Temperate weather and local cuisine both contribute to the appeal of Osaka attractions, and Japan’s third largest city is packed with treasures beyond beaches and to-die-for restaurants. Discover Osaka’s well-rounded mix of modern parks and ancient landmarks, and feel like you’re getting a bonus to your holiday!
1. Slip down water slides in summer & ice skate in winter at HIRAKATA PARK
Blow off some steam with the family at one of Osaka’s most popular theme parks. Hirakata Park offers an all-access pass for guests looking for hair-raising thrills on the park’s roller coaster, Ferris wheel and water rides. Family-friendly activities include water slides, a laser gun arena and even an adventurous safari. The park is open every day of the year, and during winter, the park converts pool areas into ice skating rinks.
Ticket prices (park entry, plus all-access pass): Adults – ¥4,400; elementary school age – ¥3,800; 2 years old through preschool – ¥2,600
Opening hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday (closed Mondays)
How to get to Hirakata Park: Take the Keihan Railway to Hirakata-Koen Station.
Check In to a hotel or guest houses in Hirakata
Step Out to Hirakata Park
2. Admire endangered animals in a rain forest & petting zoo at OSAKA TENNOJI ZOO
Interact with animals in their natural habitat at the Osaka Tennoji Zoo. In addition to housing more than 1,000 wild animals, the zoo also features a petting zoo, a rainforest, an aviary and a polar bear house. More than 1.5 million guests visit each year to explore the zoo’s four unique zones, which include the African Savanna, the Asian Tropical Rain Forest and Koala House, the Flight Aviary and Polar Bear House and the Friendship Square, where visitors can pet guinea pigs and view an endangered Noma horse.
Ticket prices: Adults (age 16 and older) – ¥500; Children (elementary to junior high) – ¥200; Adults (age 65 and older) and guests with disabilities – free for Osaka residents
Opening hours: 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. (last entrance at 5 p.m.). Closed on Mondays.
How to get to Osaka Tennoji Zoo: Take the train to Dobutsuen-Mae Station. The zoo is a 5-minute walk from Exit 1.
Check In to a hotel or guest house in Tennoji Station
Step Out to Osaka Tennoji Zoo
3. Tour one of Japan’s oldest state-owned Buddhist temples at SHITENNOJI
Learn how Prince Shotoku introduced Buddhism to Osaka at one of the oldest temples in Japan. The original temple of Shitennoji was built in the late 6th century, and though the complex has been reconstructed several times throughout history, officials have gone to great lengths to replicate the exact design of the first state-owned religious site. Tour the outer temple grounds for free, but don’t hesitate to pay the small entry fees to Gokuraku-jodo Garden, the Treasure House museum (Shitennoji Treasures Hall) and Chushin Garan, the inner temple complex, where visitors can climb a five-story pagoda and view the enshrinement of Prince Shotoku.
Entry fees for Inner Temple Complex: adults, ¥300; high school and university students, ¥200
Entry fees for the Treasure House: adults, ¥500; high school and university students, ¥300
Entry fees for Gokuraku-jodo Garden: adults, ¥300; high school and university students, ¥200
Opening hours: 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily from April to September; 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily from October to March
Check In to a ryokan or love hotel in Tennoji
Step Out to Shitennoji
4. Check the weather & take in a panoramic view of Shinsekai at TSUTENKAKU
The observation decks on the fourth and fifth floors are the main attraction at this Shinsekai landmark, but Tsutenkaku offers way more family fun than just a view. Browse through Wakuwaku Land on your way to Tsutenkaku Garden and tour a charming diorama on the third floor to learn more about why Luna Park (closed in 1912) was chosen as the original site for the tower. At night, the tower depicts seasonal images, historical clock faces and a different color for every month!
Entry fees: ¥700, plus ¥500 for open-air deck
Opening hours: Main tower – 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. (last entry at 8:30 p.m.); open-air observation deck – 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (8 p.m. on weekdays and
Check In to a guest house or hotel near Osaka Tennoji Zoo
Step Out to Tsutenkaku
5. Relax under the stars in a rooftop spa world at Tennen Onsen Naniwa-no-yu
Soothe your sightseeing aches away in a mineral water bath under the stars at Tennen Onsen Naniwa-no-yu. This natural “spa world” features indoor and outdoor baths, six of which are in a rooftop garden. Men and women can bath privately in separate hot springs and saunas that also include a jet bath and bubble bath. Check the rules before you enter, as no clothing is allowed in the main baths, and guests with tattoos are not allowed to use the facilities.
Entry fees: Adults (12 years and older) – ¥800; children (6 to 11 years old) – ¥400; children (5 and under) – ¥150; book of 11 coupons – ¥8,000
Opening hours: 10 a.m. to 1 a.m. Monday through Friday (last entry at midnight); 8 a.m. to 1 a.m. Saturday and Sunday (last entry at midnight)
How to get to Tennen Onsen Naniwa-no-yu: Ride the train to Tenjinbashisuji 6-chome Station, and take a short walk to the onsen, located on the seventh floor of the pachinko parlor next to Nagara Nishi Park.
Check In to a hotel or guest house near Tenjinbashisuji 6-chome Station
Step Out to Tennen Onsen Naniwa-no-yu near Umeda Station
6. Take a real-life tour of old Naniwa at OSAKA MUSEUM OF HOUSING AND LIVING
Experience life in Osaka with a walk-through of Osaka Museum of Housing and Living. This 10-story museum features life-size replicas of Japanese towns dating from the mid-19th century to present day. Visit working merchants selling kimonos in Naniwa (former Osaka), a public bathhouse, the town hall and a local cabinetmaker. Guests are invited to make Japanese beanbags and origami during arts and crafts workshops.
Entry fees: Adults – ¥600; junior high students and younger – free; senior citizens – free
Opening hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (last entry at 4 p.m.). Closed Tuesdays and every third Monday.
Check In to a hotel or apartment near Tenjinbashisuji 6-chome Station