Down to earth and delightfully inviting, get ready to be immersed in the charming culture and life of Osaka, especially the food! Rated as the world’s greatest food city by The Guardian UK, Osaka certainly packs a good punch when it comes to delicacies that will satisfy the tummy. So much so that one may even commit Kuidaore – local lingo for ‘eat till you drop’ – as the delightful smells of takoyaki (octopus balls), okonomiyaki (pan-fried batter cake), udon (Japanese noodles) and other traditional Japanese culinary linger along the streets of this city. Shopping is a great pull with the many shopping districts to explore!
Best of Osaka
1. Osaka Castle
Explore the intricate beauty of one of Japan’s most famous castles that was built in 1583. This symbol of Osaka is especially beautiful during spring when the cherry blossoms bloom.
2. Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan
Be amazed by sheer size of the aquarium that houses marine animals including sea otters, dolphins, turtles, penguins and its star attraction—the majestic whale shark named Yu-chan.
3. Tempozan Giant Ferris Wheel
Hop on the giant Ferris wheel and take in the magnificent view of Osaka which is especially beautiful at night as the city lights come to life!
4. Shinsaibashi Shopping Street
The city’s main shopping area covers everything from famous brands to boutique designers! Visit the famous Dotonbori where you’ll spot the Glico man amongst the many eateries.
5. Osaka Takoyaki Museum
Satisfy takoyaki cravings at this unique museum, built to commemorate Osaka as the birthplace of this delicious delicacy.
6. Universal Studios Japan
Prepare to spend a full day of reliving sensational scenes from popular movies such as Back to the Future and Terminator. Thrilling rides and entertaining shows for kids and adults alike!
7. Osaka Museum of Housing and Living
Not just another museum, it’s an experience of going back through time. Don your kimono and explore the replica of a 19th century Japanese village to see life as it was. Don’t miss the painstakingly detailed miniatures!
8. National Bunraku Theatre
Everything about bunraku is amazing, from the lifelike puppets (each needs to be handled by three puppeteers) to the dramatic accompaniments by the narrators and musicians. A once in a lifetime experience!
Although named Shinsekai (new world), this vibrant neighbourhood is actually where you go to get a feel of how things used to be decades ago with its quaint food joints and barbershops. Don’t forget to go to the top of Tsutenkaku Tower or take a dip in an onsen (Japanese bathhouse).
Aside from the fact that it is the first state-sponsored Buddhist temple in the country, Shitennoji is also famous for a peaceful walk in the afternoon around its adjacent Gokuraku-jodo Garden and its pleasant neighbourhood.
11. Sumiyoshi Taisha
Founded in 211, the Grand Shrine of Sumiyoshi is historically important and architecturally intriguing as it was built before the influx of Buddhist temples, making it a National Treasure of Japan.
Another pride of Osaka, this meal is best enjoyed freshly served from the grill. Mixed vegetables are blended in a batter, creating a savoury veggie pancake that is so good, you don’t want to share it with anyone.
The refined city of Kyoto was the capital of Japan for more than a millennium and it still retains its countless shrines and temples, impressive gardens and charming traditional villas.
Understated Kobe is a cosmopolitan city where foreign cultures first arrived in Japan as shown by a synagogue, a mosque, a Chinatown and its collection of Ijinkan (colonial-style western houses).
An old capital with picturesque landscapes, ancient temples and gardens, and its cutest residents–the gentle deer that roam about freely, Nara is perfect for a day excursion out of Osaka city.