Osaka is one of the most popular destinations in Japan. With famous destinations ranging from Universal Studios Japan to Osaka Castle, this city is filled with interesting sites, great entertainment and amazing food. Here are 15 spots you cannot miss when in Osaka!
1. Enter the world of movies: Universal Studios Japan!
I’m sure many of you have enjoyed massive movie hits such as Jurassic Park, Back to the Future and Terminator. At Universal Studios Japan, located in Osaka, you will be able to enter the amazing world of these movies! Located very conveniently just 5 minutes from Universal-City station, indulge yourself in exciting roller coaster rides and great shows and parades at the Universal Studios Japan!
Universal Studios Japan
Address: 2-1-33, Sakurajima, Konohana, Osaka City
Opening Hours: Varies, please check official website
Access: 5 minute walk from Yumesaki Line Universal-City Station
Website: Universal Studios Japan
2. Admire the Whale Shark at Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan
The Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan is conveniently located just 11 minutes from Osakako station. Here, you will be able to appreciate the beautiful marine creatures you might otherwise never get a chance to see in your life, such as interesting jellyfish and sea turtles! One of the stars of Kaiyukan is the marvelous Whale Shark - this is one of the few aquariums in the world where you will get to meet this amazing creature.
Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan
Address: 1-1-10, Kaigandori, Minato Ward, Osaka City
Opening Hours: 10:00am - 8:00pm (last admission is 7pm)
Access: 11 minute walk from Subway Chuo Line Osakako Station
Website: Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan
3. The light up of Hirakata Park
Hirakata Park is an amusement park located only 5 minutes from Hirakata-Koen Station. This amusement park is well-known for having many unique events throughout the year. One of those that you can’t miss is the annual illumination event “Hikari no Yuenchi” which means “The Amusement Park of Light”. A romantic and dreamy atmosphere will be created in Hirakata Park, making the place perfect for a date spot!
Address: 1-1 Hirakatakoencho, Hirakata City, Osaka Prefecture
Opening Hours: Varies, please check official website
Access: 5 minute walk from Keihan Main Line Hirakata-Koen Station
Website: Hirakata Park
4. Great for families! Tennoji Zoo
Tennoji Zoo is a zoo with over 100 years of history. The zoo is split into two sections - the Asian Tropical Rainforest Zone and the Savannah Zone. A wide variety of animals from the different habitats can be viewed at the zoo. Apart from that, a new open space “Ten-shiba” was opened recently where people can engage in activities such as games as well as picnic. This place is a must-go for those traveling with families!
Address: 1-108 Chausuyamacho, Tennoji Ward, Osaka City
Opening Hours: 9:30am - 5:00pm (closed on Monday)
Access: 6 minute walk from Kansai Main Line Dobutsuen-Mae Station
Website: Tennoji Zoo
5. The symbol of Osaka - Expo '70 Commemorative Park
In 1970, the Japan World Exposition, Osaka 1970 was held. This served as one of the great historical moments of Japan. At the Expo ‘70 Commemorative Park, not only will you be able to learn about the history and view artifacts of the expo, you will also be able to see one of the icons of Osaka, the “Tower of the Sun”. Also, there is a Japanese garden and Onsen facility as well as a tram ride to go around the whole park. You can spend your day there.
Expo '70 Commemorative Park
Address: 1-1 Senribanpakukoen, Suita City, Osaka Prefecture
Entrance fee: Depending on the facility, please check on the official website
Access: 1 minute walk from Osaka Monorail Bampaku-kinen-koen Station
Website: Expo ‘70 Commemorative Park
6. History and local shopping - Shitennoji
Shitennoji is a temple built in the year 593 upon the orders of Shotokutaishi (Prince Shotoku), a crucial figure in Japanese history. At the Shitennoji compound, you will be able to admire the marvelous architecture of Japan and learn about the history of the country. In fact, the 5-story pagoda in Shitennoji is built upon the oldest architecture style in Japan. If you get to visit the Shitennoji compound during the 21st and 22nd of the month, you will also be able to enjoy the market there where various local products can be purchased.
Address:1-11-18 Shitennoji, Tennoji Ward, Osaka City
Opening Hours: Varies, please refer to official website
Access: 5 minute walk from Subway Tanimachi Line Shitennoji-mae Yuhigaoka Station
7. The cat charm at Sumiyoshi Taisha Shrine
The Maneki Neko is one of the popular charms in Japan. It is a figure of a cat with its paws pointing up, depicting a cat beckoning good luck. At the Sumiyoshi Taisha Shrine, you will be able to purchase various Maneki Neko charms. If the cat is raising its left paw, it is a charm for family safety, while one that is raising its right paw is a charm for good business luck.
Sumiyoshi Taisha Shrine
Address: 2-9-89 Sumiyoshi, Sumiyoshi Ward, Osaka City
Opening Hours: Varies, please refer to official website
Access: 1 minute walk from Hankei-Tramway Hankei Line Sumiyoshitorii-Mae Station
Website: Sumiyoshi Taisha Shrine
8. Visit the historical Osaka Castle Park!
The Osaka Castle played a crucial role in the history of Japan, such as during the Siege of Osaka that occurred more than 400 years ago. At the Osaka Castle Park, not only will you be able to learn such history of Japan within the castle compounds, you will also be able to admire the unbelievable architecture and design of the place. This place is a must-visit for Japanese history lovers!
