Unlike many other cities around Japan, where there is one city centre, and it is from there you base your accommodation and itinerary around, Osaka is a complex maze of a city. It’s made up of several ‘city centres’, each offering their own take on the vibrance that is Osaka. Therefore, it’s hard to actually pinpoint exactly where you should be staying to be in on all the action, especially if it’s your first time.
For those that are wondering, Osaka city is actually very big. In saying that, accessing various parts of the city is easy due to Japan’s gloriously convenient transportation system and innate punctuality. However, if you’re looking for suggestions on where to stay to ensure as minimal walking and training as possible, then read on for our suggestions of the top areas to stay in Osaka for your accommodation
Where to Stay in Osaka – Namba
Namba is arguably the most popular area in Osaka for tourists to stay if they want to be in the thick of all the popular sightseeing attractions and awesome Japanese eateries. It’s considered the biggest entertainment district in all of Osaka, and, similar to Shinjuku in Tokyo, it’s the part of the city that never sleeps.
It’s referred to as Minami Namba, Minami meaning ‘south’. It’s transportation system is absolutely huge, which may be confusing for some. You can access almost all of Osaka from Namba station alone, so for those looking at doing multiple day trips, this is something to consider.
Namba is home to major tourist hot spots such as Dontonburi, Shinsaibashi, and Shinsekai. The former is a massively long and condensed street that runs parallel to the Dontonburi canal. It offers hundreds of shopping opportunities, entertainment outlets, and, of course, is the ultimate foodie’s dream. From street food stalls to budget chain restaurants to high end classy food establishments, Dontonburi has it all.
At night, the famous Glico Running Man sign lights up and you can take the typical but must-have picture that everyone captures on the bridge (i.e. you standing in the same stance as the Glico man!). Shinsaibashi boasts a covered shopping arcade that’s considered Osaka’s premiere shopping centre, offering a multitude of chain retail stores as well as boutiques and department stores.
Shinsekai is the small downtown area which has a high concentration of kushikatsu restaurants which specialise in deep-fried skewered meat and vegetables.
You can also visit little attraction areas such as Amerikamura (Osaka’s version of Harajuku), Den Den Town (Osaka’s smaller version of Akihabara), Kuromon Ichiba (a fresh seafood market), Hozenji Yokocho (a small restaurant alleyway that’s frequented by mainly locals), and the Namba Yakasa Shrine (home of the giant lion head).
To finish, Namba is also pretty convenient to visit the amazing Osaka castle which is part of our top 10 castles in Japan!
Namba Guesthouse Recommendation – Guest House Rice Chikko
This awesome guest house offers superb modern budget accommodation at a fraction of the price that you would expect with something of this quality. Boasting contemporary design and facilities, expect your room to come with a flat-screen TV, free toiletries, and free Wi-Fi.
Why Guests Love It: If you’re looking at visiting the aquarium, Universal Studios Japan, and ferris wheel, then this is the place to stay. There’s an onsite bar here that presents a great opportunity to meet other people.
Book It Now: Guest House Rice Chikko
Namba Hotel Recommendation – Doutonburi Crystal Hotel II
This four-star hotel is nothing short of impressive, especially considering the incredibly inexpensive price that you’re paying. Whilst the rooms are slightly smaller than the average for a hotel in Japan, the modern facilities absolutely make up for it.
In addition, with services such as a 24-hour front desk, room services, luggage storage options, and a full buffet breakfast, you won’t need to look anywhere else.
Why Guests Love It: It was literally a 10-minute walk to Dotonburi, and a few minutes further for the main train station and bus stops. If you’re a fan of Korean food fare, there’s lots of it to check out around here.
Book It Now: Dountonburi Crystal Hotel II
Where to Stay in Osaka – Tennoji
In the southeast region of Osaka is Tennoji, home to the tallest skyscraper in Japan. Similar to Namba, Tennoji train station is one of the largest transport hubs in Osaka, serving multiple lines.
Tennoji is the ultimate shopping destination for those looking to shop until they drop. Due to recent renovations to the area, Tennoji now boasts seven different shopping outlets accessible immediately from the station. You can imagine how long it would take to get through that!
The Abeno Harukas building holds the title as Japan’s tallest building standing at 300 metres tall. The best way to experience this tower is to visit the Harukas 300 observatory at night. Although you can head on up during the day as well, it’s really the night view that will take your breath away.
Also located within Tennoji is Shitennoji, one of Osaka’s oldest temples. Its origin dates all the way back to 1,400 years ago, and whilst it’s been destroyed multiple times through fires, it’s always been rebuilt to replicate its original form.
There are often religious and celebratory ceremonies taking place in this temple, where, at night, hundreds of candles are lit, presenting a glorious sight.
If you don’t want to travel far but want to experience a (non)typical Japanese bath house, look no further than Spa World, a huge multi-level water theme park that offers multiple pools, saunas, stone spas, onsens, massage facilities, gyms, and sleeping/lounging areas (plus loads more) to experience.
There’s a dedicated kids park area where you can let your children roam free and they won’t get bored for hours. For a little bit of excitement mixed with some R&R, Spa World is a great place to visit.
Tennoji Guesthouse Recommendation – First Cabin Station Abenoso
First Class Station Abenoso is located only minutes away from Tennoji Station. It is a capsule hotel that features larger-than-average capsule beds that are clean and contemporary in design. The entire complex has been designed with a modern outlook from its 24/7 front desk area all the way to the spacious shared bathrooms.
