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Osaka Vacation Ideas

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Old-world tradition blends with fresh-faced exuberance in Japan’s third-largest city. If you’re looking for inspiration for your travel wish list, then check out our top vacation ideas for Osaka. From its towering high-rises and cutting-edge fashion to its ancient temples and peaceful gardens, there’s something mesmerizing about the dynamic culture here. By bullet train, Osaka is 2.5 hours from Tokyo and 15 minutes from Kyoto making it an easily accessible destination and a great base to explore more of Japan.


Ideas of places to visit in Osaka

Osaka is a pulsating port city that serves as a true reflection of Japanese traditions and contemporary culture. Across its 24 wards, ranging from historic quarters to hip canal-side districts, there are many Osaka attractions for you to consider when planning your trip. When travel dreams become reality, make your Osaka vacation one to remember with a personalized travel itinerary full of all the best places to visit in the city.


Osaka Castle, Osaka - Japan

Osaka Castle

(0:33 in the video) Osaka Castle is undoubtedly one of Japan’s most significant historical attractions. This important cultural asset, as deemed by the Japanese government, is a tranquil location where you can learn about Japan’s history while surrounded by the striking beauty of blossoming cherry trees. Located just north of Osaka’s center, the 264 acres of parkland surrounding the castle could easily engage your morning or afternoon so be sure to set aside a couple hours in your Osaka itinerary.


Kita District, Osaka - Japan

Kita District

(1:35 in the video) The Kita District is dotted with Michelin-starred restaurants and gleaming glass in Osaka’s northern downtown area. Between its rich culinary offerings, shopping mall with Ferris wheel and National Museum of Art, which hosts works by Picasso and Foujita, this bustling commercial district has something for everyone.


Osaka Museum of Housing and Living - Osaka, Japan

Osaka Museum of Housing and Living

(2:08 in the video) Ever wanted to explore Japan’s Edo period? Don a kimono and find out about this last period of traditional Japan at the Osaka Museum of Housing and Living, located right near Tenjimbashisuji train station. This museum has interactive exhibits and cultural displays that make it a particularly favorable rainy-day option for families.


Tenjinbashi-Suji - Osaka, Japan

Tenjinbashi-Suji

(2:30 in the video) Set aside a day in your Osaka itinerary to explore the country’s longest covered arcade. Tenjinbashi-Suji is one of Japan’s most famous shopping streets. Spanning more than 1.5 miles, this street is home to approximately 800 stores including a tea shop established in 1868.


Minami - Osaka, Japan

Minami

(3:00 in the video) Minami is one of Osaka’s two major downtown areas. Located a stone’s throw from Namba Station, it is easily the city’s most famous entertainment district. Minami offers abundant dining and shopping choices and is conveniently accessible due to its extensive public transportation system.


Dotonbori - Osaka, Japan

Dotonbori

(3:12 in the video) The street of Dotonbori is one of Osaka’s most sought-after tourist attractions. While it is a popular shopping and entertainment district, it is also renowned as a food destination. The Dotonbori canal also runs parallel to this street, which is illuminated every night by hundreds of neon lights and mechanized signs, including the world-famous Glico Running Man sign and Kani Doraku crab sign.


Hozenji Yokocho - Osaka, Japan

Hozenji Yokocho

(3:51 in the video) Take yourself 200 years into the past and discover Edo-period Japan through Hozenji Yokocho. Best enjoyed at night, this stone-paved alley has a wide variety of traditional Osakan food stalls, cafes and taverns. It’s located right next to the lantern-lit magic of Hozenji Temple.


Kuromon Market - Osaka, Japan

Kuromon Market

(4:08 in the video) Nicknamed “Osaka’s Kitchen,” Kuromon Market is the perfect place to stroll, sample and snack on a variety of fresh Japanese market foods. Many of the stalls will even prepare, cook and serve you your food right on the spot, making this a popular destination for tourists and locals alike!


Shinsaibashi-suji - Osaka, Japan

Shinsaibashi-suji

(4:39 in the video) Shops of all kinds and for all ages line the roofed arcade in one of Osaka’s best-known shopping areas, Shinsaibashi-Suji. With pockets of traditional retailers that include kimono sellers, tea purveyors and neighbourhood restaurants, this lively commercial avenue also features a wide range of high-end tax-free shops with airport delivery.


