Osaka Travel Guide

SD › Osaka Travel Guide
Updated: January 25, 2021

The 76 best hotels, restaurants, shops, bars, clubs, cafes, tours, neighborhoods, and things to do in Osaka, Japan.

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Osaka Hotels

1. The Ritz-Carlton Osaka • Kita/Umeda • $$$$

Intimate and luxurious, with an Old-World elegance. Boasts one of Osaka’s best French restaurants, The Bar with more than 100 malt whiskies and 100 martinis, a lounge offering afternoon tea accompanied by live classical music, spa, fitness center with gym, indoor heated pool, indoor and outdoor Jacuzzis. A 7-minute walk from Osaka Station. • (06) 6343-7000

2. Hotel Granvia Osaka • Kita/Umeda • $$$

Convenient but difficult to find in the behemoth that is Osaka Station. Luckily, rooms on floors 21 to 27 take you away from the fray below. Facilities are limited to restaurants and bars, but options for shopping and sightseeing in the area are limitless. • (06) 6344-1235

3. Via Inn Umeda • Kita/Umeda • $$

New business hotel affiliated with the JR group of hotels. Small but comfortable rooms are mostly singles and twins, but best are the doubles, which are corner rooms with two windows and a love seat. Basic but free breakfast, plus a 7-Eleven connected to the lobby. A 5-minute walk from Osaka Station. • (06) 6314-5489

4. Mitsui Garden Hotel Osaka Premier • Kita/Umeda • $$-$$$

One of the Osaka’s best medium-range hotels, with a great location on scenic Nakanoshima Island near museums and a park. Japanese-style public baths. All rooms, some with river views, offer smart phones with free international calls and data. Free shuttle bus from Osaka Station. • (06) 6444-1131

5. The OneFive Osaka Midosuji • Central/Honmachi • $

Budget hotel with stylish Italian and Asian design elements. Comfortable though small rooms have wood floors and rattan-like furnishings. Free basic breakfast. A 3-minute walk from Honmachi Station. • (06) 6267-2787

6. Imperial Hotel Osaka • Around Osaka Castle • $$$$

One of Osaka’s most respected luxury hotels, away from the bustle of the city on cherry tree-lined Okawa River. Spacious rooms (request one facing the river), a well-equipped health club with indoor pool, spa, Jacuzzi and sauna. Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired Old Imperial Bar, plus many choices for dining. Free shuttle bus from Osaka Station. • (06) 6881-1111

7. Hotel New Otani Osaka • Around Osaka Castle • $$$-$$$$

An older but well-maintained hotel with a warm and friendly staff. Located in Osaka Business Park, just across the river from huge Osaka Castle Park. More expensive rooms provide the city’s best views of the castle. Attracts both business and leisure travelers with convention facilities and a fitness club with indoor/outdoor pools and sauna. • (06) 6941-1111

8. Hotel Nikko Osaka • Minami/Namba • $$$-$$$$

Great location on Midosuji Dori, close to shopping, dining and nightlife. Rooms, especially on higher floors, have unobstructed city views. Facilities limited to restaurants and bars, but ask the concierge for discount tickets to area health clubs. The Shinsaibashi subway station underneath the hotel provides easy access to all areas of Osaka. • (06) 6244-1111

9. Cross Hotel Osaka • Minami/Namba • $$-$$$

Trendy boutique hotel on Midosuji Dori, within easy walking distance of Shinsaibashi shopping, America Mura and Dotonbori nightlife. Rooms are spacious for its price category, including large bathrooms. • (06) 6213-8281

10. Osaka Marriott Miyako Hotel • Tennoji/Abeno • $$$$

Osaka’s most gorgeous and highest hotel, in the upper stratospheres of Japan’s tallest building. Eye-popping views of the Kansai plain from its lobby, restaurants and strikingly contemporary rooms with floor-to-ceiling windows. Located in the new Abeno Harukas hub, with a department store, malls and Harukas 300 observatory. Easy access to downtown and KIX international airport. • (06) 6628-6111

