Whenever you think about Japan, you may think of the flashing bright lights of Tokyo and temples that can be found in generally every corner of the country. Not to mention the incredible food scene to sample popular foods such as sushi, ramen or yakitori. Japan is the place to have unique experiences such as crazy nights out or bathing in an onsen (Japanese hot spring).
Japan has tons to offer and Osaka is usually within the top places to visit when traveling in Japan. Osaka is the third-largest city in the country. The people in Osaka are known to be friendly and outgoing. The area itself is praised for having some of the best food too. Here are the ten best things to do in Osaka.
10 Explore Dotonbori
For some real flashy bright lights, shopping, good eats, and drinks then head over to Dotonbori. This area is packed with energy and tons of people. The notorious flashing billboards lure in tons of visitors each day to gaze up at the many neon-colored signs and to explore the area. Especially the famous Glico billboard. Along the Dotomborigawa River are rows and rows of restaurants. The streets are exciting and full of fun as you stroll along looking for the best place to eat. You won't be disappointed as you could shop for anything you may want conveniently all located in the Dotonbori area.
9 Visit The Aquarium
Aquarium visits are one of those attractions that never get old no matter what age you are. Whether you are an adult or a child, you will probably have your hands pressed against the glass tanks staring in awe at the gorgeous swimming sea creatures.
Kaiyukan Aquarium in Osaka is one of the largest in the world. The layout of the aquarium itself offers a unique experience through its spiral map, allowing visitors to "travel around the Pacific Ocean". There are over 30, 000 sea creatures and about 620 species to admire.
8 Eat Authentic Street Food At Kuromon Market
Dine like a local at the Kuromon Market. Here, visitors will find a long hall with 170 stalls. City markets are some of the best places to eat. They're crowded. They're loud. And they're cheap. Do some shopping for souvenirs or even some fresh groceries. There, you'll find a mix of locals and tourists dining together in a market that offers some of the best fresh seafood in the city. Most of the snacks are affordable until you get to the seafood where prices can get quite expensive. But, if seafood is something you love then it will be worth the splurge.
7 Visit The Shitenno-ji Temple
Japan has hundreds of gorgeous temples all over the country. One of the oldest temples happens to be right in Osaka. For a spiritual experience, look no further than the Shitenno-ji Temple. Built in 593, the temple has since been burned down and rebuilt numerous times but still manages to keep its traditional architectural style.
The temple grounds cover a large space and are absolutely gorgeous. It's peaceful and even has a turtle pond. To get there, it is just a short walk from the Shitennoji-mae Yuhigaoka Station.
6 Go To The Highest Observation Tower In Japan
Get a bird's eye view of all of Osaka from the tallest observation tower in Japan. The view from the top is breathtaking. Purchase a ticket at the right time to catch a sight of the sun setting over the city from the best location possible and watch as the city turns into gorgeous golden orange. At the top, you'll be greeted with a 360-degree view. The tower is 300 meters above the ground. Learn about the city as there are signs at the top pointing to directions of famous landmarks in Osaka. The views stretch out all the way to Osaka Bay and Yodo River.
5 Visit the Sumiyoshi Taisha Shrine
This shrine is also one of the oldest in Japan. Visiting the grounds makes for a perfect place for photography enthusiasts and for anyone who can appreciate the shrine's beauty. The unique and stunningly red-arched Sorihashi Bridge is one of the charming sights that can be spotted. Strolling through the area is truly mesmerizing. There are plenty of ancient trees all around the gorgeous shrines. With the tranquil atmosphere, it can easily become a favorite attraction while in Osaka.
4 Make Your Own Noodles At The Instant Noodle Factory
Everyone has tried instant noodles at some point in their lives. Heck, for some people instant noodles are just one of those things that are always on the grocery list. It's cheap, easy and delicious. If you are a lover of instant noodles and you find yourself in Osaka, a visit to the instant noodle factory located in the CupNoodles Museum is absolutely necessary.
Learn about the early days of first instant noodles invention and make your very own instant noodles at one of CupNoodles exhibitions. Take a walk through the tunnel of cup noodles and it'll have you thinking, "This is so Japan".
3 Visit Osaka Castle
Taking a tour of the famous landmark Osaka Castle is one priority every visitor to Osaka has on their list. Travelers can easily spend half a day at the castle grounds marveling at its beauty. The castle is open for visitors to learn this 422-year-old castle and appreciate its fascinating history.
The castle stands out as it towers over the stunning park grounds below. The surrounding landscape is truly gorgeous and has a peaceful atmosphere. If planned well, visitors can capture its beauty during the sakura season. Sakura season is probably the best time to view the castle as the sakura trees perfectly frame the Osaka castle from a distance. Or catch the falling leaves during the autumn season.
2 Go To Universal Studios
Maybe you haven't been to any of the five other locations of Universal Studios in the world, but if you are in Osaka, why not take advantage of this opportunity to visit Universal Studios Japan? Experience the shows in Japanese. This location in Osaka has everything you would want, including the very much loved The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Finally, a chance to try that famous butterbeer. Fans of amusement parks will surely enjoy visiting Universal Studios Japan.
1 Walk Around Shinsekai
For some more shopping and good eats, Shinsekai is a great place to go. The neighborhood offers visitors an experience of what old school Osaka was really like. There are attractive retro billboards and signs hanging all over this district. It really is atmospheric and will have anyone constantly looking up in awe at the liveliness of the town. Travelers will want to explore this area on an empty stomach, as there's an abundance of restaurants and shops to eat at. The specialty here is takoyaki, which is minced octopus, green onion in the shape of little round balls.