Most people visiting Osaka for the first time, have two places on their must-go list: Dotonbori street and Osaka Castle (Osakajo). These two spots are the two most popular places to visit for tourist as well as locals. Osaka Castle is one of the most famous historical landmarks of Japan and located in the east side of central Osaka. In the area around the Osaka Castle there is much more to do. Here we present you several places to visit in east Osaka.
1. Osaka Castle (Osakajo)
Osaka castle was originally constructed in 1583 by Toyotomi Hideyoshi, was the largest castle at the time. Hideyoshi played an important role in quelling the wars which had continued for more than one century, thereby unifying the entire nation. However, a few years after Hideyoshi’s death, Osaka Castle was destroyed by Tokugawa troops. Fortunately it was rebuilt by Tokugawa Hidetada in the 1620s. Today we can see some great architectural highlights such as gates and storehouses from Edo period. However the main building of the castle tower was built in 1931 and renovated in 1997. The inside of the castle tower looks entirely modern, it even has an elevator for accessibility. Inside there is a museum telling the history of the castle and Toyotomi Hideyoshi. On the 8th floor of the building, you can enjoy a panoramic view of Osaka city.
Osaka Castle is one of the main tourist attractions and for good reasons. The impressive castle is beautifully located, standing out from the the city’s skyline on the east. The greenery that surrounds the castle is also a welcome escape from the concrete buildings and large crowd of people of downtown Osaka. You can enter the castle and enjoy the modern interior and the view from the top or admire the looks from the castle from the outside walking on the park grounds, or both! We recommend you reserve a full morning or afternoon for your visit!
9am – 5pm
Admission fee ¥600 (adult)
Access to Osaka Castle
- 18 minute walk from Tanimachi Yonchome Station
- 18 minute walk from Osakajo Koen Station
2. Osaka Castle Park (Osakajo Koen)
Osaka Castle Park, where Osaka Castle is located, is a large public park and historical site. This is Osaka’s second largest park (105,6 ha) and was opened for public in 1931. Inside the park, there are a large athletic field, baseball field, football field, open-air music theater and concert hall, Osaka Castle Museum, the Nishinomaru garden, a plum orchard and much more.
Nishinomaru Garden is a lawn garden with about 300 cherry trees, a tea house, and a great view of Osaka Castle and stone walls. In the cherry blossom season, many people come here to enjoy picnic underneath the cherry trees. The garden opens until 8pm during sakura season for night cherry blossom viewing.
Admission fee ¥200
Hokoku Shrine is situated on the south side of the park. Three members of Toyotomi family are enshrined here; Toyotomi Hideyoshi (who built original Osaka Castle), his son Hideyori and his brother Hidenaga. The shrine is worshipped for success and good luck because Toyotomi Hideyoshi started off as a low ranking soldier and later became the most powerful and successful leaders in Japan. Inside the shrine ground, there are two other small shrines; Shiratama Shrine and Wakanaka Shrine. Both of them are strongly associated with business prosperity. A large statue of Toyotomi Hideyoshi is also located by a torii gate, a popular photo spot for many tourists.
Jo-Terrace Osaka, a shopping and dining complex, was newly opened in 2017 next to Osakajo Koen Station. There are different eateries, convenience stores, shops, and an information center which also sells some souvenirs. This is a great place to have lunch or to take out some snacks such as sandwiches, crapes, or takoyaki (savoury octopus balls) and have picnic in the park.
Access to Osaka Castle Park
There are several train stations that have easy access to the park. Osakajo Koen Station on JR Kanjo Line (Loop Line) has direct access to the park.
3. Osaka Tenmangu Shrine
This peaceful shrine is one of the most famous Tenmangu shrines of Japan. It is located in the Tenma district adjacent to the Tenjinbashisuji Shopping Street, which is claimed to be the longest shopping street in Japan (2.6 km). The Tenma district actually gets its name to the Tenmangu Shrine.
The Osaka Tenmangu Shrine dates back over 1,000 years. The temple has been destroyed a number of times by fire and the current main hall and gate are constructed in 1845. Tenmangu shrines are dedicated to Sugawara no Michizane (854 – 903), a politician, scholar, and poet. Since his childhood, he was known as a gifted child and he has become a politician who gained influence within the Fujiwara clan dominated imperial court. This is why Tenmangu is worshipped for the god of education.
This shrine is often overlooked by tourist as it is tucked away among the big city buildings. It is a quiet shrine peaceful and a relaxing place to pray or just to enjoy the plum and cherry flowers blossoming in spring time. However, since its’ construction, the temple hosts one of the most famous festivals of Japan: Tenjin Festival (Tenjin Matsuri), one of Japan’s top three festivals. Every year it takes place on July 24 and 25.During the festival, as many as 3,000 people dressed in traditional costumes, parade down streets of Osaka and more than 1,000 illuminated boats sail down the river with fireworks in the evening.
