Top things to do

Top Choice Castle in Osaka

Osaka-jō

After unifying Japan in the late 16th century, General Toyotomi Hideyoshi built this castle (1583) as a display of power, using, it's said, the labour of 100,000 workers. Although the present structure is a 1931 con…
Top Choice Area in Osaka

Amerika-Mura

West of Midō-suji, Amerika-Mura is a compact enclave of hip, youth-focused and offbeat shops, plus cafes, bars, tattoo and piercing parlours, nightclubs, hair salons and a few discreet love hotels. In the middle is …
Top Choice Area in Osaka

Dōtombori

Highly photogenic Dōtombori is the city's liveliest night spot and centre of the Minami (south) part of town. Its name comes from the 400-year-old canal, Dōtombori-gawa, now lined with pedestrian walkways and a riot…
Top Choice Street Food in Osaka

Wanaka Honten

This famous tako-yaki (octopus dumplings) stand, just north of Dōguya-suji arcade, uses custom copper hotplates (instead of cast iron) to make dumplings that are crisper on the outside than usual (but still runny in…
Top Choice Okonomiyaki in Osaka

Chibō

Chibō is one of Osaka's most famous okonomiyaki (savoury pancake) restaurants. It almost always has a line, but it moves fast because there is seating on multiple floors (though you might want to hold out for the co…
Top Choice Museum in Osaka

National Museum of Ethnology

This ambitious museum showcases the world's cultures, showing them to be the continuous (and tangled) strings that they are. There are plenty of traditional masks, textiles and pottery but also Ghanaian barbershop s…
Top Choice Theatre in Osaka

National Bunraku Theatre

The classical performing art most associated with Osaka is bunraku, which makes dramatic use of highly sophisticated puppets. A visit to the theatre is a half-day event: shows, which include scenes from different pl…
Top Choice Kaiseki in Osaka

Shoubentango-tei

That this kappō-ryōri (Osaka-style haute cuisine) restaurant isn't more expensive is surprising considering its pedigree: established over 100 years ago, it was a literati hangout in the early 20th century. Even the…
Top Choice Kushikatsu in Osaka

Ganso Kushikatsu Daruma Honten

Daruma has branches around town but, for many Japanese, a pilgrimage to the original shop in Shinsekai – opened in 1929 and said to be the birthplace of kushikatsu – is a necessary part of any visit to Osaka. There'…
Top Choice Department Store in Osaka

Hankyū Umeda Department Store

Hankyū, which first opened in 1929, pioneered the now ubiquitous concept of the train-station department store. One of Japan's largest department stores, 'Ume-Han' is also among the most fashion-forward, with a good…