Osaka is the capital city of Western Japan, and the second largest metropolitan city in Japan after Tokyo. It’s one of the most popular tourist destinations in Japan that attracts visitors from all around the world. Together with Tokyo and Kyoto, Osaka is one of three must-visit cities in Japan for every visitors to Japan.
There are countless tourist attractions in Osaka including delicious local food, trendy shopping streets, bustling districts lit by neon lights, modern skyscraper, the world’s greatest amusement park, and more. The unique culture and friendly locals are also two attractive points that add a distinctive character to the city like no other.
If you are planning your first visit to Osaka and wondering what the best things to do, see and experience in Osaka, please check out this Osaka Bucket List! The list includes 26 best things to do in Osaka from classic tourist attractions to trendy sites that can help you to plan a perfect trip in Osaka!
1. Universal Studios Japan
Universal Studios Japan (USJ) is the most visited theme park in Japan along with Tokyo Disney Resort (Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea). USJ offers numbers of fun and thrilling attractions with themes of popular movies and characters such as Spiderman, Jurassic Park, JAWS, Harry Potter and Minions. The park is divided in 9 different zones of Hollywood, New York, San Francisco, Jurassic Park, Waterworld, Amity Village, Universal Wonderland, Minion Park and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Seasonal events and limited-time attractions are also available at the park through the year such as Halloween and Christmas.
Besides attractions, Universal Studios Japan merchandise collections are hugely popular among visitors. You can find limited products of popular characters like Minions, Sesame Street, Hello Kitty and more! There are also cute character themed food and drinks available at the park.
2. Fancy Drinks and Desserts
There are more cafes and stalls that offer visually-stunning drinks and desserts in Japan, and Osaka is one of the hottest cities to enjoy that popular trend. Especially, young foodies and fancy hipsters take pleasure in getting beautiful and impressive dishes and drinks to post them on Instagram and just experience the new tastes.
For instance, a cutting-edge Food Art Gallery JTRRD offers gorgeous artistic smoothies made with fresh fruits and a trendy shop ◯△□ (Maru Sankaku Shikaku) provides cute small pieces of tart flavored with seasonal fruits and Japanese teas like Matcha and Hojicha.
Dotonbori (道頓堀) is Osaka’s most touristic neighbourhood located in Minami area. The energetic and vibrant district is famous for billboards and shop displays with neon lights such as Glico Running Man and the moving gigantic crab.
Dotonbori is a popular area to dine out as numerous restaurants are located within the area. As a center of entertainment in Osaka, the district offers numbers of spots for sightseeing, shopping, food, attractione, etc.. that you will never be bored!
4. Osaka Local Food
Local food is definitely a top attraction in Osaka. Some of Osaka’s local dishes are nation’s favourite such as Takoyaki (Octopus Balls), Okonomiyaki (Japanese savory pancakes), Ikayaki (squid pancake) and Kushi Katsu (deep-fried skewered meat and vegetables). At local streets of Osaka, you can find many food stalls offering authentic taste of local with inexpensive prices. When in Osaka, you may never have enough time to try all the delicious local food!
Although Osaka is best-known for affordable and local friendly regional dishes, if you wish to have a high-end dining experience in Japan, Osaka is also one of the best cities. Some of Japan’s top-rated restaurants are located in Osaka including fine Sushi restaurants and Michelin starred restaurants.
5. Osaka Castle
Osaka Castle(大阪城) is a symbol of Osaka and one of the greatest castles in Japan. Osaka Castle is an important historic monument that represents the great history of Azuchi-Momoyama period during the sixteenth century. The castle was built in 1583 by the order of Hideyoshi Toyotomi, the one of the most famous unifying warlords of Japanese history. The castle is located within the Osaka Castle Park, and it’s a popular place to visit especially during cherry blossom season.
Cycle around Osaka Castle and feel the breeze! “Osaka Bike Tour to the Neighborhoods of Osaka Castle” is the unique way to explore the neighbourhood of Osaka, and perfect for active/fit travellers! And of course, the tour includes Osaka’s best street food “Takoyaki” for snack 🙂