I’ll be honest. I’ve been putting off my post about Osaka for a couple of reasons.
- I only have poor quality phone pictures for many of the places I’ve been
- There’s just SO MUCH TO SEE, it’s really hard to narrow it down to a few good spots
But today I will overcome those fears and try to help out any of you wanting to visit Osaka.
Here is just a very small sampling of all that there is to do in Osaka.
1. Dotonbori in Namba, Osaka, Japan
If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve seen dozens of posts about how cool Dotonbori is. I really don’t think I exaggerate. There is great street food and sit down restaurants, amazing shops, and lots of entertaining places to go and see.
Don Quijote Ferris Wheel
Within Dotobori itself, I would highly recommend going to the Don Quijote Ferris Wheel that just reopened after being close for 9 years! You get in a see-through orb and float above the whole neighborhood for a decent about of time for just 600 yen ($6.)
The heart food of Osaka is takoyaki. Fair warning, takoyaki IS made out of that cute little red squid, deep fried. Osaka boasts the best street food takoyaki in Japan, and specifically in Dotonbori. In Osaka, it’s made in the special Kansai style where the dough is soft on the inside.
I really don’t know why he’s considered so cool, but this guy is a huge icon in Osaka. I’ve actually had Japanese people tell me, “Yeah, I don’t know why he is so popular, but he is, so you should take a picture!” So, stop by and take a picture with him, then you can grab a latte at the Starbucks and check out H&M Japan.
Uncle Rico’s Cheesecake
Hailed as the best cheesecake in Japan, this stuff is delicious. Seriously, I forgot to take a picture before we ate it all because it’s that good. It’s not in Dotonbori, but an easy walk from there. It’s in the Namba area shopping center, and we found that the Google walking map directions were pretty accurate.
2. Osaka Castle and Park
Osaka Castle might still be my favorite of all the places I’ve been in Japan. It is gorgeous. There’s a huge park surrounding it that is just filled with beautifully manicured trees and flowers. In the early spring you can find plum blossoms, and cherry blossoms abound the beginning of April. The square inside the castle grounds often has food trucks with yummy sweets like authentic matcha (green tea) flavored ice cream. Be warned, though, matcha has a strong green taste and is not for everyone!
You can actually go into the castle, which has been converted into a museum. Then you go back down and see all the interesting artifacts and displays throughout.
Being a museum person, I definitely recommend it. There is English on many displays, and there’s a lot of amazing things to see. Even if you’re not a museum person, the admission is worth seeing the view of Osaka from up that high.
When you enter, you can take an elevator as far as the 4th floor and then walk up the rest of the way to see a great view of the city from the top.
3. Expo City in Suita, Osaka
There is sooo much to do at Expo City. There is a park with paddle boats and a great walking path. They also have an awesome shopping center with a really amazing food court. There is an art display aquarium and they boast the tallest ferris wheel in Japan. That’s a lot going on in one place!
Shopping and Food
The mall has a little bit of everything. It has American based stores, and then Japanese based stores, like this awesome one with super cheap gobstoppers. It also has traditional Japanese toys and candies and they are all really, really cheap! There’s also a Daiso (chain 100 yen shop) and a 300 yen shop, which is personally one of my favorites because you get pretty amazing stuff for such a small price. The food court is also really good, with everything from traditional Japanese food to Hawaiian burgers.
Nifrel – An Artistic Aquarium
I was so impressed by this place! We just visited at the beginning of this month and I couldn’t believe it took us so long. Each room is themed by color or by shape. They have some really unique aquatic animals, as well as a random assortment of not-so-aquatic animals.
There’s a room with a giant globe that spins and projects different shapes while playing peaceful music. .There’s a room that changes colors and has an amazing background. There’s also a room with a hundreds of twinkling glass manta-rays on the ceiling. I would highly recommend visiting! I’ve never seen an aquarium like it, and Japan is not short on aquariums.
Red Horse Osaka Wheel
Yes, I know this is the second ferris wheel I’ve recommended in one post, but this one is worth going on just for bragging rights. It is the tallest ferris wheel in Japan at 123 meters high, and it gives you a pretty awesome view of the city. I know it seems like all the big attractions offer this, but I have never grown tired of seeing the massive city skyline from different perspectives.
That’s all for today! Have you ever been to Osaka? What was your favorite part?