Osaka is a down-to-earth, relaxed city in comparison to its big sister Tokyo. Eat and drink your way through this vibrant city, home to amazing food and people. Osaka holidays invite you to step away from the usual tourist attractions and blend in with its laid-back lifestyle.
Osaka has a rich and complex history, which is told at the city’s many museums. Anyone with an appreciation for architecture will enjoy a visit to the Umeda Sky Building, named one of the top 20 buildings in the world, offering panoramic views of the city from its observation deck. Explore the landscaped grounds of Osaka Castle and Sumiyoshi shrine before losing yourself in Osaka's bustling street markets and winding alleys. Crammed full of weird and wonderful shops and restaurants, explore the delicacies and delights of old and traditional Japan along with its many quirky and futuristic clubs and bars.
The nightlife capital of Japan
This city is incredibly famous for its cuisine, so when night falls, explore the delicious street food on offer under the dim light of the lanterns that cast an elegant glow upon Osaka’s flag-stoned streets. After dinner, why not take a nostalgic trip to a retro video games bar and go back in time with a game of Sonic the Hedgehog? Or venture to Osaka’s very own America town, a great people-watching spot with an amusing replica of the Statue Of Liberty. Many of the brightly-lit entertainment districts in Osaka buzz with excitement twenty-four hours a day. One thing’s for sure, you will never be bored during your Osaka holiday.
A couple of nights in Osaka is ideally twinned with nearby Kyoto. With the high-speed bullet train, it's easy to get around and combine several cities in one holiday. Speak to one of our Destination Specialists and plan the perfect Osaka holiday package today.
Great sample itineraries
Choose from a selection of Osaka tours perfect for couples, families or solo travellers. We’ve created an inspiring selection of itineraries that can be included in your Osaka holiday package. Almost anything is possible so please give us a call to discuss all your options.
No trip to Japan would be complete without visiting some of the country's many historical sights and Osaka Castle is one such must-see in the city. Originally constructed in the 1500's, the castle was completely destroyed by Tokugawa troops in 1615, before being rebuilt in the 1620's. The Osaka Castle Park is particularly popular during cherry blossom season (usually late March or early April) and this time of year makes for some particularly special photos. Another of Osaka's must-see's is Shitennoji - one of the country's oldest temples founded in the year 593. Unfortunately the temple has had to be rebuilt several times since but still maintains its original design and charm.
Those keen to learn more about Japanese history and culture will find a selection of museums worth visiting in the city. Head to the National Art Museum to discover a fantastic range of Japanese contemporary art along with other special exhibitions. Or spend some time learning about the history of Osaka, Japan's first capital at the History Museum. For something slightly different, the Science Museum is particularly good for families with its interactive displays, planetarium and Imax cinema.
Home to Universal Studios and the recently opened Wizzarding World of Harry Potter, Osaka comes up trumps for family fun! Set in the Osaka Bay Area, Universal Studios Japan is divided into eight zones bursting with amusement rides and simulators. Daily shows and parades featuring characters such as Hello Kitty, Snoopy and Sesame Street are a great hit with younger children, while Harry Potter fans of all ages will love exploring the meticulous recreation of the series at the park's newest zone!
A mecca for retail therapy, Osaka has several different shopping districts where you can purchase pretty much anything and everything you could think of. From designer malls to local craft shops you'll find it all here. In the north of the city Umeda is the place to go, while in the south head to Namba. Shinsaibashi is one of the city's most popular arcades and is bursting with boutiques, brand name shops and restaurants, while Tenjinbashi arcade offers a huge selection of local shops and lower prices.
“Take an Osaka backstreet night tour, a fantastic way to sample the local food and drink as you immerse yourself in the soulful vibe and the neon lights of this crazy city.”
“Getting around Osaka is easy using the city's public transport system. Buying a pre-paid Icoca card (similar to a London Oyster card) is one of the best ways to hop about the city by train and subway”.
Events & Festivals
Festivals and events are wonderful to include during your Osaka holiday, offering a glimpse into the country’s authentic culture and traditions.
Toka Ebisu Festival
Thousands of visitors crowd into Ebisu shrine to conduct a simple ritual of prayer for ongoing success in their work and business. This festival starts around the 10th of January and usually lasts for five days.
Hanami (cherry blossom season)
Some of the world’s best events are shaped purely by Mother Nature. During two weeks in spring, cherry blossom petals fall like snow creating picture-perfect scenes across the city. Over this period, you can sample a wide variety of cherry blossom based teas, confectionery and foods.
Considered by the Japanese as one of the top three festivals in Japan and one of the most famous festivals in Osaka, Tenjin Matsuri, held in July, is known for its elaborate fireworks performance and boat bonfires along the Osaka Okawa River that creates a hypnotic light display.
Kishiwada Danjiri Festival
Kishiwada Danjiri Festival is a traditional festival held in Osaka every September, featuring more than 30 hand-carved danjiri floats, each one representing a different area of the city. The carpenters of these floats ride on top, performing an acrobatic dance, racing through the city at a fast pace. This is a fascinating (and dangerous) spectacle.
Get a flavour of the local culture through your palate during your Osaka holiday. Traditional Japanese food is generally created upon the rules of five: using five colours (black, white, green, yellow and red), five cooking techniques (boiling, grilling, steaming, frying and raw) and five flavours (salty, sour, sweet, spicy and bitter.) World-famous for its emphasis on incredibly fresh and seasonal ingredients, the food of Japan is sure to be a major highlight of your holiday in Osaka.
Here are a few of our favourite dishes.
Quite literally, okonomiyaki means ‘what you like, cooked’. This is a savoury pancake dish, which comes in a variety of styles and generally contains a delicious combination of noodles, eggs, meat and vegetables layered on a crepe on a teppanyaki grill plate.
An Osaka favourite, tako-yaki are battered octopus balls, typically made with minced or diced octopus, tempura scraps, pickled ginger, and green onion. This is one of Japan’s best-known street food snacks.
Ramen are Chinese-style wheat noodles served in a meat or fish-based broth often flavoured with soy sauce or miso, and served with toppings such as sliced pork, nori and scallions.
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