11. Hotel & Resort Bali Tower Tennoji • Tennoji/Abeno • $

Bali-themed budget hotel. Lots of thoughtful touches, including spa soaps and bath salts, plus massage chairs in more deluxe rooms. About a 5-minute walk north of JR Tennoji Station. • (06) 6774-2631

12. Remm Shin-Osaka • Shin-Osaka • $$

A business hotel attached to Shin-Osaka Station. Tiny, quiet rooms. A convenient choice if you’re traveling by Shinkansen bullet train and are in Osaka only one night, as the surrounding area does not have much to commend it. Hotel is, however, connected to downtown Osaka via the Midosuji subway line running south to Umeda, Shinsaibashi, Namba, Tennoji, and other stations. • (06) 7669-0606

Osaka Restaurants

13. Iroha • Kita/Umeda • $$$$

Excellent Kaiseki restaurant, offering set meals of beautifully presented dishes with great attention to detail. You’ll want to take your time here to enjoy the culinary experience, seated at the counter or in one of the two tatami rooms. English is limited • (06) 6344 7355

14. The Cosmopolitan Grill • Kita/Umeda • $$$

Continental cuisine with an emphasis on steaks and seafood on the 9th floor of Grand Front Osaka, with an airy setting and an outdoor terrace overlooking the city skyline. Polished and friendly staff. • (06) 6147-7700

15. Okonomiyaki Kiji • Kita/Umeda • $

One of the best okonomiyaki restaurants in town. Located in a basement, in a recreated retro Japanese “village” of the 1920s/’30s called Takimi Koji. There’s usually a queue, but the line cooks here are fast and efficient. • (06) 6440-5970

16. Enoteca • Kita/Umeda • $$

A wine shop with a casual restaurant offering a limited list of dishes that go well with wine. Wine by the glass; or, buy a bottle and pay a small corkage fee. • (06) 6343-7175

17. Hajime • Central/Honmachi • $$$$

Considered one of the best French restaurants in Osaka. Creative dishes, combined with Japanese aesthetics, are picture perfect – but note that no photos are allowed. • (06) 6447-6688

18. Fujiya 1935 • Osaka Castle Area • $$$$

So small and acclaimed that it feels like a privilege dining at this Michelin-starred Euro-Japanese fusion restaurant (reservations a must). Impeccable service, plus dishes that will change forever the way you look at food. • (06) 6941-2483

19. Good Spoon • Osaka Castle Area • $$

Barbecued meats in a casual setting, with a view of Osaka Castle and an outdoor terrace. Burgers and salads for lunch, tandoori chicken, grilled salmon, steaks, pizza and pasta for dinner. • (06) 6450-6780

20. Kani Douraku Dotonbori Honten • Minami/Namba • $$–$$$

A giant eye-catching mechanical crab, waving its legs and claws at potential customers, is a visual advertisement of the many crab dishes available inside. This is the flagship restaurant of a popular 50-some-year-old chain, with some tables overlooking Dotonbori River. • (06) 6211-8975

21. Ume no Hana • Minami/Namba • $$

A popular chain of traditional restaurants specializing in tofu and yuba (sheets of soybean curd), making it a good choice also for vegetarians. • (06) 6258-6533

22. Maidreamin • Minami/Namba • $-$$

The Namba branch of an Akihabara (Tokyo) maid-café chain. Kawaii (cute) to the extreme, with food and desserts shaped like animals and hearts and with smiling waitresses who also perform on stage. • (06) 6646-1550

23. Matsumura • Tennoji/Abeno • $$-$$$

Japanese set meals, including kaiseki and reasonable bento lunches, served in a century-old traditional Japanese house. Dishes vary with the season. • (06) 6771-0421

24. Kushikatsu Daruma Shinsekai Sohonten • Tennoji/Abeno • $

One of Osaka’s most well-known restaurants, specializing in bite-size skewered morsels that are dipped in batter and deep-fried. The main shop is in the slightly seedy but interesting area of Shinsekai and easily recognizable by the statue of the angry-looking man outside, which is the reception you’ll get if you double-dip your skewers into the communal special sauce. • (06) 6645-7056

