The Osaka Castle Donjon
Osaka Castle has a great symbolic presence is Osaka. It is counted as one of the three great castles of Japan, along with Himeji and Kumamoto castles. Built by Hideyoshi Toyotomi in 1583, Osaka Castle has suffered repeated attacks of fire, burning to the ground twice. The donjon standing today was constructed in 1931 using donations from the citizens of Osaka. After retrofitting work in 1997, the castle can now withstand an earthquake of magnitude 7. Additionally, the elevator service was extended and automatic doors installed to provide wheelchair access to the observation area on the top floor. The inside of the castle has historical objects exhibited. Some of the many other things to see include a diorama depicting Toyotomi's life and a golden tearoom.
During the Edo period, Osaka Castle was rebuilt by the Tokugawa government. The stone walls from that time remain as structural sections. Some of the stones in the walls were engraved to indicate possession (by daimyo) or the purpose of the stonework, and those engravings can be seen today. Most of the stones were quarried as close as the Seto Inland Sea or as far away as Fukuoka Prefecture, and how they transported such mammoth stones with only their pre-modern conveyance technology and hard labor can only be imagined.
- Open hours:
- 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Admission ends 30 minutes before closing time.
(Closed from December 28 to January 1)
- Adults: 600 yen,
Children (junior high-age and younger): free
- 1-1 Osaka-jo, Chuo-ku, Osaka, Osaka Prefecture > Map
- • Take Keihan Electric Railway to Temmabashi or Kyobashi Station. It is a 20-minute walk.
- • Take the Osaka Municipal Subway Nagahori Tsurumi-ryokuchi Line to Osaka Business Park Station. It is a 15-minute walk.
- • Take the JR Osaka Loop Line to Osakajokoen Station or the JR Tozai Line to Osakajo-kitazume Station. It is a 15-minute walk.
- • Take the Osaka Loop Line to Morinomiya Station. It is a 20-minute walk.
- • Take the Osaka Municipal Subway Tanimachi Line to Tanimachi Yonchome Station, or the Chuo or Nagahori Tsurumi-ryokuchi Line to Morinomiya Station. It is a 20-minute walk.
Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan
The Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan is among the largest aquariums in the world and is built around a "Pacific Ocean" water tank in which the whale shark, the world’s largest fish, swims. The aquarium reproduces 10 regions of the globe in 14 water tanks. After zipping to the uppermost floor on an escalator, visitors work their way around the great water tank in a downward spiral, an interesting feature of the building. Feeding and exhibiting such sea life as dolphins, sea otters, penguins and diaphanous jellyfish, the aquarium has a total of some 580 species and 30,000 individual life forms, appealing to the precious nature of life and the importance of the global environment.
Those joining in the paid, guided tour (reservation required) will get the added bonus of a trip to the “backyard” overlooking the "Pacific Ocean" water tank. Watching the feeding of the whale shark up close is a powerful event that can rarely be seen anywhere. Also recommended is coming in the evening, after 5 o’clock, when visitors get a peek at the nocturnal ecology of the fish.
- Open hours:
- 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. (Last admission 7 p.m.)
Please note that the schedule is subject to change according to season.
The Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan allows in-and-out privileges on the same day if you let the staff know before leaving.
Note: The Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan is closed six to seven days a year, falling in the months of January, February and June.
- Adults: 2300 yen
Elementary and junior high school students: 1200 yen
Young children (4 and older): 600 yen
Seniors (60 and older): 2000 yen
- 1-1-10 Kaigan-dori, Minato-ku, Osaka, Osaka Prefecture > Map
- Take the Osaka Municipal Subway Chuo Line to Osakako Station. It is a five-minute walk.
Universal Studios Japan
After Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal Orlando Resort, Universal Studios Japan is the third largest venture undertaken by Universal Studios and its first outside the US. On holidays and weekends, the waits for popular attractions can be long, so it is recommended that visitors devise a plan to strategically target the areas they most want to visit.
The nine areas in the park each have a different look. A completely different world, the fun-filled attractions at Universal Studios Japan include shows based on Hollywood blockbusters and popular characters, special versions of Broadway musicals and much, much more. With chances to meet popular characters Hello Kitty and Snoopy, this is a theme park that children and adults alike will enjoy.
- Open hours:
- For detailed hours of operation,
- Adults (12 and older): 7,400 yen
Children (4 to 11): 4,980 yen
Seniors (65 and older): 6,650 yen
- 2-1-33 Sakurajima, Konohana-ku, Osaka, Osaka Prefecture > Map
- Take the JR Sakurajima (“Yumesaki”) Line to Universal City Station. It is a three-minute walk.