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12 Hours in Osaka: Top Things to See & Do


Editor’s note: This blog post was last updated on by

The second largest city in Japan, Osaka boasts a rich history and a vibrant culture. Offering a huge array of things to see and do, it’s not surprising that the city is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Asia.

Although its history dates back to the mythological early days of the Japanese Empire, the Osaka of today is said to be the most modern city in the country with its futuristic skyline and impressive modern architecture.

Here’s our run down of the top things to see and do whilst you’re in Osaka…

Osaka Castle and Park

Osaka Castle | Osaka | Cruise1st Australia

Osaka Castle is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city and it’s definitely worth making time to visit.

Having played a major role in much of Japanese history, the present-day castle is a mix of reconstruction and restoration with elements of the original construction found within the walls and gates. Home to a museum about Japanese history, the castle offers the perfect place to familiarise yourself with the Azuchi-Momoyama and Edo periods.

The castle is set within beautiful park grounds surrounded by thousands of trees, including hundreds of cherry blossom trees.

The Tempozan Ferris Wheel

Tempozan Ferris Wheel | Osaka | Cruise1st Australia

For the best views over Osaka, make sure you take a ride on the Tempozan Ferris Wheel in the Tempozan Harbour Village district of the city. Standing at more than 112 meters tall, and with a diameter of 100 meters, this ferris wheel is one of the largest of its kind in Asia.

We’d recommend taking a ride at night, when the wheel is lit up in a variety of colours that change in line with the weather.

Hozenji Yokocho

Hozenji Yokocho | Osaka | Cruise1st Australia

Just a stone’s throw away from the hustle and bustle of Osaka’s main shopping district, you’ll find Hozenji Yokocho, an alleyway preserved in the style of 17th – 19th-century Imperial Japan.

Filled with restaurants and izakayas (Japanese taverns), Hozenji Yokocho allows you to step back in time and experience the sights and sounds of the Edo period.

Sumiyoshi-taisha Shrine

Sumiyoshi-taisha Shrine | Osaka | Cruise1st Australia

Osaka boasts an abundance of Buddhist shrines, but the Sumiyoshi-taisha Shrine is one of the most unique. Predating the emergence of Buddhism in Japan, the shrine honours Shinto, Japan’s indigenous religion.

Surrounded by beautiful grounds and breath-taking natural scenery, the shrine is truly magnificent.

Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan

Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan | Osaka | Cruise1st Australia

Osaka’s huge aquarium is home to a huge collection of fish, mammals, and aquatic life from the Pacific Ocean.

Following the spiral design of the building, journey deeper underwater as you explore each level. Starting on the top floor of the aquarium, you’ll find animals that live on the shore, such as sea otters, seals, and penguins before you work your way further underwater, discovering whale sharks, stingrays, other fish, and marine life.

On the ground floor, you’ll even have the opportunity to pet some of the marine animals!

The Umeda Sky Building

The Umeda Sky Building | Osaka | Cruise1st Australia

The Umeda Sky Building is a striking modern landmark consisting of two office towers joined at the top by a large platform-like structure. Attracting thousands of visitors each year, the platform features a network of bridges and an escalator joining the two towers.

If you would like to explore the history, beauty and splendour of Osaka, check out our selection of cruise deals taking you to Japan. Alternatively, call our friendly sales team on 1300 857 345.

Images sourced via Flickr Creative Commons. Credit: momo, Jed Scattergood, Zac Davies, Mith Huang, Kars Alfrink,

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