10 Best Museums in Osaka

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Misty Fujii is a Canadian who moved to Osaka, Japan, in 2019 and married her Japanese sweetheart. In 2022, they had a baby and moved to Fukui for the clean country air. She is a DJ who teaches English part-time and writes to share Japan with the world. She gets excited about collecting vintage vinyl records, food from all countries, travelling, and renovating her traditional Japanese house.

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Get ready to dive into the vibrant culture of Osaka and beyond as we unveil some of the city’s best-curated treasures! In our quest to uncover Osaka, we’ve scoured the city, checking out all the museums along the way. From mind-bending contemporary art to time-traveling historical exhibits, Osaka’s museums are a kaleidoscope of experiences that leave you in awe. Buckle up for a whirlwind tour through the city’s cultural landscape – it’s time to let the art adventure begin!

Let’s explore the 10 Best Museums in Osaka and see just what this incredible city has to offer.

1. Osaka Science Museum

Head north in Osaka, and you’ll stumble upon Nakanoshima Island – a hub of beautiful architecture and museums, including the Osaka Science Museum. You can’t miss the round building that stands proudly across from the National Museum of Art, boasting a remarkable steel-and-glass structure. The Osaka Science Museum is no ordinary museum; it is designed with kids in mind! Venture through its four floors filled with interactive exhibits on the universe, chemistry, electricity, and energy. And don’t miss the showstopper – a jaw-dropping planetarium with a massive 26.5-meter dome and 300 seats. So, if you’re a science lover or looking for a fun place to take the kids, you can’t go wrong with the Osaka Science Museum!

2. Osaka Museum of History

Ready for a journey through Osaka’s past? The Osaka Museum of History is your ticket to time travel, housed in a sail-shaped building near Osaka Castle Park. Starting from the top floors and descending through time, each level unfolds a different chapter from Osaka’s 1,350-year history. The museum is far from boring; it’s spiced things up with life-sized reconstructions, photos, models, and even movies. Get ready for some seriously impressive dioramas! It might not be the most organized or English-friendly museum out there, but if you’re keen on soaking up Osaka’s story, it’s a must-visit. As an added bonus, you can catch some stellar castle views from the top floors! 

3. The Osaka Museum of Housing and Living

Dorian Martelange, CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 DEED via https://martelange.ovh/

Step into a hidden hotspot at The Osaka Museum of Housing and Living. From the moment you walk in you’re smack dab in old-school Osaka. Every nook and cranny screams authenticity, from the structures to the furniture, clothing, you name it. Stroll through a life-size replica of early Osaka and witness the city shape-shift through the Edo, Meiji, Taisho, and Showa periods. Prepare for a mind-blowing recreation of Osaka from 1830 to 1844, Edo’s grand finale. It’s so lifelike that the scenery even changes with the time of day! The museum also has traditional Kamigata performances and other fantastic events that are worth checking out throughout the year. 

4. Osaka City Museum of Fine Arts

*The Osaka City Museum of Fine Arts is temporarily closed and will reopen in 2025

Dive into art history at the Osaka City Museum of Fine Arts, opened in 1936 in the lush Tennoji Park. The museum, a gift from the Sumitomo family to Osaka City, is a treasure trove with around 8,000 Japanese and Chinese art pieces. From Asian Buddhist art to snazzy Mediterranean works, you’re in for a treat. Think Chinese paintings, Japanese metalwork, lacquerware with stunning gold, and so much more. Oh, and the Japanese collection? It’s right from the Edo and Meiji periods. They’ve got donated pieces from shrines and temples around Kansai, too. Plus, keep your eyes peeled for epic worldwide art exhibitions. 

5. Osaka Museum of Natural History

L Weiling, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 DEED via Flickr

Step into the wild world of the Osaka Museum of Natural History! This museum is all about unraveling the secrets of nature that’s right under our noses. Explore lifelike models, peek into dioramas, and catch snapshots of Earth’s incredible life journey. Since 1974, the museum has showcased over 10,000 treasures – animals, plants, fossils, and rocks. Touch dinosaur bones and feel ammonite fossils – it’s a hands-on adventure! And when you’ve had your fill inside, step into the Nagai Botanical Garden for more nature-infused fun. 

6. Koji Kinutani Tenku Art Museum

Perry Li, CC BY-SA 2.0 DEED, via Flickr

Get ready for an art escapade at the Koji Kinutani Tenku Art Museum in the Umeda Sky Building. Imagine standing on the 27th floor, surrounded by breathtaking ocean views from the “floating garden.” Enter the realm of art like never before! Koji Kinutani, the maestro behind the museum, takes you on a journey through 3D visuals, fresco paintings, and sculptures. Whether portraits or landscapes, his bold colors inject life and energy into every piece. No art degree is required – it’s a visual feast for all! Dive into a whimsical world with interactive workshops, an artful atelier, and a cozy café. 

