Built in 1583, Osaka Castle was originally intended as a symbol of the unification of Japan. Over the centuries, it was destroyed twice; the building that stands today is a modern construction built in 1931, and little remains from the original structure, aside from a gate and a tower. Nonetheless, the Osaka Castle offers beautiful views of the city; the best time to visit is in spring, during the cherry blossom season.
If you visit Osaka in mid-April, chances are good that you’ll be there during its peak cherry blossom viewing days. Stroll along the corridor of flowers, on the grounds of the Japan Mint to take in the pink and white blossoms of a wide variety of cherry tree species.
National Bunraku Theater
Osaka’s National Bunraku Theater is the foremost venue in the country of bunraku, Japan’s traditional puppet theater. Carved from wood, the elaborate puppets are often accompanied in performances by instruments such as taiko drums, lute-like shamisen, and a chorus of chanters.
Hozenji Temple is a small but quaint temple in the warren of streets that lie between the bright neon signs of Dotonbori and the shopping malls of Namba. Stepping through the temple gate is very much like stepping out of the modern world and into the past. Particularly in the evening when the lanterns are lit Hozenji has a very special, peaceful, and magical atmosphere.
Hozenji Temple is a 4 minute walk from Namba Subway Station and 6 minutes from Nippombashi Subway Station.
Museum of Oriental Ceramics
Explore the Museum of Oriental Ceramics, one of the best collections of ceramics not only in Asia but in the entire world. More than 1,000 pieces of Japanese, Chinese and Korean ceramics are housed here, including several National Treasures of Japan.
Museum of Old Farmhouses
The open air Museum of Old Farmhouses is a wonderful reconstruction of how ordinary Japanese lived during the Edo period. The farmhouses have been shipped here from all over Japan and painstakingly reconstructed.
Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan
With 27 tanks in 16 exhibits, all of which simulate habitats in the Pacific Ocean, Osaka Aquarium hosts a varied assortment of marine animal and plant life, ranging from manta rays and whale sharks to kelp and jellyfish. Visitors with children will be particularly delighted by the walk-through displays.
The lively entertainment area of Dotonbori is Osaka’s most famous tourist destination and renowned for its gaudy neon lights, extravagant signage, and the enormous variety of restaurants and bars.
The name “Dotonbori” generally refers both to the Dotonbori Canal and to Dotonbori Street which runs parallel to the canal’s southern bank. It is one of the most colorful areas in Osaka and an absolute must-visit location when traveling through Kansai region.