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Things to do in Osaka

Our most recommended things to do in Osaka

Kyoto and Nara 1 Day Bus Tour from Osaka/Kyoto

1. Kyoto and Nara 1 Day Bus Tour from Osaka/Kyoto

Depart from the exclusive VIP waiting rooms of Osaka or Kyoto, heading to Fushimi Inari Taisha. Designated as an Important Cultural Property, the main shrine building contains five shrines together, these five pillars of Fushimi Inari Taisha are named for the great virtues of Inari Okami that they embody. Inari Okami is known as a deity of business prosperity, the prosperity of industries, the safety of households, safety in traffic and improvement in the performing arts. The 'Senbon Torii' or 1000 torii gates are donations by individuals and companies, and you will find the donator's name and the date of the donation inscribed on the back of each gate. Then you will head to Arashiyama, which changes with the seasons and you can enjoy the scenery any time of year, with cherry blossoms in the spring, boat festivals in the Summer, red leaves in Autumn and snow white mountains in the winter. Arashiyama is also filled with temples and shrines including the match-making Shrine you can visit, during your walk through the famed Bamboo grove. There are a variety of restaurants to choose right near the Togetsukyo bridge, including vegan and Halal. Proceed to the symbol of Kyoto, Kinkakuji, the Golden Pavilion, also named Rakuon-ji: one of the most popular buildings in Japan. Finally, move on to Japan’s old capital, Nara: you will have the time to explore its park, cuddle the worldwide famous deer and enter the biggest wooden building of the planet, Todai-ji Temple, another UNESCO world heritage site. Here you will find yourself in front of Japan’s biggest Buddha statue, 15 meters tall.

Osaka: Shinsekai Food Tour

2. Osaka: Shinsekai Food Tour

Explore the hidden gem of Shinsekai with your guides and discover the real Osaka. Osaka’s Shinsekai district is a vibrant place combining modern and traditional cuisine. Fill your belly with some of the best food you will have in Japan. Discover hidden, original establishments which have been chosen by two local expert guides. Wander in and around the markets that serve traditional Osakan food for an authentic local experience.  Make your way to the first eatery, a takoyaki, or battered octopus balls, stall. Then visit an Izakaya restaurant and sample some authentic Osakan kitsune Udon along with japanese style chicken wings. Also taste the locally invented kushikatsu, which are lightly deep-fried vegetables, meats and seafood on skewers. Head off the beaten path and visit a cosy, traditional Japanese restaurant you will get dishes of mouthwatering nikudoufu or beef and tofu stew, original yakitori or skewered beef assortments, plus an alcoholic/non-alcoholic beverage. Then visit specialized delicious gyoza dumpling establishment. The last dishes of the night will be at a unique Japanese eatery. Enjoy a tonpeiyaki, or pork omelette plus an abundance of edamame and karaage, Japanese fried chicken with spices. Another drink of your choice here is included. Finish off the night at a market eating Japanese castella cake shaped as the local mascot of Shinsekai.

Universal Studios Japan E-Ticket (1, 1.5 or 2-Day)

3. Universal Studios Japan E-Ticket (1, 1.5 or 2-Day)

Go beyond the screen and ride The Harry Potter at Universal Studios Japan. Experience cutting-edge rides, shows and attractions based on your favorite blockbuster films, TV series, and Japanese animations. Universal Studios Japan is one of only four Universal Studios locations across the globe and the only one available with Japanese animation-themed attractions. It boasts more than 30 rides and attractions to satisfy every cinematic fantasy. Experience the world's first Mario-themed area and Mario Kart: Koopa's Challenge™ attraction, both of which received Thea Awards, an enormous honor around the globe in the themed entertainment industry. And don't miss The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™, Minions, and other magnificent worlds enjoyed by kids and adults alike.

Osaka: Universal Studios Japan Entry Ticket & Transportation

4. Osaka: Universal Studios Japan Entry Ticket & Transportation

Relax as you travel door-to-door by van or coach from your Osaka hotel to Universal Studios Japan, and enter the theme park without delay with your pre-purchased day ticket. Enjoy the wide variety of attractions on offer including The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and Universal Wonderland. The whole family will have fun on the rides and taking in movies and shows. Explore the many shops and stop for refreshments or a meal. Photo opportunities abound! At the end of the day you’ll return to your hotel in Osaka with the same easy door-to-door transportation service. A number of departure and return times are available to choose from.

