Osaka is located on the island of Honshu and it is the third largest city in Japan. Ahead of it are only Tokyo and Yokohama. Osaka is also the most important port city in Japan and thus a major industrial center.
The residents are known for their warm hospitality and locals will tell you that Osaka is one of the most relaxed cities in the country.
If you love Japanese food, you’ll find your personal foodie paradise in Osaka. After all, the city is considered the “Kitchen of Japan” and home to the best food scene in the country.
In addition, there are great shopping streets, museums, galleries, amusement parks and of course some really great sights.
Tip 1: Osaka Castle
In the city of Osaka lies one of Japan’s most famous castles. Built in 1583, Osaka Imperial Castle was to become the center of Toyotomi rule in the unified Japan of the 16th century. However, Tokugawa troops attacked and destroyed the castle as early as 1615. After the main tower was struck by lightning in 1665, it burned down and was not rebuilt until 1931. It was partially destroyed again during World War II and was completely renovated and modernized in 1997.
The area of the castle is one square kilometer. The central building was built on a stone base and was made of wood; however, concrete was used as the construction material for the replica, which was built on the old foundation walls. Today it has an elevator and a museum dedicated to the history of the castle and Toyotomi Hideyoshi.
From the topmost of the 8 floors, visitors can enjoy a wonderful view from an observation deck. The castle complex is surrounded by wide moats and walls as well as the extensive Nishinomaru Garden. During the cherry blossom season, the park is a popular meeting place to admire the cherry blossoms.
Tip 2: Tsutenkaku
Tsutenkaku is located in the middle of Shinsekai and is not far from all bars and restaurants. It is a 103 meter high broadcasting tower, which is also used as an observation deck with an open air deck.
During the day, the Osaka Tower doesn’t look very pretty. Only at night, when it starts to glow completely, it turns into a shining building that you can see from far away.
From its high platform, you can see the illuminated stores and the lively atmosphere of Shinsekai very well. In addition to normal stores, there are many street stalls in Shinsekai, where clothing and the like are offered.
Tip 3: Shitenno-Ji Temple
Shitenno-ji Temple is located in downtown Osaka. It is a Buddhist temple whose foundation dates back to 593 and is attributed to Prince Shotoku. Even then, temples were not only places of worship, but also had social purposes and were of great importance for the functioning of the Japanese society. In the temple there was a department of education and welfare, people received remedies and also nursing or quite early introduced.
Particularly noteworthy is the five-story pagoda, which has a height of nearly 30 meters. Other buildings are teaching halls, where classes were given then as now. Also to be seen are storehouses, a bell tower, the monks’ quarters and also the dining hall. Particularly interesting are the walkways that lead once around the inner temple district and are particularly colorfully decorated.
Tip 4: Kuromon Market
Osaka is often described as “the cuisine of the country”. Takoyaki, okonomiyaki or kushikatsu are the ubiquitous local delicacies.
“In Kyoto you buy clothes until you drop, in Osaka you eat until you drop,” is a well-known saying.
The lively Kuromon-Ichiba market, not far from Nippombashi metro station, is a center of this culture. It is a 580 meter long covered market street. About 150 small stores, stalls and restaurants offer culinary delicacies and other things. The origins of Kuromon-Ichiba date back to the Edo period. The name – Kuromon means “black gate” – came from the entrance gate of the Enmyōji temple, which burned down in 1912. The market in its current design has existed since the 1960s.
Tip 5: Kaiyukan
The Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan (simply Kaiyukan for short) is considered one of the largest public aquariums in the world and is located on an artificially raised island directly in front of Osaka. Whoever stays in Osaka and is even halfway interested in the sea and its inhabitants, should definitely not miss this aquarium.
In total, you’ll find 27 tanks here with 16 main exhibits. The highlight of the Kaiyukan is certainly the main tank with a height of 9 meters, in which, among others, manta rays and two whale sharks swim their courses. But also the water tunnel at the beginning makes a good impression.
Towards the end you have the opportunity to at least touch smaller rays and cat sharks in a shallow pool. However, strict rules apply here, which are conscientiously monitored by the employees.