Osaka Shops

25. Grand Front Osaka • Kita/Umeda

A complex with more than 260 shops, restaurants, cafes and bars just outside Osaka Station. Its gardens, the Panasonic Center showcasing the latest Panasonic products, and Knowledge Capital (where corporations present products and future plans to prospective customers), it’s a good place to kill a few hours waiting for your train. • (06) 6372-6300

26. Hankyu Umeda Department Store • Kita/Umeda

Hankyu’s flagship department store, established in 1929. Located next to Osaka Station, with two basement food floors and two restaurant floors in addition to the usual clothing, accessories, stationery, tea ceremony items, and more. • (06) 6361-1381

27. Yodobashi-Umeda • Kita/Umeda

A mammoth store offering everything electronic and digital, from cameras to phones to TVs to computers, as well as toys, games, luggage, watches, home appliances, bicycles, clothing, and more. • (06) 4802-1010.

28. Kimonoya Japan • Central/Honmachi

Second-hand kimono store, also selling yukata, (sleeping robes), obi sashes, haoris (kimono-style jacket), and other traditional Japanese wear. • (06) 7493-9415

29. Mandarake Grand Chaos • Minami/Namba

Japan’s (if not the world’s) largest chain specializing in manga (graphic novels) and anime (Japanese animated films). Four floors stocked also with vintage comics, games, character goods, and cosplay costumes. • (06) 6212-0771

30. Chikusui Shoin • Minami/Namba

A small shop dealing in washi (Japanese paper), fans, pottery, lacquerware, and items used for the tea ceremony and calligraphy. Two blocks south of Daimaru department store. • (06) 6211-1320

31. Don Quijote Dotonbori • Minami/Namba

Japan’s largest discount chain, geared to younger shoppers and with more than a dozen stores in Osaka alone. This one, open 24 hours and easy to find on Dotonbori Dori, is packed to the rafters with household goods, electronics, clothing, cosmetics, toys, food items, alcohol, character goods, cosplay outfits, and pretty much anything you might imagine. • (06) 4708-1411

32. Tokyu Hands • Minami/Namba

The go-to place for hobbyists, do-it-yourself urbanites, and homeowners. Gadgets, paper for repairing shoji, umbrellas, household goods, and more. Also great for Japanese goods, from noren (Japanese shop curtains) and bento boxes to bathroom slippers, kitchen knives, and Japanese cosmetics. In Shinsaibashi. • (06) 6243-3111

33. Masuda Shikkiten • Minami/Namba

Lacquerware shop with more than 100 years of history, carrying high-quality products for daily use and for display. Lacquered vases, plates, bowls, trays and boxes, as well as Japanese fans, dolls, chopsticks, and other souvenirs. In the Shinsaibashi-suji covered shopping arcade. • (06) 6211-0683

34. Kintetsu Abeno Harukas • Tennoji/Abeno

Japan’s largest department store, occupying two basement floors and 14 floors above ground. Designer boutiques, cosmetics, luggage, jewelry, pottery, lacquerware, and other Japanese products, plus more than 40 restaurants on the top three floors, including branches of famous Osaka restaurants. • (06)6624-1111

35. Tower Knives Osaka • Tennoji/Abeno

A knife shop with a large selection made in Sakai (Osaka) and other regions of Japan. Both single and double bevel knives, left-handed knives, folding knives, plus sharpening stones, nail clippers, and scissors. In Shinsekai, near Tsutenkaku Tower. • (06) 4301-7860

Osaka Bars & Clubs

36. Binbiya • Kita/Umeda

Great food (including fresh seafood), extensive sake selection, and–unusual for an izakaya (Japanese-style pub) – entirely smoke free. • (06) 6345-3155

37. Club Joule • Minami/Namba

One of Osaka’s best-known dance clubs. Three floors, including a rooftop terrace, offer DJs or live music, drinking at the bar, and just hanging out. Open ’til the sun comes up. • (06) 6214-1233

