Fukuoka to Osaka: Where to Stay and What to do in Osaka

Osaka has long been one of the major cities in Japan, and the gateway of trade and culture for centuries. As a result, people from this area are regarded to be fast-talking and straight-shooting. This is in complete opposition to those from Tokyo, who tend to be more reserved (they both even stand on different sides of the elevator)!

Rooted in rich history, as well as being launched into modernity by their close connection with trade, Osaka is bright in culture, history, and especially delicious Kansai food!

Fukuoka to Osaka

How to Get to Osaka

Osaka is centrally located in Japan. Situated in the Kansai region, it is a haven for Japanese culture and temperate weather, and is easily accessible from nearly every area of Japan. So, wandering into Osaka is no problem at all!

There are two airports located in Osaka, so flying in from Fukuoka Airport is very easy. Kansai International Airport (KIX) is the larger airport as well as the home terminal of the budget airline, Peach. From KIX, there are several direct trains to central Osaka. The fastest is the JR Haruka limited express train which takes only 30 minutes to Tennoji Station. It costs ¥1710 for an unreserved seat, and ¥2200 for a reserved seat. For those headed to Namba, you can take the Nankai Railways “Rap:t” limited express train which costs ¥1430 and takes 35 minutes. A seat reservation is needed. Another option is the airport limousine bus. It takes about 45 minutes to Namba (¥1000), or 60 minutes to Umeda (¥1550).

Rap:t Osaka Train

Most domestic flights will come through the more centrally-located domestic Itami Airport instead. From Itami Airport, you can take the monorail one stop to Hotarugaike Station, then transfer to the Hankyu Takarazuka Line to Umeda Station. The journey takes about 20 minutes and costs ¥420. Alternatively, it takes 25 minutes and costs ¥640 by airport bus to go to either Namba Station or Umeda Station.

With the competitive prices of low cost airlines, sometimes flying is cheaper than taking the shinkansen. However, if you prefer the convenience of trains, a Nozomi Shinkansen train takes only 2 ½ hours from Hakata Station to Shin-Osaka station. You can transfer at Shin-Osaka for your local destination. A one way ticket costs ¥15,110.

Things to do in Osaka

There are countless things to do in Osaka, from futuristic and cutting edge, to historic and full of character, Osaka is one of the major hubs for both old and new Japan. When visiting Osaka, one can never miss out on true Japanese culture.

Osaka Castle: Built by Toyotomi Hideyoshi in the 16th century, this historic castle is in the center of a large park. Enjoy some street food in the park, or be entertained by the street performers before heading into the castle. The keep is a recent reconstruction, and the interior is concrete. However, the museum inside is one of the more interesting of the castle museums. Just remember there are 8 stories to the top! From the top of the castle you can see not only parts of the old castle wall and moat but also the modern skyscrapers of Osaka. Admission is 600 yen, but that’s well worth it just for the view!

Osaka Castle

Peace Osaka: If you are interested in more modern Japanese history, check out the nearby Peace Osaka Museum. This museum offers a fascinating and critical look into wartime Japan. The top floor is dedicated to the air-raids that destroyed much of Osaka, and the bottom floor is dedicated to Japan’s aggressions in Asia. With artifacts, photos, and testimony of the destruction on both sides, will make you consider the price everyone pays in war. Admission is ¥250.

Namba Area: Namba is the place to go for shopping and food. Namba Parks, with a multi-story rooftop garden, represents the high-end of shopping in Osaka while Amerikamura is the place for young people looking for the latest trends. After some shopping, head to Dotonbori for a snack. Dotonbori is an iconic canal street lit up brilliantly with flashing neon lights and advertisements. This is where you can see the famous Glico Running Man, as well as try delicious Osaka specialties of okonomiyaki and takoyaki. Try going there in the evening for drinks and the view.

Osaka dotonbori

Sumiyoshi Taisha: This is the head shrine of Sumiyoshi, the god of travelers, fishermen, and sailors. Founded in the 3rd century, it is one of the oldest shrines in Japan. Sumiyoshi Taisha uses a unique type of native Japanese architecture called Sumiyoshi-zukuri; straight, rather than curved roofs, and vertical ornamental decorations (chigi) as well as horizontal ornamental poles (katsuogi). There is also a stunning bridge over a pond leading up to the entrance. It is called the Taiko Bridge (Drum Bridge) because of its high arch. Though slightly out of the way from central Osaka, Sumiyoshi Taisha is well worth the trip. Admission is free.

Osaka Sumiyoshi bridge

Shitennoji and Shinsekai: During the daytime, stop by Shitennoji. This is one of Japan’s oldest temples, built by Prince Shotoku in 593. Though burned down several times, it has been faithfully reconstructed according to the original design. In the inner precinct is a five story pagoda which can actually be entered (because they house sacred relics, it is rare that pagodas can be entered by the general public). The outer grounds are free; admission to the inner grounds is ¥300. At night, check out Shinsekai. Shinsekai was once the “New World” of Osaka. Heavily developed before World War II, it’s now run-down and gritty – and full of character. The inspiration for Shinsekai was Paris-meets-Coney Island, and its iconic Tsutenkaku Tower was supposedly modeled off the Eiffel Tower. While perhaps lacking the sophistication of Paris, Shinsekai doesn’t lose out in heart – or in delicious food! Shinsekai is the home of kushikatsu, delicious skewers of fried meats and vegetables with a savory sauce. Many of the shops are open 24 hours for whenever your hunger strikes. If you want a taste of the real Osaka spirit, Shinsekai is the place to go.

Hotels in Osaka

Osaka is a huge city, and there are countless places to stay at almost any budget. From palatial suites, to hostels and bottom-rate motels, one never has to sleep on the street while in this port city.

Extremely cheap hotel rooms (as low as ¥2000) can be found in the Shin-Imamiya and Shinsekai area, but keep in mind the rooms will be very basic and the area a bit rough. Otherwise, cheap hostels in Osaka are great options. Not only for an inexpensive price, but also a chance to interact with other travelers and make many memories. ‘Tani 9 Backpackers’ is a cozy and relaxed hostel within walking distance of Osaka Castle and Namba. A bed in the mixed dormitory is ¥2700 or ¥2800 in the female dorm.

If you are looking for convenience and a little more comfort, Toyoko Inn is a reliable business chain with several hotels around Osaka. A single room costs around ¥7000. Shin Osaka Station Hotel is, as the name suggests, conveniently located near Shin-Osaka Station. It is another business oriented hotel costing around ¥7000 per night.

For those with a little more to spend who want a western-style hotel room, Best Western Hotel Fino Osaka Shinsaibashi has you covered; double rooms for around ¥11000 per night. With vending machines and a buffet breakfast, it’s convenience and comfort all in one.
Osaka is a wonderful place, and too often overlooked by travelers. Look behind the Shadow of the metropolis of Tokyo, and the historical epicenter that is Kyoto, and discover the city that sits comfortably in the middle of both worlds.

Osaka is a wonderful place, and too often overlooked by travelers. Look behind the Shadow of the metropolis of Tokyo, and the historical epicenter that is Kyoto, and discover the city that sits comfortably in the middle of both worlds.

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