As the second largest and busiest metropolis in Japan, Osaka has a never-ending supply of things to see and experience–from its beautiful shrines, buildings, and museums to its electrifying nightlife and unbeatable street food scene.
To get you started, we’ve listed down 10 captivating tourist spots that you should definitely include in your Osaka trip itinerary!
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Step inside an ancient shrine, the Tenmangu Shrine. Established during the 10th century to pay homage to a great scholar, poet, and politician in Japan named Sugawara Michizane, who is now revered as the Shinto God of learning.
Today, this temple is considered a cultural heritage site and its annual festival called the “Tenjin Matsuri” ranked as one of the top three festivals in the country. The parade is held every 24th and 25th of July when the shrine’s deity is paraded across the land and river as people celebrate with music, performances, and fireworks.
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A building worth visiting! Considered a famous landmark in Osaka, Umeda Sky Building is a stunning high rise structure that stands 173 meters tall. It consists of two towers connected by the “Floating Garden Observatory” on the 39th floor which offers a fantastic view of the city
through its windows and open-air deck.
This building’s design is so impressive that even the escalator leading to the observatory is worthy to be photographed.
Interestingly, the restaurant floor in the basement replicates Japan’s early Showa Period, a stark contrast to the building’s
steely and modern look.
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Get lucky at the owl café. Owls symbolize good fortune and luck in Japan, which is why you’ll find a number of owl cafés throughout Osaka. To see these majestic birds up close, head on to Happy Owl Café Chouette, one of the largest owl cafés in Japan.
Inside, you’ll find 22 owls of different colors and sizes from 17 species that you can gently pet and take pictures with. Be careful not to use flash or selfie sticks though because the owls can get easily startled or frightened.
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You can stay in one place and see much of Osaka at the same time when you’re at the Harukas 300 Observatory, which occupies the top three floors (58 to 60) of the Abeno Harukas Building, the tallest skyscraper in the city.
This impressive building houses the largest department store in Japan called Kintetsu Department Store, an art museum, a hotel, a rooftop plaza, a garden
terrace, and the famous observation deck.
Abeno Harukas is so massive that you can spend the whole day inside and not run out of things to do!
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Fans of classic cars are going to love Glion Museum. Inside a renovated red brick warehouse constructed in 1923 is an extensive collection of 250 unique and vintage cars from Japan and other countries, including the Rolls Royce Phantom II and hard-to-find Toyota and Datsun models.
Serious car enthusiasts can even purchase some of the cars exhibited here! You can also find a showroom, steakhouse, and a café within the area.
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Shopping lives on in the city. Shinsaibashi-Suji Shopping Street has been the most well-known commercial area in Osaka for almost 380 years now. This 580-meter stretch of shops attracts at least 60,000 visitors during weekdays and 120,000 on weekends and holidays.
You’ll find traditional kimono makers, western clothing and footwear, restaurants, cafés, jewelry, and much more. Make sure to allot half of your day here so you can fully enjoy the shops without having to rush through.
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Located 20 minutes away from the Osaka Station is Tempozan Harbor Village, a recreational area by the bay that features the Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan and the Tempozan Ferris Wheel, one of the world’s largest aquariums and ferris wheels, respectively.
In this entertainment-packed harbor, you can meet 30,000 aquatic animals in the aquarium. Hop on the 112.5-meter high ferris wheel and take in the spectacular view of Osaka for 15 minutes.
Do some food tasting and shopping in the Tempozan Marketplace, and go sightseeing aboard cruise ships such as the Santa Maria. It’s a wonderful area to explore from day to night.
Although the Tsūtenkaku and Kobe Port Towers aren’t beside one another, they’re called twins because of their almost identical architectural design and the defining landmarks of their respective areas.
They’re both designed after the traditional hourglass-shaped Japanese drum that is commonly used in Noh and Kabuki, and both offer a panoramic view of Osaka. Kobe Port Tower is one of the city’s most breathtaking sights at night because of its fascinating LED light display.
Image Credit: @Osaka Akiba Kart’s via Facebook
When in Osaka, go big or go home on a Go-Kart in costume! For two hours, you can zip through the streets of downtown Osaka, including famous spots like the Osaka Castle in your bright red go-kart!
The go-kart has an automatic transmission and can go as fast as 60 kilometers per
hour. It’s completely safe but you have to be a valid driver to ride one.
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It’s like Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory but instead of chocolates, it’s all about instant noodles! The Instant Ramen Museum is a gallery devoted to instant noodles and its inventor, Momofuku Ando.
Established in 1999, the museum is located in Ikeda City, where Mr. Ando lived and worked on his invention inside his little “Research Shed”.
This fun museum also gives visitors the chance to create their own cup noodle with the soup and spices of their choice at the “My Cup Noodles Factory”.
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