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Osaka

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Osaka Castle and the skyscrapers of Osaka Business Park, Kyōbashi

Ōsaka (大阪) is the second largest city in Japan, the central metropolis of the Kansai region and the largest of the Osaka-Kobe-Kyoto trio.

Districts

Wards of Osaka

"Osaka" can mean either the larger Osaka prefecture (大阪府 Ōsaka-fu), covered in a separate guide, or central Osaka city (大阪市 Ōsaka-shi), the topic of this guide. The city is administratively divided into 24 wards (区 ku), but in common usage the following divisions are more useful:

  • Kita (キタ, "north") — the newer center of the city, including the Kita ward (北区). Umeda (梅田) is the main terminal. Department stores, theaters and boutiques are clustered around JR Osaka Station and Umeda Station, which serves several city and private railways.
  • Minami (ミナミ, "south") — the traditional commercial and cultural center, composed of the Chuo (中央区) and Naniwa (浪速区) wards. Namba (なんば, 難波) is the main railway station, and the surrounding area has the department store and showy shopping. Shinsaibashi (心斎橋) and Horie (堀江) is the fashion area. Dōtonbori (道頓堀) is the best place to go for a bite to eat.
  • Semba (船場) straddles the line between Kita and Minami, and contains the business districts of Yodoyabashi (淀屋橋), Kitahama (北浜), Doujima (堂島) and Hommachi (本町).
  • Tennōji (天王寺) or Abeno (アベノ, あべの, 阿倍野) — generally means the area around JR Tennōji Station, Abeno subway station and Kintetsu lines, located at the south end of Tennōji ward. The ward was named after the historical Shitennoji temple. Tennōji Park and Zoo are in the area. To the west of Tennōji is Shinsekai (新世界), which was an amusement area in the past and has now become quite seedy.

Other important places include:

  • Kyōbashi (京橋) — northeast of Osaka Castle, home to Osaka Business Park (OBP).
  • Shin-Osaka (新大阪) — Shin-Osaka Station (the shinkansen and airport express stop)

Understand

Osaka and the "808 Bridges" (八百八橋)

Many districts in Osaka derive their names from the Tokugawa-era bridges that were built during the city's reign as transportation hub for the country. Today, Yodoyabashi (淀屋橋) and Kyobashi (京橋) still retain their crossings, while the bridges in Yotsubashi (四ツ橋), Nagahoribashi (長堀橋)and Shinsaibashi (心斎橋) are long gone.

橋 (hashi, often pronounced -bashi, when affixed to a preceding name) is the kanji character meaning 'bridge'.

If Tokyo is Japan's capital, one might call Osaka its anti-capital. With what you will call it so, however, is left much open to your own findings upon the visit to the city. Veiled much with a commercial-centric city touch, you may as well start from picking up the lively intonation of Osaka dialect, heard from the people as you ride on the escalators standing on the right, instead of the left in Tokyo; then discovering the contrast of popular food to eastern Japan, as you look for places to lunch. The deeper you get inside, and at the end of your stay, it is not completely impossible that you may have compiled your own original list of reasons covering from history, culture, sports, to business.

Osaka dates back to the Asuka and Nara period. Under the name Naniwa (難波), it was the capital of Japan from 683 to 745, long before the upstarts at Kyoto took over. Even after the capital was moved elsewhere, Osaka continued to play an important role as a hub for land, sea and river-canal transportation. (See "808 Bridges" infobox.) During the Tokugawa era, while Edo (now Tokyo) served as the austere seat of military power and Kyoto was the home of the Imperial court and its effete courtiers, Osaka served as "the Nation's Kitchen" (「天下の台所」 tenka-no-daidokoro), the collection and distribution point for rice, the most important measure of wealth. Hence it was also the city where merchants made and lost fortunes and received repeated cheerfully ignored warnings from the shogunate to reduce their conspicuous consumption.

During Meiji era, Osaka's fearless entrepreneurs took the lead in industrial development, making it the equivalent of Manchester in the U.K. A thorough drubbing in World War 2 left little evidence of this glorious past — even the castle is a ferroconcrete reconstruction — but to this day, while unappealing and gruff on the surface, Osaka remains Japan's best place to eat, drink and party, and in legend (if not in practice) Osakans still greet each other with mōkarimakka?, "are you making money?".

Get in

By plane

The main international gateway to Osaka is Kansai International Airport (IATA: KIX) [1]. The airport has two railway connections to the city: JR West's Kansai Airport Line and the private Nankai Electric Railway.

Most domestic flights arrive at Osaka International Airport, also known as Itami Airport (IATA: ITM), [2]. Itami is connected to the Osaka Monorail [3], but the monorail is expensive and traces an arc around the northern suburbs, so to get to the centre of the city you will need to transfer to a suburban Hankyu railway line. A more convenient option for most are the Airport Limousine Buses [4], which run frequently from Itami to various locations within Osaka and elsewhere in the region (including Kansai Airport), with fares starting around ¥500-600. Taxi from Itami airport to Osaka castle area costs 4000Y plus 700Y for toll road.

By train

Tokaido and Sanyo Shinkansen (新幹線) trains arrive at Shin-Osaka station, to the north of the city center. From Shin-Osaka, you can connect to the city center by using the Midosuji subway line, or connect to the local JR network for other destinations.

  • From Tokyo, Nozomi (のぞみ) trains cover the one way ride in about 2 1/4 hours (¥14050); Hikari (ひかり) trains take about 3 hours (¥13750). With the Japan Rail Pass, there is no charge to take the Shinkansen if you use the Hikari service.
  • From points west of Osaka, Nozomi trains run from Okayama (¥6060, 45 mins), Hiroshima (¥10150, 80 mins) and Hakata station in Fukuoka (¥14890, 2 1/4 hours). Japan Rail Pass holders can use the Hikari Rail Star (ひかりレールスター) service instead, which runs at a comparable speed to the Nozomi and makes a few more stops, but its trains are shorter (8 car trains, compared to 16 cars on the Nozomi).
  • Slower Kodama (こだま) trains connect the rest of the stations on the Shinkansen route.

If travelling from the east without a rail pass, you can take advantage of the Puratto Kodama Ticket (in Japanese). This ticket offers a discount for the all-stopping Kodama services if you purchase at least one day in advance. You get a reserved seat and a free drink on board. With this ticket a trip from Tokyo to Shin-Osaka costs ¥10000 (a savings of about ¥4000) and takes four hours. Note that there is only one Kodama service per hour from Tokyo, and a few early-morning Kodama trains cannot be used with this ticket.

If coming from either Tokyo or Nagoya, you can book your bullet train travel and accommodation as a package and make rather large savings with The Shinkansen Tour [5]. These savings are only offered to non-Japanese travelers.

Several overnight trains make runs to and from the main Osaka Station. Of note are the Twilight Express (トワイライトエクスプレス) which runs into Hokkaido and terminates at Sapporo, and the Nihonkai (日本海) train which runs to Aomori in northern Tohoku. Note that another train, the Ginga (銀河), was discontinued in March 2008.

During University holidays there are some additional overnight services to Matsuyama, Kochi and Fukuoka. As these are considered rapid services they can be very economical to use if you use a Seishun 18 Ticket.

There are many regional railway lines connecting Osaka to nearby cities:

  • From Kyoto, JR offers fast, but slightly more expensive, shin-kaisoku (special rapid) trains to Osaka Station. The cheaper but slower alternative is the Hankyu Railway's limited express service. Both lines terminate in the Umeda area of Osaka. Keihan Railway offers Kyoto-Osaka trains. The Yodoyabashi terminal in Osaka does not connect directly with JR, but it is possible to transfer to the JR Osaka Loop Line at Kyobashi.

