Japan is a place where one week, one month, and sometimes one year isn’t enough to fully enjoy and experience what the country has to offer. With the strong, bold, and beautiful traditional culture, the chic, trendsetting, and unique modern culture, and a mix of the two, there are so many things to see, learn about, and discover in Japan. This is especially true in Osaka. From food to symbols of tradition, to activities you can only experience in Japan, Osaka offers much to see and do. Here are eight tourist attractions in Osaka that you don’t want to miss.
1. Osaka Castle
Osaka Castle, locally known as 大阪城 (Osaka Jou – Osaka Castle), is one of the most well-known sights for tourists to travel not only in Osaka but in Japan as a whole. Osaka Castle played a key role in the unification of Japan. On the grounds of the castle is the Nishinomaru garden, which offers a great view of 600 blooming cherry blossom trees in the spring. Osaka castle was restored many times until today where it finally stands as beautifully as it did in the Edo period with a modern interior made into a functional museum.
Attraction Name: Osaka Jo
Address: 1-1 Osakajo, Chuo-ku, Osaka-shi, Osaka 540-0002, Japan
Business Hours: Everyday 9 am (21:00) to 5 pm (17:00)
Phone Number: +81 6-6941-3044
Official Website: http://www.osakacastle.net/
2. Sumiyoshi Taisha
Sumiyoshi Taisha or the Sumiyoshi Grand Shrine (住吉大社) was founded in the 3rd century and is one of Japan’s oldest shrines. This shrine is one of few shrines in Japan that is purely Japanese and have no influences of mainland Asia. This style of shrine is known as Sumiyoshi-zukuri. Many people visit this shrine during the new year. Sumiyoshi Taisha features a beautiful and famous bridge, the Taiko bridge or Sori Bridge (Sorihashi), characterized by its unique high arch over the pond below it. It’s a beautifully scenic place to snap a photo and capture the beauty of traditional Japanese architecture.
Attraction Name: Sumiyoshi Taisha
Address: 2-9-89, Sumiyoshi Sumiyoshi-ku, Osaka-shi, Osaka 558-0045, Japan
Business Hours: April to September 6 am (6:00) to 5 pm (17:00), October to March 6:30 am (6:30) to 5 pm (17:00)
Phone Number: +81 6-6672-0753
Official Website: http://www.sumiyoshitaisha.net/
Dotonbori is a famous entertainment area in Osaka that runs along the Dotonbori canal from the Dotonburi bridge (Dotonbashi) to the Nippon bridge (Nipponbashi). In the past, it was a theatre district, but now, it is a place where people can enjoy the adventures of nightlife in Osaka. Many people enjoy going for a drink or taking a picture with the Glico Runner and while posing in the same position. Others like to eat takoyaki or try eating Kushi katsu, a dish featuring many fried vegetables and meat on a stick. It’s fun to guess what each item is.
Attraction Name: Dotonbori
Address: Dotonbori, Chuo-ku, Osaka-shi, Osaka 542-0071, Japan
Business Hours: 24 Hours
Phone Number: +81 6-6211-4542
Official Website: http://www.dotonbori.or.jp/ja/
4. Universal Studios Japan
Universal Studios Japan, also known locally as USJ, is a highly anticipated tourist attraction for foreigners and native (but not from Osaka) Japanese people alike. It is similar to Universal Studios Orlando resort as it features some of the same attractions. USJ feature attractions such as The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and The New Adventure of the Amazing Spiderman in 4K3D and limited time attractions like Monster Hunger from the game, and One Piece from the hit anime and manga series One Piece. USJ is a lot of fun and many students who are lucky enough attend school in Osaka enjoys visiting USJ.
