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Throw out your map and get lost in these tangled Osakan streets. Epicureans should feast on okonomiyaki (pancakes) and takoyaki (octopus balls) and sip signature gold broth from the region’s Udon bowls. Locals dub the cuisine “B-class gourmet,” because quality food doesn’t come at a high price here.
Hungry? You’ve come to the right place. With over 90 eateries, this colossal complex exemplifies Osaka’s kuidaore (to eat oneself broke) culture. Eat ‘til you drop, starting with some okonomiyaki (savory pancakes) at Fukutaro. Fight off your food coma at the futuristic exhibits in The Lab’s Active Lab floor before helping yourself to seconds!Accommodations near Grand Front Osaka
Truly one of a kind, the Umeda Sky Building defies gravity and architectural norms. A sky-high observatory connects two skyscrapers in this urban oasis. See-through escalators bridge the space between the towers, where you can relish in a 425-foot-high stroll through its floating gardens. The best time to be on top? When dusk brings new color and the city lights up.Accommodations near Umeda Sky Building
College bound? Or just a bookworm? Then visit the Osaka Tenmangu Shrine to pay respect to the deity of scholarship and poetry, Sugawara Michizane. It is one of the most revered shrines in Japan and a symbol of cultural heritage. The shrine isn’t all about poetry and studying however; it also hosts the Tenjin Matsuri, one of the three largest festivals in Japan.Accommodations near Osaka Tenmangu Shrine
Travel back in time with a trip to green-tiled Osaka Castle, encircled by cherry blossoms. Destroyed and rebuilt many times, the castle’s exterior has maintained its historic figure. With a modernized interior, this castle beckons history buffs to cross moats, climb turrets and scale stone walls. Don’t miss the history museum, where samurai relics and antique artifacts live on.Accommodations near Osaka Castle
It’s hard to digest 1,400 years of history in a day, but Osaka’s Museum of History attempts to do just that. Miniature models and life-size recreations keep the experience alive, as you get to know what each period (from Nara through to Showa) was all about. History extends to the views too: look out of the windows on the 10th floor for a panorama of the Osaka castle.Accommodations near Osaka Museum of History
Time for a selfie! Join the throng in raising arms and a left knee in imitation of the Glico man. Amid the blinding neon billboards, this tireless icon has been running for the last 80 years. This animated athlete is a symbol of the confectionary brand of the same name. Caught mid-run on a track, he’s been repurposed to highlight whatever sports event is in vogue.Accommodations near Glico Man Sign
If you speak Japanese, you’ll know that this tower’s namesake claims it reaches heaven. Modeled after the Eiffel Tower, Tsutenkaku gives Osaka’s skyline its character. While it’s not the tallest or even prettiest structure, there’s a vitality to this retro landmark that can’t be imitated. Sample kushikatsu (deep-fried skewers) at Daruma – it’s a must-have when you’re in the area.Accommodations near Tsutenkaku
Want to get up high? Abeno Harukas embodies Osaka’s penchant for urban sky spaces. Take the elevator to the observation deck, Harukas 30, for panoramic views, floor-to-ceiling glass panels, and vertiginous moments. Explore the rest of the building where cafes, art museums, garden terraces and subway stations abound. Or just look up from the surrounding streets – you can’t miss it.Accommodations near Abeno Harukas
What do you get when you cross Snoopy with Spiderman and Hello Kitty? Universal Studios Japan, of course. With the recent addition of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, now there’s even more magic in the air. Unleash your inner child as you run from Jurassic Park to Amity Village to Hollywood. Buy tickets online to skip the lines!Accommodations near Universal Studios Japan
The giant whale shark (the world’s largest fish) takes center stage at Kaiyukan. Catch the capybaras, penguins and otters lounging in the aquarium that’s been proclaimed Asia’s best. Explore oceanic environments from the likes of the Pacific Ocean to the Rim, and submerge yourself in underwater living.Accommodations near Kaiyukan
