Are you planning a visit to Japan soon? Then don’t miss the chance to explore the vibrant city of Osaka. Known for it delicious cuisine, rich culture, and exciting attractions, there is no shortage of things to do in this bustling metropolis. To help you plan your itinerary, here are 10 exciting things to do in Osaka that you won’t want to miss.
1. Explore the Vibrant Dotonbori District
One of the most iconic areas in Osaka, the Dotonbori district is a must-see destination for any visitor. This lively neighborhood is famous for its colorful illuminated billboards, lively atmosphere, and delicious street food.
As you walk through the streets of Dotonbori, you’ll feel the energy and excitement of the city. The neon lights and bustling crowds create a vibrant and lively atmosphere that’s sure to leave a lasting impression. Take a stroll along the canal and watch as the boats glide by, or sit down at one of the many restaurants and soak up the local culture.
Savor the Flavors of Osaka’s Street Food
Osaka is known as the “Kitchen of Japan.” From takoyaki to okonomiyaki, the street food in Dotonbori is truly unmatched. Make sure to try out some of the local delicacies and experience the true essence of Osaka’s gastronomy.
One of the must-try dishes in Dotonbori is takoyaki, a popular snack made with octopus, batter, and various toppings. You can also try okonomiyaki, a savory pancake made with cabbage, pork, and other ingredients. And don’t forget to sample some of the delicious seafood that Osaka is famous for.
Take a Cruise Along the Dotonbori Canal
For a unique perspective on the Dotonbori district, take a relaxing cruise along the canal. Admire the colorful billboards and city skyline as you glide along the water, taking in the sights and sounds of this lively area.
The canal is a great way to see Dotonbori from a different angle. You’ll get a chance to see the city’s famous landmarks, such as the Glico Running Man and the Kani Doraku crab sign, from the water. The boats are comfortable and spacious, making it a great way to relax and enjoy the scenery.
Shop ’til You Drop at Shinsaibashi Shopping Arcade
Located in the heart of Osaka, the Shinsaibashi Shopping Arcade is a paradise for shopaholics. With over 600 shops and restaurants, it’s the largest shopping arcade in Osaka. From luxury brands to local boutiques, there’s something for everyone here.
Whether you’re looking for the latest fashion trends or unique souvenirs, you’ll find it all at the Shinsaibashi Shopping Arcade. The arcade is also home to a variety of restaurants and cafes, so you can take a break from shopping and enjoy some delicious food. Don’t forget to check out the street performers and entertainers that often perform in the arcade, adding to the lively atmosphere.
2. Discover the Rich History of Osaka Castle
Osaka Castle is one of the city’s most iconic landmarks, and no visit to Osaka is complete without a trip to this historic landmark. Dating back to the 16th century, Osaka Castle played an important role in Japan’s history and is a fascinating destination for history buffs.
Learn About the Castle’s Fascinating Past
Explore the castle grounds and learn about its rich history through exhibits and informative displays. Discover how the castle played a pivotal role in the unification of Japan and how it endured through centuries of war and natural disasters.
One of the most interesting aspects of Osaka Castle is its unique architecture. Built on a raised platform, the castle’s walls are constructed of massive stones, with wooden beams and plaster used to create a fortress that could withstand attacks from enemy forces. The castle’s interior is equally impressive, with intricate wood carvings, gold leaf accents, and stunning artwork adorning the walls and ceilings.
Stroll Through the Beautiful Nishinomaru Garden
Located to the west of Osaka Castle, Nishinomaru Garden is a beautiful oasis within the city. The garden is beautifully landscaped, with numerous cherry blossoms that bloom in the springtime. It’s the perfect place to take a stroll and relax amidst the bustling city.
The garden was originally created as a place for the castle’s lords to relax and enjoy the beauty of nature. Today, visitors can enjoy the same serene atmosphere and take in the stunning views of the castle’s walls and towers from within the garden.
Enjoy Panoramic Views from the Castle’s Observatory
Climb up to the castle’s observatory for panoramic views of the city. From here, you can see the entire Osaka skyline, including the towering Umeda Sky Building and the Abeno Harukas building, the tallest building in Japan.
The observatory is located at the top of the castle’s main tower, and offers breathtaking views of the surrounding area. Visitors can take in the stunning scenery while learning more about the history and significance of Osaka Castle from the informative displays located throughout the observatory.
Overall, a visit to Osaka Castle is a must for anyone interested in Japanese history and culture. With its fascinating past, stunning architecture, and beautiful surroundings, it’s no wonder that Osaka Castle remains one of the most popular tourist destinations in Japan.
