After Tokyo, visitors will most likely think of Osaka. Osaka is the second largest area in Japan, and is an absolute beast when it comes to beautiful landscapes, delicious food, and authentic Japanese culture.
Whilst it does tend to get overlooked by visitors as ‘another Tokyo’, if you’re willing to delve deeper, you will find that Osaka is as original as they come. What you experience here will be vastly different from what you experience in Tokyo, or anywhere else in Japan for the matter.
The great thing about this list of the top 7 most Instagrammable places in Osaka is that it will take you around the city and its outskirts, but no further. Yes, that’s right, you can experience some of the greatest sights that Osaka can offer without worrying about getting to and from. They can easily be slotted into your Osaka itinerary, or else you can try and squeeze them in one day. Osaka is quite like that: flexible, generous, and always a good time.
The 7 Most Instagrammable Places in Osaka
Here are our list of the must-see places in Osaka:
- Shinsekai Street
- Osaka Castle
- Dotonbori street
- Sumo Tournament
- Umeda Sky Building
- Minoo Waterfall
1. Shinsekai Street
This suburb is a bright burst of colour into anyone’s life. Famous for being Osaka’s ‘old downtown district’, it carries an air of nostalgia through its retro-style stalls and shops which often has visitors stopping at the displays and mascots out front just to take photos. It’s definitely considered one of the best photo spots in towns simply because:
- It’s so visually crazy and appealing,
- There are so many photo opportunities everywhere.
Don’t forget to also try and capture an image of Tsutenkaku Tower, which is considered the unofficial symbol of Shinsekai!
- Address: 1 Ebisuhigashi, Naniwa Ward, Osaka, 556-0002, Japan
- Access: It is a short walk from Shin-Imamiya station.
2. Osaka Castle
This visually stunning castle will take your breath away from the moment you lay eyes on it. Surprisingly, one of the things that make this place stand out is the fact that it’s surrounded by metropolitan buildings. Because of this uniqueness in location, this castle appears to be that much more special.
The grand structure itself is nothing to look pass either: it’s a multi-storey white castle that boasts hints of gold on its exterior, making it a popular structure to capture from the outside. One of the most popular activities here is to pack a small picnic and sit underneath the blossom trees at the Nishinomaru Garden which sits on the castle grounds.
During the cherry blossom season, this place is spectacular, and the crowds all know it! This is the best time to try and capture an image of the castle.
- Address: 1-1 Osakajo, Chuo Ward, Osaka, 540-0002, Japan
- Access: From Osaka Station, take the JR Loop line to Osakajokoen station and alight there for a 20-minute walk to the castle.
If you are looking for more beautiful castles in Japan, you can also check out this blog post: Most beautiful castles in Japan.
Known as the entertainment district of Osaka, most tourists visiting Osaka will likely be staying in or around Dotonburi street, making it one of the easiest photo opportunities in Osaka! Dotonburi street runs parallel to the Dotonburi Canal, so you can make your way up one route and down the other quite easily.
The street itself is a colourful amalgamation of bright neon lights, flashing billboard advertisements, and a multitude of bars, restaurants and street stalls.
In amongst all this noise and clutter, you’re bound to find an opportunity to take a hectic photo for the ‘gram! Whether it be right in the middle of Dotonburi street with the hustle and bustle going on around you, in front of the pretty Canal with colourful reflections of the lights in the background, or posing in front of the Glico man, Dotonburi is where the fun is at.
- Address: 1 Chome-9 Dotonbori, Chuo Ward, Osaka, 542-0071, Japan
- Access: It is a short walk from Namba, Shinsaibashi or JR Namba station.
If you want to capture professional pictures taken by a local photographer in Osaka, we highly recommend you to book a photo session with Tom Kitano. He will take you to the hidden photo spots of Dotonbori and will take stunning photos of you, ready to be shared on Insta!
You can also discover more photoshoots in Osaka here!
4. Sumo Tournament
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Many visitors come to Japan in hopes of being able to witness a sumo tournament, not realising that it’s not as easy as 1-2-3 to get a ticket, and that it’s quite a seasonal event. However, for those who are interested in witness this unique to Japan sport, we can definitely help you there.