In Kyoto, Keihan and Hankyu trains do not connect with JR Kyoto station but both travel to stations which are more convenient for reaching the centre of the city. about 30 - 45 minutes.

  • From Kobe, JR again offers slightly faster and slightly more expensive service than Hankyu. The third choice is Hanshin Railway, which is identical to Hankyu in terms of cost and similar in time, useful for getting to Koshien Stadium to see Hanshin Tigers games. All three lines go to Osaka / Umeda. about 20 minutets.
  • From Nara, JR offers trains to Tennōji and Osaka Stations, and Kintetsu offers trains to Namba. Kintetsu station in Nara is closer to Tōdaiji and Nara Park. about 35 - 45 minutets.
  • From Nagoya, an alternative to the Shinkansen is Kintetsu's premium limited express service, the Urban Liner (アーバンライナー) which goes directly to Namba. Trip times are as little as two hours each way, with departures at 0 and 30 minutes past the hour at a cost of ¥4150. In comparison, the shinkansen takes just under an hour for ¥5670.

Stations with the same name but belonging to different railway companies are sometimes very far apart. For example, the Nakatsu stations on the Hankyu and subway networks are about an hour's walk from each other, even though they look close on the railway map. Allow up to half an hour for walking between the various Umeda stations and about the same for the various Namba stations, especially if you are a first time visitor. In Kobe the Sannomiya stations belonging to JR and Hankyu are connected but Hanshin Sannomiya is across a street.

By car

It is generally a bad idea to use an automobile to visit Osaka. Many streets do not have names, signs are usually only in Japanese and parking fees are astronomical. In addition, an international driver's license is required.

By bus

As Osaka is a major city, there are many daytime and overnight buses which run between Osaka and other locations throughout Japan, which can result in significant savings when compared to shinkansen fares.

The JR Bus Group (Japanese Website) is a major operator of the routes from the Tokyo area to Kansai. Buses operate via the Tomei Expressway (to/from Tokyo Station) or the Chuo Expressway (to/from Shinjuku Station).

Other bus companies offer trips between Tokyo and Osaka, but it should be pointed out that seat reservations for JR Buses can be made in train stations at the same "Midori-no-Madoguchi" ticket windows used to reserve seats on trains. Moreover, the Japan Rail Pass is valid on ALL JR buses operating from the Tokyo area to Osaka. (Note that the pass is NOT valid on buses to/from Yokohama.)

From Tokyo, buses run to and from Osaka in approximately 8 to 8 1/2 hours. Major bus locations are as follows:

  • Tokyo: Tokyo Station Yaesu Exit (東京駅八重洲口), with a few buses discharging at the Nihombashi Exit (東京駅日本橋口)
  • Shinjuku: Shinjuku Station New South Exit (新宿駅新南口)
  • Osaka: Osaka Station Sakura-bashi Exit (大阪駅桜橋口)

All buses that run from Tokyo to Osaka, with the exception of one route, are double-decker buses and can be classified under the following three categories, in order of price:

  • Seishun (Youth) buses: While not exactly targeted at "youth", these are the budget-conscious buses on the route. Seats are narrow with four per row in a 2x2 configuration and limited recline. Some of the cheapest buses offer extremely limited amenities. A toilet is located on the first floor of most buses.
  • Standard buses: These are the regular buses, which offer seats with increased width and footrests. They are arranged three per aisle in a 1x1x1 configuration. Blankets are provided on evening routes.
  • Premium buses: Recently introduced, these buses are the luxury members of the route. The seats are bigger, and the buses seat less people than the others. In addition to the extra room, there is also air filtration and a closed-circuit camera system. On the top floor, seats are equipped with FM radios and are arranged three per row in a 1x1x1 configuration. More expansive first floor seating (of which there is only four seats) incurs an additional surcharge... but you do get your own television. Blankets and toiletries are provided in all seats on evening routes.

The following services are available: (Current as of September, 2008)

Daytime buses from Tokyo

Seishun Bus
  • One daily departure on the Tomei from Tokyo Station (9:30) and Osaka Station (9:40). ¥4300 each way.
Standard Bus
  • Four daily depatures on the Tomei from Tokyo Station (6:50, 8:30, 13:10, 14:10) and Osaka Station (6:10, 7:40, 8:40, 14:10). One bus picks up passengers at Shinjuku Station (7:30). On Fridays, weekends and holidays, there are additional departures from Tokyo (10:10, 12:10) and Osaka (10:10, 12:10). ¥6000 each way; ¥5000 if purchased 5 days in advance on most departures.
  • Two daily departures on the Chuo from Shinjuku Station (9:40, 11:40) and Osaka Station (9:20, 12:40). ¥6000 each way; ¥5000 if purchased 5 days in advance on most departures.
  • One daily departure from Yokohama Station at 9:00, with the return bus leaving Osaka Station at 10:50. ¥6000 each way; ¥4500 if purchased 21 days in advance on select Monday-Thursday departures.
Premium Bus
  • One daily departure on the Tomei from Tokyo Station and Osaka Station at 11:10 in each direction. First floor ¥7300 each way, second floor ¥6700 each way; ¥6030 if purchased 21 days in advance on select Monday-Thursday departures.

Nighttime buses from Tokyo

The nighttime bus service from Tokyo to Kansai is called Dream. This route name has several variants.

Seishun Bus
  • The Seishun Dream Osaka runs on the Tomei Expressway. Two daily departures from Tokyo Station (22:00, 23:50) and Osaka Station (22:20, 23:00). Buses to Osaka also leave from Shin-Kiba Station in Odaiba (21:10) and Ueno Station (23:10). On Fridays, weekdays and holidays, an additional departure from Tokyo (23:20) and Osaka (23:40). ¥5000 each way; ¥4500 if purchased 5 days in advance on most departures.
  • The Seishun Chuo Dream runs on the Chuo Expressway. One daily departure from Shinjuku Station (22:30 and Osaka Station (23:20). On Fridays, weekends and holidays, an additional departure from Shinjuku (23:30) and Osaka (23:50). ¥5000 each way; ¥4500 if purchased 5 days in advance on most departures.

The next two are for the extremely brave and budget-conscious, as they are the two least expensive journeys on the Tokyo-Osaka bus route.

  • The Seishun Mega Dream is, size-wise, the largest bus run on the route. The service is operated on the Tomei Expressway by a huge, four axle bus crammed with 84 seats... all with no armrests and no recline, although there is room on the first floor for a toilet. One daily departure from Tokyo Station (23:00) and Osaka Station (22:40). ¥4300 each way if purchased on day of departure. If purchased one day in advance, ¥4000 for Friday, weekend and holiday departures, ¥3500 for all other days.
  • The Super Youth Bus is on the Chuo Expressway utilizing a single-level bus (compared to the other double-decker buses). An ordinary gaijin, however, might scoff at the conditions: Seats are stacked four wide, sometimes five wide if a passenger sits in an auxiliary seat placed across the center aisle of the bus. With all of these seats crammed into so little space, there is no room for large baggage and no room for even a toilet, although the bus does make four 15-minute rest stops during the journey. Therefore, for the brave, there is one daily departure from Shinjuku Station (21:30) and Osaka Station (21:40). ¥4300 each way if purchased on day of departure. If purchased one day in advance, ¥4000 for Friday, weekend and holiday departures, ¥3500 for all other days.
Regular Bus
  • The Dream Osaka runs on the Tomei Expressway. Three daily departures from Tokyo Station (two buses at 22:10, one at 23:59) and Osaka Station (22:10, 23:20, 23:50). On Fridays, weekdays and holidays, two additional departures from Tokyo (22:50, 23:30) and Osaka (21:50, 22:30). The additional buses from Tokyo make stops at Shin-Kiba station in Odaiba (22:10), Ueno Station (23:00) and Shinagawa Station (23:15).
  • The Ladies Dream Osaka is a special bus for women only, running from Tokyo Station (23:00) and Osaka Station (23:10).
  • The Chuo Dream Osaka runs on the Chuo Expressway. Two daily departures from Shinjuku Station (22:40, 23:40) and Osaka Station (23:00, 23:40). On Fridays, weekends and holidays, an additional departure from Shinjuku (22:10) and Osaka (23:00).

