Osaka Tourist Attractions and Sightseeing
(Osaka, Kansai, Southern-Central Honshu, Japan)
From the historic Osaka Castle and stunning 1,400-year-old Shitennjo-ji Temple to Universal Studios Japan and amusement parks galore, Osaka is a city that brings the traditional sights and modern tourist attractions together in an interesting global package. Beneath its dull, hardworking exterior lies a city that begs to be explored.
Osaka offers a less-hyped version of bustling Tokyo
, yet with all the quirky attractions that makes Japan so intriguing and enjoyable. Osaka's main tourist attractions are shown below.
Address: 1-1-10 Kaigan-dori, Minato-ku, Osaka, Japan, JP
Tel: +81 06 6576 5501
This is one of the biggest aquarium complexes on the planet, centred on the theme 'Ring of Fire' in a reference to the Pacific Rim's volcanic perimeter. The eight floors at the Osaka Aquarium contain 14 different watery habitats, which range from tropical to arctic. Complemented by some excellent exhibitions, the unbelievably massive walls of the aquarium tanks house more than 30,000 different specimens of various marine creatures. Antarctic penguins, whale sharks and giant spider crabs are just some of the stars of this must-see attraction. Just try to avoid the weekends when it can get very crowded.
Open hours: daily - 10:00 to 20:00, occasionally closed in June and winter
Ame-mura (American Village)
Address: Nishi-shinsaibashi, Chuo-ku, Osaka, Japan, JP
One of the most entertaining parts of Osaka is American Village, located in the Shinsaibashi district. These seven square blocks are packed with shops, eateries, bars and most of all, people. The diversity of race, age and ethnicity found here is unparalleled in the city. Naturally, shopping is the focal point of activity here, but Ame-mura also offers the finest people-watching site in Osaka. You can sit for hours and watch all shades of Japanese society passing along, including the wonderfully eccentric youths.
Open hours: daily - 24 hours
Admission: no charge
Address: 3-4-36 Ebisu-higashi, Naniwa-ku, Osaka, Japan, JP
Tel: +81 06 6635 1000
This massive amusement park features a comprehensive selection of activities and attractions for the whole family. Exciting modern rides, movie theatres, restaurants, shops and a natural spa will keep you busy all day long at Osaka's Festivalgate, but the highlight is a ride on the super-fast roller coaster, which speeds along at over 100 kph / 62 mph. At the end of the day, you can dip into the hot springs to soak away the aches from keeping up with your kids.
Open hours: daily - seasonal variations
Address: 3-4-24 Ebisu, Naniwa-ku, Osaka, Japan, JP
Tel: +81 06 6631 0001
This luxuriously excessive Spa World is an entertaining bathhouse, holding around 5,000 people, who come to soak away their troubles in hot springs, which rise from deep within the earth. For fun, there is a massive rooftop swimming complex with a wave pool, water slide, covered pool and sunbathing terrace. The ethnically-themed areas of the spa add to the amusement and attractions, with Turkish baths from the Middle East and medicinal baths from China. There is nothing timid about this mega-spa, but if you have any tattoos, they'll politely ask you to leave. Osaka's Spa World is regularly advertised as the biggest attraction of its kind in the whole world.
Open hours: daily - 10:00 to 21:00
Address: 1-108 Chausuyama-cho, Tennoji-ku, Osaka, Japan, JP
Tel: +81 06 6771 8401
Part of the wonderful Tennoji Park complex, which is near the famous Shitenno-ji Temple, Osaka's zoo is home to over 1,000 different animals from a wide range of exotic and endangered species. Some of the creatures here cannot be found in any other Japanese zoo, and the well-designed natural habitats make it a real pleasure to tour the grounds and many animal attractions of Tennoji Zoo. An English-language tour booklet ensures you will get the most out of your visit.
Open hours: Tuesday to Friday - 09:30 to 17:00; Saturday and Sunday - 09:30 to 18:00
Universal Studios Japan
Address: 2-1-33 Sakurajima, Konohana-ku, Osaka, Japan, JP
Tel: +81 06 4790 7000
For pure entertainment value, there's no bigger attraction in Osaka than this massive theme park centred on Hollywood movies. Thrilling rides and attractions based on real blockbuster movies, live entertainment, authentic back-lots, shopping and eating are in full force at this mega amusement park. Unfortunately, this immense popularity means that Universal Studios Japan is almost always packed with visitors. The wait for some rides at weekends can be hours, so try and come on a weekday.
Open hours: Monday to Friday - 09:00 to 19:00; Saturday - Sunday - 09:00 to 22:00
Address: 1-9-19 Dotombur, Osaka, Japan, JP
Tel: +81 06 6214 2211
Osaka's finest kabuki theatre is a must-see if you want to experience a facet of Japanese culture, which was almost driven to extinction. Traditional kabuki performances are given in January, July and other months of the year as part of a rotating schedule. Located next to the landmark Dotombori Bridge, a kabuki play could be the highlight of your visit to Osaka, particularly when followed by a meal at the theatre's basement restaurant.
Open hours: daily - 11:00 and 16:30