Osaka is one of Japan’s largest cities, and it’s well-known and loved for all the exciting things it has to offer. From exciting nightlife to a rich cultural heritage, Osaka has it all.
Among the best ways to understand and engage the city’s history and culture is by visiting its many museums. If you’re interested in history and art or just want to learn more about the culture of Japan, you will be satisfied by the wealth of free and cutting-edge museums in Osaka.
If you plan a trip to Osaka, bring your walking shoes and discover the best of Osaka’s rich history and culture without breaking the bank.
The 10 Free Museums In Osaka You Should Not Miss
Let’s look at some of the best free museums in Osaka that are worth a stop on your trip!
- Osaka City Museum of Fine Arts
- Cup Noodles Museum
- Mint Museum Osaka
- Kansai University Museum
- Sakai City Traditional Crafts Museum
- Osaka International Peace Center
- KIX Sky Museum
- Glico Museum
- Osaka Science Museum (free with Osaka Amazing Pass)
- The Osaka Museum of Housing and Living (free for kids and seniors)
1. Osaka City Museum of Fine Arts
The Osaka City Museum of Fine Arts, or Osaka Municipal Museum of Art, is one of Osaka’s most prominent museums. It’s a large museum in Tennoji Park, home to a great assortment of artwork from Japan and around the world. Although access to the museum is free, visitors still have to pay a fee to see special exhibitions.
The area where the museum now stands, and the garden beside it were donated by the Sumitomo family in 1926 in the hopes of turning it into an art museum. However, it was only in 1936 that the museum finally opened after countless delays.
The museum’s collection includes more than 8,000 varied items, from paintings to ceramics and sculptures. Plenty of the items in the museum were donated by private collectors, which makes the collection more extensive and exciting.
For anyone interested in Japan’s overall art and culture, the Osaka City Museum of Fine Arts is a must-visit destination. It provides an intriguing glimpse into the world of Japanese and international art.
- Address: 543-0063 Tennojikoen, 1-82 Chausuyamacho, Tennoji-ku, Osaka
- Hours: Tuesday to Saturday: 9:30 am – 5:00 pm (admissions close 4:30 pm)
2. Cup Noodles Museum
The Cup Noodles Museum is a museum that showcases the importance of inventiveness by introducing the history of instant noodles, a new food culture invented in Japan in 1958.
As visitors step into the Cup Noodles Museum, they are greeted by an abundance of exhibits and immersive experiences. The Birth of Chicken Ramen exhibition even showcases the work shed where the first instant noodles, Chicken Ramen, was made.
However, the main highlight of the museum is the Cup Noodles Factory. Visitors become chefs as they design their own personalized Cup Noodles, from selecting the flavors of the soup to choosing toppings and designing the packaging.
- Address: Cup Noodles Museum Osaka
- Hours: Everyday: 9:00 am – 4:30 pm
3. Mint Museum Osaka
The Mint Museum was initially built as a thermal power plant but was later refurbished in 1969 to have a facility to introduce the Japan Mint’s activities to the public.
The museum, located within the Japan Mint Headquarters in Osaka, displays domestic and foreign coins, medals, and currency, as well as rare coins and even relics. The collection that looks at the history of Japanese money has over 4,000 pieces. Visitors are also allowed to see the manufacturing process at the factory.
In addition to viewing the museum’s extensive collection, tourists also flock to the museum every April for the beautiful cherry blossoms on the premises.
- Address: 530-0043 1-1-79, Temma 1-chome, kita-ku, Osaka
- Hours: Everyday: 9:00 am – 4:45 pm
4. Kansai University Museum
Inside the Senriyama Campus of Kansai University is the busy Kansai University Museum. The two exhibition galleries of the museum are filled with more than 10,000 artifacts from a wide range of fields, including geology, paleontology, botany, zoology, anthropology, and art history.
Most of the collections in the museum are donations from Hikoichi Motoyama, the former president of the Osaka Mainichi Newspaper.
The university also uses the museum for history studies and academic research classes. Additionally, the museum occasionally offers special exhibitions and classes to the public.
- Address: 564-8680 3-3-35 Yamate-cho, Suita-shi, Osaka
- Hours: Monday to Saturday: 10:00 am – 4:00 pm (admissions close 3:30 pm)
5. Sakai City Traditional Crafts Museum
Sakai City is in the southern part of Osaka Prefecture and is home to a must-visit museum. Unlike those more prominent in Osaka, Sakai City’s Traditional Crafts Museum is small.
