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Osaka

Travel Guide

Places to visit in Osaka
with your Japan Rail Pass



Osaka castle sakura season

Welcome to Osaka

A city in the southern part of Japan, like Tokyo in many ways with its large districts and parks. The city is a popular travel destination for many tourists due to Universal Studios Japan and its Super Nintendo World as well as the wonderful shopping and restaurant street Dōtonbori.

Dotonbori river boat

DŌTONBORI

Dōtonbori / Dōtombori is one of the largest tourist destinations in the city. The area is recognized for its large neon signs along a nice canal with lots of restaurants and shops. Around the area there are several passages with more restaurants, shops, arcade halls, street food stalls and other fun to brighten the evening with. We recommend a visit during the evening for the best experience.

For those who love to shop, Dōtonbori also has 4 Don Quixote shops, one of which has a Ferris wheel on the outside of the building. Here you will also find Shinsaibashi-Suji Shopping Street, a 680 meter long shopping street under a roof with shops for all ages and interests.

The area has a very strong focus on food and we highly recommend a Yakiniku restaurant along the main street called Gyu-Kaku. The restaurant is divided over 7 floors with room for 5 parties per floor. Here you get a real Yakiniku experience at a favorable price.

nara deer free walking

NARA PARK

Nara is an area that attracts a lot of tourists due to its open park just outside Osaka, consisting of 1,200 free-range deer. It is free to visit the park.

The animals are wild but very tame and accustomed to large crowds. Cookies can be purchased on the spot to attract deer for nice pictures. Most people have also learned to bow to reward in the form of cookies or other goodies.

The park consists of many nice and open areas and ponds to rest your legs at. In addition to this, there is also a large museum and several temples.

Nara Park is about a 15-minute walk from JR Nara Station for visitors with JR Pass. Kintetsu is significantly closer but is not covered by JR Pass. We recommend that visitors with JR Pass stroll from JR Nara Station. The walkway between the station and the park is very cozy and consists of many nice places to both eat and shop.

mariokarting on the streets of Ginza

MARIOKART ON THE STREET

Have you always dreamed of driving Mario Kart on open roads? Japan solves it!

A BIG must for anyone visiting Japan. However, it is important to remember that an International Driver’s License is required to drive the go-kart on the road. That is, they do not let you out with a regular Swedish driver’s license. You can get an international driver’s license at home in before you go through different federations depending on where in the country you are and cost only a couple of euros.

Booking of driving is done through an automated messenger chat on their Facebook page.

Castle osaka white gold

OSAKA CASTLE

Feel free to visit Osaka Castle and its wonderful surroundings. The main tower currently consists of a museum on 7 floors and with a 360 degree vantage point at the top. Here you can take the opportunity to take some pictures of the city.

Admission to the museum costs JPY 600 for adults and is free for children and young people under the age of 15. Note that it is free for everyone to wander around among the castle’s surroundings and other sights.

HINT! On the roof of the area service center is located “Blue Birds Roof Top Terrace”. A hidden treasure in Osaka with large roof terrace with nice nature with the palace in the background. Show your ticket from Osaka Castle for discounts at the bar. However, the bar can be a little hard to find. Once you enter the service center, just go straight ahead and take the stairs as high up as you can get and then look for a smaller staircase in the corner signposted with “Blue Bird”.

Aquarium entrance

OSAKA AQUARIUM

Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan is located in Osaka’s harbor area, rather in Tempozan Harbor Village. Rated as one of Japan’s best aquariums and has everything you would expect from an aquarium.

The aquarium is divided into 15 tanks and each tank represents different parts of the reef. The center tank is 9 meters deep and is home to the aquarium’s main attraction, the whale shark.

As a visitor, you start on the 8th floor and make your way down a spiral staircase around the center tank. Some of the tanks span several floors.

The easiest way to get to the aquarium is by metro via the Chuo subway line.

Harry potter universal studios

UNIVERSAL STUDIOS

The park is one of 6 Universal Studios parks in the world and is very similar to the one in Orlando as well as Los Angeles. Take the opportunity to take part in something unique you have probably never experienced. Liseberg, throw yourself in the wall.

