Top 9 Things to Do in Osaka
G20 Summit 2019 will take place in Osaka, the second largest metropolitan area of Japan. A bustling city where you can experience all the richness of Japanese culture, Osaka will host G20 Summit in year 2019. It will be held on June 28–29, 2019.
Whether you travel during this time period or you are interested in Osaka because of G20 Summit, a visit of this city will be a mixture of sightseeing, shopping, family-friendly activities, eating, and much more!
Restrictions during G20 Osaka summit
- The Hanshin Expressway, the main highway running through the Kansai region, will face major closures from June, 27 to June, 30.
- Public parks and parking lots in the Osaka’s Itami airport area will be closed.
- JR Osaka Station area, Osaka Castle Park and Namba Station areas will be closed to the road traffic.
During G20 Osaka summit 2019 we highly recommend you use the railway and subway systems.
If you are planning your trip to Osaka during the time of the G20 Summit, please consider leaving your hotel well in advance for the activities you planned for the day. And be ready for the long lines visiting the attractions in Osaka.
Top 9 things to do in Osaka
From Dotonbori to the aquarium, from the castle to the shopping districts, there is something for everyone. The vastness of choices can be overwhelming. This is why we want to help you and have gathered here the top nine things to do when in Osaka!
- When in Osaka, you can choose to spend your time in a lot of different ways.
- You can visit the Osaka Castle or the Museum of History to learn more about the city’s past.
- You can head to one of the many shopping districts to buy marvelous souvenirs to bring back home.
- The Universal Studios and the aquarium are the perfect places for a family-friendly day of fun.
- Do not forget to try some of the local delicacies, such as oshizushi, udon suki, okonomiyaki, and takoyaki.
1. Visit Osaka castle
The castle was originally built in 1583 and since then has been destroyed and rebuilt several times. The castle tower was built for the last time in 1931 and it survived the war.
Nowadays, it is entirely modern and houses an excellent museum about Toyotomi Hideyoshi, a general fighting for Nobunaga.
The park in which the castle is located is quite big and has lots of green space, sport facilities, the Osakajo Hall (a multi-purpose arena) and a shrine dedicated to the general. You can also enjoy a cup of tea in one of the many teahouses and, during the cherry blossom season, you can admire the 600 trees coming to life.
2. Stroll around the bustling districts of Dotonbori and Namba
Namba is a popular, lively district, packed with restaurants and shops, a really nice place where to experience the hectic side of Japan. In this district you will find one of Osaka’s most popular tourist destinations: Dotonbori, a long street running parallel to the canal of the same name.
If you go there at night, you will be amazed by the show created by the thousands of neon lights and mechanized signs, such as the famous Glico Running Man and the Kani Doraku Crab sign.
3. Visit museums in Osaka
Visiting a museum in a foreign country is always a good idea, in order to get a grasp of the culture, the art, and the technology that form the local identity. In Osaka, you can choose from some truly amazing museums, for example the National Museum of Art, that focuses on Japanese and contemporary art, with regular and special exhibitions.
To know the history of a country is the only way to really get familiar with its people and culture. In Osaka, you can learn more about its history at the Osaka Museum of History. The large models depict the chronicle of the city, and a huge section recreates the bustling atmosphere of the city during the Showa Period.
Finally, another must-visit is the Kamigata Ukiyoe Museum, the only museum in the world with a permanent exhibition of woodblock prints. These prints where created and sold mostly during the 17th and 18th century, and they are characterized by a strong realism which aims to express the true identity of the subjects portrayed.
4. View the cityscape from Floating Garden Observatory
In the district of Kita, you will find one of the tallest buildings of the whole country, the Umeda Sky Building. It is a 173-meter-tall building, connected on the 39th floor by what is known as the “Floating Garden Observatory”, an observation deck that offers an amazing view of the entire city. The perfect place to snap some amazing pictures!
And if you want to eat something, head to the restaurant floor that replicates a town of the early Showa Period.
