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TokyoTreat’s Top Ten Things to Do in Osaka

Karina IkedoKarina Ikedo
Published Time
Posted on 
July 21, 2022

Osaka is Japan’s second-largest city and a popular destination in Japan! The unique culture and warm hospitality add a distinct character to the city like no other!

There are countless things to do in Osaka! You can enjoy delicious local food under neon lights while visiting trendy shopping streets and amusement parks! In Osaka, there is truly no shortage of things to do while you are there!    

Osaka Castle

Osaka Castle, one of the best things to do in Osaka, sits atop a hill lined with stone and greenery with a boat floating in the waters around the wall.
Osaka Castle is a beauty to look at from the outside and has plenty to enjoy on the inside too. Plus, it’s right in the center of the city. Image via Shutterstock

One of the most impressive buildings in Osaka, modeled after the Azuchi Castle. It was constructed in 1583 and is one of the oldest castles of its kind. Unfortunately, the Tokugawa Shogunate destroyed it shortly afterward. So really, the Osaka castle that you can see now was reconstructed in 1931.

This castle is one of the most beautiful things to see in Osaka because of its elegant design. On top of that, the inside contains different activities and artifacts to see. Historic materials dating from the Castle’s first construction are on display. 

One of the most fun activities in Osaka Castle is getting the chance to wear Japan’s iconic clothes and accessories! These garments include kimonos, helmets, and even surcoats. You even take a photo while wearing these different items. Also, head to the observatory on the top floor for fantastic city views.

Umeda Sky Building

Umeda Sky Building provides an excellent view for anyone exploring the city. Image via Shutterstock

Located a few minutes from Osaka station, this architectural masterpiece is one of the top things to do in Osaka. It’s one of the most recognizable landmarks, with two 40-story towers connected by bridges. Moreover, it has an escalator at the uppermost levels. 

Don’t miss the fabulous rooftop observation deck, the Floating Garden Observatory, on the 39th floor. Here, you can get amazing 360-degree views of Osaka while enjoying a walk in the sky. We also recommend checking out the basement floor, which recreates streets of Osaka in the past. 

Dotonbori 

Many people walk down the popular Osaka street, Dotonbori, where many neon signs advertise different products and shops.
You may recognize the running man on the right from another blog. That’s the running man from the famous Japanese chocolate brand, Glico.

One of Osaka’s number one tourist spots with a history is the local theater district. It features a beautiful canal to enjoy a 20-minute Tombori river cruise tour! During the tour, you can learn all about the hidden highlights and the backstory of famous spots in Dotonbori. 

There are also many shops and arcades offering everything you could possibly want. The nightlife is super lively, and definitely don’t forget to check out the famous Glico running man sign.

Although Dotonbori is highly known for its entertainment and activities, the street food is superb. Takoyaki (grilled octopus balls), authentic Ramen, and Yakitori (chicken skewers) are some of the best street food meals offered, known to be filling, delicious, and inexpensive. Dotonbori has something for every intrigued visitor to enjoy, open all day and night.

Want to explore Japan’s exclusive snacks and drinks from Tokyo, Osaka, and more? Checkout TokyoTreat! TokyoTreat delivers exclusive Japanese snacks, sweets, drinks, candy, and noodles, so you can get a taste of Osaka at home!

Universal Studios Japan

One of only four locations in the world, Universal Studios Japan Amusement Park is consistently among the top Osaka tourist attractions for cinema buffs! Inspired by blockbuster Hollywood movies, it has more than 8 million visitors annually. 

Immerse yourself in the mayhem of the Minions at the world’s largest Minions area, or fly around Hogwarts Castle at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Discover many other fun attractions at Jurassic Park, the Amity Village, Sesame Street, and the Super Nintendo World.

It can get a bit crowded, especially on weekends, so we recommend an express pass if you want to make the most of your time.

A photo of the Super Nintendo World area of Universal Studios Japan, one of the best things to do in Osaka, with many iconic characters and images from the game, like Peach's Castle, Mushrooms, and the plants from Mario.
You can even enjoy checking out the Super Nintendo World area, which opened in 2021 in the park. Image via Shutterstock

Instant Ramen Museum

It’s well-known that ramen noodles are a must-try when visiting Japan. So why not visit an Osaka Museum dedicated to them? Located in Ikeda, the museum focuses on educating people about instant ramen, cup noodles, and its creator, Momofuku Ando, the inventor of the world’s first instant noodle. 

