22 Best Things To Do In Osaka, Japan in 2024

22 Best Things To Do In Osaka, Japan in 2024


Planning a trip to Osaka, Japan, and you’re unsure which attractions to prioritize? Whether you’re in town for a day or a week, Osaka offers plenty of ways to stay busy, and I want to share them all in this guide on the best things to do in Osaka!

From the city’s tallest skyscrapers that offer the best panoramic views to all the historic shrines and temples that will make you feel like you’ve traveled through time – I’ve got plenty of suggestions on what to do in Osaka. And I’ve equally prioritized amusement parks and vast nature parks. 

Osaka is the third largest city in Japan, so it gets busy. But it also offers serene green spaces just minutes outside of the urban jungle, so you can easily escape the noise and bustle of its crowded streets. 

Top things to do in Osaka

Authentic adventures in Osaka range from driving go-karts on the city streets to eating fried fish skewers. Museums, historic landmarks, and beautiful nature parks are all available in this city, ensuring that anyone can have the time of their life in Osaka. So, let’s get into all the lovely experiences that are staples of this neon-lit city. 

Best of Osaka Quick Guide

Must See: Osaka Castle, Abeno Harukas, Hozenji Temple, Namba Yasaka Shrine, Dotonbori, Shitenno-ji Temple Where To Stay: First Cabin Nishi Umeda, Bespoke Hotel Shinsaibashi, The Royal Park Hotel  Fun To Do: Minoh Park, Pachinko parlors, Umeda Sky Building, Universal Studios, Go-Kart Tours Day Trips: Kobe, Kyoto, Nara, Hiroshima   Must-Try Foods: Sushi, Udon, Ramen, Kobe beef, Kushikatsu 

Best Things To Do In Osaka, Japan

Best things to do in Osaka Japan

As Japan’s third largest city by population, Osaka offers a plethora of interesting attractions to visitors. The city seamlessly blends the old with the new, offering an opportunity to tour a 16th-century castle, but exit to a busy street with skyscrapers once you cross the moat. 

It’s the place to be in Japan if you ever dreamed of racing around city streets in Go Karts, or wanted to be inside a Super Mario video game. Osaka is also known for the best food in Japan and has long been known as the country’s center for soul food. The city appeals to everyone, so it’s no surprise that it’s one of the best places to visit in Japan. 

1. Stroll Around Dotonbori

Best Things to do in Osaka Dotonbori

Dotonbori district is the bustling center and the heart of Osaka. It’s best known for its large neon signs, and strolling around this district at night is a special experience. Although Dotonbori offers many attractions worth checking out in the cold light of day, returning to its street after dark is a must. 

The bright, colorful lights of the neon signs give off a cyberpunk vibe. It’s truly an experience you can have only in Japan, and it will instantly make you fall in love with the city. Dotonbori is home to many shops, restaurants, and the best nightlife in Osaka. 

It was always the principal part of the city for entertainment. Throughout history, Dotonbori has been home to many of Osaka’s best theaters and other live entertainment venues. Nowadays it’s better known for dance clubs and bars, but it’s still home to many of the city’s best theaters. 

Practical Information

Dotonbori is a city district accessible by public transport. Get out at Namba Station to start exploring Dotonbori. 

2. Visit the Hozenji Buddhist Temple

Best Things to do in Osaka Hozenji Buddhist Temple

Hozenji Temple is in the center of the Dotonbori district, so it’s a historic landmark you’ll come across during the exploration of central Osaka. It’s tucked away in the Hozenji Yokocho alley, so it’s not the easiest landmark to spot if you don’t know what you’re looking for. 

The small historic temple is best known for the moss-covered statue of Fudomyoo, an important deity in Japanese Buddhism. From the moment you step onto the temple grounds, you can feel a sense of calm. It’s even more fascinating that this oasis of tranquility is situated in the middle of Osaka’s busiest neighborhood. 

There aren’t many rules in places for visiting the temples (or shrines) in Japan. It’s important to be respectful and wear appropriate clothing. 