Grand Sumo Tournaments are held a few months a year across the country and last 15 days each. For Osaka, the Grand Sumo Tournament happens in March, and it’s quite a festivity! Being able to experience seeing two sumo wrestlers live and going at each other and vastly different from watching it on an anime or even a movie! We highly recommend adding this into your itinerary because there’s nothing quite like it. Your Instagram will be poppin’!
If you’re interested, click here to reserve a ticket to the tournament.
As one of Japan’s oldest temples ever, you’d be surprised at just how well-maintained and stunning this temple is. Don’t be fooled though, the building structures of this temple have actually been burnt down a few times in the past few centuries, however, every single time it has not failed to be carefully re-constructed to replicate its original 6th century design.
The temple consists of the gorgeous Gokurakumon (‘Paradise Gate’), the Chushin Garan (an inner complex which consists of the main hall the Kodo lecture hall, and a stunning five-storey pagoda), the Treasure House (a building which houses ancient and sacred artifacts, documents, and statues), and the most popular of them all, the Gokurakujodo Garden (a stunning and peaceful garden consisting of a pond, streams, and cherry trees).
As you can imagine, all around the temple grounds you will be able to capture insanely beautiful historic photos of Japan that will make you the envy of your family and friends. Definitely of one the most instagrammable places in Osaka!
- Address: 1-11-18 Shitennoji, Tennoji Ward, Osaka, 543-0051, Japan
- Access: From JR Tennoji Station, walk 10-minutes north and you will arrive at the temple grounds.
6. Umeda Sky Building
As with most cities in Japan, Osaka boasts quite an impressive skyrise building that has an observation deck which offers a sweeping view of the city. It’s 173m tall and also hosts a busy and entertaining restaurant floor that resembles a town in the early Showa Period – very historic!
The best thing about this building is that not only does it offer incredible views of the city both day and night (we recommend visiting during sunset for that gorgeous warm glow or at night when the building lights are twinkling), but riding in the spectacular escalator which connects the two buildings that make up the Umea Sky Building is quite an experience in itself! In fact, if you check Instagram now, you’ll find that pictures of tourists riding the escalator is also as popular as pictures of the observation deck itself. You should check it out for yourself!
If you’d like to book tickets to the observation deck early to avoid the queues, click here to make a reservation now. All you have to do is buy, download, print, and show!
- Address: 1 Chome-1-88 Oyodonaka, Kita Ward, Osaka, 531-6023, Japan
- Access: From Osaka or Umeda Station, it is a 10-15-minute walk.
- Booking: Get Tickets to the Observation Deck here.
7. Minoo Waterfall
If you’re thinking the concrete jungle that is Osaka is full of grey buildings and city lights, you are wrong! Just north of the sprawling city, and only a 25-minute trip away from the city cenre, sits Minoo Waterfall, an often-overlooked waterfall which sits in the middle of a forested valley. It’s locally renowned for being beautiful, so much so that there have been benches built before the waterfall for groups of people to sit and admire the natural beauty.
The easy hike (45-minutes one-way on average) is littered with temples and shops and a slight descent, but it can definitely be done by children and the elderly. If you’re thinking you need to break up your Instagram feed that’s full of food and city attractions, show off one of Osaka’s best natural landscapes and visit Minoo Waterfall.
- Address: Minookoen, Minoo, Osaka 562-0002
- Access: From Hankyu Umeda Station, take the Takarazuka line to Ishibashi Station, and then transfer to the Minoo line to Minoo station. The trip will take 25-minutes. From Minoo Station, it will take 45-minutes to hike to and from the waterfall if you don’t stop along the way.
I hope you enjoyed our blog post about the most Instagrammable places in Osaka! Osaka’s food scene is definitely one of the prime reasons why people visit and enjoy the city so much, but don’t forget that it’s also a city full of beauty and wonderful landscapes just begging to be photographed. From gorgeous historic temples to skyrise buildings, to waterfalls in the middle of valleys, you’ll be spoilt for choice here.
For more tips about Osaka, you can also check out this accommodation guide: Where to stay in Osaka. And if you want to visit cities around Osaka during a day, check out our list of the 10 best day trips from Osaka.