5. Visit the Universal Studios Japan
The park, which opened in 2001, is located in the Osaka Bay Area, and it is the second most visited amusement park of Japan, second only to Tokyo Disney Resort.
The huge area (39 hectares) is divided into eight sections, each one with a different theme: from Jurassic Park to Harry Potter, from Hollywood to Waterworld. In each area you will find plenty of attractions for both, children and adults: plenty of amusement rides, such as roller coasters and simulators based on popular movies like Spiderman and Back to the Future.
6. Watch Bunraku Puppet Dramas at the National Bunraku Theater
Osaka is one of the best places to watch bunraku, the traditional Japanese puppet theater. The city saw the golden age of bunraku during the Edo period, when this art form was especially appreciated by the common people.
This is why you will find the National Bunraku Theater, where you can watch a play in English during the months of January, April, June, July, August and November. The plays usually last all day and are divided into different acts. You can buy a single-act ticket for 1,000 yen.
On the ground floor you will find a free exhibition on bunraku where you can learn more about this fascinating art form.
7. Bring your kids to the Osaka Aquarium
In the bay area of the city, inside the Tempozan Harbor Village, you will find the Osaka Aquarium, one of the most amazing aquariums of the whole of Japan. It is extremely well-organized, and it does an incredible job in preserving and presenting a huge variety of forms of life that populate the Pacific Rim.
All the marine creatures are divided up in 15 tanks, each one dedicated to a different region of the Pacific Rim. The main attraction is, for sure, the whale shark that lives inside the central tank – dedicated to the Pacific Ocean.
The Aquarium is structured as a spiral: you will start from the top (the 8th floor) and slowly make your way down, moving around the central tank. Some of the tanks stretch over several floors, giving you the chance to observe the animals from many different perspectives. Japan is a great destination for a family vacation.
8. Taste local dishes in Osaka
When it comes to food, Osaka is second to none, and there is a reason why the local food culture is described as kuidaore: “eat until you drop”. One of the most famous dishes is takoyaki (grilled octopus), which is small balls made of flour and egg and filled with octopus.
Okonomiyaki, on the other hand, is a pancake-like dish where cabbage, squid, prawn, octopus or meat are mixed with a flour-based batter and cooked on a special pan. In some restaurants you can prepare your own okonomiyaki. Find out what are the Top dishes you must try when visiting Japan.
If you like noodles, you have to try udon suki, a noodle soup with clams, tiger shrimps, squid, salmon, tofu, and many other ingredients – some restaurants use up to 19 ingredients! Its flavor is deep and complex, and totally worth a try.
Last but not least, if you like sushi you should try oshizushi, a sushi variation typical of this region. The rice and the topping are put inside a wooden mold and then pressed together to form a rectangular block. This compact block is then cut into bite-sized pieces. Saba zushi and battera are the two most famous kinds.
9. Osaka shopping
If you like shopping, you will love Osaka. With its many shopping districts, it offers everything you might desire: from high-end fashion clothes to inexpensive souvenirs, sold by the many thrift stores.
The two most popular shopping districts are Umeda (in the north, served by JR Osaka Station) and Namba (in the south, served by Namba Station). In both areas you will find plenty of department stores and underground shopping malls.
Between the two districts you will find Shinsaibashi-suji, a long tunnel-shaped building that runs for more than 600 meters, packed with shops of all kinds. Discover some tips for the Top souvenirs to buy in Japan.
If you are looking specifically for something, we suggest you look in one of the many specialized areas scattered around the city. For example, in Amerikamura you will mostly find youth fashion, while Den Den Town has everything to do with electronics and games.
Explore Osaka with Asia Highlights
There are so many things to do in Osaka that you will be tempted to spend all the time you have there. Why just dream about all the hidden wonders of this marvelous city? Start planning your next trip with Asia Highlights and let us do all the hard work, while you just relax and enjoy your adventure.