Sakai City is renowned for its craftsmanship and production of world-class knives and cutting tools. It is no secret that chefs all over the world adore Japanese knives for their excellent quality. The Sakai City Traditional Crafts Museum allows visitors to see and learn the art of Japanese knife-making.
Although the museum focuses on knife-making, it also offers a look at other crafts. The most impressive feature of the museum is its interactive exhibits and workshops, which allow visitors to try their hand at various traditional crafts.
- Address: 1-1-30 Zaimokucho-nishi, Sakai-ku, Sakai-shi, Osaka
- Hours: Everyday: 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
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6. Osaka International Peace Center
The Osaka International Peace Center has a firm goal of educating its visitors about the past so they can have a better future. The museum documents the atrocities of World War II, focusing on the atomic bombings and Japan’s aggression in Asia. These exhibits are presented in a way that promotes peace education for future generations.
The museum showcases a wide range of displays relating to wartime events. There are artifacts, photographs, and personal accounts from the war. The Peace Center also features a library and a visual section where visitors can check out books, panels, and videos on different subtopics.
With its powerful exhibits and interactive programs, the museum offers visitors a one-of-a-kind and inspiring experience.
- Address: 540-0002 2-1 Osakajo, Chuo-ku, Osaka
- Hours: Tuesdays to Sundays: 10:00 am – 6:00 pm (admissions close 4:30 pm)
7. KIX Sky Museum
The KIX Sky Museum is a museum inside Kansai International Airport, dedicated to presenting the history and technology of aviation, focusing on the Kansai region’s contributions to the field.
The museum is divided into different areas that show the airport’s history. There are many places to explore, such as the airport’s operations and aircraft, cockpit instruments, and other learning facilities. There are also simulators, such as an actual-sized cockpit and a control tower, where visitors can get a feel of working in the industry.
- Address: 549-0001 1 Senshukukokita, Izumisano, Osaka
- Hours: Everyday: 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
8. Glico Museum
Anyone who knows a little about Japanese snack brands knows about Glico. They’re the company behind the popular snack, Pocky. People can learn more about the popular brand, their history, and their products at the Glico Memorial Museum in Osaka.
The highlight of the museum tour is being able to see the manufacturing process of Pocky and Pretz. Visitors are even given a chance to try their hand at making their own candy.
The museum also offers workshops and events throughout the year, such as chocolate-making classes and seasonal exhibits.
The Glico Museum is a fun and engaging destination for both kids and adults!
- Address: 555-8502 4-6-5 Utajima, Yodogawa-ku, Osaka
- Hours: Mondays to Fridays, Sundays: 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
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9. Osaka Science Museum
For tourists looking for kid-friendly museums, the Osaka Science Museum is the best option. The Osaka Science Museum was designed with children in mind. It has four floors of interactive exhibits about the universe, chemistry, and space that will surely excite children.
Visitors can experience hands-on activities and experiments, watch live science demonstrations, and explore cutting-edge technology. The museum’s planetarium even has rotating programs that change every three months.
In addition to its exhibits and programs, the Osaka Science Museum has a gift shop and a cafeteria where visitors can purchase snacks and souvenirs.
- Address: 555-8502 4-6-5 Utajima, Yodogawa-ku, Osaka
- Hours: Tuesdays to Sundays: 9:30 am – 5:00 pm (admissions close 4:30 pm)
10. The Osaka Museum of Housing and Living
One of the most charming museums in Osaka is the Osaka Museum of Housing and Living. It presents a glimpse into Osaka’s past through immersive exhibits that recreate life during the Edo, Meiji, Taisho, and Showa periods of history.
Unlike other museums, the exhibits in this museum are lifesize townscapes. Guests can walk in the streets and take a look inside houses. The experience is quite like stepping back in time.
Additionally, the museum has interactive exhibits where visitors can try on traditional clothing, participate in cultural activities such as tea ceremonies, and even experience a simulated earthquake.
- Address: 530-0041 8F Housing Information Center bldg, 6-4-20 Tenjinbashi, Kita-ku, Osaka
- Hours: Mondays, Wednesdays to Sundays: 9:30 am – 5:00 pm (admissions close 4:30 pm)
Osaka is a city rich in culture and history, and we hope this list of Osaka’s 10 free museums gives you an idea of where to start exploring.
Whether you’re interested in science, art, history, or food, there’s a museum in Osaka that’s perfect for you. So, the next time you’re in Osaka, visit some of these free museums and explore the city’s rich heritage and culture.
If you want more tips on traveling to Osaka, feel free to also read our posts about the best food tours in Osaka, the best cooking classes in Osaka, the best day trips from Osaka and the best onsen towns near Osaka!