Reformatt Logo
Reformatt Show Search Button

30 Secrets & Things to do in Osaka, Japan

30 Secrets & Things to do in Osaka, Japan

Published on Oct. 9, 2019 by

These are my carefully selected 30 hidden secrets & best things to do in Osaka - the kitchen of Japan. I included gems like Endo Sushi, Mr. Kanso, Pancake Kebab, Shinsekai, USJ, Takoyaki Museum, #1 Kushikatsu and #1 Okonomiyaki experience, Abeno Harukas and the magical Osaka Nightlife.

Tips & Advice
  • Why: 3rd largest city in Japan (after Tokyo & Yokohama)
  • When: Spring & Fall
  • Accommodation: Airbnb ($46 OFF), stay in Umeda or Shinsaibashi district.
  • Best Attraction: USJ and Kaiyukan Aquarium
  • Japan Unlimited Rail Pass: JR Pass (starting at $280 USD)
  •  
  • Book Now: Osaka Pub Crawl adventure for just $20 USD  Book you Taipei Pub Crawl adventure

Osaka Castle in Osaka, Osaka, Japanbizarre Gate Tower Building in Osaka, Osaka, Japanwith my friends at Okonomiyaki Hatsuse in Osaka, Osaka, JapanGlico Man - iconic area in Osaka in Osaka, Osaka, Japan

It had been 10 years since I visited Osaka and I was surprised to see that not much has changed. The fact is, massive cities are often so saturated that change is often expensive and hard to implement. You may find a new restaurant or a few other new places but structurally it remains quite the same thus I dove deeper into Osaka to bring you an even better 30 Best Things To DO in Osaka list to make your next visit to the kitchen of Japan an even more unforgettable experience.

Places

  • 1. Osaka Castle

    Most iconic building in Osaka complete with observatory deck and a massive moat surrounding it. Great for selfies! (map)

  • 2. Endo Sushi

    Most epic sushi in Osaka, a bit on the pricey side but a sushi experience you will not easily forget. Order the Ootoro sushi for a mind-blasting flavor explosion.

  • 3. Umeda Sky Building

    Most unique building in Japan, the Umeda sky deck is called Kuchu Teien from which you can overlook the entire business district of Osaka, it also has the highest escalators in the world.

  • 4. Gate Tower Building

    Most bizarre building in Osaka, rented out 3 floor to the Osaka highway since an entire highway goes straight through the building.

  • 5. Belgian Chappelle

    Unique hidden Belgian Chappelle part of the Monterey Hotel Osaka across from the Umeda Sky Building which is an exact replica of a 14th century medieval-style church.

  • 6. Water Clock

    Pretty awesome water clock located at Osaka Station at the south exit. It displays the time plus a whole range of cool water drawings.

  • 7. Panbo Pancake Kebab

    Pieces of pancake on a skewer including pieces of fruit. In Osaka they call this bizarre contraption the Pancake Kebab.

  • 8. Longsoftcream

    The longest ice cream in Japan for just 500 yen, 4 US dollars which will leave you with a cold brain freeze experience.

  • 9. Pablo Cheese Cake

    Most famous cheese cake in Japan, Pablo's cheese cakes are so fluffy inside with a beautiful flaky edge that you will most likely order another one.

  • 10. Mr. Kanso

    Most bizarre restaurant in Osaka is Mr. Kanso where you can only order food from tin cans from all over the world. A very unique concept since there is no chef, no kitchen and no waiter. Try the stewed grasshoppers!

  • 11. Dotonbori Takoyaki

    Osaka is famous for its takoyaki, fried batter balls with a piece of octopus inside. At the Dotonbori you'll be able to find the best takoyaki in Osaka, find the longest lineup for the highest quality balls.

  • 12. Gyoza Hot Dog

    Never seen before sandwich, aka the Dotonbori Sandwich which the locals call the Gyoza Hot Dog which is a massive bun with gyoza, yakisoba, mayonnaise, cheese sauce and fries. A calorie bomb unlike you have ever seen!

  • 13. Giant Japanese Scallops

    Perhaps the most delicious I've ever eaten and can be found on the Dotonbori main market street. 400 yen or 3 US dollars for a giant freshly heated scallop.

  • 14. Hozenji Koisan Temple

    Behind the Dotonbori madness you find the cozy back alleys that lead to Hozenji Koisan, an ancient temple in the heart of Osaka. Including a statue completely covered in moss.

  • 15. Okonomiyaki Hatsuse

    The famous Osaka pancake is called Okonomiyaki which you can make yourself at Okonomiyaki Hatsuse, don't worry, English instructions are provided. (map)

  • 16. Nigiri Chojiro

    Considered by locals to be the best affordable conveyor belt sushi in Osaka. High quality sushi for great prices. Order the nama-salmon and chutoro tuna, make sure to order from the chef directly.

