HOME Kansai Osaka Umeda, Osaka Station, Kitashinchi 32 Epic Things to Do in Osaka: From Historic Tours to Go-Karting, Traditional Performances, and Festival Extravaganzas
32 Epic Things to Do in Osaka: From Historic Tours to Go-Karting, Traditional Performances, and Festival Extravaganzas

32 Epic Things to Do in Osaka: From Historic Tours to Go-Karting, Traditional Performances, and Festival Extravaganzas

Last updated: 18 July 2023

Looking for some inspiration on what to do in Osaka? You're in luck! Osaka is a vibrant city that attracts visitors from all over the world, offering a variety of attractions that cater to every taste. Whether you're a foodie, a shopper, or an adrenaline junkie, there is always something exciting to do in Osaka.

Here, we've compiled a list of the best things to do in Osaka, plus tips on when to enjoy them. So, get ready to explore this amazing city and make the most of your trip!

Main image: PIXTA

Table of Contents
  1. Discover the Delights of Osaka's Top Tourist Spots
  2. Fun Activities & Experiences in Osaka
  3. Taste the City's Best Bites with Osaka's Food Tours & More
  4. Unleash Your Inner Shopaholic in Osaka
  5. Shop for great deals! Japan's largest-scale shopping mall
  6. Join in the Festive Fun at Osaka's Vibrant Festivals
Recommended city & transit passes for Osaka

Discover the Delights of Osaka's Top Tourist Spots

Enjoy an unforgettable journey as you explore Osaka's top tourist spots. From historic landmarks and bustling markets to innovative museums and scenic parks, the city offers an array of diverse attractions. Each destination offers a unique insight into Osaka's rich culture and vibrant lifestyle.

Explore the Historic Wonders of Osaka Castle

When exploring Osaka, a visit to Osaka Castle should be at the top of your itinerary. This iconic attraction holds tremendous significance and is immensely popular among tourists for a multitude of reasons. Immerse yourself in the rich tapestry of Japanese history as you wander through the magnificent castle grounds and the meticulously maintained gardens that envelop it. Before or after exploring the castle, take a leisurely stroll through the gardens, which offer an idyllic setting. In particular, during the spring season, Osaka Castle becomes a mesmerizing sight, adorned with countless cherry blossoms that create a breathtaking panorama. This captivating view alone warrants a visit, as Osaka Castle ranks among the top 100 destinations in Japan to admire cherry blossoms. Regardless of the time of year, Osaka Castle is a must-see attraction for all visitors, whether you're traveling with family or embarking on a solo adventure.

Enjoy Art and Greenery at Expo '70 Commemorative Park

Located on the grounds where the Expo '70 (1970 World Fair) once took place, you'll discover a sprawling green oasis known as Expo Commemoration Park. Spanning around 2.64 km², the park preserves several notable structures from the Expo '70 era, such as The Tower of the Sun Museum, The Expo '70 Pavilion, and The Japan Folk Crafts Museum Osaka, among others. As you explore the park, delight in the vibrant array of flowers and plants that grace the landscape throughout the year, each season boasting its own unique charm. Spring and fall are particularly enchanting periods to plan your visit, as nature unveils its most captivating displays during these times.

Soar High Above Osaka on the Tempozan Giant Ferris Wheel

Experience the awe-inspiring Tempozan Giant Ferris Wheel, a colossal structure boasting a nearly 100-meter diameter, firmly securing its place among the world's largest Ferris wheels. On clear and sunny days, this remarkable attraction offers unparalleled panoramic views, stretching as far as Mt. Ikoma, the Akashi Kaikyo Bridge, and even Kansai International Airport. For an exhilarating twist, opt for one of the see-through cabins, allowing you to peer directly through the floor of the car, enhancing the sensation of floating above the cityscape.

Enjoy City Views from Osaka’s Iconic Tsutenkaku Tower (Before Enjoying a Slide Down!)

With a history spanning a century, Tsutenkaku Tower stands as a historic landmark and a revered symbol of Osaka's iconic Shinsekai district. Upon its completion, this architectural marvel claimed the title of the tallest building in Asia. Today, visitors can ascend to the observation floors and be treated to breathtaking panoramic views of the cityscape.

Wrapping around the Tsutenkaku Tower, an exciting addition awaits: the thrilling TOWER SLIDER, unveiled in 2022. Resembling a winding serpent, this exhilarating 60-meter slide plunges down into the depths of the tower’s basement floor, providing an adrenaline-fueled descent that lasts a mere 10 seconds. Embark on this thrilling adventure and add an extra dose of excitement to your Osaka experience.

