history. Outside, there are rows of gorgeous cherry trees which are famously linked to Japan.

10. Tower Of The Sun

One of the pieces from the 1970 expo, the tower of the sun is a famous landmark within Osaka and attracts many visitors to its unique design. The tower of the sun was designed by Japanese artist, Tara Okamoto and has proudly stood in its current location since the expo. It features three faces and is a great example of modern art from the area.

11. Despicable Me, Minion Mayhem

Based at the Universal Studios, this excellent ride attracts millions of visitors every year. Fans of the Minion series of films will not want to miss out on the opportunity to experience this. The ride is a simulation which is completed computer animated and is one of the parks most popular attractions.

It is worth taking into consideration that due to the rides popularity, there is usually quite a long wait to get on and so if you are with children, you may want to consider taking some additional entertainment for the wait.

12. Namba Yasaka Shrine

This interesting shrine features an entry way which is the head of a lion and is particular point of interest for those visiting the city but does not get as busy as some of the other tourist attractions and so makes for an ideal day for people who want to visit a shrine and truly gain the peace of doing so.

The tranquility here is second to none and makes the perfect getaway from the business of the city.

13. Hottori Ryokuchi

If you are looking for something that will keep you entertained for the whole day, this is the ideal place to visit. The park features plenty of green spaces which are truly stunning and immaculate as well as a museum of Japanese farmhouses, which is something a little different.

There are other activities here including children’s play areas, the chance to take part in some horse riding and beautiful gardens and ponds which make for the perfect walk.


Osaka is truly amazing city and there are certainly many things to keep its visitors occupied no matter what their interest. Home to one of the world famous Universal Studio parks and many traditional Japanese buildings, there are things on both extremes of the spectrum.

Last Updated on April 3, 2020


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