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Article by Hana
When you are travelling anywhere in the world and you see that the weather forecast doesn’t want to cooperate with your plans and it rains, well it always brings one’s spirit down, right? Osaka gets approximately 110 days of rain per year, but luckily, as one of Japan’s liveliest cities, it’s full of activities to enjoy in any weather. From huge covered shopping streets, through many interesting museums and galleries to food markets, this metropolis will deliver a great time even during dreary rainy days. Here is our selection of top activities for all ages, how to best enjoy Osaka while staying dry (but be careful, because you might find yourself hoping for one rainy day during your visit!).
Osaka Museum of History is a contemporary museum with exhibits portraying Japanese history since the ancient times to the present day. It is very visually oriented with several large models dominating the exhibition halls that are spread over 4 floors. The museum has been open since 2003 and it’s located just across the road from the Osaka Castle Park, so you can pop in after visiting the castle. Also, from the upper floors of the museum, you can enjoy great views over this historical landmark.
Osaka Museum of History website
Address: 4 Chome-1-32 Otemae, Chuo Ward, Osaka, 540-0008
Opening hours: daily from 9:30 am until 5:00 pm (closed on Tuesdays)
Entrance fees: adults – 600 yen, high school and university students – 400 yen, children – free
This museum is a perfect recreation of life in Osaka from the Edo period. The exhibits are constructed as a townscape in full scale so you really feel like you transported yourself back in time. You can even hire a kimono and take photos in front of the small cute historical houses. Visitors can learn about Osaka’s development via interactive exhibits or cultural events that the museum regularly hosts within its grounds. If I should recommend visiting only one museum while in Osaka, it would be this one because it’s truly exceptional.
Museum of Housing and Living website
Address: 6-4-20, Tenjinbashi, Kita-ku Osaka, 530-0041, Japan
Opening hours: daily from 10:00 am until 4:30 pm (closed on Tuesdays)
Entrance fees: 600 yen per adult; children – for free; college and high school students – 300 yen
Who wouldn’t try at least once in their life cup noodles? Did you know that the very first instant ramen was made by a Japanese inventor Momofuku Ando in Ikeda, a small town near Osaka? At this place today, there’s a museum dedicated solely to cup noodles, where you can not only learn about how they were first made, but you can also find out more about the life of mister Ando, who was quite an inspirational person, and you can make your own personalized cup noodles too! To get to Ikeda, you just need to take the Takarazuka line from Osaka-Umeda station. Once in Ikeda, you can also visit the Ikeda castle, Kyuan-ji temple, zoo or botanical garden. The Cup Noodle Museum is really fun with many interactive exhibitions so it’s definitely worth visiting, just don’t forget to pre-book your spot online if you want to make your own cup of instant ramen.
Cup Noodle Museum website
Address: 8-25 Masumicho, Ikeda, Osaka 563-0041
Opening hours: daily from 9:30 am to 4:30 pm (closed on Tuesdays)
Admission is free of charge, but if you’d like to make your own cup noodles you pay 300 yen
The Science Museum is located on the Nakanoshima Island in central Osaka. It is a large educational facility spreading over four floors that are full of interactive exhibits which are equally enjoyable for adults as well as children. The planetarium is a separate facility located in the basement of the museum and it holds several science shows throughout the day. This was Japan’s first-ever planetarium but it went through a complete renovation in 2004. Most of the exhibits are in Japanese only, but in the museum, you can find many pamphlets with English translations.
Osaka Science Museum website
Address: 4 Chome-2-1 Nakanoshima, Kita Ward, Osaka, 530-0005
Opening hours: daily from 9:30 am until 5:00 pm (closed on Mondays)
Entrance fees: Museum - 400 yen per adult; elementary and junior high school students for free
Planetarium – 600 yen per adult; 300 yen for elementary and junior high school students
Situated right next to the Science Museum, The National Museum of Art should be a mandatory stop for everyone interested in art. The gallery, with impressive silver gates at the entrance, is located literally underground and it’s full of vibrant contemporary paintings, photographs and art installations. In addition to the permanent exhibits, it also hosts regular special art exhibitions that explore new trends in domestic as well as an international art scene. Please be aware though, that you need permission to be able to take photos inside the galleries.