For the above routes: ¥7300 each way for Monday-Thursday departures; ¥8610 each way for Friday, weekday and holiday departures. ¥1000 discount on most departures if ticket is purchased 5 days in advance.

  • The Harbor Line Bus departs daily from Yokohama Station at 22:30, with the return bus leaving Osaka Station at 22:20. ¥8230 one way; ¥5350 if purchased 21 days in advance on select Monday-Thursday departures.
Premium Bus
  • The Premium Dream runs on the Tomei Expressway. One daily departure from Tokyo Station and Osaka Station at 23:30 in each direction. On Fridays, weekdays and holidays, an additional departure from Tokyo (22:20) and Osaka (22:50). First floor ¥9910 each way, second floor ¥9310 each way; ¥8380 if purchased 21 days in advance on select Monday-Thursday departures.

Other bus operators

Another bus provider on the Tokyo-Osaka route is 123bus [6], offering multiple departures with off-peak fares starting from ¥3900 each way. An advantage over the JR Buses is that the 123bus website offers bus descriptions and booking services in English. However, many services from this company do not allow you to carry large luggage (e.g. suitcases) with you. It is best to confirm with the company whether or not there will be space for luggage before making your booking.

By boat

Osaka International Ferry Terminal [7] is located at Nankō (南港) in the Osaka Bay Area. There are no banks, post office, shops, or restaurants in the terminal. The nearest subway station is Cosmosquare Station (C11), which is about a 15 minute walk from the terminal. A free shuttlebus is available at the station. Taxies are also available at the station.

Getting to the Ferry Terminal

  • From Suminoe-koen Station:, (Take the New Tram to Nankōguchi (南港口)).
  • From JR Shin-Osaka Station (ShinKansen Line):, (JR Shin-Osaka station →transfer to Subway Midosuji Line (Red Line) at Shin-Osaka station(M13) → Hommachi station (M18) → transfer to Subway Chuo Line (Green Line) → Cosmosquare station (C11)). Travel time: at least 40 minutes to Cosmosquare Station. 310 yen.
  • From Namba:, (Subway Midosuji Line (Red Line) at Namba station(M20) → Hommachi station (M18) → transfer to Subway Chuo Line (Green Line) → Cosmosquare station (C11)). Travel time: at least 30 minutes to Cosmosquare Station. 270 yen.
  • From Tennoji:, (Subway Midosuji Line (Red Line) at Tennoji station(M23) → Hommachi station (M18) → transfer to Subway Chuo Line (Green Line) → Cosmosquare station (C11)). Travel time: at least 40 minutes to Cosmosquare Station. 310 yen.
  • By Taxi:, (Instruct the taxi driver to take you to the Osaka Port International Ferry Terminal (Nanko), otherwise you may be taken to the domestic ferry terminal.).
  • By Car:, (From Hanshin Expressway Tenpozan exit to Port of Osaka and after passing through Osakako-sakishima Tunnel, turn left at the first crossing, and follow the road. You will arrive at Osaka Port International Ferry Terminal.). Toll road, 200 yen per car.

Osaka-Busan

The PanStar Line operates a ferry between Osaka and Busan. The ferry leaves daily at 3:10pm from both Osaka and Busan and arrives the following day at 10am. Passengers should know that in Busan, the luggage check-in time is prior to the passenger check-in time: for the Busan-Osaka run, luggage check in is 12:40 to 2pm and the passenger check in time is 2:15pm to 2:45pm; for the Osaka-Busan run, luggage check in is 1pm to 2pm and the passenger check in time is 1pm to 2:30pm. Many different room options are available. Fares start at KRW 125,000/JPY 17,000 and range through seven different room/suite classes culminating in a Presidential Suite, which is KRW 2,000,000/JPY 250,000 per night. Tickets can be purchased online.

The ferry holds live musical performances, magic shows, and other entertainment on the run. Schedule varies.

The ferry will also transport your automobiles. There are a lot of documentation requirements, and you should check the PanStar Line for information. The cost for a single basic room and a car is KRW 690,000. Room upgrades are available. Temporary insurance must be purchased at the port upon arrival in Osaka.

Osaka-Shanghai

Shanghai (China) twice weekly.

Get around

The glass and concrete skyscraper expanse of Nishi-Umeda (West-Umeda) in Kita Ward.

Kansai Travel Pass: Exploring Osaka & Kansai Region:

If you are planning to travel beyond city limits you might consider using the tickets from Surutto Kansai. For use in Osaka and other cities in the west of Japan, there are some other useful tickets:

  • A rechargeable smart card, ICOCA, can be used on rail, subway and bus networks in Kansai area,Okayama,Hiroshima,Nagoya (Kintetsu) and Tokyo (JR East). These cards are available at vending machines at these rail stations, and cost 2000 yen, which includes a 500 yen deposit that will be refunded when the card is returned at JR West Station.
  • One of the best value for money pass is the 5 day consecutive unlimited Kintetsu Rail Pass valued at ¥3500[8] for travel within the Kansai region. Holders of this rail pass can get on & off any number of times within the 5 day consecutive period. The holder of this pass can decide on the start date to be activated. This is good for exploring the Kansai or Kinki region covering Kyoto, Nara Prefecture, Nagoya, Mie Prefecture. Tourists spots like Kyoto [9], Yoshino [10] in Nara Prefecture, Akame Shiju-hattaki Falls[11] & Ise-Jingu Shrine in Mie Prefecture [12], Mount Kongozan [13] in Osaka Prefecture are some of the destinations covered by this pass. The more expensive Kintetsu Rail Pass Wide [14] is valued at ¥6800. It is also valid for consecutive 5 days with only marginal value added services like the inclusive round trip access from Kansai Airport to Osaka's Uehommachi station and back to airport plus unlimited rides on Mie Kotsu buses in the Ise-Shima area and some discount vouchers. A comparison chart between the cheaper Kintetsu Rail Pass & the Kintestsu Rail Pass Wide is here [15]. Full list of Kintetsu rail map and sightseeing areas is available here [16]. The pass is available for purchase at Kansai International Airport at the arrival lobby from Kansai Airport Agency Travel Desk to be paid in cash only [17], access map of Kansai Airport Agency Travel Desk is here [18]. It is also available for purchase overseas.
  • The Osaka Unlimited Pass comes in two versions. The one-day pass (¥2000) offers unlimited use of trains and buses in Osaka City and neighboring areas, as well as free admission to 24 popular sightseeing facilities as well as discounts at some more locations. The two-day version sets you off only ¥2700 but is restricted to subway and city bus lines. Both versions come with a handy little booklet with route suggestions, coupons and lots of information about all the sites. If you are planning to visit some of the more expensive sites included for free in the pass such as the Floating Observatory in Umeda which alone carries a price tag of ¥700, this ticket can actually pay off quite well. If you just want to get around Osaka a regular one-day pass for ¥850 might be better. It helps to plan beforehand where you want to go and see if you can actually save money or not. Don't underestimate the time it takes to get from one site to the next. For a couple of hundred yen more you can get an extended version of this pass which includes the train trip to Osaka and back from all the cities around.
  • The regular Osaka one-day pass (¥850/Children ¥430) lets you travel on all subways, buses and the New Tram and also gives you some discounts here and there.
  • A Multiple Ride Card is a stored-value card which lets you use the subway, buses and the New Tram without the hassle of buying separate tickets every time. For ¥3000 you get a card worth ¥3300.

