Welcome to Osaka!
One of the country’s largest cities, and home to countless impressive examples of modern architecture, Osaka, Japan, is a truly wonderful city. From superb museums, art galleries, and the stunning Osaka Castle to amusement parks and a futuristic skyline, you’re guaranteed to have a great time while visiting this modern metropolis. The locals are known for their warm hospitality; so it comes as no surprise that Osaka is considered being one of the most laid back cities in Japan.
Tourists are sometimes lured in by well traveled sights, but a worldwide local knows about the best sightseeing spots in Osaka and how to experience the city from a different angle. Instead of covering busy tourist traps, this insider’s guide enables you to explore Osaka as a smart traveler, taking you to the most wonderful places in the city.
Start at the Center: Dotonbori
Packed with some of the best Osaka restaurants, bars, and cafes, Dotonbori is the central hub of Osaka. This canalside entertainment district boasts a relaxed atmosphere and houses unique attractions such as Kamigata Ukiyoe Museum and Shochikuza Theatre. Travelers visiting Osaka with kids will definitely want to check out the fabulous Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan. Besides a number of marine habitats including Great Barrier Reef, Monterey Bay, and Pacific Ocean and Antarctica, the aquarium is home to a variety of Japanese marine life. Expect to see native reptiles, as well as mammals, and freshwater species.
Worldwide Local Tip: The great thing about the Osaka weather is that it’s never too cold or rainy to visit. A great time to visit the city is in spring during the cherry blossom season. Another option is to visit in fall when the Osaka hotel rates are cheaper and skies are clear with plenty of sunshine.
The Best Shopping District
Every local here in Osaka will tell you how the Shinsaibashi District is the best place to go shopping. From handicrafts and household objects to clothes and all kinds of souvenirs and gifts to bring back home, this place has it all. For an adrenaline rush, go for a ride on the famous Tempozan Ferris Wheel, one of the most spectacular things to do in Osaka. The wheel gets illuminated at night and offers spectacular views of the city.
Worldwide Local Tip: Getting around the city is relatively easy for tourists. Subways and trains are the best options, especially if you purchase the local Icoca card. For a good Internet connection, travelers can download the popular Travel Japan Wi-Fi app. The app is easy to use but comes with occasional spam adverts.
Osaka Offers a Wide Range of Activities
Pay a visit to the Osaka Science Museum which houses dozens of both interactive and hands-on exhibits. The main focus of the museum is on science-related themes including everything from energy sources to astronomy. Locals who wish to relax usually can visit the Spa World complex in Osaka where a wide range of pools, spas, and saunas can be found. There are also many spa treatments available and the facility is open 24 hours a day.
Worldwide Local Tip: Shopaholics visiting Osaka can get tax-free shopping at many stores around the city. In order to qualify for tax-free shopping, you’ll have to purchase items of more than 5,000 Yen. The cashier will need your signature and to see your passport.
Where and What to Eat in Osaka
Osaka is well-known for its superb cuisine. Every local will tell you that Kuromon Ichiba Market is one of the best places to try seafood. From oysters and diver scallops to octopus and the popular unagi, Kuromon Ichiba Market will surely satisfy your taste buds. The market is also the main spot for famous chefs to shop for their high-end dining establishments. When it comes to popular dishes in Osaka, Okonomiyaki and Takoyaki are the most famous. The best place to try Okonomiyaki, the savory-sweet pancake, is at Okonomiyaki Mizuno. Tsurugyu, however, is a great restaurant for travelers who wish to enjoy Kobe Beef.
Worldwide Local Tip: You don’t want to leave Osaka before having a bowl of ramen. This is one of the best dishes you can have in the country. Many restaurants and small eateries in Osaka prepare this delicious dish. However, Rai Rai Tei is probably one of the best ramen restaurants in the city.
Enjoy Your Stay!
Osaka’s charm is truly irresistible; and there are many cool attractions in the city to keep you entertained, for at least a week. Instead of getting consumed by mediocre and busy sites, take your time in Osaka to roam the city as a worldwide local at your own pace, to discover the most amazing attractions.