Some exhibits in the museum include the Chicken Ramen Factory, where you can watch and make chicken ramen by hand; the My CUP NOODLES factory, where you can customize your own unique cup noodles package; and “The Birth of Chicken ramen,” where you can learn about how the first instant ramen product came about. The instant noodles tunnel displays a large and extensive lineup of different brands, flavors, and other variations of instant ramen.

There is even a tasting room, where famous brands and your favorite flavors of instant ramen are tried and tested, as well as a museum gift shop. There are even some limited items, making them valuable and rare, especially since they’re only sold and marketed at this specific shop. Also, don’t miss the opportunity to make your very own instant cup noodles at this unique Japanese Cup Noodle Museum

The tunnel of noodles in the Japanese Cup Noodle Museum of Osaka, a must-try thing to do in Osaka, shows many containers of cup noodle of varying brands, flavors, and packaging.
While you can’t eat the noodles on display in the tunnel, you can find many of them out and about in Japan or in the TokyoTreat box! Image via Shutterstock

Osaka Aquarium

The Osaka aquarium is one of the largest aquariums in the world, housing an impressive variety of marine life from all over the Pacific Rim. Each of the 15 giant water tanks represents a different geographical region, creating a magical place to explore. 

The large central tank, which is 9 meters (29.5 feet) tall, represents the Pacific Ocean and allows visitors to see sea creatures at various depths. This tank is also where the building’s main attraction lives, a fully-grown whale shark. 

The aquarium also has many smaller exhibits to explore and is a worthwhile place for children and adults. You can also see penguins up close and pet some of the sea creatures near the exit. It’s a fun, educational activity and a definite must-see destination in Osaka.

Not to mention, the Tempozan Ferris Wheel is right next door. So after visiting the aquarium, you can head to the 112-meter (367 feet) Ferris wheel for spectacular city views.

A whale shark swims among other fish inside of the main tank at the Osaka Aquaruim.
While other aquariums in Japan tend to be smaller, this one gives the fish plenty of space several stories high to swim. Image via Shutterstock

The District of Shinsekai

Another of Osaka’s must-visit places is the old downtown district, Shinsekai (new world). Osaka may be the urban capital of western Japan, but some nostalgic parts still remain, making it one of the best places to see the real side of the city. In Shinsekai, you can enjoy shopping and food among flashy signboards and a lively atmosphere. 

Located in the heart of Shinsekai is an iconic observation tower that’s considered the symbolic tower of Osaka. Initially, the tower was built in 1912, modeled after the Eiffel Tower in Paris, but it was largely destroyed during the war and rebuilt in 1956. The Tsutenkaku is 103 meters tall and offers a complete view of Osaka’s cityscape. 

Check out the tower at night when it lights up. The LED lights change monthly, reflecting the season’s colors (after sunset till 23:00).

Things to do in Osaka in the Summer

While the above activities are perfect any time of the year, these are fun and refreshing activities if you plan a trip to Osaka during the summer.

Visit Nishiki Beach

If you’re looking for a Japanese beach experience, then add a visit to Nishiki Beach to your list of things to do in Osaka. Nishiki Beach also goes by the name of Nishikinohama Beach Park and for a good reason. There is a park section in addition to the beach, where you can enjoy barbecuing or picnics with friends and families. 

You can even enjoy jet water sports like boating and riding water scooters. It’s best to visit Osaka in the summer if you plan to enjoy some sun and fun at Nishiki Beach since it’s only open from July 1 to the end of August.

Tenjin Matsuri Festival 

Women pose as they carry a mikoshi, or god house, on their shoulders at the Tenjin Festival in Osaka.
This festival is one of Japan’s big three for a reason and is one of the best things to do in Osaka if you come at the right time of year. Image via Shutterstock

If your trip takes place around the end of July, the Tenjin Matsuri Festival is nothing less than magnificent. This Osaka festival is ranked among Japan’s top three festivals, along with Kyoto’s Gion Matsuri and Tokyo’s Kanda Matsuri. The festival started in the 10th century and takes place on July 24th and 25th annually.

Shrines are built and carried through the streets in a parade of color and pageantry. The highlight is the hanabi (Japanese fireworks) that starts around 7:30pm on July 25th, with a vast crowd. In Japan, a summer festival is incomplete without Hanabi, and this must-see event displays 3000 shots of fantastic fireworks! Don’t miss this unique festival for a first-hand experience of how the Japanese celebrate summer.

What are you most excited to explore in Osaka? Did we miss any of your favorite spots in the city? Let us know in the comments below!

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