Best known for its vibrant lifestyle, Osaka is the third largest city in Japan and the capital of Osaka prefecture. One of the largest metropolises in the world, Osaka sits at the mouth of River Yodo on Osaka Bay. Often known as “the Nation’s kitchen” for its role in rice trading in the past, the city is filled with contemporary architecture, a wide variety of street food, and a buzzing nightlife scene.
Meaning “large hill,” Osaka is neighbored by mountains on three sides. While the entire country is famous for its culture and lifestyle, Osaka is known as the birthplace of Bunraku, the ancient art of Japanese puppetry. The city is also home to the first Universal Studios outside America. A shopper’s paradise, Osaka is highly regarded for its underground shopping malls.
Let us now explore some of the popular neighborhoods in the city so you can plan where to stay in Osaka when you visit.
Also called Namba after the Namba station that serves this neighborhood, Minami is one of the most famous areas for visitors to stay in, and for obvious reasons: filled with traditional Japanese architecture and plenty of fun things to do, the neighborhood’s biggest attraction is Hozenji Temple, where people from all over the world come to pour water and make a wish to the moss-covered statue of “Ofudo-san.” Craving some sushi and seafood? Head over to the bustling Kuromon Market, known for its variety of seafood delicacies and other mouth-watering dishes. Another outstanding structure in the Minami area is the Namba Yasaka Shrine. Destroyed in the war, the shrine now welcomes its guests with an enormous lion’s head. For the party seekers, a night out at the Soemon-cho sub-neighborhood, with its countless restaurants and bars and a history that dates back more than 400 years, will let you dance the night away.
Good for: All kinds of travelers.
Other Highlights: Sennichimae Kitchenwear Street, Namba Grand Kagetsu, Namba Parks, Denden Town, and Amerikamura shopping district.
- Karaksa Hotel Osaka Namba – A short walk from Shinsaibashisuji shopping street, this stylish hotel features well-appointed guest rooms, 24-hour front desk and on-site restaurant. Guests can enjoy free Wi-Fi throughout the property. Most rooms at the hotel have special provisions for disabled guests. A complimentary breakfast is served daily. Suitable for all kinds of travelers, including big groups of up to six members.
- Daiwa Roynet Hotel Osaka-Uehonmachi – Featuring modern rooms with great facilities such as carpeted floors, flat-screen TV with video-on-demand channels, air purifier, and private bathrooms with bathtub and free toiletries, this fabulous hotel is located only a minutes’ walk from Osaka-Uehonmachi Train Station. Free Wi-Fi can be accessed throughout the property. Great for all kinds of travelers.
- Richmond Hotel Namba Daikokucho – Located a short driving distance from major attractions such as the Universal Studios and the Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan, Richmond Hotel Namba Daikokucho offers well-furnished guest rooms with facilities such as free Wi-Fi, satellite TV, and private bathrooms. A delightful complimentary breakfast is served daily. Perfect for all kinds of travelers.
One of the two main downtown centers in Osaka, Kita, also referred to as Umeda, is the rightful counterpart of Minami, and is one of the busiest business districts in the city. The neighborhood is widely known for its sprawling shopping, dining, and entertainment scene. Having undergone a major transformation over the past few years, the area is a haven for shoppers with its grand network of upscale boutiques and underground shopping malls. Home to the recently-constructed Grand Front Osaka complex, Kita’s Osaka Museum of Housing and Living is dedicated to the city’s history during the 1830s – a must-see for those interested in history. When traveling with family, a day at the Hankyu Entertainment Park (HEP) is a great way to pass the time amidst hundreds of shopping, dining, and other family-friendly attractions. Despite all the fun places in the area, Osaka Station City, with its massive glass ceiling and plethora of entertainment businesses, remains the top highlight of Kita.
Good for: All kinds of travelers.
Other Highlights: Umeda Sky Building, Kitashinchi District, Nakanoshima, National Museum of Art, and Kids Plaza Osaka
- Imperial Hotel Osaka – Nestled along the banks of the splendid Osaka River, Imperial Hotel Osaka is a well-reputed 5-star property known for its supreme hospitality and state-of-the-art facilities. Guests staying at the property can make use of the well-equipped fitness center or request a rejuvenating massage either at the on-site salon or in the comfort of their room. There is also a swimming pool and multiple dining options on the premises for guests to enjoy. Perfect for all kinds of travelers.