Practical Information 

Hozenji Temple is situated at the center of Dotonbori, easily accessible from Namba and Kintetsu-Nippombashi train stations. Entrance to the temple is free of charge. 

3. Tour Osaka Castle

Best Things to do in Osaka Osaka Castle
Photo Credit JNTO & TRUE

Osaka Castle is one of the most famous historic landmarks in this city. It was initially constructed in the 16th century, but the site has been reconstructed since. Sprawling gardens, shrines, and imposing gates are all parts of Osaka Castle Park. 

The castle has two moats; an outer moat that separates the castle grounds from the urban parts of the city, and an inner moat that separates that actual keep from the parks on the grounds. Everything on the grounds of Osaka Castle is open to visitors, most of it free of charge. 

You must pay an entrance fee only if you want to go inside the Osaka Castle, which now serves as a history museum. Entrance to the Nishinomaru Garden is also charged, but it’s only 200 Yen ($1.4) in the off-season and 350 ($2.4) Yen in the cherry blossom season. 

Practical Information

Entrance to the museum inside Osaka Castle is charged ¥600 ($4). Osaka Business Park train station is one of the closest to the Osaka Castle Park entrance. 

4. Discover Old Japan in Kyoto

Best Things to do in Osaka Kyoto Old Japan

Kyoto is considered Japan’s cultural center. The city served as the capital for a long time, and it’s probably the most important for Japanese culture and traditions. Whereas the streets of bigger cities like Tokyo and Osaka are now known for flashy neon signs and glass skyscrapers, walking around the streets of Kyoto still feels like you’re touring Japan from a different era. 

Frankly, I don’t think a day is enough to fully experience Kyoto. At the very least you need two days for this magnificent city, and I would recommend prioritizing time in Kyoto over other destinations. 

Top things to do in Osaka day trip to Kyoto

Castles, shrines, and temples are what you’ll see most in Kyoto. Fushimi Inari Taisha is an iconic Shinto Shrine in the city, famous for the seemingly endless red gates you must pass through when visiting. Kinkaku-ji is the city’s most famous Buddhist temple, known for its ornate gold facade. 

Sakura trees, Geisha, and narrow cobblestone alleys are staple sights in this historic city. Museums and other tourist attractions are available for visitors, as are many bars and restaurants. But you don’t come to Kyoto for the food; you come here for authentic Japanese culture and tradition, which the city epitomizes. 

Practical Information

Kyoto is 25 minutes from the Shin-Osaka train station, accessible by the local Osaka metro. Train tickets are ¥580 ($4). 

5. See The View From Umeda Sky Building

Best Things to do in Osaka Umeda sky building view
Photo Credit JNTO

Umeda Sky Building is only the 19th tallest structure in Osaka Prefecture, but it’s one of the city’s most recognizable landmarks. The building consists of two towers over 40 stories, which are connected at the top. Corridors connect the two skyscrapers, and walking through them feels like you’re on top of the world. 

There’s an observatory at the top, which offers a mesmerizing view of Osaka’s cityscape. It’s one of the best views in the city, especially at night. Several restaurants are also available on the top floors of the Umeda Sky Building, and enjoying a traditional Japanese dinner along with a fantastic view of the city is a wonderful way to end a day in Osaka. 

Evenings are the most popular time to visit the building, so come here early in the day if you want to skip the crowds. Travelers with the Osaka Amazing Pass or the Osaka E-Pass can get in for free before 4 PM but only get a 30% discount for tickets bought after 4 PM. 

Practical Information

Umeda Sky Building is most easily accessible from the Osaka-Umeda station. Full-priced tickets are 1,500 Yen ($10.2) for adults and 700 Yen ($4.8) for children younger than 12.  

6. An Afternoon At Universal Studios Japan

Best Things to do in Osaka Universal Studios Japan

The Universal Studios theme park in Osaka is one of six in the world. It’s such a special place in Osaka and if I could, I would move there in a heartbeat and never leave. And yes, it’s because they have Hogwarts and Hagrid’s Hut on the grounds. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is a very popular area of the theme park, but certainly not the only one worth visiting. 