By subway

Osaka Subway Map

Osaka has Japan's second-most extensive subway network after Tokyo, which makes the underground the natural way to get around. The Midosuji Line is Osaka's main artery, linking up the massive train stations and shopping complexes of Shin-Osaka, Umeda, Shinsaibashi, Namba and Tennoji.

The signage, ticketing and operation of the Osaka subway is identical to its larger counterpart in Tokyo. A more detailed route map and some information on how to use the subway can be found here.

By train

True to its name, the JR Osaka Loop Line (環状線 Kanjō-sen) runs in a loop around Osaka. It's not quite as convenient or heavily-used as Tokyo's Yamanote Line, but it stops in Umeda and Tennoji, and by Osaka Castle. Namba and Universal Studios Japan are connected to the Loop Line by short spurs.

See

Umeda Sky Building in Shin-Umeda City, Kita.
  • Osaka Castle (大阪城 Osaka-jō) [19]. Osaka's best known sight, although it's a concrete reconstruction that pales in comparison with, say, Himeji. Think of it as a museum built in the shape of a castle, rather than as an actual historical castle. Still, it's pretty enough from the outside, especially in the cherry blossom season when Osakans flock to the castle park to picnic and make merry. Open 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM daily, adult admission ¥600 (Children up to middle school free). Closed at the end and beginning of the year. The park can be accessed on a number of lines, but the castle is closest to Osaka-jō Koen station on the JR Osaka Loop Line. Naniwa Palace Site Park or Naniwanomiya can also be found south to Osaka Castle Park (although it's one of Japan's oldest habitats and palace sites, today it's little more than an empty grass field where the outlines of Naniwa's palace foundations from around 643 AD have been partly recreated in concrete). Admission fee is only required to enter the actual castle, and entry to the castle park and surrounds is free.
  • Osaka Museum of History[20] 1-32 Otemae 4-Chome Chuo-ku Open 9:30AM-5PM (on Fri 9:30AM-8PM) Closed Tue but on Wed instead if Tue is a Holiday (5min walk from subway Tanimachi 4-chome Station but also accessible via Osaka Castle or from JR Osaka-jō Station) An ideal place to learn all-abouts of Osaka's history. Enjoyable view over Osaka Castle and the OBP skyscrapers. Admission: ¥600
  • Osaka Science Museum (大阪市立科学館)[21]. (walk from subway Higobashi Station or Yodoya-bashi Station, 500m and 900m to the west respectively) Closed on Mon and days after Holidays if not weekend. Big interactive activity center on several floors. Great for kids. Planetarium and cinema (with science films) downstairs. ¥600/300.
  • Umeda Sky Building (梅田スカイビル)[22]. 1-1-20 Oyodonaka, Kita-ku (10 min on foot from JR Osaka or Hankyu Umeda), Built in an attempt to upgrade Osaka's somewhat downbeat Kita district, the project wasn't quite the hoped-for commercial success but this bizarrely shaped 40-story, 173-meter building is still a city landmark. Take the escalator through midair to the rooftop observatory for an open-air view of Osaka, which is particularly impressive on a clear night. Observatory admission ¥700, open 10 AM to 10:30 PM daily (entry until 10 PM, varies by season). The basement features a recreation of a Meiji-era street, with a few small restaurants and bars in appropriate style.
  • Sumiyoshi Taisha (住吉大社) is one of Japan's oldest Shinto shrines, with a history stretching back 1800 years. Its traditional architecture is unusual amongst Japan's shrines, and its park-like surroundings with the sacred bridge arching over a tranquil pond make it a restful break from the busy environment of Osaka. Best of all, it's free! Access is from the Nankai line station of the same name; local trains run from Namba station in central Osaka.
  • Shitennōji (四天王寺), 1-1-18 Shitennōji Tennōji-ku (5 min walk from Shitennōji-mae-Yuhiga-oka Station on subway, or 15 min by walk to north from Tennōji Station), originally built by Emperor Suiko in 593 AD. Although the current buildings are mostly post WWII reconstructions, the temple is a rare sample which conveys the continental style (notably the positioning of the individual buildings inside the complex) of 6th - 7th century to present.
  • Japan Mint (造幣局) 1-1-79, Temma Kita-ku (15 min by walk from subway Temmabashi Station), [23]. It's not widely known even by people from elsewhere in the country that Japan Mint is actually headquartered in Osaka. For Osakans, Sakura-no-tōrinuke (桜の通り抜け, cherry blossom tunnel road) is a synonym for this facility, attracting a large number of visitors (close to 1 million in just 7 days) during a limited, planned week of mid-Apr. A must-see if you are fond of nature and happen to drop into Osaka in season. Admission free. Check for official announcement beforehand.
Tsūtenkaku
  • Tsūtenkaku (通天閣). While the original tower was built early 20th century, the current "newer" version is designed by the same Prof. Naitō, who also designed Tokyo Tower. This landmark built in the middle of Shinsekai (新世界) area is a symbol of reconstruction of the City of Osaka post WWII.
  • Open Air Museum of Old Farmhouses, Ryokuchi-koen, Ryokuchi station on the Midosuji subway line. Ryokuchi park itself is lovely, but one area is a museum of a dozen old Edo period farmhouses, moved across country and lovingly reconstructed. Also on display are tools, furniture, and the like. You can go to Himeji-jo or the old palace in Kyoto and see how the rulers lived; but come down here to see how the people lived. Thanks to the efforts of a volunteer from Australia, they have a great new English-language brochure to guide you. Admission ¥500.
  • Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen Museum (インスタントラーメン発明記念館 Instant Ramen Hatsumei Kinenkan), 8-25 Masumi-cho, Ikeda-shi (20 min on Hankyu Takarazuka Line from Umeda to Ikeda Stn, then 5 min on foot), +81-72-752-3484, [24]. Wed-Mon 9:30 AM–4 PM. A museum dedicated to the man who invented the daily staple of college students everywhere. The exhibits are of limited interest if you don't read Japanese, but they offer two interesting hands-on experiences. The "Chicken Ramen Workshop" (¥500, 90 min, reservations required) lets you make your own instant noodles from scratch, starting from kneading the dough and finishing by decorating the package. "My Cup Noodle Factory" (¥300, no reservations) lets you select your own Cup Noodle flavor, which is then manufactured for you, complete with your own hand-drawn lid design. Free.

