Things to do in Osaka

Our most recommended things to do in Osaka

Osaka: Universal Studios Japan Entry Ticket & Transportation

1. 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: 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.

From Osaka: Kyoto Sightseeing Day Trip and Scenic Train Ride

3. From Osaka: Kyoto Sightseeing Day Trip and Scenic Train Ride

After pickup from one of 3 locations in Osaka, head towards Kyoto, once the former capital of Japan, on the island of Honshu. The first activity of the day is a scenic and romantic railway ride from Kameoka to Arashiyama. During the 23-minute journey, feel immersed in nature as you admire the beautiful blossom trees and breathtaking mountain views. Upon arrival at Arashiyama, enjoy a delicious buffet style lunch with soft drinks to prepare you for an afternoon of sightseeing. After lunch, visit the UNESCO World Heritage Listed Kiyomizudera Temple, one of the most celebrated temples in Japan, founded in 780 on the site of the Otowa Waterfall. The tour continues onto Fushimi Inari, world-famous for the thousands of Torii gates that line the entrance to the Shinto Shrine. Spend some free time exploring the mountain trails and the shrine buildings themselves, and learn about the fascinating culture of Japan. The tour ends after your visit to Fushimi Inari, and you’ll be dropped-off to your original pickup location in Osaka.

Osaka: Full-Day Private Guided Walking Tour

4. 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: Daytime Cherry Blossom and Food Tour

5. Osaka: Daytime Cherry Blossom and Food Tour

The Hanami spirit during Cherry Blossom season in Osaka is celebrated in many parts of the city but, perhaps the best place to see the blossoms is around the Osaka Castle area. Experience this walking tour of the castle grounds, exploring the gardens and surrounding neighborhood. You'll taste local treats and beverages from festive street stalls, explore the history of the district, and finish up with an amazing Japanese lunch at a delicious Soba restaurant. Sakura season is short, lasting for about one month from the first tiny buds to the finish of the season, with the peak being about two weeks. It is impossible to predict exact dates each year, but this limited-edition tour is offered in the time period which is the most famous for Hanami. Along with your guide, you'll learn about the history of the area as well as the meaning and reason behind the Sakura season. You'll also taste local specialties that are bound to be pleasing to the eye and to the palate. You'll will try local snacks and enjoy a special Hanami seasonal lunch at an amazing Soba restaurant.

Nightlife Osaka Food Tour

6. Nightlife Osaka Food Tour

Start your tour in the the bright and busy Doutonburi area, learn about a Filipino sprinter named Fortunato Catalon who inspired a nation and a company! The lights and sounds of Dotounburi often lead you astray to overly-commercialised restaurants with queues of tourists outside. Instead, take secret alleys toward the hidden areas. Sample Kushikatsu, a local take on Yakitori, and discover a Michelin-rated street food stop for Osaka’s favorite snack – Takoyaki! Head to an Izakaya, or local pub, with seasonal dishes that will intrigue and delight. Enjoy yakitori, sukiyaki, tempura, and a drink. Try a draft beer or Nihonshu (rice wine) with your tasty meal. From there, see a famous building full of hidden unorthodox bars, one after another. Every 5 steps there is a new door with a new adventure to be had. This area gives you the retro, artsy feel of a very hip and unique cluster of bars. Finally, finish off with a tasty local street food dessert! 

Osaka: All-Inclusive Night Foodie Cultural Extravaganza

7. 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: Main Sights and Hidden Spots Guided Walking Tour

8. 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. 

From Osaka: Kyoto Top Highlights Day Trip

9. 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.

Osaka: Deep Backstreets Exploration

10. 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.

Frequently asked questions about Osaka

What top attractions are a must-see in Osaka?

The must-see attractions in Osaka are:

What are the best day trips and excursions from Osaka?

The best day trips and excursions from Osaka are:

Kyoto

Other Sightseeing Options in Osaka

Want to discover all there is to do in Osaka? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about Osaka

Overall rating

4.3 / 5

based on 675 reviews

Andy was such a good tour guide! He showed us the spots where no tourist usually goes to. On top, he gave us interesting side facts about Osaka and Japan. The food was delicious and varied a lot. Besides that, the group dymanic was great. I definitely recommend the tour and especially Andy! The only thing I could complain about is that we did not get the gift chopsticks that are mentioned in the Get your Guide description. Nonetheless, I give 10/10.

The tour was excellent. It was pleasant and very informative that, time (5 hours) flew by so fast. Andrew was right on time. He is amazingly knowledgeable, well mannered and cultured. The tour was relaxed yet professional. I would strongly recommend this company and will likely use them again.

There was a wide variety of cuisine on this tour. I was able to enjoy gyoza, beef esophagus, tofu, and more. The tour guide was excellent and very knowledgeable. He also included fun little trivia quizzes for our group. I think we all had an excellent time.

This was such a cool tour! We really saw everything of Osaka that tourists never see. It was a true behind the scenes experience. The guide has so much information to share and was very nice. He was happy to answer all of our questions.

An excellent tour, Luca is a knowlagable and informative guide, would reccomend to anyone visiting Osaka to get both views of Japanise life.