Super Nintendo World Japan is also extremely popular, because who wouldn’t want to be inside a Super Mario game for a few moments? Other areas of the park are dedicated to Minions, Spiderman, Jaws, and many other prominent films produced by this studio. 

Universal Studios in Osaka is a must for all lovers of cinema, and families with children. Whether you’re traveling with the little ones or you want to feel like a kid again even for just five minutes, Osaka’s most famous amusement park is a destination not to be missed. 

Practical Information

One-day tickets for Universal Studios Japan are priced at ¥8,600 ($58.2). The theme park is open from 9 AM to 7-9 PM every day. Timed-entry tickets are required to enter the Super Nintendo World. 

7. Hiking And Waterfalls At Minoh Park

Best Things to do in Osaka Waterfalls Minoh Park

Minoh Park is an oasis of serenity just 30 minutes away from Osaka city center. Well, it’s 30 minutes away by car, but traveling by public transport takes a bit longer. 

Riverside walking paths, Buddhist temples, bridges, and countless statues all await at Minoh Park. The vast green space is perfect for an escape from the busy city streets, and it’s honestly incredible that such a wonderful place can be so close to the urban jungle. If you travel to Osaka in the fall, a visit to Minoh Park is a must, for the picturesque autumn foliage.

The public park is also home to several restaurants and street food vendors, so there are plenty of options if you get hungry. In addition to the walking trails and temples, the park also features an Insectarium.  

Practical Information

Hankyu Minoh Station is the closest to the Minoh Park entrance. It’s approximately a 40-minute walk from the train station to the Minoh Waterfall. Entrance to the park is free of charge. 

8. Hang Out With Deer in Nara

Best Things to do in Osaka Deer Nara

Nara is a wonderful historic city situated less than an hour outside Osaka. It was the capital of Japan before Kyoto, and it is home to many historic shrines and ruins. 

The city has quite a few interesting landmarks, from shrines to castle ruins, but Nara Park is by far the most special. It’s home to many Shinto Shrines, Buddhist Temples, gardens, and museums. It would take a couple of days to see every single landmark and go inside every notable building at the park – that’s how big the place is. 

Nara Park is especially known for the deer that freely roam its grounds. They’re all tame and you can even buy crackers and feed them; some deer will even bow to you in an attempt to coerce you into feeding them more. Kids particularly enjoy this experience, and the park is truly a wonderful place for families. Visit Nara Park in the spring to enjoy the place in full glory, when all the Sakura trees are in bloom. 

Practical Information

Nara is approximately an hour from Osaka Station by public transport. The town is accessible by trains that run on the Osaka Loop Line, and a one-way metro ticket is ¥820 ($5.6). Grab your Osaka Metro Pass here.

9. Eat Lunch at Cup Noodles Museum Osaka

Best Things to do in Osaka Cup of Noodles Museum Osaka
Photo Credit JNTO

The Cup Noodles Museum is one of those places that you can visit only in Japan. With an exhibit entirely dedicated to cup noodles throughout history, this instant ramen museum is incredibly interesting.

The museum exhibit consists of countless cup noodles mounted to the walls. It’s floor-to-ceiling cups of instant noodles, but also sculptures of cup noodles, and an instant ramen-making station. In the Chicken Ramen Factory, you can even make noodles from scratch. 

Of course, you can eat cup noodles at the museum. Head to the restaurant and choose whatever flavor you want. It’s only 500 Yen for a meal ($3.4), so it’s one of the cheapest lunches you can eat in Osaka.

Practical Information

The Cup Noodles Museum is open from 9 AM to 4:30 PM. Entrance to the museum is free, but a noodle-making class at the Chicken Ramen Factory is 1,000 Yen ($6.8). 

10. Observatory At Abeno Harukas

Best Things to do in Osaka Abeno Harukas

Abeno Harukas is the city’s tallest skyscraper in the business district. Until 2023 it was the tallest building in Japan, but it was overtaken by the Azabudai Hills complex in Tokyo. The imposing skyscraper features offices, a hotel, an art museum, restaurants, shops, and a train station at the underground level. 

