Home » Exploring Osaka: 6 unforgettable activities and attractions await

Exploring Osaka: 6 unforgettable activities and attractions await

Osaka, the second-largest city in Japan, is a vibrant and bustling metropolis known for its rich history, delicious cuisine, and friendly locals. Located on the island of Honshu, Osaka is a major economic and cultural hub, offering a perfect blend of modernity and tradition. The city is home to iconic landmarks such as Osaka Castle, a grand fortress that is a testament to its feudal past, and the vibrant Dotonbori district, famous for its neon lights, entertainment options, and mouthwatering street food. Osaka’s food scene is renowned, with the city being hailed as the “Kitchen of Japan” due to its diverse and delicious culinary offerings. With its lively atmosphere, historical attractions, and delicious food, Osaka continues to captivate visitors from around the world.

Things you should know before going to Osaka

Visa for Japan

Check that you do not require a visa for Japan. The visa website is a quick and easy way to check whether your passport requires a permit.

Travel Insurance for Japan

SafetyWing is the World’s first International Travel Medical Insurance developed to meet the needs of entrepreneurs and remote workers travelling or living abroad. However, if you do not fall under this category, do not worry; SafetyWing also suits all vacation types.

The best time to travel to Osaka 

The best time to travel to Osaka, Japan, is during the spring season, particularly from March to May. During this time, the weather is mild, with temperatures ranging from 15°C to 20°C (59°F to 68°F). This time of year is when the city is enveloped in stunning cherry blossoms, creating a picturesque and vibrant atmosphere. This is also the ideal time to experience traditional Japanese festivals such as Hanami, where locals gather under the blooming cherry trees for picnics and celebrations. 

Osaka View

How to get to Osaka 

You can fly to Osaka directly from Singapore in approximately 6.5 hours with many airlines, including  Singapore Airlines, Scoot, Jetstar Asia Airways, Japan Airlines and ANA.

Transport: You can order a private transfer here. The drive time from Kansai International Airport to downtown Osaka is just under 1 hour.

Train or bus: From Kansai International Airport (KIX) to downtown Osaka, the travel time by train and bus typically takes around 60-70 minutes. Here is the general breakdown:

1. Take the Nankai Airport Express train from KIX to Namba Station in downtown Osaka. This journey takes approximately 40-45 minutes.

2. From Namba Station, transfer to the Osaka Municipal Subway (Midosuji Line) and take the train to your desired downtown destination. The subway ride within downtown Osaka usually takes 10-15 minutes, depending on your destination.

Travel times may vary slightly based on train schedules and traffic conditions.

Hiring a car is also an option if you plan to spend a few days here and want to do it at your own pace.

Osaka

Six fun and unusual things to do in Osaka, Japan

1 Osaka Castle Park and Osaka Castle

Explore Osaka Castle: Wander through the historic grounds of this majestic castle, learn about its rich history in the museum, and soak in the stunning views from the top floors. Osaka Castle, also known as Osaka-jo, is one of Japan’s most famous landmarks and holds significant historical importance. Built in the late 16th century, this majestic castle played a vital role in the unification of Japan during the Azuchi-Momoyama period. 

Its impressive structure showcases traditional Japanese architecture with its towering walls, intricate wooden interiors, and elegant rooftops. You can explore various levels of the castle, including the lookout deck, to enjoy panoramic views of the city skyline. Adjacent to the castle is Osaka Castle Park, a sprawling green space that offers a tranquil escape from the bustling city. Spanning over 100 hectares, the park is ideal for leisurely walks, picnics, and enjoying cherry blossoms during the spring season. 

It features meticulously manicured gardens, beautiful moats, and peaceful ponds, creating a serene ambience for visitors to unwind. Exploring the park also presents an opportunity to learn more about Japan’s history, with several historical monuments and artifacts displayed throughout the area.

Osaka Castle

Osaka Free Walking Tour

The Osaka Free Walking Tour is an excellent opportunity to explore the vibrant city of Osaka without breaking the bank. Led by knowledgeable and friendly local guides, this tour takes you through Osaka’s rich history, cultural heritage, and hidden gems. 

The tour covers everything from bustling markets to serene temples, historic landmarks, and modern entertainment districts. Along the way, you will also get a chance to try local street food, interact with the locals, and learn about the traditions and customs of the city. The best part is the tour is entirely free, making it a perfect option for budget travellers. 

Joining the Osaka Free Walking Tour guarantees an enriching and memorable experience that will give you a deeper appreciation of Osaka’s unique charm. 

3 Explore Dotonbori

Indulge in the vibrant atmosphere of the city’s entertainment district. Dine on delicious street food. Witness the iconic Glico running man sign.

Dotonbori is a must-visit area in Osaka, Japan, for several reasons. Firstly, it is renowned for its vibrant and electrifying atmosphere, bustling with countless restaurants, shops, and entertainment venues. The streets are lined with colourful neon signs, creating a stunning visual feast. Secondly, Dotonbori is famous for its delicious and diverse culinary scene. From sizzling okonomiyaki and takoyaki to mouthwatering ramen and sushi, there is something to please every palate. 

Dotonbori is centrally located, making it easily accessible and convenient to explore. Whether you want to indulge in authentic Japanese cuisine, shop for souvenirs, or experience the vibrant nightlife, Dotonbori promises an unforgettable and immersive cultural experience.

