Resting on an actual island in the commercial center of town, Nakanoshima park is an oasis in the heart of Osaka. Go there to escape the bustle of the nearby Kitahama financial district and take advantage of all the park has to offer.
Established in 1891, Nakanoshima has the distinction of being Osaka’s first park. It also held the city’s first beer garden as well as a few upscale restaurants. Stretching 1.5 kilometers long, Nakanoshima is sandwiched between two rivers: Dojima-gawa and Tosabori-gawa. As it rests on a low sandbar in the middle of the city, the park is a perfect place to observe the spectacular skyline.
Come to bask in the sun and enjoy the grassy knoll in the center of the park, where you can get a front-row seat for some of Osaka’s best people watching. Watch local dance troops perfecting their hip-hop moves, skateboarders ollying under one of the many bridges, and yogis stretching at sunset by the river’s edge. Grab a beer and some yakiniku (grilled meat) at R Riverside Grill & Beer Garden in the center of the park.
The rose garden blooms in mid-May and mid-October and boasts 89 types of roses of all colors from around the world. They are meticulously labelled and planted in order from earliest to most recent hybridization.
The park rests among some of the city’s most historic buildings, including Osaka Prefectural Nakanoshima Library and Osaka Central Public Hall, built in the Western style of a century ago. The Museum of Oriental Ceramics, home to more than 6,000 pieces from all over Asia, sits at the edge of the park. The Osaka Municipal Science Museum and the National Museum of Art are both further west on Nakanoshima.
The surrounding area is chock full of restaurants and cafes, including Moto Coffee and Brooklyn Roasting Company, both of which have great coffee, cozy atmospheres, and terraces overlooking the river. Try the nearby Kitahama Retro tea room for its authentic British afternoon tea and quaint ambiance. Boston Clam Shack overlooks the park and features East Coast-style seafood, a rarity in Japan.