Traveling to Osaka
With one of the highest rates of yearly international tourism in the world, Japan has no shortage of places to see, things to do, and cultural attractions to visit. It may be overwhelming to figure out at first where to go – we are here to show you why Osaka, Japan, must be at the top of your go-to-list when visiting Japan.
The many charms of Osaka, a major metropolitan city in the Kansai region of Japan. From the best Osaka sushi restaurants to the best activities to do in Osaka, this guide can help you make the most of your time here.
How to Get To Osaka
There are several ways to get around Japan. From driving to taking the train, it may seem difficult to choose the best option. Here are a few tips to help you figure out the best way to get to Osaka from wherever you may be.
Getting to Osaka From Tokyo
If traveling from abroad, your flight will most likely land in Japan’s largest city and capital, Tokyo. After spending a few days exploring the historically-rich and popular destination, you want to go out and discover Osaka. But how should you get there?
Luckily, Japan’s train system is a fast, convenient, and cheap way to travel safely around the country. There are several train lines available to quickly get to Osaka. You can either:
- Take the bullet train
- Drive to Osaka
- Take a flight
Taking the Bullet Train
Taking the bullet train can get you to Osaka in a mere 173 minutes with its high-speed of 285 km/h (178 mph). The Tokyo to Osaka line is named the Tokaido Shinkansen line, and it is the most popular bullet train line of the country.
Taking the bullet train is not only the most convenient option for getting to Osaka, it is also a rich, cultural experience to have while traveling Japan! The average price for a one-way ticket from Tokyo to Osaka runs upward of $122.
Japan is proud of their high-speed rail system, which is why taking the Shinkansen is an activity worthy of being lived by itself. With 373 Shinkansen trains running daily with a total of 477,000 passengers, you can rely on it for all of your transportation needs.
Driving to Osaka
Driving to Osaka is also another option which can give you flexibility during your travels. By renting a car, you can drive across the 322-mile stretch between the two cities and make pit stops along the way to see historical sites and activities.
The fastest driving route between Tokyo and Osaka will take just over six hours, and will take you through the major cities of Yokohama, Shizuoka, and Kyoto. As with the train, the ride between Tokyo and Osaka will provide you with sites from all across the country.
Flying to Osaka
Osaka’s Kansai International Airport features daily flights coming in from cities including Amsterdam, Manila, Dubai, Singapore, and Hongkong. The flights are an average of 1 hour and 30 minutes total flying time, making it another quick travel option when going to Osaka.
If flying into Japan from Tokyo, there are several non-stop daily flight options from Tokyo to Osaka. The prices range anywhere between $50 and $150 depending on the flight company chosen.
What is Osaka Known For
After your stay in Tokyo, you have finally traveled the country and have arrived in beautiful Osaka. The next question is: what is Osaka known for? Here are several key facts to know before arriving in the city.
Although little known today, Osaka was Japan’s first capital officialized in the 7th century. It was a major merchant’s port and featured trade from all around the world, helping build Japan’s large economic standing today.
Some of the major historical sites in Osaka include the Osaka Castle, the renowned Sumiyoshi Taisha Shrine, and Osaka City Central Public Hall. Each of these are easily accessible either by foot or with public transportation from Osaka’s city center.
Osaka is nestled on the Japanese island of Honshu between the waterfront of Osaka Bay and the beautiful lake Biwa. The prefecture of Osaka represents 7% of the nation’s population, making it a fantastic location to discover Japan’s authentic cultural identity.
As for Osaka’s temperament, according to tourism statistics, the best times to travel to Osaka are between May and June and September and October when rain is minimal. The hottest months in Osaka are from June to September, and the coldest from February to mid-March.
Things to Do In Osaka
Just as with the rest of Japan, deciding exactly what you are going to spend your time doing while traveling in Osaka can be a daunting task. We are here to help you find the best activities to do in Osaka during your stay.
The Best Attractions in Osaka
We have now gone through how to best get to Osaka, its historical significance, and what it is known for. Now comes the fun part: what the best activities, restaurants to go to, and attractions are in Osaka, Japan.
The Osaka Castle is a must for tourists and travelers stopping by Osaka. The construction of the site began in 1583 in honor of Hideyoshi Toyotomi, a famous Japanese samurai of the 16th century. In 1955, the site was officially recognized as a national Special Historic Site.
Sumiyoshi Taisha Shrine
Located just outside of Osaka’s city center, the Sumiyoshi Taisha Shrine is a beautiful and cultural location which cannot be missed. Entrance is free for all guests, and the shrine welcomes a reported 2 million worshippers at the beginning of every year to pay respects. A map of the shrine and its surroundings can be found here.
O-hatsu Tenjin Shrine
Commonly known as O-hatsu Tenjin, the official name of the estimated 1,300-year old shrine is “Tsuyu no Tenjinja.” Researchers believe the shrine was built during the reign of Emperor Montoku, whose reign lasted eight years until 858 AD. The shrine is just a short walk away from Osaka Castle.
