When I decided to visit Japan, Osaka rarely appeared in my searches. I only decided to go to Osaka because the Sumo Championships were on there while I was travelling. I have to say, I really enjoyed Osaka and would recommended a day or two there if you’re travelling to Japan.
The Sumo Championships are big tournaments that take place a handful of times each year, in different locations. This website has the tournament dates and ticket release dates. We were lucky enough to get tickets in advance for Osaka and it was such a good day. There is a lot of demand for these tickets and we paid a company called Voyagin to get tickets for us and they delivered them to where we were staying so we could collect them when we arrived, or else you can arrange a pick up in Tokyo. You definitely need to be on the ball for getting these tickets and we contacted the company well in advance. Another company you could try is www.buysumotickets.com. It is worth the extra bit of money. If you don’t get tickets, you can still go to the training stables and watch the wrestlers train.
The next day we went to Osaka Castle Park. We went early in the morning and it was already quite crowded. The walk through the park was so nice as the cherry blossoms were out. There were a lot of people having picnics. The castle itself is in a walled square and is very nice to see. We paid to go inside the castle, but to be honest, it was better outside just to see it. Inside was very hot and crowded. Getting there, we got the subway to Morinomiya Station and got out at exit 1.
If you’re stuck for time and want to see a lot of the city, there are a number of walking tours and some of them are free. The tour guides will just ask for a tip at the end. It’s a good way to get a feel for the city and see what you would like to see more of yourself. There are cycling tours too, if you would rather cycle than walk. Kema Sakuranomiya Park is a great place to see the cherry blossoms too and chill out for a while.
There are so many temples to see in Osaka and all over Japan. If you’re travelling around Asia a lot, it is easy to get sick of seeing temples. I think you’re better off researching them before you go and chatting to others in Japan and pick the ones you would like to see most. In Osaka there is the Sumiyoshi Taisha Shrine which was built in the year 211 and is one of the more impressive temples here.
To get good views of Osaka, you can go to Abeno Harukas, one of the tallest buildings in Osaka. You can go up to the 16th floor for free but after that you have to pay. There is a museum there too. Or else, you can visit the Umeda Sky Building, which is like a floating garden. I don’t think you need to go to both, but it’s worth checking one of them out for a view of the city.
Osaka has loads of Ferris Wheels too. I had planned on going on one but just didn’t get around to it. The most recommended ones are the Tempozan Ferris Wheel or the Redhorse Wheel. Again, these will give you a view of the city and could be done instead of one of the observation points above.
For dinner and drinks, we headed to Dotonbori. This is a popular area in Namba with restaurants and bars. We just walked around are went into a few different bars. There is an Osaka Pub Crawl too, if you want to meet different people and find some good bars. We didn’t do this because we had a small group and were happy to bar hop ourselves.
There is also a Universal Studios in Osaka. I didn’t go because I had been the the one in LA the previous summer.
We stayed in Khosan World Namba. Accommodation can be quite expensive in Japan so we were booking private rooms in hostels to save a bit of money. Our hostel was close to subway stations and easy to find and would stay there again. Namba seems to be a good area to stay in Japan.
We headed to Kyoto after Osaka and was so easy to get there with the subways and trains.
- If you’re travelling around a lot of Japan, the the Japan Rail Pass might save you money and is worth looking into.
- Try some Kobe Beef
- Take the subway rather than taxis
- 3-4 days is loads of time in Osaka
- Check out my YouTube Channel and my posts on Tokyo and Kyoto.
Top Tip Traveller 🙂