If you’re looking for the best Japanese street food, architecture, nightlife, and all-around vibe, Osaka is all that and more.
Here are 10 of the most unforgettable things to do while visiting Osaka:
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If you’re a big fan of movies and thrilling rides, make Universal Studios Japan your first stop in Osaka. Aside from its beloved classics like 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 it opened in 2014. Drink butterbeer, cast spells, and get a high from the magical 4D experience of Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey! The queues may be long, but the rides are worth the wait!
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If petting baby sharks and stingrays is on your bucket list, Kaiyukan Aquarium should be on your go-to list, where there’s a touch pool for scheduled feedings and petting’s. At 286,000 sq. ft., Kaiyukan is one of the biggest public aquariums in the world.
It currently houses at least 30,000 aquatic creatures from 470 species–from Japanese spider crabs and ocean sunfish to the aquarium’s chosen muse, the whale shark. It also has an open-air exhibit that features Arctic animals such as seals and rock hopper penguins.
Known for its lush, colorful foliage, Minoo National Park is green during the summer and a beautiful mix of red and orange during autumn.
Every November, locals and tourists would flock to Minoo to see the maple trees in warm, earthy tones. And trek to the 33-meter tall waterfall that’s been a meditation area since the 6th century.
There’s also a temple as well as a bug museum that houses thousands of insect species native to Osaka and other parts of Japan.
Before leaving, don’t forget to try a deep-fried maple leaf from any of the park stores, a traditional delicacy that’s only made in the area for the past 1,300 years.
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If you want a blessing of good luck or just need a quiet moment to yourself, Hozenji Temple is the best place for you.
This small temple is situated along an old-fashioned alley, and has a large moss-covered statue of Fudo Myo-o, a Buddhist spirit that represents discipline and strong moral character, sitting in front of a fountain.
Beside Hozenji is an alleyway filled with cafes, bars, and eateries that offer delicious, authentic Japanese food such as teppanyaki, okonomiyaki, savory pancakes, kushiage kebabs, and more.
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If you want a unique theater experience, make time to see a Kabuki (classical Japanese dance-drama) at the Osaka Shochikuza Theatre located in the Dotonbori district. The theater has a Western, Neo-Renaissance style, and is equipped with the fastest revolving and elevating stage in the country.
The shows are mostly in traditional Japanese and women who attend are usually dressed in Kimonos. If you still have time after the show, make sure to sample the food and beer, and do some shopping in the district.
Kitamura is known to serve the best Kansai-style sukiyaki in the world, using a recipe that’s been unchanged since the restaurant was established in 1881. Here, only carefully selected and locally-grown beef is used, making the dishes flavorful and fresh.
Aside from the restaurant’s famous sukiyaki, make sure to try the mizudaki (boiled beef strips) and the batayaki (beef sautéed in butter), which are highly recommended by the regulars!
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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 its vibrant nightlife.
In this very busy area, you can indulge your food cravings and live up to Osaka’s expression “kuidore” which means “eat till you drop” or spend all your money on food until you go broke!
Three of the most popular restaurants in the area that you should try are Hariju for shabu-shabu and sukiyaki, Zubor-ya for fugu or pufferfish, and Kukuru for takoyaki.
Osaka Castle is one of the most famous historical landmarks in Japan because of its sprawling grounds, picturesque facade, cherry blossoms, and because it represents the unification of the country during the 16th century.
With its restored ancient interiors as the backdrop, visitors can wear a full set of period clothing and have their souvenir pictures taken by an official photographer.
For a more current reference, this castle is also featured in the 1955 film “Godzilla Raids Again” and “The Amazing Race 20”.
Photo Credit: osaka-info.jp
Participate in a rare opportunity to mold your own pottery using marine clay from Osaka Bay at the Maishima Pottery Museum. Studios are available for visitors so they can experience using the electric pottery wheel, hand-building, and painting.
If you’re staying in Osaka for a longer period of time, you can also enroll in the courses offered by the museum, such as a 3-month course “Ippan Kobo” for learners, “Chukyu Kobo” and “Kenkyuka” for the intermediate and advanced, and “Naniwazu Kobo”, which is open to expert ceramic artists.
Drinks, desserts, and light meals are also served in original pottery at the museum’s restaurant, Café Maido.
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Legoland Discovery Center is an ultimate indoor-type adventure playground for all ages. The place includes a wealth of attractions and experiences like their lively 4D cinema.
The Miniland which shows an impressively constructed Osaka using more than a million Lego bricks, tour within the Lego Factory. And the famous Master Builder Academy where you can learn from a Lego Master. This will be a great place to bond with the family, especially with your kids!
Tagaytay’s cool weather makes this warm bath more relaxing than usual.