Osaka is rich in culture and tradition. You can see the amazing Japanese history of thousand years in the city. There are historical monuments, museums, galleries, shopping places and many more. Japan lifestyle has its own beauty and the food has its own flavor that makes it stay on the top of tourist itinerary.
Why should anyone visit the city?
Japanese are not only preserving their culture, art and tradition but they have a huge variety of foods as well. Osaka is also known as the kitchen of the nation. You will find a lot of unique foods that you will only find from the Japanese chefs. There are many specialty restaurants, sushi points and more.
How does one get to the destination (airport, ferry or others)?
There are different ways to reach the commercial and cultural capital of Japan.
- Flights from every major destination of the world are welcomed to the city. The two major airports for the domestic and international flights to Osaka are Itami Airport (Osaka International Airport) and Kansai Airport.
- Car trip can also be arranged from different parts of the country to reach Osaka through highway.
- Trains and Bullet trains of Japan are the fastest way to travel to different areas of the country. It is affordable and efficient.
- Ferry is a leisure way to reach Osaka Port International Ferry Terminal to explore the city. The ferries are available almost from every part of the country. The other terminals are Sunflower Terminal and Osaka Nanko Ferry terminal.
Is the city safe? What areas are not safe?
Japan is overall a very safe country. As far as general crime is concerned, Osaka has the highest ratio of crime then Kyoto and Tokyo. Dotonbori river district and Osaka castle are the areas with the highest crime ratio. These offenses are bag snatching and scamming. Tourists should not walk alone at night in the Namba and Umeda areas.
What’s the weather like?
Osaka has the moderate temperature almost around the year.
- October, November, March, April and May are the spring and fall seasons of the city. You will see cherry blossom, blooms and beauty of Osaka in these months.
- The summers are hot and humid during June, July and August. Mid of June to July is the rainy season. Travelling can be managed because it remains moderate.
- Winter season is cold but tolerable so it is fine for traveling. The season stays during December, January and February.
What languages are spoken in the area? Is English spoken?
The official language spoken in Osaka is the Kansai dialect of Japanese language. However, people in the tourist areas, hotels and restaurants speak English. It is not difficult for the tourists to interact in most of the places of Japan. They highly appreciate if someone knowns a few phrases of Japanese.
What’s the local currency?
Is US Dollar widely accepted?
The official currency of the country is Yen. You can exchange it at many money exchange and banks. US Dollar is accepted at many places in Osaka whereas it is better to keep some local currency for small shops and eateries.
What are the best areas or districts to stay in the city?
- Kita is the best district to stay because it has all the facilities like transportation, food, shopping and attractions. There are many interesting places for kids and good hotel deals so it is a perfect place to stay with family.
- Minami is located near Kita so they share many wonderful places. This is the main transport hub so it is the best place to live for the backpackers and city explorers.
- Both areas are best with many entertainment options, nightlife, historical places, shopping, food and easy access to other parts of Osaka and Japan.
What’re your top 3 hotels (budget, moderate, luxury) and why?
- Toyoko Inn Osaka Umeda Higashi is a very low priced hotel with comfortable room to stay. There is no luxuries and fancy interior but it is clean and comfortable. Mostly Japanese business travelers stay in this hotel because of the business friendly amenities. It is the best option for digital nomads.
- Hotel Ichiei is the best option for families with young children because of the spacious rooms. There are two types of rooms Japanese style and Western style. Many shopping and eating places are also easy.
- Conrad Osaka is the luxury hotel in Osaka with a lot of facilities and amenities. It is located in an amazing glass building facing the river. There are restaurants, gym, bar, lounge, heated indoor swimming pool, spa and a lot more.
How does one get around the city? Taxi, Uber, similar apps, ATVs?
- The huge city has excellent transportation systems to reach different areas of the city and to reach the suburbs of Osaka.
- Trains and Subways are the best transportation to reach different parts. They are fast, efficient and economical.
- Busses are also very efficient and economical with extensive network to reach different areas which are not accessible by trains and subways.
- Taxis are efficient and easy to visit different places of the city whereas they are very expensive. Never forget to compare the taxi and public transport charges if you are sharing the fares with friends or family.
- Airport shuttle can be hired to reach and leave the airport whereas you have to get that from the airport.
Can you highlight the Top 5 MUST see sightseeing?
- Osaka Castle belongs to the 15th century and its construction was competed in only three years. It was the largest castle of Japan when it was made. The castle was destroyed and reconstructed a lot of time during the wars and other disasters.
- Shitenno-Ji temple was built in 59 AD as the first Buddhist temple in Japan. It was rebuilt many times to improve and preserve the original monument. It is an amazing pagoda with 5 storeys and hundreds of artifacts, statues and paintings.
- Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan looks like a giant structure made of Lego Blocks. It is considered among the largest walk through aquariums of the world. This place not only keeps Japanese marine habitat but a lot of species from all around the world including sharks and sting rays.
