Osaka is That Underrated Beauty of Japan That Makes Time Slow Down: Your Guide to the 10 Best Places to Visit in Osaka (2019)

Osaka is That Underrated Beauty of Japan That Makes Time Slow Down: Your Guide to the 10 Best Places to Visit in Osaka (2019)

Japan is one of those countries that can be visited around the year and has got a name for itself for being an enthralling tourism country with a plethora of new and unique things to try from and not to forget, cherish the historical Japanese culture. Osaka is one of those unexplored tourism spots that has been slowly gaining attraction from tourists around the world. Visit Osaka and experience a tradition in itself as we present to you the top 10 places to visit in Osaka, Japan.

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Osaka - Manchester of the Orient

Osaka is the third largest city in Japan. Tokyo, the capital of Japan, is quite expensive, and Kyoto follows close behind with being the core of Japan’s traditional history. But Osaka is where you should concentrate your attention. Though small it has some of the best and most intriguing scenery, including the world-famous cherry blossom trees.

The Speciality of Osaka

Osaka has always competed with Kyoto for being the best attraction after Tokyo. Tokyo and Kyoto might be more pricey, however Osaka while being lighter on the purse offers no lesser beauty. Also, they have the finest of the food at lower prices. The best part is that Osaka has probably the most welcoming and friendly citizens in all of Japan.

What Is the Best Time to Visit Osaka?

Osaka enjoys balmy weather all through the year. But the best time to visit Osaka is Fall (October and November) and Spring (March to May). Cherry blossoms peak during the first week of April, hence most of the tourist spots would be busy and jam-packed with visitors. But the second half of the month would be free, and most vacation spots would be deserted.

How Long Should You Spend in Osaka?

The ideal time to spend in Osaka would be a week, but it all depends on the length of your vacation. But you need at least two days and one night in Osaka to enjoy the city to its fullest and everything it has to offer. If you happen to have two days in Osaka, you will have ample to visit the central neighbourhoods of Minami, Kita, Tennoji, and Osaka bay area.

10 Best Places to Visit in Osaka

Osaka, one of the largest cities in Japan, lies at the point where River Yodo flows into the Osaka bay before diverting into the Pacific Ocean. Being on the delta of River Osaka, the city has a maze of channels and hundreds of bridges built over it. This has earned it the well-deserved name Venice of the East.

Though Osaka can trace its roots to the early days of the Japanese empire, it is a thoroughly modern city boasting some of the best and most impressive architecture in modern Japan.

Best Places to Visit in Osaka During Spring

Spring is considered to be one of the best times to visit Japan. Not just due to the pleasant and gentle weather, but also due to the stunning Cherry Blossoms and other spring flowers like Pink Moss and Wisteria.

Osaka Castle Park

Osaka Castle is one of the main attractions in Osaka. The castle was constructed in the same site as the Honganji Temple which was destroyed in 1570. Toyotomi Hideyoshi began the construction of the temple in 1583 and based it on the famous Azuchi Castle. It is considered to be one of the most magnificent castles in Japan.

There’s no better place to enjoy the spring than in Osaka Castle, with hundreds of Cherry Blossoms blooming together. This event is called Hanami and is an important event in the Japanese calendar. Nishinomaru Garden in the castle alone has 300 Cherry Blossom trees. The lovely pink flowers are a sight to see and bring a magical look to the palace. Don't forget to attend the Kano Nighter where you enjoy the flowers at night with the brightly lit up castle as the backdrop. Bring a picnic and enjoy the beautiful sight of the trees while enjoying the company of your loved ones.

Spring Night Zoo at the Tennoji Zoo


Visiting a zoo might not be a priority in your calendar, but when in Osaka, it should be! This is because you get to see the animals at night during spring, something which is a rarity. Tennoji Zoo is located right in the mid of Tennōji Park, which is probably the most significant green space in the city.

The zoo opened its doors in 1915, intending to provide the animals with an environment similar to their nativity. The animals are put up in such a way that it feels like they are free in the African Savannah and not in captivity. In mid-march, they open their doors at night, allowing you to see the animals in nature. If you are visiting during the day, make sure you check the free tour timings. Free tours include the greenhouse and other areas that are not open to the public.

Best Places to Visit in Osaka During Summer

Though Osaka enjoys a relatively pleasant climate all through the year, summer can a bit be hot and humid. And that is when the best of the annual events, take place in Osaka. So, arm yourself with some sunscreen, soak up the sun and enjoy the best of what Osaka has to offer.