38. Cinquecento • Minami/Namba

A casual bar with a friendly international crowd, decent bar food, and inexpensive drink prices. On the eastern edge of Shinsaibashi. • (06) 6213-6788

39. Murphys Osaka • Minami/Namba

Osaka’s longest-running Irish pub, open since 1991. Live music once or twice a week, sporting events on the big screens, and pub grub ranging from fish and chips to Aussie pies. In Shinsaibashi. • (06) 6245-3757

40. MoonShine HotDogs & Karaoke • Minami/Namba

Yep, you read that right. But they’re organic gourmet franks and the free karaoke draws in a good mix of both locals and tourists, foreigners and Japanese. • (070-4030-0812)

41. Café Absinthe • Minami/Namba

Restaurant/bar serving fusion Mediterranean food and, as its name suggests, specializing in absinthe. Also offering smokes on a shisha (hookah). In Kita Horie, a bit of a walk from Shinsaibashi Station (Yotsubashi Station is closer). • (06) 6534-6635

42. Traveler’s Bar Osaka Tacos • Tennoji/Abeno

A friendly bar with a welcoming staff. Reasonably priced and tasty Mexican fare. A good place to meet fellow travelers. • (06) 6636-2455

Osaka Tours

43. Osaka Free Walking Tour • Minami/Namba/Shinsekai

Osaka is often referred to as the “Kitchen of Japan” due to the Osakans’ love of food. This free walk takes in Dotonbori’s many colorful restaurants, Kuromon food market, DenDen town with its electronics and anime/manga shops, and the old-fashioned entertainment district of Shinsekai.

44. All Star Osaka • Umeda/Shinsekai/Dotonbori

An introductory 3-hour tour in the Umeda, Shinsekai, and Dotonbori neighborhoods. Private tours also available focusing on food, Osaka Castle, Osaka nightlife and other points of interest, as well as tours farther afield to Kyoto, Nara, and Kobe.

45. Tambori River JAZZ Boat • Minami/Namba

A 40-minute cruise on the Dotonbori River canal, complete with live jazz and views of lit billboards and neon gliding past. • Map • (06) 6441-0532

46. Osaka Pub Crawl • Minami/Namba

A guided tour of three bars and one club most Friday and Saturday nights, with free welcome shots at each venue. Hugely popular, a fun way to meet people and a great option for solo travelers. • (050) 5532-4777

47. Cycle Osaka

Half-day and full-day guided bicycle tours, plus specialized tours geared toward foodies, families, and those wishing to explore off-the-beaten-path spots in Osaka Bay. Rental bikes also available. • (080) 6183-8765

48. Aqua-Liner • Osaka Castle Area

A different perspective of Osaka from its many rivers. 55-minute round-trip cruises depart from one of four piers, including one near Osaka Castle. • (06) 6942-5511

49. Santa Maria • Osaka Bay

Forty-five-minute cruises of Osaka Bay, onboard a replica of Christopher Columbus’ seafaring vessel (but twice its size). Both day and twilight cruises available. • (06) 6942-5511

Things to Do in Osaka

50. Floating Garden Observatory • Kita/Umeda

An observatory bridging two towers of the Umeda Sky Building, reached by a free-standing, glass-enclosed escalator that “floats” through thin air. Great views of Osaka from the open-air rooftop deck, especially at sunset, making it particularly popular with couples on dates. • (06) 6440-3885

51. Kids Plaza Osaka • Kita/Umeda

Educational and fun facility, with lots of cool hands-on interactive opportunities. Kids can learn about different cultures, experience the difficulties of navigating in a wheelchair, try out various jobs in a pretend city, experiment with electricity, and play in a whimsical castle designed by Austrian artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser. • (06) 6311-6601

52. Nakanoshima Park • Kita/Umeda

A popular public park occupying the eastern end of an island located between two rivers. Known for its rose bushes (which bloom in mid-May and mid-October), its grassy expanses, and end-of-the-year illuminations. • (06) 6312-8121

