Top 7 Free Things to Do in Osaka, Japan
Top 7 Free Things to Do in Osaka, Japan
Free things to do in Osaka are endless like any other cities in Japan. If you are wondering how Osaka compares to Tokyo or Kyoto, well, it’s not fair to decide which one is better over the other.
Osaka is unique in so many ways. And if you are looking for a travel experience that’s one for the books, here are six free things to do in Osaka, the country’s third largest city and gastronomic heart.
1. Get lost amid dazzling neon lights
Tokyo does not have the monopoly when it comes to dizzying neon signs, Osaka gives the Japanese capital a run for its money for the sheer number of blinding lights and often garish, yet amusing, signages.
Dotonbori is undoubtedly the city’s rowdiest and brightest place to be at night. Its flashy signs and billboards are hypnotic, dizzying, and exhilarating all the same time. Don’t miss those iconic giant 3D signs—giant crab, pufferfish, dragon, ramen, gyoza, and sushi, among so many over-the-top others!
2. Say a little prayer to the deities of the sea
Dedicated to Shinto deities of the sea, the charming Osaka Sumiyoshi Shrine is one of the country’s oldest dating back to the early 3rd century. This shrine is the main and perhaps the most well known among over two thousand Sumiyoshi shrines in Japan that are specially offered for Shinto gods who protect seafarers, fishermen, and those traveling by sea.
It is interesting to note that the shrine’s architecture is considered rare as it is free of any influence of Chinese Buddhist styles. It is so rare that there are only two other shrines in Japan with the same architectural style!
3. See how the locals’ shop
Kuromon Ichiba is Osaka’s iconic market and the best place to witness how locals (including chefs!) shop for fresh ingredients like meat, fish, seafood, vegetables, and spices.
The market is hugely popular among locals and tourists alike because many of the 150 stalls prepare, cook and serve their food right before your very eyes. Kuromon Ichiba is also perfect for just strolling around and snacking on the many sumptuous samples available.
4. Experience what’s hip and trendy
If you’re into the latest and hippest fashion trends, spend a few hours people-watching in Amerika-Mura (America Village, often shortened to Ame-Mura). If Tokyo has Harajuku, then Osaka has Ame-Mura. This area has its fair share of cafes, bars, tattoo parlors, and shops selling records and second-hand clothes.
And just in case you’re wondering, the area is named as such because of the shops that used to sell American goods that used to dot the place.
5. Make your own cup noodles
Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen Museum, named after its creator, has exhibits tracing the humble beginnings of the instant noodles to the global popularity it has enjoyed since. The highlight of any visit to this offbeat museum is the instant ramen workshop and noodle factory where you could make your own instant noodles and assemble your own Cup Noodles and bring it home with you. Reservations must be made in advance for these activities.
6. Stroll around an urban oasis
If you want to a take a breather from the hustle and bustle of urban life, make your way to Nakanoshima, a verdant island that is hugged by two rivers, and yep, it’s within the city. It's home to Osaka City Hall, Osaka Central Public Hall, and Nakanoshima Park that is an excellent place for a pleasant picnic or stroll with skyscrapers and classical buildings as the backdrop.
7. Marvel at Japan’s tallest skyscraper
The imposing and impressive ultramodern Abeno Harukas (built in 2014) is the tallest skyscraper in Japan (the tallest structure, though, is the Tokyo Sky Tree). This building houses Kintetsu, Japan’s largest department store; a shrine, a museum, a hotel, and even a small vegetable garden! You have to pay if you want to go up the Harukas 300 observation deck or the Abeno Harukas Museum, though.
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A great experience for: Day Tours in Osaka, Group Tours in Osaka, Private Walking Tours Osaka, University Walking Tours Osaka, Things To Do at Night in Osaka, Activities in Osaka, Osaka Sightseeing Tour, Osaka Tourist Attractions.