Things To Do On A First Time Visit To Osaka, Japan
Are you visiting Osaka and looking for things to do? There’s so much to do and see! Osaka is well known as the food capital of Japan.
❯ you can eat yourself poor in Osaka ❮
Osaka people are outgoing and passionate. They're willing to strike up a conversation with a stranger, so you may instantly become friends with people in Osaka. Many ingredients for a perfect first city trip to Japan.
There are many lists and tips in different categories to help you around in Osaka, but we have made one based on our own experiences for a quality first visit. Here are the top things to do to truly experience Osaka for first timers.
Dōtonbori is one of the principal tourist destinations in Osaka. Historically a theater district, it is now a popular nightlife and entertainment area characterized by its eccentric atmosphere, street food and large illuminated signboards.
You can taste all the street food Japan and Osaka has to offer. Go on a canal cruise and take a selfie in front of Glico Man billboard (runner crossing a finishing line, is seen as an icon of Osaka within Japan).
If you want to buy Japanese souvenirs, Dōtonbori is also the perfect spot;
Toys, Glico candy and all types of Matcha products.
Osaka Castle is a Japanese castle in Chūō-ku, Osaka. The castle is one of Japan's most famous landmarks and a popular sightseeing spot. Osaka Castle is lit up every night from sunset until 23:00, this scene offers a fantastic view.
Aside from Osaka Castle the area where Osaka Castle is located has many must-sees. Such as;
- Osaka Castle Park
This park is the second largest park in the city, opened in 1931 and covers an area of 106.7 hectare. You can see about 600 cherry trees, 95 kinds of Japanese apricot flowers and 1250 trees in total bloom.
- Osaka Castle Museum
Inside the castle is a museum with eight floors of displays related to the castle’s history.
Osaka is well know as the food capital of Japan. From local street food to World’s 50 Best and Michelin starred restaurants, there are so many restaurants to choose from. Where to start? Primedinners has made a selection of the best gastronomy spots in Osaka, so every dining experience will be a quality moment.
See the full list here.
Some 'rules & tips' for your restaurant reservations in Japan:
For all fine dining restaurants reservations you need to book ahead, especially the counter restaurants are small and fill up quickly. If you're staying at a hotel, consult the concierge service to assist you with your reservation. Make sure you have your credit card handy, most reservations require a credit card guarantee. For last-minute cancellations you may be charged the full price of the menu, so check the restaurant reservation policy. The Japanese value punctuality, if you're going to be more than 15 minutes late, it's advisable to call ahead and let the restaurant know. Otherwise you could lose your reservation.
Some of our fine dining tips:
- La Cime
2 Michelin stars
French / Creative
2 Michelin stars
Sushi / counter restaurant
- Ad Hoc
1 Michelin star
French / Creative
1 Michelin star
Kushiage kushikatsu (fried skewer) / counter restaurant
3 Michelin stars
Traditional Japanese / Ryotei restaurant
Street food and local food
There are so many restaurants, eateries and street food stalls in Osaka.
You can find the best local spots in small side streets, but also in (big) conference buildings and malls.
You should definitely try:
- Takoyaki (Octopus dumpling)
- Kushikatsu (Deep fried skewers)
- Okonomiyaki (Japanese style pancake)
- Butaman (Steamed pork bun)
- Gyoza (Pan-fried japanese dumpling)
- Udon, Ramen, Soba , Somen (noodle/dish/soup)
- Wagyu beef (Special Japanese marbled beef)
see our full blog about Japanese wagyu beef
Universal Studios Japan
The Universal Studios Japan is a must-do when you visit Osaka. It is the first theme park under the Universal Studios brand to be built in Asia and is one of the most visited amusement park in Japan. The park attracts on average 13 million people each year. The opening hours vary a lot between seasons, check the official website for more info. Tickets can be purchased at ticket booths near the park entrance or via official partners.
Osaka Aquarium ‘Kaiyukan’
Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan (海遊館, Kaiyūkan) is located in the Tempozan Harbor Village of Osaka. Kaiyukan is one of the largest aquariums in the world.
The Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan’s opening hours vary by seasons, check the official website for more info. At Kaiyukan there are over 15 large tanks, each recreating a specific region of the Pacific Rim, taking visitors on a virtual tour of the Pacific Ocean. The tanks include, “Japan Forest,” “Antarctica” and the centerpiece of the aquarium, “Pacific Ocean”, serving as the home of whale sharks, the largest fish species in the world.
It’s simply impossible to compare Osaka to other cities in Japan. Which is why I’m sure you’ll want to return after your first visit.
author and source: Chanine Steffers, Primedinners