First Time Going to Osaka or Kyoto Area? 10 Must Visit Places!!

Hi ! We hope this site helps you! ٩(ˊᗜˋ*)و As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases without additional cost. Click to read more about our Privacy Policy or Affiliate Disclosure

These are the 10 Must Visit Places within Osaka and Kyoto area, it’s a MUST READ it if it’s the first time you’re going there!

Kyoto and Osaka

Why both, you asked? It’s because the distance between Kyoto and Osaka is only about an hour and cost less than a thousand yen. When you visit Kyoto area you should also visit Osaka, and vice versa! The best part of going to Kyoto and Osaka is that you can do a lot of day trip to a nearby city. Use either Kyoto or Osaka as your main basecamp.

1. Shinsaibashi & Dotonburi

This is the best place to go for shopping in Osaka. There are a lot of shops you can visit. Restaurants, street food, clothes, anything you want! Note that this area closes around 9 – 10 o’clock at night. And some restaurant line up will take you about an hour or more waiting time. So plan your time well when you’re visiting this area.


The view in this shopping street is beautiful even at night! By the way, don’t forget to take a picture with the GLICO man!


If you’re going to shop for cosmetics or snacks as souvenirs for family and friends, be sure to visit the DON QUIJOTE store in Dotonburi.

2. Fushimi Inari

If you haven’t been here yet, then you haven’t been to Japan! This is the place of the iconic red gate (called Toori) that you see all the time in Japan travel ads.
You can go hike up to the top of the temple or you could just take a photo and go to other place. It’s your call!


3. Nara

Nara is a city actually, but it’s located nearby Kyoto & Osaka and you can easily do a day trip here. What’s good about Nara? The deer of course! Lot’s of deer! You will never find anything like this in other place. The deer will roam around freely and you can buy some snack to feed them.


The main place you can visit is Nara park and the Todaiji temple. You can pick either one since both places have a lot of deer to play with. Don’t forget to pack a hand sanitizer and tissues with you since things could get a bit of messy and a toilet is quite hard to find!


4. Umeda Sky Building

Provided that you’re not going to Tokyo to see other observatory towers, Umeda Sky Building is a must see observatory tower that you can visit in Osaka. The best part of this tower is that you can go up to 35 floors with no charge (a.k.a FREE!!).


The best thing about Umeda observatory tower is the escalator above the air that is similar to the “stairs of heaven”. You can’t find this view anywhere else~ The flower observatory can be accessed with just a few hundred yen.


5. Universal Studio

One of the best theme park for thrill seeker. Harry Potter fans might be in tears seeing a living Hogwarts in front of their eyes. But really! The Harry Potter 4D ride is a ride worth to be waiting for. The line up could be crazy (up to 3-4 hours), but even with that kind of long line up, it’s still worth it.


If you’re not afraid of height, definitely The Flying Dinosaur ride and both the Hollywood Dream and Backdrop rollercoaster. Note that this park is best for people who seek thrill. Family with little children could still get some fun with ride such as the Dinosaur or Jaw boat ride and Spiderman 4d ride. But the real gems of this park are the grown up rides.


If you have the budget, come up early and snatch up their fast pass (they are sold out at 11-12 at noon) so you can avoid long queue and play with ease. The total cost would add up almost twice of original price, but you’ll end up playing with a lot of rides with much less queue time.

There are a few types of fast pass. Basically, the fast pass only let you ride some of their best ride and not all of them. Still worth it? Depends on your need! So plan out carefully.

6. Arashiyama Bamboo and bridge

The scenery that you will find in this place is very unique and soothing. A type of scenery that can bring you to enlightenment. The view from the bridge is magnificent, especially in falls where the leaves turn to red/orange. The bamboo forest is one of the favorite place to take pre-wedding shot. It’s one of the scenery that you can only find in Japan.


Note that the Arashiyama bamboo forest and Arashiyama bridge are best seen before dark, so plan your time well.


7. Kiyomizudera Temple

This temple located high above the ground. The view in spring where the sakura flowers bloom or in fall where the leaves are turning to fire-red colors is beyond words.


Note that you will need to walk the stairs a lot (about more than an hour back-forth), so it might not be a good place to visit with people who have difficulty walking up the stairs.

8. Osaka Castle

Definitely, visit the place in spring or falls where the lines of trees give off beautiful colors. The park is quite huge but there’s a map inside to make sure that you don’t get lost. You can also ask some of the patrolmen nearby and they will gladly take you to the castle area.


9. Kaiyukan Aquarium

Located in the Osaka Bay, Kaiyukan is one of the best aquarium you can visit in Japan and also one of the largest aquarium in the world. The main feature of this aquarium is the whale shark. Yes, you could see this magnificent creature below inside the aquarium.


You can also see other fancy & exotic marine animals such as penguins and dolphins.


If you’re not in a hurry, the Tempozan Ferris Wheel located nearby is also worth the ride. If you can, pick the transparent one where you can see the view below your feet!

10. SPA world

Get a taste of hot spring bath around the world in the city of Osaka. There are 2 different zones, Europe and Asia. Depending on the month, each zone is assigned for either male / female.

Note that you will need to be naked when taking a bath inside. They will give you a towel and robe to walk with though~

First time going to Japan on your own?

Be sure to prepare yourself well before you go to Japan. Check out this article to help you plan what you need to have in Japan.

Language can be an obstacle since many people in Japan couldn’t speak English. You could either try to learn a bit of basic Japanese or you could also use free apps like Japan Travel Phrasebook to help you.

This app provide a lot of practical phrase you will need to travel such as “I want to go to …” or “Where is the toilet?”. You can imitate the phrases until you memorize them or you can simply bookmark the phrases and show it up to local so they can immediately understand what you need.

Hope it helps and have a wonderful trip! °˖✧◝(⁰▿⁰)◜✧˖°