Create Your Own Culinary Masterpiece at the CUPNOODLES MUSEUM

Established in 1999, the CUPNOODLES MUSEUM Osaka Ikeda pays homage to the groundbreaking invention of instant ramen, while also promoting the inspiring notion that anyone can become an inventor. Step into this engaging museum and embark on a journey through the history of instant ramen.

One of the highlights of the museum is the opportunity to unleash your creativity by designing your own personalized cups and crafting your very own unique cup noodles. This hands-on experience is especially recommended for families, as children will delight in the chance to create their own customized cup noodles, fostering a sense of excitement and creativity.

Immerse Yourself in Nature at Osaka's Serene Minoh Park

Escape the bustling city and find serenity in Meiji-no-mori Mino Quasi-National Park, where the captivating Minoh Falls awaits. Nestled amidst lush greenery, these majestic falls provide a breathtaking sight to behold. In autumn, the surrounding landscape transforms into a vibrant canvas of yellow, orange, and red hues, showcasing nature's impeccable artistry.

For nature enthusiasts and those seeking outdoor adventures, this park offers excellent hiking trails that allow you to immerse yourself in the tranquil surroundings. Take a leisurely stroll through the park's trails and bask in the peaceful ambiance that provides a much-needed respite from the city's fast pace.

Couples who appreciate the simple joys of walking hand-in-hand will find Minoh Park particularly delightful. Embrace the romantic atmosphere as you explore the park's enchanting pathways.

Step Back in Time at the Tomb of Emperor Nintoku (Daisen Kofun)

The tomb of Emperor Nintoku is one of the world’s largest, with a keyhole-shaped tumulus that stretches over 480 meters and sits on an area of almost 464,000 square meters. It is also referred to as “Mozu no Mimihara no Naka no Misasagi.” The best time to see it is in the spring and fall, and it is more recommended for solo travelers and couples as there isn’t much for young kids to do.

Relish the Views from the HARUKAS 300 Observatory

Rising majestically in the Osaka skyline, Abeno Harukas stands tall as one of Japan's tallest skyscrapers. Reaching a soaring height of over 300 meters, it offers visitors an extraordinary observatory experience spanning the 58th to 60th floors. On a clear day, indulge in the breathtaking panoramic views of Osaka from the observatory, where the city's charm unfolds before your eyes. Ascending before sunset and staying for it is also highly recommended. Take a moment to unwind at the cafe-dining bar, savoring the serene ambiance and treating yourself to delectable culinary delights. As an added delight, Abeno Harukas presents limited-edition seasonal foods that tantalize the taste buds and make your visit even more memorable.

Explore the Trendy Lanes of Americamura in Southern Osaka City

Americamura, also known as American Village, is on the west side of Midosuji. Many miscellaneous shops can be found, including second-hand imported clothing stores, variety shops, galleries, and more. The village also exists as a sort of base of operation for the fashion scene of Osaka’s young people.

  • Americamura
    • Address 1 and 2, Nishishinsaibashi, Chuo-ku, Osaka-shi, Osaka, 542-0086
      View Map
    • Nearest Station Shinsaibashi Station (Midosuji Line / Nagahoritsurumiryokuchi Line)
      1 minute on foot
    • Phone Number 06-6258-5002

Dive into Marine Wonders at Osaka Aquarium KAIYUKAN

The Osaka Aquarium, Kaiyukan, is one of Japan’s largest aquariums. Kaiyukan is known for its iconic huge tank dedicated to whale sharks and adorable seals. What makes Kaiyukan so remarkable is the care they take to showcase their marine lives.

They have 15 fish tanks! Each replicates the environment of a specific region of the Pacific Rim. Their central tank is one of the most well-known, representing the Pacific Ocean; it is an impressive nine meters deep and houses the famous whale shark. This aquarium has eight floors and allows visitors to see various tanks from various angles, making it a unique experience you cannot experience elsewhere. Another feature that makes Kaiyukan so great is that it is open all year round, making it the perfect thing to do no matter the weather or season you decide to visit Osaka!

