Visiting Osaka for the first time? You can visit the city any time of year, and here we share our top 5 most popular tourist attractions you can explore in Osaka. It is an awesome place to take a trip with a list of things to do and see year round! Don’t waste your valuable time thinking about the very often asked question by many potential Osaka visitors “what’s the best time to visit in Osaka?

When your spirit is high enough to travel somewhere around Osaka you should not be worried about that question. Seriously, that does not matter as Osaka offers you some great awe-inspiring places to discover at any time you visit it.

Every time you visit Osaka, make sure you head to this historic castle. Photo Credit: Richard at Flickr.

If you have never been to Osaka before and you want to give it a shot within a few days from today, read this post to get some travel tips. Seriously, you don’t need to wait for any particular season to make your dream come true. Decide immediately and explore Osaka’s these top 5 most popular tourist attractions.

In addition, I believe you would encounter some great events that are held throughout the year. Grab all those BONUS experiences and make your trip a great adventure!

1) Osaka Castle Park + Osaka Castle

Osaka Castle Park and Osaka Castle. Photo Credit: Yoshikazu TAKADA at Flickr.

Osaka has been a great tourist destination not only in Japan but worldwide. Many visitors choose this as the major gateway to exploring the top tourist attractions on Honshu Island (the largest island of Japan). It boasts being one of the most visited places in Japan that you can visit all year round. In fact, every season there tells you a different story.

Its historical landmarks, nightlife, indoor & outdoor activities, shopping areas, restaurants, and theme park are the main attractions that entertain and delight everyone. Being a nature fanatic, I particularly set up my goal to discover the famous landmarks in Osaka which are surrounded by nature and worth a visit. Keeping that in my mind, I always prefer heading towards Osaka Castle Park.

Osaka Castle’s strong walls and moat. Photo Credit: hiromitsu morimoto at Flickr.

The park is historically profound that attracts millions of visitors every year, and located right in the center of the city of Osaka. This is a vast park with a total area of 105.6 ha, and recognized as the second largest park in the city.

The natural beauty in this park is absolutely breathtaking as it changes its color from season to season throughout the year. It comprises historical monuments, shrines, gardens and impressive walking trails, trees of different kinds. One of the most Important Cultural Assets of Japan can be found here, and that’s Osaka Castle.

Ume – the plum blossoms in Osaka Castle Park in early spring. Photo Credit: Tomoharu Mogami at Flickr.

The history of the castle can’t be described briefly unless you want to miss something very important. Though it is better to inform you that the construction of the castle begun in 1583 by Toyotomi Hideyoshi on the former site of the Ishiyama Honganji Temple. Later it was destroyed by Oda Nobunaga.

The history part ends here! By the way, the view of the main castle tower from various locations in the park is exceptionally beautiful, especially in the spring though. Apart from enjoying the view of the mains castle tower, you are highly advised to take a good look at the strong stone walls, moats, gates, garden, citadels, and turrets.

It is Hanami time! Well, there are plenty of walking trails in the park. Photo Credit: Tomoharu Mogami at Flickr.

I include the castle park on the list for one big thing that is whenever you come here in Osaka you joyfully get in the park and have fun time inside. If you plan on visiting it in spring then you would experience impressive floral display of plum and cherry blossoms. In summer, beautiful green vistas would relax your mind and give you a space to survive your soul from hot humid weather.

While in the autumn, deciduous trees on the park’s grounds would ablaze with vivid colors. Meanwhile, when winter rolls in, snowy grounds often make you feel like you are nowhere but in a wonderful winter wonderland. I don’t know which time you would prefer to get there but make sure it is a perfect four season holiday destination. So don’t wait anymore, pay your fullest attention to it and your dream will no longer be a dream but a reality.

2) Dotonbori

Dotonbori Canal. It does not crowded here because the photograph was taken in winter. But if you come here in spring and summer, crowds would be everywhere! Photo Credit: Marufish at Flickr.

We are different! I am telling this because my choice and preference may vary from yours except few things. And soon you would know why. Dotonbori is not the kind of place I love to explore most of the time, or I desire to get back as soon as possible after leaving the place. I heard many people saying this “I wish if I could get back there ASAP.”

If you are to have a great traditional Osaka atmosphere, you have got to come there, no way! It offers you a golden package that includes everything that could excite you the most such as a wide range of restaurants, shopping arcades, bars, busy walking street along the canal, theaters, temple, and the illuminated signboards and neon lamps.

Dotonbori at night, looking bright! Photo Credit: Marufish at Flickr.

This place arguably entertaining in all aspect! It boasts being one of the most popular tourist places in Osaka for its outstanding pleasant nightlife, foods and shopping stores. Be sure that you would encounter a crazy crowd there both the locals and tourists. They gather on the both sides of the Dotonbori canal in the evening time and experience something very exciting moments.

Some people don’t bother just looking at those illuminated commercial signboard standing at Ebisu Bride on the Dotonbori Canal. While on the other hand some people spend their time just walking along the canal streets. But most of them expect to enjoy a great dinning in the restaurants located in Dotonbori.