53. The Museum of Oriental Ceramics, Osaka • Kita/Umeda

One of Japan’s best museums devoted to ceramics. Japanese, Chinese, and Korean ceramics, dramatically displayed in darkened rooms that accent the beauty of each piece. Rotating exhibitions. Located on Nakanoshima Island. • (06) 6223-0055

54. National Museum of Art • Kita/Umeda

A national collection focusing on Japanese and international contemporary art since World War II, including prints and photographs, shown in changing and permanent exhibits. Occupies two underground floors on Nakanoshima Island. • (06) 6447-4680

55. Tenjinbashi Shopping Street • Kita/Umeda

Japan’s longest shopping street. Stretching 1.6 miles between Tenjinbashi 6-chome and Ogimachi stations, this covered arcade is lined with about 600 shops selling a wide variety of goods, attracting mostly local customers.

56. Kimono Tea Ceremony Osaka Maikoya • Central/Honmachi

Offers the opportunity to take part in a traditional tea ceremony, dressed in kimono or in your own clothes. A maiko (geisha apprentice) show, plus cooking, calligraphy, and origami classes also available. • (06) 6556-6257

57. Osaka Castle • Osaka Castle Area

One of Osaka’s top attractions. The largest castle in Japan at the dawn of the 17th century, but later destroyed by the shogun, who viewed the resident feudal lord a threat. The reconstructed fortress contains a high-tech museum describing the castle’s history, swords, and other artifacts, as well as a full-scale reproduction of the Gold Tea Room. The expansive castle grounds are famous for their cherry trees and original massive stone walls. • (06) 6941-3044

58. Osaka Museum of History • Osaka Castle Area

A multi-dimensional presentation of Osaka’s 1,350-year history, beginning with a life-size partial reconstruction of Naniwa Palace and mannequins dressed in period costumes. Other displays highlight Osakan life during the Edo Period, when it was a lively castle town of merchants and kabuki actors, as well as Japan’s transition to a modern nation. Views of Osaka Castle are a bonus. • (06) 6946-5728

59. Kamigata Ukiyoe Museum • Minami/Namba

Small, private museum dedicated to woodblock prints produced in Osaka during the Edo Period (1603–1868). Changing displays feature mostly Kabuki actors. A workshop lets you make your own 4-color postcard-size ukiyoe print to take home for a small fee. • (03) 6211-0303

60. National Bunraku Theatre • Minami/Namba

The best place in Japan to see traditional Japanese puppet theater, with productions staged about five times a year. Plays, geared toward adults and centered on themes similar to kabuki, feature a narrator, shamisen player, and three puppeteers expertly and seamlessly operating each puppet. There’s also a small free museum introducing bunraku. • (06) 6121-2531

61. Kuromon Ichiba Market • Minami/Namba

A 170-year-old street market, now a covered food arcade with 180 wholesale and retail shops and vendors. Professional chefs come early for the best choices in fresh seafood and produce, but it’s busy throughout the day with housewives and tourists alike. Seasonal street food is a big draw, from grilled scallops to grilled beef. In the middle of the market is a public space with restrooms and tables where you can eat your goodies. • (06) 6631-0007

62. Sennichimae Doguyasuji Street • Minami/Namba

A covered shopping lane devoted to cooks and cooking. More than 40 open-fronted specialty shops selling pots, pans, dishes, chopsticks, kitchen knives, plastic food, and all the implements and supplies necessary for preparing and serving Japanese food. • (06) 6633-1423

63. Den-Den Town • Minami/Namba

A popular shopping distr, similar to Tokyo’s Akihabara, originally dedicated to electronic goods but now popular also for shops specializing in manga (Japanese graphic novels), anime (Japanese animation), character goods and cosplay, plus maid cafes. Stop by the Nipponbashi Information Center (just north of Ebisucho Station on Sakaisuji Avenue) for a map of the area’s some 500 stores, centered mostly along Sakaisuji and its side streets. • (06) 6655-1717

