1 Osaka Aquarium
Why to go there? Its a second largest aquarium in the world and the best aquarium in Asia. its easy to spend 2-3 hours there. There are more than 11000 tons of water in 15 tanks. Meet whale sharks, king penguins, giant spider crabs, jellyfish... Its really very interesting! You will get a lot of joy while watching sea animals and different fishes!
Open Hours 10 a.m. - 8 p.m.
Address 1-1-10 Kaigandori, Minato Ward, Osaka
Admissions 2000 Yen for adults
Website On English
Read very good blog post about Osaka Aquarium HERE
There are also many interesting facilities around it, like Festival Market Place - dozens of shops, restaurants, and food booths as well as entertainment spaces. Market Place is also known as a center for street performers. Food Theme Park called Naniwa Kuishinbo Yokocho gathering restaurants and shops, and providing you with delicious foods created and eaten in Osaka. Giant Ferries Wheel - one of the largest ferries wheel in the world!
The Columbus' sailing ship, Santa Maria, has been reproduced twice as large as the original one. A day cruise (45 min.) or a night cruise (90 min.) offers you an excellent view of Osaka Bay area. Its website HERE. Might need a reservation for night cruise.
Why to go there? It is a single street along Dotonbori canal. Before old theatre district, now is pedestrian street full of restaurants and shops with neon lights. The area has to be seen at night. No visit to Osaka is complete without going to Dotonbori. You can find there excellent restaurants which famous for takoyaki (octopus dumplings) and okonomiyaki (Japanese version of pancake). Actually Dotonbori offers a rich pickings. Don't forget to empty your stomach before going there!
Restaurants of note:
Kani Doraku A crab restaurant, easily identified by its giant moving crab billboard. It has fine crab dishes at reasonable prices. Make a booking and reserve table near the window for great view. Open 11 a.m. - 11:00 p.m.
Chibo The speciality of this 5-story restaurant is okonomiyaki. Open 11 a.m. - 2 a.m. On weekends 11 a.m. - 2 a.m.
Glico Man Originally installed in 1935, the giant neon athlete on a blue track is a symbol of Glico candy. The sign has been altered on several occasions to celebrate events such as the World Cup and to show support for the Osaka baseball team, the Hanshin Tigers.
Kani Doraku Crab This six and a half meter crab is on the front of the crab restaurant Kani Doraku. It is mechanised, being able to move its arms and eyestalks. Built in 1960, this mechanical billboard soon spawned imitations, including a squid that puffs steam and oni (demons) that light up at night.
And of course a lot of nice shops including high-end luxury brands.
Address 542-0071 Dotombori, Chuo-ku, Osaka
Why to go there? This castle is one of Japan's most famous and it played a major role in the unification of Japan during the sixteenth century. Surrounding park make a relaxing break from big city lifestyle and have a very beautiful view of a castle. The best entrance to the park is impressive Ote-mon gate, dating from 1629, on the west side. In spring park is a marvellous place to watch cherry blossom.
Osaka-jo's main tower has wonderful museum with 3D displays of old Osaka and it has its own elevator inside and one elevator outside. There are beautiful panoramic view of the city on the 8th floor.
Castle Tower Open Hours 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Usually it is closed on New Year holidays, but this year 2014-2015 for the first time it will be open.
Nishinomary Garden 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Closed on Mondays.
Check their website www.osakacastle.net
Why to go there? The park is similar to the Universal Studio Orlando Resort since it also contains selected attractions from Universal Orlando Resort and Universal Studios Hollywood. But have a unique “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter” attractions. In total Universal Studio Osaka has 8 areas: Hollywood, New York, San Francisco, Jurassic Park, Waterworld, Amity Village, Universal Wonderland and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Popular rides include those based on Jurassic Park and Spider-Man. They have daily Hello Kitty parades.
Its very nice theme park but if you have been to similar theme parks in the US then there is nothing new here, except "The Wizarding World of Harry Potter".
And really don't recommend you to visit it during New Year and national holidays. There are too many people. Sometimes you need to wait 6 hours for one ride.
Open Hours usually 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. But can change on some holidays. Check their website before going.
Address 554-0031 Osaka Prefecture, Sakurajima
Why to go there? It is one of the oldest shrine in Japan dedicated to the guardian deity of sailors. The shrine is very important in Osaka with very rich and long history. The legend says that the shrine was founded by Empress Jingu in 211 to express her gratitude for her safe return from a trip to Korea. Sumiyoshi Taisha was build before the introduction of Buddhism what makes the style of architecture of this shrine unique - purely Japanese style. it has straight roofs (not curved like most of Japan shrine) and the entrance of the house is under the gable and are surrounded by fence.
The premise is a large complex with many individual shrines. The main shrine is registered as a National Treasure and the iconic symbol is the bright-red arched Taiko-bashi Bridge just in front of the main shrine.
The shrine is heavily used by locals — its packed on New Years Day.
Go in the morning, the shrine is very quiet and you can walk around freely. You will see locals riding the bikes across the park. There are benches in the park. Grab some coffee and goodie from the vending machines and have your breakfast. Its easy to spend 1 hour or more here. There are tons of photos opportunity including the iconic red bridge.
Open Hours 6:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. (Nov.-Mar. 6:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.) No closing days, free admission.
Why to go there? This theatre is registered by UNESCO as a World Intangible Cultural Heritage. National Bunraku Theatre is a perfect place to watch this 300-year-old art form. Its a not usual puppet show with meter-high puppets require three handlers. Each puppet is manipulated by three puppeteers in the show, which enables the puppet to move like a human. Each person requires at least 10 years of training - and the lead puppeteer of the puppet requires the equivalent of 30 years of training. There is an English translation headphone which is a must (650 Yen).
But be prepared for a 3-4 hour play if you want to see it from beginning to end. But also you can buy tickets for one act only, which usually last one hour. They offer a short and spectacular morning show for children too. Shows are typically at 11AM, 2PM and 6PM. Tickets is easy to get on spot. Purchased tickets closer to the stage and bring a bento lunch box to eat during the performance like the locals.
Address1-12-10, Nippon-bashi, Chuo-ku, Osaka 542-0073
Have a good day and best travels!:)