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World Travel Guide > Guides > Asia > Japan > Osaka

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Things to see in Osaka

Attractions

Universal Studios Japan

Osaka's Universal Studios theme park, one of only two outside of the USA, features rides and shows associated with famous Hollywood movies and TV programmes. The park's attractions include a The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Hello Kitty's Fashion Avenue and various rides. The park also offers guided tours, themed restaurants and shops selling a wide range of souvenirs.

Address: Konohana-Ku, 2-1-33 Sakurajima, Osaka, 554 0031
Telephone:
Opening times:

Varies, check the website for details but usually 0830/0930-1900/2100.

Website: http://www.usj.co.jp/e
Admission Fees:

Yes

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: No

Osaka Castle

Osaka Castle stands tall on the Uemachi Daichi Plateau, the oldest inhabited place in Osaka. The castle itself is a reproduction, having been destroyed in WWII. However, the massive walls around it are from the original structure. With its tall walls (up to 20m/66ft) and wide moats, Osaka Castle is arguably one of Japan's most imposing castles. There are eight shachihoko (fish tiger) figurines as well as ornamental roof tiles and tiger-shaped reliefs, which are all gilded with gold. The parkland by the castle is very pleasant, especially during the cherry blossom season in spring.

Address: Chuo-ku, 1-1 Osakajo, Osaka, 540 0002
Telephone: +81 6 6941 3044.
Opening times:

Daily 0900-1700.

Website: http://www.osakacastle.net/english
Admission Fees:

Yes

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: No

Sumiyoshi Taisha Grand Shrine

Osaka's Sumiyoshi Taisha is one of the country's oldest shrines and the headquarters for the more than 2,300 Sumiyoshi shrines throughout Japan. It was established in the third century and represents an original form of Japanese architecture that is distinct from the Chinese and Korean influences seen in temple design.

Address: Sumiyoshi-ku, 2-9-89 Sumiyoshi, Osaka, 558 0045
Telephone: +81 6 6672 0753.
Opening times:

Apr-Sep daily 0600-1700, Oct-Mar daily 0630-1700.

Website: http://www.sumiyoshitaisha.net
Admission Fees:

No

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: No

Shitenno-ji Temple

Shitenno-ji Temple is one of the earliest Buddhist temples in Japan. None of the buildings originally erected in AD593 have survived, although the classical layout of the complex is still visible. The temple precincts contain charming turtle ponds and a lovely example of a five-storey pagoda.

Address: Tennoji-ku, 1-11-18 Shitenno-ji, Osaka, 543 0051
Telephone: +81 6 6771 0066.
Opening times:

Apr-Sep daily 0800- 1700, Oct-Mar daily 0800-1600.

Website: http://www.shitennoji.or.jp
Admission Fees:

No

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: No

National Museum of Art

One of three national contemporary art museums in Japan, the National Museum of Art in Osaka holds exciting exhibitions of both well-known and up-and-coming Japanese artists, as well as established international artists. The entrance to the museum is quite striking – steel poles bent into a fish-like shape. The museum’s galleries are housed in three subterranean floors.

Address: Kita-ku, 4-2-55 Nakanoshima, Osaka, 530 0005
Telephone: +81 6 6447 4680.
Opening times:

Tue-Thu 1000-1700, Fri-Sat 1000-2000, Sun 1000-1700.

Website: http://www.nmao.go.jp
Admission Fees:

Yes

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: No

Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan

The Kaiyukan is one of the largest aquariums in the world and is contained in a unique architectural structure shaped like a butterfly. A complex of over 15 water tanks centred on a single huge tank holding 5,400 tonnes of water, it is home to 620 species and 30,000 marine animals from the Pacific Rim. The biggest tank even holds a giant whale shark, the world's largest fish. Osaka’s aquarium is an award-winning aquarium that will fascinate both adults and children.

Address: Minato-ku , 1-1-10 Kaigandori, Osaka, 552 0022
Telephone: +81 6 6576 5501.
Opening times:

Daily 1000-2000.

Website: http://www.kaiyukan.com/language/eng
Admission Fees:

Yes

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: No

Kuchu-Teiein Observatory

The observation platform of this observatory connects the two towers of the Umeda Sky Building some 173m (567ft) above ground level. The views of the city are fantastic. In bad weather, the open-air top floor is closed, but the views from one floor below are still great. The scariest bit is the escalator up the last five floors. It crosses over from one tower to the other, giving a strange sensation of moving into the open air.

Address: Kita-ku, 1-1-88 Oyodo-naka, Osaka, 531 6039
Telephone: +81 6 6440 3855.
Opening times:

Daily 0930-2230.

