What’s new? What’s still there? Here’s what you can do on your next visit to Osaka!
From unique outdoor art exhibitions to relaxing onsens, there was so much to rediscover and old favourites to revisit on our recent 7-day trip to Osaka and the Kansai region.
This guide will cover both the new and iconic attractions you can add to your next Osaka itinerary 😎
1) Super Nintendo World at Universal Studios Japan [NEW!]
Magical castles and cute cartoon characters are some of the reasons why we love Universal Studios Japan. But the newest addition of Super Nintendo World in 2021 is most impressive because it literally transforms you into a game character!
The blocks light up with a “ding” when hit.
The entire place feels like a real-life Mario game, with moving objects like platforms and Piranha Plants scattered around. Visitors can also purchase a Power-Up Band (¥3,800) on-site to join game challenges and interact with objects — like punching a ?Block to collect “game coins”!
It’s easy to spend the entire day at the Super Nintendo Park but don’t forget the other attractions like Minion Park and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Plan your day well (with our handy USJ guide), and cover all of the popular rides like Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, and The Flying Dinosaur 🦖.
*Pro-tip: Skip the queues for rides with the USJ Express Pass. Waiting times can go up to 2 hours on most days.
2) teamLab Botanical Garden Osaka [NEW!]
Resonating Microcosms in the Common Camellia Garden
Newly opened in July 2022, teamLab Botanical Garden Osaka is a permanent feature where the exhibits react according to their environment.
For example, when walking through the Resonating Microcosms in the Common Camellia Garden, you’ll pass by various ovoid sculptures which change colour when touched — this segment of the exhibit turned out to be one of my favourites.
Sculptures of Dissipative Birds in the Wind
Also look forward to other works like Sculptures of Dissipative Birds in the Wind, where movements such as the wind blowing or birds flying, will cause the lights and design to change.
Entrance fee: ~S$15/adult via Klook
Opening hours: 6:30PM – 9:45PM, last admission at 8:45PM
How to get there: 15min walk from Nagai Station
3) Tsutenkaku Tower Slider [NEW!]
Osaka’s Tsutenkaku Tower is known for its observation deck on the fifth floor where you can get a beautiful city view.
But now, you can actually slide down it! The Tsutenkaku Tower Slider is a 60m-long slide that recently opened in May 2022. I’m not a fan of heights, but I’ll say the 10-second journey with a view was worth it.
*Note: There are separate fees for the tower slider and the observation deck.
At the end of the ride, don’t forget to collect a digital video of your experience via a QR code.
Cost for Tower Slider: ¥1,000/adult
Entrance fee for Observation Deck: ¥900/adult
Opening hours: 10AM – 7:30PM (Tower Slider), 10AM – 8PM (Observation Deck, last admission at 7:30PM)
How to get there: 3min walk from Ebisucho Station
*Pro-tip: Get the Osaka Amazing Pass for free access to various attractions in the city including the Tower Slider and Observation deck — more on this at the end!
4) Dotonbori Street
Dotonbori is the place to be for oishii street food in Osaka. The options are overwhelming (in a good way), with a variety of local delicacies like dango, okonomiyaki, and takoyaki.
Takoyaki Juhachiban is one of the more well-known takoyaki stores in Dotonbori. The grilled octopus balls (¥800 for 10 pieces) are crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside, and have a generous amount of seaweed and bonito flakes.
The store’s signboard is a gigantic takoyaki ball so you can’t miss it!
Opening hours: 24hrs (varies for different shops)
How to get there: 10min walk from Namba Station
Read also: 16 Must-Eat Food in Osaka and Kyoto
5) Solaniwa Onsen — a Hot Spring Theme Park
Solaniwa Onsen is one of the largest onsen theme parks in Kansai.
With nine different bath types (such as silk or carbonated bath), seven different types of stone saunas, private onsen rooms, and even a rooftop garden — you can spend almost an hour just exploring the entire area.
The common area also has beautiful backdrops like a traditional Japanese bridge and torii gates which are perfect for a mini photoshoot while you’re in your yukata.
