Osaka Travel Guide

Osaka is Tokyo's spirited cousin, where friendly, straight-talking locals take pride in shedding Japan's reputation for conservatism. Known for its fun nightlife and amazing street food, the city is a must for anyone who appreciates a brash sort of charm.

Visitors will never get bored as there are izakaya (traditional Japanese bars), karaoke bars, clubs and shows aplenty under the gaudy neon lights of Osaka's entertainment districts. Dotonbori is perhaps the most popular of these among tourists, who venture there to dance, enjoy a few drinks and savour the incredible food.

Indeed, the regional food culture is one of the best-known in Japan, so foodies in particular will relish a visit to the city. There is no better way to explore Osaka's rambunctious world of street food and drink than through a private tour. These experiences involve a culinary insider taking travellers around the city, allowing them to dine on staple street food dishes such as kare raisu (curry rice) and okonomiyaki (savory pancakes) while mixing with the famously exuberant locals.

Osaka has many of the same hardcore shopping opportunities as Japan's other major metropolises, with the most famous shopping district, Shinsaibashi, offering a blend of department stores, fashionable boutiques, and Western stores. Nipponbashi is the best place to go for electronics.

It's worthwhile visiting the city just to see the magnificent Osaka Castle, which dates back to the 16th century and was built by the powerful lord, Hideyoshi Toyotomi. It was rebuilt following World War II, renovated in 1997, and is today a national treasure.

The city has a number of other attractions, including museums dedicated to science, wood-block printing, peace, and even ramen. There are also a number of beautiful temples such as Shitennoji, which was founded in 593 and is Japan's oldest official Buddhist temple, and the famous Bunraku Puppet Theatre. Other attractions in Osaka include an impressive aquarium and Universal Studios Japan, a theme park focusing on the American movie industry.