Osaka Castle and Osaka Castle Park form the most attractive part of Osaka and should be high on any visitor’s list. Nearby, there are some great restaurants and hotels, making it a good place to stay.
Osaka Castle Area
Sitting about a kilometer to the east of Osaka’s two downtowns (Kita and Minami), the Osaka Castle area is the tourist heart of the city. Built around the awe-inspiring tower of Osaka Castle, this green and spacious expanse provides a pleasant escape from the otherwise crowded and concrete expanses of the rest of the city. Easily reached by the JR Osaka Loop Line, two subway lines and the private Keihan Line (good for those coming from Kyoto), this area is good for a morning or afternoon in Osaka. In the Tanimachi area to the west of the castle, you’ll find lots of reasonably priced hotels and some excellent restaurants, making this a decent place in which to be based.
Things to See and Do in Osaka Castle Area
- Osaka Castle (castle)
Osaka Castle (known as Osaka-jo in Japanese) is the city’s premier tourist attraction, and with good reason: It’s a stunning sight, rising up and commanding the skyline of the entire east side of the city. The original castle was completed in 1583 and was attacked and destroyed several times, most recently during air raids during WWII. The present castle is a concrete reconstruction that was finished in 1995.
- Osaka Castle Park (park)
The spacious park surrounding Osaka Castle (known as Osakajo-koen in Japanese) is superb and well worth a visit, even if you don’t intend to enter the castle. There are often street performers and free concerts on the grounds of the park. When the cherries blossom in late March and early April, the park is mobbed with people having hanami (cherry blossom viewing) parties. It’s a lot of fun and we recommend joining the fun.
- Osaka Museum of History (museum)
At the southwest corner of Osaka Castle Park and very close to Tanimachiyonchome Station, on the Tanimachi subway line, this history museum makes a nice add-on to a castle visit. It’s not the best organized or best signposted (in English, at least) museum around, but it’s definitely worth a visit for those who want to learn a bit more about Osaka. The museum occupies the 7th to 10th floors of the sail-shaped building near the park.
- Naniwa-no-Miya Palace Ruins (ruins)
Looking for another urban green space that’s not too crowded? A short walk from Osaka Castle leads you to the Naniwa-no-Miya Palace Ruins - arguably Osaka’s best secret park. It’s a great place to kick back and relax.
Places to Eat in Osaka Castle Area
- Shuhari (soba; moderate)
In Tanimachi 4-chome, not too far from Osaka Castle Park, this soba specialist serves excellent soba noodles and tempura in relaxes surroundings. The fresh wasabi, which you grate yourself, is a really nice touch. Look for the wooden steps at the entrance. Recommended!
- Nishihara (unagi; moderate)
A short walk east of Osaka Castle Park, this unagi (eel) specialist serves a mouth-watering version of this classic Japanese dish. Unadon (unagi over rice) costs around Y2,000 at lunch. Look for the kanji for eel on the sign: 鰻.
- Menya Ageha (ramen; budget)
For tasty and meaty ramen within walking distance of Osaka Castle Park, try this popular local eatery. It’s casual and easy to enter. The name is written in English on the sign.
- Mannenkare (curry; budget)
This unusual shop specializes in tonkotsu (pork bone) curry (it’s better than it sounds). If you’re a fan of Japanese curry rice, then you’ll probably love this place. Look for the yellow sign with the name written in English in small letters on it. It’s not too far from Osaka Castle Park.
- Tokumasa Udon (udon; budget)
Near the southeast corner of Osaka Castle Park, this restaurant serves a mean bowl of curry udon, a spicy and filling dish that’s perfect for powering you through a day of sightseeing. Look for 得正 (Tokumasa) on the sign.
Eat Like A Local In The Osaka Castle Area
Want an even more adventurous eating experience where you mingle with Osaka locals? Try these places
- Udon Ippuku
Looking for a bowl of curry udon to warm your heart and soul - without the queues? When you're near Osaka Castle, head just slightly further afield to Udon Ippuku in Tanimachi Yonchome.
- Endo Sushi Kyobashi
If you’re looking for decent, affordable sushi, Endo Sushi Kyobashi is the place for you. It’s a great pitstop if you’re travelling between Osaka and Kyoto via Kyobashi Station!
Places to Stay in Osaka Castle Area
Budget Hotels in Osaka Castle Area
- Hotel the Lutheran
(View on Booking.com or Agoda.com)
Situated just a minute’s walk from Tanimachi-Yonchome Station, Hotel the Lutheran is a good and inexpensive pick for those wanting to visit Osaka Castle. Rooms are larger than average for Japan! It’s also a good base for exploring the rest of the city.
Family Hotels in Osaka Castle Area
- Hotel Keihan Kyobashi Grande
(View on Booking.com or Agoda.com)
This hotel is great value for money. Rooms here are larger than average for Japan and well-kept. A shopping mall and train station are located right below, with myriad dining options. What else could you ask for?
Where Are These Places Located?See these places on the Inside Osaka Google map:
- Open the Osaka map
- You will see the list of places on the left hand side. (Click the 3-line icon in the top left corner if not). Scroll down or use the map search (the magnifying glass icon) to find the place you want.
- Click the name of the place in the list. Its location pin will be highlighted on the map.
- Map pins are color coded - BLUE: Hotels / Ryokan / Guesthouses | VIOLET: Ryokan | PINK: Places to Eat | GREEN: Shops | YELLOW: Things to See and Do
- If you're using the map on your phone, open the map and then search for the name of the place. The map will then zoom in on its location.
Osaka Vacation Checklist
- For all the essentials in a brief overview, see my First Time In Osaka guide
- Check Osaka accommodation availability and pricing on Booking.com – usually you can reserve a room with no upfront payment. Pay when you check out. Free cancellations too
- Need tips on where to stay? See my one page guide Where To Stay In Osaka
- You can buy a Japan SIM card online for collection on arrival at Osaka's Kansai International Airport. Or rent an unlimited data pocket wifi router
- View my comprehensive Packing List For Japan
- Compare flight prices and timings to find the best Japan flight deals
- If you're visiting more than one city, you might save money with a Japan Rail Pass – see if it's worth it for you
- Get a prepaid Icoca card to make travelling around Osaka easy – here's how
- World Nomads offers simple and flexible travel insurance. Buy at home or while traveling and claim online from anywhere in the world