There are plenty of great cities in Japan, but Osaka is one not to miss! From history to culture to cuisine, Osaka has a little something for everyone. Explore the fascinating juxtaposition of traditional and modern. If you have a little extra time, Osaka can be a great base for jumping out to places like Kyoto or Himeji Castle. But there’s plenty to see in Osaka itself too. Here are some of the sights you should make sure you see:
Unfortunately, most of Osaka’s historical buildings were leveled during the extensive bombings that occurred during World War II, so most of the buildings you see today are relatively modern. However, reconstructions of historic landmarks have been kept faithful to the originals.One sight that should definitely be on your list is Osaka Castle
, one of the city’s most popular tourist sights. Although not quite as charming as some of the nearby castles—such as Himeji Castle—this is a very remarkable building which is especially lovely when the cherry blossoms are in bloom.Check out the castle’s museum if you’re interested in Japanese artifacts, but know that you’re probably better off heading over to the Osaka Museum of History. This museum isn’t very far away and has far more exhibits and relics on display.
To get a feel for religion in Japan, visit the Shinto Sumiyoshi Shrine
or the Buddhist Shitennōji Temple
. Both display some interesting architecture and can be good places to people-watch and learn more about the daily life of Japanese citizens, especially if you combine your visit to the shrine with a picnic in the surrounding park.During your time in Osaka, you’ll also want to make sure you go to the National Bunraku Theatre
, where you’ll be able to spend an afternoon watching traditional Bunraku puppet shows. Sound like something that’s just for kids? It’s definitely not! Regardless of your age, these shows can be quite captivating—especially when you consider that the larger puppets might require three people working together to control them!
You may want to visit Kaiyukan Aquarium
, one of the biggest public aquariums in the world. You’ll be able to see tons of fish, sharks, and aquatic species from all over the world swimming in approximately 11,000 tons of water. On the weekends, you can generally find a good selection of buskers playing music outside the aquarium, so it can be a good place to come and people-watch even if you aren’t interested in the fish.And chances are, you’ve had instant noodles at some point in your life. Curious about how they’re made? Visit the Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen Museum, where you can take a free tour or participate in a hands-on workshop on how to make ramen. This is also your chance to explore a ton of different flavors of ramen that you wouldn’t be able to find in stores.
You might not come to Japan just for the food, but food is definitely one of the highlights of Osaka. This city is often referred to as the food kitchen of Japan. Whether on the street or in restaurants, you’ll find yourself exposed to the delicious scents of cooking food.Make sure to try takoyaki, a type of fish-cake with octopus in them, or kushikatsu, a type of deep-fried meat or vegetable kebab. But really, you can’t go wrong with whatever you order! Try anything you can get your hands on, and you’ll be glad that you did.
Looking for that special photo from your time in Osaka? There are two great places to get a view over the whole city. You could go up to the gardens at the top of the Umeda Sky Tower
, which towers nearly 60 storeys in the air. Or for a more fun option, check out the Ferris Wheel on the Hep Five department store
, which will take you approximately 347 ft in the air above the city. They’re both especially scenic at sunset, when you can start to see the lights coming on around the city.
Feeling a bit lost? Keen on sending that great photo to your mom as soon as possible? Osaka is the first city in Japan to offer free Wi-Fi across the city
, so you can connect from wherever you are. If you’re worried about your personal information, you probably want to get a VPN set up
on your smartphone prior to connecting to the internet abroad, but once you’ve done this, you’re good to go!Although often overshadowed by the glitzier Tokyo or the more traditional Kyoto, Osaka really is a gem of Japan that’s deserving of at least a little time in your itinerary. Whether your interests are historical or culinary or anything in between, traditional or modern, or some mix of these themes, you’ll find many things to love about this city that will have you ready to return as soon as you get the chance.Article reproduced from JapanRealmhttp://www.japanrealm.com/highlights-of-osaka/#more-10422