Osaka Revisited

Osaka, Japan is often underestimated when compared to other cities in Japan especially Tokyo. However, it is one of the most amazing cities in Japan full of entertainment. If you are planning a trip to Japan, you might want to know why you should visit Osaka too.

Osaka is not only a city rich in natural beauty, but it also offers a wide range of entertainment options. Especially, the city will feel like heaven for those who love Japanese cuisine, since it is famous for its delicious and amazing variety of dishes.

Osaka Food and Entertainment District (Dotonbori)

However, there are many other things you must know before exploring Osaka, and its exciting culture. Knowing numerous facts about Osaka can allow you to get the most out of your trip. So, in this article, I will give you a comprehensive guide to visiting Osaka, so you don’t miss out on anything interesting while you are there.

Osaka The Kitchen of Japan

During the Tokugawa period (1603–1868), when Osaka was the center of Japan’s rice broker system, the city got the name “nation’s kitchen.” The nickname remained, and it now refers to how Osaka is a popular dining destination among locals.

Osaka Cityscape featuring the cities Ferris Wheel

Osaka flourished as Japan’s commercial and logistical epicenter throughout the Edo Period. Numerous theories exist about why Osaka grew so quickly. It is said, it was because of its favorable geographic location and proximity to Kyoto, the former capital of Japan.

Moreover, Osaka was also renowned as Japan’s “west entrance” due to the concentration of sailing paths from all around the country. Rice (utilized to pay land rent during the period), and other items were delivered to these warehouses from all over the country. Eventually, Osaka was bursting at the seams with merchandise from all around the country.

Osaka with a view of Tsutenkaku Tower

So, if Japan were a “home,” the people thought it would be most appropriate to refer to Osaka as “the kitchen” because of its abundant food resources. That’s how Osaka earned the nickname “The Nation’s Kitchen.”

Osaka Japan Most famous Landmarks

As a whole, Osaka is known as the “Nation’s kitchen.” In addition, the city is also known for its shrines and temples, artistic statues, buildings, Japanese spas, and friendly cultured people.

People of Osaka

The busy city of Osaka is well known for its vibrant food and nightlife culture, as well as its famously cheerful people. Osaka’s famous Dōguya-suji Arcade, Kuromon Ichiba, Ninja Food Tours, etc., will give you an excellent foodie experience.

Dotonbori arcade under night light signs in Namba district of Osaka

Not only that but the city is also known for its rich history and culture. Osaka-jō, Osaka Museum of History, National Museum of Ethnology, etc., museums are famous for reflecting the rich history of Osaka.

Moreover, the beautiful city is also known for different shrines and temples such as Sumiyoshi Taisha, OsakaTenman-gū, O-hatsu Ten-jin, Hōzen-ji, etc.

Osaka Castle

More Beautiful Than Tokyo?

Beautiful is a fairly subjective term, but in the case of having more landmarks, Tokyo has more famous areas, than Osaka. On the other hand, Osaka is a calmer, greener, and more peaceful city than Tokyo. It is commonly said that Osaka is less hectic than Tokyo.

Tokyo is substantially larger than Osaka and has a greater variety of tourist attractions. Some of the notable landmarks include Tokyo Tower, Asakusa Sensoji, Omotesando, Harajuku, Shibuya Crossing, Ueno Park, the Imperial Palace, and Tokyo Disney Resort. It also boasts a myriad of temples, shrines, and museums.

Although Osaka also has a lot of beautiful attractions including Dotonbori, Osaka Castle, Kaiyukan Aquarium, Umeda Sky Building, Universal Studios Japan, Tokyo just has more attractions making it a city with more to do because of its sheer size. As anyone knows beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Dotonbori Famous Food Area

However, the colors in the fall and spring are breathtakingly beautiful in Osaka. The city is studded with parks and greenery. Photographers, tourists, and flower lovers alike flock to the area every year to view the stunning cherry blossoms.

Famous Osaka park and castle during springtime

Osaka’s Famous Foods

Kushikatsu, takoyaki, okonomiyaki, pressed sushi, etc., are some of the most famous food of Osaka.

The title “Nation’s kitchen” undoubtedly acknowledges the caliber of cuisine that you can only find in Osaka, in Japan where cooking expertise is the standard.

