Osaka

Neon lights and scrumptious street food—welcome to the kitchen of Japan.

Japan’s third-largest city of Osaka, the capital of Osaka Prefecture, lies in the very center of the country. As the economic and commercial capital of the Kansai region, this futuristic wonderland is best explored by lovers of neon and non-stop excitement.

namba

You can, and will, spend hours eating your way through Osaka.

Higashi Osaka’s Hanazono Rugby Stadium will host four matches during the Rugby World Cup. Eat some of the best Japanese street food you’ve ever had as you enjoy the stunning modern beauty of this city.

Hanazono Rugby Stadium

Hanazono Rugby Stadium in Osaka is one of the 2019 Rugby World Cup venues

Japan’s oldest rugby stadium.

Hanazono Rugby Stadium is Japan’s oldest rugby-dedicated stadium, opening in 1929. It’s located just on the outskirts of Osaka city beside Hanazono Central Park.

Looking for places to get lit after the games? Check out our list of the best foreigner-friendly bars in Osaka.

What to do before and after the Rugby World Cup Games

Dotonbori

The place to be in Osaka is Dotonbori, which is brimming with restaurants, hostess bars, shopping, and towering 3D signage.

Pocky Cover Star: the Glico Man

Living after midnight. Rockin’ till the dawn.

You can, and will, spend hours here eating your way through the loaded canal. Get a selfie with The Glico Man in his white running get-up and take your pick of hundreds of food stalls to grab a bite to eat.

  • Dotonbori, Chuo Ward, Osaka - Map

What to eat

A trip to Osaka is a true culinary pilgrimage—you could plan your trip based on experiencing the city’s food culture alone.

Okonomiyaki

This savory pizza-like dish made with cabbage, eggs, and seafood, is extremely popular in Osaka.

Okonomiyaki from Osaka on Dotombori

A good okonomiyaki comes drizzled with mayonnaise and topped with bonito flakes.

You’ll find it literally all over Dotonbori, but Mizuno is one of the best okonomiyaki restaurants. Expect a long line—it’s a Michelin starred shop after all. They have a vegetarian version of okonomiyaki too!

  • 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.
  • 1-4-15 Dohtonbori, Chuo-ku, Osaka - Map

Taiyaki

We hope you saved some room for this warm fish-shaped cake stuffed with sweet fillings like chocolate, custard cream, or red bean paste.

Taiyaki food from Osaka Dotonbori

Try them all, YOLO.

It’s another treat you’ll find everywhere you turn, but we recommend Naruto Taiyaki Hompo. No, it has nothing to do with the anime!

  • 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
  • 2-1-1 Nambanaka, Naniwa-ku, Osaka - Map

Sightseeing around Osaka

Osaka has so loads of party neighborhoods and cheap shopping areas. It’s also home to Universal Studios Japan. Here are a few of the prefecture’s most iconic attractions.

Osaka Castle 

At eight stories tall with a glinting gold leaf and mint colored façade, this stunning cultural monument is one of the most beautiful castles in Japan—a nice bit of contrast to the ultramodernity of the rest of the city.

Osaka Castle illuminated at dusk reflecting in tranquil pond Japan

Osaka Castle illuminated at dusk, reflected in a tranquil pond.

There’s a museum on the inside, and a viewing platform from the top of the castle with panoramic views.

  • Cost: ¥600 to enter the museum within the castle, but you can explore the grounds outside for free
  • 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • 1-1 Ōsakajō, Chūō-ku, Osaka, 540-0002 - Map
  • Getting there: Take the Kintetsu Nara line from Higashi-Hanazono Station to Tsuruhashi Station. From there, transfer to the Osaka loop line and get off at Osakajokoen Station.

Umeda Sky Building

Experience the urban beauty of this sprawling metropolis from the viewing deck of the Umeda Sky Building.

Umeda Sky Building in Osaka, Japan

The unusual architecture and amazing view of downtown Osaka is what makes the Umeda Sky Building so attractive.

At 173 meters tall, it isn’t Osaka’s tallest skyscraper, but the viewing deck is certainly one of the most popular. Take the elevator up to the 39th floor and enjoy breathtaking 360-degree views of downtown Osaka.

  • Cost: ¥1000 for adults; ¥500 for children
  • 10 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.
  • 1-chome-1-87 Oyodonaka, Kita-ku, Osaka, 531-6023, Japan - Map
  • From Tsuruhashi Station, catch the Osaka loop line to Osaka Station. The Umeda Sky Building is about a 12-minute walk away.

How to get there

  • Catch the shinkansen (bullet train) from Tokyo to Shin-Osaka Station, which takes around 2.5 hours. From there take the Midosuji line to Namba Station and transfer to the Kintetsu-Nara line to get to the stadium. Get off at Higashi-Hanazono Station and walk for about 10 minutes.
  • Fly straight into Osaka International Airport (Itami). 
  • If you’re on a budget, consider taking the overnight bus (https://www.kosokubus.com/en/) to Osaka from Tokyo. The trip will take around ten hours and will have you arriving in Osaka at around breakfast time.