Best things to do in Osaka

Madeleine Ray

Enjoy the center of Kansai culture, with the tasty world-famous Takoyaki available on every block, amazing shopping, and an enormous castle. Osaka is a city south of Tokyo that offers a completely different but equally amazing experience to the capital. This list gathers some of the best experiences that I had when visiting Osaka several times while living in Tokyo, these activities are truly unique to the Osakan culture and should be at the top of your to-do list.

Hozenji Yokocho 法善寺横丁, Kuromon Market, Nakanoshima Rose Garden, Osaka Castle, Hōzenji Temple, Dotonbori River, Shinsaibashi-Suji Shopping Street

  • Hozenji Yokocho 法善寺横丁 in Osaka, Japan

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      Hozenji Yokocho is a narrow alley with an Edo-period atmosphere. The alley is lined with restaurants and caverns which you can explore for a more historic version of Osaka as well as grab a snack or bite to eat.

  • Kuromon Market in Osaka, Japan

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      Known as “Osaka’s Kitchen”, Kuromon Ichiba Market, is a famous market with a variety of Japanese food and snacks. Visit this market with an empty stomach and quickly fill up on tasty and affordable street food.

  • Nakanoshima Rose Garden in Osaka, Japan

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      A secret garden with refreshing nature and countless beautiful roses. This garden is located amongst a busy business district and makes for the perfect escape from the city. Enjoy the roses in full bloom during the summer and fall.

  • Osaka Castle in Osaka, Japan

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      Here you can explore the vast grounds surrounding Osaka castle. Often there will be little stalls offering traditional food on the grounds. The Osaka Castle grounds are a popular spot for Hanami (Cherry Blossom viewing), cotton-candy pink trees line the grounds thoroughly. On the inside of the castle, there is a museum, as well as a spectacular view accessible from the top.

  • Hōzenji Temple in Osaka, Japan

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      Hozenji Temple rests nearby to Shinsaibashi. The temple is a discreet and traditional temple located in the center of the buzzing metropolitan area, and a popular sight to escape the busy crowds of the main area.

  • Dotonbori River in Osaka, Japan

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      Dotonbori is a lit-up street along the Dotonbori river and a highly-popular tourist destination often referred to as “The Heart of Osaka”. Here you can see the famous neon Glico man in his iconic pose on the billboards overlooking the River, trust me- you will know when you see it.

  • Shinsaibashi-Suji Shopping Street in Osaka, Japan

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      Shinsaibashi Is the city’s main shopping street area. The main attraction along this bustling shopping street is the flagship store of Don Quijote, a Japanese variety store that offers essentially anything you can imagine and a huge selection of souvenirs and Japanese snacks. While in Shinsaibashi you should definitely try Takoyaki, fried octopus ball-shaped street food which is a very popular dish and famously Osakan.