10 famous food of Osaka

  • Takoyaki
  • Okonomiyaki
  • Kushikatsu
  • Oshizushi (Pressed Sushi)
  • Yakiniku
  • Negiyaki
  • Butaman
  • Horumon
  • Kitsune Udon
  • Omurice
Takoyaki
Okonomiyaki
Kushikatsu
Oshizushi
Yakiniku
Negiyaki
Butaman
Horumon
Kitsune Udon
Omurice

Safety In Osaka

Osaka, like most Japanese cities, is extremely safe, ranking among the safest in the world. The overall danger of crime is extremely low in the city.

With the crime rate being about 29.85% in the city, staying in Osaka carries a fairly low risk. the rate is quite low compared to most cities throughout Japan and extremely low in comparison with other countries.

Nightlife in Japan

But the thing that residents of Osaka need to be concerned about is the possibility of a natural disaster. Since Osaka is a coastal city, it is vulnerable to tsunamis and earthquakes. Despite this, it remains a relatively secure city and a fantastic location to live!

Bullet Train From Tokyo To Osaka

A one-way ticket from Tokyo to Osaka costs approximately $132 on a Nozomi train and $123 on a Hikari train.

However, remember that factors like your desired travel class and how far ahead of time you purchase your ticket can have a major impact on the price. If you reserve at least a day ahead of time, you can obtain a discount on the ticket of Kodama rail.

JR PASS

A bullet train ride from Tokyo to Osaka takes only 2.5 to 3 hours and covers a distance of around 500 km.

Travel time, however, is not the same for all the trains. Depending on the train, the time of travel might vary. For instance, the quickest bullet train, the Nozomi, can transport you from Tokyo to Osaka in only 2.5 hours. On the other hand, Hikari makes several stops along the way, such as Maibara, Atami, and others, taking approximately 3 hours to finish the journey.

Japans Shinkansen (Bullet Train)

The daily meal and accommodation expenses are significantly lower than in other major Japanese cities. The average daily cost for tourists in Osaka is around $93 dollars.

On average, a visitor spends an average of $27 on food and $16 on public transportation in a single day in Osaka. Furthermore, a couple’s hotel in Osaka averages around $92. Thus, the average cost of a one-week trip to Osaka for two persons costs $1,298.

Osaka Night View Downtown

The question of whether Tokyo is better than Osaka is largely determined by the category in which the two cities are judged. Osaka is better in terms of food, friendliness of locals, traffic while Tokyo may be considered better in terms of sightseeing, and shopping.

Tokyo has more landmarks and tourist attractions, so it will take the lead in terms of sightseeing. Both Tokyo and Osaka have excellent restaurants and cuisine, but Osaka’s food culture is much stronger.

Sake shows true feelings

Japanese proverb

People in Tokyo are more shy and quiet, whereas people in Osaka are friendlier. Although Tokyo has a much larger and more diverse shopping selection, items in Osaka are less expensive. Additionally, Tokyo’s traffic is extremely heavy, especially in the morning and evening, whereas Osaka has significantly less traffic.

Days In Osaka

As a general rule, you will need about two to three days in Osaka to see the major attractions the city has to offer. However, if you are not on a tight schedule, it is best to spend at least five days in the city to enjoy all the different activities.

Osaka Station

However, the number of days you stay in Osaka is dependent on your objectives and travel time. You will be able to appreciate all the many attractions of the city if you keep time in your schedule for exploring the city, from eating all the delicious cuisines to visiting the famous shrines and temples.

Osaka is far less expensive than Tokyo. Restaurant and hotel expenses in Osaka are about 30% lower than in Tokyo.

Side by side comparisons for daily expenses between Tokyo and Osaka.

Currency Converter Dollars to Yen

Osaka is cheaper than Tokyo in almost everything. Not only are the meals less expensive, but also the city is less expensive than Tokyo in terms of hotels. Furthermore, the price of Osaka’s public transport compared to Tokyo’s buses, trains, and taxis.

However, even though Osaka is significantly less expensive than Tokyo in general, the cost of consumer goods is nearly similar.

Getting to Osaka from Tokyo on a budget

A highway bus is generally the cheapest choice to get from Tokyo to Osaka, followed by train and finally flights; the former two of which are time-consuming.

