15 Osaka Top Attractions

Osaka top attractions

Here are 15 Osaka top attractions if you are planning to visit someday. Japan is comprised of 4 islands such as Hokkaido, Honshuu, Shikoku, and Kyushu.

Hokkaido is located in the north. Honshuu is the main island and the largest. Shikoku and Kyushu are small islands in the south.  Osaka is located in Honshuu and near the port.

In ancient times, when cars and trains were not available, Osaka had been a gateway for trading from across Asia countries and economic center thanks to its geographical location.  The early signs of human inhabitants trace back to the prehistory time of 5th centuries.  In 645, Osaka became the capital known as Naniwa.  Later in the history, the capital was relocated, but Osaka has remained an economic hub.  The famous Osaka castle was built in 1583 by Toyotomi Hideyoshi who was an influential politician during that time.

Today, Osaka is the second-largest metropolitan area in Japan and also a major financial center of Japan.   Thanks to a long history, there are lots of historical places to visit and enjoy centuries back.

Osaka Top Attractions


1. Osaka Castle

Osaka top attractions
Source : Luka Peternel / Wikipedia.org

The Osaka Castle is the prominent landmark in Japan. The construction of the castle started by Toyotomi Hideyoshi in 1583. When he passed away and it was inherited to his son. As we know, the ruling power class rises and falls. A few years after his death, Tokugawa troops attacked the castle and destroyed the castle and the power of Toyotomi lineage. The castle was rebuilt by Tokugawa. The castle has been burnt and struck down time to time. It was restored at different times throughout the centuries.

 The castle tower has been modernized featuring an elevator for easier access.  The castle also houses a museum documenting the castle’s history and preserving numerous historical artifacts

 The garden is full of cherry blossom trees. Cherry blossom trees bloom flowers in the Spring around April. This garden is the hottest attraction during the cherry blossom season.

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2. Dotonbori

Dotonbori, Osaka
Source : Robert Kodama / pixabay.com

Enjoy delicious Japanese food and nightlife in Dotonbori. All kinds of food shops and restaurants are everywhere. You will find the best street food here.  Colorful neons and three-dimensionally structured signs with eccentricity and quirkiness of the places visually entertain your eyes.

Food, nightlife, entertainment in all one place!

3. Hozenji Temple

Osaka top attractions
Source : KENPEI / wikimedia.org

Experience 200 centuries back in the temple.  This small temple is adorned with traditional Japanese lanterns. At night, all lanterns are lit up and create beautiful atmospheres.  There is a famous buddha statue that is covered with green moss resulted in people making wishes by throwing water on the statue. Luckily, this statue survived during the war.

4. Hozenji Yokocho

Hozenji Yokocho
Source : Choi2451 / wikimedia.org

Hozenji Yokocho is located right next to the Hozenji temple. The word itself literally means the alley next to the temple.  It is a narrow small alley surrounded by small food shops, tea rooms, and taverns. It is worth a walk!  This alley is peaceful as compared to busy Dotonbori. If you are looking for dinner in quiet places, this is the right place to find delicious Japanese food and experience authentic old time Osaka.

 5. Shitennoji Temple

Shitennoji temple, Osaka
Source: 663highland / wikipedia.org

Shitennoji Temple is a Buddhist temple in Japan. It is regarded as the first and oldest Buddhist temple in Japan. The buildings have been rebuilt over centuries due to the destruction. Prince Shotoku built this temple in 593 when Buddhism was not widespread in Japan. The outer temple area is free to walk around, but you will have to pay the admission to visit the inner precinct, the Gokuraku-Jodo Garden and the Treasure House. This is a very beautiful and spacious complex, you will see five-storied pagodas and different shrines.  It is worth it to see all the small rooms for some fees.

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6. Nambayasaka Shrine

Nambayasaka shrine
Source : nambayasaka.jp

Nambayasaka Shrine is also known as a lion head shrine. The stage is shaped with visually stunning lion’s head and teeth. The locals believed that the wide-opened mouth of the lion wards off evil spirits expecting the lion to swallow the evil spirits when people worship inside.  It is a small shrine and located off the beaten path.  You can make a quick trip there, have a nice photo, and move on to the next destination. This shrine is completely different from others, so it is worth a visit! 