  • 17. USJ

    Universal Studio Japan is Japan's most famous theme park after Tokyo Disneyland, includes plenty of roller-coasters and amazing shows. Make sure to attend the Halloween Horror Nights walk during September and October. (map)

  • 18. Takoyaki Museum

    Next to Universal Studios Japan you'll find the Takoyaki Museum with 6 of the best takoyaki shops from Osaka. So you can go on an all out takoyaki adventure here. (map)

  • 19. Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan

    One of world's most massive aquariums. Entrance is 2300 yen or 21 US dollars, their great barrier reef collection is about a 2 kilometer walk through the aquarium. Massive! (map)

  • 20. Maishima Incineration Plant

    Most bizarre garbage incineration plant you've ever seen, complete with museum and unique outdoor art. Another great spot for selfies, it almost looks like a palace. (map)

  • 21. Shinsekai

    My favorite area in Osaka for its cozy atmosphere, adorable restaurants with brilliant decor and mouth-watering foods. Make sure you try Kushikatsu here especially the A5 Kobe beef on a skewer and Lotus root! (map)

  • 22. Tsutenkaku Tower

    Get a better few of the Shinsekai shopping district by climbing the Tsutenkaku tower. Entrance is only 500 yen, 4 US dollars. (map)

  • 23. Classic Game Arcades

    Next to the Tsutenkaku Tower you'll find many classic arcades with arcades ranging from Golgo 13 to Street Fighter II and Tetris, a nerds paradise!

  • 24. Kushikatsu

    Another famous Osaka dinner experience is Kushikatsu, primarily found in the Shinsekai district. Make sure to check Google Maps for the highest rated ones in the district since quality varies quite a bit. (map)

  • 25. Abeno Harukas

    Nearby the Shinsekai district you'll find the tallest building in japan. Entrance fee is 1500 yen, 14 US dollars but offers incredible views of Osaka from the 60th floor. Tip: visit at night! (map)

  • 26. Nambayasaka Shrine

    Most bizarre shrine I've ever seen, basically a giant head which is Namba's guardian deity making it a great spot for selfies. (map)

  • 27. Round One Stadium

    No visit to Japan is complete without visiting a massive game center also known as arcades. My favorite video game at the arcade is Initial D, the famous car racing game with Eurobeat music. (map)

  • 28. Osaka Nightlife

    Just like Tokyo, Osaka also has an incredible nightlife with some of the best bars and nightclubs in Japan. Do not miss out during the weekend! Make sure to watch my full Osaka Nightlife video. (map)

  • 29. Shinkansen

    See Japan's country-side by traveling from Tokyo to Osaka by high-speed bullet train, if you spending more than 7 days in Japan make sure to buy the Japan Rail Pass for massive discounts! (map)

  • 30. Ninja Wifi

    Stay connected in Osaka at all times by pocket Wifi, for just $6 US dollars per day. Click here for a 30% discount on a Ninja Pocket Wifi router!

Panbo Pancake Kebab in Osaka, Osaka, JapanPanbo Pancake Kebab in Osaka, Osaka, JapanAmerikamura in Osaka in Osaka, Osaka, Japanlast sushi with my Japanese friends at Kansai, Osaka Airport KIX in Osaka, Osaka, Japan

A good place to start in Osaka is Amerikamura, the funky hipster district commonly compared to Tokyo's Harajuku district with wacky shops like the Panbo Pancake Kebab shop, which actually makes for a delicious breakfast. Also bring you camera since this area is great for street photography and youth fashion.

Osaka Castle in Japan - most iconic landmark in Osaka, Osaka, JapanOsaka Castle in Japan - most iconic landmark

The most iconic place in Osaka is by far Osaka Castle. I highly recommend you make your way to the top floor in castle for some stunning views of Osaka and getting an idea how the ancient warlords used to live. Osaka Castle played a major role in the unification of japan during the sixteenth century.

Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan
Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan
Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan in Osaka, Osaka, JapanOsaka Aquarium Kaiyukan in Osaka, Osaka, JapanOsaka Aquarium Kaiyukan in Osaka, Osaka, JapanOsaka Aquarium Kaiyukan in Osaka, Osaka, JapanUmeda Sky Building in Osaka in Osaka, Osaka, JapanUmeda Sky Building in Osaka, Osaka, JapanOtoro Sushi at Endo Sushi in Osaka in Osaka, Osaka, JapanEndo Sushi in Osaka, Osaka, Japan

If time permits, checkout Japan's biggest aquarium in Osaka called Kaiyukan which includes the great barrier reef collection and is about a 2 kilometer walk through the aquarium. I have never seen such a massive indoor fish tank in my life. Entrance sets you back 2300 yen or 21 US dollars since the aquarium is west of downtown Osaka it is a great idea to combine it with a visit to Endo Sushi, Osaka's best sushi located at the Osaka Fish Market, a sushi experience you will not regret!