Based on experience, you’ll need at least half a day to fully utilise all the facilities here at a leisurely pace.
Cost: From ~S$23/adult via Klook (depending on the package)
Opening hours: 11AM – 11PM
How to get there: 5min walk from JR Bentencho Station
*Note: Tattoo cover stickers are available to buy in various sizes (from ¥100 each) — you’ll need to cover up your tattoos before entering the public baths.
6) Kaiyukan Aquarium
Kaiyukan is one of the largest aquariums in the world housing over 15 large tanks and around 620 species, including otters, sea lions, and penguins.
But the star attraction is not one, but two huge whale sharks swimming in a 9m-deep cylindrical tank at the centre of the entire building!
While the whale sharks were impressive, my favourite marine mammal was actually the ringed seal. It was just adorably floating in the water, chilling — something I wish I could do every waking hour 🥲.
*Pro-tip: Check the aquarium schedule beforehand for feeding sessions of the marine animals.
7) HARUKAS 300 & Umeda Sky Building
Photo credit: Abeno Harukas
Aside from Tsutenkaku Tower, there are many places in Osaka offering an amazing view of the city.
Another popular vantage point is HARUKAS 300 — Osaka’s tallest skyscraper at 300m high. Catch a panoramic view from the 60th floor, behind a 360° glass-enclosed deck.
Photo credit: Umeda Sky Building
Entrance fee: ~S$15/adult via Klook
Opening hours: 9AM – 10PM, last admission at 9:30PM
How to get there: 5min walk from Tennoji Station
Umeda Sky Building & Kuchu Teien Observatory
Entrance fee: ~S$14/adult via Klook
Opening hours: 9:30AM – 10:30PM, last admission at 10PM
How to get there: 15min walk from Osaka Station
8) Pokémon Center Osaka DX and Pokémon Cafe
If you’ve visited Singapore’s very own Pokémon Center, the Pokémon Center Osaka DX is twice as big and more epic! Expect a wider range of Pokémon merchandise, from stuffed toys to kitchen utensils and even jewellery.
Stay for a meal at the Pokémon Cafe right next to it. Besides cute Pokémon-themed decor and food, you might even catch a 10-minute dance session with a “Pikachu” mascot.
*Pro-tip: Make an online reservation in advance as there are limited seats.
Pokémon Center Osaka DX
Opening hours: 10AM – 8PM
Address: 9th Floor, Daimaru Shinsaibashi Main Building, 1-7-1, Shinsaibashisuji, Chuo-ku, Osaka-shi, Osaka, 542-8501
Opening hours: 10AM – 7:30PM, last order at 7PM
9) Osaka Castle
Osaka Castle is so iconic, its design is on manhole covers all over Osaka! That aside, the fascinating history of how Japanese warlord Toyotomi Hideyoshi attempted to unify Japan under his rule can be explored within the castle.
Photo credit: Osaka Convention & Tourism Bureau
Entrance fee: ¥600/adult
Opening hours: 9AM – 5PM, last admission at 4:30PM
How to get there: 10min walk from Tanimachiyonchome Station
Gozabune Boat Ticket
Cost: ~S$15/adult via Klook (free with the Osaka Amazing Pass)
Opening hours: 10AM – 4:30PM, last admission at 4:30PM
10) Zauo Fishing Restaurant
Fish for your own meal and get to eat it fresh at a discounted price 🎣! If that caught your attention, check out Zauo Fishing Restaurant. The unique interior feels like you’re dining onboard a ship while surrounded by a “river” filled with fish.
If you’re not great at fishing, you can also choose from a range of options like sea bream, flounder, mackerel, and even lobster, then decide how you’d like it to be cooked — deep-fried, grilled with salt, or sashimi-style.
Opening hours: 5PM – 12AM (Weekdays, last order at 11PM), 11:30AM – 11:30PM (Weekends, last order at 11PM)
Address: Hotel Sotetsu Grand Fresa Osaka Namba B1F, 1-1-13, Nihonbashi, Chuo-ku, Osaka-shi, Osaka 542-0073
11) Cup Noodles Museum Osaka Ikeda
Photo credit: Cup Noodles Museum Osaka Ikea
The world’s first instant noodles, Chicken Ramen, was invented in Japan — if you didn’t know that, there’s more to be fascinated with at the Cup Noodles Museum Osaka Ikeda.
