Osaka is a bipolar city – it’s divided into two major urban hubs: Kita and Minami (which mean North and South in Japanese). There are three other major hubs around these, as well as Shin-Osaka (the city’s bullet train station). And don’t forget that Osaka is a prefecture and not just a city and there are some great sights outside of the city proper.
Dotombori Canal in Minami
This page lists all of the Osaka districts of interest to travelers. I start with the main urban hubs of the city, Kita and Minami, and then I cover the other major urban hubs in the city proper. After that, I cover the attractions in parts of Osaka Prefecture that lie outside the city. Click any of the districts listed below to visit the main page for that district. Each main district pages contain full lists of sights, hotels, restaurants, shops and nightlife.
The heart of Osaka is the Kita Area, which is also known as Umeda. This is the city’s main business and transport center, and it’s packed with hotels, restaurants and shops. Read more.
Osaka’s second urban hub is the Minami Area, which consists of the Shinsaibashi and Namba neighborhoods. This is primarily a shopping and entertainment district and it’s definitely the place to go for a night out in Osaka. Read more.
Confusingly, Osaka’s main shinkansen (bullet train) station is not in the heart of the city but north of the Yodo-gawa River, about 3km north of Kita, the city’s true downtown. If you’re coming by train from Tokyo, you’ll probably arrive here. Read more.
Osaka’s most famous tourist attraction, Osaka-jo Castle is about 3km southeast of Kita. There are lots of good hotels and restaurants in the areas around the castle. Read more.
Lying directly between Kita and Minami, the Central Osaka Area, which consists primarily of the Honmachi neighborhood, is a convenient area in which to be based. It’s packed with reasonably priced hotels and some great restaurants. Read more.
About 2km southeast of Minami, the Tennoji Area is a formerly low-rent area of the city that is quickly morphing into a trendy urban hub. There are several great attractions here, including Osaka’s tallest building. Read more.
About 8km west of Kita, the Osaka Bay Area comprises two groups of major attractions: the Universal Studios Japan theme park and the Tempozan Area, which contains a fantastic aquarium and several other key sights. Read more.
Northern Osaka Prefecture includes some first-class attractions including the Open-Air Museum of Japanese Farmhouses, the beautiful waterfalls at Minoh and the attractions around Banpaku Memorial Park, one of the best collections of attractions in all of Kansai. Read more.
Eastern Osaka Prefecture, in the direction of Kyoto and Nara, is home to several great attractions, including Hirakata Park, an amusement park, and Mt Ikoma, a superb viewpoint and hiking spot. Read more.
Southern Osaka Prefecture is home to the city of Sakai, which is famous for its knife and sword-making traditions. It’s also home to some fascinating and vast burial mounds (known as kofun). Read more.
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
- View my comprehensive Packing List For Japan
- Compare Japan flight prices and timings on Skyscanner
- If you're visiting more than one city, get your Japan Rail Pass
- Find out why it's essential you have travel insurance for Japan