What to do in Osaka at night?
Osaka was probably our favorite city during our Japan trip. We loved everything about the few days we spend here. It’s a very lively city during the day and there are plenty of things to do in Osaka at night.
In this article, we share the best things to do and where to go in Osaka at night.
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Osaka is famous for its nightlife. Find out why by joining this cheap nightlife tour.
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What to do in Osaka at night
Go night shopping in Osaka
Most stores are open late in the major shopping streets of Osaka.
If you love shopping or you are looking to buy some Japanese souvenirs to take home, you will have plenty of opportunities to do so.
But you don’t need to be on a shopping spree to visit these Osaka night markets. The shopping districts are just as much fun to wander around without a shopping list. They’re lighted with colorful neon advertisements and it’s great to experience the lively atmosphere.
Here we share the 2 best spots to shop in Osaka at night.
Go night shopping in the Namba district
Visiting the Namba district is a must-do while you are in Osaka.
Dotonbori, the main street, is a popular shopping district during the day, it has something to offer for everybody, but Dotonbori becomes especially impressive at night. It is one of the most famous landmarks in Japan.
Hundreds of neon lights and billboards illuminate the streets and these are literally packed with people that are shopping and going out with friends and family.
Don’t forget to take pictures of the famous illuminated signs. The most famous are the Giant moving crab and the Glico running man.
There’re plenty of restaurants, shops, bars as well as other entertainment venues.
We walked the street up and down, soaking up the atmosphere while enjoying some of the street food.
You should definitely try some of the snacks that are sold along the street. We tried the famous melonpan bread and absolutely loved it.
Namba is the perfect spot to feel the vibrant atmosphere that we loved so much about Osaka.
If you are looking for a place to stay and you want to stay in a very lively area with a lot of restaurants, bars, and nightlife, then this is definitively the place you should be looking at. You could have a look at the Holiday Inn Osaka Namba.
How to get there:
The nearest subway station is Namba station. You can take the Midosuji line, Sen-Nichimae line or Yotsubashi line to get here.
The closest JR station is JR Namba station, it’s the terminal of the Yamatoji line.
Night shopping in Shinsaibashi
Shinsaibashi is right next to Namba.
This is another perfect street to do some night shopping and you can explore both in one evening as you can literally walk from Dotonbori to the Shinsaibashi shopping arcade.
The arcade starts at the famous Ebisu bridge, one of the landmarks of Dotonbori, and runs the full length of the Shinsaibashi district.
Read also: The perfect Hiroshima itinerary
Shinsaibashi-suji street, the covered pedestrian street, is almost 2 kilometers in length. You will find high-end stores like Chanel and Cartier next to 100 yen shops where you can shop for souvenirs.
Most shops open around 10-11 am and close again around 7-9 pm. This gives you plenty of time to hunt for souvenirs.
Tired of shopping? The arcade also houses lots of restaurants and bars to satisfy your hunger and thirst.
How to get there:
The main street starts right at the Dotonbori bridge and runs all the way up to the Shinsaibashi subway station. The Midsosuji and the Nagahoritsurumiryokuchi trains stop in this station.
The nearest subway station to the Dotonbori bridge is Namba station. You can choose from the Midosuji line, Sen-Nichimae line or Yotsubashi line to get here.
The closest JR station to the Dotonbori bridge is JR Namba station, it’s the terminal of the Yamatoji line.
Wander around Hozenji Yokocho
Hozenji Yokocho is a well-preserved historic Edo-area located in Minami, just next to Dotonbori.
The district is literally squeezed in between neon-lit Dotonbori and the modern mega-malls of Namba, but as soon as you enter the district it feels like you have been beamed back in time to the old Osaka.
The small and quaint Hozenji Temple is well worth a visit, certainly after dark when the lanterns are lit and create a magical and peaceful ambiance. It’s in this temple that you find the famous moss statue of Fudo Myo-o, a Buddhist spirit.