64. Shitennoji Temple • Tennoji/Abeno

The spiritual heart of Osaka. Founded more than 1,400 years ago as the first (and therefore oldest) temple in Japan, destroyed during the shogun’s raid on Osaka Castle and again in World War II. Faithfully reconstructed to its 6th-century grandeur, with a five-story Buddhist pagoda, vast main hall, and Japanese landscape garden. Worthwhile, too, is the flea market held on temple grounds the 21st and 22nd of each month. • (06) 6771-0066

65. Harukas 300 • Tennoji/Abeno

A 990-foot-high observatory in Japan’s tallest building. 360-degree views of sprawling Osaka and a café on the 58th floor, but if it’s raining or foggy you won’t be able to see a darn thing. • (06) 6621-0300

66. SpaWorld • Tennoji/Abeno

One of Japan’s largest indoor hot-spring baths. Drawing thermal water from almost 3,000 feet below ground, the facility includes various themed onsen, divided by the sexes. Also a large family swimming complex (you wear your bathing suit here) that includes a kiddies’ pool, water slides, an amusement pool with aquatic playground equipment, a sunning terrace and an outdoor Jacuzzi overlooking Tsutenkaku Tower. • (06) 6631-0001.

67. Tsutenkaku Tower • Tennoji/Abeno

Wowed by crowds upon completion in 1912, dismantled for its steel during World War II, rebuilt in 1956. While its fifth-floor observatory can’t compete in today’s skyscraper world, this retro relic at the center of the old-fashioned Shinsekai entertainment district offers a flash to the past with displays depicting the hoopla the original tower caused more than a century ago and corny exhibits such as the one about the lucky god Billiken. • (06) 6641-9555

68. Tennoji Zoo • Tennoji/Abeno

Established in 1915 as Japan’s third zoo. More than 1,000 animals, including hippos, elephants, lions, tigers, giraffes, zebras, bears, monkeys, and more; many in habitats such as African Savanna and Asian tropical rainforest. Many enclosures seem small by today’s standards, but kids love it. • (06) 6771-8401

69. Osaka Aquarium • Osaka Bay

Japan’s best aquarium. Based on the theme “Ring of Fire” in reference to the volcanic rim encircling the Pacific Ocean, it showcases 15 different habitats, including those of the Aleutian Islands, Monterey Bay, South American rainforests, the Great Barrier Reef, and other ecosystems. Everything from whale sharks and Antarctic penguins to the giant spider crab. • (06) 6576-5501

70. Universal Studios Japan • Osaka Bay

A theme park based on American blockbuster movies. Rides and adventures related to JAWS, Jurassic Park, Spider-Man, Shrek, and other hit movies, but the biggest draw is probably The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, which recreates Hogsmeade village. There are also themed attractions for little folks, including those based on Snoopy, Sesame Street, and Hello Kitty. USJ is extremely popular; you might wish to invest in Universal Express Passes for priority entry into designated rides. • (06) 6465-4005

Osaka Neighborhoods

71. Kita/Umeda

A major transportation, business, and shopping hub around massive Osaka Station. Located in Kita-ku (North Ward) and home to Umeda subway and Hankyu train stations, hotels, office buildings, department stores, shopping complexes, restaurants, and bars.
Best Stuff: Ritz-Carlton OsakaHotel Granvia OsakaMitsui Garden Hotel Osaka PremierFloating Garden ObservatoryKids Plaza OsakaNakanoshima ParkThe Museum of Oriental Ceramics, OsakaNational Museum of ArtTenjinbashi-suji Shotengai (Japan’s longest shopping street) • Grand Front Osaka (huge office, shopping, dining, and entertainment complex) • Hankyu Umeda Department StoreYodobashi-Umeda (electronics department store) • Iroha (Kaiseki restaurant) • The Cosmopolitan (Continental cuisine) • Okonomiyaki Kiji (okonomiyaki) • Enoteca (wine shop/restaurant) • Binbiya (izakaya Japanese-style pub)