Access to Osaka Tenmangu Shrine
- 5 minute walk from Osaka Tenmangu Station
- 5 minute walk from Minami Morimachi Station
4. Osaka Museum of History
This informative museum, opened in 2001, is located just outside of south west corner of Osaka Castle Park, right next to NHK building which is Japan’s national broadcasting organisation. Exhibitions of the museum features history and evolution of Osaka City.
The museum offers combo tickets for the museum and Osaka Castle which saves you ¥300. On the 1st floor there are a ticket counter, a museum shop and a big time capsule that was created at the time of Osaka Expo in 1970. The permanent exhibitions are on display on the 7th to 10th floor. You start your visit from the top floor where the exhibitions begin from ancient times to the early Showa era as you go down the floors. Each floor displays several large models.
From the top floors of the building, you can enjoy great views of the Osaka Castle and Osaka Castle Park. The museum also offers workshops where you can learn and experience things related to exhibitions such as dressing in ancient clothes and playing games that were popular in Edo or Meiji era.
Osaka Museum of History
9.30am – 5pm (closed on Tuesday)
Admission fee ¥600 (adult)
Access to the Osaka Museum of History
- Short walk from Tanimachi Yonchome Station Exit 9 or 2
5. Hirakata Park
This amusement park is located in Hirakata City, on the north east side of Osaka City. The Hirakata Park opened in 1910, and it is the oldest existing amusement park in Japan. The park offers more than 40 kinds of attractions including several roller coasters, free fall ride, and splashy rubber boat ride. Many family friendly rides are also available such as Ferris wheel, Merry-go-round, and train ride.
The park offers seasonal events as well. In spring, many people come to enjoy wide variety of flowers and blossoms including cherry blossoms and roses. In summer, swimming pools are open and water slides and other fun activities are available. In fall and winter, visitors can enjoy beautiful shows with a lot of illuminations and music in the evening. The swimming pools turn into ice skate rinks during winter time. In addition, the park offers various stage shows collaborated with popular TV shows and anime characters all year around.
Irregular opening times
Entrance only ¥1,500
Entrance and rides ¥4,500
Access to Hirakata Park
- A 23 minute train ride from Kyobashi Station to Hirakata Park station. From there it is a short walk to the park.
6. Kema Sakuranomiya Park
Across the Ogawa, which is translated as O river, about 15 minutes by foot north of Osaka castle, you will find Kema Sakuranomiya Park. This riverside park boasts water, greenery and sakura trees. Because of its large number of sakura trees, over 5.000, this park is a popular cherry blossom viewing spot. Outside of the sakura season, the park offers an amazing view of the river. Escape the buzzing city life and watch the boats passing by, while you stroll down the river or sit down for an afternoon picknick.
Access to Kema Sakuranomiya Park
- A 15 minute walk north from Osaka Castle
7. Taiko-en Garden
Next to the Kema Sakuranomiya Park, you can find the Japanese garden Taiko-en. This beautiful garden is a popular wedding venue and it isn’t hard to understand why. The picture-perfect design of the garden is great for short strolls and the tranquility will make you feel completely relaxed. The gardens belong to the (former) residence of merchant Denzaburo Fujita. Today there are some high-end restaurants housed in the residence. If you would like to experience Japanese traditional tastes, the Kaiseki, a Japanese course dinner, is recommended here.
10am – 9pm
Admission ¥500 (adult)
Access to Taiko-en Garden
- A 5 minute walk from Osakajokitazume Station
Private guided tours in Osaka
To learn most from your visit to Osaka, we recommend you book a guided tour. A local knowledgeable guide will take you around town whilst explaining the interesting points and answering all your questions. We are happy to customise the tour to your requests, just let uw know where you would like to go!
Where to stay near Osaka Castle?
Experience the warmth and charm of the city’s culture and spend the night in Osaka too. Umeda is popular to stay in Osaka among luxury travellers thanks to the wide selection of the luxurious 5-star hotels. Here are some of our top picks in the Umeda area:
- Hotel the Lutheran – inexpensive hotel with large rooms, located close to Osaka Castle
- Hotel Keihan Kyobashi Grande – a family hotel with large rooms
- Imperial Hotel Osaka – luxury hotel located along the Okawa river
What do you think about our list of places to visit in east Osaka? We hope you enjoy visiting one of Japan’s most well-known castle, learning more about the history of Osaka, relaxing in nature, and visiting Japan’s oldest exiting amusement park. When you are visiting Osaka, the east side of the city should definitely be included on your to do list! We recommend your spend at least half day in the the Osaka Castle area and its’ park grounds to enjoy it to the fullest. Do you feel inspired to travel to the buzzing city? We hope you enjoy Osaka’s lively atmosphere and yummy foods.
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