7. Isshinji Temple

Isshinji temple
IssSource : John Sonderman / flickr

Osaka is famous for old temples and shrines. One of the famous and many old temples are Isshinji Temple.  The temple was founded in the 12th century. It was destroyed during World War II and was rebuilt.  This temple has modern-looking steel structures, unlike the other traditional temples.  The uniqueness of the Buddha statue of this temple is that it made of human bones. The first buddha statue out of human bones made by a priest in 1887. The tradition still exists now. People can donate their ashes to a temple. They combine ashes with a type of resin. That mixture makes a cast to mold into a statue.  Probably this could be the reason why so many Japanese people visit this temple considering that their ancestors are part of it in the Buddha statues.


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8. Kamigata Ukiyoe Museum

Ukiyoe museum
Source : hslo / flickr

Are you interested in Japanese traditional art? Ukiyoe is a genre of Japanese print art such as woodblock prints and paintings. Many prints reflect the time of history such as geisha girls, kabuki actors, sumo wrestlers and scenes from history and folk tales. In the 19th century, Ukiyoe artists created pictures of nature such as flowers, birds. The landscape became an important element in the later Edo period.  My favorite one is Hokusai’s The Great Wave off Kanagawa, 1831.  Please don’t skip this one from your list. 

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9. Harukas 300 Observation Deck

Harukas observation deck
Source: Steve Boland / flickr

This is the tallest building in Osaka. It is the perfect place to see the whole city of Osaka from the top. Try both night and day to see the city. The night view is spectacular with shimmering city lights.


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10.The Umeda Sky Building

Umeda sky building
Source : Kakidai / wikipedia.org

 The Umeda Sky building is so tall, you can’t miss this one from any part of the town.  It is a unique and iconic building with amazing architecture.  This iconic building features two escalators  connecting two buildings together.  The observatory offers the best 360 degree view of the city without any obstruction.

11. Universal Studios Japan

Universal Studio Japan

Just like Universal Studios in Florida, you would see characters, rides and buildings based on famous move themes. Great rides, games, and movie are all in one place. It is a perfect place for family fun day. Never too young to enjoy rides. Plan to visit there even if you don’t have young kids to take there.

The theme park has 9 different zones such as

  • Hollywood
  • Universal Wonderland
  • The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
  • Amity Village
  • Waterworld
  • Jurassic Park
  • San Francisco
  • Minion Park
  • New York

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12. SpaWorld

SpaWorld
Source: Dick Thomas Johnson / flickr

Onsen means hot spring in Japanese.  As you might know, the land is still volcanically active. Japan boasts of many natural hot springs throughout the country.  After days of sightseeing, SpaWorld would be a perfect place to rest and relax and get some massages as well. The place offers a gown and towels to all customers.  There are many rooms with different kinds of scented baths, temperatures, indoor spa, outdoor spa, etc.  You could spend all day without going outside. Most of these places are equipped with foods services and other extra services such as massage and skin treatment. Plan one day for rejuvenation!


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13. Tempozan Ferris Wheel

Ferris Wheel
Source: Nankou Oronain / wikimedia.org

Tempozan Ferris Wheel is located in Osaka Bay. This Ferris Wheel offers an incredible views of Osaka Bay, Osaka city and Kobe on distance. Osaka Aquarium is also located right next to the Ferris Wheel.  You could plan to visit the Aquarium after Ferris Wheel ride. It is only about 15 minutes of slow ride, but it is enough time to enjoy stunning views of Osaka port and the city.

14  Kuromon Market

Kuromon Market
Source : DVMG / wikimedia.org

Japan is an island. Due to this geographic reason, Japanese people have consumed a lot more seafood than other countries.  Fish was their main protein sources before people started eating animal meat.

In Kuromono market, you would find lots of fish, shells, produces and homewares. Stroll around, shop and eat delicious food . Some stalls offer cooking right in front of you and people enjoy eating cheap & delicious sushi, sashimi, and grilled seafood, takoyaki, okonomiyaki and more.


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15.  Osaka Museum of Housing and Living

Osaka museum of housing and living
Source : amanderson2 / flickr

This museum features traditional buildings and streets in life-size that reflect what life would look like in the past.  The model of the entire city is based on the Edo Period. The museum showcases different shops, houses, and a common bathhouse during that time. It is an enjoyable and informative experience to see how the rich and poor lived here about 190 years ago.


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