Osaka is the second largest city in Japan and one of the largest in the world, with more than 20 million inhabitants. Many people consider it to be different from the capital Tokyo in terms of having more authentic Japanese food – Osaka invented the Takoyaki and the Okonomiyaki – and for having an overall less formal and friendlier lifestyle.

Below are the top five destinations that you should definitely go in the so-called “The Nation’s Kitchen” (Tenka no Daidokoro).

Osaka Castle

One of the most famous landmarks in Japan, the Osaka Castle was historically key to the unification of the island, and its grounds cover an area of approximately 15 acres with towers, turrets and gates surrounded by huge stone walls. Originally built in 1583, the building suffered multiple damages and fires, being reconstructed the last time in 1945, after World War II, and restored to its current state in 1997 to include elevators and an internal museum.

The castle is one of the most popular destinations to go in the cherry blossom bloom season, where there will be many street vendors and taiko drummer groups. There is also a large indoor arena located within its grounds.

Universal Studios Japan

Along with the Tokyo Disneyland, the Universal Studios Japan is the most visited theme park in the country, offering many thrilling and fun attractions from the studio’s most popular franchises, like Spiderman, Harry Potter, Jurassic Park, and others.

The park has 9 different themed zones with restaurants and merchandise stores for all their characters. Tickets can be purchased online and there are seasonal events and limited time attractions. 


This neighborhood, located in the Minami area, is the perfect place to be if you want to find nice restaurants, bright neon billboards and signs (like the famous Glico Running Man and the Giant Crab) or an agitated nightlife. There are many different shops where you can find all sorts of foods and products, like crab restaurants, Takoyaki parlors, 100-yen stores and vending machines selling drinks, toys and even nicotinepouches !

Osaka Aquarium and the Tempozan Ferris Wheel

One of the largest public aquariums in the world is located in Osaka. Known in Japanese as “Kaiyukan”, the aquarium is composed of 27 tanks in 16 exhibits that hold a total of almost 11,000 tons of water! The largest tank can hold over 190,000 cubic feet of water, and it holds a variety of fish from the Pacific Ocean.

Next to it is one of the largest Ferris wheels in the world, opened in 1997. The Tempozan Ferris Wheel has a diameter of over 330 ft and will get you at about 369 feet high in transparent acrylic cabins. This wheel has an integrated lighting system that changes its colors based on the next day’s weather forecast, where blue indicates rain, green indicates cloudy weather and orange, sunny.

Umeda Sky Building

The Umeda Sky Building is a unique and eye-catching piece of architecture built in 1988 that is comprised of two 40-story towers connected at the top by an observatory that has the world’s highest escalator crossing in the middle!

The building is one of the most recognizable Osaka landmarks, and the panoramic rooftop observatory that will let you see virtually every part of the city.