Why visit Osaka, Japan
Osaka was once the capital of Japan, and today is the third-largest city in the country. Osaka is a port and commercial centre on the island of Honshu, and is known as a destination for food lovers, fans of architecture, and nightlife.
A fun fact about Osaka is that the centuries-old Sumiyoshi-taisha, a Shinto shrine, is one of the oldest of its type in all of Japan. It dates back to the year 211, and also has lovely gardens that visitors can wander around during a visit.
Things to do in Osaka
On a trip to Osaka you should make sure to explore Osaka Castle, a 16th-century landmark with lovely architecture and its own moat and park surrounding it. Pack a picnic to enjoy in the park, as you take in the scenery of the cherry blossoms found there, as well as pretty plum and peach trees. The park also has a Ferris wheel that visitors can ride.
Other attractions to put on your itinerary are Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan; Spa World, a hot springs resort; and Mino Park, a great place for relaxing or hiking. While you’re in Osaka, called the “kitchen of the nation”, you should also try some local cuisine. For example, make sure you taste some takoyaki, which are balls of flour filled with octopus.
Best time to visit Osaka
The best time to visit Osaka tends to be late spring and late autumn. Alternatively, if you want to plan your trip around an event, consider heading to the city in July when the popular Gion Matsuri Festival is held in nearby Kyoto. The festival is one of the oldest in Japan and provides the perfect opportunity to learn about Japanese history, craft and music traditions.
Best time to book
If you want to locate the cheapest flight to Osaka, take a look at this link for more information on the best time to book.
Expect to pay
The currency in Osaka is the Japanese yen.
Expect to pay about AUD$4.62, on average, for a regular-sized cappuccino when you’re in Osaka.
Arriving in Osaka by plane
A flight from Australia to Osaka will land generally at Kansai International Airport (around 40km and a 25-30 minute drive from Umeda, Osaka), or sometimes Osaka International Airport (also known as Osaka-Itami International Airport), which is just under 15km from the centre of Osaka.
A number of different airlines run flights from Australia to Osaka. Some of these include Air Asia, Scoot, Air China, Garuda Indonesia, Qantas, Vietnam Airlines, Philippine Airlines, Virgin Australia, and Thai Airways.
Australians visiting Osaka do not need a visa for stays up to 90 days.
Transportation to city centre
A taxi from the main Kansai International Airport into the CBD will typically set you back from $173 to $226. If you’d prefer to hire a rental vehicle or arrange a private transfer, you can go online to organise car hire or airport transfers.
Where to stay in Osaka
In Osaka you may like to stay in Dotonbori, a cosmopolitan area that is seen as the entertainment district; Umeda, one of two main city centres and home to many high rises, restaurants, upscale hotels and a massive underground mall; Namba, the other major centre, which encompasses Dotonbori and that is also a top spot for foodie culture; or Osaka Bay, a newer district that’s home to museums, theme parks (including Universal Studios Japan) and the aquarium.
If you’re after value-for-money accommodation in Osaka, you should book a hotel online.
Useful tips before you go
Note that in Osaka it is polite to bow when you meet someone, thank them or say goodbye. You should also remove your shoes before entering anyone’s home.
For more information and travel tips on Osaka, head to Smart Traveller, a trusted source of data for tourists.
Please note: all information is correct as of June 2016.
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