Do

Skyline of downtown Umeda, City-Centre Osaka
  • Imax Osaka is home to a large Imax movie screen located in the Suntory Museum (next to Kaiyukan). English headphones are available for no extra cost. If you plan on going to Kaiyukan aquarium and Imax, you can purchase a discount ticket for both at either ticket office.
  • Kaiyukan (Osakako, Chuo Line) [25] is one of the world's largest aquariums, with 11,000 tons of water and plenty of sharks, dolphins, otters, seals, and other creatures of the sea. The largest tank, representing the Pacific Ocean with 5,400 tons is nothing but overwhelming. On the weekend, musicians and street performers offer additional entertainment to people outside the aquarium. ¥2,000 for adults, ¥900 for children.
  • Tenpozan Ferris Wheel, next to Kaiyukan at Tempozan (天保山) area. There is also the Suntory museum, a mall and a port for sightseeing boats. Open 10am to 10pm.
  • Sumo Spring Grand Tournament (大相撲春場所), Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium (approx. 10 min walk from subway Namba Station) [26]. The Osaka Tournament of Japan's national sport, sumo wrestling, is usually held mid-March annually at Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium. Check for schedules and ticket availabilities at the official Nihon Sumo Kyokai homepage. Ticket prices range from ¥3000 to ¥14,300.
Universal Studios Japan
  • Universal Studios Japan, at Universal-City Station (JR Yumesaki Line, 10 min from Osaka), [27]. Japan's second-largest theme park. One-day tickets for adults/children ¥5800/3900. Expect much Japanese dubbing over your favourite characters and movies. If you are coming here on a side trip from Tokyo Disney Resort, the Shinkansen is the most practical option; fare is ¥14,050 via Nozomi or free via Hikari with the Japan Rail Pass.
  • Umeda Joypolis Sega, next to Umeda (Osaka) station, occupying 8th and 9th floors of the Hep Five building with arcades and a Ferris wheel at the top. From 11am to 11pm; ¥500-¥600 attractions. Local laws prohibit kids being here after dark even in the company of their parents, so if you want to take the kids along, plan on going early. The HEP5 ferris is okay though.
  • Expoland in the suburb of Suita, was built in 1970 for the Osaka World's Fair and is one of the finest amusement parks in Japan [28]. It houses over 40 attractions, including the longest roller coaster in the world, and makes for a fantastic day out for the kids. Especially exciting are the inverted roller coaster "Orochi", the standing roller coaster "Fujin Raijin" and one of the longest roller coasters in the world, "Daidirasaurus"- probably the most thrilling roller coasters in all of Japan. If you are not afraid of heights, you can ride the 85- meter- high Technostar and enjoy a spectacular view from the top. The amusement park is currently closed and the company who owns it has filed for a bankruptcy, though, so it probably will not be open for a while. The English website of the park is also offline.
  • Spa World Just near Tsutenkaku Tower in Shinsakai. Gender-separated European and Asian themed spas and saunas as well as a pool for the family with slides and fun. Open 24hrs. Regular prices are ¥2400 for 3 hours, ¥2700 for all day [29]. Extra charge ¥1000 for stays 0AM-5AM. Watch out for the special ¥1000 deals offered from time to time, often in March.
  • National Bunraku Theater, Nippombashi, [30]. One of the last places in the world where bunraku, a form of intricate puppet theater from the Edo period, can be seen live. The large puppets, which require three operators each, are accompanied by traditional music and narration, and act out great Japanese plays of the 1600s and 1700s. Transcripts in Japanese and synopses in English are provided.
  • Osaka Siki musical theater, Umeda,in the Herbis ENT. Home of the Shiki Theatre Company.
  • The Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen museum, Ikeda, [31] approx. 30 minutes from Umeda on the Hankyu line. There are signs in Katakana pointing the way from the south exit. A homage to the universal Cup Noodle, with more flavours than could fill supermarket aisle. It features among other things, a statue of Momofuku Ando, the creator, standing atop a giant Cup Noodle holding an instant ramen packet aloft. Open until 4pm, admission free.
  • The festival hall in Nakanoshima, near Umeda, and the symphony hall in Umeda host modern and classical recitals, while Umeda Koma in Umeda, and Shin-Kabukiza in Namba host Enka performances. For more independent or underground music, try Banana Hall in Umeda or Big Cat in Amerika-mura.
  • Zepp Osaka (POP clubs) , Nanko (Nanko_Kita 1-18-31,Suminoe_ku, near Cosmo-squair station. ).
  • Blue Note (Jazz clubs)[32] Umeda.The branch of Blue Note in N.Y..

Learn

Work

The occupation of most resident Americans, Europeans and Australians is teaching English (as is the case in most of Japan). In recent years, the economy in the Osaka region had been relatively stagnant compared to Tokyo's: although there are jobs in law, finance, accounting, engineering and other professional fields in Osaka, demand for foreign professionals tends to be higher in Tokyo (as is pay). Osaka does have several educational publishers that employ foreign workers, but these jobs require fluent Japanese language ability. Temporary work in a variety of industries is available.

Buy

  • Osaka's most famous shopping district is Shinsaibashi (心斎橋), which offers a mix of huge department stores, high-end Western designer stores, and independent boutiques ranging from very cheap to very expensive. Within Shinsaibashi, the Amerika-mura (アメリカ村, often shortened to "Amemura") or "American Village" area is particularly popular among young people, and is often said to be the source of most youth fashion trends in Japan. Near Amerika-mura,Horie (堀江) is shopping street of mainly Japanese brands shops. The many shops in Umeda are also popular among trendy locals, particularly in the Hep Five and Hep Navio buildings adjacent to Hankyu Umeda Station, although these shops tend to be too expensive to captivate most tourists' interest. In this area, new shopping buildings have been constructed recently. For example, the“E-ma” buildings next to Hanshin department store, and “Nu-Chayamachi” (Nu 茶屋町), opened in October 2005 near Hankyu Umeda station.
  • For electronics, the Nippombashi (日本橋) area southeast of Namba, and particularly the "Den-Den Town" shopping street, was once regarded as the Akihabara of western Japan; nowadays, more people would rather shop at the new, enormous Yodobashi Camera (ヨドバシカメラ) in Umeda or BicCamera (ビックカメラ) and LABI1 in Namba, although Nippombashi still offers good deals on many gadgets and geekier PC components.
  • For Japanese and foreign books, try Kinokuniya in Hankyu Umeda Station, or Junkudo south of Osaka Station.
    Tenjinbashi-suji
  • If you are a fan of Shochu you can buy it in the Sho-chu Authority shop in Namba Parks. There are hundreds of varieties of Shochu from all over Japan in crazy bottles. There usually is a selection of bottles to taste from (help yourself). Also sells Shochu pottery and glass as well as traditional snacks.
  • The Official Hanshin Tigers (baseball team) Shop is located on 8th floor of Hanshin Department Store at Umeda.
  • Tenjinbashi-suji Shopping Street (天神橋筋商店街 Tenjinbashi-suji Shōtengai) is said to be the longest straight and covered shopping arcade in Japan at approx. 2.6km length. The arcade is running north-south along Tenjinbashi-suji street, and is accessible from multiple subway and/or JR stations, eg. Tenma, Minami-Morimachi, Tenjinbashi-suji 6-chome, etc. Nothing meant for sightseeing, the arcade is a live exhibition of Osaka's daily life, open since Edo period.

Eat

Okonomiyaki - The DIY Food

Okonomiyaki Osaka style is usually do-it-yourself food at smaller, independent specialized restaurants. Tables are equipped with embedded hot plates and you'll receive a bowl of ingredients, which you are expected to cook on your own. However, in larger franchised chains the staff can often cook for you — and even in smaller places staff will usually gladly help if asked.

Should you decide to try your luck on your own, you might want to dress for the occasion: pork slices, the most common topping, are usually very fatty and tend to splatter grease all over the place. Try Modernyaki which is an Okonomiyaki with Soba on top, or go fried egg on top of the pancake.