- Premier Hotel -CABIN- Osaka – Located right across from the Minami-Morimachi Station, Premier Hotel – CABIN – Osaka provides elegantly-designed guest rooms equipped with flat-screen TV, electric kettle, and private bathrooms with free toiletries and a bidet. Guests can utilize the complimentary luggage storage and safety deposit box facilities available at the property. Suitable for solo travelers, couples, and small families.
- Mitsui Garden Hotel Osaka Premier – Offering massive public baths, laundry service, in-room massage treatments, and a 24-hour front desk, Mitsui Garden Hotel Osaka Premier offers beautifully-decorated rooms with hardwood floors and the latest amenities within five minutes’ walking distance from Higobashi subway station. An optional breakfast buffet is available daily. Great for couples and small families.
Perhaps not as huge as Minami or as bustling as Kita, the neighborhood of Tennoji still has plenty to offer for those interested in the vibrant past of not just the city, but the entire nation. Home to the tallest structure in Japan, Abeno Harukas, Tennoji is famous for its thousand-year-old Japanese shrines and splendid green spaces. Shitennoji, one of the most prominent shrines in the country, was originally constructed approximately 1,400 years ago, and is one of the very few temples that allows visitors to explore all five pagodas and the inner grounds. Another equally fascinating site in the neighborhood is Tennoji Park. Established in 2015, this enormous green space comprises the Tennoji Zoo, the Museum of Fine Arts, and the peacefully-hidden Keitakuen Garden. While there are all these architectural and cultural marvels to appreciate in the day, at night the streets of Tennoji turn into a display of neon. Kushikatsu, a delightfully yummy experience, is a must in the area.
All kinds of travelers.
Other Highlights: Spa World, Abeno Harukas Art Museum, Natural Garden Tennoji Mio Plaza, Captain Tsubasa Stadium Tennoji, and Horikoshi Shrine
- Osaka Marriott Miyako Hotel – Boasting a state-of-the-art fitness center, well-equipped business center, 24-hour front desk, an on-site museum, and an amazing terrace space with 360-degree views of the city, Osaka Marriott Miyako Hotel offers its guests premium luxury and exclusive guest rooms. There are multiple dining facilities within the property that the guests can choose from. Perfect for all kinds of luxury travelers.
- Tennoji Miyako Hotel – Featuring a sky lounge, an on-site restaurant and a lobby lounge, Tennoji Miyako Hotel features comfortable guest rooms with facilities such as free Wi-Fi, satellite TV, electric kettle, and private bathrooms with free toiletries and a bathtub. Great for all kinds of travelers.
- Hotel & Resort Bali Tower Tennoji – Sporting stylish Balinese decor, all rooms at Hotel & Resort Bali Tower Tennoji are equipped with wooden furnishings, satellite TV with Blu-ray player, electric kettle, and ensuite bathrooms with bathtub and free toiletries. If traveling with friends and/or family, guests can enjoy the on-site karaoke room or game rooms. Great for all kinds of travelers.
Bay Area (Universal Studios)
The biggest and most prominent attraction in the area is undoubtedly Universal Studios Japan. With the enchanting world of Harry Potter and the scary monsters of Jurassic Park, the amusement park is a shrine to Hollywood, as well as real Japanese attractions. Aside from the Universal Studios Theme Park, the Bay Area is home to two other extremely popular attractions: the Kaiyukan aquarium and Sakishima Island. Equipped with 15 different water tanks, including a colossal tank regarded as one of the largest of its kind in the world, Kaiyukan Aquarium is a hit among children and adults alike. Another notable attraction, the 112.5-meter-high Tempozan Ferris Wheel is the largest Ferris wheel in the city. For nature lovers, spend the morning at the Nanko Bird Sanctuary which is a common spot for migratory birds to make a stop-over. Visitors to the sanctuary can observe the birds and learn about them from the observation building.
Good for: All kinds of travelers, especially for families with children.
Other Highlights: Naniwa Food Theme Park, Mount Tempozan, Cosmo Tower, and Asia Pacific Trade Center
- Quintessa Hotel Osaka Bay – Offering a free shuttle to and from the famous Universal Studios Japan, Quintessa Hotel Osaka Bay offers smoke-free, spacious guest rooms with the latest amenities. The 24-hour front desk at the hotel can also arrange for facilities such as shuttle service to and from Osaka station, currency exchange, and free luggage storage. Great for all kinds of travelers.
- Hotel Universal Port – Within five minutes’ walking distance from Universal Studios Japan, Hotel Universal Port treats its guests to well-furnished rooms, massage treatments, an on-site restaurant, and an extremely helpful 24-hour front desk staff who can arrange for laundry, luggage storage, and other such services. Perfect for all kinds of travelers.