Tenjin Matsuri, Tenmangu Shrine

Every year in summer, Osaka hosts one of the largest festivals in Japan. If you are visiting Japan in the summer, you better set some time apart to attend the Tenjin Matsuri. Tenjin Matsuri is a 1000-year-old tradition that happens every year on the same date, 24th, and 25th of June. Majority of the fun occurs around the Tenmangu Shrine.

This age-old tradition includes a boat parade, song and dance, fireworks, food stalls, and more. If you like to witness the tremendous Japanese culture, costumes, and customs, Tenjin Matsuri is your place to be at. You can also enjoy the wonderful Osaka hospitality and also delicious food. The festival ends with a stunning firework display that happens around 7 pm.

Gion Matsuri, Kyoto

Gion Matsuri, the most famous festival in Japan doesn’t happen in Osaka but if you happen to be there in July, take time out to attend the event in Kyoto. It has an entirely different vibe than the Tenjin Matsuri. While the latter has a more street party vibe to it, the former is more organized and strictly regulated.

Gion Matsuri is fascinating and enticing for the tourists and locals alike due to its location, which is the Geisha district. The spotlight of the two events are the parades that happen a week apart. The first parade happens on July 17th and has the massive floats but the second parade that occurs on July 24th has the smaller floats. The entire city is closed for three days, and the floats are assembled on the roads from scratch. There are more events but nothing as impressive as the floats.

Best Places to Visit in Osaka During Winter

Osaka is a winter wonderland with tons of activities going on. Winter is cold but as bitingly cold as other Japanese cities. Enjoy the brightly lit up city in winter and relish the change of weather.

Doya Doya Matsuri

Doya Doya Matsuri is held at the Shitenno-Ji Temple every year on January 14th. It is considered to be a foretoken of good luck. In the past, the good luck charms from this festival would be left hanging in the fields since it is said to bring an abundant harvest.

Youngmen in their loincloths and headbands fight the freezing temperatures and scramble to compete for the good luck charm in the temple. Currently, only school children (boys only) make the run for the charm in the festival. The charm is also sold otherwise for good luck. It is said to bring good luck to the students for the exams.


Setsubun is the most important of all Buddhists ceremonies held throughout Japan to welcome spring. In Osaka, it is held at the Ishikiri-Tsurugiya Shrine. More than 50 priests wear samurai costume and scatter beans, rice cakes, and peanuts to keep the evil spirits away.

Festival-goers also throw beans all the while chanting “Fuku Wa Uchi, Oni Wa Soto,” which translates to “Come in fortune, go away evil.” They also believe in eating a number of beans corresponding to your age, for good health. The Setsubun happens in the first week of February.

Best Places to Visit in Osaka During Autumn

Autumn bring the best of scenery to Osaka. If spring is famous for its stunning Cherry Blossoms, Fall brings in the beautiful colours with its foliage. The following tourist destinations attract you with fantastic fall foliage scenes.

Daisen Park


Daisen Park is located to the south of Osaka in the port city of Sakai. It holds the pride of being one among the 100 historical parks of Japan.

The park has a traditional Japanese garden, bridge, rocks, ponds, tea house, museums, and a lot more. Maybe you could pack yourself a picnic and enjoy it in one of the grassy lands while feasting your eyes on the fall foliage. Take a walk on one the trails and watch the leaves changing colours to give you one of the best fall colour spectacles you may have ever seen. Don't forget to visit the Sakai City Museum located within the park premises.

Minoo Park (Minoh Park)

Minoh Park is arguably the best place to enjoy the fall colours and foliage complete with mountains, temple, waterfalls, trails, forests, and what not. The picturesque park lies to the north of Osaka in the Kansai region.

Start the trail at the Minoh Station, walking towards the Minoh Waterfall. The waterfall has an incredible length of 33 meters and is the best place to be if you want to enjoy the Autumn season to its fullest. While there, pay homage to the Ryuanji Temple and also the Red Bridge nearby. The view of the red maple leaf is something that cannot be forgotten easily.

Hoshi No Buranko in Hoshida Park

Unless you are afraid of heights, Hoshi no Buranko in Hoshida Park can be one thrilling experience fo you! It's is a 280 m suspension bridge in Hoshida Park earning the name of being the second longest walking bridge in Japan.