The running man Osaka

4 Street Food in Osaka

Street food in Osaka, known as the “Food Capital of Japan,” offers a vibrant street food scene that is a must-try for any food lover. Here are some of Osaka’s must-try street food dishes: 

1. Takoyaki: This iconic Osaka street food consists of dough balls filled with octopus, tempura scraps, green onions, and pickled ginger. These mouthwatering snacks are topped with takoyaki sauce, mayonnaise, and bonito flakes. 

2. Okonomiyaki: Like a savoury pancake or omelette, okonomiyaki is a popular street food dish in Osaka. It is made by mixing cabbage, batter, and various ingredients like pork, seafood, or cheese and then grilled on a hot plate. Topped with okonomiyaki sauce, mayo, and bonito flakes, this dish is a delight for your taste buds. 

3. Kushikatsu: Osaka is famous for kushikatsu, which refers to deep-fried skewered meat, seafood, and vegetables. The skewers are coated in a light batter, fried until crispy, and typically served with a tangy dipping sauce. There are various options, from classics like beef and shrimp to unique options like cheese or quail eggs. 

4. Yakisoba: This stir-fried noodle dish is a popular street food in Osaka. Yakisoba consists of fried wheat noodles mixed with cabbage, onions, and various meats or seafood. Seasoned with savoury sauce, it is a quick, satisfying street food choice. 

5. Taiyaki: A popular street snack, taiyaki is a fish-shaped pancake filled with sweet fillings like red bean paste, custard, chocolate, or sweet potato. It is a delightful dessert found in many street food stalls in Osaka.

Osaka street food

5. Take a cruise on the Tombori River

Enjoy the scenic views of Osaka from a different perspective and witness the cityscape illuminated at night on a relaxing boat ride. As the river meanders through the heart of the city, it provides a unique perspective that cannot be replicated on land. The stunning cityscape lined with shimmering lights and futuristic buildings creates a mesmerizing backdrop, complemented by the lively atmosphere of the bustling streets. 

On board the cruise, you can witness the vibrant energy of Dotonbori and its iconic landmarks, such as the Glico Running Man and the mesmerizing neon signs. This leisurely river journey offers an opportunity to indulge in the local cuisine, with countless riverside restaurants offering a tempting array of delicious Japanese cuisine. 

Whether exploring Osaka’s vibrant nightlife, admiring modern architecture, or simply taking in the city’s beauty from a different viewpoint, a cruise on the Tombori River promises an unforgettable experience for all readers.

Tombori River

6 Harukas 300 Observatory 

Harukas 300 Observatory is a must-visit attraction located in Osaka, Japan. It is situated on the top three floors (58th to 60th) of the Abeno Harukas skyscraper, which is the tallest building in Osaka. This observation deck offers breathtaking panoramic views of Osaka and its surrounding regions. You can soak in the stunning vistas of the vibrant cityscape, majestic Osaka Castle, and even the distant mountains from the high vantage point. 

On clear days, you can even catch a glimpse of Awaji Island. The observatory also features a Sky Garden on the top floor, a lush green space with beautiful trees and plants. It provides a serene and peaceful atmosphere, perfect for relaxation and unwinding while enjoying the incredible views. 

What sets Harukas 300 Observatory apart is its unique “360-degree panoramic projection mapping” technology. This cutting-edge feature brings the views to life through projections on the circular walls of the observatory, enhancing the immersive experience for you. There is also a great restaurant at the observatory’s Sky Dining 300. Indulge in a gastronomic experience while exchanging mesmerizing views with your loved ones.

Harukas 300 Observatory
Photo by Sho K on Unsplash

Hotel Recommendation

Osaka Marriott Miyako Hotel: Luxury accommodation with a fantastic view

The Osaka Marriott Miyako Hotel is a luxury hotel located in the vibrant city of Osaka, Japan. Situated in the iconic Abeno Harukas building, this hotel offers stunning panoramic views of the city and surrounding areas, providing a unique and memorable experience. The hotel boasts elegant, spacious rooms with modern amenities and stylish decor. Various dining options allow guests to indulge in multiple culinary delights, from Japanese cuisine to international dishes. The hotel also features a fitness centre, spa, and a rooftop bar, allowing guests to relax and unwind after exploring the city. Its convenient location provides easy access to popular attractions, shopping districts, and transportation hubs, making it an ideal choice for all types of travellers.

Luxcare Hotel: Affordable accommodation in a great location

Luxcare Hotel Osaka is a modern hotel within walking distance of Osaka Castle. Offering a unique blend of Japanese hospitality and international flair, the hotel provides its guests with a world-class experience. The spacious and elegantly designed rooms are equipped with amenities, ensuring a comfortable stay for guests. The hotel also features a Japanese restaurant and café for casual dining. With its convenient location and top-notch facilities, Luxcare Hotel Osaka is the perfect choice for all types of travellers looking for a memorable stay in the vibrant city of Osaka.

Luxcare Hotel Osaka

Thanks for taking the time to read this article. I hope this post has given you the information you need. If you have any recommendations, tips or advice, I would love for you to share them in the comment section below!

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Osaka

 

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