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In Japan’s long history of emperors and shoguns, Osaka was named the capital several times, so yeah, it’s kind of a big deal. Osaka holidays are anything you want them to be—from peaceful park days watching the cherry trees bloom in spring to shopping through the stalls of an old-school arcade.
Oh, and don’t forget the ancient castles and soaring skyscrapers around every corner. Curious? We bet you are. Between ancient shrines and neon lights, accommodation in Osaka is a front-row seat to Japan’s thriving cultural hub.
You’ll have easy access to all things holiday from our hotels in Osaka, including some of Japan’s most famous landmarks—like Osaka Castle, sitting oh-so-pretty in the riverside Joto Ward. Long before rappers were rockin’ the bling, the shogun who built the castle covered the tea room entirely in gold. If you can’t get enough of these royal romps, join a Self-Guided Himeji Castle Tour. The train will pick you up in Osaka, and the 95km commute sure is pretty.
Blinded by the light? The Umeda Sky Building is the perfect contrast to gilded glory—it’s a futuristic steel skyscraper with the stunning Floating Garden Observatory on the 39th floor. While it’s not one of the tallest in Osaka, the 360-degree outdoor deck will have you walking on air. Hope you’re not afraid of heights!
If you’d rather keep your feet on the ground, book accommodation in Tennoji, a ward right in the middle of the historic city. It’s near one of the largest rail and subway hubs, plus it has tons of shopping, dining and architectural claims to fame. We don’t like to choose favourites, but it is one of the top places to stay in Osaka.
At the south end of Tennoji, the Abenobashi Terminal Building is the tallest building in Japan, and the Shitenno-ji Temple was the first Buddhist temple in the country, so check out this modern marvel and get your Zen on like it’s 593 AD.
If you have more artistic leanings, unleash your inner geijutsuka at the Osaka City Museum of Fine Arts in Tennoji Park. Meditate on Buddha heads and wrap your mind around tiny netsuke sculptures worth more than your car.
International flights to Osaka will land at Kansai International Airport (KIX), 50km south of the city in Osaka Bay—the perfect introduction to this futuristic city, as it’s located on an artificial island that was created especially for the airport. From there, hop on the JR Line to Osaka Station downtown.
The train also makes stops throughout the city, including Tennoji to the south and Shin-Osaka to the north, across the Yodo River. Osaka hotels are always on the right track thanks to the extensive subway and rail system, which will get you all around the city and beyond. In short, it won’t leave you railroaded.
There’s no argument here: Osaka loves a good party. They even throw a festival every November for autumn leaves as they change colours. During the last week of August, summer doesn’t wind down—instead, it goes up in flames during the Gangara Fire Festival. What better way to fuel prayers for world peace than with towering torches and dancing in the street?
It’s hard to beat parades of pyrotechnics, but a city can try! At the sight of the harvest moon, the Tsukimi Festival goes into full swing. Locals leave sweet dumplings and chestnuts for the new moon, hoping for a bountiful harvest. If you’re in town for the celebration, you can chow down on some of the best food in Osaka, too. The traditional taro and pumpkin dishes might make you want to howl at the moon!
If we had you at “cherry trees”, then Osaka is the city of your sweetest dreams. To be honest, many of the varieties you’ll see in Osaka’s great outdoors are just for looks and they are absolutely gorg, whether in full bloom or covered in frost. And they smell good, too! Just east of the river in the Miyakojima Ward, Kema Sakuranomiya Park is sprinkled with over 4000 cherry trees and walking trails galore.
If lush landscapes make you think of other “greens”, then you’re in luck, because the Japan Mint and Mint Museum are located along the winding footpaths. Learn about the history of currency, then spend your holiday dollarydoos—we mean yen—at the local markets set up throughout the park.
Prefer your fruit trees with a side of extravagance? Spend some time in the park surrounding Osaka Castle. This garden-laden fortress was built by the famous shogun Toyotomi Hideyoshi during the 16th century, proving that even warriors like to have lovely things. When you’re surrounded by moats and ancient pagodas, you might even forget that high-rises wait right outside.
If you have just one day in Osaka, make sure you end up in Dotonbori at dusk. The Dotonbori district is kind of the Japanese equivalent to Times Square—with crowds and queues—but it flanks a canal, so it’s even better. You won’t be the only traveller who wants to bask in the electric buzz of billboards and street cuisine, but that’s what makes Dotonbori so much fun! Shop in the souvenir hutches along the canal or wander away from the waterfront for a quiet dinner and cutting-edge cocktails.
The energy in Dotonbori is unbeatable, and we don’t have to tell you how interesting people-watching from a boat will be, do we? When you’re exploring on foot, stop at one of the conveyor belt sushi bars and watch the fresh seafood round the track. Can you finish off a bottle of sake before your spicy tuna arrives? There’s only one way to find out. Bottoms up!
You don’t have to be a monarch to find the perfect castle. Book one of Wotif’s great deals on Osaka accommodation and you’ll be living like royalty before you can say “biru, onegaishimasu” (beer, please!).
Hotels in Osaka start at AU$26 per night. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.