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Hang with the thespians. From kabuki (dance-drama) to bunraku (Japanese puppet theater) to comedy plays, this area scratches your entertainment itch. Once better known for its underworld charm and colorful nature, cultural shifts have turned it into a new hipster hangout. Peruse Kuromon Ichiba market for some fresh sashimi and strawberry mochi.Accommodations in Minami
Punch the clock right next to Osaka’s busiest. This transportation hub buzzes with worker bees. But the 9 to 5ers know how to let loose after hours. Eat or imbibe at Dojima Center and satisfy 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.Accommodations in Kita
Hit your funny bone at Namba Grand Kagetsu, where famous comedians take center stage. Osaka’s showbiz 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.”Accommodations in Namba
Run up Japan’s smallest mountain in Osaka Bay, plunge into the Pacific Ocean at Kaiyukan Aquarium or dine on Osaka’s favorites at Naniwa Kuishinbo Yokocho (a food theme park). After sunset, the Tempozan Ferris Wheel woos you with its panoramic vistas while the stars and city lights wink at you during a night cruise.Accommodations in Osaka Bay
Shinsaibashi is synonymous with shopping. High-fashion brands like Prada dominate on Midosuji Street, and Shinsaibashi-suji Shopping Center has a plethora of boutiques between its box shops. Pinch a penny by purchasing a bento box in the basement of Daimaru Department Store and eat outdoors on the roof.Accommodations in Shinsaibashi
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).Accommodations in Dotonbori
Osaka’s gateway, Shin Osaka whisks travelers to Kyoto and beyond on the Shinkansen (bullet train). Entertainment and shopping options are sparse, but the sleepy town’s a favorite among locals who are looking to be near the hubbub of Kita, but far enough away for some privacy.Accommodations in Shin Osaka
Trendsetters, tip your hats to Umeda’s funky fashion. There’s enough in this urban maze to delight all stripes, no matter what color your collar. Photograph your way through the Floating Garden Observatory or get even higher by taking a turn on the HEP Five Ferris Wheel that’s perched atop a building. Hello, stunning Ikoma Mountain view.Accommodations in Umeda
Calling fashionistas since the ‘70s, America Mura nurtures all styles – from ethnic hippie to gothic Lolita. What’s up with the namesake? Its shops have a soft spot for secondhand American wares. The creative class rules the streets, galleries and noodle shops, while fashion-obsessed youth congregate at Triangle Park.Accommodations in America Mura
Recent visitors will find it hard to believe that the Konohana Ward was destroyed by World War II bombings. The once flattened industrial region has been reborn as a leisure hub for Osakans. Universal Studios and Maishima Sports Island take credit for the district’s face-lift. Most sojourners to this area visit Universal Studios Japan.Accommodations in Konohana Ward
Ai and her two youngsters enjoy discovering the diverse parks and playgrounds of Osaka.
With a picnic area, an extensive rose garden and a little stream where kids splash around during the hot summers, Utsubo Park is the perfect little urban oasis. For a low-key day, pack a lunch and unwind in the lush greenery. On rainy days, enjoy park views from the hip cafés nearby.Accommodations nearby
Tech-savvy Alex knows everything about hi-tech gadgets, especially if they’re music related.
The greatest invention since sliced bread was definitely the instant noodle. Learn all about the history and evolution of these delicious noodles at the Instant Ramen Museum. You can also make your very own version of a pot noodle here. A must-see for noodle lovers!Accommodations nearby
Ayumi is a great cook and an avid Hanshin Tigers fan who just can’t get enough of baseball.
One minute you’re driving through Osaka, and the next you’re diving head first into a river – but that’s what’s supposed to happen on Japan’s first amphibious sightseeing bus. It’s an exciting way to see all of Osaka’s hotspots in just 90 minutes. Dress warmly and be prepared to get wet!Accommodations nearby
Outdoorsy Barry enjoys planning day trips for his family. Their new favorite is picnicking at Lake Biwa.
