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 or cross Midōsuji (the major road) for entertainment within the southern area, Minami. Visit the city in the spring to see the world-famous cherry blossoms in full bloom.
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.
Find more family-friendly attractions in the Tennoji area. Choose from parks and zoos or the historic Shitennō-ji Temple which, although reconstructed many times, is one of Japan's oldest temples.
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 applaud your favorite movie characters during live shows or revel in the thrills from the movie-themed rides.
For some tranquility, take in the beauty of the Osaka Castle, which was originally built in 1583. After many reconstructions, the current castle was completed in 1931 with enhancements being added as recently as 1997.
Serious shoppers will want to spend time in the Minami area. Retailers range from high-end luxury stores to historic local shops. Rest between stores by watching a show at the Namba Grand Kagetsu, a Japanese comedy theater.
No matter where you go in Osaka, remember to eat often. Known for the “Osaka taste,” local food is prepared with a fresh fish stock and light soy sauce that enhance the local produce and make every bite delicious. You’ll need the nourishment to keep up with all the local flair, fantastic shopping and family fun Osaka has in store for you.