Universal Osaka consists of 9 sections – Hollywood, New York, San Francisco, Jurassic Park, Waterworld, Amitiy Village, Universal Wonderland, Nintendo World and The wizarding world of Harry Potter. Take part in a full-scale Harry Potter castle and a city in the same theme full of attractions and surprises.

Outside the park’s gates you will find the Universal Citywalk, full of shops, restaurants, hotels, Takoyaki museum and other attractions. A completely Universal inspired shopping center!

In connection with the Tokyo Olympics 2020, Universal Osaka opened up the new Super Nintendo World – highly recommended for all visitors! A world-unique park inspired by Nintendo’s top seller Super-Mario.

Super nintendo world

SUPER NINTENDO WORLD

Super Nintendo World is a park for the whole family and is located in Universal Studios park. Here you will find attractions and games from Mario’s world along with fun dishes and a number of mini-games.

All the food and drinks in the park come in the form of your favorite character whether it’s pancakes, sweets or burgers. Something that is really appreciated by the younger ones. Their most visited attraction is Mario Kart. Put on an AR headset and get into the game!

Once inside the park, you can buy a bracelet that unlocks certain hidden games and features in the park. Among other things, the ability to jump and hit all the boxes that are on the walls. With this, you can also collect coins, digital stamps and keep track of today’s highscore.

The park is, according to the editorial staff, a MUST for everyone who visits Osaka. A unique park like no other.

ferris wheel

TEMPOZAN FERRIS WHEEL

The Tempozan Ferris Wheel is an iconic Ferris wheel located on the edge of beautiful Osaka Bay. The wheel is 115 meters high and thus one of the world’s largest Ferris wheels. From the top of the wheel you are offered a wonderful view of the harbor and the city.

A ride takes about 15minter and it is just as well to visit the Ferris wheel during the day as in the evening because in the evening the whole wheel is illuminated.

Minoh park waterfall

MINOH PARK

Minō Kōen, also called both Minoo and Minoh Park is an open natural area just outside Osaka’s center. The park is especially popular during the autumn when all the trees change color and make the already fantastically beautiful park even more beautiful. The colors are usually at their best during the end of November.

The main attraction of the park is the Minoo waterfall which has a height of 33 meters. To get there, there is a 3km hiking trail that starts atHankyu Minoo Station andthen goes through a valley along the Minoo River.

It takes no more than 30 minutes to get to Minoo Park from Umeda.

Seafood market

KUROMON MARKET

Kuromon Ichiba is an open market that stretches 600 meters parallel to Sakaisujidori Street in the Minami area. Here you are met by more than 150 shops, large and small and have the opportunity to buy everything from sweets and food to clothes and tourist items.

The market has been nicknamed “The kitchen of Osaka” because this is where most local residents as well as restaurant owners buy their produce. It is also known for its fresh seafood and is visited by several thousand tourists daily.

Old street food

SHINSEKAI

Shinsekai means “New World” but is one of Osaka’s older and more retro areas. The area is popular for good food, older culture and retro arcades.

The center part of the area is Tsutenkaku Tower, a lookout tower like the Eiffel Tower with the opportunity to go up and get a nice view of the whole area. Highly recommended in the evenings.

Shinsekai is also home to Spa World which is a facility with several hot springs, pools and spa departments where you can relax after a busy day in the city.

Red shirines

SUMIYOSHI TAISHA

Osaka’s Sumiyoshi Taisha is one of the country’s oldest shrines. All buildings have a unique style, called Sumiyoshi-zukuri which is characterized by straight roofs thatare decorated by two sets of fork-shaped surfaces and five horizontal rollers, as well as that the entrance is under the gable and that the house is surrounded by a fence.

You will find the temple in the southern part of Osaka, just a short walk from Sumiyoshi Taisha Station via Nankai Main Line. As you walk towards the main building, you will be greeted by the beautiful Sorihashi bridgethat creates a unique high arch over a pond.