Savor the Flavors of Osaka on Dotonbori Street

Take a stroll around the famous Dotonbori in Osaka! Make sure to pick up some classic Osaka foods like takoyaki and kushikatsu to warm up your body as the days get colder in autumn. Fall is a great time to enjoy going around street food stores, as it's not too hot or cold! And if the weather is nice, consider taking a cruise down the canal as well. Dotonbori is also home to Creo-Ru, one of the most popular takoyaki stores in Osaka and a great place to start your street food adventure in Dotonbori!

  • Dotonbori
    • Address 4–10, 1-chome, Dotonbori, Chuo-ku, Osaka-shi, Osaka, 542-0071
      View Map
    • Nearest Station Namba Station (Midosuji Line / Yotsubashi Line / Sen-nichimae Line)

Unleash Your Imagination at the LEGOLAND® Discovery Center Osaka

Treat your kids to a thrilling experience at LEGOLAND® Discovery Center in Osaka. Filled with millions of famous toy bricks, the theme park is a land of creativity waiting to be discovered. You can easily spend the whole day here with your family and not even notice the time go by. There’s plenty to do at the park besides playing with LEGO blocks: go on a tour of the brick factory, watch a 4D movie or go in for a hands-on experience at a brick-making class — and more! The park is conveniently located just a five-minute walk from a subway station so a visit to the park will not be a big detour from your sightseeing plans. Although it is fun for adults too, LEGOLAND® is particularly recommended for families with young kids – and makes a perfect rainy day activity, too!

  • LEGOLAND® Discovery Center Osaka
    • Address Tempozan Market Place 3F, 1-1-10 Kaigan-dori, Minato-ku, Osaka, 552-0022

Unearth Osaka's Past at the Osaka Museum of History

The Osaka Museum of History is a great place to grasp Osaka’s rich history! The museum captures the city’s history from ancient times to the lively shopping streets during the Showa period. They have stunning exhibits made to real-life size so visitors can experience how Osaka was back in the day. It is also close to Osaka Castle, making it a great place to stop and learn more about Osaka’s history!

Marvel at Osaka's Skyline from the Umeda Sky Building

The Umeda Sky Building is an iconic landmark in Osaka! You can view Osaka city from a height of 170 meters and take in the beautiful view from the floating garden observatory on the 39th floor! Enjoy the beautiful view from the Umeda Sky Building and head to the basement floor where the restaurants are, with an atmosphere replicating the Showa period!

Fun Activities & Experiences in Osaka

(Photo: PIXTA)
(Photo: PIXTA)

Osaka has many options for enjoying all kinds of experiences, you can dress up like Mario and go go-karting or even try a maid café! Regardless of what you are looking for – Osaka has it all.

Cruise Along the Scenic Tombori River

Enjoy a relaxing 20-minute boat ride on the Dotonbori River! Enjoy viewing the vibrant signs unique to Dotonbori and get a quick history lesson on the area. A great unique way to enjoy Dotonbori, and a great way to get away from the large crowds on a hot summer day and enjoy the cool breeze of the river!

Rev Your Engines with Akiba Kart Osaka

(Photo: Klook)
(Photo: Klook)

Tour the city of Osaka in style by dressing up as your favorite character and driving through the streets on a go-kart! You can visit popular sightseeing areas like Dotonbori, Osaka Castle, and more! With an automatic transmission, signal lights, and adjustable seats, you can easily make your way around as fast as 60km per hour! To join this experience, you will need an international driving permit or a Japanese driver's license. Get ready to hit the roads and do some exploring! As you need a driver’s license this is an adults-only experience.

Lose Yourself in the Lush Beauty of the teamLab Botanical Garden Osaka

(Photo: Klook)
(Photo: Klook)

An art collective called teamLab has transformed the 240,000 square meter Nagai Botanical Garden, home to 1,200 plant species, into an experiential art space that changes interactively with the behavior of nature and the presence of people. It is entertaining for all ages!

Experience the Magic of Traditional Taishu-Engeki Performances

(Photo: Klook)
(Photo: Klook)

Taishu-engeki is a kind of light theater traditionally popular in Japan among normal people. This highly cultural form of theater is not to be missed; luckily, it is easy to experience it in the heart of Osaka. This theater experience is split into three parts: a mini-show, a play, and a “grand maikoshow. The third part is non-verbal, so it is easier for non-Japanese-speaking visitors to enjoy.

