Top Things to Do and Places to Visit in OSAKA, JAPAN

Things to do in Osaka Travel Guide Blog Japan

A trip to Japan will never be complete without visiting Osaka, the second-largest metropolitan area in the Land of the Rising Sun. It has a good balance of traditional culture and futuristic modernity which is perfect for anyone looking for a worthwhile getaway spot. Tourists can also visit its neighboring cities Nara, Kyoto, and Hiroshima which also have a good number of scenic attractions. Known as Japan’s culinary mecca, it transformed from a humble rice trading hub to become a popular food destination with countless offerings of Michelin Star restaurants and local eateries.

Top Things to Do and Places to Visit in OSAKA, JAPAN

Things to do in Osaka Travel Guide Blog Japan


Dotonbori district is a lively entertainment hub surrounded by countless shopping malls, pubs, and restaurants. The Glico running man is one of the most recognizable landmarks, not only in Osaka but also in the whole of Japan. Aside from serving its main purpose as a marketing gig for Japanese food company Glico, it has already become a tourist attraction which is definitely on every tourist’s bucket list. It is best to visit the site at night in order to see the billboard’s vivid colors animate the running man, as well as to enjoy the booming nightlife of the area. Tourists can also buy a ticket to the Tombori River Cruise which is a 20-minute ride that goes through the length of the Dotonbori canal. The Shinsaibashi-Suji shopping street is also a well-known shopping district in the area with hundreds of boutique shops to choose from. A multi-level Don Quijote store can also be found nearby and the Ferris wheel unique to this branch is also a must-ride!

Did you know? A Filipino sprinter named Fortunato Catalon, who won the race at the 5th Far Eastern Sport Championship Games in 1921 became the inspiration behind the Glico running man!

Things to do in Osaka Travel Guide Blog Japan

Osaka Castle

As with most castles and structures of Imperial Japan, the original Osaka Castle built back in 1583 was destroyed during the war and soon after, a renovated structure was re-established in 1931. It is important to note the months in which the castle undergoes occasional renovations which prevent the tourists from entering its premises. If you’re lucky enough, an observation deck is located on the 8th floor of the castle which also offers scenic views over the adjacent park and downtown Osaka. Nishinomaru Garden sits next to the castle and is a popular location to spot cherry blossoms during the springtime and autumn leaves in the fall season. Even though you are not anywhere close to a history geek, the castle is still worth the visit as it is widely considered as one of the city’s proudest landmarks. Up to this day, it still offers a glimpse of the rich history of Imperial Japan and boasts the era’s unique architectural style to its visitors.

Things to do in Osaka Travel Guide Blog Japan

Universal Studios Japan

Universal Studios Japan is the first location to be completed outside of the United States and the first to operate in the Asian region. The popular amusement park chain has long been a staple in the itineraries of tourists on every corner of the world and Universal Studios Japan is no different. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter headlines the park’s main attractions which offer IG-worthy spots including the Hogwarts Express, archway to Hogsmeade and the Hogwarts castle coupled with the famous butterbeer on hand. The park also offers several pop-culture franchises including Jaws, the Minions, and Jurassic Park. Of course, no trip to a Universal Studios theme park is complete without a picture with the famous globe display located at the entrance!

ALSO READ: How to Maximize your time at Universal Studios Japan


Things to do in Osaka Travel Guide Blog Japan

Umeda Sky Building

Umeda Sky Building is one of Osaka’s tallest and more technologically-advanced buildings. Paying a visit to the top of this building may not be for the faint of heart as it houses the world’s highest escalators which cross over 550 feet of clear space connecting two of its adjacent buildings. The Kuchu Teien Observatory also known as the “Floating Garden Observatory” is an outdoor observation deck located on the building’s 39th floor and offers a breath-taking 360-degree panoramic view of the whole city. A natural garden is also accessible near the vicinity of the building which has many structural landscapes coupled with seasonal nature views.

Things to do in Osaka Travel Guide Blog Japan


Shinsekai is one of the most recognizable districts in the city. With its rich history, it was able to transcend beyond the years of war to become a popular tourist attraction in modern-day Osaka. Several streets are filled with various shopping stores, street food establishments, and restaurants. Shinsekai houses several restaurants which offer kushikatsu, one of Osaka’s signature dishes. The dish is composed of deep-fried marinated food ranging from beef, chicken meat, and even ice-cream varieties. In the heart of the district stands the Tsutenkaku Tower, which was built to resemble a combination of the Eiffel Tower on its top and the Arc de Triomphe for its base. The tower itself is packed with its own souvenir shops, amusements and has two observation decks on the 4th and 5th floors from which you can enjoy a panoramic view of the bustling city.

Osaka has its fair share of hidden locations worthy of paying a visit to, and that there are still several other locations that were not included in this list. Notable mentions include Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan, Shitennoji temple, and the Osaka Expo ‘70 Commemorative Park.


This article was written by Jeremy Chua. He is a student from the Ateneo De Manila University and also a beat writer for the university’s student publication. His main interests revolve around sports, business, tech, and travel!



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