|Live Like a Local
These 5 Osaka Sites Will Rack Up the Instagram Likes (and Maybe a Little Envy)
Though most people think of Tokyo as Japan’s foremost vacation destination, the vibrant port city of Osaka casts its own seductive spell. The third largest city in Japan, Osaka is known as tenka no daidokoro, or “the nation’s kitchen.” It is a foodie’s paradise, thanks to its history as an epicenter for commerce and the distribution of goods like rice and produce throughout Japan.
Yes, the city’s rich and diverse cuisine is part of what makes it so Instagrammable, but Osaka gives Tokyo a run for its money thanks to an array of historic landmarks and vibrant neighborhoods.
Ready to impress and induce envy in your Insta followers? Check out Osaka’s most photogenic sites below.
1. Dotonbori Shopping and Entertainment District
One of the most famous sightseeing spots in Osaka, the pedestrian-friendly Dotonbori neighborhood is best known for its animated billboards, delicious street food and festive vibe. Snap (and savor) some mouthwatering takoyaki, the batter-fried octopus balls that are the city’s signature snack. Or take a selfie in front of the neon Glico Man sign, picturing a triumphant runner on a track advertising Glico candy, a famous Asian confectionery.
2. Osaka Castle and Park
Osaka Castle is another must-see, built by Toyotomi Hideyoshi in 1583 and significant for its role in helping unify Japan during the samurai era. The castle-turned-museum offers amazing views of the city, and the surrounding park is filled with approximately 3,000 cherry blossom trees that explode with color in the springtime, along with plum, apricot and peach trees.
3. Minoo National Park and Minoo Falls
A quick escape from Osaka’s suburban sprawl, Minoo Park is one of the best places to experience the vivid autumn leaves in Japan’s Kansai Region. Minoo Park’s hiking trail leads visitors from Hankyu Minoo Station on a 45-minute walk overlooking the Minoo River. It all leads to the main attraction, the 33-meter-tall Minoo Waterfall. If you can manage to capture the beauty of this forested valley in a photo — while munching on momiji tempura, maple leaves deep fried in tempura batter — you’ll have undoubtedly won the Instagram game.
4. Tsutenkaku Tower and Shinsekai District
You won’t have truly seen Osaka until you’ve visited the top floor of Tsutenkaku Tower, an architectural icon known as the Eiffel Tower of Osaka. The observation tower, standing at 103 meters tall, gives you a complete view of the surrounding cityscape from the 91-foot-tall top deck. The tower’s fifth floor is home to the statue of Biriken, the god of good luck, who is said to bring fortune to those who rub the bottom of his feet. Tsutenkaku Tower is located in the Shinsekai district of Osaka, home to deep-fried staple kushikatsu, a skewer dish made with chicken, beef, pumpkin, asparagus and more.
5. Sumiyoshi Taisha Shrine
With a history dating back over 1,800 years, the Sumiyoshi Taisha Shrine is one of Japan’s oldest and most treasured shrines, built using a style of architecture that’s noted for being purely Japanese and free of influence from the Asian mainland. The beautiful red-accented Sorihashi Bridge leads to the entrance of the main shrine grounds. The bridge’s uniquely high arch reflects in the water below to create an elegant oval shape — a visual that’s pure Instagram gold!