Osaka is a Japanese tourism hub providing access to popular destinations Kobe, Kyoto, Sakai and Nara. But there’s much to see in Osaka itself; visit the northern Kita area for great shopping within the business district, find colorful attractions in the downtown area, and see a spectacular show in the glitzy Namba district to the south.
Begin at Kita, home to the subterranean National Museum of Art where you’ll see multiple post-World War II Japanese art forms and famous international exhibits. Directly adjacent is the Osaka Science Museum, an attraction designed with children in mind, where science shows are held several times a day. Visit the Umeda Sky Building and see the spectacular business district skyline from its unique observatory deck.
Find more family-friendly attractions in the downtown Tennoji area. Visit Osaka’s only animal attraction, the Tennoji Zoo, or take a quiet moment in the colorful Tennoji Park. Alternatively, get a taste of history at the Shitennoji Temple, which features ruins from the sixth century, or climb the Tsūtenkaku tower, which has been a symbol of Osaka’s prosperity for decades.
In the Bay Area, explore the sprawling Osaka Aquarium, one of the world’s largest. Gaze at the 29,000 underwater inhabitants, including a whale shark. From the aquarium, jump on a ferry for a 10-minute journey to Universal Studios Japan, where you can see your favorite movie personalities and go on thrilling amusement rides.
For some tranquility, take in the beauty of the Osaka Castle, which was originally built in 1585. Otherwise, take a moment to stretch out and relax in the rose garden at Nakanoshima Park.
Serious shoppers will want to spend time in the Minami area. Retailers range from high-end luxury stores to historic local shops. In the evenings catch an entertaining show at the Nanba Grand Kagetsu, Osaka’s favorite comedy theatre. After a show, explore the neon-lit, energetic Namba area and reflect on a day with so much achieved.