There’s lots to do and see at this building, especially if you want to explore restaurants or shops. But the main reason people come to Abeno Harukas is for the view of Osaka’s skyline from its tallest building, and it is as spectacular of a view as you might expect. 

Osaka seems to stretch endlessly, almost until the mountains in the backdrop. The Abeno Harukas Art Museum is another place worth visiting to see some wonderful Japanese art, but also examples of Western art, modern art, and much more. 

Practical Information

Tickets for the Abeno Harukas observatory can be purchased only on the spot, on the day of the visit. You can reserve tickets in advance but must exchange the reservation for same-day tickets for a fee. The standard price of tickets for the observatory is ¥1,800 ($12.2). 

11. Visit The Osaka Museum of History

Best Things to do in Osaka Osaka Museum of History

Osaka Museum of History is separated by a moat from the Osaka Castle Park, and I recommend visiting the two famous landmarks on the same day. The museum is set in a modern building and beautifully contrasts the 16th-century Osaka Castle. 

For Japanese history enthusiasts, there is no better place in this city. The museum exhibit is varied and detailed, with all the most important elements of Osaka’s history on display. It’s important to note that there aren’t too many English descriptions of the exhibits, but that shouldn’t stop you from visiting the museum. Most exhibits are easy to understand even without a description. 

At the Osaka Museum of History, you can see how the city and its surroundings developed over the ages. The traditions and ways of the locals are also exemplified in this museum and can be observed in period clothing, furniture, and even interior design.  

Practical information

Tanimachiyonchome Station is closest to the Osaka Museum of History. Tickets are 600 yen ($4), and the museum is open from 9:30 AM to 5 PM every day except Tuesday. 

12. Try Kobe Beef in Kobe

Best Things to do in Osaka Port of Kobe

Kobe is only 20 minutes from central Osaka by train, so it’s one of the best cities for a day trip in Western Japan. There are many reasons to come to Kobe, from historic alleys to dramatic waterfalls, but the one thing you really should try in the city is Kobe beef. 

Kobe beef is legendary in the culinary industry. It’s a type of Wagyu beef from a special strain of Japanese Black cattle, which are raised only in the region around Kobe. Although it has been exported to other countries since 2012, there’s no better place in the world to try the luxurious steak than Kobe. 

Steak Aoyama is one of the best steakhouses in the city. Locals and tourists have been coming here for Kobe beef steaks since the 1960s, and it’s one of the city’s highest-rated restaurants. Expect to spend around 10,000 Yen ($68) for a full Kobe beef steak dinner, but significantly less (2,000-3,000 Yen) for a Kobe beef burger. 

Practical Information 

Kobe is 20-30 minutes from Osaka by train. A one-way ticket is 420 Yen ($2.8). Travel speed and ticket cost depend on the type of train you board; the noted time and price are for the trains that run on the Rapid Aboshi line.   

Best Things to do in Osaka Shinsaibashi Suji Street

Shinsaibashi-Suji is a covered shopping street in the heart of Osaka. With countless shops that sell tax-free goods and offer airport delivery, it’s the perfect destination for souvenir shopping. You’ll find a wide variety of high-end and high-street fashion shops here, as well as loads of smaller shops that sell classic Japanese souvenirs and trinkets. 

Plenty of street food stalls are nestled between shop entrances, and there are plenty of places where you can stop for a quick bite. 

The shopping street eventually turns into a bridge that connects it to the Dotonbori neighborhood. Visit both the busy neon-lit center and the popular shopping arcade, to see two of Osaka’s most famous areas in one afternoon. 

Practical Information

The average operating hours for shops on Shinsaibashi-Suji Street are from 8 AM until 11 PM, but the shops don’t all observe the same opening hours. Namba Station is the closest to the shopping street entrance. 

14. Play Pachinko 

Best Things to do in Osaka Pachinko

Pachinko is a mixture of an arcade game and a slot machine. If you walk around Osaka you’ll notice that there are Pachinko parlors everywhere and feel free to go in if you want to have some fun. 