The statue became popular because it was the only statue to survive a heavy bombing raid during the second world war.
Normally Fudo-Myo-O is represented as a scary appearance but this statue no longer looks scary now that it is completely covered with moss.
According to a famous story, an elderly woman threw water over the statue and made a wish.
Her wish came true and since then other people are doing the same.
That led to the completely mossy statue.
At night the lanterns are lit which create a very magical atmosphere.
Read also: Things to do in Kyoto at night.
The popular Hozenji Yokocho alley runs North alongside the temple.
Walking through the stone-paved narrow alley should give you a good impression of how it must have been to live in Osaka a hundred years ago.
The alley is at its best after dark when the bars and restaurants have all lit their old fashioned lanterns.
This is also one of the best places to eat in Osaka. Here you will find more than 60 restaurants and bars that serve local Japanese specialties such as Teppanyaki, Okonomiyaki and much more.
How to get here:
The nearest subway station to Hozenji Yokocho is Namba station. You can choose from the Midosuji line, Sen-Nichimae line or Yotsubashi line to get here. From the station, it’s a 5-minute walk.
Stroll around Shinsekai district
The Shinsekai area was developed before the war and remained largely untouched afterward. If you want to experience a truly retro Osaka ambiance, this is the place to go.
Read also: Things to do in Gion at night.
One thing immediately stands out in Shinsekai, the large colorful and grotesque signs of the many restaurants and bars.
Most restaurants and bars are open for lunch but it is better to postpone your visit a few hours as the district really comes into its own at night when the large neon lights and decorated figurines lit up the sky.
When you’re in Shinsekai you should try the traditional Kushi-katsu.
Originally the dish consisted of fried vegetables or meat on a stick. Over the years several new variants have appeared.
Some restaurants now have fish, eggplant, fruit and other much more gourmet Kushi-Katsu versions on their menu. Kushi-Katsu originated in Shinsekai and almost all restaurants and food shops proudly do their best to keep the tradition alive.
Some specialized Kushi-katsu eateries are even open 24 hours/day.
In Shinsekai you will also find Spa World, a huge bath complex with a large number of onsen from around the world which are to be enjoyed naked and gender-separated. More about Spa world later in this Oska blog post.
The Shinsekai area is considered one of the more dangerous neighborhoods in Osaka. Don’t let this scare you, we never felt unsafe in Japan. Shinsekai might be one of the less safe regions in Osaka but is still pretty safe compared to world standards. That Shinsekai is considered unsafe says more about the general level of safety in Japan.
How to get there:
The nearest subway stations are Dobutsuen-Mae station in the South and Ebisucho station in the North. The first is served by the Midosuji line and Sakaisuji line, the latter by the Sakaisuji line.
The closest JR station is Shin-Imamiya on the Osaka loop line and Yamatoji line.
Make an organized night walk in Osaka
One of the most fun Osaka night activities you can do is to take an organized Osaka night walk.
An organized night tour is highly recommended to explore the authentic nightlife in Osaka as there are a number of hidden areas, old backstreets, and markets that are not in the guidebooks.
We partnered up with GetYourGuide for these activities.
GetYourGuide is a reliable platform where you can book thousands of tours anywhere in the world.
What we like about GetYourGuide is that they are very flexible and they offer free cancellation for most of the activities when your plans change.
Here we share the best Osaka night walks.
Join a Soul of Kansai Tour with Japanese snacks
This small-group tour ( maximum 12 people) takes you from the Kuromon Ichiba market to Doguyasuji and back in time to Shinsekai. In Shinsekai you will have the chance to taste the Kushi-katsu and see the lively and traditional Izakaya (traditional pubs). You will end this tour in the famous and flashy Dotonbori.
This is the perfect tour if you want to visit Osaka’s most famous areas at night and learn more about Osaka history and culture.