Even in a nation of obsessive gourmands Osaka is known as an excellent place to eat, exemplified by the Osakan maxim kuidaore, "eat yourself into ruin". The best place for trying out kuidaore is probably Dōtonbori (道頓堀) and neighboring Hōzenji-yokochō (法善寺横町) or Soemon-cho (宗右衛門町), the whole area containing nearly nothing but one restaurant after another.

Some typically Osakan foods worth trying include:

  • Battera (バッテラ), is a block type sushi, with mackerel put on rice and squeezed very hard in a wooden box, cut into pieces when served. Battera sushi is a variant and direct descendant of primitive sushi, this one from Osaka is unique for its squarelike shape. Available not only in sushi restaurants but also as take-away in department stores and train stations.
  • Okonomiyaki (お好み焼き), fried cabbage cakes that resemble a cross between a pancake, pizza, and omelette.
  • Takoyaki (たこ焼き), bits of octopus inside fried dumplings.
  • Kushikatsu (串かつ), skewers with various sorts of food (meat, vegetables, cheese, etc.) deep-fried in dough and served with a black sauce.

Okonomiyaki is best eaten in hole-in-the-wall restaurants, while takoyaki is best eaten from street vendors' carts, which can be found all over the major districts around nightfall. The best place to find kushiage is in Shinsekai, between Dobutsuen-mae and Ebisucho stations on the Sakaisuji subway line.

Budget

  • Saizeria is a very cheap Italian eatery chain with many restaurants not only in Osaka, but all over the nation. The food is simple but decent. Glass of wine ¥100. Typical meal ¥400. The cheaper dishes are actually better than the pricier ones.
  • Snack Park (スナックパーク), Hanshin department store (Umeda), B2 Floor. Offers okonomiyaki, takoyaki and a few surprises like doteyaki (どて焼き) - stewed sinew of beef. It's open from 10 a.m to 8:30 p.m.
  • Tsuruhashi Fūgetsu (鶴橋風月), Hankyu Building 29F (next to Hankyu Umeda station), [34]. Good okonomiyaki as well yakisoba, with extra toppings (egg, cheese, etc.), all for a cheap price of ¥700-800, plus English menu and a nice view overlooking Umeda. Perfect!
  • Tako Tako King, north side of Dotonbori river and west of Midosuji. The best takoyaki in Osaka and the same goes for service too! A friendly staff that never take off their smiles, good prices, good food, good drinks, and a whole lot of fun, make this a great place to start off a night in the Shinsaibashi area. Look for the big red octopus wearing a crown.

Mid-range

  • Axum, Marusei Building 5F, [35]. For those expats living in Japan who are a little tired of Japanese food, you can check out the only Ethiopian restaurant in the Kansai region. Found in Shinsaibashi, this small restaurant offers personal service, African beer, and plenty of Injera. While the dishes are pricier than we may be used to at home, the food is tasty and with a nice bit of spice compared to the average Japanese fare.
  • Aruna (アルナ) is a reasonably easy-to-find and vegetarian-friendly Indian restaurant in Umeda. From Hankyu Umeda station, exit as if you were going to go to the Hep 5 building (you can't miss it, due to the gigantic red ferris wheel on top) but instead of going into Hep 5, go down the pedestrianised road on its left. Just after a small crossing is a bar "Side Trip", next to that is a food place with 3 dancing leeks as its logo, and next to that is Aruna. Set meals from ¥1554, curries from ¥1050, beers from ¥525. Mina, the proprietress, speaks excellent English. No vegetarian version of the ¥1554 curry set is listed on the menu, but they are happy to make it for you if you ask.

Splurge

  • Harijyu (はり重) 1-9-17 Dōtonbori Chuō-ku, 06-6211-7777 11:30AM-9:30PM Closed on T except Dec [36] (partly English), Shabu-shabu or sukiyaki in Japanese tatami rooms. No reservations are taken except for large groups, so arrive early at nights (6PM or so) to be sure you get a room without waiting. Expensive, but not astronomical thanks to their direct involvement in butcher's. (Butcher's on ground floor, take-out obentō boxes are available.) ¥6300+ Credit cards accepted.
  • Kani Dōraku (かに道楽), 1-6-18 Dōtonbori Chuō-ku, [37]. Now a nationwide chain, but this is the original. Easily identifiable by the giant mechanical crab waving its pincers about, and as you might guess, the speciality here is crab. Good but moderately expensive, figure on ¥4000-5000 per person for a set meal.
  • Mimyu (美々卯) 4-6-18 Hirano-machi 06-6231-5770 11:30AM-10PM Closed Su. This inventor of udonsuki has turned the otherwise popular and affordable udon into a luxury hotpot (nabe) dish, served in its corporate secret soup. Shabu-shabu available, too. ¥5800+ for dinner.

Drink

  • Common Style, 1-2-2 Nakazaki-nishi, Kita-ku, [38]. A cafe where foreigners can exchange information with Japanese about what interests them.
  • Hub - This British pub, on Midosuji in Shinsaibashi, serves as a meeting place for many local expats as well as Japanese locals.
  • Try Amemura area - There you will find all kind of bars with different genre from Hip Hop to Reggai.

Bar Kama Sutra, in East Shinsaibashi (東心斎橋), is a small cozy bar that is almost impossible to find but well worth the effort. The owner, Richard, is a long term resident of Japan and is a wealth of information on what to do and see in the area, where to stay and even where to find work. Drop him an email before your visit. kamastra@dance.ocn.ne.jp (no "u" is correct!)

Nightclubs

  • Clube Joule, 2-11-30 Nishi-shinsaibashi, next to Sankaku (Triangle) Park in America Mura, [39]. Packed with trance lovers.
  • Club Pure, Chuo-ku, Soemon-cho 2-3-12 Diamond Bldg. B1F, Tel. 06-2536-6278, (info@club-pure.com), [40]. Extremely crowded dance club. Entrance is typically 4000 yen for men and 2500yen for women and includes unlimited free drinks, provided that you don't lose the cup you are given at the door. Pure opens at 22.00 and closes at 5.00 in the morning. The crowd is around 25-30% international and rest is Japanese. Be sure to bring your passport, as the ID check here is atypically rigorous. The closest subway station to Club Pure is Namba Station, which is about 5-10min walk.
  • Club Heaven, Shinsaibashi, just down the street from Club Pure near the police station. tel. 077-510-0321. Gets very crowded late when Club Pure and some other clubs are closing for the night. Very international crowd.
  • Sam and Dave, [41]. Popular international dance club with a meat-market vibe. Three locations in Osaka:
    • Sam and Dave Nagahori, 1-21-19 B1F, Shimanouchi, Chuo-ku, tel. 06-6251-5333.
    • Sam and Dave Shinsaibashi, 1-3-29 4F Shinsaibashi, Chuo-ku, tel. 06-6243-6848.
    • Sam and Dave Umeda, 4-15-19 1F Nishi-tenma, Kita-ku, tel. 06 6365 1688

Sleep

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Budget

  • J-Hoppers Osaka Central, (Post-code 553-0003) 4-22, Fukushima 7chome, Fukushima-ku, Osaka City (3 minute walk from Fukushima Station on JR Loop line), 06-6453-6669(domestic) +81-6-6453-6669 (from overseas), [42]. checkin: 3-10pm; checkout: 8-11am. A lively backpackers hostel located in the central Osaka. Here could be an extensive travel links to everywhere and be a starting point for all sightseeing places not only Osaka but also Nara, Kobe, Wakayama. There are three kinds of private rooms. (Twin room, Double room and Triple room are available.) All staff members speak English and will help guests making travel plans. We also have a French and German speaking staff. Ws also offer free wifi with your laptop (¥100 per 30 min for hostel computers) and rental bikes (¥500 per day), with no curfew or lockout and held-luggage services. 8 or 6 bed dorm ¥2500, private rooms ¥3000 per person.