Gambling is illegal in Japan, so you can’t get money directly from the machines. But you can get Pachinko balls, which you then exchange for special tokens. Those tokens can then be exchanged for cash at a vendor outside the parlor. 

Pachinko is a low-stakes game, and some machines allow you to exchange just one Yen for a ball. Who knows, if you twist the knob just right, you might just hit the jackpot. 

Practical Information

Pachinko parlors are available throughout Osaka. Players must be at least 18 years old.  

15. Street Food Tour of Kuromon Ichiba Market

Best Things to do in Osaka Kuromon Ichiba Market

For a long time, Osaka was known as the national kitchen of Japan. The city’s food culture is legendary, and exploring the culinary scene of Osaka is necessary for understanding its heritage and traditions. 

Go to Kuromon Ichiba Market for a speed tour of Osaka’s cuisine. It’s one of the best places in the city for street food and souvenir shopping. Fresh and fried seafood dominate the stalls, and you’ll have a plethora of options if you love seafood. And even if you don’t, there are plenty of other options. 

I recommend buying food from multiple vendors so you can try as many different things as possible. Don’t just stick to one restaurant because you might miss out on something amazing. 

Practical Information

Kuromon Ichiba Market is in central Osaka, close to Dotonbori. Most vendors stay open until at least 6 PM. 

16. See The Namba Yasaka Shrine

things to do in Osaka Namba Yasaka Shrine

Namba Yasaka Shrine is one of Osaka’s most famous Shinto Shrines. It’s best known for the small stage that is shaped like a lion’s head, which has become an iconic Osaka landmark. 

Although Namba Yasaka Shrine is very close to Dotonbori and the heart of Osaka, it’s in a much more peaceful area than the buzzing center. The crowds here are smaller, and the entire place feels much more peaceful. 

It’s a small shrine and it takes no more than 10 minutes to visit every structure on the grounds. Take some time to enjoy the view, admire the ritualistic stage, and snap loads of photos of Osaka’s coolest tourist attraction. 

Practical Information 

Namba Yasaka Shrine is open for visitors daily, from 9 AM to 5 PM. Entrance to the shrine is free of charge, and the closest train station is Namba. 

17. Admire The Cherry Blossoms At Nagai Park

Best Things to do in Osaka Cherry Blossoms
Photo Credit Minamiawaji city

If you feel overwhelmed by the crowds on Osaka’s streets, escape to Nagai Park. The expansive green space in the south of the city is incredibly serene and offers enough content to keep you busy for a few hours. 

The park is particularly stunning during cherry blossom season when all the trees are in full bloom. Nagai Park is decorated with many light installations, which make the entire place come alive after dark. 

Nagai Botanical Garden is the highlight of this public park, with countless gorgeous flowers and a large pond at the center. Fields of irises, roses, camelia, and other flowers make the garden a magical experience in the spring season. The Osaka Museum of Natural History is also situated in this park and offers insight into the flora, fauna, and geology staple for the region.

Practical Information

Nagai Park is 20 minutes from Osaka city center by metro. Nagai Station is closest to the park. 

18. Race Around The Streets of Osaka in a Go Kart

Best Things to do in Osaka Mario Kart Tour

You could walk around Osaka for hours and love it, but there’s a better way to explore the city. Get behind the wheel of a go-kart and race around the city streets taking in all the sights. Yes, you can tour Osaka by reenacting Mario Kart in real life!

It’s one of the best and most entertaining experiences in the city, combining a thrilling adventure with classic sightseeing. Just keep in mind that the operators aren’t allowed to advertise it as a Mario Kart adventure because Nintendo did not like that idea and sued most tour operators a while ago. 

Insider Tip: Go-kart tours take place on actual roads, so you will need a valid driver’s license. Foreigners must have an International Driver’s Permit to be able to drive in Japan. 

Practical Information

Karting tours around Osaka usually take 1-2 hours and are available only to travelers who are at least 18 years old and have a valid driver’s license. 

