10 Ways to Enjoy Osaka to the Fullest
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Bustling Osaka is one of the major economic zones in Japan and is the most populous and most urbanized as well. It is often visited for its historical sites, the nightlife hub Dotonbori, parks, and shopping districts. One day—or even a week—might not be enough to explore the entire city in the Kansai Region, and if you are visiting Japan with a limited time and budget, doing these ten Osaka Activities will make every second of your trip more memorable.
1. Gaze at the masterpieces in the Osaka City Museum of Fine Arts
For just ¥300, you can witness this museum’s collection of more than 8,000 paintings, artifacts, and other interesting items from the past that originate in Japan, China, and even countries as far as Egypt and Italy. The museum building is actually an artwork in itself: it was opened in 1936, and has withstood time, yet it retains its elegance!
2. Party in the USA—or in the America Mura (America Village)
If Manila has Chinatown, Osaka has America-Mura or America Village. This little area dates back to the 1970s, where shop owners gather to sell miscellaneous goods from the USA. People flock to this place daily, especially in its flea markets, food, and other interesting shops that sell American culture merchandise.
3. Explore all 10 floors of the Osaka Museum of History
The first four floors contain lecture hall, shop, and a restaurant, while the last six floors contain the exhibits. Each floor has a theme and covers a certain era in the Japanese history. What is also so great about going to the higher floors is that they will give you an awesome view of Osaka Castle, which is just across the street. Entrance fee is ¥600.
4. Get 106 meters above ground on a HEP Five Ferris wheel gondola
HEP (Hankyu Entertainment Park) Five is a shopping mall, but what draws thousands of people daily to it is not just the shops inside, but also the red Ferris wheel at its roof. The highest point in the wheel is at 106 meters above ground, which by nighttime will give you an excellent view of Osaka’s cityscape.
5. Look…but don’t touch the displays in the Museum of Oriental Ceramics
The art of producing ceramics is one of the oldest form of art, and the Museum of Oriental Ceramics does a great job by collecting the most exquisite ceramicware from the countries that have the finest makers of these, China and Korea. The entrance fee is just ¥500.
6. Experience the Floating Garden Observatory at Umeda Sky Building
Not for the faint at heart, the Floating Garden Observatory that connects the two titanic towers of Umeda Sky Building gives a 360-degree view of Osaka and even neighboring Awaji Island. The garden, at 170 meters above ground, also gives a free experience of the wind, so hold on to your hats. Access to the gardens and other facilities requires a fee of ¥1,000.
7. Learn the resilient history of Shitennoji Temple
One of Osaka’s most visited tourist destinations is Shitennoji Temple. It was built in the year 593, and is one of the oldest temples in the entirety of Japan! The temple was burned down several times throughout history, but the people rebuilt the temple several times as much, and closely preserved the image of the 6th century structure.
8. Feel like a kid again at Universal Studios Japan (USJ)
Best known for the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, USJ draws millions of people worldwide. Spending time here is a memorable experience, and there are so many tourist attractions in this place alone. If you are planning to spend time here, it is highly recommended to get an Express Pass USJ via Klook.com that gives you access to rides without having to line up for tickets. Another worthy purchase is the USJ Royal Express Pass, which comes with more benefits (like VIP Seats to the attraction WaterWorld, among others). This can be purchased via Klook.com as well.
9. Find Nemo in the Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan
Definitely one of the most-loved Osaka Activities is visiting this Aquarium. This is the largest public aquarium in the world and has 17 exhibits that each has a theme. They have penguins in Antarctica, Japanese spider crabs in the Japanese Trench, and even otters in Aleutian Islands. Try to find which exhibit has clownfish in them! Aside from aquariums, this tourist attraction also has interactive exhibits that are priced at varying fees.
10. Have a picnic in Osaka Castle grounds
There is no wonder how the number one tourist attraction in Osaka attracts a steady influx of tourists daily. The well-preserved castle has an informative museum that details the history of the eras it withstood, and the citadels are very much still intact. Stroll around or have a picnic at the Nishonomaru Garden, and make sure to take plenty of pictures in this scenic site. The entrance fee for the entire castle grounds including the garden is just at ¥200, increasing to ¥350 during cherry blossom season.
Osaka Travel tips
- If you plan to commute to get to Osaka’s tourist sites, consider getting an Osaka Amazing Pass via Klook.com. For just Php 1,164, you can get access to more than thirty locations, get discounts in selected restaurants, and even get free rides in trains and buses. On the other hand, the ICOCA IC Card may prove to be useful if you intend to explore beyond Osaka.
- A cheap and fast way to get to downtown Osaka is via the Nankai Line Airport Express (book here) – Kansai Airport to Namba Station express route, bookable via Klook. This will take you from the airport to Osaka in less than 40 minutes.
- If you have time, consider having a side trip to Kyoto, another major tourist destination located beside Osaka.
- 4G Pocket WiFi is available in Osaka and all parts of Japan via Klook for just Php 243. Device pickup and returning stalls are located in most Japanese airports.
- If you want to visit Osaka in time for cherry blossom season, schedule your trip from late March to mid-April.
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