Introducing the city

£1.00 | ¥142

GBP | JPY

Gasoline £0.88 | ¥125

One-way ticket £1.40 | ¥200

Beer £2.81 | ¥400

Main Course £5.62 | ¥800

About Osaka

Osaka is Japan's gateway to the rest of the world with its infamous 'Naniwazu' trading port, international businesses and traditional Japanese experiences such as Bunraku puppetry attracting millions of visitors every year.

Located in the centre of the main island Honshu, Osaka is the second largest metropolitan area after Tokyo. With a growing number of shopping districts that let you shop-till-you-drop, beautiful historic temples to explore and a year-round calendar of incredible festivals, Osaka is rapidly becoming the go-to place of Japan.

It has earned its place in international tourism, with millions of people visiting every year to see icons such as the Osaka Castle and Museum of History. Universal Studios, Japan also make this a popular destination for families and its famous food scene attracts sushi-lovers from around the world.

Osaka sits in the centre of the Osaka prefecture in the Kansai region of Japan. The prefecture also includes interesting and diverse cities such as Sakai, Minoh and Higashi-osaka which are all worth a visit if you have a couple of weeks to spend in the area.

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When should you visit?

Osaka is a year-round holiday destination but if you want to enjoy the cherry blossom season, visit Osaka in the spring.

The autumn landscape in Osaka is beautiful, with leaves changing colour to decorate the city in red. Avoid summer if you hate high humidity and sporadic showers. Temperatures reach a warm but pleasant fifteen degrees Celsius in springtime (March-April) and rise dramatically over the summer reaching highs of 30 degrees Celsius in August.

Winter can be cold with lows of five degrees Celsius in January an February. Avoid visiting in Golden Week (generally the beginning of May) as airports can be extremely busy with locals taking holidays domestically, meaning hotels and transport prices increase.

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Travioor top tips

Ryokans
Boat trips
Wheel Views

Insider Info

  • Stay in a traditional Japanese inn, a ryokan, if you'd like an authentic experience. Many are located on the outskirts of the city, so will provide a good escape from the crowds at the end of a busy day sightseeing.
  • For an alternate look at Osaka, hop on board a boat. Try the 'Golden Wasen' to see the Osaka Castle grounds or the 'Himawari' water bus if you'd like fine dining and live piano performances while you cruise the main river.
  • Take a ride on the 112 metre-high Ferris wheel for remarkable views of the city and the surrounding areas. Go at night if you'd like to see an ocean of lights and colours.

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Food and drink

Main Course £5.62 | ¥800

3-Course Meal £21.07 | ¥3,000

Cappuccino £2.32 | ¥330

Beer £2.81 | ¥400

The Scene

Osaka wasn't given the title of 'Kitchen of the Nation' for nothing. Get ready to awaken your taste-buds to some of the most obscure dishes you've ever seen.

If you want to dine in luxury then try one of the hundreds of Michelin-starred restaurants scattered across the city. Fujiya 1935 is all about the presentation, offering seasonal vegetables and the freshest meat and seafood. Try Saeki if sushi is your thing - it's considered the best sushi restaurant in Osaka.

If you're budget isn't that big but your appetite is, head down to Dotonbori to experience what the Japanese call kuidaore - to eat yourself bankrupt. The streets in the Dotonbori area are packed with so many restaurants and bars, you won't know where to start. Head to Hozenji-Yokocho if you want to experience the charm of Old Osaka. If you like takoyaki then visit Takohachi or Kinguemon if ramen is more your thing.

Once you've filled up on food, head out into the lively Osaka nightlife of the Shinsaibashi and Umeda districts. With everything from typical British pubs like Covent Garden to Mediterranean gems like Café Absinthe which serves up the best shisha in Osaka, you'll never be short of cool, fun places to go. Of course make sure your night includes a stop at a sake shop.

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History

Osaka’s Story

Osaka has a rich, interesting history that dates back to the fifth century. Naniwazu Port connected Osaka to the rest of the world, encouraging visitors from Korea, China and the rest of Asia. It was once the capital of Japan in 645 A.D. thanks to the Emperor Kotoku. He went on to build the iconic Naniwanomiya Palace which nowadays exists only in a replicated form in the Osaka Museum of history. Despite losing its capital status to Kyoto, Kamakura and later Tokyo, Osaka still remains an important part of Japan, bringing and maintaining relationships with foreign trade partners through its busy ports.

The Heian period saw many majestic temples built in the Osaka region and the future looked prosperous for the city. Unfortunately centuries of civil wars damaged the physical and spiritual landscape of Osaka which wouldn't then be restored until Japan entered the Edo period in 1601 to 1867.

Osaka was able to rebuild its identity over the next few decades, becoming 'Japan's kitchen' because of its trading ports which sent rice to other areas of the country and worldwide destinations. The Meji Restoration of 1868 brought more bad news for Osaka. It became a hub of factories that sent a worrying amount of smoke into the air, enough for it to be nicknamed 'The Manchester of the Orient.'

Following the devastation of World War II, Osaka had to rebuild itself yet again. Nowadays it is an economic force to be reckoned with. Home to hundreds of corporate businesses, five-star hotels and a growing tourist industry it seems that Osaka has finally forged its global identity.

Visit the Osaka Museum of History for ancient exhibits and more information on the city's history.

Language

Konnichiwa | Hello
Arigatou | Thank you

Japanese

Japanese is the main language of Osaka but local Kansai dialects are also spoken. Oska-ben is a dialect adopted by locals.

English is spoken by many people working in the tourist industry but don't expect everyone to know it. Much of the younger generation are keen to learn English, especially those travelling to English-speaking countries for university. Be friendly and chat to students if they hear you speaking English and show interest.

You might want to learn a few useful phrases:

  • How are you - o genki desu ka
  • Do you speak English? - Eigo wa dekimasu ka?
  • How much is this? - ikura desu ka?
  • Help! - tasukete!

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Need to know

+ 81 6 Dialling code
119 Fire/ambulance

Get The Low-Down

  • The city has five sightseeing centres that offer comprehensive advice on what to see and do in Osaka. 
  • There is free Wi-Fi throughout the city so you will always have access to virtual, guides, maps etc. 
  • Purchase a travel pass for discounts on transport and entrance into major attractions. The Osaka Amazing Pass (adults only) is the best all-inclusive pass. Choose from a one-day or two-day pass for unlimited access to transport and entrance into 28 tourist sites. 
  • Tips are often considered offensive so don't do it. 
  • There are very few bins in Japanese cities so take a plastic bag to carry your rubbish in when you're out and about until you can dispose of it properly. 

VISA INFORMATION

Find out about the visa requirements for Japan here

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Travioor Recommends

1. Hanging Ruins

Visit the hanging ruins in Shinsekai if you want a scare. This burnt-out building was supposedly home to a life-sized doll that was in fact a real dead body.

2. Osaka Castle

Visit this important landmark and explore the beautiful Nisinomaru Garden to see cherry blossom trees and the Hoshoan tea-ceremony house.

3. Kaiyūkan Aquarium

Rated as one of the best aquariums in the world, Kaiyūkan boasts Antarctic penguins, manta rays and a whale shark that swims amongst the other fish in a huge central tank.

4. Mount Kongo

Hike to the top of Mount Kongo if you're feeling adventurous. It's only 90 minutes from the city and is particularly beautiful in the winter when it's covered in snow.

5. Bunraku

Osaka is the birthplace of Bunraku puppet play. Go to a performance at the National Bunraku Theatre and marvel at the talents of the puppeteers who bring the stage to life.


See What's On In Osaka  


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