72. Minami/Namba

Osaka’s other major hub, south of Kita in Minami-ku (South Ward) and the area around Namba Station. It contains many of Osaka’s most well-known neighborhoods, including the Shinsaibashi shopping and nightlife district; America Mura, popular with young Japanese shopping for second-hand American clothing and hip fashions; and the Dotonbori pedestrian nightlife street flanking the Dotonbori River (which looks more like a canal).
Best Stuff: Hotel NikkoCross HotelNational Bunraku Theatre (Japanese puppetry) • Kamigata Ukiyoe Museum (Osaka woodblock prints) • Tambori River JAZZ Boat (cruise with live jazz on Dotonbori River) • Osaka Pub Crawl (guided bar tour) • Mandarake Grand Chaos (anime/manga shop) • Don Quijote Dotonbori (discount variety store) • Tokyu Hands (department store for homeowners and hobbyists) • Masuda Shikkiten (lacquerware shop) • Daimaru Shinsaibashi (department store) • Kuromon Ichiba Market (food market) • Sennichimae Doguyasuji Street (kitchenware shopping street) • Den-Den Town (concentration of electronics, manga and anime shops) • Kani Douraku Dotonbori Honten (famous crab restaurant) • Ume no Hana (tofu restaurant) • Maidreamin (maid café) • Cinquecento (bar) • Murphys Osaka (Irish pub) • MoonShine HotDogs & KaraokeCafé AbsintheClub Joule (dance club)

73. Central/Honmachi

The central area of Osaka, between Kita and Minami wards and within walking distance to both. It doesn’t have the attractions of other districts, but does have some good medium-priced hotels, plus restaurants and bars popular with area office workers.
Best Stuff: The OneFive Osaka MidosujiUtsubo-koen (public park) • Kimono Tea Ceremony Osaka Maikoya (tea ceremony and cooking workshops) • Hajime (French restaurant) • Sushi HayataKimonoya Japan (second-hand kimono)

74. Osaka Castle Area

The historic heart of the city, east of Honmachi. Home to one of Japan’s most famous castles (even though it is a reconstruction) surrounded by an expansive park famous for it cherry trees.
Best Stuff: Imperial Hotel OsakaHotel New Otani OsakaOsaka CastleOsaka Castle ParkOsaka Museum of HistoryAqua-Liner (boat cruise) • Good Spoon (barbecued meats) • Fujiya 1935 (expensive fusion cuisine) • Taqueria La Fonda (Mexican) • Nishihara (grilled eel)

75. Tennoji/Abeno

The only tower that used to mark this southern end of Osaka’s JR Loop Line was erected in 1912, surrounded by an old-fashioned entertainment quarter called Shinsekai (“New World”) that still harks back to pre-World War II days. With the 2014 opening of Abeno Harukas – the tallest tower in Japan — this southern hub has been transformed into a major destination, with sightseeing and shopping the main draws.
Best Stuff: Osaka Marriott Miyako HotelHotel & Resort Bali Tower TennojiShitennoji Temple (Japan’s oldest temple) • Harukas 300 (observatory) • Spa World (hot-spring baths) • Tsutenkaku Tower (1912 observatory) • Tennoji ZooKintetsu Abeno Harukas (Japan’s largest department store) • Tower Knives Osaka (Japanese knife shop) • Matsumura (kaiseki/Japanese set meals) • Kushikatsu Daruma Shinsekai Sohonten (grilled skewered foods) • Traveler’s Bar Osaka Tacos (bar with Mexican food)

76. Osaka Bay

A well-developed waterfront district on the western edge of Osaka. Offers some of Osaka’s top attractions and is one of the Kansai region’s most popular family destinations.
Best Stuff: Osaka Aquarium (one of the world’s best) • Legoland Discovery Center (small amusement center for kids 3-10 years old) • Tempozan Ferris WheelSanta Maria (Osaka Bay cruise) • Captain Line (10-min. boat ride, best way to get from aquarium to USJ) • Universal Studios JapanOsaka Nanko Bird SanctuaryTempozan Market Place (shopping/dining complex next to aquarium) • Universal City Walk (shopping/dining complex next to Universal Studios Japan)

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