Osaka, the second most important city of Japan, just after Tokyo, is a destination you should not miss on your trip to Japan. Osaka belongs to the Kansai region, which includes other 3 bordering cities: Kyoto, Kobe and Nara. Osaka is home to 20% of the Japanese population and is the third largest city in Japan. Osaka also boasts the world longest monorail system that extends up to 21.2 km in terms of length.
Osaka people must be one of the attributes of this bustling city that attracts approximately 5 million visitors per year. In comparison to classy Tokyo citizens, you will find Osakans much more down-to-earth, humorous and gentle when you have the chance to mingle with them. Many of the most famous comedians are from this city.
Supposing that you only have time to visit one destination in Japan, Osaka is certainly a wise choice because you can see the development of the city through modern construction, as the Umeda observatory flying garden. Osaka boasts both modern buildings while still keeping its ancient architecture, say Osaka castle. It is rather interesting to witness the beauty of the well-preserved Osaka castle; a symbol of Osaka existing hundreds of years ago, surrounded by contemporary sky-scrapers. Furthermore, Kyoto is only 15 min by bullet train from Osaka city.
From Kansai International Airport (KIX)
KIX <== (by Airport Express HARUKA, 50 min) ==> Shin Osaka station
KIX <== (by Kansai Airport Rapid Service, 65 min) ==> Osaka station
KIX <== (by Rapi:t α, 34 min) ==> Namba station
KIX <== (by Rapi:t β, 39 min) ==> Namba station
KIX <== (by Airport Express, 43 min) ==> Namba station
There are several routes to choose from, depending on your hotel’s location.
It takes around 1 hour to go to Osaka station and Nankai Namba station.
Tokyo station == ( Shinkansen Tokaido Line, 2 hours 33 min) ==> Shin Osaka station.
Kyoto station == (Bullet train Tokaido line, 16 min) ==> Shin Osaka station
Kyoto station == (JR special rapid train, 30 min) ==> Osaka station
Please do not confuse between Shin Osaka station and Osaka station. Shin Osaka station is where you will board and alight the bullet train, while Osaka station, which is 1 one stop away from the former one. Umeda station is relatively close to Osaka station (7 min on foot).
The 2 busiest shopping districts in Osaka city are found at JR Osaka station in the north, the biggest station in Kansai region, and Nankai Namba station in the southern part of the city. Staying in the north is a plus if you plan to travel to cities outside of Kansai by bullet train as it offers easy access to Shin-Osaka station. However, the option of basing near Nankai Namba station should be considered if you intend to travel to other cities in Kansai area, for instance, Kyoto, Nara and Kobe. Besides that, the renowned Shinsaibashi shopping street and Dotonbori, where you can buy the Rikuro Ojisan’s baked cheesecake, is located right in front of Nankai Namba station.
These are some of the popular hotel choices near JR Osaka station and Namba station relatively.
1> JR Osaka station: Hotel New Hankyu Osaka, Hotel Granvia Osaka, Osaka Tokyu REI Hotel, Hotel Sunroute Umeda, …
2> Nankai Namba station: Swissotel Nankai Osaka, Hotel Villa Fontaine Shinsaibashi, Cross Hotel Osaka, Best Western Hotel Fino Osaka Shinsaibashi, …
Looking from above, Osaka castle and its surrounding park, look just like a small island floating in the centre of the city. It takes around 1 hour to tour this huge castle, you may need a bit more time to stroll around the park.
Opening Hours: 9:00-17:00
Access: 4-min walk from Osakajo-koen station of JR Osaka Loop line.
Osaka kaiyukan aquarium
Your family cannot miss this impressive aquarium, distinguished for its innovative presentation and highly interactive exhibitions. The master piece of this aquarium is a 34 m long and 9 m deep tank, home to whale sharks, stingray and hundreds of underwater animals. It takes at least 2 hours to fully enjoy all of the exhibitions.
Opening Hours: 10:00 – 20:00 (Please refer to Osaka Kaiyukan Official website for occasional closing days)
Access: 5 minutes on foot from Osakako Station of Osaka City Subway Chuo Line.
Red Horse Osaka Wheel
At nearly 123 meters high, it will hold the record of the world’s fifth tallest and Japan’s tallest Ferris wheel with transparent floors. It takes 18 minutes to complete one rotation and there are 72 see-through cabins. It is ideal for family on a day free at own leisure as there is plenty of things to do after riding the wheel. It is located close to a mall, cinema, zoo, aquarium and a museum.
Opening Hours: 10:00-23:00
Access: 2-min walk from Bampaku-kinen-koen Station of Osaka Monorail
Dotonbori and Shinsaibashi arcade
You need to buy souvenirs for your friends? Or indulge yourself in brand shops? You can find almost everything in this 600 meters roofed shopping street, the largest shopping district in Osaka, from local specialties to international brands. You will be amazed by colourful lights and giants mascots while getting lost in this area.
Access: 3 min on foot from Namba station and is right above the Shinsaibashi station.