If you’d like to experience this place but are not keen on the small-ish space, we recommend booking anything from the double room onwards – they’re still super affordable, but you’ll get more personal space to relax in.
Why Guests Love It: It’s right in between Tennoji Station and Abeno Station, making traveling very easy and convenient. The breakfast is sensational so please don’t forget to include that i your booking. From Tennoji, you will be able to access almost all of Osaka’s tourist hotspots.
Book It Now: First Class Station Abenoso
By the way, if you are looking for more capsule hotel recommendations in Osaka, check out this blog post: Capsule Hotel Osaka.
Tennoji Hotel Recommendation – Osaka Marriott Miyako
The global hotel brand Marriott is synonymous with elegance, class, and quality, and that’s exactly what you get (and pay for) at the Osaka Marriott Miyako. Located only minutes away from Tennoji Station (with direct access, no less), you pretty much can’t go wrong if you’re looking for a premium-grade stay near the transport hub.
This hotel is actually located within the famous Abeno Harukas building itself, and a great advantage of staying here is being able to get a 360-degree view of the entire city from 58th floor (otherwise, all guest rooms offer incredible views of the city regardless!).
Why Guests Love It: The direct access to Tennoji Station was massive help, especially during the rainy season. If you are feeling lazy, there are actually a number of high-end shops on the lower floors of the building which are easily accessible.
Book It Now: Osaka Marriott Miyako
Where to Stay in Osaka – Umeda
In the northern region of Osaka sits Umeda. The district itself comprises of two major transport hubs: Umeda Station as well as Osaka Station. This is the busiest transport hub in all of Osaka.
Within the train stations, you will be able to access a multitude of services without even having to step foot outside of the station, including businesses, boutique shops, department stalls, hotels, plenty of restaurants, and underground shopping malls.
The main area of Umeda which centres around the transport hub is actually connected via underground tunnels and bridges, so if you’re visiting during the wet weather season, consider this!
One of the main draws to Umeda is its promise of a full diverse food scene to explore. Whilst we urge you to try authentic Japanese food fare, and especially those that are distinct to the Osaka region such as kushikatsu, takoyaki, okonomiyaki, and yakiniku, Umeda presents a world of opportunities to try food from all over the world as well as region-specific Japanese food that you can try, such as Hakata-style ramen (originating all the way in Fukuoka).
If you are one for aesthetic buildings and wonderful sights, give the Umeda Sky Building is a great place to visit. Its unique architecture is what usually draws out the cameras initially, but once you make your way to the top and step into the circular walkway connecting the two buildings, you’ll be snapping away like mad. At night, the walkway actually lights up, making every step magical.
For a full day of urban exploration, we recommend heading to the HEP, or Hankyu Entertainment Park, which is one of Osaka’s largest and most popular shopping and entertainment complexes. It features a multitude of shops to explore, restaurants to try, and of course, is home to the famous HEP ferris wheel, which juts out from the roof of the HEP FIVE building to create quite a spectacle.
Umeda Guesthouse Recommendation – Osaka Guesthouse Sakura
For a no-frills mixed Japanese-western style accommodation that’s walkable to Umeda Station, Osaka Guesthouse Sakura is a wonderful option. Equipped with all the amenities you need for a few days of exploring and resting, this guest house offers Japanese-style private guest rooms with tatami mat flooring and fluffy futon bedding as well as western-style dorm rooms for those who really want to cut on cost and can share a bit of privacy.
Why Guests Love It: It’s literally right in the heart of Osaka, so you can almost access anything from anywhere nearby, without too much time or trouble. Also, if you can, make time for the guest house’s hosted Takoyaki Parties, they’re super fun and a great way to meet other people.
Book It Now: Osaka Guesthouse Sakura
You May Also Like: Osaka On A Budget – Travel Tips
Umeda Hotel Recommendation – The Rise Osaka Kitashinchi
This three-star hotel looks and feels more like a five-star hotel. Its upmarket ambience will give you Manhattan vibes right in the middle of Osaka, if that’s what you’re looking for. The impressive room sizes, decor, furnishing, and well-equipped bathrooms will win-over even the most skeptical of travellers.
There’s a 24-hour front desk service, free Wi-Fi is available throughout the hotel, each room features a flat-screen TV and sleeping gear including nightwear, slippers, and towels are provided for all guests. I mean, if this doesn’t scream luxury and comfort at an extremely affordable price, I don’t know what does.
Why Guests Love It: If you’re skeptical with hotel toiletries, give this place a go. The stuff they provide is amazing! The rooms were even equipped with extra charging ports, something that’s seemingly so basic but helped so much.
There were supermarkets and convenience stores literally at the doorstep of the hotels, so you’ll pretty much have everything in the palm of your hand here.
Book It Now: The Rise Osaka Kitashinchi
Based on our information above, even we are confused as to where to stay, because all three areas just sound amazing! To be completely honest, it will take you only minutes on the train to reach each destination from each other, so between Namba, Tennoji, and Umeda, you won’t be too inconvenienced, and they all have so many attractions to entertain you regardless of where you choose.
However, this of course depends on your itinerary. Sometimes day trips require early departures from specific train stations, so this is something you need to keep in mind when making your decision as well. We hope you enjoy your stay in Osaka immensely!
PS: For more travel tips about Osaka, make sure to read this too: Most Instagrammable Places in Osaka.