Asia Japan Travel Destinations

The Ultimate Guide to Osaka

Visit Osaka image via flickr by szeke
Written by Duke Stewart


Before you visit Osaka…

If you really want to see Japan, get started with a stay in Osaka. Choose the InterContinental hotel near Osaka Station to give yourself a good central base of operations. From there, you can dig into the excitement and fun that you’ll find in Japan’s Kansai region and its most vibrant city. If you need any more convincing, read through this ultimate guide to Osaka and try to say you don’t want to visit. Let’s get started with why and when you should visit Osaka.

Why and When to Go


Image via Flickr by m-louis

The best time to visit Osaka is in April for cherry blossoms or in November when the fall foliage peaks all around Japan. Summer in the city is pretty tough to handle if you don’t like muggy and rainy weather. Winter temperatures aren’t that bad in Osaka, and you can take advantage of cheaper hotel rates during the milder months. If you’re traveling around New Year’s, keep in mind that many government buildings and attractions close in observance.

Food Food Food


Image via Flickr by hirotomo

Known as Japan’s kitchen, Osaka is Japan’s best food destination. You’ll find the top restaurants in Dotonbori, which is also known for shopping. Anyone who travels to Japan should start with sushi, especially at a restaurant that serves it on a conveyor belt. Ramen is another Japanese staple that you shouldn’t miss, but you’re in Osaka. Grab a six-pack of those delicious takoyaki balls from a street vendor before going out to find a local restaurant that serves okonomiyaki, the wonderful pancake-like creation that’s packed full of delicious stuff.

Indoor and Outdoor Fun


Image via Flickr by Kristoffer Trolle

Get a real view of Osaka at the iconic Tsutenkaku Tower before heading down to Dotonbori or another famous shopping area. Shoppers and gamers who visit Japan will never want to leave Tenjinbashisuji Shopping Arcade or Hep 5’s upper floors, where countless games await.

Osaka has tons of entertainment options, but its Hanshin Tigers dominate attention when baseball season starts. If you’re lucky enough to visit in summer, Koshien Stadium hosts Japan’s national high school baseball championship, which is always an entertaining sight.

Historic Hits and Attractions You Can’t Miss


Image via Flickr by Yoshikazu TADAKA

Aside from all the food and fun in the city, Osaka Castle is the most well-known place to visit. Remember that it closes on holidays. Sumiyoshi-taisha shrine is a national treasure that’s been around for hundreds of years, and it’s a recreation of a fourth- or fifth-century building. The Osaka Museum of Housing and Living will take you back to a time before modern Japan took over. If you’ve seen it all and have more time, take a train over to Kyoto or Nara to see the best of traditional Japan.


Image via Flickr by Indrik myneur

Honorable mentions should go out to Universal Studios Japan and the Osaka Aquarium, both of which family travelers will love. There’s so much more to do in this wonderful city, and hopefully you’ll discover some of it while there.

Now that you’ve had a chance to look through this ultimate guide, what do you think? Aren’t you excited to visit Osaka? Enjoy your trip and be sure to do everything on this list if you want the best experience.

Featured Image via Flickr by szeke

About the author

Duke Stewart

I'm a writer and recovering American expat who shares my family's travels through life. Follow our adventures here and on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.