Travel

Search
Region
Kansai
Island
Honshu
Largest City
Osaka
Population
8,804,806

Osaka

The metropolitan heart of Kansai

Japan's second smallest prefecture is the economic and commercial hub of the Kansai region, driven by it's kaleidoscopic capital city Osaka.

Osaka prefecture lies at the center of the Kansai region and has one of Japan’s highest population densities, despite being it’s second smallest prefecture. It’s dominated by the futuristic neon spectacle of its capital city Osaka and functions as the main gateway to the surrounding region via the Kansai International Airport, built on an artificial island in Osaka Bay.

Most will have their itineraries filled to the brim with the more significant sights and activities in Kansai; hitting Osaka city, Kyoto, Kobe, Nara and Mt. Koya – all contained within a one-hour radius of one another.

But if you’re staying in the prefecture for a while there are a few things to discover elsewhere, particularly among its mountainous borders. Mount Kongo is the area’s highest mountain and is popular with hikers testing their boots along the four kilometer route to the top. The Meiji-No-Mori Mino quasi-national park also offers some nice hiking trails, and is the western starting point of the long-distance Tokai Nature Trail which runs all the way from Osaka to Tokyo.

Nearby, the newly designated city of Sakai is famous for its “kofun”, large ancient burial mounds surrounded by moats where Japan’s ruling elite were laid to rest. Sakai is also a center of Japanese sword and knife making – pick up a better value blade here than in the capital.

Places to visit

The bright neon lights of dotonbori in Osaka, Japan

Osaka

A kaleidoscopic vision of neo-Japan.

Namba Yasaka Shrine

Namba Yasaka Shrine

This secret shrine is Osaka in a nutshell.


Osaka Spa World

A Vegas-style spa complex offering seemingly endless options for restoration.

Kuromon Ichiba Market

Kuromon Ichiba Market

Don’t miss this old-fashioned covered market stuffed with 170 shops hawking Osaka’s best (and strangest) specialties.


Utsubo park

Utsubo Park

A great escape lies along this former military runway.

Nakanoshima Park

Great people watching, a lush rose garden, beer, and grass you can actually sit on.


Explore Shinsekai, a pre-war neighbourhood that was created with New York as a model for its southern half and Paris for its northern half.

Shinsekai

An old new world.

The Tower of the Sun

Don't miss this weird and wonderful landmark of Osaka.


Expo ’70 Commemorative Park

At the site of Asia's first world fair is a world-class park set in the future.

Universal Studios Japan

Here you'll find the world's best ride, a wizarding wonderland and guardian minions. As if you needed another reason to visit Osaka.


Dotonbori

Follow the trail of Osaka's iconic landmarks.

Umeda Sky Building

With its unusual profile and epic views, the Umeda Sky Building is the coolest tower in town.


Abeno Harukas

Stellar views from the tallest building in Japan.

HEP Five

Are you entertained?


Tempozan Harbor Village

From sky-high to deep-sea at this popular theme park/entertainment complex.

Osaka Grand Front

Grand Front Osaka

For a shopping experience unlike anything you’ve ever experienced, head to the heart of Umeda.


Osaka Museum of Housing and Living

Stroll through the streets of time.

Tenjinbashisuji Street

Tenjinbashi-Suji Shopping Street

Shop till you literally drop along Japan's longest shopping street.


Hozenji Yokocho and Temple

Find fortune at the end of this picturesque Edo-era alley.

Sennichimae Doguyasuji Kitchen Street

For cooking utensils and kitchen essentials, this historic shopping street has you covered.


Shinsaibashi

Chances are you’ll find whatever you’re looking for in this shopaholic's dream ‘hood.

America-mura

Missing 'Murica? Stop by America-mura, a seriously cool district filled with vintage shops, record stores, and top-notch food.


Discover Kansai by Bike

Get on yer bike for a long-distance ride to the next stop on your Japan travel bucket list.

Osaka Kaiyukan

Up close and personal with all walks of marine life at one of the world’s biggest aquariums.


Inunakisan Temple

A spiritual adventure hidden in Osaka's mountainside

5 Famous Foods You’ll Find in Osaka

A guide to Osaka's unique food culture.


Club Circus

The art of clubbing in the outrageous Osaka.

Savor Farm

Fruit picking in Osaka: Getting a little dirty is part of the fun!


Senko-ji Temple

The road to hell isn’t paved with good intentions, but with fruit stalls and toy shops.

Osaka science museum

Osaka Science Museum

The planetarium’s main dome has a radius of almost 27 meters, making it the largest in Japan and the seventh largest in the world.


Osaka Expo City

It’s not a theme park, but then again, maybe it should be. We can’t think of another place where you could pack more into one day in the area.

Kanshin-ji

Kanshin-ji Temple

A samurai's head was sent here and buried in a special grave. Discover honor and tradition tucked away in Osaka.


Orange Street

Osaka’s secret center of cool.

Kishiwada Danjiri Festival

Come on ride the shrine, and ride it! ... At the most dangerous festival in Kansai!


Namba parks, Osaka

Namba Parks

Whether its brand fashions, imported goods, or those harder to find rarities, Namba Parks has something for everyone.

Hirakata Park

Seeking retro theme park thrills, this Osaka amusement park is a must-see!


Osaka Den Den Town

Osaka Den Den Town

 Many of us may have overlooked the “Otaku Oasis” that is Osaka Den Den Town

Kishiwada Castle

A Japanese castle with a garden based on a Chinese story.


WaaGwaan

Osaka’s friendliest lesbian bar features vegan menu items and fresh fruit cocktails!

Abiko Kannon-ji

The temple has one of Osaka's biggest fire fests.

Other Destinations in Kansai

Himeji Castle in Hyogo Prefecture

Hyogo

Touted as ‘a Japan in miniature’, Hyogo is one of Japan’s most diverse prefectures.

Amanohashidate or Bridge to Heaven in Kyoto Prefecture

Kyoto

Break the tourist mould and head outside of the city to uncover the rest of what Kyoto has to offer.

Maruyama rice terraces at sunset, Mie prefecture

Mie

The first signs of human habitation on Mie can be traced back 10,000 years and that’s only one of this ancient prefecture’s historical claims to fame.

Cherry blossoms among the Yoshino mountains in Nara prefecture

Nara

Nara prefecture is where you’ll find the immemorial tombs of Japan’s early rulers, its first Buddhist temple and the headquarters of the sacred Shugendo mountain religion.

Lake Biwa in Shiga Prefecture

Shiga

Shiga prefecture is so full of scenic views you’ll feel as though you’ve tripped and fallen into a postcard.

Nachi, Japan at the pagoda of Seigantoji and Nachi no Taki waterfall, Wakayama Prefecture

Wakayama

Wakayama prefecture is the spectacular, spiritual heart of Japan.