Looking for the top tourist attractions in Osaka for your upcoming trip? No problem, we have you covered. As local travel experts living in Osaka, we have an affinity for sharing our city with visitors. From leading walking tours to taking day trips to nearby Kyoto or Kobe, we love highlighting the most interesting and fun parts of our Kansai region.
If you’re visiting Osaka for the first time, you’re undoubtedly trying to grasp the enormity of this metropolis and its plentiful options for things to see and do. Let us help you sort through it all with our in-depth insights into the top attractions in Osaka and its lesser-known places we locals love to visit.
But First, Get an Overview of Osaka
Being based in Osaka, we certainly consider ourselves experts in all things tourism and visitor tips. We’ve written quite a bit about Osaka already, so why don’t you take a look at some of our top articles to get a better understanding of the city before we dive into Osaka’s top tourist attractions.
Osaka is Japan’s second-largest metropolitan area after Tokyo, so it can be especially overwhelming to first-time visitors. We know there are questions about it, so we addressed if it’s safe to walk alone at night in Osaka to respond to those concerns (spoiler alert: Japan is very safe as a whole).
We’ve also already highlighted what Osaka is famous for as well as the best things to do at night in Osaka. Of course, we would be remiss to not mention our popular nighttime Osaka foodie tour. Want to try eating like a local in Osaka? Join us.
Top Tourist Attractions in Osaka
While we want to share Osaka’s most popular tourist attractions to help you plan your visit, we also want to share some lesser-known attractions. As locals in Osaka, we live here and love highlighting unique parts of the city for visitors.
Going beyond the typical top 10 list, let us show you the real top attractions in Osaka!
Okay, so this is technically in Sakai City, but it’s essentially still part of Osaka. Stroll around the superb Japanese gardens at Daisen Park, which are hardly ever visited by other tourists. Compare the designs and layout of this garden with other more ancient gardens you’ll undoubtedly see during your Japan trip.
We like to visit the park with guests during our Private Osaka Castle Tour and Beyond.
The restaurant supply district isn’t a top tourist attraction in Osaka, but those tourists are missing out. If you’re interested in our famous kitchen knives, this is the spot for you to peruse an array of options.
For centuries, Dotonbori has been a top attraction in Osaka as the city’s premier entertainment district. Think of Times Square on water and you might imagine a glimpse of the neon lights and bustling atmosphere of Dotonbori. But you really do have to experience it for yourself!
Harukas is the tallest non-tower building in Japan (300m), offering views aplenty. You can enjoy a breathtaking view of Osaka for free, if you know where to stop before the top. On a good day, you could see all the way to Kobe and beyond.
This is one of our stops during our Osaka walking tour.
There’s bustling Dotonbori and then there’s a step back in time along the cobblestone street of Hozenji Yokocho. It’s one of our favorite spots to stroll with visitors to share the history and beautiful architecture still visible here today.
The top tourist attraction in Osaka is indisputably Osaka Castle. Towering above Osaka and visible from a variety of angles throughout the city, it demonstrates the power Osaka once held as the most important city in Japan. Of course, we who live in and love Osaka like to say that we’re still at the center of it all!
A visit to Osaka demands a visit to Osaka Castle. But you should know it’s been rebuilt several times since its original 17th century construction. The exterior is a perfect replica, but the interior belies its more modern purpose as a museum for the masses.
Join us for an Osaka Castle tour (and beyond) and we’ll be happy to share the architectural history and fascinating stories from this iconic landmark, plus our own local insights.
There aren’t enough words to describe the experience of being in Shin Sekai. A truly Osaka vibe, this area has fluctuated between good and bad times over the last century. Today, it’s a fun, bizarre, and utterly unforgettable spot to visit during your trip to Osaka. Whether you consider yourself a fashionista or not, the creativity you’ll surely witness here will be memorable.
Built in the 6th century, Shitennoji Temple is a top tourist attraction for Osaka, and understandably so. Strolling around the beautiful, peaceful grounds allows you to see the very different architectural style of this temple. If you’ve already visited Kyoto, this is an excellent opportunity to compare the styles.
Join us for a Kyoto day trip from Osaka to compare these nearby, yet very different, cities.
Head to the southern extreme of Osaka for a walk around Sumiyoshi Taisha. It’s one of our favorite non-touristy attractions in Osaka and a beautiful religious facility to visit. Everything about Sumiyoshi Taisha is enjoyable. It’s one of our go-to spots during our private Osaka Castle tour (and beyond).
Did you know that more Koreans and those of Korean descent live in Osaka than anywhere else in Japan? A visit to one of Osaka’s Koreatowns is not on a typical tourist’s top 10 list for Osaka. But, trust us, this maze of tiny shops, restaurants, and food stalls is a fantastic glimpse into Osaka today.
We love taking visitors to Tsuruhashi during our Osaka walking tour. Join us to experience a totally different side of Osaka!
Tsutenkaku Tower was built in 1912 in a nod to Paris’ Eiffel Tower. It was heavily damaged during WWII, and was then torn down for war effort metals from that decrepit state. After the war, it was rebuilt with a bit of a different look.
The observation tower offers an alternative to Harukas for a cityscape view of Osaka. At 103 meters tall, it doesn’t compare to Harukas in size but can be a very popular tourist attraction nonetheless.
Umeda Sky Building
The Umeda Sky Building is another iconic landmark in Osaka with its unique arch-like shape. You can visit the Kuchu-Teien Observatory on the 40th floor for another spot offering spectacular views of the city.
Universal Studios Japan
Tokyo has the Disney Resort, but Osaka boasts Universal Studios Japan (USJ), which has easily become one of Osaka’s top tourist attractions. Super Nintendo World is all the rage right now, but you’ll also enjoy Hello Kitty, Jurassic Park, and Harry Potter, among countless other fun photo ops and entertainment at USJ.
While there are innumerable things to do and attractions to visit in Osaka, we’ll draw a line in the sand here for now. If you have questions about your upcoming trip, we would love to help you craft a custom itinerary to make the most of your visit to Osaka. Simply reach out to get started.