Osaka Castle Park
Address: 3-11, Osakajo, Chuo Ward, Osaka City
Access: 1 minute walk from Osaka Loop Line Osakajokoen Station
Website: Osaka Castle Park
9. Cheap and great food at the Temma Region
Apart from history and great entertainment, Osaka is also famous for its high quality local food. The Temma Region is one of the best places to enjoy delicious Osaka cuisine at extremely affordable prices. One of the recommendations there is the Tempura shop Makino, located just 3 minutes from Temma station by foot. Here, you can enjoy great Tempura – fried food – such as shrimps and vegetables. The hot and crunchy Tempuras dipped in their original sauce are amazing! Apart from the Tempura shop Makino, you can also walk along the Temma Shopping District which will be buzzing with life throughout the day and even at night!
Address: Temma, Osaka
Opening Hours: Depends on shop
Access: Walkable from Osaka Loop Line Temma Station to Subway Tanimachi Line Tenjinbashisuji 6-chome Station
10. The ring charm at Samuhara Shrine
Samuhara Shrine is a small shrine located just 8 minutes from Subway Nagahori Tsurumi-Ryokuchi Line, Nishi-Ohashi Station. This shrine is famous for its Yubiwa charm - the ring charm. This charm is thought to have powers of deflecting bad luck and has a very high demand. If you happen to visit Samuhara Shrine, do consider getting one of these!
Address: 2-5-26 Itachibori, Nishi Ward, Osaka City
Opening Hours: 24 hours, but the shrine’s office to purchase the ring charm is open from 9:00am - 5:00pm
Access: 8 minute walk from Subway Nagahori Tsurumi-Ryokuchi Line Nishi-Ohashi Station
11. Katsuo-ji Temple
Katsuo-ji Temple is a temple located at Kouyasan and is at an altitude of 400 meters (437 yards). It is known to be a place great for Yakubarai, which means to chase bad luck away. Apart from that, there are also various Daruma Dolls - a traditional doll which is a symbol for good luck - placed on display that you can view.
Address: 29-14-1, Aomatani, Minoo City, Osaka
Opening Hours: Weekdays: 8:00am - 5:00pm, Saturday: 8:00am - 5:30pm, Sunday and holidays: 8:00am - 6:00pm
Access: 30 minute bus from Kita-Osaka Kyuko Railway Line Senri-Chuo Station
Website: Katsuo-ji Temple
12. The beautiful park within the city - Nakanoshima Park
If you happen to visit Osaka from May to spring, Nakanoshima Park is one of the places you have to visit. Located just 1 minute from Naniwabashi station, the park will be filled with blooming roses during the season, making you forget that you are actually in one of the biggest cities in Japan!
Address: 1-1 Nakanoshima, Kita Ward, Osaka City
Access: 1 minute walk from Keihan Nakanoshima Line Naniwabashi Station
13. Explore the history of Osaka at the Tamatsukuri/Tennoji Region
The Tamatsukuri Region is a place where various historical places key to Osaka can be found. These places include the Singanji Temple, Sankojinja Shrine, Mount Chausu Tomb as well as the Yasuijinja Shrine. Those who are interested in Japanese history will definitely want to visit these places!
Address: Tamatsukuri, Osaka
Access: Walkable from Osaka Loop Line Tamatsukuri Station or JR Tennoji Station
14. Photograph the Abeno Harukas at Tennoji Park!
The Abeno Harukas is one of the symbols of Osaka city and is a marvelous 300 meter (328 yard) tall building. This conspicuous building can be viewed from almost every corner of the Osaka city, but one of the best places to photograph this amazing architecture is at Tennoji Park. Here, you will be able to photograph the Abeno Harukas with its amazing reflection in the pond of the Japanese style garden. You can’t say you’ve visited Osaka city without having a good photo of Abeno Harukas!
Address: Chausuyamacho, Tennoji Ward, Osaka City
Opening Hours: Park is open 24 hours, but please refer to official website for respective facilities
Access: 1 minute walk from JR Tennoji Station
Website: Tennoji Park
15. Make your own instant noodles at the Instant Ramen Museum
Most of you have probably been hooked on instant noodles at some point in time. The instant noodle was invented by Momofuku Ando who founded Nissin Food Products, and since then, instant noodles have been a crucial part of many people’s daily lives. At the Instant Ramen Museum, various instant noodles from different ages are put on display. Not only that, you can make your own instant ramen at the “My CUPNOODLES Factory”. A reservation is needed for the Chicken Ramen Factory so please refer to their official website appended below.
Instant Ramen Museum
Address: 8-25 Masumi, Ikeda City, Osaka Prefecture
Opening Hours: 9:30am - 4:00pm (last admission 3:30pm) and closed on Tuesday and year-end through New Year Holidays
Admission fee: Free of charge
Access: 5 minute walk from Osakako Station
Website: Instant Ramen Museum
Travel Osaka like a pro!
Be sure to plan your trip and book your accommodations and tickets beforehand as these destinations, especially places like Universal Studios Japan, are extremely popular spots. The opening hours for many of the places such as shrines also change according to the seasons and events, to be sure to check the official websites when planning.
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