Osaka may come second to Tokyo for being the largest metropolitan area in Japan, but it’s no doubt the best place to experience all the different sides of the country–its modernity, traditions, culture, cuisine, and most importantly, its people. Get to know the diverse metropolis that is Osaka through this list of important facts.
- Language: Japanese
- Currency: Japanese Yen (JPY 1 = PHP 0.48)
- Payment Options: Cash, Visa, Mastercard, bank transfers, Mobile Suica (mobile payment system used in Japan's biggest cities), PayPal, Pay-easy
- Plug: The voltage in Japan is 100 Volt–different from North America (120V), Central Europe (230V), and many other regions of the world.
What to Know Before Osaka
- Cycling is the favorite mode of transportation of Osaka’s locals. They find this as the most efficient way to get around. Bike lovers are surely in for a treat.
- Located at the heart of Osaka is Midosuji, known to be the hipster central of the city. This area is filled with shops where you can purchase vintage clothing and accessories, and find your favorite Bee Gees album at a record store, an endless stream of sneakers, and all the old school items imaginable.
- Learn common expressions in Japanese, like “yes” (“はい,” “hai”), “no” (“いいえ,” “iie”), or “hello” (“今日は,”“konnichiwa”). English isn’t commonly spoken in Japan, so learning the local language before visiting will help you when it comes to ordering food or shopping for a great souvenir.
- Bring cash with you. Japan still relies on hard currency, even if they seem to be the most technologically advanced country in the world.
Filipino citizens visiting Japan must complete all visa requirements, which can then be valid for 3 months prior to the departure date.
Applicants should submit an income tax return and bank certificate if they decide to go without a guarantor.
For more information, you can email the Philippine Embassy with their official address at Embassy of Japan.
Best Time to Visit
It is best to visit Japan during late spring (March to May) or late autumn (September to November). There is little to no rain or snow showers, skies are clear, and temperatures are moderate. Also: spring is the best time to check out the country’s famed cherry blossom trees.
If you are already in Japan, but your money is still in peso, you can exchange currency at banks, such as Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, MUFG Bank, and Mizuho.
Connectivity in Osaka
Japan is ranked 8 out of 10 for having the fastest Internet speed in the world by Nomad Capitalist. As a result, almost 117.5 million Japanese use the Internet. If you want to be connected to the Internet throughout your trip, you can simply rent a pocket Wi-Fi.
How to Go to Osaka
NAIA in the Philippines serves flights from Manila to Japan. Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific, JAL, Jetstar Airways, and other major airlines offer departures with no connecting flights. The travel time from Manila to Japan is approximately three hours and 50 minutes. Click here for the best flight deals.
Arrival at Osaka Airport
Editorial credit: SIHASAKPRACHUM / Shutterstock.com
Osaka Kansai International Airport (Itami Airport) is considered a first-class airport. Itami Airport is the main drop-off point for the Kansai region of Japan, which encompasses major cities like Osaka, Kyoto, and Kobe. In 1994, they opened their doors to help lessen international traffic in Japan.
Getting Around Osaka
1. Train Express
- Getting Around: According to locals, trains and subways are the fastest way to get around Osaka. Osaka boasts two subway systems (Red Midosuji Line and the Green Chuo Line). Your best bet to pay for all train rides is with a prepaid Icoca card.
- Fare: Y180 to Y370 for adults and Y90 and Y190 for children aged 6 to 11 (free for younger children).
Getting Around: Taxis in Japan aren’t cheap, but they save you the trouble. If there aren’t any available subways nearby, you can easily hail a cab during rush hour. Not to worry, all taxi drivers are honest, so you can be assured of your safety. All taxis take cash, and some may even take credit/debit cards.
Fare: Osaka taxis usually cost Y660 for the first 2 kilometers. Beyond that, the fare rises Y80 for every 296 meters traveled. The fare also increases during rush hour.
