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Group of tourists standing in front of the Godzilla statue in Osaka with a local guide

Top Things To Do In Osaka

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Wondering what to do in Osaka?

Osaka is a city where good times are inevitable. Known for their wicked sense of humor and love of food, the friendly locals have largely shed all sense of Japanese conservatism, making Osaka one of the most entertaining cities in Japan. The atmosphere here is electrifying, and thousands of neon lights shimmer off the waters of the canals, exposing a spectacular array of things to do in Osaka. Whether you get swept up in a whirlwind of chaotic shopping, explore lantern-lit mazes of izakaya bars, or sing your heart out at a karaoke bar in one of the city’s LED-lit entertainment districts, the things to do in Osaka can’t help but leave you dizzy with delight.

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Tourist standing in front of an attraction in Osaka on a sunny day
Past meets present

At first glance, Osaka is a city with endless things to do and one foot firmly in the future: buildings are blanketed in dazzling LED screens and neon lights, the colorful cosplay scene covers several square-miles of unique entertainment, and high fashion overflows at gleaming department stores. But in fact, while Osaka has all the attractions of an ultra-modern metropolis, the city still manages to reflect Japan’s history and culture. The best things to do in Osaka span centuries, with ancient temples, shrines, and traditional gardens giving a glimpse into the city’s storied past.

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Tourist enjoying a traditional meal with a local guide on a food tour of Osaka
The “Nation’s Kitchen”

Spend time with a local, and you’ll likely hear the city's unofficial slogan, kuidaore – “eat until you drop”. It’s no surprise that some of the best things to do in Osaka revolve around its fantastic food scene. Known as the “Nation’s Kitchen”, Osaka’s culinary culture is famous across Japan. The city’s food – found at its traditional markets, cafés, restaurants, and izakayas – is mind-blowingly delicious. From Okonomiyaki pancakes at a snaking line of street food stalls to a Michelin-starred meal at a high-end eatery, the foodie things to do in Osaka suit every palate (and pocket).

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Tourist posing in front of neon lights on a busy street in Osaka
Osaka after sunset

When night falls, the city really starts to show off, and the list of things to do in Osaka gets even longer. Osaka transforms into a kaleidoscope of LED screens, giant billboards, and animatronic signs, and the fun begins. Perhaps you’ll start with a scrub down at a traditional sento before some well-deserved bar- or club-hopping, or maybe you’ll swivel your head between flashing restaurant signs and grab a meal at the one that beckons the brightest. If that’s not your scene, you could even slow things down in the lantern-lit alleys of a traditional entertainment district.

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