- The Park Front Hotel at Universal Studios Japan ™ – The latest official Universal Studios Japan property, this 5-star hotel is located within a few minutes of the theme park. Guests at the hotel are pampered with several on-site facilities, including private parking, multiple dining options, shops, and a 24-hour front desk. Perfect for all kinds of luxury travelers.
Set between the two buzzing downtown centers, Minami and Kita, Honmachi enjoys a great location due to its proximity to the main hubs in Osaka. Attraction wise, there isn’t anything outstanding within the area itself, but then again, all the prominent attractions of Kita and Minami are a short distance away from Honmachi, and as such, the entire region of Central Osaka. The neighborhood is a great place for budget travelers, as it is dotted with reasonably-priced accommodation options. One of the biggest draws to the neighborhood of Honmachi is that it is literally an easy walking distance to the most famous site in Osaka: the Osaka-jo Castle. The city of Osaka doesn’t contain very many open green spaces, however, Utsubo-koen Park, a gentle stroll from the Honmachi subway station, is a blessing for nature and outdoor lovers.
Good for: All kinds of travelers.
Other Highlights: Osaka Museum of History, Osaka International Peace Center, The National Museum of Art, and Orix Theatre
- Welina Hotel Honmachi – Located within a couple of minutes’ walk from Honmachi Subway Station, this remarkable hotel provides luxurious guest rooms with modern amenities such as a flat-screen TV with satellite channels, free Wi-Fi, safety deposit box, and ensuite bathrooms. Currency exchange services are available on-site. Suitable for solo travelers, couples, and small families.
- APA Hotel Midosuji-Honmachi-Ekimae – Sporting dark wood furnishings and cozy beds, guestrooms at APA Hotel Midosuji-Honmachi-Ekimae offer comfortable accommodation within a couple of minutes’ walk from Honmachi Subway Station. Guests can rent laptops at reception to take care of their work and later request a relaxing massage treatment before enjoying a lavish meal at the on-site restaurant. Suitable for solo travelers, couples, and small families.
- Regis Osaka – Boasting exquisite decor, signature butler service, a fully-functional fitness center, and a rooftop Japanese garden, this swanky 5-star property offers glamorous accommodation in the heart of the neighborhood. Guests’ private butlers can help them make dinner reservations as well as arrange sightseeing trips and book event tickets. Perfect for all kinds of luxury travelers.
Osaka Castle Area
The most visited neighborhood in Osaka, the castle area is essentially the area surrounding the iconic Osaka Castle. Once the largest of its kind in the world, the original construction of this magnificent structure dates back to the year 1583. Unfortunately, the castle underwent several man-made as well as natural destructions, and it wasn’t until 1931 that Osaka Castle was reconstructed to its present-day stature. Being the beating heart of the tourist scene of Osaka, this area is dotted with several fine-dining restaurants and plenty of shopping and entertainment venues. Osaka Castle Park, spread over two kilometers around the castle, is the most popular hanami spot in the city during the Cherry Blossom season. At the southwest corner of the park sits the Osaka Museum of History. Founded in 2001, the museum details the history of Osaka from the ancient times to its current day.
Good for: All kinds of travelers.
Other Highlights: Nishi no Maru Garden, Osaka-jo Hall, Tea House Houshou-an, Miraiza Osaka-jo, and Mint Museum
- KKR Hotel Osaka – Located only a short walk from famous sites such as Osaka-Jo Hall and the Osaka Castle, KKR Hotel Osaka offers an on-site restaurant and a drinks vending machine. Guest rooms at the hotel come equipped with air-conditioning and free Wi-Fi. Some rooms also come with a magnificent view of the castle and surrounding park. Great for all kinds of travelers.
- Hotel the Lutheran – Designed keeping in mind elderly guests and guests with disabilities, Hotel the Lutheran features western rooms with brand new facilities, including air humidifier, flat-screen TV, and ensuite bathrooms. Free Wi-Fi can be accessed throughout the property. An optional breakfast is available every morning. Suitable for solo travelers, couples, and small families.
- Hotel New Otani Osaka – Situated right across from Osaka Castle, this ritzy property features luxurious rooms and 13 dining facilities. Guests staying at the property can enjoy enchanting views of the castle from within their rooms. Relaxation options at the hotel include massage treatments, sauna, and hot tub. Additionally, tickets to the castle can be bought at the hotel concierge. Perfect for all kinds of travelers.