Kids Plaza Osaka is a great place to bring your toddlers to tweenage kids – especially once they’re cranky from a day of sightseeing. They can enjoy arts and crafts and blow giant bubbles. They can even learn about the environment and different cultures through hands-on interaction.Accommodations nearby
Athletic Ken is a true Osaka native who's an expert on all things Osaka.
With bright colors and flashy lights, Super Tamade looks like your average pachinko parlour – except it’s a supermarket! Every Osakan knows about these gaudy 24-hour shops and their outrageously low prices. If you’re on a tight budget, their 1-yen sale won’t disappoint!Accommodations nearby
An Osaka resident of 10 years, Kiriko loves musicals, kabuki and showing visitors around town.
The Karahori Shopping Street may not be as famous as Tenjinbashisuji Shopping Street, but what it lacks in length it definitely makes up for in character. Strolling down the alley, you’ll see traditional Japanese houses-turned-cafés and quaint little shops selling handcrafted goods.Accommodations nearby
Kosuke loves eating candy and desserts with his two adorable girls.
After exploring Dotonbori on foot, bask in the neon of Osaka’s beloved entertainment district from the Dotonbori River. The 20-minute Tombori River Cruise allows you to see the glitzy nightlife from a totally different angle. Take the night cruise to witness the area at its best.Accommodations nearby
Born and bred in Osaka, Saki thrives on Johnny & Associates concerts.
Nakazaki-cho is a quaint area that appears to be stuck in the good old days. Here you’ll find an abundance of old houses that were converted into hip cafés, as well as vintage shops selling secondhand clothes and cute and quirky things. This is the "retro Osaka" that’s trending now.Accommodations nearby
A gifted musician, Shigeo enjoys drumming along to punk, jazz, and everything in between!
If you love home décor items, Tachibana Street (AKA Orange Street) is a must-visit! The popular hangout among young locals offers an infinite number of stylish cafés, boutiques, and shops selling charming furniture and odd little knickknacks. For funky home accessories, pop by Asoko.Accommodations nearby
Active Shuko spends her weekends outside. She’ll usually go running or biking for miles on end.
With numerous gardens, an outdoor pool, a playground and so much more, one whole day isn’t nearly enough to see/do everything that Osaka’s largest park has to offer. Take a day trip up north, away from the hustle and bustle of the city, and enjoy the vast nature of Hattori Ryokuchi Park.Accommodations nearby
An avid coffee drinker, Tomoe is all about finding the perfect cozy cafe.
Eat like a local at ‘Uranamba’ ('backstreet of Namba'). A side step from the main street will bring you to the gastronomy haven of Osaka, where there are small standing bars and restaurants serving home cooked meals aplenty. Everything here is delicious, inexpensive and truly Osakan.Accommodations nearby
Active Tsuyoshi spends his weekends surfing or checking out popular restaurants and cafés.
Commonly referred to as Osaka’s kitchen, there’s not a single ingredient that you can’t find at Kuromon Ichiba Market. From fresh fugu (blowfish) to seasonal veggies and fruits, this is an Osakan’s go-to place. Feeling peckish? Refuel by slurping up some udon noodles at Udon Futaba.Accommodations nearby
Osaka’s good food, good sake and good company are Yasuko’s secret recipe for happiness.
Mouthwatering fragrances of kimchi and grilled meat embrace you as you step out of Tsuruhashi Station. Various Korean shops and food stalls line the narrow paths to Koreatown, making you forget that you’re still in Japan. Get a taste of Korean barbecue or purchase K-pop items here.Accommodations nearby
Booking.com asked travelers...How can you enjoy the sights in Osaka while avoiding the crowds?
Good time to go is in Winter. Hot food tastes better, cool weather makes great for walking around (just dress warmly). Weekends and public holidays do see less people in downtown Osaka (Namba area). So if you want less crowd go during the weekend or long holiday period.See all 10 answers
Booking.com asked travelers...Is there more to shopping in Osaka than just brand-name stores?