Osaka: Guided Pub Crawl

5. Osaka: Guided Pub Crawl

Experience the nightlife of Osaka throughout an exciting pub crawl. You can meet new people as you visit various bars and clubs, mingling with your fellow crawlers. Avoid the need to plan your night and avail of the services of a fun guide with good local knowledge. You will typically start the night in a relaxed bar with space to sit down to get to know each other, enjoying a free shot and getting the chance to win some free drinks. Things will heat up at the 2nd bar, with more music and some games and activities to get to know your fellow participants. Next, continue to a 3rd bar with space to dance and a table to sit down at if you prefer. Then it will be time to make your way to a club to end the night on the dance floor. You can stay until closing time at 5:00AM if you want to mix with the locals, who will start arriving at around 12:30AM if you want to see how they have fun. You may even get invited to an after party if any are available, which they often are.

Osaka: Full-Day Private Guided Walking Tour

6. Osaka: Full-Day Private Guided Walking Tour

Enjoy an exciting full-day walking tour of Osaka accompanied by a guide and explore Japan's second-largest city. See the modern and traditional sides of this colorful, dynamic metropolis. Start your day meeting your guide at your hotel, and embark on your customized tour. See Osaka Castle, rebuilt after being destroyed in the sieges of the 17th century. Stroll through Kuromon Ichiba Market amid the booming voices of Osaka merchants. Snack on various local foods. Have lunch in the traditional working class Shinsekai area. Choose your must-see spots, create your own itinerary, and enjoy your own unique Osaka experience. Learn all about your favorite spots from your knowledgeable guide.

Osaka: Main Sights and Hidden Spots Guided Walking Tour

7. Osaka: Main Sights and Hidden Spots Guided Walking Tour

Osaka is known for great food, quirky characters and an urban history much longer than Tokyo's. Get under the skin of this unique city on this guided walking tour with a professional English-speaking guide.  Start off with a visit to Osaka Castle Park. You won't go inside the castle, but will get to admire the grand and imposing exterior, and will stroll around the surrounding park.  Here you'll learn about the history of Osaka and how it was almost robbed from the Japanese 400 years ago.  A quick train ride takes you to Tsuruhashi, to explore the maze of Korea Town. Explore the narrow streets and alleys of this pre-war commercial district.  Another quick journey by public transport will take you to modern Harukas building. Enjoy the view from one of the high floors, then head underground to explore the food hall of the department store underneath. See high quality products for sale like killer puffer fish and Kobe beef, amongst others.  Not far from Harukas is the traditional district of Shin-sekai. See the slightly crumbling local highlights, perfectly frozen in time.  Next, head to Namba, considered to be the center of Osaka's present-day shopping, dining, and entertainment culture. Visit Dotonbori, Osaka’s version of Times Square in New York, and explore the quirky back streets with their own individuality and surprises in store. You’ll visit Kuromon Ichiba, a fresh fish market that's played a pivotal role for more than 150 years.  Finally, explore Doguyasuji, a kitchen and cooking district. Look around at the wax food models, Japanese "noren" (curtains that hang at kitchen entrances) and giant pottery pieces. 

Osaka: All-Inclusive Night Foodie Cultural Extravaganza

8. Osaka: All-Inclusive Night Foodie Cultural Extravaganza

Explore Osaka's vibrant food culture far away from the tourist spots. Enjoy a drink or two along the way as you immerse yourself in the city's food scene on this small-group food tour. Meet your guide at Temma Station and start your evening food journey in the districts of Temma and Kyobashi. Visit three different tachinomis, standing dining bars, where you'll be served a variety of local favorites. Get ready to chat with locals as you sample some of the best homemade food paired with a bountiful selection of beverages. Depending on availability and guest preferences, you'll be served dote nikomi (slow-cooked beef), sashimi, various vegetable dished prepared with traditional cooking techniques, kushikatsu (fried food on skewers), and many more. On this evening tour, you'll absorb light lessons about the history and culture of the food and life in Osaka. Enjoy the perks of a small-sized group as your guides reveals great insider tips about this fascinating city. Experience the city through the eyes of a local away from the Japanese dishes that can be found on tourist streets. Finally, if you're interested in trying some tender Kobe-area sourced beef,  select the Kobe beef add-on.