The National Museum of Art website
Address: 4 Chome-2-55 Nakanoshima, Kita Ward, Osaka, 530-0005
Opening hours: daily from 10:00 am until 5:00 pm (closed on Mondays)
Entrance fee: 460 yen per adult for the permanent exhibition; 900 yen per adult if you want to visit
the special ever-changing exhibits as well
Misono Biru, or Misono building, was built in 1956 as a multipurpose commercial complex and the symbol of high life, with concert hall, cabarets, spas and luxurious hotel inside. Throughout the years it was always crowded night by night, however, in the nineties its popularity began to drop. To attract the patrons back, the concert hall was rebuilt and a new floor was added to the building. Today the second floor is full of small eccentric bars and pubs, some of them as small as only five seaters. They have all different themes and they represent the true nature of their owners. As the rent in Osaka is quite high, these type of bars wouldn’t survive in the streets, but Misono charges less so they can welcome locals and tourists every night. This building is truly unusual and it’s not far from Namba station. First thing you’ll notice is an artificial waterfall and a spiralling staircase that will lead you to the second floor with its typical quirky and little bit suspicious vibe. If rain catches you in the evening, this is the place to go to experience perfect bar hopping!
Address: 542-0074 Osaka, Chuo Ward, Sennichimae, 2 Chome−3−9 2 542 0074
Opening hours: The bars have different opening and closing hours, but they generally open around 7
pm every evening.
Shotengai, or covered shopping arcades, are in Japan more popular than classic shopping centres. Besides cafés, restaurants, fashion shops, bookstores and souvenirs, they also offer you a unique insight into the hustle and bustle of the daily life of Japanese business owners. Tenjinbashisuji claims to be the longest shotengai in Japan, stretching out to multiple kilometres and neighbourhoods. However, you can find much shorter yet not less exciting shotengai near tourist hubs as Namba and Dotombori. They are partially market, partially shopping centre covered with a glass roof to let the natural light in. A perfect place to spend a rainy day.
Address: Tenjinbashi, Kita Ward, Osaka, 532-0011
Opening hours: open non-stop, however, the shops usually close at around 6 pm every day
Have you ever been to a food theme park? Well, if you haven’t, Naniwa Kuishinbo Yokocho is a great place to start! Located nearby Kaiyukan Aquarium, Naniwa Kuishinbo Yokocho is famous for its fine gourmet restaurants, food stalls and Kansai favourite dishes such as okonomiyaki and takoyaki. The setting reminds of the streets of 1960s Osaka, so this place is perfect not only for foodies and history enthusiasts but also for everyone willing to experience traditional cuisine of Osaka and Kansai region. And what does the unusual name mean? Naniwa is the old name for Osaka, while kuishinbo means gourmet and yokocho means alley in Japanese.
Naniwa Kuishinbo Yokocho website
Address: 1 Chome-1-10 Kaigandori, Minato Ward, Osaka, 552-0022
Opening hours: 11 am – 8 pm
Entrance fee: free
Kids Plaza Osaka is a very unique modern museum for children, with many educational and playful exhibits emphasizing hands-on experience. Their philosophy is that kids learn while playing, and having fun nourishes creativity and awakens new potentials to personal development. This gem of a museum will be enjoyed by kids and adults alike. There is never a shortage of activities and an interesting fact is that the Kids Town, located on the 4 th and 5 th floors, was designed by Friedensreich Hundertwasser, an Austrian architect and artist. The museum is fully under the roof, but if the sun comes out, there’s also a great playground in Ogimachi Park just behind the Plaza.
Kids Plaza website
Address: 2 Chome-1-7 Ogimachi, Kita Ward, Osaka, 530-0025
Opening hours: Daily from 9:30 am to 5 pm, however, the museum is closed every 2 nd and 3 rd Monday
of the month (better check opening days before coming due to public holidays as well).
Entrance fees: adults – 1400 yen; elementary and junior high school – 800 yen; pre-schoolers – 500 yen
You can’t avoid arcades when in Japan and Osaka is not an exception. It’s a fun way to forget the moody grey day outside and try your luck in one of many games. Arcades can be found anywhere, but apparently the best one is Taito Station in Namba, featuring the latest selection of games with great prizes. I really hope that rainy days won’t catch you while travelling around Osaka, but if so, I believe we gave you some useful ideas on how to spend your time here to the fullest! For more inspiration about what to do in Osaka, head to our previous article here.