As the third largest city in Japan, a sparkling large port city and commercial center, Osaka is most known and well-loved for its modern architecture, urban jungle of shopping malls, wild nightlife and hearty street food. With a huge choice of neighbourhoods to explore, you might be wondering which are the best areas to stay in Osaka. The city is home to pulsing entertainment districts, quiet, artsy areas, ancient neighbourhoods, alternative villages of sub-culture and an impeccable culinary scene. Osaka is a dirty, vibrant, fun-loving city to explore. So here are my Osaka neighbourhoods guide and to enjoy the best places to stay in Osaka, discovering neighbourhoods that encompasses the ideal mix of the city’s quirky side, historic temples and natural havens. Wondering where to stay in Osaka? The city has something for everyone, from peaceful and historic to quirky and lively, check out this best places to stay in Osaka guide to figure out what’s best for you.
As an outgoing, open minded person who loves partying, food and blogging, I often hang out downtown. It’s convenient and a great spot if you’re seeking where to stay in Osaka for nightlife. When I moved to study at Osaka university, I instantly found the city fun, chilled out and diverse. Osaka has two major city centers; Umeda/Osaka Station area and Namba. Namba is one of the best places to stay in Osaka; vibrant and offering charm and characters. You can people watch, walk or bike. Dive into the beauty of architecture rejuvenated with nature’s blessings at Namba Parks mall; a leafy, commercial centre. The place is designed by integrating nature with urban lifestyle. Visit the shops, restaurants, amphitheater or cinema and be sure to check out the rooftop garden; home to around 70,000 plants and presenting an unparalleled beauty above Osaka’s busy streets. If you’re seeking the historical heart of Osaka, visit the impressive Namba Yasaka Shrine. It has been a centre for Shinto worship for centuries. If music is your thing, check out Namba Hatch; a music hall dedicated to events and concerts. Whether jazz, rock, pop or hip-hop, Namba Hatch has something for everyone. Don’t miss Namba; one of the best areas to stay in Osaka.
Check out Dotonbori; the neon heart of Osaka. Home to bright and colourful neon lights, animatronic, extravagant signage, an enormous variety of restaurants, side street food stalls, shops and bars. Dotonbori is one of the best areas to stay in Osaka; a vibrant entertainment district and a popular Osaka destination. It presents a true representation of Osakan culture at night and there are an infinite number of things to do in Dotonbori regardless of the time of day. Take time to discover this animated area and see the famous LED Glico Man from the Ebisubashi Bridge. Enjoy a traditional meal at an authentic Dotonbori restaurant. Check out Don Quixote; a massive Japanese discount store with one of the areas most-known landmarks; a yellow ferris wheel. Inside the store, you can find an amusement park-like selection of every kind of item; daily commodities, miscellaneous goods, electronics, clothes and accessories as well as every KitKat flavour imaginable.
A great Osaka nightlife experience, the American Village is one of the quirkiest and best neighbourhoods in Osaka for a truly unique experience. Observe Osaka’s sub-culture in the American Village. Ame-mura (Amerikamura) or ‘American Village’, is a quirky district near Shinsaibashi, most known and loved for its alternative, hipster vibe based around the Japanese interpretation of American culture throughout the 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s. One of the best neighbourhoods in Osaka, the American Village is an eclectic mix of fun; where you can see some of the wildest, most colourful styles. With an abundance of great bars, absurd and wonderful vintage shops, anime merch stores and restaurants, your Osaka trip would not be complete without a trip here.
Den Den Town
Den Den Town, or Nipponbashi, is an eccentric area of Osaka; which still has at its heart a traditional Japanese vibe. With a lively cultural scene, fun events, festivals, anime and cosplay and hidden away in a small corner of Osaka’s southern district, Den Den Town is most frequented by fans of Japanese otaku culture. The area is a great entertainment district to explore, home to a variety of unique, weird and wonderful stores selling and showcasing manga comics, anime music and videos, retro toys and games, cosplay costumes, and collectible models and figures. The place is a must-see for anime-lovers, gamers, electronic fanatics and anyone seeking a wild and unique Osaka nightlife experience.
Osaka Castle Area
The Osaka Castle area is one of the best places to stay in Osaka to experience the cherry blossom phenomenon. With the mild breeze, budding flowers and pink tunnels, the city is truly a beautiful place to spend the sakura season. Enjoy the lush parks and botanical gardens while adopting the ancient hanami way of life; living the Japanese traditional custom of mindfully enjoying the transient beauty of flowers and blooming petals. The Osaka Castle area is most-known for the iconic attraction Osaka Castle and is not typically a place where tourists will primarily base their stay since nightlife, shopping and food choices are relatively lacking compared to Namba and Umeda Downtown. The quiet nature of the area therefore makes it a great Osaka experience for families with children. However, during spring, the area is magical place from day through to night; surrounded by countless beautiful cherry blossoms, the Sakuranomiya Park and a lovely river bank. As the best place to stay in Osaka for family or first time visitors, the area also has seasonal food stalls and is a great place to have a picnic under the cherry blossom trees.
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