16 Best Things To Do In Osaka
Osaka is a big, buzzing city known for its character, nightlife and, most importantly, food...
Osaka is a big, buzzing city known for its character, nightlife and, most importantly, food. It used to be known as ‘the Nation’s Kitchen’ and, after eating our way around this foodie-haven, the nickname is still pretty accurate imo...
Kuromon Ichiba Food Market
Right in the middle of the city, this is where you’re going to find the freshest and tastiest food. Bring your appetite - there’s loads of amazing food to try.
Don’t miss the fresh scallops grilled in their shells right in front of you and seasoned with butter and soy - perfection!
You can’t go to Osaka and not eat their famous Takoyaki. These are basically fried dumplings filled with octopus and covered in a special sauce and flaked bonito. Nom!
...and eat some more….
If you don’t mind risking possible death (not kidding), try fugu - that’s poisonous pufferfish to you and me. If it’s prepared properly, you’ll be fine. If it’s not, you’re going to want to get to a hospital as quickly as you can!
Tenjinbashisuji Shotengai Shopping Alley
Shopaholics, this one’s for you. Tenjinbashisuji Shotengai is the longest shopping alley in the whole of Japan. With 2.6km of shops to browse, you’ll be sure to find some gems!
Dotonbori by night
While the Dotonbori area is pretty cool in the daytime, it comes alive at night and is famous for its nightlife. It gets really busy during the evening so the best way to soak up the atmosphere without the annoying crowds is taking a Tombori river cruise.
Japan’s first cat cafe
If you like cats, you can’t miss Neko No Jikan, which claims to be Japan’s first cat cafe. Whether that’s true or not doesn’t really matter because it’s bloody brilliant.
Cafe, guesthouse and community art project all rolled into one, Cocoroom is a real find. It’s like a living art gallery with every square inch covered in paintings and artwork made by local homeless people. You could spend hours just browsing (trust me, we did!).
Pachinko is really popular in Japan - apparently people will play for hours. Not gonna lie, we didn’t fully understand how it works but it’s a bit like a pinball machine crossed with an arcade game. Even if you don’t have a go, it’s worth taking a peek into one of the noisy, neon Pachinko halls to soak up the crazy atmosphere.
Plastic sushi making
Plastic food is huge in Japan. You’ll see it in displays in front of most restaurants to show you what type of food they sell and give you an idea of portion size. So why make real sushi when you can make your own plastic sushi at Design Pocket? Homemade souvenir? Win!
Join a queue
If there’s any nation that’s better than the Brits at queueing, it’s the Japanese. So if you see a queue outside a restaurant, you’re pretty much guaranteed it’s going to be awesome. Our best brunch in Japan was when we joined a random queue to what we found out later was one of the best okonomiyaki restaurants in the city. The okonomiyaki (kind of like a Japanese savoury pancake) was cooked right in front of us and then we ate it straight off the hot plate! Totally drool-worthy.
If you want a properly local experience, head to the standing bars in Ura Namba. It’s still not very well known to tourists but these tiny bars are the place for locals to hang out after work - so much so that you’ll often see a huge queue, particularly for the sake bar! There are also oyster bars, sushi bars and a brilliant tapas bar.
Visit Osaka Castle
Granted, Osaka doesn’t have as many beautiful temples and historical buildings as somewhere like Kyoto (which has literally thousands!) but you can’t spend your entire trip just eating street food. For a dash of culture, head to Osaka Castle and check out the impressive views from the top.
Go up the Umeda Sky Building at sunset
If you want a great 360-degree view of the city, the top of the Umeda Sky Building is the place to be. Go around sunset so you can see the all the lights turn on as the city gets dark. Bonus points if you can spot the building that has a highway running right through the middle of it.
Takimi Koji gourmet street
As well as going to the top of the Sky Building, make sure you visit the bottom: in the basement there’s a curious corridor recreating what a street of restaurants would have looked like in the Taisho era (1920s).
The Misono building
Another gem most tourists don’t know about. It might not look like much but the little corridor on the first floor of the Misono building is packed with cool, underground bars - some with live music, some with cosplay and even a place where you can eat crocodile and other exotic meats. The bars will be open until late but it’s still very safe at night, which is reassuring if you’re planning a big one…
MTV travelled to Japan with Finnair who fly daily to Osaka via their award-winning hub in Helsinki with economy fares starting from £695 return. For more information about Osaka visit: http://www.osaka-info.jp/en/.