- The Tempozan Ferris wheel and Harbor Village is also one of the largest attractions of Asia with the diameter of almost 100 meters. This 112 meters tall structure is operational since nineteenth century. Tempozan Harbor village is also a worth exploring place where the wheel is located.
- Twin Towers Tsutenkaku and Kobe Port Tower are located in the city and in the suburbs of the city. Tsutenkaku is the replica of Eiffel Tower that offer the amazing panoramic views of the city. Kobe port tower is the earth quake proof structure. Both towers become amazing in the night after they lit up.
What’s the best place to take a photo?
Tennoji Park and Zoo is the largest green space of the city. There are a lot of places to click amazing photos whereas it is the best to get nature filled fresh photos. There are beautiful bridges, ponds, sculptures and many species of plants and animals. It becomes more amazing during the cherry blossom season. You can take some perfect clicks at this place.
What about the top 3 restaurants?
- Jinsei is the best sushi restaurant with a lot of variety like tuna, sea urchin and white fish sushi. You can try fresh sushi made by the master chef.
- Fujiya 1935 is the modern European restaurant famous for their delicious seasonal dishes. You can also select Spanish and Italian wines from the menu. It is located near the Osaka restaurant.
- Honkogetsu is famous for the multi course traditional Japanese dinner. They specialize in kaiseki. This is an elite and very expensive place. Seasonal ingredients, organic products and herbs are used to create unique flavors.
What about the top 3 breakfast places?
- The City Bakery is an urban chic place with a lot of breakfast and brunch options. It is located in the shopping mall near the Osaka station. You can get a lot of freshly baked things to enjoy the morning meal.
- Eggs and things is the breakfast place for early risers and delicious breakfast lovers. There is a variety of typical and special breakfast items which can be selected to make a perfect morning meal.
- Nakanoshima Nadaman offers rice porridge, grilled fish and many other dishes to add in the combination of perfect breakfast. You can visit the place for breakfast and after that explore the Osaka science museum located nearby.
What’s the one thing you MUST eat in the city?
There are a lot of dishes to try in Osaka but the must try is sushi. There are a lot of sushi restaurants where master chefs make them with delicious original ingredients.
What about food markets?
You will find a lot of street food in Osaka that is very reasonable, clean and delicious. The major food markets are:
- Kuromon Ichiba Market that is also known as Osaka’s Kitchen has a lot of amazing foods for the visitors.
- Sennichimae Doguyasuji shotengai is the place for the best culinary experience. You will not only find food but the ingredients and tools as well.
- hi-Tennoji Temple Market is not just the food market of Osaka. This is the largest flea market with many food options and a lot of other products.
Where should one go at night? Any bar/nightlife areas or districts you recommend?
There are many bars and nightlife places throughout the city that can be visited but the most famous and amazing nightlife area is the Dotonbori district near the Dotonbori river. You will find delicious food with drinks and many entertaining places to enjoy. It is famous among the locals and tourists. You will find many nightlife entertainment places with amazing views and ambiance.
Any rooftop bars or restaurants that you recommend?
Absinthe Solaar is the most romantic and beautiful place to spend a wonderful night. It has outdoor terrace and indoor seating area. You can enjoy Mediterranean, Moroccan and European food with drinks.
Rooftop Bar OO is the most comfortable and relaxing place to spend the evening in the summer month. There is a swimming pool with the huge projector screen to decorate it. This place is also booked for different events.
Can you recommend the best shopping areas? Best shopping mall?
Shinsaibashi-Suji is the huge shopping area with a lot of shopping options. The place is almost 400 years old. It is a must visit place with the history of almost 400 years. There are many famous international and local brands in this market.
Tennoji is the shopping place with the unique atmosphere. It is the mix of brands, old specialty shops and local vendors. You can visit the Kitetsu Abeno department store, Abeno-Suiji street, Avetica underground and Apollo building near the Tennoji.
Do you recommend any tours outside the city? Islands? Boat Tours?
The best day trips outside the city are:
- Kyoto – UNESCO heritage sites and many more. It takes only 15 minutes from bullet train.
- Nara – Historical, cultural and spiritual sites of the city.
- Kurashiki – Canals, bridges and green spaces. Perfect for the relaxing environment.
- Shirahama Beach – perfect white sand beach to enjoy a beach day
Are Casinos allowed? Blackjack tables? If so, what’s the best Casino in town?
There are many casinos in Osaka offering every kind of gaming experience. Lucky 29 is the best casino and bar offering different types of games. Gambling is illegal in Japan but the casinos offer games for learning, fun and enjoyment. They offer different prizes with foods, drinks and entertainment. They offer different games, food and drink deals to the people in the form of a package.
Any last advice for people visiting the city?
- Wear comfortable shoes because you have to walk a lot to explore the place.
- The rules of subway are mentioned so respect them and keep yourself and others comfortable.
- Many restaurants ask you to take off the shoes on the entrance so wear the easily removable shoes.
- Japanese respect their culture a lot so do not pass any bad remarks about their culture, religion, tradition or values.