Touch the sky
The Umeda Sky building looks a bit like a Lego tower but it’s an impressive feat of architectural engineering. The midair escalator to the rooftop observatory is not for the faint of heart, but your courage will be rewarded with some stellar views of the city. The basement has been made up to look like a Meiji Era street, complete with nostalgia-soaked bars and restaurants.
Consistent with its reputation as a centre of fun and entertainment, Osaka is home to Universal Studios Japan and its newly opened Wizarding World of Harry Potter park, both of which make for fun outings. If you happen to be in town around Halloween, check out the theme park’s zombie-walk events. Surprisingly scary!
Stick to it
Most people know Osaka as the home of takoyaki (octopus balls) and okonomiyaki (a kind of Japanese savory pancake), but those aren’t the only delicious delicacies on offer. The city is also well known for its kushiage, which involves skewering various kinds of food, battering and deep-frying them and then dipping them in sauce. Delicious! Try Bon for a high-end example and Kushiage Daruma for the standard offerings.
If Osaka’s neon nights start to wear on you a bit, you can always escape to traditional Kyoto for the day. The two cities are connected by rail and the trip takes just over an hour. See the famous golden Kinkakuji temple, the red gates of Fushimi-Inaritaisha and the bamboo walks of Arashiyama and be back in time for dinner.
Lest you think Osaka is all wild times and endless shopping, the city is also home to a number of major museums that are worth visiting. Try Peace Osaka to learn about the city’s WWII-era history, the Osaka Science Museum for something fun and hands-on, and the National Museum of Art, Osaka for oft-changing modern art displays.