Japan’s second largest city, Osaka, can seem like a never-ending maze to many visitors. Therefore, it’s important to plan your trip wisely to ensure you experience the best that Osaka has to offer, whether it’s tasting world-famous cuisines or exploring historic castles. Reading on for the best things to do in Osaka.
Best Things to Do in Osaka
Go back in time at Hozenji Temple
Hozenji may be one of the smallest temples you’ll see in Japan, but it’s also possibly the most memorable. Right in the middle of crowded Namba, Hozenji becomes an oasis of serenity amidst a forest of neon lights, and the alleys surrounding the shrine are like an old Osaka, with cobblestone streets and clothed entrances. Look inside the temple and you will notice the Buddha who made it famous. The Buddha statue is covered with a thick layer of moss due to the constant stream of people praying and the jets of water then thrown in its direction.
Experience traditional Japanese drama at the Osaka Shochikuza Theater
Osaka’s only kabuki theater, Shochikuza, is the place to go to experience a traditional Japanese film. Kabuki has been inscribed on UNESCO’s Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage, and is a highly stylized form of dance, mime and dance performance. Although kabuki has existed in Japan since the 17th century, the Shochikuza Theater in Osaka only opened its doors in 1923. However, it is still an attractive structure and stands out from its surroundings thanks to its style. its way. . Neo-Renaissance architecture, modeled after Milan’s La Scala theater.
Explore Dotonbori at night
Known for its always-on neon lights, dense crowds and endless dining options, a visit to this vibrant area should definitely be part of your Osaka itinerary. For the full experience, be sure to get there after sunset and the lights are at their brightest. There is a perceptible echo in this place, and your senses will work. Walk up the main road, sample the food along the way, sit down and watch the people.
While in Dotonbori, stop by Don Quijote, a popular Japanese discount chain that sells everything you need. Just walk inside one of these stores and you can experience it, and the Dotonbori location even has a Ferris wheel inside!
Take a cooking class
If you’ve been following our blog for a while, you probably know that we love taking cooking classes on our travels and have taken courses in 12 countries around the world (and even solstice is increasing!). In fact, we took a sushi making class the last time we were in Japan.
We think a good cooking class can give you a unique opportunity to spend time with the locals, ask questions, and learn. In addition, food is such an integral part of a country’s culture that taking a cooking class will give you a perspective you might otherwise miss.
Many of the cooking classes we took were half-day missions, with visiting local markets and preparing a variety of dishes from scratch. However, this ramen making class is only for 2 hours, which is fine for us since we have a pretty tight schedule in Osaka.
Our host was very sweet and explained about the different types of ramen (there are many!). We made three different types of ramen and made everything – from the noodles to the broth – from scratch.
Drink craft beer at Tachibana
While you’re in Shochikuza, head to its second basement to tour Tachibana, the only theater brewery in Osaka. One of Osaka’s first restaurants, Dotonbori has been around since 1996 and Tachibana is one of the only restaurants to have it. Plus, it’s famous for its seafood and tofu. Beer and tofu may seem like an odd combination, but in Japan, it works. This would be one of the best things to do in Osaka during your trip.
As one of the oldest temples in Japan and the most important Buddhist structure in Osaka, Shitenoji Temple is a good place to get a glimpse of the country’s religion.
This temple was originally built in the 6th century by Crown Prince Shotoku as a way to help promote the introduction of Buddhism into Japan. Over the centuries, Shitenoji has experienced several fires and has been reconstructed to match its original design.
Visit the historic Osaka Castle
Osaka Castle is the shining jewel of the city’s tourist attractions. One of the most important historical sites in Japan, the castle was originally built in the late 1500s by Toyotomi Hideyoshi. Later the site of the famous Battle of Sekigahara, the castle would eventually fall to the Tokugawa clan, the last shogun of feudal Japan.