A city that comes alive at night in the centre of Japan
Japan 2019 Travel Guide: Osaka
Use Osaka as your base for a wider trip in the Kansai region. Then post-match make the most of the brilliant nightlife…
The Culture Vulture
Check out Kamigata Ukiyoe Museum for a look at the prints made with woodblocks during the Edo period. The museum also offers short woodblock printing courses (10-20min) so you can take home your own piece of art.
Go to Arashiyama in Kyoto to view the impressive autumn foliage that will be on show during the World Cup. Less than ten minutes from the station you’ll find the Togetsukyo (moon crossing) Bridge, which was originally built in 836 and spans 155m across the Katsura River.
In downtown Osaka you’ll find Tennoji Park, which features a zoo, an art museum, traditional Japanese gardens and the World Cup Fanzone!
From Michelin-starred restaurants to more casual food offerings, Osaka has it all. In fact, the city is known as the ‘nation’s kitchen’ given the variety of different foods available in the city.
A few favoured fast-food options are takoyaki (balls of wheat batter filled with diced octopus), okonomiyaki (a savoury pancake) and kushikatsu (deep-fried meat and vegetables served on skewers).
Sumo is the national sport of Japan and you can give it a go during a two-hour experience at Active Square Daito, a five-minute walk from Nozaki station on the JR Gakken City line. You’ll get to wear a mawashi (sumo belt) and also learn to cook chankonabe – the power food of sumo wrestlers.
To get a panoramic view of the city, try the Edge The Harukas attraction. Situated at the top of the 300m-high Abeno Harukas skyscraper – Japan’s tallest building – it allows you to walk along a narrow deck and look straight down on the streets below as well as across the city.
A little over half an hour from Osaka is Nara Park, where you can interact with deer and visit renowned temples. Take the train from Namba to Nara station, then it’s a 20-minute walk or you can take a bus.
The Party Animal
It is not until the sun has passed below the horizon and the neon lights brighten the streets that the city comes to life. Alongside the booming restaurant scene are a staggering number of bars, pubs and izakayas.
The Dotonbori area next to the river is must-see, with neon billboards everywhere as well as lots of restaurants and bars. Hozenji Yokocho is a small alley behind Hozenji Temple with around 60 bars and restaurants.
Alternatively, head to the north of the city and explore Ohatsu Tenjin Urasando. It’s another small street with a variety of izakayas and food outlets. Beer Belly – a Western-style pub near Temma station – offers lots of locally-brewed craft beers.
For your ultimate entertainment experience, go to ROUND1 (round1.co.jp). It’s a short walk from Shinsaibashi station and across two floors there are karaoke rooms, darts, billiard tables, arcade games, bowling and more – great for groups.
For more travel information…
How to get there
The bullet train from Tokyo to Osaka takes two-and-a-half hours or there are direct flights to Osaka International Airport. Kansai International Airport is also nearby. Kyoto/Nara are 30 minutes by train.