Osaka: Deep Backstreets Exploration

9. Osaka: Deep Backstreets Exploration

Begin by getting a feel for retro Osaka. Be transported back in time to a Japan barely recognizable. Jump into retro video game parlors, old-fashioned markets, and more. See how the locals entertain and are entertained by night, from games unique to Japan, to crazy fishing restaurants, to a peek in an Osakan theater. Your next stop will be within some of the most amazing back alleys you'll ever see. Interact with your surroundings, feeling the profound energy and history of the area. Sample 2 delicious side dishes from two different stalls here. A stone's throw and you're within an area filled with untouched, abandoned properties, which provides a truly surreal experience in the middle of the city. Afterwards, you'll have the option to walk through the red light district, or to skip it and go on a separate path.  This Taisho-Era red light district is incredibly preserved from that period, and consists of UNESCO-listed buildings important to Osakan culture. Finally, you'll have the option to eat a full dinner at a tasty, tradition restaurant after the tour has ended.  This tour is not necessarily recommended for all; if you are intrepid, well traveled, and seeking glimpse into an unfiltered, honest side of Osaka, it is a good choice for you. Note that this tour exposes the good, the bad, and everything in between. It includes taboo topics as well, which are very important in forming a complete picture of Japan and its people, such as Yakuza, sexism, war, illegal gambling, sex work, illicit businesses, pachinko, homelessness, welfare, and more. Note also that this tour will not go through the homeless district. Your guides are always respectful should people who are homeless also be traveling the same route as the tour.

From Osaka: Kyoto Top Highlights Day Trip

10. From Osaka: Kyoto Top Highlights Day Trip

Visit some of Kyoto's most famous cultural sites on this day-long bus tour from Osaka. Hop aboard a comfortable coach and drive to Japan's ancient capital to see the brilliant torii gates of the Fushimi Inari Shrine, the UNESCO-listed Kiyomizu-dera temple, and the golden pavilion of Kinkaku-ji. Kyoto is filled with ancient historic sites dating back to the 6th century. Get dropped off first at the Fushimi Inari Shrine, a Shinto shrine famous for its thousands of vermilion torii gates. Spend time wandering the brilliant paths before heading to your next destination. Arrive at Kiyomizu-dera, one of the most iconic temples in Japan. Take ample time to wander through the temple. Walk across the impressive wooden stage, which juts out from the hillside and was constructed without the use of a single nail. Next, stop at Kinkaku-ji, also known as the Golden Pavilion due to the fact that it's covered in gold leaf. Wander through the immaculate gardens surrounding the temple, admiring the original Japanese designs that have been preserved since Ashikaga's time. Finish the day in Arashiyama, which has been a popular nature-viewing destination since the Heian Period. Take a stroll through the cool Sagano Bamboo Forest and listen to the distinct rustle of bamboo leaves as you walk. In the late afternoon, hop on the bus back to Osaka.

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Frequently asked questions about Osaka

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What are the best day trips and excursions from Osaka?

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Kyoto

Other Sightseeing Options in Osaka

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What people are saying about Osaka

Overall rating

4.4 / 5

based on 640 reviews

Highly recommended. We landed at Kansai airport and pick up location is right at the entrance with large English signage. Picked up pocket wifi and it was ready to use. The battery lasted almost 12 hours and comes with a charger cable in case. The coverage and speed are excellent. Quite cheap compared to other providers and sim. I was given two days extension free of charge out of courtesy. Very polite helpful personnel at the store

If you are visiting Osaka this is a must do! Deuce did an incredible job showing us a good time as well as explaining some history along the way! The food was incredible and this was the highlight of my trip!

Amazing jeff is a legend so make sure get him if you enjoy quilting conventions and sinking back a few cold ones. Definitely recommend you do this if you’re new to Osaka its a bargain for what you get

Our Guide Kevin was very kind. he made great efforts to give us the wonderful experience. The food was very good and plentiful.

All perfect. Exceptional transfer service. Thankseeeeee