Umdea sky building skyscraper

UMEDA SKY BUILDING

The Umeda Sky Building is one of Osaka’s most well-known landmarks as you can see buildings from anywhere in the city. With its 40 floors and 173 meters in height, the buildings have many fantastic viewing opportunities.

We really recommend visiting the observatory on the 39th floor called “the Garden Observatory”. From here you get an outstanding view of Osaka while you are surrounded by beautiful plants and flowers.

Busy shopping street

TENJINBASHISUJI

If you haven’t managed to satisfy your shopping cravings, this is the place to go. Tenjinbashi-suji is Japan’s longest shopping street with its 2.5 km and has over 600 shops and restaurants. The whole street is under cover so don’t let bad weather stop you from going here.

Put on a pair of comfortable shoes and prepare for a few hours of shopping because there is something for everyone. If you get hungry or tired, there are plenty of street food stalls, cafes and restaurants where you can replenish your energy.

Anything else to know before arrival?

Don’t worry, we got you covered with the most important information below.

Osaka consists of two airports, Kansai International Airport (KIX) and Osaka International Airport (Itami, ITM). However, Kansai is the one most people land at, as ITM almost only handles domestic flights.

From here there are several trains to Osaka, Shin-Osaka and Tennoji. If you travel with a JR pass, visit the airport’s JR counter and book a train ticket to Osaka. Once in Osaka, it’s easy to get around the city by subway.

However, double-check with the staff at JR’s information desk regarding which train suits your final destination best, as some hotels are closer to Shin-Osaka.

You don’t have to worry about holding tight to your valuables or walking around with larger sums of cash. Japanese are a very loyal and well-behaved people with very few thieves and the like. Watching younger children ride the subway by themselves home from school alone is not an uncommon sight to see in Japan. Of course, there are everywhere, but Japan has very few of them.

Order a JR pass if you plan to move to other cities. If you are only going to be in Osaka, you can do well to pay for your transport at a time. But most visitors take a week in Tokyo and then move on to Kyoto, Osaka and other popular cities. These train distances are quite expensive without JR passes, we therefeore recommend getting one before your departure to Japan. Getjrpass.com is an official ravel agent and seller of these Japan Rail Passes with no middle man.

The metro is well-functioning and cheap – a recommended means of transport. Tickets are very easily purchased by machine on site before entering or via pre-loaded Suica card. Most distances are combined with JR lines and Metro lines to reach your destination in the city.

Suica card – a fantastic IC card that can be preloaded with money to easily blip beverage machines, subway and other machines for a cashless and fast payment. Alternative to the card is Icoca Card & Pasmo Card.

Taxis are everywhere, but are quite expensive. The metro is so functional that Taxi is not needed.

The city has lots of beautiful parks. Enjoy good food and take it easy, enjoy your visit to Japan.

Japan uses Japanese Yen – JPY.

We recommend a smaller exchange before the trip at Forex or another currency exchanger to be able to pay for transport from the airport if you have decided to activate your Japan Rail Pass at a later date, for food and drink on site upon arrival and so on.

Safe ATMs for cash withdrawals can be found around the city. You don’t have to worry about walking around with larger amounts of cash as the country is very safe. Of course there are jerks in the country, but Japan has extremely few of them.

7-eleven usually has a very good exchange rate at their machines. When withdrawing larger sums such as thousands of euros, it can differ up to hundreds of euros against what you get at Forex if you exchange before the trip. We therefore recommend only bringing a smaller amount and withdrawing more cash on site.

Do not exchange at the airport. Visit a bank or 7-eleven in town.

Tips are not appreciated by the staff and can sometimes be considered disparaging.

If you want to tip, ask the staff beforehand if it is okay. Most likely, you will get a no, as tips are not part of their everyday life.

Looking for another city?

Visit out other travel guides and explore the fantastic country of Japan. We add new destinations weekly and please, feel free to suggest new destinations to the travel guide if you’ve been in Japan before. We appreciate all the suggestions!

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