Attraction Name: USJ
Address: 2-1-33 Sakurajima, Konohana-ku, Osaka-shi, Osaka 554-0031, Japan
Business Hours: Weekdays 9 am (9:00) to 7 pm (19:00), Weekends 9 am (9:00) to 8 pm (20:00)
Phone Number: +81 570-200-606
Official Website: http://www.usj.co.jp/
5. Osaka Aquarium KAIYUKAN
Osaka Aquarium KAIYUKAN is marked as the worlds largest aquarium. If that doesn’t make you want to head on over, the brilliant presentation and recreated natural habitats of the aquatic animals will. The aquarium features more than 15 large tanks set in themes that allow visitors to experience the pacific ocean. Many visitors enjoy the beautiful Japanese Forest setting which recreates a beautiful sunlit Japanese forest. There is also an interactive exhibit where visitors can touch sharks. The aquarium houses 620 different species of animals. It’s definitely an aquarium you should see.
Attraction Name: Osaka Aquarium KAIYUKAN
Address: 1-1-10 Kaigandori, Minat0-ku, Osaka-shi, Osaka, 552-0022, Japan
Business Hours: Everyday 10 am (10:00) to 8 pm (20:00)
Phone Number: +81 6-6576-5501
Official Website: http://www.kaiyukan.com/
Tsutenkaku, or the tower that reaches heaven, is a famous tourist sight in Osaka with an observation deck at 91 meters. The tower is a sight to see, especially at night when the bright and colorful lights light up the place. The display of lights change every two months with April and March lights being lit pink for hanami season (cherry blossom viewing in the spring). In the surrounding area, people can enjoy local cuisine like Kushi katsu and nearly all restaurants in the area sell it as it is a specialty. Enjoy some Kushi katsu and views from Tsutenkaku.
Attraction Name: Tsutenkaku
Address: 1-18-6 Ebisuhigashi, Naniwa-ku, Osaka-shi, Osaka 556-0002, Japan
Business Hours: Everyday 9 am (9:00) to 9 pm (21:00)
Phone Number: +81 6-6641-9555
Official Website: https://www.tsutenkaku.co.jp/
7. Osaka Science Museum
Science museums are always fun, especially when there are many interactive exhibits. A great number of the exhibits at the Osaka Science Museum are interactive which is great for kids, especially. It’s also a great opportunity for them, or for you, to learn about various science concepts including how things work, physics, math, astronomy and more. Many people enjoy the exhibits of a robot solving a Rubix cube and the planetarium. Although the exhibits have very little English, it is still possible to enjoy them because of how interactive they are. The museum might even be a nice way to practice Japanese for some visitors.
Attraction Name: Osaka Science Museum
Address: 4-2-1 Nakanoshima, Kita-ku, Osaka-shi, Osaka 530-0005, Japan
Business Hours: Thurs – Sun 9:30 am (9:30) to 5 pm (17:00)
Phone Number: +81 6-6444-5656
Official Website: http://www.sci-museum.jp/
8. The Tower of the Sun
The Tower of the Sun, locally known as 太陽の塔 (Taiyou no Tou) was created by the Japanese artist named Taro Okamoto. The tower is the symbol of the 1970 Japan expo that shared the beauty and culture of Japan with the world. Although the inside of the tower is closed to the public, the tower’s exterior is interestingly bizzare enough to mark as a must-visit tourist attraction. The park around the tower is a nice place to relax and has so many different aspects that people often say they find something new every time they visit.
Attraction Name: Tower of the Sun
Address: 1-1 Senribanpakukoen, Suita-shi, Osaka 565-0826, Japan
Business Hours: Thursday – Tuesday 10 am (10:00) to 5 pm (17:00), Wednesday Closed
Phone Number: +81 6-6877-7387
Official Website: http://taiyounotou-expo70.jp/
There are endless museums and art exhibits as well as shopping and entertainment areas to enjoy in Osaka, like the Umeda Sky building and not every place is listed here. If you are visiting Japan for a long period or a short period, this list will get you started with places to check out in Osaka, but by all means, don’t stop here. See as much as you can see and if you can’t get to everything, well, at least you’ll have an excuse to visit the amazing city of Osaka once again.
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