Explore thousands of activities with free cancellation and no added fees
Skip the line and get tickets to top attractions, family activities, excursions and day tours
Members get extra discounts on thousands of hotels and experiences. Sign up today.
Japan's second-largest city and the economic center of the Kansai region, Osaka is an eclectic mix of historic and modern Japan. The bustling metropolis is dotted with age-old temples and beautiful castles that offer a glimpse into Japan's past. Vibrant entertainment and shopping opportunities mingle with serene parks, and Osaka's distinct character is made apparent in every aspect of the city, from the lively dialect of its outgoing people to the neon glow of its streets. Whether you're visiting for the delicious food that makes Osaka the "nation's kitchen" or looking to discover Japanese traditions, Osaka is full of amazing things to do and see.
Osaka is a sprawling city of 19 million people, and its many neighborhoods cater to all walks of life, ranging from upscale shopping districts to pockets of sub-culture fashion and nostalgic nooks.
Also known as Umeda, the Kita ("North" in Japanese) district is one of Osaka's main city centers. The area is abundant with underground shopping arcades and high-end department stores, including the Grand Front Osaka shopping and dining complex. Visit Umeda Sky Building for views 567 feet (173 m) above the ground, and spend the evening in the Kitashinchi area, which is packed with bars and nightclubs.
The Minami ("South" in Japanese) area is one of Osaka's city centers and acts as the tourist hub of the city. Here you can find Dotonbori, a popular street lined with hundreds of neon lights and mechanized signs advertising delicious restaurants. Nearby are the Amerikamura shopping district, where you can find the latest trends in Japanese street fashion, and Nipponbashi, a buzzing area also known as Den Den Town that's full of electronics and otaku -oriented merchandise.
The relatively young Bay Area is home to popular attractions for international visitors and domestic travelers alike. In addition to the Universal Studios Japan theme park and spectacular Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan, the area features in the tasty Naniwa Food Theme Park and Mount Tempozan, the smallest mountain in Japan.
This unique neighborhood was mostly developed before World War II, giving it a distinctly nostalgic feel. It's marked by Tsutenkaku Tower, which was originally modeled after the Eiffel Tower, and the Spa World complex, where you can enjoy both baths fed by natural hot springs on European- and Asian-themed floors. Shinsekai's most sumptuous attraction is its kushikatsu, deep-fried skewers of both savory and sweet foods.
Osaka's sights range from the ancient to the contemporary. The National Bunraku Theater acts as a gateway to the traditional performing arts of Japan, staging bunraku (puppet theater) shows throughout the year. For a look at the extent of Osaka's metropolis, visit the observation deck of Abeno Harukas, the tallest skyscraper in Japan at 984 feet (300 m). Ancient Osaka Castle, which dates back to 1583, is a beautifully preserved remnant of Japan's past, and is surrounded by a popular park where residents flock to view cherry blossoms in the spring.
In such a vibrant city, there's no shortage of experiences and adventures to be had. Plan for a day of fun with a visit to Universal Studios Japan, which is packed with thrilling roller coasters and child-friendly attractions themed after favorite films. For an educational experience, visit the interactive Osaka Science Museum, which also houses a planetarium, or the Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan, which features 15 exhibits representing different regions of the Pacific Rim. Immerse yourself in Japan's rich history with a visit to Shitennoji Temple, one of the oldest temples in Japan that dates back to 593, or by touring Osaka Castle and its sloping stone walls. Nature flourishes in the city as well—in the spring, visit Kema Sakuranomiya Park and stroll a riverside path lined with nearly 5,000 cherry trees, or head to the forested valley of Minoo Park in autumn to see the brilliant colors of fall away from the city's buzz. Treat your tastebuds while in Osaka, which is famous for its regional foods such as takoyaki octopus balls and savory okonomiyaki pancakes. Explore Dotonbori, whose main thoroughfare and side streets are packed with eateries, or find something delicious without going far in Osaka Station City.
There's fun for the entire family wherever you wander in Osaka. Here are some family friendly experiences to do together that promise to make your trip memorable:
There's no need to run your credit card hot in Osaka. The following won't cost a penny.
Osaka Science and Technology Museum - Wander the halls and admire the captivating exhibits and unique collections at this museum.
Osaka-jō Hall - If you'd love to find out more about the artistic and cultural side of the area, make sure you stop by.
Ebisu Bridge - If you enjoy modern-day architecture and design, add this attraction to your itinerary.
Bank of Japan Osaka Branch Old Building - If you enjoy delving into the past, this is one attraction you ought to visit.
America Village - Sit for a while in this buzzing place and imagine what life would be like as a local.
Osaka Public Nakanoshima Library - Set aside some time to explore this site of local importance.
Tsuyunoten Shrine - Enjoy some quiet reflection and find out a thing or two about this site's religious significance.
Mount Tempozan - Get away from the busy city life and immerse yourself in Mother Nature at this breathtaking spot.
Nakanoshima Park - Find your green thumb and be wowed by the beautiful and diverse plants on show.
When the forecast is full of sunshine, these outdoor experiences promise a great time:
With lots of landmarks like these to discover, your hardest decision will be where to go first:
You'll want to put these attractions toward the top of your sightseeing list to get the most out of your trip:
You'll find loads of fun experiences here that are perfect if you're watching your pennies:
Your break in Osaka needn't send you broke with free things like these to explore: