Osaka Tourism Information:
Osaka Castle, the main city of the city!
The city is the third largest by population in Japan and boasts of having the second largest economy after Tokyo. A large number of global corporations such as Panasonic, Sharp, Daikin and Nissei are based in Osaka. Therefore it's no surprise that Osaka is a centre for IT and technology, often being cheaper to buy electronic equipment here rather than in Tokyo!
The centre of Osaka, also called Umeda, with Osaka station at its centre, is home to many retail businesses, hotels, office buildings and an enormous underground shopping complex. Osaka is full of culture, entertainment, neon lightening, and multiple options for visitors spread around it's many districts.
However the most important feature of Osaka is its people, who are kind and warm-hearted. You should definitely take the opportunity to interact with the locals, and experience what is best about Osaka.
Osaka is an epicentre of transportation networks which all combine into two main centres, (Umeda and Namba). However when travelling long distance the Shinkanshen trains don't reach the city centre, therefore you need to change at Shin-Osaka and continue your journey by local or rapid JR trains.
Coming from the Airport there is a few lines; the Rapid Express airport line linking directly to Namba station costs 1130 Yen and takes just over 30 minutes. You will quickly identify the trains by their sharp blue and modern shape. For a more economical trip, you can take the Nankai line, (Nankai Airport Express) taking around 44 minutes to reach the airport for a cheaper 920 Yen. At Namba you can change for the metro. Within the city, metro, JR and Busses are all very accessible. Note that the Airport Express Train also stops at Shin-Imamiya Station, which is convenient to for visiting the Zoo, Shinsekai area and the Tsutenkaku tower.
For visitors the best transportation is getting metro and JR lines once in Osaka. A lot of the major attractions around Osaka are around the Osaka Loop Line (O Line), but can also be accessed by the metro. The two main centres of Osaka are located around Namba station and Umeda, both served by the red metro line.
If you are using the transport a lot,then it's worth checking all the ticket combinations available, like daily passes or multi tickets. Below you can find the transportation maps for Osaka available to download.
Rapid Express line between Kansai Airport and Namba
The Kansai Airport Express line
The Metro is the best way to move around the Osaka area when visting.
What to see and do?
Osaka was formerly known as Naniwa. Before the Nara Period, when the capital used to be moved with the reign of each new emperor. In the 16th century, Toyotomi Hideyoshi chose Osaka as the location for his castle, which is the highlight of your visit to Osaka. At a first glance, Osaka is a modern city full of interesting districts which offer many and varied activities from the classic temples to modern buildings, and entertainment, specially in the Namba district. It's a city worth exploring every corner!
The main districts and highlights in Osaka are:
Namba District: Located around Namba Station, Minami, is one of Osaka's two major city centers. It is the city's most famous entertainment district and offers abundant dining and shopping choices. You will find near by the Osaka river and Dotonbori Bridge. In the area it's popular to find traditional Japanese snacks, such as Takoyaki or Okonomiyaki or Kushikatsu.
Within Namba, a short walk downwards the canal you will find, Dotonbori. A large scale downtown along the south bank of the Dotonbori-gawa Canal. There are an unbelievable number of restaurants and amusement facilities, theatres that play traditional puppet shows Bunraku, storytellers' halls and other popular entertainment as well as a number of movie theatres. Better to enjoy at night when the thousand of neon lights are flashing and changing colours!
Tsuruhashi Korea Town
Trips out of Osaka:
As well as the sites within the city there are plenty of interesting places to visit with a short train ride from Osaka. They are:
- Himeji Castle, at only 30 minutes from Osaka by train. The UNESCO World Heritage site is Japan’s most famous and traditional castle. It has survived wars and natural disasters, Viitors can explore the grounds, as well as the interior, of the Castle. To reach there take JR train to Himeji Station.
- Kobe, at 20 min from Osaka, The city is known for the world’s most tender beef. For centuries, Kobe served as an international seaport, welcoming seamen from neighboring countries. That history can still be felt today in the bustling, foreigner-friendly city of Kobe. While visiting there for the day, don’t miss the views from the enormous Ferris wheel at Kobe Harbor and over the city on the Shin-Kobe aerial tramway. To get there take the JR line train to Shin-Kōbe Station.
- Nara, you will find wild deer roam free in the ancient city of Nara, located about 30 minutes from Osaka by train. Nara, formerly known as Heijo, was Japan’s first capital city. Today, historical treasures like temples, shrines, and pagodas can still be seen all around the small city. The best things to do on a day trip include walking through Nara Park, laying eyes on the giant Buddha statue in Todaiji Temple, and enjoying the laid back atmosphere in the city’s quaint backstreets. Get off at Nara Station on the JR lines.
Osaka is considerably cheaper than other cities in Japan, making it a very interesting selection if you want to make the city your base and travel around to other highlights and cities near by. Hotels around the different districts vary in price, the cheapest being in the Shinsekai area. Though it's an area good for budget accommodation it's not considered as the safest and the quality can less than expected so make sure to investigate and compare reviews of the place before booking. Average Hotel is €20 per night though you might need to share the bathroom.
Recommended Stay Duration:
Osaka is definitely a city that impresses with it's busy nightlife and never stopping streets full of stores, shops and stalls which you can walk through for hours! It's probably a much more exciting city at the evening and night. However with the trips which can be made from Osaka it's still worth staying for at least 2 to 3 nights.