A bus trip may take 8-10 hours in total. The Willer Express bus, a popular option for a cheap trip from Tokyo to Osaka, will cost you around $64. These buses depart from the Willer bus station in West Shinjuku, Tokyo.

 An expressway bus departing from Shinjuku Expressway bus terminal

A JR night bus is also another inexpensive way to travel between the cities. These late-night buses cost around $86.53 on average, departing from the JR bus station, Yaesu South Exit.

Osaka, known for its cuisine, nightlife, and shopping

Sometimes Osaka is disregarded by tourists since it lacks the prominent features of other Japanese cities. However, it is one of the most beautiful cities in Japan. The city is especially a must-see for foodies, as it is home to a few of the country’s top restaurants.

Dotonbori is one of the most vibrant nightlife spots in Japan. Countless neon signs welcome guests, advertising a diverse choice of places to dine, drink, sing, and have a good time.

restaurant sign at Shinsekai area of Osaka city

Again, everyone interested in Japanese culture must also visit the Osaka castle. The castle not only houses a military museum but the top floor of the building also offers spectacular views of the city.

Furthermore, Osaka Aquarium, resembling a huge lego block, is one of the world’s largest aquariums. It has a variety of ecosystems with manta rays and even sharks. Also, there are many other tourist spots in Osaka.

Osaka Aquarium

Osaka, the world’s tenth-largest city, is situated in the heart of Japan. The Japanese city is located in Honshu’s Kansai region. the distance between the city and the capital of Japan, Tokyo is 508 kilometers or 315 miles.

In the Kansai area of Honshu’s main island, Osaka is located near the mouth of the river Yoda on Osaka Bay. The city is the capital of Osaka Prefecture and the key part of the Keihanshin Metropolitan Area with a population of over 20 million.

Umeda Sky Building Osaka

Weather By Month

In Osaka, it only snows on very rare occasions. So, the months with the most snowfall (10mm or .39 inches) are January and February, while the months with the least snowfall (usually 0mm) are the rest of the year.

The following table shows the average monthly weather in Osaka:

Monthly Average TemperaturesFahrenheitCelsius
January42.8 F6 C
February42.8 F6 C
March50 F10 C
April59 F15 C
May68 F20 C
June75.2 F24 C
July82.4 F28 C
August84.2 F29 C
September77 F25 C
October66.2 F19 C
November57.2 F14 C
December48.2 F9 C
Average Daily Temperature in Osaka

Current Weather In Osaka: The Weather Channel

On average you can get easy access to Itami International Airport and Kansai International Airport. So, you can enjoy the benefits of Osaka’s convenient location to visit nearby tourist spots of the cities around such as Nara, Kyoto, and Hiroshima.

Best spots to stay

Kita, Honmachi (Central Osaka), Minami, and Shin-Osaka are the best areas to stay in Osaka. Besides, places around Tennoji and Osaka Castle are two other good locations to stay.

Best Hotels In Osaka (TripAdvisor)

However, try to stay near the Midosuji subway line since it is Osaka’s most vital transportation route that you can use to go to almost every place around the city. Furthermore, you can also choose to stay in Umeda and Namba, which are significant transportation centers with many stores and restaurants.

Best Crab Restaurants in Osaka (TripAdvisor)

In total there are so many captivating sites in Osaka. You will be able to explore the fascinating cultural sites and attractions of the city, for example, Osaka Castle, Suntory Yamazaki Distillery, Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen Museum, Universal Studios, and Fish Market Kuromon.

Michelin Restaurant Guide Osaka

Despite being an underrated city, Osaka, Japan has a lot of things to offer to its tourists. Osaka is often overshadowed by Tokyo or the Ancient city of Kyoto, many miss out on a chance to see “The Nations Kitchen”. A golden opportunity missed indeed.

MT Lee
My fascination with Japan began several years back at a roadside bonsai stand while on vacation. I became more interested in the where and why's more than the trees themselves. My love of Bonsai led me to further research my interest in the gardens where they originated from and the places and people that surrounded those little trees. My curiosity was well rewarded upon visiting Saitama where the National Bonsai Museum was located and Omiya Village the bonsai mecca for lovers of this ancient art form. Exploring many towns and villages and even making my way to Japan's furthest southern prefecture of Okinawa. I hope to share my love of this wonderful and exotic place with all those who want to know more about Japan.