If you’re planning a trip to Japan, you may have already looked into what Tokyo and Osaka have to offer. After all, Tokyo is our country’s capital city and its largest. The inner urban core alone has a population just shy of 10 million people. Osaka is Japan’s third largest city (Yokohama, which shares a border with Tokyo, is second) with a population of around 2.75 million.
As cities of such size, Tokyo and Osaka have countless unique and memorable things to see and do. But given the difference in scale between them, exploring both is a contrasting experience.
At Pinpoint Traveler, we provide a range of Tokyo Tours and Osaka Tours, so we know these two incredible cities inside out. There’s plenty to love about both! But in this blog, we highlight some of the ways Osaka is better than Tokyo… just in our opinion!
Let’s get started! If you have any questions for us in the meantime, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
The Food Scene in Osaka is Incredible!
For many travelers, food is a cornerstone of a journey through Japan. In a country known for its exquisite cuisine, Osaka proudly wears the crown of the “Nation’s Kitchen”. This is a culinary playground that will satisfy even the most discerning foodie!
Take a stroll through bustling Dotonbori, where the aroma of sizzling Takoyaki (octopus balls) and savory Okonomiyaki (Japanese pancakes) tantalizes passersby. Are you a seafood lover? We think you’ll love the famous Kuromon Ichiba Market.
In Osaka, food isn’t just sustenance; it’s a celebration. Embrace the spirited atmosphere as local chefs skillfully craft delicacies right before your eyes. Whether you’re devouring Kushikatsu (deep-fried skewers) or savoring piping-hot bowls of ramen, Osaka’s food scene is an adventure in itself, beckoning food enthusiasts from across the globe.
Our own Osaka Food Tour explores the Tenma and Kyobashi neighborhoods and is the perfect introduction to the city’s culinary wonders.
Of course, Tokyo has plenty of incredible food options, but Osaka just edges this one.
Osaka is a Friendly City that Offers a Warm Welcome
While Tokyo exudes its own magnetic charm, Osaka shines for its warm-hearted and approachable locals. Osakans are renowned for their genuine friendliness and infectious humor, making interactions a joyous affair. Don’t be surprised if a casual chat with a local leads to laughter and newfound friendships.
The locals’ openness and hospitality create an inviting atmosphere for travelers. From receiving hearty recommendations for the best local eats to engaging in lively conversations, Osaka’s residents effortlessly make visitors feel at home in this dynamic city.
Given Tokyo’s size and status as the capital, it’s only natural that many people will rush around and feel tired at the end of the day, and this isn’t exactly conducive to welcoming chats with strangers. But, of course, there are still many friendly people to meet in Tokyo!
However, the slower pace of life in Osaka means you’re more likely to find a friendly face with ease there.
Are you thinking of staying in Osaka or Tokyo long-term? If your interest in these two cities extends beyond a fleeting visit, we think you’ll appreciate our blog Which City is Better to Live in: Tokyo or Osaka?
Osaka Has a Casual Atmosphere for Relaxed Exploration
We briefly touched on Tokyo’s kinetic energy in the section above, and we can assure you that it is electrifying! And for many travelers, that’s the experience they’re looking for. Osaka is still a city of nearly three million people, so some visitors may find it busy and energetic too. But compared with Tokyo, it has a far more laid-back and relaxed ambiance.
Navigating the city streets often feels like a leisurely stroll, allowing you to savor every moment without rushing. The pace of life is unhurried, granting you the freedom to immerse yourself fully in the city’s offerings.
Explore Osaka Castle’s grandeur or wander through the serene grounds of Sumiyoshi Taisha Shrine, all while embracing the city’s unhurried rhythm. The casual vibe encourages travelers to take a breath, soak in the surroundings, and discover the beauty in the simplicity of everyday life in Japan.
Read our recommendations for the most interesting things to see and do in Osaka to ensure you make the most of your time in the city.
Osaka Has a Lower Cost of Living with Budget-Friendly Activities
In a world where travel expenses often dictate our itineraries, Osaka holds huge appeal with budget-conscious travelers in Japan. While Tokyo’s glamor might come with a hefty price tag, Osaka offers a more wallet-friendly experience without compromising on the essence of Japanese culture.
Accommodations, dining, and entertainment options in Osaka are often more affordable, allowing you to stretch your yen further and indulge in more experiences without breaking the bank.
Delight in sumptuous meals without worrying about denting your budget and revel in the city’s offerings without sacrificing quality. Looking for inspiration? Check out our picks for the top tourist attractions in Osaka!
Osaka Has Better Day Trips for Exploring Beyond the City
While Tokyo boasts its own array of attractions, Osaka’s strategic location opens doors to captivating day trips. Hop on a train and make the short journey to the historic city of Kyoto, where ancient temples and serene gardens await. Experience the tranquility of Arashiyama’s bamboo groves or marvel at the beauty of Kinkaku-ji (the Golden Pavilion).
Read our blog Is it Possible to Stay in Osaka and Visit Kyoto? for more local insights about making this short trip.
Additionally, Nara, home to friendly deer and UNESCO World Heritage Sites, is a short train ride away. Immerse yourself in history as you visit Todai-ji Temple, housing the iconic Great Buddha statue.
These nearby destinations allow travelers to enrich their Osaka experience with diverse cultural and historical excursions.
If you find yourself drawn to Kyoto, consider our Kyoto Tours. Led by local experts, they offer an immersive experience in this city rich in culture, history, and heritage.
Our Japan Tours are Your Gateway to Unforgettable Memories
We hope you’ve found these ways Osaka is better than Tokyo informative and inspirational. Remember, these opinions are purely subjective and may not align with the kind of experience you’re looking for—but they are a great starting point for planning your vacation!
Browse our range of Japan Tours and discover all the adventures waiting for you here. We’re sure you can find the perfect experience for your needs!
Do you have any questions for the Pinpoint Traveler team? Please feel free to contact us for the information you need.