Sights & Landmarks in Osaka
- Osaka Castle (大阪城 Osaka-jō) (The park can be accessed on a number of lines, but the castle is closest to Osaka-jō Koen station on the JR Osaka Loop Line.). 9AM-5PM daily, closed around New Years. Osaka's best known sight, although it's a concrete reconstruction that pales in comparison with, say, Himeji. Think of it as a museum built in the shape of a castle, rather than as an actual historical castle. Still, it's pretty enough from the outside, especially in the cherry blossom season when Osakans flock to the castle park to picnic and make merry. Naniwa Palace Site Park or Naniwanomiya can also be found south to Osaka Castle Park (although it's one of Japan's oldest habitats and palace sites, today it's little more than an empty grass field where the outlines of Naniwa's palace foundations from around 643 AD have been partly recreated in concrete). The grounds are free, and the castle costs adults ¥600, children free.
- Osaka Science Museum (大阪市立科学館) (Walk from subway Higobashi Station or Yodoya-bashi Station, 500m and 900m to the west respectively. You could also walk from Osaka station, it will take at least 20 minutes.). Tu-Su 9:30AM-5PM, closed Dec 28-Jan 4, closed on public holidays. Big interactive activity center on several floors. Great for kids. Planetarium and cinema (with science films) downstairs. Adults ¥600, children ¥300.
- Osaka Museum of History (大阪歴史博物館), 1-32 Otemae 4-Chome Chuo-ku (5 min walk from subway Tanimachi 4-chome Station; also accessible via Osaka Castle or from JR Osaka-jō Station). M-Th 9:30AM-5PM, F 9:30AM-8PM, closed Tuesday, or Wednesday of Tuesday is a holiday. An ideal place to learn all-abouts of Osaka's history. Enjoyable view over Osaka Castle and the OBP skyscrapers. ¥600.
- Umeda Sky Building (梅田スカイビル), 1-1-20 Oyodonaka, Kita-ku (10 min. walk from JR Osaka or Hankyu Umeda.). Observatory 10AM-10:30PM daily, last adm. at 10PM. Built in an attempt to upgrade Osaka's somewhat downbeat Kita district, the project wasn't quite the hoped-for commercial success but this bizarrely shaped 40-story, 173-meter building is still a city landmark. Take the escalator through midair to the rooftop observatory for an open-air view of Osaka, which is particularly impressive on a clear night. There is a lover's seat, where if you hold your partner's hand, and each hold a metal button on the seat, the ground around you lights up into a heart. You can purchase an engraved heart lock (¥1000) and attached it to the padlock wall around the seat (padlocks only available after 7pm). The basement features a recreation of a Meiji-era street, with a few small restaurants and bars in appropriate style. There is also a small store downstairs where you can purchase quality mochi on the cheap.Observatory admission ¥700.
- Sumiyoshi Shrine (住吉大社) (Access is from the Nankai line station of the same name; local trains run from Namba station in central Osaka.). One of Japan's oldest Shinto shrines, with a history stretching back 1800 years. Its traditional architecture is unusual among Japan's shrines, and its park-like surroundings with the sacred bridge arching over a tranquil pond make it a restful break from the busy environment of Osaka. Free.
- Shitennōji Temple (四天王寺), 1-1-18 Shitennōji Tennōji-ku (5 min. walk from Shitennōji-mae-Yuhiga-oka subway stop, or 15 min by walk north from Tennōji Station.). Originally built by Emperor Suiko in 593 AD. Although the current buildings are mostly post WWII reconstructions, the temple is a rare sample which conveys the continental style (notably the positioning of the individual buildings inside the complex) of 6th-7th century to present.
- Japan Mint (造幣局), 1-1-79 Temma Kita-ku (15 minutes walk from Temmabashi subway stop.). It's not widely known even by people from elsewhere in the country that Japan Mint is actually headquartered in Osaka. For Osakans,Sakura-no-tōrinuke (桜の通り抜け, cherry blossom tunnel road) is a synonym for this facility, attracting a large number of visitors (close to 1 million in just 7 days) during a limited, planned week in mid-Apr. A must-see if you are fond of nature and happen to drop into Osaka in-season. Free.
- Tsūtenkaku (通天閣). While the original tower was built early 20th century, the current "newer" version is designed by the same Prof. Naitō, who also designed Tokyo Tower. This landmark built in the middle of the Shinsekai (新世界) area is a symbol of reconstruction of the City of Osaka post WWII. There's a "Sky Billiken" on the platform, definitely makes your wishes come true, once you rub his feet! And if you are lucky, your guide will have another job as a comedian! Trip to the top ¥600, ouside platform with guide and safety belt extra ¥1400.
- Open Air Museum of Old Farmhouses (日本民家集落博物館 (nihon minka shūraku hakubutsukan)), Ryokuchi-koen (Take the Midosuji subway line to Ryokuchi.). Tu-Su. Ryokuchi park itself is lovely, and in it is a museum of a dozen old Edo period farmhouses, moved across country and lovingly reconstructed. Also on display are tools, furniture, and the like. You can go to Himeji-jo or the old palace in Kyoto and see how the rulers lived, but come down here to see how the people lived. Thanks to the efforts of a volunteer from Australia, they have a great new English-language brochure to guide you.¥500.
- Kamigata Ukiyoe Museum (上方浮世絵館), . Tu-Su 11AM-6PM. A rather small museum in Nanba dedicated to ukiyoe, Japanese woodblock prints. The interior of the museum looks a bit like an adobe house. It may be most interesting to someone already familiar with the art, as the information inside mostly Japanese only. ¥500.
- Peace Osaka (大阪国際平和センター), . Tu-Su 9:30AM-5PM. (Closed for renovations until April 29, 2015) A museum dedicated to the promotion of peace through displays of war. Because it is an Osaka museum, it features the effects of the bombings on Osaka in WWII. While this is of some interest, the exhibitions depicting the atrocities committed by Japan against China, Korea, and Southeast Asia are what make this museum truly worthwhile. There is also an exhibit with displays relating to the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Exhibits have English explanations.
Japan - Travel guide