Hello Kitty room, Hotel Adnis; a love hotel.

Backpackers have recently begun to use budget hotels around the JR Shin-Imamiya (新今宮) and subway Midosuji Line Dōbutsuen-mae (動物園前) stations, located in the southern part of the city center. Room quality varies widely and prices vary from 800 yen to 3000+ yen, but there are many options: see the Osaka International Guesthouse Area [43] for the full list of foreigner-friendly establishments. The area is rather poor and there are many homeless that wander about during the day, but generally they are harmless and safety is not an issue. One benefit of the district being so poor is that prices at the supermarkets and such are generally very low. However, as always use common sense when traveling in unfamiliar areas.

  • Hotel Chuo, [44] 1-1-12 Taishi Nishinari-ku Osaka-shi. Singles ¥2600-¥3200, twins ¥5200-¥7000. Western and Japanese style rooms available. Shared bathroom facilities. Free internet in room and lobby. Midnight-6AM curfew.
  • Hotel Chuo New Annex, 1-1-11 Taishi, Nishinari-Ku. Next door to Hotel Chuo features two showers on the ground floor, one for men and one for women. There is no curfew, and credit cards are accepted. Wireless internet in rooms. Three internet connected computers in the lobby, along with connection points for laptops.
  • Hotel Taiyo, [45], 23-2-1 Taishi Nishinari-ku. Single ¥2100, twin ¥3100.
  • Hotel Toyo, [46], Single ¥1500, w/out AC, ¥1700 with AC. If you rent a room for 10 days you get a JPY 1000 discount. There are some poor Japanese who seem to use this place as a de facto apartment, though that is a testament to the low price and convenience of the hotel. Curfew of midnight, doors reopen at 3am. Individual room contains futon, fan/heater or AC, TV. There is a shower room on the first floor or you can use the public bath of the neigboring Hotel Taiyo for free. A free computer with Internet access is also available to Hotel Toyo guests, at the neighbouring Hotel Taiyo.
  • Hotel Mikado, [47], 1-2-11 Taishi Nishinari-ku. Single ¥2300, Twin ¥4600. Internet, sauna.

If you are arriving by Shinkansen, there is a very clean, modern, and friendly Youth Hostel available relatively cheap about a block away from the east exit of the Shin-Osaka station. * Shin-Osaka Youth Hostel [48] 3300yen/person, dormitory style.

More centrally located are capsule hotels, found near the major train stations .

  • Capsule Inn Osaka, 9-5 Doyamamachi, Kita-ku (in the Higashi-Hankyu shopping arcade off Umeda station). Tel. 06-6314-2100, Fax 06-6363-3014, [49]. This is Japan's first capsule hotel, designed by noted architect Kisho Kurokawa and opened in 1979. Still open for business, happy to accommodate male foreigners with some semblance of a clue and a steal at ¥2700 for a night (or ¥3300 with entry to the spa). No women allowed.
Asahiplaza Shinsaibashi Capsules
  • Asahiplaza Shinsaibashi, 2-12-22 Nishi-shinsaibashi, Chuo-ku (at Amerikamura). Tel. 06-6213-1991, Fax 06-6212-0954, [50]. A sauna is available, and there is a separate area for women. ¥2800 (or ¥3100 with dinner included).
  • Daitoyo, 2-1-9 Nakazaki-Nishi, Kita-ku. (Near Nakazaki-cho station, Tanimachi-Line subway). Near Umeda, with branches at Namba and Juso. It has a hot spring spa, sauna, and a floor for women. ¥3200.


There are many business hotels in Osaka. Most offer single rooms.

  • Esaka Central Hotel, 1-22-30 Esaka Suita-shi Osaka (2 min from Esaka station, Midosuji-line subway). Single ¥4500.
  • Business Hotel OK, 1-10-11 Juso-higashi Yodogawa-ku Osaka, (3 min from Juso station, Hankyu line), Tel 06-6305-5021. Single ¥4500.
  • Hotel 1-2-3 Tennoji[51]. Budget hotel chain 1-2-3 with several hotels across Japan. Tennoji address is 2-3-14, Terada-cho, Tennoji-ku, Osaka-shi, 543-0045, tel: 81-6-6770-2345, fax: 81-6-6770-2333. Single room at ¥5,145. Twin at ¥6195 per room. All rates inclusive of tax and free breakfast. English reservation fax sheet here [52]. Access is from JR Osaka Loop Line, Terada Sta. (North Exit) 3 minutes on foot. Also has another Osaka branch called Hotel 1-2-3 Senba within walking distance to Shinsaibashi subway station at a higher rate [53].

Also, there are budget guesthouses.

  • Guest house U-en (由苑), [54], 1-5-8 Uemachi,Chuo-ku, Osaka city, (Within walking distance of Osaka castle.) Renovated old Japanese townhouse for backpackers. Dormitory ¥2300-2500, private rooms ¥5500-6500.

Budget Apartments, a stay at budget apartments can be cheaper than staying in a hotel, the following apartments are centrally located:

  • Sunplaza Rinkai[55]" (サンプラザ臨海). Website is in Japanese.

The English site can be obtained through an online booking agent if you google its full name and if vacancies are available an immediate confirmation will be given. Address: 16-4-4 Toyosaki Kita-ku Osaka 531-0072 Japan, tel: +81-06-6377-9260, fax:06-6377-0650. Rate is ¥3500 per person per apartment inclusive of taxes, service charges & utilities. Twins beds available. Layout of single & twin apartments in Japanese language, click and view the A, B, C & D layouts here[56]. Each apartment has ensuite shower & toilet, aircon, tv, and a kitchenette complete with fridge, stove & cooking utensils. Subway Station: Exit no 1 from Nakatsu Station (中津駅) on the Midosuji Subway Line, one stop from Umeda Station and 2 stops away from Shinosaka Station. Access map in Japanese here[57].

  • Weekly Green in Namba [58] (ウィークリーグリーンINナンバ へ ようこそ).

English website has an online reservation system [59] It claims to have English speaking staff on its website so you may attempt an online reservation. If no response, try an online booking agent. Address: Address : 2-7-23 Shikitsu-Nishi Naniwa-Ku Osaka Japan, tel: +81-6-6647-3719, fax: : +81-6-6647-5837 Single at ¥4200 per apartment. Twin at ¥9450 per apartment. Triple at ¥14490 per apartment. Quad at ¥18900 per apartment. All rates inclusive of service charge & consumption tax. Layout of the apartments in Japanese only, single apartment here [60], twins, triples & quads here [61]. Each apartment equipped with ensuite shower & toilet, kitchennette, fridge, portable cooking stove. aircon, tv & telephone. Subway Station: Exit no 2 of Daikokucho Station on the Midosuji Subway Line, one stop from Namba station. Access map in English here [62]

  • Azu-Garden Nippombashi[63] (アズガーデン日本橋).