19. Ride The Tempozan Giant Ferris Wheel

Best Things to do in Osaka Tempozan Giant Ferris Wheel

The Tempozan Giant Ferris Wheel is set on a small river island. It’s next to the Osaka Aquarium and Legoland Discovery Center, in the lovely green Tempozan Park. The Ferris Wheel is 112.5 meters tall and it can fit up to 480 passengers at once. It’s a massive structure that offers a spectacular view of Osaka from the top. 

It’s best to ride the Tempozan Wheel at night when the entire structure gets illuminated with all colors of the rainbow. And because Osaka’s skyline looks the best after dark when all of the city’s bright lights are on.  

Practical Information 

Tempozan Giant Ferris Wheel is open every day from 10 AM to 9-10 PM (it’s open longer on the weekends). Tickets for the ride are 900 Yen ($6.1).  

20. Roam Around Shinsekai

Best Things to do in Osaka Shinsekai

Sinsekai is one of Osaka’s older neighborhoods. One part of it was modeled after New York’s Coney Island and the other after Paris, and the iconic Tsutenkaku Tower was modeled after the Eiffel Tower. 

Sinsekai has a tumultuous history. It was once a bustling city neighborhood but became one of the city’s poorest in the aftermath of WWII. Criminal activity flourished, and for a while, Shinsekai was almost a dangerous place to be in Osaka. That’s no longer the case, and plenty of tourists in Osaka stop by this colorful district. 

Come here for cheap street food, souvenir shops, arcade games, Pachinko parlors, and bright neon signs.  

Practical Information

Shinsekai is in the southern part of Osaka, close to Tennoji Park. Ebisucho Station and Dobutsuen-Mae Station are the two closest stations to the district. 

21. Visit the Shitenno-ji Buddhist Temple

Best Things to do in Osaka Shitenno ji Buddhist Temple

Shitenno-ji is one of Osaka’s most famous Buddhist temples. It was first constructed in the 6th century and reconstructed several times over the centuries. Despite the many renovations, Shitenno-ji is considered one of the oldest Buddhist temples in Japan. 

It’s also one of Osaka’s largest temples, in terms of the size of the complex. In addition to the main temple building, there’s also a garden, a treasure hall, an old bell tower, and several other buildings on the grounds. 

Practical Information

Shitenno-ji Temple is open from 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM. Entrance to the central temple is ¥300 ($2). 

22. Day Trip to Hiroshima

Best Things to do in Osaka Hiroshima

A day trip to Hiroshima is easy to do from Osaka thanks to the incredibly fast Nozomi bullet trains that reach speeds of more than 300 km/h. The city is best known for the devastating bombing, which took the lives of more than 100,000 people. 

The Hiroshima Peace Memorial is the most popular attraction in the city. It details the events of the atomic bombing and the consequences it left on the city and its people, as well as the reconstruction that followed. Some exhibits are very emotional, and the museum will give you a new perspective on the events of that grim day. 

Hiroshima Castle is another popular landmark, very close to the Peace Memorial. Shukkeien Garden is another great place to visit with ponds and beautiful landscaping. 

Practical Information

Hiroshima is an hour and a half from Osaka by the Nozomi bullet train. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is Osaka, Japan Best Known For?

Osaka is best known for delicious street food and friendly locals. There’s no better destination in the country for a thorough exploration of Japanese cuisine. 

Is Osaka, Japan Worth Visiting? 

Yes, Osaka is worth visiting. It’s the third most populous city in Japan, known for excellent food and a wonderful blend of historic and modern Japan. 

Is 3 Days in Osaka Too Much? 

No, 3 days in Osaka is not too much. It’s just enough time to see all of the city’s best landmarks and do a quick half-day trip to a nearby destination. 

Is Osaka Nicer Than Tokyo?

Osaka is not necessarily nicer than Tokyo, but it is cheaper and less crowded. Tokyo is still the best destination for a first-time visit to Japan, but Osaka is an excellent destination for travelers who have already explored the capital. 

