We hope you are staying safe during these testing times. Travel to Japan is not possible for the time being as Japan has shut its borders in order to prevent more infections of COVID19.
Osaka is a great city to visit during the winter. You won't have to deal with extreme heat and humidity of the summer and early autumn, nor the huge crowds of tourists during the spring of Autumn.
Osaka offers great shopping, fantastic cityscapes, and the best food and restaurants in Japan. It is world renowned as the kitchen of Japan, and you will have loads of fun wandering around the back alleys and streets of Osaka discovering really cool shops and great food. Here are a few of the best things to do in Osaka this winter.
Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan is one of the largest aquariums in the world. Boasting multiple enormous main tanks with many other aquarium tanks with arguably the richest and diverse range of any aquarium in the world. Tickets can be bought at the ticket area by the main building and are 2300 yen for adults over 16, free for children under 3, 600 yen for children from 4 to 6 and 1200 yen for children from 7-15 years old. The Aquarium is located in the Minato ward of Osaka, on a kind of little mini-island that is connected to the city at the bay area. The surrounding bay area is actually very beautiful too with great scenery, and it is worth taking a stroll around here in the evening where the port lights up.
â–ºAdmission hours: 10:00 till 20:00
The Abeno Harukas building is the tallest building in Japan and serves many purposes. It has one of the main Osaka stations in it - Osaka Abenobashi, it also has offices, apartments, department stores including the Main Kintetsu department store. If you want to do some shopping and visit some nice restaurants, and indeed explore the underground network of department stores, then you should come here. It is easy to get lost here in the vast complex of glitzy fashion shops and smart restaurants - not exactly a bad place to get lost.
Abeno Harukas is Japan’s tallest skyscraper, standing at 300m tall. Part of the Abenobashi Terminal Building, it is a small city within a city. The building and skyscraper is located in Abeno-ku, central Osaka. Abenobashi terminal building was originally designed to be an alternative train station to several lines but currently a multipurpose building. It contains offices, restaurants, several department stores including the biggest one in Japan, an underground city and of course the Abeno Harukas skyscraper. All together really is a marvel of Japanese engineering and modern design, making it literally a city within Osaka. You could spend your entire day there.
You can go to the top of the Abeno Harukas building and enjoy the views across Japan (and other parts of Kansai on a clear day) while eating at the various restaurants. If you are feeling brave you can challenge yourself on the 'Edge The Harukas', which is walking the perimeter on the upper limit on the skyscraper hundreds of meters up! It is terrifying but a huge adrenaline rush. Click here to check out their website.
Osaka Castle is one of the most famous landmarks in Japan. Once a powerful icon in Feudal Japan, the castle played an important role in the unification of Japan in the sixteenth century. It was built by a powerful Daimyo, politician and general, Toyotomi Hideyoshi who was considered one of the great unifiers of Japan.
The actual castle grounds are set on a 15-acre plot of land with a great moat and out walls. The castle had impressive defensive capabilities and in 1614, Shogun Tokugawa attacked Toyotomi with 200,000 men. Toyotomi was vastly outnumbered but managed to defend and repel the attack due to the design of the castle and its great defences.
â–ºThe castle is in Chuo-ku, central Osaka.
â–ºAdmission: 600 yen
â–ºHours: 9:00 - 17:00
At the centre of the famous reputation of Osaka being Japan's kitchen, is the Kuromon Ichiba Market. An arcade market that stretches almost 600 meters, it really is the one market you need to check out if you're into great fresh food and produce. Restaurateurs, chefs, locals, and anyone in the area will come and get fresh produce from here as there is so much great selection. You can get anything from fruits, veggies, condiments, pretty much anything Japanese food-related here, and also great street food as well. Located in Nippombashi, in the Namba area, it's easy to get to if you are walking around Denden town and other places in Namba. Warm up with some delicious Japanese winter street food!
One of my favourite places in Osaka. Often Nicknamed ‘Denden town’ (Den is the shortened version of ‘Denki’ which means electricity in Japanese) it's literally an area/district entirely devoted to electronics, gadgets, anime, gaming and ‘otaku culture’ - geek/nerd culture. You will find countless stores selling fun Japanese action figures, hobby stuff, anime magazines and DVDs, loads of games consoles including classic Nintendo etc, electronic gadgets, and other stuff that might be actually useful like TVs and computer spare parts etc. It is great fun and I highly recommend taking a stroll around here. The area is a kilometre or so in length and will amuse you for the afternoon! You can also find good food here, and the famous maid cafes, which are an altogether strange experience.
Any electrical component, camera component, spare part, or hobby parts... you will find here in Nippombashi
Shinsekai area has, in the past, had a bad reputation as a seedy dodgy area with gangsters and escorts etc. Japan is one of the safest countries in the world but people would say that some areas of Japan were less safe - places like Shinsekai. I disagree entirely. I bloody love it. I grew up mainly in London, in which by all accounts is one of the more dangerous cities in the world. Shinsekai is fantastic. It has a great atmosphere, bustling izakaya bars and restaurants and eateries. In my opinion, it is one of the best places to come and eat in the evening due to the variety and colour of all the restaurants and izakaya. Take a stroll around the neighbourhood. Every Time I have been I have found great, cheap, fun and lively places to eat and chill with friends.
Originally the neighbourhood was designed and laid out to be like a mixture of New York and Paris. After world war 2, development and investment fell short in the area and it became one of the poorest areas of Osaka. However, due to its unique culture and history, the area flourished from local tourism and the reputation for great cheap food and a lively atmosphere. As a result, I think it's a great place to come and explore for food!
Osaka has a series of beautiful festive illumination events, couple with cute Christmas markets and shows. It is well worth visiting during the Christmas and winter period! For more info on this, tap here to read our full article on Osaka winter festive illuminations.