Located on the main island of Honshu, roughly in the center of Japan, Osaka City is spread across an area of 221 square kilometers. The city was incorporated in the year 1889 and presently has a population of 2.6 million. During World War II, air raids and bombings had leveled almost one-third of Osaka! But, dynamic city planning and hopeful and dedicated citizens restored the city to economic prosperity. Today, Osaka is the economic heart of western Japan. Yet for the people who wish to pull this off, we have summed up our Osaka itinerary 2 days that will let you experience the true colors of the city, beautifully! Gear up!
Most Visited Tourist Attractions Of Osaka:
Osaka Castle Park:
The castle looms over this 2 kilometers square park. Aside from the 600 cherry trees in Nishinomaru Garden that make it one of Japan's Top 100 hanami parks, there are hundreds of trees that make the park beautiful in every season, especially in autumn. Some things you should check off your list:
- Make sure to stroll by the Ume Grove, and in Omoide-no-mori (Grove of Remembrance).
- See the monument where Toyotomi Hideyori and his mother Yodo-dono committed seppuku
- Visit the Hōkoku Shrine built in honor of Toyotomi Hideyoshi.
- Check out the many gardens, including Nishi-no-Maru Garden, Japanese Garden, Plum Garden, Peach garden
- Walk through the Citizen's Forest, Memorial Forest, Waseda Forest and Forest of Recollections.
The area around Namba station is among the busiest and most entertaining in Osaka. It is one of the city's main shopping and dining hubs. Don't miss the following highlights in the area:
- Kuromon Ichiba Market: 200 food stalls spread out along 600 meters. Similar to Shinsaibashi-suji Shopping Arcade, which is also in the area.
- Dotonbori: the big and bright signboards of restaurants, theatres, and shops will dazzle your eyes in their area.
- Namba Hips: a mall with everything, including an archery range
- Amerikamura: American style shops and restaurants
- Namba Yasaka Shrine: a major place of worship, dedicated to Susano-o-no-Mikoto
- Den Den Town: Electric and electronic bazaar
- Namba Parks: a mall with an incredible rooftop garden
- Hozen-ji Yokocho: Edo period Buddhist temple
- National Bunraku Theater: Kabuki puppet theatre, one of the very best
- Shochikuza Theater: Some of the best kabuki performances in Japan
- Hozenji Yokocho Alley: old town style traditional foodie alley
- Kamigata Ukiyoe Museum: woodblock prints of famous Kabuki actors.
This market has been around for 170 years, preserving Osaka's traditions in a way few other places can. While they do sell apparel, electronics, and other paraphernalia, the vendors at this market are most famous for their food. With 200 vendors (mostly mom-and-pop style) over 600 meters, this is the best place to be introduced to Osaka cuisine.
- Check out the fresh produce, from the exorbitantly expensive to the budget-friendly, all fresh and bright
- Have some takoyaki, Grilled scallops served soy sauce and butter, sushi and sashimi, snacks from the oden stall
- Buys some meat off the meat stalls
- Assorted seafood like crab, prawns, unagi, tuna, kaizen-don and baby octopus.
There are over 4000 items on exhibit in this museum on Japanese coin and currency. The collection is housed inside a building that used to be an old thermal power plant. See a miniature of the mint complex of it's 1873 layout. View the 1876 Great Clock. See The Balance used to test the purity of gold, and Japan's oldest Double-Entry Accounting Book. There's also an antique Hepburn dictionary. Lift the Senryoubako, a chest originally used to store 1000 gold coins. Finally, see the illuminated displays of old coins. Some of the highlights include Olympic medals, the Tensho Hishi Oban (a coin minted by Toyotomi Hideyoshi), Japan’s oldest western-style gas lamp, and gold and silver ingots,
That's not the museum's only appeal. In front of the museum is a cherry tree line avenue. The trees bloom spectacularly in spring, drawing many people to the sight.
At 300 meters this is Osaka's tallest skyscraper, and also Japan's tallest building. It has multiple attractions.
- Floors 58-60 are the Haruka 300 observation deck, and from there you have 360-degree panoramas of Osaka.
- The 58th-floor deck has a cafe and an inner court.
- The Abeno Harukas Kintetsu Department Store, which, with 100,000 square meters of retail space, is the largest in Japan. The store has a rooftop plaza.
- Abeno Harukas Art Museum has cycled through temporary exhibitions of Western and Buddhist art through the year. It has a nice garden terrace.
Nanba Grand Kagetsu:
This theatre was built in 1987 and has since become famous for Yoshimoto style Japanse comedy. Most of the laughs focus on monologues and dialogues. But the antics of the Japanese performers, even when foreign tourists can't make sense of all of it, are a riot! The acrobatic stunts are certainly impressive. Before the main events, rakugo and manzai acts will warm you up. Keep yourself updated on the programme schedule on the theatre website. It also hosts concerts and regular theatre. There are usually two performances daily, more in the weekends.
Grand Front Osaka:
This is a straightforward commercial complex. Lots of restaurants for eating, including many international and regional outlets. Lots of stores for shopping spread out over six floors. Altogether there are 266 outlets. It also has the Intercontinental Hotel Osaka, a convention center, and showrooms. Check out the Panasonic Center, which is the company's flagship showroom. There are gardens on both the street and rooftop levels. The complex is connected to the Osaka station by elevated walkways.
Osaka Museum of History:
Located across from the moat of the Osaka Castle Park, the modern style museum building has some great views of the castle. The exhibits inside explore Osaka's evolution - cultural, social, technological - from ancient to modern times. Each floor is themed after a specific period in the city's 1400-year-old history. Highlights include a miniature recreation of the Naniwanomiya Palace and shopping arcades during the Showa Period. The journey from bottom to top is utterly fascinating. The lower floors have a restaurant and shop.
How To Get In Osaka:
By Air: There are 2 major airports near Osaka. They are the Osaka International Airport and the Kansai International Airport.
By Train: Shinkansen bullet trains link major cities of Japan to Osaka.
By Ferry: Ferries from all around Japan arrive at the Osaka Port International Ferry Terminal, the Osaka Nanko Ferry Terminal, and Osaka Nanko Kamome Ferry Terminal.
By Road: Take the Meishin Expressway or the Chugoku Expressway or the Nishi-Meihan Expressway to connect with the Hanshin Expressway which runs through the city. Regular buses run on this route. These buses connect Osaka to cities such as Sendai, Tokyo, Nagoya, Hiroshima, and Takamatsu.
How To Get Around in Osaka:
By Subway: Osaka has Japan's second-most extensive subway network after Tokyo.
By Train: The JR Osaka Loop Line runs in a loop around Osaka connecting outskirts of the city.
By Bicycle: With dedicated bike lanes, Osaka is definitely a bicycle-friendly city. Explore the city at your own pace.
By Taxi: Osaka tourist taxi drivers are very helpful and take you to explore all the tourist attractions that the city has to offer.
By Ferry: The city of Osaka has municipal ferries that connect the harbor side areas of the city. You can also travel by the Osaka Waterbus or Captain Line.
Explore the city and get the best glimpse of the city for the perfect memorable trip.