Longsoftcream in Osaka in Osaka, Osaka, JapanLongsoftcream in Osaka

Osaka like Tokyo is also known for having outragous shops like the Long Softcream, the longest ice cream in Japan for 500 yen or 4.75 US dollars this shop is located in Amerikamura, a place to meet really friendly and cool locals.

Longsoftcream in Osaka, Osaka, JapanShinsekai in Osaka, Osaka, JapanKushikatsu in Osaka in Osaka, Osaka, JapanKushikatsu in Osaka in Osaka, Osaka, JapanHidden Alleyways in Osaka in Osaka, Osaka, JapanNinja Wifi Router for Japan with 30% discount!  - reformatt.com/osaka in Osaka, Osaka, Japandelicious custard cakes at Beard Para in Osaka in Osaka, Osaka, Japandelicious custard cakes at Beard Para in Osaka in Osaka, Osaka, Japan

For dinner I highly recommend you head over to the Shinsekai district, which is even more visually pleasing than the famous Dotonbori tourist district. The number #1 dinner to try in Shinsekai is Kushikatsu which are lighly fried vegetables and meats on a stick, they have only 1 rule, you can only dip your skewer once in their special dip sauce since it is used by every customer. Also, stay connected at all times in Osaka by renting a Ninja Pocket Wifi station which you can easily carry around Japan, click here for a 30% discount on a Ninja Wifi router.

eating okonomiyaki with my friends at Okonomiyaki Hatsuse in Osaka in Osaka, Osaka, Japaneating okonomiyaki with my friends at Okonomiyaki Hatsuse in Osaka

The most popular dinner party in Osaka is making your own Okonomiyaki, my friends Momo and Yuri took me to Okonomiyaki Hatsuse, one of the best spots in town where you can slap together your own dinner, you basically mix up your own ingredients and throw it on a massive cooking plate. The experience comes with a full English instructional guide.

best afforable sushi in Osaka - Nigiri Chojiro in Osaka, Osaka, Japanbest afforable sushi in Osaka - Nigiri Chojiro in Osaka, Osaka, Japanbizarre Dotonbori Sandwich in Osaka, Osaka, Japanbizarre Dotonbori Sandwich in Osaka, Osaka, Japantallest building in Japan - Abeno Harukas in Osaka in Osaka, Osaka, Japantallest building in Japan - Abeno Harukas in Osaka in Osaka, Osaka, Japantallest building in Japan - Abeno Harukas in Osaka in Osaka, Osaka, Japantallest building in Japan - Abeno Harukas in Osaka in Osaka, Osaka, Japan

For the most mesmerizing views of Osaka head over to the Harukas 300 observartory deck at the Abeno Harukas building just east of Shinsekai. Entrance is 1500 yen or 14 US dollars, I do recommend you visit in the evening so you can see the sunset and nightview of this incredible city with all it's blinking lights on its sky scrapers.

downtown Dotonbori - entrance to Shinsaibashi district in Osaka in Osaka, Osaka, Japandowntown Dotonbori - entrance to Shinsaibashi district in Osaka

Like most tourists, a visit to the Dotonbori district is a must! Dotonbori includes the famous canal cruises, magnificent restaurants with crazy decorations and mouth-watering street foods like the Giant Japanese Scallops, Takoyaki and the massive Dotonbori Sandwich complete with Gyozas, Yakisoba and a ton of sauce.

Dotonbori district in Osaka, Osaka, JapanDotonbori district in Osaka, Osaka, JapanNinja Wifi Router for Japan with 30% discount!  - reformatt.com/osaka in Osaka, Osaka, JapanNinja Wifi Router for Japan with 30% discount!  - reformatt.com/osaka in Osaka, Osaka, JapanOsaka Aquarium Kaiyukan in Osaka, Osaka, JapanBilliken at Shinsekai in Osaka in Osaka, Osaka, Japanbento box on the Shinkansen in Osaka, Osaka, Japanbento box on the Shinkansen in Osaka, Osaka, Japan

In conclusion, I am often sad to hear that new visitors to Japan often skip Osaka for Tokyo and Kyoto but I hope to have convinced you with this new travel guide to give Osaka a change as well. It is for good reason Osaka is called the kitchen of Japan. Above all, make sure you sign up for the 30% discount on the Osaka Mario Kart Experience, get a discount on the Universal Studios Japan Priority Pass, even from Osaka you can make a day trip to Kyoto allowing you more time to spend in Osaka, especially if you like a good party. Speaking of parties, make sure to watch my full Osaka Nightlife experience as well!

downtown Dotonbori in Osaka, Osaka, Japandowntown Dotonbori

Do you want more travel tips for Osaka?

  1. You must join the unforgettable Mario Kart Osaka experience.
  2. Rent a pocket Wifi rental station at the aiport (30% discount).
  3. Skip the lines at Universal Studios Japan (USJ).
  4. Enjoy one of the world's largest aquariums: Osaka Kaiyukan.
  5. Save a lot of money with the JR Rail Pass.

Comments