Dive into a World of Fun at Universal Studios Japan (USJ)

(Photo: Klook)
(Photo: Klook)

This is one of Japan's most visited theme parks, and USJ offers various thrilling attractions for adults and children. The attractions are based on famous movies such as Harry Potter, Jurassic Park, and Minions, and they recently opened a Super Nintendo World as well! USJ is fun to visit no matter the season; however, they hold their iconic Halloween Event in autumn! During the Halloween Event, you will find various zombies lurking around and multiple Halloween-themed rides to help get your adrenaline pumping! So, if you are in Osaka during the fall, it is well worth heading to USJ to enjoy this limited-time event!

Soak at Solaniwa Onsen, Kansai’s Largest Hot Spring Theme Park

(Photo: Klook)
(Photo: Klook)

Solaniwa Onsen is the largest onsen theme park in Kansai! The theme park replicates the town scenery seen during the Azuchi-Momoyama period, so visitors can feel like they have leaped back into the past! Enjoy the numerous onsens, foot baths, stone saunas, delicious Japanese cuisine, and Japanese-style gardens. They also have various yukatas guests can wear to enjoy the Japanese onsen culture. A great place to relax and get away from the chillier autumn or winter weather and warm your body up! It is particularly recommended for couples looking for a relaxing getaway.

Indulge in the Unique Experience of Maidreamin Osaka's Maid Café

(Photo: Klook)
(Photo: Klook)

Before dog cafes, cat cafes, and even owl cafes, the maid cafe in Japan was already an iconic representation of one of the country’s quirky modern customs. Take one step into Maidreamin maid cafe and find yourself in a completely different world for a day. As you enter, servers dressed in a maid outfit will be ready to welcome you and show you to your seat; you can then select a drink or dish, depending on your package. Before you dig into your food, you will need to perform a small chant led by your host maid! Before you leave, snap a souvenir photo with your maid or with your phone, and receive a complimentary gift for your visit. Due to the inherent culture of the maid café, it is recommended for adults rather than families with young children.

Taste the City's Best Bites with Osaka's Food Tours & More

Taste the City's Best Bites with Osaka's Food Tours & More

No visit to Japan is complete without tucking into the best foods this arguably top foodie nation has to offer. Besides local foods at little snack joints and more common fare such as yakiniku, Osaka is the place to be for eating local specialties such as Takoyaki, fugu, and kushikatsu!

Capture the Culinary Adventure with the Instagrammable Osaka-Style Food Tour

The Instagrammable Osaka-style food tour brings you together with a local who can take you to the best places to get fantastic food snaps. You can experience local dishes and see the latest Instagram trends; there is nothing quite like seeing photogenic eateries while eating tasty snacks. The host will show you all kinds of odd-looking dishes for getting that perfect Instagram photo and will show you the way to food places that are off the beaten track. This is particularly fun for couples and solo travelers.

Sizzle Up a Feast with Authentic Yakiniku BBQ

(Photo: Klook)
(Photo: Klook)

Yakiniku is a style of Japanese cooking that never loses its popularity – you get to cook delicious cut pieces of meat in front of your very eyes and eat it! Whether you like pork, beef, or chicken, at an all-you-can-eat yakiniku joint, you will need another notch on your belt!

Dare to Taste Fugu, Japan's Exquisite Pufferfish Delicacy

(Photo: Klook)
(Photo: Klook)

Osaka is one of the best places to enjoy fugu – also known as pufferfish! This Japanese delicacy is often considered to be in season during winter and is regarded as the tastiest in winter! So, make sure to try it out in Osaka, especially during the winter!

Experience Osaka's Vibrant Nightlife with a Local Guide

While there are plenty of online guides about where to find Osaka’s nightlife, only a real local can tell you where the resident of Osaka let their hair down. Hit the town with a host and discover how locals have fun after hours. You can also take in tasty street food and really indulge yourself!

Unleash Your Inner Shopaholic in Osaka

Enjoy Retail and Relaxation at AEON MALL Rinku Sennan

Enjoy Retail and Relaxation at AEON MALL Rinku Sennan

AEON MALL Rinku Sennan is a shopping mall facing Osaka Bay, about 20 minutes from Kansai Airport by train or bus. This 152,000㎡ building has around 170 stores and a movie theater. The terrace seats in the food court on the second floor allow you to see not only the beautiful sea but also airplanes flying out of Kansai Airport.

The mall has multilingual signage, and staff at the information desk can provide language assistance using translation devices. Additionally, there are large coin lockers available, so many foreign tourists visiting Japan often make a stop here before departing from Kansai Airport.