7. Dotonbori Museum Namikiza

Step into the vibrant world of Dotonbori, Osaka’s neon playground packed with scrumptious eats and entertainment galore. Ready to channel your inner kabuki star on a spinning stage? Your wildest Osaka dreams are about to become a reality! Discover the history of Dotonbori at Dotonbori Museum Namikiza, set in a theater city that birthed Kabuki and Bunraku. The interior mirrors an Edo period theater house, and the spotlight shines on Shozo Namiki, the Kabuki genius who unleashed the Mawari-butai (revolving stage) and wowed audiences with dramatic flair. Travel back in time to the Edo-era Dotonbori, the birthplace of Japan’s theatrical culture, at a museum ideal for anyone enchanted by traditional Japanese performing arts. 

8. The Museum of Oriental Ceramics

The Museum of Oriental Ceramics is a front-row seat to a world-renowned ceramic collection that’s considered among the best globally! Dive into the beauty and history of East Asian ceramics, all thoughtfully gathered, studied, and displayed for your aesthetic pleasure. Nestled in Nakanoshima Park, this pottery haven showcases a superb assortment of Chinese, Korean, and Japanese ceramics spanning centuries. From the 7th-century Nara period to the 20th-century mingei folk movement, the museum unveils the rich tapestry of East Asian pottery. Even if pottery isn’t on your radar, the Museum of Oriental Ceramics might change your tune. With stunning exhibits, meticulous displays, and helpful English explanations, it’s a captivating visit for everyone! 

9. Osaka City Museum

History beckons at the Osaka City Museum, once a treasure trove of Osaka’s past! Housed in the former headquarters of the Imperial Japanese Army’s 4th Division in Osaka Castle Park, this iconic building was transformed in 1960, unveiling its grandeur with the Momoyama Culture exhibition. Fast forward to 1962, when the museum swung open its doors entirely, becoming a cultural hub for 3.2 million visitors by March 1989. While it permanently closed its museum chapter in 2001, fear not! The building stands tall, reborn as MIRAIZA Osaka-jo – a hub of dining and shopping delight in the heart of Osaka Castle Park. Let the echoes of history accompany you as you explore this beautifully transformed space on a visit to Osaka Castle. 

10. Osaka Castle Main Tower (Osaka Castle Museum)

History unfolds at Osaka Castle, a gem completed by Hideyoshi Toyotomi in 1583. Known as “Mr. Taiko’s castle,” it’s one of Japan’s top three castles. It has faced its fiery trials, rising resiliently from war and natural disasters. Ascend the castle mound and enter the iconic Main Tower, designated a Registered Tangible Cultural Property. The towering five-tier, eight-story structure unveils Osaka’s panorama from its observatory, and a museum unfolds the saga of Osaka Castle. From a full-scale replica of the Golden Tea Room to the majestic golden shachihoko and fusetora, immerse yourself in the castle’s glory days and Hideyoshi Toyotomi’s life!

Which Osaka museum stole the show for you? And here’s a pro tip: if you’re craving an immersive Osaka adventure, book a guided tour with Japan Wonder Travel! Let the experts lead, and you’ll dive into the heart of Osaka’s cultural wonders like a true connoisseur. 

Japan Wonder Travel Tours in Osaka

If you are planning on visiting Osaka and need some help organizing your trip, you came to the right place! We would be more than happy to help make your trip the best it possibly could be. We can advise you on where to go, or even better, hook you up with a local English speaking guide that can show you all of the best spots. Let us help you make fun, safe, and unforgettable memories in Osaka!

Osaka Highlights Private Walking Tour
On this full-day private tour of Osaka, we will take you to Osaka’s highlights that include Osaka Castle, Kuromon Market, the popular Dotonbori area, etc. Learn about the rich history of the area, local lifestyle, and of course delicious Osaka food!

Osaka tour

Osaka Tenjinbashi Local Street Walking Tour
Walk around the Tenjinbashi area with an experienced and knowledgeable English speaking guide! You can find all of the local secret hidden gems along the way. This tour also includes some delicious street food and drink.

Kyoto Food and Drink Tour @Nishiki Street & Gion
If you’re planning on visiting Kyoto along with Osaka and are looking to learn more about the culture and local cuisine, this is definitely the perfect tour for you! Take part in this fun food and drink tour and explore the 400-year-old market and the famous Gion district.

Find the Other Tours

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If you want to make travel easier, we suggest you look into tour packages.There are a wide range of tour packages out there to suit the accomodate for each traveler needs. Click the button below to find the best tour package from various Tour Operators!

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