Make a 3 hour Street Food hopping Tour
This tour is for you if you are a foody or want to taste and learn more about typical Japanese street food. Osaka is known as the kitchen of Japan so there is no better place to do a food tour than here. In 3 hours your guide will show you around Osaka and introduce you to Takoyaki (octopus dumplings), Okonomiyaki (a sort of Japanese pancake) and Kushi-katsu (a grilled snack on a stick). You will also visit a traditional izakaya to taste and learn more about Japanese beer.
This is an excellent way to learn more about Japanese street food. Names of street food are usually just posted in Japanese and vendors speak very limited English. We found it hard to find something to our taste until we had someone that could help us order.
Read reviews and book: Osaka Street Food Tour
Enjoy the night view on Osaka castle
Osaka castle is a reconstruction of the original castle that was built in 1583. The original castle was completely destroyed in a fierce battle in 1615. Several years later, in 1665, it was destroyed again when it was struck by lightning and burned down completely.
This time it took until 1931 before the castle was rebuilt.
The current castle is a ferroconcrete reconstruction of the original one that used to be here several years ago.
It houses an informative museum about the castle’s history and Toyotomi Hideyoshi, the Samurai who lived in this castle and has been one of the most powerful men of Japan in his era.
Although it is closed after 5 pm it is beautifully illuminated after dark and the park that surrounds the castle is worth a visit if you are in the neighborhood. It is perfect to take beautiful night pictures.
The castle can be visited until 9 pm during the sakura season.
1-1 Osakajo, Chuo Ward, Osaka,
Osaka Prefecture 540-0002, Osaka
Open until 9 pm during Sakura season
Closed from December 28th to January 1st
Free access with the Osaka Amazing Pass
How to get there:
The nearest subway station is Tanimachi Yonchome Station. You can get there with both the Tanimachi Subway Line and the Chuo Subway Line.
If you come by train you need to head to the Osakajokoen station which is conveniently located on the Osaka loop line served by JR.
Follow a Japanese cooking class
If you want to learn more about Japanese food and how to prepare it yourself, you could also take a cooking class.
We did it ourselves and learned to make gyozas and ramen.
The food was delicious, it was one of the best ramen we had in Japan if I say so myself. 🙂 It was a fun experience.
It would have been better if we could recreate these excellent dishes at home but unfortunately, many of the ingredients cannot be found in our home country.
What we liked so much about the experience was that we learned a lot about healthy Japanese cuisine and its common ingredients. Even though we often asked more info about the things we ordered at the restaurants we never got such a good explanation as during this cooking class.
You can read our full story about our cooking class here.
Admire Osaka from above
Osaka has several observatories from where you can enjoy the beautiful night scenery of this bright city.
Get to the top of the Umeda sky building
One of the best ways to see Osaka from above at night is from the Umeda Sky Building.
The 173-meter tall construction consists of two towers that are connected with each other by the “Floating Garden Observatory” on the 39th floor. A futuristic construction that will certainly draw your attention.
The observatory has 2 platforms, both offer amazing 360-degree views of the city. The upper platform is an open-air deck while the lower platform has windows all-around.
Dinner time would be an excellent time to visit the observatory. The 39th floor houses a Chinese restaurant and a cocktail bar called Stardust. On the 1st basement floor, you will find Takimi Koji, a food alley with over 20 restaurants, that replicates a nostalgic townscape of the Showa period.
Kuchu Teien Observatory
1 Chome-1-８７ Oyodonaka, Kita,
Osaka Prefecture 531-6023, Osaka
Open until 9 pm during Sakura season
No closing days.
Free access with the Osaka Amazing Pass until 6 pm
How to get there:
Osaka station, the main JR hub in central Osaka, is the closest JR station. 7 JR lines stop at this station including the Osaka loop line, the Hida line, and the Hamakaze line. The Umeda sky building is a 10-minute walk from Osaka station.
The closest subway station is Umeda Station on the Midosuji line.
Watch the sunset from Osaka station
Osaka station is the perfect place to watch the sunset from.
