Source: Kristoffer Trolle
Osaka prefecture is the second smallest prefecture in Japan. The place is rich is history, culture, food, nature, sports and in everything else. Though tourists usually put their eyes on Tokyo, Osaka can offer a great deal of enjoyment too. Here is a list of things all the visitors can do in the beautiful prefecture Osaka.
1. Visit The Symbol of Osaka – Osaka Castle
Your Osaka trip must include Osaka castle, the most famous castle in Osaka. Osaka castle or Osaka-jo is from 16th-century history. To enjoy the artifacts and learn more about the history visit the museum. Even if history is not your thing, you will enjoy the 106.7 hectares long park outside full of flower and fruit trees. Then the greatest stone wall and moats whose beauty just mesmerizes the visitors. The Otemon gate or main gate, Sengan Turret, gun powder storehouses etc. are known as 13 structures which are considered as an important cultural property by national govt. All in all, you will a great combination of history, culture, nature and true wonder here in Osaka Castle.
- Name: Osaka Castle (Ōsakajō)
- Address: 1-1, Osakajo, Chuo-ku, Osaka City
- Price: For museum, 600 yen (free for 15 years old or less)
- Access: From Kansai International Airport, it will take almost one hour journey by expressway. Get on to Hanshin Expressway Wangan or Higasi Osaka Line from Rinku junction and reach to Hoenzaka interchange in about 45 minute. Or, from Kansai-Kuko station, get on to JR Kansai-Kuko line and reach to Tennoji station in 30 minute and then reach to Osaka Koen station by JR Osaka Loop line in 11 minute.
- Opening hour: 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
- Website: http://www.osakacastle.net/english/
2. Spiritual moments in Sumiyoshi Taisha Shrine
Sumiyoshi Taisha is one of the oldest shrines in Japan, built even before the introduction of Buddhism. The spectacular architecture and the holy atmosphere attract tourists all over the world. The architecture of this shrine is different than most of the shrines in Japan. There is a high arched bridge called Sorihashi Bridge at the entrance of the shrine. Though the place is less crowded than other tourist spots in Osaka, you should go there for once to enjoy the quiet, sacred and spiritual feeling that this place offers.
- Name: Sumiyoshi-taisha Shrine
- Address: 2-9-89 Sumiyoshi, Sumiyoshi-ku, Osaka 558-0045, Osaka Prefecture
- Price: Transportation cost only – 210 yen
- Access: From Nankai Namba Station take a 10 minute ride to Sumiyoshi Taisha Station by local train. Another way is from Tennoji, take Hankai Tramway to reach Sumiyoshikoen Station, 15 minutes top.
- Opening hour: 6:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
- Website: http://www.sumiyoshitaisha.net/
3. Eat Sushi & Sashimi
How can you not eat sushi in Osaka? This is the home for one of the largest fish markets in Japan. Here I have mentioned three good restaurants for sushi in Osaka. First one is Endo Sushi, famous for toro (tuna) sushi mainly. Locals claim they serve the best in town. They open very early, at 5.00 am. Next is, Tokisushi, a small place in Namba. They serve tasty sushi and sashimi at a reasonable price. A 12 piece sushi with Miso soup will cost only 750 yen or so. The place is little crowded but the taste and price worth it. Finally the Harukoma Sushi, on the Tenjinbashisuji Shotengai street. The restaurant is big but always crowded and the taste is mind-blowing.
- Name: Endo Sushi, Tokisushi & Harukoma Sushi
- Address: E: 1-1-86 Noda Fukushima-ku Osaka City || T: 4-２１ Nanbasennichimae, Chuo Ward, Osaka, Osaka Prefecture 542-0075, Japan || H: 5-5-2 Tenjinbashi, Kita-ku, Osaka, Japan
- Price: E: 2500 yen || T: 1050 yen || H: 2000 yen
- Access: E: From JR station 10 minute walk distance || T: 8 minute walk from Namba station || H: 3 minutes walk to the north from Temma station
- Opening hour: E: 5.00 am – 2.00 pm || T: 11 am – 2 pm & 5 pm – 10 pm || H: 11 am – 9:30 pm
- Holiday: E: Sunday || T: Monday || H: Tuesday
- Website: http://www.endo-sushi.com/english.html || http://www.tokisushi.jp/
4. Shopping in Shinsaibashi-suji Shopping Center
This shopping center in Osaka city is famous for its historic value. The shopping arcade is built during Edo period and tourists in Osaka enjoy the huge collection of products with very good quality and cultural importance. The 180 shops in the mall attract almost double customers during the weekends. So plan to visit here during weekdays and buy traditional and fashionable souvenirs for friends and families.
