Osaka is the concrete beating heart of the Kansai region - Japan's second biggest industrial area with an output rivalling that of Australia. This is modern Japan writ large: massive crowds, huge department stores, karaoke boxes, bars, restaurants and clubs one on top of the other.
“Sumo wrestling, amazing street food, a world-class aquarium, giant robotic crabs, Harry Potter World, and Osaka Spa World all in one place - what's not to love?”
Violet Cloutman, Content Creation Assistant
Osaka has all the galleries and museums you'd expect of a large city - but the best way to experience the character of the place is on the street and in the buzzing, larger-than-life entertainment quarters. Osaka has a reputation for a work-hard-play-hard mentality, and from about 6pm the streets are alive with businessmen, shop workers and students all out to relax and have a good time. Youth culture is everywhere you turn, with video game parlours and karaoke centres lining the covered arcades.
Most importantly for the visitor, Osaka is one of the best places to try Japanese food - whether it's octopus balls from a street-side stand, okonomiyaki savoury pancakes (a regional speciality), or some of best sushi in the world. In fact, one of our top recommendations for visitors to the city is to take an evening street food tour with one of our expert local guides or knowledgeable tour leaders. The tour centres on the area around Nanba and Dotonbori, where giant animatronic crabs, neon puffer fish, Ferris wheels and the famous Glico running man overlook scores of bars, izakaya, restaurants and street-side stalls.
In addition to food and drink, Osaka has an impressive clutch of attractions to keep the visitor entertained. The Ring of Fire Aquarium, for instance, is one of Japan's very best - exhibiting creatures from the volcanic regions encircling the Pacific. Universal Studios Japan is located just a short distance out of the city, boasting the newly opened Harry Potter World amongst other interesting film sets, and at the unusual Instant Ramen Museum guests can have a go at creating their own cup noodle. Finally, for those who enjoy a good soak in a Japanese hot spring, Osaka Spa World - Japan's premier onsen theme park - is an absolute must.
For shopping, we suggest heading to American Village (Amerika Mura), Osaka's fashion centre, or Umeda and the Yodabashi Department Store for electronic goods. While you're in Umeda, you might also head to the Umeda Sky Building, where a vertiginous escalator takes you across the abyss to a viewing platform looking out over the city.
Osaka is located in the Kansai region of Japan's main island, close to many of Japan's most interesting destinations. You might like to use Osaka as the jumping off point for a foray into the ancient pilgrimage routes of the Kumano Kodo or the spiritual centre of Mount Koya, or head to nearby Kobe for a taste of Japan's finest beef. The must-visit city of Kyoto is barely 45 minutes away by train, with lovely Nara just next-door.
Recommended Accommodation in Osaka
The following are our favourites from among the western-style hotels and Japanese-style inns of Osaka.
Experiences in Osaka
Osaka offers a wealth of exciting experiences that will help you get beneath the surface of Japan's fascinating culture. See below for a few of our favourites
Weather in Osaka
The Climate Guide for Osaka, Japan is perfect for planning your holiday. Monthly weather averages give the best indication of what the weather is usually like for every month of the year including figures for temperature, rainfall and sunshine.
|Max Daytime Temperature (°C)||8||8||12||18||23||26||30||31||27||21||16||11|
|Min Night-time Temperature (°C)||1||1||3||8||13||18||22||23||19||13||8||3|
|Hours of Sunshine (Daily)||4||4||5||6||6||5||6||6||5||5||5||4|
|Hours of Daylight (Daily)||10||11||12||13||14||14||14||13||12||11||10||10|
|Heat and Humidity Discomfort||None||None||None||None||None||Low||High||High||Moderate||None||None||None|
|Days with some Rainfall||19||19||20||16||15||18||17||15||17||14||14||16|
|Monthly Rainfall (mm)||45||59||98||127||142||207||171||98||186||107||68||35|
|UV Index (Maximum)||3||4||6||8||9||10||11||10||8||6||3||2|
Featured trips including Osaka
A superior two-week itinerary taking in Japan's most iconic sights, with four-star accommodation and a programme of cultural experiences included.
14 nights: from US$6110 pp (twin share) Read more >
The best of Japan – with a manga and anime twist. Visit the Ghibli Museum, wander Kyoto's temples and explore "electric town" on this essential trip.
10 nights: from US$2093 pp (twin share) Read more >