As Japan's third largest city and the longtime economic powerhouse of the Kansai region, Osaka is a thriving metropolis with a pleasant easy-going vibe and excellent choice of restaurants, bars and entertainment venues. Its live music scene hosts local talent as well as famous international acts and the city has fast become the hub of comedy in Japan. Best of all, Osaka is a brilliant food destination, home to local delicacies including okonomiyaki (grilled savoury pancakes with your choice of meat, fish and vegetables) and takoyaki (octopus balls served with mayonnaise from street vendors throughout the city).Read More
Spread out far and wide, Osaka may not boast the number of attractions as nearby Kyoto but the city aquarium is world class with a ginormous central tank home to a whale shark and thousands of other fish species. To get to grips with the size of the city, ride one of Osaka's several giant big wheels, the most dramatic of which is perched on top of the Hep 5 department store in the Umeda district of the city. For a taste of old-world Japan, it's worth visiting the Open-Air Museum of Old Japanese Farmhouses where several traditional Japanese country homes have been reconstructed and forms a particularly stunning scene in autumn when the maple leaves of the surrounding trees burn vivid red.
Despite being a reconstruction as the original was burnt down during the firebombing at the end of World War II, Osaka Castle makes for quite a sight set on a tall stone platform overlooking a wide square. There's also a number of interesting museums scattered throughout the city.
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Often missed on many Japan itineraries, Osaka is more than just a city...
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Planning a longer visit to Japan?
Browse some of our popular multi-day trips that spend a day or more in Osaka. Alternatively, if you would like to include a visit to Osaka on a bespoke touring itinerary to Japan, take a look at our tailor-made holiday planning section.
Japan Day Tours and Excursions
Experience the best that Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka and Hiroshima have to offer on our wide selection of day trips and excursions from watching Sumo practice, visiting Mt Fuji, walking tours of the best sites and lots more.