- Name: Shinsaibashi-suji Shopping Center
- Address: 1-2 Shinsaibashi-suji, Chuo-ku, Osaka, Osaka Prefecture
- Access: Walking distance from Shinsaibashi station
- Website: http://www.shinsaibashi.or.jp/lang/en/
5. View the Sky from Abeno Harukas
Abeno Harukas, the tallest building of Osaka prefecture, is the coolest skyscraper for visitors. The building is 300 m high from the ground and has 62 floors of which you will enjoy the observatory, restaurant, hotel, shop, museum, garden etc. The 58th floor to 60th floor is the observation deck, known as ‘Harukas 300’. It is covered with large glasses from the floor to the roof. From there, you will get the ultimate mind blowing view of the whole city everyone talks about.
- Name: Abeno Harukas
- Address: 1-1-43 Abenosuji, Abeno-ku, Osaka, Japan
- Price: 1500 yen for ‘Harukas 300’, museum at 16th floor is free
- Access: A 15 minute ride from JR Osaka station or 5 minute ride from JR Namba station to Tennoji station.
- Opening hour: 10.00 am – 10.00 pm
- Holiday: Mondays (museum); Observatory is open all days
- Website: http://www.abenoharukas-300.jp/en/
6. Stay Close to Nature in Expo Park
Osaka is considered as urban prefecture mainly. While you enjoy most of your trip to observe the flashy beauty of mechanical cities, you can take a break from it in natural parks. You can visit Expo ’70 Commemorative Park in Suita. The park is full of cherry tree and many flower trees. The view of cherry, plum, tulip, cosmos, sunflower blossom and the huge statue, trust me, worth a visit. The crowd is lighter than most of the places, so you will enjoy a picnic or a tour in here.
- Name: Expo ’70 Commemorative Park
- Address: 1-1 Senribanpakukoen, Suita 565-0826, Osaka Prefecture
- Price: 250 yen per person
- Access: Take a monorail from Senri-chuo station
- Opening hour: 9.00 am – 5.00 pm
7. Learn Anthropology in the Museum
National Museum of Ethnology presents rich knowledge and exhibition on culture, people, society and the relationship between them. The museum is in Suita. If you are a fan of anthropology then you will enjoy here. Specially the interactive section, for example, language, are interesting and unique. Why not plan a whole day here?
- Name: National Museum of Ethnology
- Address: 10-1 Senribanpakukoen, Suita 565-0826, Osaka Prefecture
- Access: From the monorail station Bamako-Kinen-Koen, it takes 15-20 minute walk
- Opening hour: 10:00 am – 4:30 pm
- Website: http://www.minpaku.ac.jp/english#_=_
8. Experience the Festive Tenjin Matsuri
Tenjin Matsuri is one of the three biggest festivals in Japan. This is known as the ‘Festival of Gods’. The main celebration is held in Osaka Tenmangu shrine and it includes prayer at the river, the biggest boat procession from Tenmabashi bridge, traditional kagura music, parade on the road of 3000 or so people dressed in historical style, bunrake or the Japanese puppet show etc. Plan your trip in summer, most probable time is July 24-25th to enjoy this festive in Osaka.
- Name: Tenjin Matsuri
- Address: 2-1-8 Tenjinbashi, Kita-ku, Osaka City, Osaka Prefecture
- Access: The shrine is 5 minute walk from Osaka Tenmangu station
9. Night in Dotonbori
This is claimed as the heart of Osaka, it has been said that Dotonbori makes Osaka what it is today. The area around the Dotonbori river is packed with shops, restaurants, bars, clubs etc. To observe the real beauty of this place, make sure you visit there at night. Because this is where most of the Osakan’s nightlife goes on.
- Name: Dotonbori
- Address: Dotonbori, Chuo-ku, Osaka 542-0076, Osaka Prefecture
- Price: Depends on different shops, restaurants and clubs
- Access: 6 minute walk from Namba
- Website: http://www.dotonbori.or.jp/ja/
10. Hiking on Mt. Kongo
For beginners, Mt. Kongo is a good hiking spot. About 1,125 meters high Mount Kongo is located at the border of Osaka. At the top, you will reach to 1300 years old Temporinji Temple and Katsuragi shrine. Also, you will enjoy the ruin of Chihaya Castle, Shakunage-no-mich, Chihaya Nature and Astronomy Museum, etc. If you visit the place in February, you will be able to observe the beautiful scenario of juhyo and enjoy the Juhyo festival celebrated each year.