It is much more than just a station, it also houses shops, a sports club, a movie theatre, and travelers can choose from a wide range of restaurants to satisfy their hunger before they hop on their train.
The station consists of 2 buildings that are on either side of the tracks. Both buildings have a rooftop terrace, in the Northern building the terrace is on the 10th and 11th floor and it is called the Healing Garden.
The Healing garden offers nice sunset views on the Umeda sky building.
The Southern building at the opposite side of the station also has an observatory.
This one is called the Sun Plaza and it is on the 15th, 16th and 17th floor.
It has many small eateries and bars. Ideal to take a break while you enjoy the view of the Umeda skyline with a drink or snack.
How to get there:
Osaka station is the main JR hub in central Osaka. 7 JR lines connect this station to the rest of Japan including the Osaka loop line, the Hida line, and the Hamakaze line.
The closest subway station is Umeda Station on the Midosuji line. To reach Osaka Station from the Osaka Bay Area you first take the Chuo line until Hommachi station where you change for the Midosuji line.
Enjoy 360° views from the Abeno Harukas Observatory
The Harukas 300 building is one of the last new additions to the Osaka Skyline and it currently is the tallest building in the city.
The 16th floor of the building houses the art museum and a small garden terrace.
The terrace is freely accessible to everyone who wants to get a free glimpse of the Osaka Skyline but these views pale in comparison to those from the Abeno Harukas rooftop observatory.
The Abeno Harukas Observatory occupies the 3 top floors, 58 to 60, of the building. The observatory offers 360-degree views of the city and the 58th floor has an open-air plaza and eating area.
Make sure to visit the toilets during your visit to the observatory. Some people call this the coolest toilets they have ever been to. The toilets have windows from the floor to the ceiling so you can keep enjoying those great views at the loo.
The lower floors of the building, from the floor up to the 14th floor, house a large department store and several restaurants.
Those who can’t get enough of these magnificent views can book a room at the Marriott Miyako hotel which is located on the top floors of this building.
How to get there:
The Abeno Harukas Observatory is just a 2-minute walk from the Tennoji Station.
Make a ride on the Tempozan Ferris Wheel
The Tempozan Ferris Wheel measures 112.5 m in height and that makes it the highest Ferris wheel in the city and the fourth largest in Japan.
The wheel is open until 10 pm and it is beautifully illuminated at night.
It’s a great place to enjoy the night view on Osaka Bay and Osaka’s skyscrapers.
Tempozan Ferris Wheel
1 Chome-1-10 Kaigandōri, Minato-ku, Ōsaka-shi
Osaka Prefecture 052-0022, Osaka
Free with the Osaka Amazing Pass
How to get there:
The Tempozan Ferris Wheel is located at Osakako Station on the Chuo subway line. (take exit 1 or 2)
Enjoy an evening out
Go watch a ROR comedy show
Osaka is known as Japan’s comedy capital and since 2011 foreigners can enjoy a stand-up comedy show in English. The shows are being held every Friday and Saturday night.
This is a great way to learn more about Japanese culture during a great evening full of laughs.
Chuo Ward, Osaka
How to get there:
Take the subway to Namba station. You can choose from the Midosuji line, Sen-Nichimae line or Yotsubashi line to get here. Take exit 25. From here it’s a 4-minute walk.
You could also take the subway to Yotsubashi station on the Yotsubashi line. Take exit 2. From here it’s a 4-minute walk.
Show your singing talent during a Karaoke night
Karaoke originated in Japan and is still very popular in the country.
Osaka counts various karaoke places. Roughly you have 2 types, one is box karaokes where you rent a private room.
The other is karaoke bars, similar to what we know in Europe, where you can show your talent to the whole audience.
Bars often have one or more boxes you can rent for private parties.
If you like to sing or you want to have a great night out, you must definitely visit a Karaoke place while you are in Japan.