Universal Studios is a must see place in Osaka. Food is good any where you go. There are a lot of helpful & good English speaking Japanese everywhere compared to Tokyo.See all 14 answers
Booking.com asked travelers...Is Osaka the place to have a meal to remember? Tell us why.
United States of America
Matsusakagyu Yakiniku M, Hozenji-Yokocho Branch Beef just melts in your mouth! Our waiter spoke English well, was very patient and polite. Quaint little restaurant!See all 6 answers
Booking.com asked travelers...Why should people going to Osaka head to the aquarium?
This is an amazing aquarium, it features a whale shark but more than that the fish and animals can be seen at close quarters. Seals and dolphins are just a delightSee all 14 answers
Booking.com asked travelers...Describe what other people like you would like about shopping in Osaka.
From non branded to luxury stuff are avalaible, just count on how much money in your pocket.See all 24 answers
Booking.com asked travelers...What makes the people from Osaka so friendly? Tell us your story.
Everybody have smile on their face. Looks more fashion, more relax than Tokyo.See all 6 answers
Booking.com asked travelers...Which foodie haven did you discover on your recent trip to Osaka?
Mizono - amazing okonomiyaki restaurant about 5 mins walk from hotelSee all 9 answers
Booking.com asked travelers...What's the secret to sampling all the diverse food Osaka has to offer?
Ask if they have English menu..if none just explore!See all 5 answers
From Osaka’s main airport, the convenient Limousine Bus to Osaka and Umeda stations departs every 30 to 40 minutes. It takes approx. 80 minutes and costs around JPY 1,500. Alternatively, you could take a 65-minute train ride on the JR Kansai Airport Rapid Service to Osaka Station for around JPY 1,200, or a 40-minute train ride on the Nankai Line Rapi:t Limited Express to Namba Station for around JPY 1,400. Both trains depart every 20 to 30 minutes.
Formerly Osaka’s main airport, Itami Airport is now the city’s domestic airport. The best way to get into the city is on the Limousine Bus. The bus to Namba Station departs every 15 to 20 minutes and takes approx. 25 minutes, and the bus to Osaka and Umeda stations departs every 15 minutes and takes approx. 35 minutes. Both buses cost around JPY 700.
Shin Osaka Station is the hub for the Shinkansen (bullet trains) to other cities, and JR Osaka and Hankyu Umeda stations are the hub for all other trains. Most train lines operate daily between 5 am – 12:30 am, but each has its own schedule. At the airport, buy a reloadable ICOCA card for ticketless travel on trains, metros and buses. If you’re traveling to other cities, purchase a 1-, 2-, or 3-week Japan Rail pass (online only, buy before you arrive).
Osaka’s bus system is not as convenient or easy to use as the subway or train systems. Bus stops and route maps are often only written in Japanese, and can be confusing to understand. Just pay with your ICOCA card (or day pass). If you plan on paying by cash, have some change or a one-thousand yen bill handy.
Taxis are an expensive and unnecessary mode of transportation in a city like Osaka, where you have such an elaborate public transportation system. If you need to take a taxi (particularly after midnight when public transportation is unavailable), stop at a taxi stand or flag one down on the street. You can spot a free cab by checking the symbols on the dashboard: 空車 signifies a free taxi, while 満車 shows it’s occupied.
Osaka is an easy city to drive in, as most of the major road signs are in English and most drivers obey the rules of the road. However, unless you plan on exploring the countryside, there’s no need to have your own vehicle during your stay in Osaka. To drive or rent a car in Japan, you must have a Japanese driver's license or an international driver's license. Car rental kiosks can be found at Kansai International Airport and also at JR Osaka Train Station.
Osaka has a highly efficient and reliable metro system. Ticket machines and station signs are written in English and Japanese. Download a metro map from their website for easy navigation through the city. Purchase a 1-day Enjoy Eco Card for unlimited journeys on Osaka’s metro, New Tram and city buses. Additional perks include a slight discount on popular tourist attractions, like the Osaka Aquarium. The pass costs JPY 800 (JPY 600 on weekends or holidays).
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