- Name: Mt. Kongo
- Address: 〒585-0051 Oaza Chihaya, Chihaya-Akasaka-mura, Minami-Kawachi-gun, Osaka Pref. (The mountain summit is in Nara Pref.)
- Price: Free
- Access: By a Nankai bus for Kongosan Ropeway-mae at Kawachi-Nagano Station of the Nankai Rinkan Sun Line take a short walk from the last stop.
- Website: http://www.konanso.com/rop/
11. Enjoy Some Popular Street Food
Osaka is after all the ultimate food heaven for the people in Japan. The flavor, the authenticity, the versatility in the food attract people to the restaurants of Osaka. However, they have a huge range of delicious and unique street food you must try as well. Katsu, or cutlet is one of that. Chicken or pork fried with a crispy layer outside and served with a special sauce. Tempura is something similar, but instead of meat, it is prepared with vegetables and fish. Another popular meal is Okonomiyaki. Originates in Osaka, it is sort of a savory pancake, prepared with fish stock or cabbage. The most popular meal in Osaka is Takoyaki, a ball size food prepared with octopus and served with different toppings, such as, takoyaki sauce, Japanese mayonnaise, cheese etc.
- Name: Katsu, Tempura, Takoyaki, Okonomiyaki – street foods
- Address: found on the street and in many restaurants
- Price: Depends
12. Places for Sports Lovers
If you are a sports fanatic you will enjoy a visit Higashi Osaka Hanazono Rugby Stadium in Higashiosaka or Suita Soccer Stadium in Suita. Just plan your schedule in the time of an exciting Rugby series or your favorite soccer team tournament. After all, nothing bits the excitement and fun of watching your favorite game with an enthusiastic crowd.
- Name: Higashi Osaka Hanazono Rugby Stadium; Suita Soccer Stadium
- Address: 1-1-1 Matsubaraminami, Higashiosaka 578-0923, Osaka Prefecture; 3-3 Senri Bampaku Koen, Suita 565-0826,Osaka Prefecture
- Website: http://hos-ragby.com/
13. Get Introduced to Folk Craft
Japan Folk Crafts Museum or Nihon Mingei-kan has the collection of various folk crafts. They exhibit arts and crafts not only of Japan but also of the whole world. Textile, pottery, sculpture – these are the main items in the museum. They always keep changing their collect and bring new items.
- Name: Japan Folk Crafts Museum
- Address: 10-5 Bampaku Koen, Suita, Osaka Prefecture
- Price: 700 yen
- Opening hour: 10 am – 5 pm
- Holiday: Wednesday
- Website: http://www.mingeikan-osaka.or.jp/#_=_
14. Osaka Aquarium (Kaiyukan)
When you are in Osaka, do not miss to visit the most spectacular aquarium in Japan. 27 tanks are displayed in a way to represent the Pacific Rim. From the first tank in 8th floor, visitors go down through a spiral down walkway to the largest tank where the variety of fishes are displayed, including mantra rays and whale shark. Your mind will be blown by the mesmerizing exhibition of the place.
- Name: Osaka Aquarium (Kaiyukan)
- Address: 1-1-10 Kaigandori, Minato-ku, Osaka City 552-0022 Japan
- Price: 2300 yen or less
- Access: 5 minute walk from Osakako Station on the Osaka Municipal Subway Chūō Line
- Opening hour: 10.00 am – 7.00 pm
- Website: http://www.kaiyukan.com/language/eng/
15. Theme park: Universal Studios Japan
This theme park is one of the famous theme parks under the brand Universal Studios. It has 8 different sections – Hollywood, New York, San Francisco, Jurassic Park, Waterworld, Amity Village, Universal Wonderland and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. The park has many thrilling rides, mascots of popular characters, shows, night parades. Outside the park, you will find a mall full of interesting souvenirs and a museum you can visit as well.
- Name: Universal Studios Japan
- Address: 2-1-33 Sakurajima, Konohana-ku, Osaka 554-0031, Osaka Prefecture
- Price: 7500 yen
- Access: From Universal City Station on the JR Yumesaki Line, it will take 5 minute walk.
- Opening hour: 9:00 am to 7:00 pm
- Holiday: None
- Website: http://www.usj.co.jp/e/
Have a good trip and travel!