Osaka is home to one of Japan’s 23 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. There are several others within daytrip distance. Here are all the details on UNESCO World Heritage Sites in and around Osaka.
Nintoku Kofun (burial mound): Toru Kimura / Shutterstock.com
Osaka’s UNESCO Site:
Mozu-Furuichi Ancient Kofun (Tumulus)
Located in Sakai City, in southern Osaka Prefecture, this group of 50 “kofun” (tumulus) served as burial mounds for some of the early Yamoto emperors. The most famous is the Daisen Kofun, which is thought to be the final resting place of Emperor Nintoku, who reigned in the 5th century AD. To get there, take the Hanwa Line from Shin-Osaka or Osaka Station to Mozu Station and walk 10 minutes. There’s not much to see, but you could combine it with a trip to other sights in Sakai. See the Southern Osaka district page for details.
View of Nintoku Kofun: Alon Adika / Shutterstock.com
UNESCO Sites Near Osaka:
Kumano Kodo - Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range
A few hours south of Osaka by train, this network of pilgrimage trails and shrines is one of the best ways to get deep into Japanese nature and religious culture. Check out our Kumano Kodo Walking Trail: A Guide with Maps for all the details.
Kumano Kodo pilgrimage route: Basico / Shutterstock.com
About 40 minutes from Shin-Osaka Station by shinkansen, this castle is the finest in all Japan. It’s an easy day trip from Osaka or Kyoto. For all the details, check out our Himeji Day Trip Itinerary.
Himeji-jo Castle: Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com
Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto
Just 12 minutes from Shin-Osaka Station by shinkansen, Kyoto is home to 17 UNESCO World Heritage Sites (collectively listed as “Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto”). For all the details on these sites, check out our Kyoto UNESCO World Heritage Sites page.
Kinkaku-ji Temple in Kyoto: Joshua Davenport / Shutterstock.com
Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara:
About 30 minutes from downtown Osaka, Nara is home to eight superb UNESCO sites (collectively listed at “Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara”). Many of them are conveniently clustered in the center of the city, within walking distance of the train stations. For all the details, check out our Nara Travel Guide.
Todai-ji Temple in Nara: Cezary Wojtkowski / Shutterstock.com
Buddhist Monuments in the Horyu-ji Area:
For serious fans of Japanese and Buddhist history, Horyu-ji Temple is a good addition to a Nara day trip (it’s about 40 minutes southwest of Nara). For all the details, check out our Nara Travel Guide.
Horyu-ji Temple in Nara: Vladimir Zhoga / Shutterstock.com
More Japan UNESCO Information
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, save a ton of money with the Japan Rail Pass – here's why it's worth it
- Get a prepaid Icoca card to make travelling around Osaka easy – here's how
- Find out why travel insurance for Japan is essential – World Nomads is well-regarded