Getting Around: Since Osaka subways and taxis are always available, locals use buses as their last resort. Despite this, it certainly still is a great option to get around. The bus includes signs, pictures, and different color seats. You can press a button on the side or the bus’s ceiling to let the driver know you need to get off. Head to the middle doors of the bus to hop off.
Fare: Osaka buses charge a flat fee of Y210 for adults and Y110 for children.
Things to Do in Osaka
- Universal Studios Japan: If you’re a big fan of movies and thrilling rides, make Universal Studios Japan your first stop in Osaka. Aside from its beloved Halloween Horror Nights (until Nov.), and the Jaws, Back to the Future, Spider-Man, and Jurassic Park rides, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter has quickly become the most popular theme since opening in 2014.
Get your admission ticket here!
- Dotonbori: Dubbed “The Bright Heart of Osaka,” Dotonbori is the most visited spot in the city because of its neon lights, massive advertisements and signages, rows of restaurants, bars, and shops, and, of course, its vibrant nightlife.
- Osaka Castle: Osaka Castle is one of the most famous historical landmarks in Japan. Representing the unification of the country during the 16th century, it boasts sprawling grounds, a picturesque façade, and glorious cherry blossom trees.
Get your Osaka Amazing Pass here.
Tourists Spots in Osaka
- Happy Owl Café Chouette: Get lucky at the owl café. Owls symbolize good fortune in Japan, which is why you’ll find a number of owl cafés throughout Osaka.
- Osaka Tenmangu Shrine: Step inside an ancient shrine. The Tenmangu Shrine was established in the 10th century to pay homage to the reputed scholar, poet, and politician Sugawara Michizane.
- Umeda Sky Building: A building worth visiting! Considered a famous landmark in Osaka, Umeda Sky Building is a stunning high-rise that stands 173 meters tall.
Book nearby hotels here.
What to Eat In Osaka
- Sushi: Of course, any tourist or local would agree to try Japan’s revered sushi.
- Yakiniku and Horumon (Japanese BBQ): A meat lover’s paradise, Osaka is the mecca of Japanese BBQ. Yakiniku is the Japanese version of grilling beef (like Korean BBQ). Diners can grill the meat themselves on a tabletop charcoal grill placed in the middle of their table.
- Pablo Cheese Tart: Though it may be available in the Philippines, Pablo Cheese Tart is still a must-try in Osaka. What better way to taste the real deal than to try it in the city where it comes from?
Where to Stay
- Khaosan World Namba: Khaosan World Namba is a good choice if you plan to visit Naniwa-ku. The hostel is located near the Osaka International Airport (ITM), merely 14 kilometers away. It’s perfect for tourists who need to get to their flights right on time.
- Shin-Imamiya Hotel: Shin-Imamiya Hotel is a smart option for people who are looking for an affordable stay with excellent service. Plus, it’s only a minute walk away from Shin-Imamiya Station.
- Hotel Mystays Shinsaibashi: Hotel Mystays Shinsaibashi is situated in the city of Chuo-ku. The hotel’s location is also near the Osaka International Airport (ITM) and only 1.27 kilometers away from Namba Station. Guests can find a bunch of tourist attractions nearby, such as Amerika-Mura Triangle Park within a 0.18-kilometer distance, and Daimaru Shinsaibashi within 0.19 km.
- Khaosan World Tennoji Hostel: Khaosan World Tennoji offers Japanese-style rooms and dormitory rooms. The hotel is located in the city of Tennoji-ku and only 0.46 kilometers away from Tennoji Station. It is known to also be one of Japan’s largest ryokan hostels.
- Osaka Guesthouse Nest – Hostel: Located near Teradacho station and about a 10-minute walk away from Tennoji station, Osaka Guesthouse Nest – Hostel offers high-class service and impeccably clean bedrooms. There are plenty of restaurants nearby and tourists can walk to attractions like Tennoji Temple and Tennoji Park. There’s also a delicious ramen shop right in front of the guesthouse.