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 its 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.

Osaka is synonymous with street food.

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.

A trip outside the capital city will reveal fabulous hiking spots, a ton of instant ramen, and historical sites.

But if you’re staying in the prefecture for a while there are a few things to discover elsewhere, particularly among its mountainous borders. A trip outside the capital city will reveal fabulous hiking spots, a ton of instant ramen, and historical sites.

Did you know Osaka was the birthplace of Cup Noodles?

Cup Noodles Museum Osaka Ikeda
Mount Kongo is the area’s highest mountain and is popular with hikers testing their boots along the four-kilometer route to the top. Mino 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.

These burial sites became a World Heritage site in 2019 for their historical significance and unique keyhole shape. Sakai is also a center of Japanese sword and knife making—pick up a better value blade here than in the capital.

Trivia

Cup Noodles Museum Osaka Ikeda

Did you know Osaka was the birthplace of Cup Noodles?

It's true! Visit the Cup Noodles Museum in Ikeda, Osaka to customize your own instant ramen.

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Places to visit

osaka castle

Osaka Castle

An enduring symbol of the vibrant city's dramatic past.

namba

Namba

The craziest most colorful district in Osaka is a must-see for anyone traveling to Japan.


The bright neon lights of dotonbori in Osaka, Japan

Osaka

A kaleidoscopic vision of neo-Japan.

Doyamacho: Osaka’s Gay District

Home of Osaka and western Japan's gay district!


Kansai International Airport

Kansai International Airport

Your gateway from central and southern Japan to the world.

Kansai Rainbow Festa

Good food, good people and a fun-loving atmosphere... exactly what the region is known for.


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

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

Journey to Edo Japan at this museum’s interactive exhibits.


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.

Mount Kongo

Hiking to the top of Osaka's highest mountain.


Otaue Rice Planting Festival

It is believed the dancing and music will enhance the vitality of the rice grains.

Lady Killer

Get down at Osaka’s largest and most uninhibited ladies-only club event.


Explosion

Revel in music, dancing, drag, and good times at Osaka’s most explosive gay club.

Don Quixote Ferris Wheel (Ebisu Tower)

Osaka’s funkiest ride.


Frenz Frenzy

Osaka’s 'gayest' bar where Lady Gaga showed her poker face!

Ashiharabashi Up Market

A monthly market with amazing handmade wares and even better vibes.


Tsurumi Ryokuchi Park

Get your fill of chill here!

Osaka Castle Park

Graced by royalty.


G Physique

One of Osaka’s friendliest gay bars.

Village

Where energy lives.


Itami Airport (Osaka International Airport)

Kansai International Airport may be bigger, but this is your starting or ending point for short trips around Japan.

Umeda Sky Building in Osaka, Japan

Umeda

Cool meets commercial in Osaka.


The Silver Ball Planet

Go Back to the Future at this retro pinball arcade in the heart of Osaka’s American village.

Sumiyoshi bridge

Sumiyoshi Taisha Shrine

One of western Japan’s oldest shrines.


Farplane

Kink, weirdos and wonder at Osaka’s most otherworldly bar.

Sakia Knife Osaka

Handcrafted Knives of Sakai

Old industrial town on the outskirts of Osaka, from where famous chefs of the world source their knives.


Shippo MAIN LGBT

Shippo

A home away from home for Osaka’s lesbian community.  

PC Bar and Retro Station

PC and Retro Bar Space Station

The dimly lit walls, illuminated only by colorful neon strips of light and the glow of television screens, are decorated with decades-old game packaging and vintage arcade boards. The bar is covered...


Tenjin Festival

In the heart of Osaka, this thrilling festival is one of the Top 3 in all of Japan.

beauty blender osaka lgbt

Beauty Blenda

Slay girl, slay at this hilarious monthly drag show in Osaka.


Nakazakicho

A hipster haven in an Osaka neighborhood unchanged since before WWII.

Tenma

A neighborhood where Osaka’s lively personality is always on full display.


Daruma dolls at Katsuo-ji Temple in Osaka

Katsuo-ji Temple

Tucked away in Osaka, this is where winners get their luck and the rest of us get to take in the exceptional scenery.

Shotengai in Nishinari, Osaka.

Nishinari

The “Skid Row” of Osaka may be a dream for budget-conscious tourists, but is it safe?


Fukushima

Get to know this hip Osaka neighborhood with Michelin-ranked restaurants, and strange architecture.

Mino

A gorgeous natural getaway right in Osaka’s backyard.


The Tomb of Emperor Nintoku (Daisen Kofun)

A distinct keyhole-shaped burial mound that's considered the largest in the world. Exactly who’s buried here, however, is a bit of a mystery.

Cup Noodles Museum Osaka Ikeda

Cup Noodles Museum Osaka Ikeda

Visit the birthplace of everyone's favorite instant meal, and even make your own!


Shitennoji Temple Osaka Japan

Shitenno-ji Temple

One of Japan's oldest temples where you'll find the cutest pond of turtles and occasionally naked men.

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.

This Month’s Top Spots

Nagoya, Japan city skyline, Aichi Prefecture

Aichi

Aichi prefecture is the dynamic capital of Japanese industrialization.

People eating and drinking in Yurakucho Tokyo Japan.

Tokyo

From glittering skyscrapers to rickety ramen shacks, Tokyo is a dazzling mix of the ultra modern and traditional.

Tap into Tokyo’s Manga and Anime Scene

Tokyo, Japan - August 1, 2015: Crowds pass below colorful signs in Akihabara. The well known electronics district specializes in the sales of video games, anime, manga, and computer goods.

Akihabara

Ah, Akihabara. Where to even begin? Electric town. Cool Japan. Anime Center. Themed cafes. The list is...

Manhole cover in Ghibli museum, Tokyo-Japan.

Ghibli Museum

A whimsical wonderland that is heartbreakingly charming.