What are the five best things to see and do in Osaka?

Osaka built itself on trade and industry, but there is a wealth of things to see and do in this vibrant city.

1. Visit Osaka Castle Park, the green and sprawling inner-city park, great for people watching, especially during cherry blossom season. Then stroll up the ramparts to the castle, an impressive landmark from the 16th century.

2. For nighttime views that can’t be beat, head to the outdoor rooftop observatory at the Umeda Sky Building. It’s not the tallest building in Osaka by any means, but the lovely views of the city and Osaka Bay are not to be missed. Also check out the underground market with reconstructed old-style streets.

3. Dotonbori is the bright and lively heart of Osaka, where eclectic fashion, non-stop nightlife, crowded shopping arcades and interesting restaurants all vie for your attention. Take a selfie in front of the neon signs near Ebisu-bashi Bridge before munching down on takoyaki (fried octopus balls). It doesn’t get any more Osaka than this.

4. For a taste of old Osaka, Shin-Sekai is a slightly rundown corner of town that has a unique charm. Centered around the now archaic-looking Tsutenkaku tower, the surrounding streets are home to countless kushi-katsu restaurants (delicious deep-fried items on sticks), while just five minutes away is Spa World, there is a multi-floored collection of themed baths and water park fun.

5. At the other end of the scale, the upmarket shops and swanky restaurants in the northern area around Umeda are a window shopper’s paradise. The architecturally impressive Grand Front Osaka, a work of art in itself. Just next door prepare to be overwhelmed by a large choice of electronics and other goods at Yodobashi Camera.

  • On April 7, 2016
    Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question: Forbes Travel Guide Inspector

    Where are the best places to eat in Osaka?

    Osaka prides itself as a city built on a rich culinary heritage, and while perhaps lacking the cachet of Tokyo, the food scene is notable for its quality and variety. Almost anywhere you go you’ll be spoilt for choice, as good restaurants can be found on virtually every street, from plush high-end establishments to little hole-in-the-wall izakayas and ramen bars. The Dotonbori area is a great place to try Osaka’s favorite streetfood, takoyaki. It’s worth making a visit to old-fashioned Shin-Sekai just for the kushi-katsu, while Tsuruhashi is famous for its many Korean barbeques and restaurants.

    Don’t forget that most large train stations, such as those at Namba and Osaka, have floors full of good restaurants, too.