3. Experience the Thrills of Universal Studios Japan
No trip to Osaka is complete without a visit to the world-famous Universal Studios Japan. With thrilling rides, exciting shows, and an array of attractions, it’s a fun-filled day for both kids and adults. Universal Studios Japan is a theme park located in Osaka, Japan, and is one of the four Universal Studios theme parks around the world. It opened its doors in 2001 and has since then been a popular destination for tourists and locals alike.
Get Lost in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter
Step into the magical world of Harry Potter and explore the Hogwarts castle, Hogsmeade village and other magical locations. Unleash your inner wizard by trying on Hogwarts robes, casting spells and drinking butterbeer! The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is a must-visit for any Harry Potter fan. The attention to detail is incredible, and you’ll feel like you’ve stepped right into the pages of the books or scenes from the movies. You can ride the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey ride, which takes you on a thrilling journey through Hogwarts castle, or take a ride on the Flight of the Hippogriff roller coaster, which is suitable for younger visitors.
Ride the Exciting Roller Coasters and Attractions
From the thrilling Hollywood Dream coaster to the adrenaline-pumping Jurassic Park ride, Universal Studios Japan boasts a multitude of exciting attractions that will keep you entertained all day long. The Hollywood Dream coaster is a must-ride for any thrill-seeker. It’s a high-speed coaster that takes you through twists, turns, and loops. If you’re a fan of the Jurassic Park movies, you’ll love the Jurassic Park ride, which takes you on a boat ride through a prehistoric world filled with dinosaurs. Other popular rides include the Despicable Me Minion Mayhem ride, the Jaws ride, and the Back to the Future ride.
Meet Your Favorite Characters at Character Meet-and-Greets
For an extra dose of fun, head over to the character meet-and-greet areas to meet your favorite characters from movies, TV shows, and more. Get your picture taken with Minions, Hello Kitty, and other beloved characters! You can also catch one of the many live shows, such as the WaterWorld show, which is based on the 1995 movie of the same name. The show features live stunts, explosions, and plenty of action.
Universal Studios Japan also has a variety of restaurants and shops. You can grab a bite to eat at the Three Broomsticks restaurant in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, or try some Japanese cuisine at the Hollywood and New York areas of the park. The shops offer a variety of souvenirs, including Harry Potter merchandise, Minion toys, and more.
Overall, Universal Studios Japan is a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to Osaka. With something for everyone, it’s a fun-filled day that you won’t forget!
4. Visit the Iconic Tsutenkaku Tower
A symbol of Osaka’s unique culture, Tsutenkaku Tower is a must-visit destination. If you’re looking to take in the city from above, the observation deck provides panoramic views of the city and is always a crowd-pleaser.
Learn About the Tower’s History and Cultural Significance
The Tsutenkaku Tower has a fascinating history that dates back to the early 20th century. Originally built in 1912, the tower was destroyed during World War II and rebuilt in 1956. The name “Tsutenkaku” literally means “tower reaching heaven,” and it has become a symbol of Osaka’s resilience and perseverance in the face of adversity.
But the tower’s significance goes beyond just its history. It has become a beloved landmark for locals and visitors alike, representing the unique character and spirit of Osaka. Its distinctive design, featuring a mix of Western and Eastern architectural styles, is a testament to the city’s history as a hub of international trade and cultural exchange.
Take in the Stunning Views of Osaka from the Observation Deck
Climb up to the observation deck, located 91-meters above ground, for stunning views of the city. From this vantage point, you can see the bustling streets of downtown Osaka, as well as some of the city’s most famous landmarks, such as Osaka Castle and the Umeda Sky Building.
But the view from the top of Tsutenkaku Tower is more than just a visual spectacle. It’s an opportunity to gain a deeper appreciation for the city’s unique character and history. As you look out over the city, you can see how its past and present have come together to create a vibrant, dynamic metropolis.
Sample Local Delicacies at the Nearby Shinsekai District
Located right next to the Tsutenkaku Tower, Shinsekai is a vibrant, retro neighborhood where you can experience the essence of Osaka’s local culture. This area was originally developed in the early 20th century as a center of entertainment and commerce, and it has retained much of its original character and charm.
One of the highlights of Shinsekai is its food scene. Here, you can try a variety of local delicacies such as kushikatsu, a Japanese version of deep-fried skewers, and other traditional dishes. The area is also known for its lively atmosphere and friendly locals, making it a great place to soak up the energy and spirit of Osaka.
These are just a few of the exciting things to do in Osaka. From delicious food to cultural landmarks and thrilling attractions, this city truly has it all. Be sure to add Osaka to your Japan itinerary – this is one city you won’t want to miss!