Photo credit: Cup Noodles Museum Osaka Ikea
Other than discovering the history of instant noodles and other fun facts, you’ll get to bring home custom-made cup noodles (¥500). Everything from the ingredients to the soup flavour, to the cup’s design, is customisable.
Entrance fee: Free (some activities require a separate fee)
Opening hours: 9:30AM – 4:30PM (last admission at 3:30PM), closed on Tue
How to get there: 5min walk from Ikeda Station
12) Head Out for Day Trips
In less than an hour by train, you’ll find yourself in popular must-visit cities like Kyoto and Nara 🦌. This makes Osaka a great base for day trips!
Venture a little further and explore other areas of the Kansai region too such as Okayama and Kurashiki — we came across beautiful landscapes like Korakuen Garden and Kurashiki Canal, which looks like a mini replica of Venice 😍.
*Pro-tip: Save money on train rides with the JR Kansai Pass!
13) Shinsaibashi Shopping Street & Den Den Town
If you’re looking for tax-free shopping, Shinsaibashi Shopping Street is the place to be. Located in the Dotonbori area, it’s lined with drugstores, restaurants, and clothing shops stretching around 600m.
You’ll also spot familiar names here like Uniqlo, Daiso, and ABC Mart — where I managed to purchase a pair of Vans for less than ~S$50 🤩.
If you’re into anime, there’s the three-storey Animate Osaka Nipponbashi in Osaka’s Den Den Town. Here you’ll find a wide range of merchandise, comics, and even CDs!
Shinsaibashi Shopping Street
Opening hours: 11AM – 8PM (varies for different shops)
How to get there: 1min walk from Shinsaibashi Station
Den Den Town
Opening hours: 11AM – 7PM (varies for different shops)
How to get there: 5min walk from Nipponbashi station
Tips for Planning Your Next Trip to Osaka
Now that you’ve got things to add to your Osaka itinerary, here are some extra tips to help make your trip a smooth one!
1) Check travel rules before you go
As of 13 October 2022, Japan has resumed visa-free travel for foreigners entering the country. Currently, there’s also no Covid-test requirement for people with three doses of vaccination but do check official news as rules are always changing.
*Pro-tip: Register your travel details on Japan Web before departure — you’ll receive a QR code which gives you a fast-track through immigration.
2) Ensure you have all the travel pre-essentials
Here’s a quick pre-departure checklist to tick off:
3) Learn the language
Learning the local language is always helpful as most locals don’t speak English. These are some commonly used phrases:
|How much is this||これはいくらですか||kore wa ikura desu ka|
|Where is the washroom||トイレはどこですか||toire wa doko desu ka|
|It’s delicious||おいしいです||oishii desu|
|Thank you||ありがとうございました||arigatou gozaimashita|
4) Download useful apps
– Japan Travel by Navitime — check train timings, platform number
– Google Translate — to communicate with locals
– Universal Studios Japan — check attraction wait times, book timed entry tickets
– JapanTaxi/Grab/Uber — for hailing a cab to your destination
5) Get transport passes to travel around
Whether you’re travelling in or out of the city, transport passes save the hassle of purchasing single-trip tickets.
For example, the Osaka Amazing Pass includes free access to over 50 attractions such as Tsutenkaku Tower, Osaka Castle and the Umeda Sky Building. On top of that, it also serves as a transport pass — unlimited trips on the Osaka subway, tramway, and bus.
If you’re travelling out of Osaka city, JR Passes are a more cost-effective option. Some journeys can cost up to ~$60-70 per trip or even more.
Some of the JR passes even include extra perks! For example, on top of unlimited rides at JR stations, the JR West Kansai Pass comes with vouchers for free local train lines like the Kyoto Subway and Keihan Line.
Did we miss out on any other things to do in Osaka? Let us know in the comments!
This post was brought to you by Klook.