When travelers decide to make Japan their destination, Tokyo, Osaka, and Kyoto are often at the top of the list of cities to visit. Each city is specifically known for something special that sets them apart from others.
Osaka is known as Japan’s Kitchen and got that recognition for a valid reason. Food fills the continuous alleyways in the city with snacks, cafes, and restaurants. Every corner you turn, the delightful smell of food greets you. Although Osaka has an abundance of eateries, it does not lack in attractions.
Keep your mouth full of Osaka eats and travels with this list of food and attractions:
Kuidaore! To eat until you drop, or in literal meaning “to eat oneself bankrupt”. Similar to a food fair, Dotonbori is every foodie’s dream with many different food stalls available to satisfy your taste buds. Instead of eating one big dish from a restaurant, you can try a variety of snacks and even share them so you will be able to tackle more food. There are several places and items you can eat at Dotonbori such as:
Takoyaki (Octopus balls)
Originated in Osaka, this ball-shaped Japanese snack can be eaten at Takoyaki Juhachiban, Creo-Ru Takoyaki & Okonomiyaki (¥450), or Ootako. Although it can be tempting to put the whole piece in your mouth, try to let it cool down as it is served hot off the grill and will not hesitate to burn your tongue. See how these octopus balls are made when you place an order from a street vendor.
24 Hour Ramen Restaurants
Hungry? No problem. You can get ramen every hour of the day at Kinryu Ramen (~¥600) or Hanamaruken Namba Hozenji (~¥950). At Hanamaruken, you can get slow-cooked pork rib ramen and delicious gyoza. There are several of other 24 hour ramen shops you can find if you take a walk around Dotonbori.
Gyoza (~¥280 for 6 pieces)
Speaking of gyoza, make sure you stop by a stand to get some in Dotonbori. Gyoza is a Japanese dumpling that is often fried. Delicious!
Crab legs at Kanidoraku (¥700)
You can get meat and vegetables deep fried on a skewer known as Kushikatsu at Daruma Nanba (¥80-200)
Okonomiyaki (Japanese pancake)
A waffle fish often filled with custard or red bean.
2. Go shopping in Shinsaibashi
No trip to Shinsaibashi would be complete without imitating the Glico billboard with a winner stance and a picture in front. Shinsaibashi is a large shopping street with vibrant, neon signs packed with both low and high-end department stores and restaurants. You can find a multitude of items here within every budget, such as snacks, souvenirs, and Gucci wallets.
At Shinsaibashi, you can find many international stores and bakeries such as Laduree Daimaru Shinsaibashi (Address: Daimaru Shinsaibashi North Bld 1F; 1-7-1 Shinsaibashisuji Chuo-Ku, Osaka-shi). Here, you can drool over sweets such as macarons (¥300), Isaphan (¥933) and Religieuse Rose (¥800) without having to travel to Paris.
One can’t say they’ve been to Osaka until they’ve walked around Shinbashi and Dotonbori at least once.
3. Umeda Sky Building
A beautiful, tall building with an observation deck. On the top of the Umeda Sky Building is a Floating Garden Observatory. There is an entrance fee of ¥800 and is opened from 10 AM – 11:30 PM.
4. Osakajo (Osaka Castle)
One of the most iconic landmarks in Osaka and a popular tourist attraction. The castle is surrounded by a body of water and built high above the ground to see its surroundings. The castle was once the biggest structure in Japan and has a history of uniting feudal Japan. It was built solely for defense but even the mighty fall since the castle was eventually overtaken.
Although it is beautiful on the outside, it can be disappointing on the inside. Skip paying the entrance fee as the Osaka Castle is only worth admiring from afar. If you are absolutely interested in visiting the inside, there is an entrance fee of ~¥600 and opened from the hours of 9AM to 5PM.
During cherry blossom season, the park surrounding the Osaka Castle is a beautiful place to visit and explore. The peace and tranquility of this park take you away from the reality that surrounds. Visitors are completely consumed by nature that they will not realize the city full of technology within the half-mile radius.