Amerika Mura - Osaka, Japan

Amerika Mura

(4:46 in the video) Amerikamura, is the center of creative fashion, entertainment and youthful spirit in Osaka. Whether you’re browsing Japanese fashion magazines in Osaka’s coolest bookstore or dancing the night away in some of the best clubs Osaka has to offer, Amerikamura promises to provide a unique and unforgettable atmosphere to get lost in.


Den Den Town - Osaka, Japan

Den Den Town

(5:02 in the video) Den Den Town is considered by most to be Osaka’s answer to Akihabara, a district in Tokyo famous for electronics shops. Tucked away in a small pocket of southern Osaka city, this charming shopping destination is an absolute must-see for fans of Japanese anime and manga, as well as a fantastic place to find a genuine bargain on electronics.


Shinsekai - Osaka, Japan

Shinsekai

(5:15 in the video) Shinsekai is the 20th-century, neon love-child of Paris and New York. Hailed as the scene of low-cost restaurants, cheap clothing stores, shogi and mah-jong clubs, and pachinko parlours, this neighborhood offers a more rustic experience of Japanese culture than its more gentrified counterparts. Ride your way to the top of the Tsutenkaku Tower for a panoramic and unobstructed view of Osaka.


Namba Yasaka Shrine - Osaka, Japan

Namba Yasaka Shrine

(5:51 in the video) Take a brief escape from that big city hustle and bustle and check out the hidden zen at Namba Yasaka Shrine, considered one of Osaka’s most distinctive places of worship. This is largely due to the building: it’s in the shape of an enormous lion head with the entry being the lion’s gaping mouth, which is said to swallow up any evil spirits plaguing you, leaving you with only good luck. If you pay a visit to only one shrine within the Namba district, make sure it’s Namba Yasaka Shrine.


Imamiya Ebisu Shrine - Osaka, Japan

Imamiya Ebisu Shrine

(6:02 in the video) Searching for good fortune in business? Look no further than the Imamita Ebisu-jinja Shrine, home to the god of commerce. During the annual Toka Ebisu festival in January , the shrine attracts more than 1 million worshippers who come to pray for financial success.


Shitennoji - Osaka, Japan

Shitennoji

(6:16 in the video) Regarded by most as the first Buddhist and oldest officially administered temple in Japan, Shitennoji is an unmissable historical destination. Due to careful reconstruction and maintenance over the years, the temple still reflects the original 6th-century design.


Keitakuen Garden - Osaka, Japan

Keitakuen Garden

(6:41 in the video) Take a stroll around Keitakuen Garden, located in Tennoji Park and hidden just behind the Osaka City Museum of Fine Art. Often described as an “oasis in a concrete jungle,” this little green sanctuary is a tranquil escape from the busyness of the big city which surrounds it.


Sumiyoshi Taisha - Osaka, Japan

Sumiyoshi Taisha

(6:55 in the video) Osaka’s Sumiyoshi Taisha is one of Japan’s oldest and most popular shrines. Built in the 3rd century, it boasts the ultra-rare style of shrine architecture known as Sumiyoshi-zukuri, which is purely Japanese. Take a walk through the hallowed grounds surrounding the shrine and learn about the Shinto gods which are said to protect travelers, fishermen and sailors at sea.


Universal Studios Japan - Osaka, Japan

Universal Studios Japan

(7:16 in the video) Osaka’s Universal Studios Japan never fails to deliver for visitors to Japan. Whether you’re travelling with kids or wanting to indulge in some childhood enchantment, a visit to this wonderland is unmissable. The magic of Universal Studios and Japanese efficiency make this destination one of the most popular and enjoyable amusement parks in the world. It’s busy year round, so plan carefully and make sure to buy your tickets in advance in order to make the absolute most of your visit!


Need more Osaka vacation ideas?

Want some more travel inspiration for your next vacation? Browse through our Osaka photo gallery to see more unique pictures of this incredible destination. If you want to broaden your horizons, our wider photo gallery is home to stellar photography from across the globe.

We also have hundreds of other travel videos from around the world. Be inspired by these fascinating destinations and start planning another unforgettable vacation today.

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