One of Osaka’s famous landmarks, this castle is all white walls, glittering gold leaf, high stone walls, sprawling grounds, massive moats and grand gates. Like many castles, it has a chequered past but was restored to its former glory in the late 90s.
This incredible ‘museum’ is dedicated to education through play and wonder over 5 floors of science, media, playgrounds, art, a library, role playing and creativity. To top it off, the fab Ogimachi Park playground is just behind the museum. Cheap awesome kiddie fun day SORTED.
This mind-blowing aquarium has 15 tanks, each representing a specific region of the Pacific Rim. The central tank, representing the Pacific Ocean, is 9m deep and home to a gazillion fish and whale sharks, mesmerising visitors as they spiral down from the 8th floor to the ground.
We don't love the idea of putting Whale Sharks in a tank but here are the details in case you want to protest or marvel at them.
This is simply one of best ground-shaking, chest-pounding, culturally-astounding experiences in Japan. Book tickets well in advance to the Grand Tournament in Tokyo in Jan (or Osaka in March) or special events such as the Retirement ceremony in Feb. Great for the whole family, especially in a box seat (yes, it's totally worth it).
This is basically every child of the 80's dream come true. "Race" go karts through the mean streets of Tokyo, Kyoto or Osaka dressed as your favourite Mario character. Yoshi is the best! Go Yoshi!!!
If you go to Osaka, you go to Dotonbori, like moths to a neon-coloured flame. This is the heart of eating, in the whole world really. You can go for the famous Kani Doraku crab or Zuboraya and Kinryu Ramen but there is a world of fabulous fare from street food to the finest fugu. Yum.
In the 70s, some hip locals opened warehouse shops stocked with vintage goods, records and paraphernalia sourced from west coast USA. It become known as Amerika-mura (or Ame-mura) and has developed into a mecca of unique fashion, bars and cafes. THE place to people watch in Japan.
Located on the top floors of a city building, this hidden gem is a detailed recreation of Osaka from the Edo period where you can don a kimono and wander the streets, checking out houses, shops and other wonderful features – both at night and day as the (artificial) lights change.
Along with supplying many of the city’s restaurants with the freshest meat, ocean-fresh seafood, fruit and veggies, the majority of vendors at Kuromon Ichiba cook their wares for the general public – from grilled oysters, to toro (fatty tuna) to Kobe beef.
This pair of towering skyscrapers, connected by a ‘floating garden observatory’, offer great views of the city through its windows and open-air deck. Lower floors offer the obligatory shops, cafés and even a restaurant floor replicating a town of the early Showa Period.