4. Nipponbashi (Den Den Town)
Similar to Tokyo’s Akihabara, Den Den Town is a small electric town filled with J-culture, games, electronics, and anime in Osaka. At Den Den Town, you can find Japanese pop culture items as there are toys and anime that every otaku could dream about. Make sure you go early and check the store hours as many shops in Nipponbashi closes early.
5. Hozenji-Yokocho & Hozenji Temple
Take a walk around the alley, Hozenji-Yokocho, where restaurants line up the streets. You can feel the atmosphere of how Japan was in the olden days. Due to the bright lights and livelihood, it is better to visit at night.
Address: 1 Chome-2-16 Nanba, Chuo Ward, Osaka, Osaka Prefecture 542-0076, Japan
At the end of Hozenji-Yokocho, there is a small Buddhist temple with bright white lanterns. Hozenji Temple sits beautifully as it attracts crowds of people both day and night. Make sure to check out the main attraction, a moss-covered statue of a deity.
This vibrant neighborhood was once destroyed in WWII and was left untouched for many years until it was reconstructed. Now, it is a market filled with cheap shops and restaurants as well as pachinko parlors and other entertainment. From a distance, you can see the Tsutenkaku tower, which has an observation deck available to view the city of Osaka down below. After you are done wandering the Shinsekai neighborhood, you can stroll to the nearby Buddhist temple, Shitennō-ji (Shitennoji Temple)
7. Visit Don Quijote, Japan’s Biggest Discount Store
Make sure you visit the Don Quijote near Dontonbori for tax-free snacks, souvenirs, and other household items! This multi-story Don Quijote store in Dotonbori is packed with visitors and sells almost everything imaginable. You can grab your flavored Kit Kats and Umaibō here. Don Quijote has many locations throughout Japan and U.S. currency is accepted here.
8. Amerikamura (American Village)
A look into how the Japanese perceive the American culture with fashion, restaurants, and stores in Osaka. Amerikamura is a mecca for young people as it has a thriving nightlife. The Video Game Bar Space Station bar located in Amerikamura is a barcade with American video game consoles, both old and new. Sankaku Park, also referred to as Triangle Park, is a place to eat and hang out with friends and people watch. Whatever your interest may be, it is interesting to see Osaka’s take on the American culture and its traditions.
- Scream your head off on the rides at the movie-themed amusement park, Universal Studios Japan
- Smell the cherry blossoms at Japan Mint
- Relax at Nakanoshima Park located at the waterfront
- Create your own cup of noodles at Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen Museum, a museum dedicated to instant noodles!
- Address: 〒563-0041 8-25 Masumi-cho, Ikeda-shi
- Hours: 9:30 AM – 3:30 PM
- Entrance fee: free
- Satisfy your sweet tooth at Laduree Cakes at JR Osaka Mitsukoshi Isetan 2F
- Address: 3-1-3 Umeda Kita-ku, Osaka-shi, Osaka 530-8558
- Hours: 10 AM – 8 PM
- Buy cooking utensils and kitchen items at the “Cooking Tools Street Shopping District”, Doguyasuji Shopping Street
- See Abeno Harukas, the tallest building in Japan
- Admire the stone statues at the Buddhist Isshinji Temple
- Explore the nightlife at Kitashinchi
- Stuff your face with some tasty chicken at Sauce Boss
- Hike to the Waterfall of Mino
- Admire the expensive but pretty fruit from Kuromon Market
- Jog around Nagai Park
- Take a photo with the iconic red bridge at Sumiyoshi-Taisha (Grand Shrine)
- Hours: 6 AM – 5 PM or 6:30 PM
- Entrance Fee: Free
- Martial arts enthusiast? Check out the Sumiyoshi Budokan.
- Walk through the secret tunnel at Sankō Shrine
- Pray for the safe birth of a healthy child at the Buddhist temple, Nakayama-dera
- Tenjinbashi suji shopping arcade
- Watch a kabuki show at Osaka Shochikuza
- See the huge mythical lion head and cherry blossoms at Namba Yasaka
- Umeda Joypolis Sega has virtual reality rides
- Have lunch at Kuromon Ichiba, Osaka’s answer to Tsukiji Market
Wander the streets of Osaka and eat your way through the city as you stuff your face with the delicious food that Osaka has to offer!