Where To Stay In Osaka

Best Things to do in Osaka Where to Stay
Photo Credit JNTO

Find accommodation in central Osaka for easy access to all the best attractions. Hotels in the city aren’t too expensive, and there are loads of options for less than $50 per night. Accommodation outside the center is fine as long as it’s close to the metro. Here are some of the best hotels in Osaka for all budgets: 

Where To Eat In Osaka

Best Things to do in Osaka Where to Eat
Photo Credit JNTO

Osaka is all about the food and there’s no shortage of excellent restaurants in town. From street food stalls to Michelin-starred restaurants, Osaka offers anything you could want. Some of the city’s staple dishes are Kushikatsu (deep-fried seafood skewers), Takoyaki (fried, ball-shaped snacks), Doteyaki (beef tendon stew), Udon hot pots, and much more. 

Kuromon Ichiba Market is the best place for street food. Yakiniku M Hozenjiyokocho restaurant has some of the best beef in Osaka, while Halal Ramen Naniwaya is one of the most popular places for ramen and katsu dishes. Kashiwaya Osaka Senriyama has three Michelin stars and a green star, so it’s one of the best for fine dining. Endo Sushi is one of the highest-rated sushi restaurants in Osaka that’s operated for more than a century. 

Tips And Information For Visiting Osaka, Japan

Best Things to do in Osaka Tips and Information
Photo Credit JNTO

Best Time To Visit

Osaka has a temperate climate, so any time of the year is a good time to be in the city. I would avoid traveling to Osaka in the summer because it’s hot, humid, and crowded. 

Spring is a wonderful time in Osaka. The weather is mild, and the countless flowers and cherry blossom trees in the city are in full bloom. If you’re most interested in Osaka’s natural landmarks, spring is probably the best season to visit. 

Fall and winter are also good times to travel to Osaka, especially if you’re more fascinated by Japanese culture, cuisine, and history. Osaka’s historical landmarks remain accessible in the fall and winter, and the mild weather means it’s rarely too cold to walk around outside. 

Getting There

Osaka is serviced by two airports – Osaka International Airport and Kansai International Airport. Pre-pandemic, Kansai Airport was the third busiest hub in Japan, but nowadays Osaka International Airport operates more flights. 

Kansai Airport is situated on a man-made island in Osaka Bay. It’s connected to the city center by train, and it’s approximately an hour and 10 minutes from KIX to Osaka Station. 

Osaka International Airport is much closer to the city center. It’s also connected to central Osaka by train, and the travel time is only 30 minutes.  If you can choose which airport you want to land at, Osaka International Airport is the more convenient option. But flying out of Kansai Airpot is a special experience, one that takes your trip to a new level. 

Getting Around 

Japan is world-famous for its insanely fast bullet trains and they’re by far the way of traveling around the region. For travel between two cities in Japan, a Shinkansen is the quickest and most convenient mode of transport. It’s also the most expensive one, and I highly recommend the JRail Pass if you’re in the country for a while and you want to explore. 

The cheapest JRail Pass is $355 for a week of travel, so it’s only worth the money if you plan to extensively travel through Japan. I recommend creating a detailed list of all the places you want to visit and adding up the cost of train tickets to see if the pass is worth the money for you. 

One thing to note is that the JRail Pass doesn’t cover metro lines in the city of Osaka. For that, you’ll need an IC Card or the Osaka Eco Card. 

How Much Time Do You Need

If Osaka is just one of the stops on a longer tour of Japan, you can set apart two days for the city. A tour is doable in a day, but it wouldn’t allow you to properly enjoy the sights because you’d constantly be rushing to see the next thing. But two days is enough time to see all the best of Osaka, with some breaks in between sightseeing. 

On the other hand, if you would like to do day trips from Osaka, then I suggest 3-5 days, depending on how many other places you want to visit. A trip to Nara is a must because it’s so close to the city and has a lot to offer. 

Kobe, Kyoto, and Hiroshima are all very close to Osaka and it’s possible to visit each city on a day trip. Frankly, I think you need at least three days to fully explore Kyoto, but if you can’t squeeze it into your itinerary otherwise, even a day trip from Osaka is better than not visiting the city at all. 

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