Why You Shouldn't Skip Osaka (5 Reasons To Visit)
Updated: May 18
When planning your trip to Japan, it might be easy to overlook the city of Osaka in favour of more time in Kyoto or Tokyo, but in my opinion by skipping Osaka you're missing out on a lot of amazing attractions you can't experience anywhere else. Here are 5 reasons to reconsider adding Osaka to your Japan itinerary rather than spending all your time in Tokyo.
1. An Ideal Starting Point
Osaka is perfectly located as the starting point of your Japan itinerary for first-timers. Since it's easy to route a flight into Osaka instead of Tokyo, you can begin your trip in Japan's "second city" and ease into the culture before entering the hustle and bustle of Tokyo. Osaka has a perfect combination of old and new with exciting nightlife districts and well-preserved ancient structures.
2. Osaka Castle
The original structure was built in 1583 but this stunning piece of history has been rebuilt several times throughout the years, and the structure that you can view today was built in 1931. This tranquil spot is a great first stop on your tour of Osaka. If you're willing to pay 600 yen, you can even view the inside. For optimal viewing of Osaka Castle, considering visiting in spring to see it surrounded by beautiful cherry blossoms.
3. Osaka Station/Pokemon Centre
Osaka Station is its own attraction complete with shopping, diverse restaurants and of course, the infamous Pokemon Centre. You can easily spend a day here shopping, eating and exploring.
4. Day Trip To Nara
A day trip to Nara is also possible from Kyoto, but with so many things to see and do in Kyoto itself, I believe that adding Nara to your Osaka itinerary will round out your time here nicely. It's easily accessible via JR trains (would highly recommend tourists look into getting a JR rail pass!) and is worth devoting an entire day too. Not only can you visit Nara Deer Park to feed and pet the bowing deer (be careful, they are wild animals!!), but Nara has a fantastic shopping district as well with lots of delicious food options for lunch. Our meal at Kameya was a highlight of the entire trip, where we ate Okonomiyaki and Soba Noodles off a hot table.
Ending your day with a night at Dotonbori is unforgettable. This exciting area is full of street food stalls and comes alive at night. Walking along the picturesque canal lit up magically, you'll want to make sure you try Yaki Tori, Takoyaki and Okonomiyaki.
In short, adding Osaka to your Japan itinerary, particularly as a jumping off point, will not disappoint! This city has all the things you could want in a visit to Japan; food, wildlife, nightlife and history.
For more information about visiting Osaka, check out my YouTube video of our time in Osaka City and Nara, Japan.