2.8 miles from city centre
Hit your funny bone at Namba Grand Kagetsu, where famous comedians take centre stage. Osaka’s show biz is the country’s largest and it tends toward the comedic. Subverting Japanese stereotypes, these locals are far from shy. Head to the red lantern-lined streets and eat your way through this district to find out why Osaka’s called “Japan’s stomach.”
Places to stay from US$12 per night
2.4 miles from city centre
Larger than life crustaceans and illuminated ads– sound appealing? Then you’ll love Osaka’s nightlife–surreal, chaotic and too trendy for its own good. Festive lights reflect in the Dotonbori-gawa canal to create a neon ambiance. Don’t leave without eating a hot octopus ball (takoyaki) from Kukuru Takoyaki, they’re kind of a big deal.
Places to stay from US$20 per night
2 miles from city centre
Osaka’s gateway, Shin Osaka whisks travellers to Kyoto and beyond via the Shinkansen (bullet train). Entertainment and shopping options are sparse, but the sleepy town’s a favourite among locals seeking to be near the hubbub of Kita, but far enough for some privacy.
Places to stay from US$22 per night
0.2 miles from city centre
Trendsetters tip your hat to Umeda’s funky fashion. There’s enough in this urban maze to delight all stripes, no matter what colour your collar. Photograph your way through the Floating Garden Observatory or get even higher by tempting a turn on the HEP Five Ferris Wheel that’s perched atop a building. Hello, stunning Ikoma Mountain view.
Places to stay from US$11 per night
In the city centre
Punch the clock alongside Osaka’s busiest. This transport hub buzzes with worker bees. But the 9-5ers know how to let loose after hours. Eat or imbibe at Dojima Center and satiate your retail cravings away from the sun in one of Kita’s underground malls. For luck in future travels, as well as love, head to Tsuyunoten Shrine.
Places to stay from US$11 per night
2.2 miles from city centre
Shinsaibashi is synonymous with shopping. High-fashion brands like Prada predominate on Midosuji Street, while Shinsaibashi-suji Shopping Center has a peppering of boutiques between its box shops. Pinch a penny by purchasing a bento box in the basement of Daimaru Department Store and eat al fresco on the roof.
Places to stay from US$15 per night
2.7 miles from city centre
Hang with the thespians. From kabuki (dance-drama) to bunraku (Japanese puppet theatre) to comedy plays, this area scratches the entertainment itch. Once better known for its seedy charm and colourful nature, cultural shifts show this as a new hipster hangout. Peruse Kuromon Ichiba market for some fresh sashimi and strawberry mochi.
Places to stay from US$7 per night
A city celebrated for its lively nightlife, top restaurants and delicious street food, Osaka combines dynamic development and longstanding traditions.
When cherry blossom season starts in spring, the city blooms with vivid pink. Take a walk along the Okawa River or through the extensive grounds of Osaka Castle for the best views. This 16th-century citadel overlooks scenic surroundings, and features an ancient collection of art, armour and everyday objects inside. Its eighth-floor observation deck boasts wonderful 360-degree views.
For more sweeping vistas amid lush scenery, head to the top of the 173-metre-tall Umeda Sky Building, whose two towers are linked at their summits by a beautiful ‘floating garden’.
Filling, tasty and affordable – street food is another of Osaka’s biggest attractions. Try Okonomiyaki, a local favourite that’s like a cross between a pancake and a pizza, or Takoyaki – grilled balls of batter with octopus chunks inside.
Osaka and Umeda train stations are linked by underground shopping centres, while the edgier enterprises of Shinsaibashi’s America Village appeal to a younger crowd. Down by the river, Dotonbori’s neon lights promote more shops and eateries considered to be among the best in the city.
Those wanting to travel from Osaka to Tokyo can do so by taking the bullet train from Shin-Osaka station, which also has a direct line from Osaka to Kyoto. The city airport serves only as a domestic terminal, although international flights depart from the regional Kansai Airport.
From US$31 per night
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From US$37 per night
|Most popular time to visit||October–December|
|Cheapest time to visit||April–June|
|Local currency||¥1,000 = US$9.08|
|Average weekend price||US$55 per night|
|Average weekday price||US$50 per night|
|Typical stay||1 night|
Loved the area and ease to get around with the transportation. All the food was great. Do to precautions some things were closed but could not be helped. Only issues was that you need to pay attention when going to certain stores or attractions because with some of them require reservations and it is not publicized very well. For example just to get into the Apple store you needed a reservation. Another is that at Universal you needed to pay extra and book to go to the new Super Nintendo attraction but finding where to do that before going to the park was difficult and was already booked up when you arrive.
Less hectic city compared to Tokyo and the tourist site is more to historical and cultural places. Although, the location of these spots are scattered throughout Osaka so plan your trip to minimize unnecessary travel time. Some areas are only accessible by bus or taxi so beware.
I've visited a lot of cities in Japan, but this was my first time in Osaka. I wasn't sure what to expect (perhaps a variation of Tokyo or Nagoya, I'd thought), but it was a delight, and for a big city, very friendly. The nightlife and restaurant districts were vibrant and entertaining (despite the initial effects of the virus-related tourist downturn being apparent), the cultural and historical places were more impressive and less expensive than I'd anticipated, and there was a surprising number of architecturally interesting buildings around (ancient, early 20th century and modern). An easy city to get around, even into the outer suburbs, and there was a satisfying variety of cuisine available (okonomiyaki by the Dotonbori canal, for example). In addition to the obvious places like Osaka Castle, Minami (Namba) and Den-Den Town I'd recommend making the journey to Sumiyoshi Taisha.
Osaka is a great central location to set up base camp, for day trips to Kyoto, Nara, Kobe, Himeji and more. The food is amazing, it is easy to get around the city, and there is something for everyone.
It would have been far better if the tourist attractions were open.Still had a great time but missed out on a few things that I traveled there for. I understand the virus changed things so I'm not at all disappointed with what i did get to do.
Osaka is a very vibrant city with lots to see locally, and the public transport system makes it very easy to travel around. There is a vast choice of restaurants to suit all tastes, art is well worth a visit.
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