10 Ways to Enjoy Osaka to the Fullest

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.

Osaka City Museum of Fine Arts Osaka activities
Osaka City Museum of Fine Arts By 663highland – Own work, CC BY 2.5 Osaka activities

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!


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Osaka Wonder Loop Bus + Cruise

Also Read: Osaka Travel Guide: Itinerary, Things to do + How to get There and more

America Mura in Osaka
America Mura in Osaka by Davey 88. CC BY-SA 3.0

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.

Inside Osaka Museum of History via Wikipedia
Inside Osaka Museum of History via Wikipedia

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.

The Ferris wheel atop HEP Five
The Ferris wheel atop HEP Five By BradBeattie at the English language Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0

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.

Museum of Oriental Ceramics
Museum of Oriental Ceramics By 663highland – Own work, CC BY 2.5

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.

Umeda Sky Building
Umeda Sky Building

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.

Shitennoji Temple
Shitennoji Temple By 663highland, CC BY 2.5

Osaka One-Day Walking Tour

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.

Universal Studios Japan
Universal Studios Japan

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.

Universal Studios Japan Express Pass 7

Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan
Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan By Teddy Yoshida (Harajuku at English Wikipedia) – Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons

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.

Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan Pass

Osaka Castle
Osaka Castle

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 Castle – Get a 2 day pass and gain entry to 30 iconic Osaka tourist sites

most-loved Osaka activities
most-loved Osaka activities

Osaka Travel tips

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. If you have time, consider having a side trip to Kyoto, another major tourist destination located beside Osaka.
  4. 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.
  5. 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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