Website: http://www.kuchu-teien.com/observatory
Admission Fees:

Yes

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: No

Museum of Oriental Ceramics

This Osaka museum has a fascinating collection of Japanese, Chinese and Korean antique ceramics from the major artistic periods. From archaeological artefacts to the most refined examples of ceramic techniques, the museum’s excellent displays are informative and show the economic and cultural connections throughout East Asian history.

Address: Kita-ku, 1-1-26 Nakanoshima, Osaka, 530-005
Telephone: +81 6 6223 0055.
Opening times:

Tues-Sun 0930-1700.

Website: http://www.moco.or.jp/en
Admission Fees:

Yes

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: No

Osaka Science Museum

Opened in 1989, the Osaka Science Museum offers a fascinating glimpse into the world of science by focusing on what we know about the universe and the energy within it. Here you can learn about electricity, the size of the planets and your own reflexes. The museum's planetarium is able to project 28,000 stars on one of the world's largest dome screens (with a diameter of 26.5m/87ft).

Address: Kita-ku, 4-2-1 Nakanoshima, Osaka, 530 0005
Telephone: +81 6 6444 5656.
Opening times:

Mon-Sun 0930-1700.

Website: http://www.sci-museum.jp
Admission Fees:

Yes

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: No

Osaka Museum of History

This excellent museum is located just outside Osaka Castle Park. Each of the floors represents a different period in Osaka's history, except for the top floor, where the inside of the Naniwa-no-Miya Palace has been recreated. Osaka's 1,400-year history comes to life thanks to the creative layout and interactive displays at this museum.

Address: Chuo-ku, 4-1-32 Otemae, Osaka, 540 0008
Telephone: +81 6 6946 5728.
Opening times:

Wed-Mon 0930-1700.

Website: http://www.mus-his.city.osaka.jp
Admission Fees:

Yes

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: No

Tourist Offices

Osaka Convention and Tourism Bureau

Address: Chuo-ku, 5F Toda Building Shinsaibashi, 4-4-21, Minamisemba, Osaka, 542 0081
Telephone: +81 6 6282 5900.
Opening times: Website: http://www.osaka-info.jp/en

There are also visitor information centres at JR Shin-Osaka Station on the 3rd floor (tel: +81 6 6131 4550) Umeda (tel: +81 6 6440 3899), Namba (tel: +81 6 6131 4550) and Kansai International Airport (tel: +81 7 2456 6160). Staff at all of these centres can help with information about transport, accommodation and the city's many attractions.

Tourist passes

The Osaka Amazing Pass (www.osp.osaka-info.jp) is a special card for international visitors that offers unlimited use of the subway, trains and buses in and around Osaka. The pass includes free admission to more than 40 sights and special deals at restaurants and shops. The pass is available for either one or two days and can be purchased at Visitor Information Centres, hotels, subway station kiosks and private railway stations.

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Featured Hotels

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Hilton Osaka Hotel

With its excellent location just outside JR Osaka Station, the Hilton Osaka offers convenience as well as luxury to its guests. There are four restaurants serving a variety of international cuisines, including Windows on the World, which boasts great views of the city from the 35th floor and live music every evening. The hotel has a business centre, a beauty salon, swimming pool and fitness room.

Imperial Hotel Osaka

This opulent hotel is in a pleasant location overlooking the Okawa River in the north of Osaka, and is just as luxurious as its famous Tokyo cousin. Purified air is pumped into the rooms, the service is extremely attentive and there's also a golf driving range. The Imperial Hotel's elegant in-house restaurants serve French, Chinese and a range of Japanese cuisines, including teppanyaki and sushi.

Hotel Nikko Osaka

Hotel Nikko Osaka is a top-class hotel in Osaka, close to the main nightlife and shopping arcades of the Minami area. The spacious rooms are supremely comfortable and decorated in a sleek, modern style, with the upper floors offering views of Mt Ikoma. There's a good range of restaurants, including three offering breakfast. There's also a business centre in the hotel.

Swissôtel Nankai Osaka

Swissôtel Nankai Osaka is located in the heart of Namba, above the Nankai train station, which makes it extremely convenient for direct access to Kansai International Airport. The rooms are modestly decorated and have great views over southern Osaka. There are also seven restaurants, bars, a gym, spa and indoor swimming pool.

Cross Hotel Osaka

This surprisingly stylish business hotel is just minutes away from the Minami shopping and nightlife scene. The decently sized rooms are decorated in modern colour schemes and include internet access. There's also a Japanese restaurant and a bar.

Hearton Hotel Nishi-Umeda

The Hearton Hotel Nishi-Umeda is part of a reliable and popular business hotel chain. It is conveniently located just behind the main post office next to JR Osaka Station. The rooms are small but clean, and come with cable TV and complimentary internet access. There's also a restaurant with a deck.