In the evening, you can enjoy a peaceful moment while witnessing the breathtaking sunset over Marble Beach, renowned as one of Japan's top 100 sunset spots. It's a great place to relax and unwind while taking in the stunning scenery.

Shop for great deals! Japan's largest-scale shopping mall

Shop for great deals! Japan's largest-scale shopping mall

Stay Trendy with the Latest Finds at HEP FIVE

HEP Five is one of Osaka's most popular shopping and amusement centers. Located in the heart of Umeda, HEP Five is also known for its iconic 75-meter-wide red Ferris wheel, which overlooks the city and is a breathtaking sight no matter the time of day! HEP Five also houses amusement facilities on the B2 floor, multiple floors dedicated to fashion, and some restaurants on the 5th and 6th floors—a must-visit in Osaka to catch the latest trends in Japan.

Find an Urban Oasis at Namba Parks' Rooftop Garden

A place to both shop till you drop and relax is Namba Parks! A mall with a rooftop garden and lots of greenery will make you forget you are in the heart of Osaka city. With over 200 stores, there is plenty to go through, ranging from trending fashion brands to lifestyle goods, cosmetics, and stores for children. Once you have finished shopping, take a break in the gardens with some food and drinks!

Revel in Retail Therapy at Grand Front Osaka, Western Japan's Largest Department Store

With over 270 establishments, from cafes to relax in, restaurants to enjoy, and boutiques to buy clothes in, you’ll find what you’re looking for at Grand Front Osaka. You can also get multilingual assistance here and find tax-free shops, or if you are feeling adventurous, you can check out places like ACTIVE Lab, which showcases the latest in Japanese technology.

Indulge in a Shopping Spree at LUCUA osaka

Mainly targeted at fashion- and trend-conscious working women, LUCUA provides “a luxury experience that you can enjoy in your daily life” and offers the opportunity to “realize a sensitive, sophisticated lifestyle.” Here, visitors can enjoy Donguri Kyowakoku (Acorn Republic), the official merchandise store of Japanese animation giant, Studio Ghibli; Loft, a store with a focus on fashionable home goods; tea superstore Lupicia; and much more.

  • LUCUA osaka
    • Address 3-1-3, Umeda, Kita-ku, Osaka-shi, Osaka, 530-8558
      View Map
    • Nearest Station Osaka Station (JR Kansai Main Line / JR Tokaido Line / JR Kyoto Line / JR Osaka Loop Line / JR Kobe Line / JR Takarazuka Line / JR Osaka East Line)
    • Phone Number 06-6151-1111

Embark on a Shopping Marathon at Tenjinbashisuji Shopping Street, Japan's Longest Shopping Street

Tenjinbashisuji Shopping Street is approximately 2.6 km long - making it Japan’s longest shopping street. Roughly 800 stores, including dining and apparel establishments, crowd this city center. The area is full of life and energy, observable in the lines forming before restaurants and the various goods available for purchase.

Step into the Past with a Visit to Hozonji Yokocho in Old Osaka

Hozenji Yokocho runs for 80 meters on two roads running east to west. You can find countless old Japanese restaurants and bars for foods like kushikatsu and okonomiyaki here. The land technically is a part of the grounds of Hozenji Temple, but at some point, the alley became populated with food stalls selling food to those who came to worship at the shrine.

Shop Like a Local with a Guided Shopping Experience in Osaka

No one knows their city better than a resident, and they know all the best places for shopping. They can uncover the best shopping opportunities in Osaka while carefully considering your tastes. Your local host will show you the way through the mazes of streets in the city’s most popular shopping hubs and give you tips on unique clothes shops. This experience offers a unique chance to buy souvenirs and cheap gadgets you won’t find anywhere else.

Join in the Festive Fun at Osaka's Vibrant Festivals

Naniwa Yodogawa Fireworks Festival (Photo: PIXTA)
Naniwa Yodogawa Fireworks Festival (Photo: PIXTA)

If you are really looking to get stuck into local culture, then try a fun festival! From cherry blossoms to flower festivals and fireworks, Osaka has it all. Join the locals in walking around at these local events, trying the food being served up at little stalls and marvel at all the fun things that festival-goers can enjoy!

Major festivals and events in Osaka
*This information is from the time of this article's publication.
*Prices and options mentioned are subject to change.
*Unless stated otherwise, all prices include tax.

Share this article.

Limited time offer: 10% discount coupons available now!