On Tripadvisor, you can find a selection of the best Karaoke places in Osaka.
Get a drink in a bar or go dancing in a nightclub
Osaka has a lot to offer in terms of nightlife and has plenty of bars and nightclubs where locals and visitors can unwind after a busy day.
Dotonbori’s promenade along the Dotonbori river is lined with bars and another popular go-to place for drinks is Hozenju Yokocho alley.
You could also head to Uranamba, literally meaning the back streets of Namba, which is located on the eastern side of Namba station.
The area has a bohemian atmosphere as for years it has been home to many theaters. Youngsters have rediscovered the area and their arrival has led to an explosion of new trendy bars and eateries.
The most popular bars are found in the alleys that stretch out from the Doguyasuji Shotengai.
If you are looking for a more local experience you should definitely visit Ohatsu Tenjin Urasando, the narrow alleys house many restaurants, bars, and izakayas. It’s a 5-minute walk from Osaka or Umeda station.
Osaka’s nightclubs are mostly located in Namba and Kita.
On Tripadvisor, you will find a selection of the best nightlife in Osaka.
Relax at Spa world
Nothing is more fun than to pamper yourself from time to time.
Japanese knew this already a very long time ago, the country’s oldest onsen are supposed to be more than 3000 years old.
An onsen literally means hot spring.
Nowadays the term is protected, an onsen must be supplied from a spring with a water temperature of at least 25 degrees that also contains a minimum amount of certain minerals.
It’s is generally accepted that the country counts more than 27000 of such onsen and they’re spread out all over the country.
Baths that are supplied by heated tap water are called sento although sometimes the terms are incorrectly mixed up.
Onsen take a central place in the daily rituals of many Japanese.
The minerals in the water are supposed to offer healing benefits but that is not the main reason for their visit.
It is primarily a social affair where friends and family go to an Onsen instead of a bar.
Of course, they also offer relaxation after a stressy business day or a tiring day of sightseeing.
If you want to learn more about Onsen etiquette, take a look here.
Spa world is the perfect place to discover the Japanese onsen. It’s a huge bath complex with a large number of onsen from around the world which are to be enjoyed the Japanese way, naked and gender-separated.
During uneven months the men get to enjoy the Asian styled rooms and the women the European styled rooms. During even months the roles are reversed.
Spa World Osaka
3 Chome-4-2 Ebisuhigashi, Naniwa-ku,
Osaka Prefecture 556-0002, Osaka
Pools and Bade zone Daily 10 am – 10 pm
Discount with the Osaka Amazing Pass
Osaka’s nightlife is thrilling. We were surprised by the continuous stream of people that flooded the major shopping streets after dark.
They do have something to offer for everyone.
You will find everything from bars and Izakayas over food trucks and small eateries that offer snacks for those who just want a quick bite to fancy restaurants with multi-course menus.
Osaka is a great city to discover the best of Japan’s bar and nightlife scene but even if you’re not hungry or thirsty the streets are fun to just do some people watching.
With this post, we hope to have inspired you to visit Osaka after dark.
Although Osaka is a wonderful city to explore during the day it comes truly alive at night when the neon lights are illuminated and the restaurants and bars are packed with people.
It would be a pity to not explore Osaka by night.
It’s easy and fun to do this on your own. If you book an organized night walk it the experience will even be educational and enriching at the same time.
More Japan travel tips
Here we share the best Japan travel tips.
When you’re traveling by train it’s also a good idea to forward your baggage. You can read these tips and much more in our separate article about traveling to Japan for the first time.
We traveled around Japan by train and could save a few bucks by buying a Japan Rail Pass in advance.
Wondering what to wear in Japan? Take a look at our complete Japan packing list.
Last but not least… As you might expect health care in Japan is excellent but it comes at a high cost. Make sure you have some sort of insurance before you leave for Japan. We never had anything serious happen on any of our journeys around the world but you know what they say, better safe than sorry…
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