You might have to hike a little to reach the bridge. But the fall colours in the valley below makes it all worth the effort. The stunning fall view peaks in November extending into December as well. Check out the observatory as well for a panoramic view of the area surrounding the bridge.

Kuchu Teien Observatory Deck

The Kuchu Teien Observatory Deck is a rooftop structure located on the Umeda sky building. The building is not one, but two 40 storey buildings joined at the top by the observatory deck.

The visitors are taken to the deck by a tunnel-shaped escalator enclosed by glass. The observatory itself is called “Kuchu Teien” translated as “The Floating Garden”. It is an open-air deck where you can enjoy a 360° view of the city. Umeda Sky building enjoys a reputation for its unique shape and architecture.

Things to Keep in Mind Before Visiting Osaka

Though it seems like just a small island Japan is a expansive country packed with delightful tradition mixed with modernity everywhere. The last thing you need in your vacation to spend your time buying the essentials or visiting the doctor for a minor ailment for which an over the counter medication would suffice.

Besides the usual items you have packed we have listed a few important items that you simply cannot forget.

Read the Instructions Regarding Toiletries and Medicines

Bringing your toiletries is very important when travelling, more so when you go to Japan. Even though you have the Japanese equivalent of most of the international brands, you might find it difficult due to the language barrier.

When it comes to medicines, you can find that pharmaceutical shops carry over-the-counter medications for most of the common ailments. But it is safe to carry medication for common cold, fever, upset stomach, and diarrhoea. Japan government is very strict about the laws regarding bringing in certain common drugs that contain antihistamines, opioids, tranquilisers, and more. Visit the Japanese Ministry of Health for more information before you start your travel.

Wear the Right Apparel with Proper Shoes

Even professional travellers get the apparel wrong sometimes. Even if the climate is predictable, as in, hot in summer and cold in winter, it is better to cover yourself in layers. As, if you find yourself warm, you can easily remove layers than to suffer the heat. Though Japan is colder in winter, you would find that the indoors are still pretty hot compared to outside. They maintain relatively high temperature indoors.

Japanese still follow the traditional culture where the shoes are removed indoors, even in restaurants. Wear a pair that can be easily worn and slipped off. It's suggested that you wear a comfortable pair of shoes during your stay in Japan. You would be walking much more than you ever did in your home country!

Cash or Card?

Even with all the technological advances, you'd find many Japanese outlets prefer cash over cards. If you don't have some spare money in your hands, it may get a little tiresome finding an ATM that accepts international cards. Also, inform your card company about your travel so that they don't decline any of your transactions. There is nothing more embarrassing than finding out that your card is declined when you try to pay a bill. Make sure you hold cash in the Yen since, Dollar, Pounds, and Euros are not much accepted here.

Must-Try Foods in Osaka

Osaka is the ultimate destination for foodies. Apart from the usual fare of Sushi and Sashimi, Japanese BBQ, and Ramen, it is known for certain foods that you may not even have heard of!

Instead of looking for your familiar fare, look to start your day with some Negiyaki, which has its origin in Osaka. It is nothing but a pancake with finely diced onion, lots and lots of it. If you are a meat lover, check out restaurants that serve Yakiniku. It's a type of tabletop barbeque where you get to grill your meat and eat it with a kind of sauce. Some might recognize it as a Korean food and rightly so.

If you're a sweet-lover, get your hands on some Taiko-Manju. It is made by baking a batter of flour, eggs, and sugar in a copper drum with bean paste stuffed inside of it. Osaka has some of the best Asian foods that differ largely from regular Japanese food. So, if you are travelling to Osaka, make it a point to have your meals locally sourced for a real taste of Japanese food culture.

Sunandha Wilis
After spending 12 years in the hectic corporate world, Sunandha quit the industry to follow her passion for writing. She enjoys writing on a variety of subjects including travel, health, beauty, fashion and technology. Apart from writing she also dons the hat of an editor from time to time. Her time off is spent listening to music and wrestling with her boys.
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Learn a Few Basic Words & Phrases in Japanese

Although with the help of online translators, it has become somewhat easier to converse in a foreign country, still it wouldn't take much of your time learning a few Japanese phrases such as 'Hello', 'Thank you', and 'Have a nice day', as Japanese greet everyone respectfully and sweetly so treat them likewise. We wish you a safe trip!