Universal Studios Japan
Looking for a family-friendly day trip to do with your friends or kids? Look no further than Japan’s very own Universal Studios, located in the Osaka prefecture. With attractions ranging from the recently opened Super Nintendo World to a Minion Park, there is surely something to please all members of a group.
Osaka Kaiyukan Aquarium
Another fun and family-friendly activity especially for hot summer days is taking a tour of Osaka’s Kaiyukan Aquarium. It features over 15 different tanks of wild sea life, and a wide array of permanent as well as temporary, interactive exhibits. For more on their pricing, you can visit their website here.
One of the best parts of visiting a new country such as Japan is discovering the culture’s local foods. Japan has a rich culinary history and identity, and many people travel to the nation just to get a taste of its authentic culinary passion. Here are some restaurants not to miss when traveling to Osaka.
Takoya Dotonbori Kukuru
Located in Osaka’s most popping Dotonbori district, Takoya Dontonori Kukuru is a favorite for both locals and international travelers. As per their website, the restaurant specializes in octopus dishes. It has been open for 36 years and continues to satisfy its hungry customers.
Looking for some delicious comfort food after a long day of walking around Osaka’s most beautiful sites? Kushikatsu Daruma is the spot! Featuring their media-famous deep-fried chicken nuggets, this is a restaurant surely not to miss in Osaka.
Let’s face it – one cannot go to Japan without trying the country’s world-famous dish, sushi. If you find yourself craving some delicious sushi in Osaka, Ginza Kyubey is a must-try to satisfy your cravings. Located in the Kita Ward, the restaurant is easily accessible by foot or public transportation.
Along with sushi, another unmissable staple of Japanese culinary culture is ramen. A delicious ramen restaurant located in Central Osaka is Chukasoba Kazura. It has a wide variety of ramens available to fit anyone’s taste preferences.
Soba noodles are a traditional staple in Japanese cuisine. They are made from buckwheat and used in ramen, soups, or on their own with spices. To try out these tasty noodles, head over to the Dotonbori district to Akari Soba for delicious soba without breaking the bank.
Best Areas In Osaka
Being Japan’s third largest city after Tokyo and Yokohama, it is no wonder Osaka features a long list of neighborhoods and districts to visit, each with their distinct personality. In this list, we will go through the must-see areas of Osaka, and their unique features.
The Dotonbori District is a must-see for the nightlife and food of Osaka. It lounges the inner city docks of the Dotonbori river, so at night you can enjoy the festive-lit water while eating some fried chicken on the go.
The construction of the district began in 1612 by Mr. Yasui Douton. According to the district’s official site, the district is named in part after the Yasui ‘Douton,’ and ‘bori,’ meaning canal. It has sometimes been referred to as the “Japanese Broadway.”
The best spots in the Dotonbori District include all the street food kiosks and restaurants, the Ebisu bridge, and the Hōzenji Temple. Given the hip and dynamic personality of the district, each of these attractions can be appreciated during the day as well as at night.
Next on the list is the Kita, or “Umeda,” area. If you are looking for a hotel to stay at, you will most likely find the highest concentration of options here. Located right in the center of Osaka’s most buzzing districts, Kita has several tourist destinations and restaurants to visit.
The Umeda Sky Building in the Kita area is not only important to see, it is hard to miss! The Umeda Sky Building and Observatory features restaurants, meeting lounges, a clinic center, an art museum, and an observatory deck so you can watch the sunset.
Another fun spot to go to when traveling to the Kita ward of Osaka is the Osaka Station. Its construction began in the 1870s, and now it features a sleek and attractive architecture right in the center of the ward.
Osaka Bay Area
The Osaka Bay Area is home to Japan’s Universal Studios and the Tempozan Harbor Village which includes Osaka’s Kaiyukan Aquarium. It is hard to ever run out of things to do at the Osaka Bay, regardless of if you are with your friends, family, or solo.
The Osaka Bay area is also a great place to enjoy the beautiful waterfront of the bay. The Tempozan Harbor Village is composed of a shuttle ferry, cruise ship, giant ferris wheel, marketplace, aquarium, and food theme park built to resemble the 1960s.
The area also features a wide array of street food kiosks, delicious restaurants, and luxurious hotels. It is definitely more on the tourist-side of Osaka, and you may find the prices to be higher than in the rest of the city. That said, it is worth spending an afternoon walking along the boardwalks for the views.
Whether you are traveling to Japan for the olympics, an adventure with friends, or for a foodie-experience on your own, Osaka is an important step in your journey. From its food culture, rich cultural history, to its beautiful sites and attractions, Osaka is sure to create long-lasting memories.
When you are planning your trip, make sure to plan your reservations for hotels and transportation, itineraries, and to-do list before you go. For a comprehensive list of the top 50 attractions to do during your stay in Japan, follow this link here.