Address: 1-6 Soemon-cho, Chuo-ku, Osaka-shi, Osaka, tel: +81-06-6212-1120, fax: 06-6212-1160. Single at ¥4,200 per apartment. Double at ¥ 9,030 per apartment. Twin at ¥9,030 per apartment. All rates inclusive of taxes. Online reservation site in English here but you may or may not get a response [64]. If no response, try an online booking agent. Layout of the rooms on its Japanese language website is here[65] Subway Station: Exit no 2 of Nippombashi Subway along the Sennichimae Subway Line, one stop from Namba station. Access map here [66]

  • Kaneyoshi Ryokan[67] (かねよし旅館).

Address: 3-12 Soemon-cho, Chuo-ku, Osaka-shi, Osaka, tel: +81-6-6211-6337, fax: +81-6-6213-0843. This Modern Ryokan is conveniently located in the heart of downtown Osaka. Kaneyoshi Ryokan is a comfortable Ryokan on the riverside of Dotombori and very close to the Osaka shopping quarter. English website has an online reservation system [68] Subway Station: Exit no 2 of Nippombashi Subway along the Sennichimae Subway Line, one stop from Namba station. Access map here [69]


Last but not least, Osaka has its fair share of love hotels around the city.

  • Hotel Adnis, Tennoji 5-5-15 (5 min from Kintetsu Uehonmachi stn), Tel 06-6761-0168, [70]. Love hotel with an S&M twist: check out rooms 303, done up like a commuter train, and room 501, the infamous Hello Kitty bondage room. Overnight stay from ¥6,500 (depending on room).
  • Yamatoya Honten[71] (大和屋本店).

Address: 2-17-4 Shimanouchi, Chuo-ku, Osaka-city, Osaka, Japan 542-0082 TEL.+81-6-6211-3587 /FAX+81-6-6212-1553

YAMATOYA HONTEN is eyes and noses ahead to Dotombori, the place that represents Osaka, and near Shinsaibashi and Nihonbash. English website has an online reservation system [72]

Facility,Tatami room and Public bath here [73] The breakfast is in Japanese style, which is tofu, grilled fish, vegetables, miso soup, rice, and more. We serve Japanese traditional Kaiseki. style food,cooked which well-selected in season for dinner. [74] Access map here [75] Rate is ¥5775 per person per apartment inclusive of taxes, service charges & utilities. [76]

Mid-range

  • Comfort Inn Shinsaibashi, 1-15, Higashi-Shinsaibashi, Chuo-ku (10 minute walk from Shinsaibashi station on the Midosuji subway line), (81) 6 6258 3111 (fax 81 6 6258 3121), [77]. Located two blocks east of Shinsaibashi's central covered shopping arcade, this hotel is a little better than the average business hotel, with clean rooms, English-speaking staff, and a complimentary yet generous breakfast buffet. Singles start at ¥6500.
  • Park Hotel Rinkai, Near Honmachi Station (Exit 28 from the Yotsubashi subway line, walk east for 5 minutes.), 06-6444-0809, [78]. A business hotel located in the center of the business district. Near Honmachi station offering access to 3 subway lines. Room prices are around ¥6000 for a single and 10,000 for a twin. Unfortunately, most of the staff can't speak English.
  • Il Cuore, 1-15-15, Namba-Naka, Naniwa-ku, (Less than 5 minutes walk from Namba or Kintetsu-Namba stations), (81) 6 6647 1900, [79]. This is a slightly nicer business hotel with larger than average rooms. The hotel provides English language instructions for laundry machines and other hotel services. Breakfast an additional ¥ 1,000. Single rooms ¥ 9,000 with a double bed for one or two guests.

Splurge

  • Hilton Osaka 1-8-8, Umeda, Kita-ku [80]. Across the street from JR Osaka station.
  • Hyatt Regency Osaka, 1-13-11 Nanko-Kita, Suminoe-Ku (in Osaka's new business district), +81 6 6612 1234 (), [81]. A hotel opposite the World Trade Center and one of the higher end hotels in the area. This hotel is an official hotel for the Universal Studios Japan and one of the most expensive hotels in the city. A bit far away from the city centre with no direct subway line. Houses a chapel on its grounds too. Some Airline Crews use this one.
  • Imperial Hotel 8-50, Temmabashi 1-chome, Kita-ku [82]. At riverside.
  • New Otani 1-4-1 Shiromi, Chuo-ku [83].
  • Rihga Royal Hotel, 5-3-68, Nakanoshima, Kita-ku [84]. Opened as the New Osaka Hotel in 1935, this landmark hotel proudly offers one of the best hotel services in town.
  • Ritz-Carlton, 2-5-25 Umeda, Kita-ku (just down the street from the Sakurabashi exit of Osaka Station, behind the Central Post Office) [85] Japan's first. This particular outlet was voted the best hotel in Japan several times, and has become known as one of the city's swankiest dining and meeting points. Rates start around ¥30,000 a night and rise skyward from there.
  • Swissotel Nankai 5-1-60, namba,Chuo-ku, [86]. Next to Namba train and bus stations.
  • the Westin 1-1-20 Oyodo Naka, Kita-ku [87]. Next to the Umeda Sky Building.
  • Hotel Nikko Osaka 1-3-3, Nishi-Shinsaibashi, Chuo-ku [88]. Huge Landmark Hotel smack in the middle of Shinsaibashi along tree lined Mido-suji Avenue. Rooms are comfortable and have amazing views at night as hotel is the tallest building in the immediate area. Attached to Shinsaibashi train station and close to Amerika-mura, shopping, and night-life.

Contact

  • Opti Café is a surprisingly cheap internet café in Umeda. ¥100/30min. Yodobashi Camera department store's groundfloor, next to Excelsior Café. You are requested to register for membership but it doesn't cost anything.
  • Y-net Cafe, Labi 1 Namba GF, Nambanaka 2-11-35, Naniwa-ku. First hour of use is free and no registration needed.

Stay safe

Osaka has a dangerous reputation (by Japanese standards), but is still remarkably safe for a city of its size, and the overall level of crime is as low as in Tokyo or other Japanese cities. However, some areas, particularly Shinsekai and Tobita, may be a little dodgy at night and the Airin/Kamagasaki area — Japan's largest slum, home to a lot of jobless and/or homeless people — south of Shin-Imamiya is best avoided at most times, especially after dark.

Incidentally, despite the movie stereotype of gangsters speaking in Osakan dialect, the actual base of Japan's biggest yakuza families is neighboring Kobe — and the most gang violence occurs in Tokyo. Unless you're dealing drugs, you're unlikely to get involved with the local mafia.

Get out

  • Its location makes Osaka a perfect base for doing one-day trips to nearby cities like Kyoto (30 minutes), Kobe (20 minutes), Nara (40 minutes) or Himeji (1 hour). (Typical times shown on JR Trains available without extra express charges starting from Osaka Station.)
  • The Expo Park in Suita, the huge commemorial park of the Japan World Expo '70, with its interesting Japanese Garden and Museum of National Ethnology.
  • Church of light (茨木春日丘教会 Ibaraki Kasuga-oka Kyoukai)(Ibaraki), one of the masterpiece architecture by Tadao Ando.
  • Minō Koen (Minō), a popular maple watching spot in autumn.
  • The temples and lush greenery of Mount Koya, 90 minutes away by train, are an entirely different world and the perfect getaway when all the concrete starts to get to you.
  • Akashi Kaikyo Bridge, the world's longest suspension bridge is located near Kobe, about 40 minutes away by train.
Routes through Osaka
HiroshimaShin-Kōbe  W noframe E  → END → connects to Tōkaidō line
connects to Sanyō line ← END ←  W noframe E  KyotoNagoya




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