Finding a great product here at Dotonbori is quite easy! Photo Credit: Marufish at Flickr.

Whatever you do here such as eating, walking, and shopping, one is certain that the night time atmosphere would definitely attract you the most. I guess you don’t need to go to Shinsaibashi for shopping! Do everything else in Dotonbori and save your time.

It is lively and very bright out there as the whole area is decorated with lots of lights all around. I think the crowds should not be a great issue not to fall in love with this one. Get there and see how you feel about it. I don’t say I love this place as I am a nature fanatic but I like the atmosphere there, it is truly a cool place.

3) Universal Studios Japan (UJS)

Universal Studios Japan, Osaka. Photo Credit: Thord Daniel Hedengren at Flickr.

Yes it is located in OSAKA, not in Tokyo! Universal Studios Japan is a perfect kid’s holiday and family-friendly destination in Osaka. There are two most amazing places you can visit in Osaka Bay Area, they are known as Universal Studios Japan, and Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan.

Read my Osaka Aquarium travel experiences later in this post. UJS is super amusing and that is why it is often called as one of the world’s best amusement parks you could visit anytime you wish. The amusement rides there are absolutely world class! In fact, you can forget about this for some instance because there are plenty of other things to do in this theme park with kids.

Here are your kids favorite characters. Photo Credit: TAKA@P.P.R.S at Flickr.

Feel free to roam around the park and make sure you don’t disappoint your children. Let them enjoy everything it offers and spend as much as time they need until it gets closed! It is just impossible for me to explain all the attractions of this theme park; you better take a good look here.

Jurassic Park at Universal Studios Japan! Can you guess what you experience inside? Photo Credit: Thord Daniel Hedengren at Flickr.

However, it currently comprises eight sections: The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Amity Village, Hollywood, Jurassic Park, Universal Wonderland, New York, Waterland, and San Francisco. I think it would be great if you can get a good idea of what there is to do throughout the year.

And I believe that would help you making a great travel plan for your future trip to this theme. I have forgotten noticing you one big thing that is – the theme park opened its operation on March 31, 2001.

4) Sumiyoshi Taisha

Second main hall of the shrine. Photo Credit: Kimon Berlin at Flickr.

I know that most of you have been to some amazing places and I hope those trips have all been great! However, what was the best trip ever you made? Whatever it could be, there is not time to care of it now because what I am going to reveal here now could become you best trip ever. Sumiyoshi Taisha, a shrine in Osaka that was built in the third century and said to be one of Japan’s oldest shrines.

Please note that it is the main shrine of all Sumiyoshi Shrines found across Japan. Its amazing unique style Shrine architecture, especially the roof and the fence is just incredible. The style of the roofs often reminds me of Shirakawa-go, find here why I think of such. Architectural style of the shrine you find there is called Sumiyoshi-zukuri.

The taikobashi (Sorihashi Bridge). Photo Credit: Kimon Berlin at Flickr.

The shrine welcomes a lot of visitors during the New Year for celebrating Hatsumode. On the day, all of them pray for having a peaceful better life. Discover the main halls, pond, including the torii gates and a wonderful bridge called Sorihashi Bridge or Taiko bashi that leads you to the main shrine grounds.

Watch your every steps when you cross the bridge. When I made a very first time trip to this place I completely fell in love with the surrounding nature and of course the shrine’s halls. I don’t know what would you feel about the place but I can be sure that you won’t have to tell someone “sorry I did not like the place.” Ok, time will tell what happens in future, right?

5) Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan

Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan. Photo Credit: Terry Yeung at Flickr.

There is nothing much to tell about this famous attractions of Osaka. Everyone knows what it could offer you; I mean the ones who live in Osaka. However, if it is your first time visit to this city then I guess I should tell you something entertaining about this spot.

It is a destination of all ages, though I am afraid to say that your kids would love it much more than you do. Probably my words could hurt you a bit but no panic, in fact, that’s what I actually think of. It does not make any sense as the important thing is that – all the family members of yours would definitely enjoy everything it offers you.

Whale Shark at Osaka Aquarium! Photo Credit: Kimon Berlin at Flickr.

If you have a special interest in marine life, this is the place you must explore! Yeah – it is time to gaze at the massive tanks where marine animals from small to massive are dwelling. Many people pay a visit to this aquarium only to see real whale sharks.

To be honest with you, they are one of the incredible marine creatures I would love to see in the ocean. I don’t know when my dream would come true but seeing them in the tank is pretty cool! Please note that there are about 15 massive tanks, and each represent a specific region of the Pacific Rim. You can spend few hours there not just seeing those marine animals but also for shopping and eating in the restaurants inside the building.

I am done! I am actually happy that I have brought to you these top great destinations that you could visit all year round in Osaka. Each of these places is different and offer you to have some awesome moments that are truly incredible to see and experience. So whenever you visit Osaka, make sure that you include the above great places in your travel bucket list. Thanks for spending your valuable time here in this post. I hope you like it!