Visiting Osaka – A City Guide
Osaka is a booming Japanese port city famous for specialty shops, street food, expert knifemaking and neon-lit entertainment districts. Ultra-modern skyscrapers tower above its historic alleyways and waterways, while feudal-era gardens and temples stand amid futuristic 21st-century malls and theme parks.
Osaka: City Layout and Top Attractions
The Port of Osaka lies in a deep bay where the Yodo River opens into the Pacific Ocean. Attractions such as Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan
and Universal Studios Japan
line the waterfront.
Old canals crisscross two central districts, Kita and Minami, connected by the main thoroughfare of Midōsuji Boulevard. Bars and restaurants line the water along Dotonbori Canal in Namba, also known as Minami. Kita, often referred to as Umeda, is home to skyscrapers like the Umeda Sky Building, with a view of the city from its Floating Garden Observatory
To the south and east, Shitennō-ji temple and iconic Osaka Castle
help preserve the city’s past.
Eating Out in Osaka
Osaka is known as “Japan’s Kitchen,” harboring an active foodie scene
. Lively grill restaurants and street vendors thrive around the Dotonbori district
, serving casual fare such as kushikatsu
skewers and takoyaki
octopus dumplings. Evenings are perfect for relaxing in Nakanoshima
’s riverside cafés.
Many Osaka hotels cluster in the heart of bustling Kita (Umeda). You can redeem your IHG®
Rewards Club points for a stay at InterContinental®
Osaka, within walking distance of HEP Five Ferris Wheel
at Grand Front Osaka. You also have easy access to Pierre, the hotel's Michelin-starred restaurant, as well as lively street dining and underground food courts offering traditional sushi, tempura and noodle specialties. Master chefs in skyscraper restaurants and high-rise Osaka hotels prepare formal, multi-course kaiseki
meals while you enjoy the view.
Shopping in Osaka
Osaka rivals Tokyo for its variety of shopping streets and districts
. Kita thrives with department stores and underground malls such as Osaka Station City
and Whity Umeda
, many connected to major transit hubs near Osaka business hotels. Namba, near major hotels in Osaka, is home to Americamura
, a vibrant urban village of vintage clothing shops.
, a covered arcade lined with international brand stores and upmarket independent boutiques, serves as the city’s main commercial thoroughfare. To find bargain gifts and souvenirs, visit the discount stores along Tenjinbashi-suji
Culture & Nightlife in Osaka
Historic landmarks and museums such as Osaka Municipal Museum of Fine Art
encapsulate Osaka culture, featuring atmospheric galleries of scrolls and woodblock prints. In Chuo Ward, near many business hotels in Osaka, you can learn about feudal Japan at Osaka Castle and the nearby Osaka Museum of History
Osaka is the birthplace of bunraku puppetry, an art form still practiced by masters at the National Bunraku Theatre
. Japan’s prominent concert hall for classical music, The Symphony Hall
, hosts many international orchestras.
To spend extra time in the Namba entertainment district near Dotonbori Canal, you can book IHG Hotels directly for “YOUR RATE” offers. Dining, shopping and nightlife are eclectic and lively at places such as Namba Hips
, which also includes an archery range, golf course and karaoke joint.