A modern metropolis, Osaka is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Japan. This city is famous for its exciting shopping districts, cultural sites and is widely known among Japanese people as the “nation’s kitchen”

Here are the top places that I was able to visit on a quick trip to Osaka. If you are spending one to two days in the city and you want to check out the main sites, this list is the perfect starter guide.

I’ve included the locations on Google Maps to make it easy for you to plan your trip. Simply use the “Save” feature on the Google Maps app for easy reference of all the places you want to visit.

1. Universal Studios Japan

Location: 2 Chome-1-33 Sakurajima, Konohana Ward, Osaka, 554-0031, Japan. Save on Google Maps.

Get my first taste of Butterbeer and see Hogwarts Castle — this was at the very top of my bucketlist in Osaka! A must-visit for Potterheads. Universal Studios Japan is one of the few amusement parks in the world with a dedicated themed area based on the Harry Potter series! If that’s not enough there are 9 other themed areas hosting over 60+ attractions inspired by blockbusters like Jurassic Park, Waterworld, Shrek, Spider-Man, Jaws and more!

2. Osaka Castle

Location: 1-1 Osakajo, Chuo Ward, Osaka, 540-0002, Japan. Save on Google Maps.

Osaka Castle is one of the most famous landmarks in Japan. Roam around the park to see stunning views of the 55-meter high structure and surrounding gardens. Inside the castle, there’s a museum with varied exhibits about the history of the city. A viewing platform awaits at the top floor from which visitors can enjoy panoramic views of Osaka.

3. Dotonbori Glico Sign, Dotombori

Location: 1 Chome-10-2 Dotonbori, Chuo Ward, Osaka, 542-0071, Japan. Save on Google Maps.

The Dotonbori Glico Sign is one of the cherished symbols of Osaka. This famed giant billboard features the Glico running man, and is found along the Dotonbori River. Nearby Ebisu Bridge offers a great photo spot to show that you have visited Osaka.

4. Shinsaibashi-Suji Shopping Street

Location: 2 Chome-2-22 Shinsaibashisuji, Chuo Ward, Osaka, 542-0085, Japan. Save on Google Maps.

The Shinsaibashi-Suji Shopping Street near Dotonbori is the main shopping area in Osaka. You’ll find all sorts of shops selling high-end big label brands to everyday items along the 600m street. Even if you do not plan on buying anything, take a walk at Shinsaibashi to absorb the energetic city vibe. Go at night for a dazzling view with all the neon signs.

5. Dotonbori Food District

Location: 1 Chome-9 Dotonbori, Chuo Ward, Osaka, 542-0071, Japan. Save on Google Maps.

Renowned as the ‘Kitchen of Japan’, Osaka offers some of the very best street food in the entire country. If it’s your first time in Dotonbori, you should never leave without going on a culinary adventure. Must-try local delicacies include Takoyaki (Octopus balls), Okonomiyaki (Japanese pancacke), Ramen (noodle dish), Grilled crab legs, Gyoza (Japanese dumplings), Yakitori (grilled chicken on a skewer) & a cone of green tea soft serve icecream.

6. Dotonbori Gate

Location: 2-chōme-1 Dōtonbori, Chūō-ku, Osaka, 542-0071, Japan. Save on Google Maps.

We stumbled upon this cool neon sign that reads “Dotonbori” while walking from Shinsaibashi to the Osaka-Namba train station. I found out later that this sign is known as the “Dotonbori Gate.” If you think this is a cool spot for a photo-op, you can find it along Midosuji Street, near Yoshinoya (one block away from the Dotonbori Canal).

7. Kuromon Market

Location: 2 Chome-4-1 Nipponbashi, Chuo Ward, Osaka, 542-0073, Japan. Save on Google Maps.

Located within an easy walk from Dotonbori & Shinsaibashi, this spacious market is a must-visit for foodies. Kuromon Market is packed with vendors selling street food, fresh produce & shellfish, plus souvenirs. It’s one of the best places to eat local food in Osaka.

8. Umeda Sky Building

Location: 1 Chome-1-88 Oyodonaka, Kita Ward, Osaka, 531-6023, Japan. Save on Google Maps.

The Umeda Sky Building is one of Japan’s unique high-rise buildings. The striking conjoined skyscrapers feature a garden rooftop observation area, restaurant & cocktail lounge. The observatory offers great views of the city through its windows and from its open-air deck.

Where to go near Osaka

Kyoto

Location: Kansai Region. 56km northeast of Osaka. Save on Google Maps.

Kyoto is the best day trip you could do from Osaka. Travel time by high-speed train between these two cities only takes around 30 minutes. If you’re already in Osaka, then visiting Kyoto is a MUST! This ancient capital of Japan is one of the country’s most beautiful cities. It is famed for its scenic temples, shrines, gardens, and historic structures, which includes 17 UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Nara

Location: Kansai Region. 32km east of Osaka. Save on Google Maps.

Nara is another UNESCO World Heritage site that you can easily visit on a day trip from Osaka. This place famous for its deer park, exquisite temples, and the large bronze statue of the Great Buddha.

Himeji Castle

Visit Himeji to see the largest castle in Japan. The Himeji Castle is often called the “White Heron Castle” because of its white exterior walls, which locals claim resemble the outspread wings of a white heron. Travel time by train from Osaka Station is around 1 hour.

Kobe

If you want to taste the most famous Japanese cattle (Wagyu). There’s no other place to go but Kobe. Travel time by train from Osaka Station is 20 minutes.

What places have you added to your bucketlist? Have you been to beautiful places in Osaka that should be on this list? Feel free to share your thoughts!

Places to visit in Osaka

Osaka tourist spots, things to do in Osaka, where to go in Osaka & more.

Note: Destinations featured above are not listed by rank.

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