Travelogue: Top 10 Must See Tourist Attractions in Osaka

Japan Press Trip Part 16

Osaka has fabulous restaurants, excellent shopping, great nightlife, and amazing tourist attractions including Osaka Castle, Universal Studios, and the Floating Garden Observatory. Check out our Top 10 picks.

Osaka sits at the heart of Japan’s 2nd largest metropolitan area. It has great shopping, wonderful restaurants, fantastic nightlife, and an amazing array of tourist attractions. Check out our must see list!

After saying sayonara to the other travel writers at Osaka Kansai International Airport, I spend 7 more nights in Osaka – the first 6 nights in town and the last night at a hotel near the airport.

My hotel is situated in a part of town known as Shinsaibashi, one of the city’s top shopping districts. In addition to shops and boutiques and department stores, there are restaurants, cafes, and snack bars at every turn.

Exploring Osaka is a piece of cake once you get the hang of it. The city’s subway system is easy to negotiate thanks to a no nonsense system that uses colours, numbers, and letters to keep things simple.

Following a quick chat with a helpful woman at the information booth in Namba Station, I decide that it’s better purchase individual tickets than purchase the unlimited transport passes that are sold to tourists.

“Unless you are going to spend the whole day getting on and off trains, it would be cheaper to just buy tickets for each trip,” she advises.

What to See and Do in Osaka

One of the best ways to explore Osaka is by subway. Here are my top 10 picks, with direct links to official websites for more information. 

Some tourist attractions might close one or 2 days a week. Check schedules on websites before setting off.

1. Osaka Castle – the city’s top tourist attraction. Don’t miss: the Osaka Museum of History – it’s right across the street!

2. Shinsaibashi Shopping Arcade – one of Osaka’s most popular shopping districts. Don’t miss: the Daimaru department store, which spans 2 full blocks.

3. Umeda Sky Building – two 40-storey towers that are connected by bridges and an escalator at the top. Don’t miss: the Umeda Sky Building Floating Garden.

4. Osaka Aquarium – one of Japan’s best aquariums. Don’t miss: Aqua Gate, a tunnel shaped tank that makes you feel like you’re walking under water.

5. Tempzan Giant Ferris Wheel – offering spectacular views of the city. Don’t miss: the Tempozan Marketplace, which is situated nearby.

6. Osaka Station City – one of Japan’s most modern and beautiful train stations, housing entertainment, food and beverage, recreation, and shopping. Don’t miss: the Tenku no Noen Sky Farm.

7. Spa World – a huge bath complex with natural hot springs. Don’t miss: the amusement pool.

8. Shitennoji Temple – one of Japan’s oldest temples. Don’t miss: the 5 storey pagoda in the Inner Precinct.

9. Universal Studios – Japan’s 2nd most popular theme park after Tokyo Disneyland. Don’t miss: the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

10. Sumiyoshi Taisha – one of Japan’s oldest Shinto shrines, and one of only 2 shrines that is considered to be architecurally purely Japanese. Don’t miss: the Sorihasi Bridge.

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