Cool places in Osaka?

I am not sure if this is an appropriate use of the forum, but hopefully it is OK.

I have accepted a postdoc position at Kindai university in Osaka and will be moving from Okinawa to Osaka around April/May. I will try to find an apartment somewhere close to the university in Higashiosaka or Yaoshi.

Since I know that there are are some other Japan residents in this forum, I simply wanted to ask if anyone has any cool recommendations for places to hang out in Osaka or stuff to do in the area (once this virus situation is hopefully over at some point) ? Non-residents who have visited and have recommendations are of course welcome to reply as well!

I know a few people originally from Osaka who work at my current university and will of course be asking them and my new co-workers at Kindai for recommendations and information as well. But perhaps someone on here might have a different perspective?

I would be interested in both local and international spaces (Japanese language is not a barrier).

EDIT: Btw, recommendations for restaurants are fine too. I like most things, but I really love all types of seafood.

Space Station Bar

Have drinks, play video-games.

I visited Osaka back in 2019, so this is a touristy suggestion:

According to my guide who used to live there, the best okonomiyaki was from a place in Takimi Koji under the Umeda Sky Building. I don‘t remember the name of the restaurant but it’s worth exploring anyway! The whole area is themed like the early 20th century and it's fun seeing all the cool retro stuff!

I feel like Super Potato is too obvious to mention but I liked shopping there more than the Akihabara location.

check out club sunshine in sotenbori. Don‘t know if that’s really your thing though, and will depend on covid restrictions etc

Does the Kansai Pinball Museum still exist? I'd go to that if I was ever in Osaka again.

Been underwhelmed by my two trips to Osaka which were both very brief.

My recommendation is pretty boring but pick up an OSAKA WALKER those magazines always have at least one neat thing in them.

Everyone else can give you better suggestions for very IC-adjacent stuff like games and culture,so I won‘t even try, lol. If you drink alcohol though, and beer in particular, you might consider checking out Osaka’s local craft beers, which were just taking off when I was last there a few years back. We had found Beer Belly Tendai, which brews its own small batch beer ( and when we were there we ran into some local expats who were doing a beer crawl. It turns out that there‘s an Osaka Beer Map that’s really helpful (info here: There‘s an online version that’s super expanded too (!

One note though: a lot of the spots are super tiny and impossible to find! The cab driver we got at one point had to stop several times to find the exact spot where one place was (and it was a stand bar with a counter that was about a meter and a half long in an underground shopping street). Let's put it this way: it was fun at first but the more beer I drank the harder it became to find the places.

We found it super fun and interesting in part because Japanese craft beer doesn't map to the North American model (of nothing but IPAs all the way down) and you'll encounter some extremely unusual stuff-- we had a bloody mary beer that was not great but I really love that things like it exist in the world.

Anyway, I hope that's helpful and/or of interest.

This is totally an appropriate use of the forum! some of this may be obvious to someone who‘s already living in japan but it could be useful for people visiting too, so I’ll say some more generic stuff.

Namba is the extra touristy area with the glico man (who has recently been ruined by becoming a big bunch of LEDs instead of neon), big animatronic crabs on restaurants, etc. It's dumb but worth seeing once and also my dentist is there lol. the majima section of yakuza 0 is based on this area.

Umeda is a much cooler zone, more college town, lots of clothing shops and things to look at. I love the store tentenjou ( for bright pink goth stuff and whatever, they often have an artist hanging out there who'll make something for you on the fly.

obviously denden town is where the games be, and game tantei is probably the better shop. shinsekai nearby is where you'll find a bunch of arcades like multiple branches of zarigani, etc. The story I told about detective-style hunting down SNK's Yosaku happened there.

Osaka castle is kind of nice to visit even though it's touristy too? Also my buddy Masaya Matsuura kept telling me to go to Nara because it's not far from Osaka, and he says it's the seat of japanese culture and also he was born there, but I never did it and he was disappointed.

Osaka is pretty small-feeling compared to tokyo but my main advice is just walk around a bunch of places, maybe with a plan in mind like checking out x restaurants or bars, or as I did, trying to hit up every book off or something, and just stopping along the way at whatever's interesting. There's a mall that has a bunch of record shops in it in osaka... somewhere... I've honestly forgotten, dang it. there are several shops in the area because it used to be where all the music industry stuff happened I guess?

have a coooool time out there!

I'm gonna counter @Karasu's assertion that the japanese craft beer scene is more interesting than the north american scene - there are a lot of IPAs out here to be sure, but we also have a HUGE variety of stuff where japan is all "wheat or rice beer with one extra thing you can sort of taste" or "we use X kind of rice instead of Y" and there's almost no flavor difference.

I got extremely disappointed when I found out the goya beer (from okinawa!) isn't even bitter, and maybe it was you who said that, @SU2MM ??

My favourite traditional Curry is Joto Curry, which is an Osaka chain, but please try BOTANI or カシミール for art nouveau japanese curry. It is the kind of place that Japan does well - one man ‘shokunin’ obsession, reasonable prices, long lines, and local hype – although it‘s written about in english there’s still not many tourists!

Thank you for the suggestions (including the virtual) so far.

I do like alcohol, but I’ve never dabbled much in the craft beer scene. So I don’t think I have talked about Okinawan craft beer, must have been someone else. I should look into it! If nothing else I think I would also enjoy all those small bars. I generally like small weird izakayas and such.

Takimi Koji looks pretty cool. I like places that try to capture some of that Showa nostalgia, even if a bit touristy or tacky. Will definitely look into it and the area around Umeda in general.

It seems like the pinball museum still exists, will check it out.

I currently live very much in the countryside of Okinawa, where it is all but impossible to do anything without a car. I think this has made me lazy. Since I will not need a car in Osaka I will be doing a lot more walking (and perhaps cycling),.

I generally like walking around cities though, so it is fine by me. Will look into some of the places suggested and also just walk around at random. I love book-off, hard-off, manga souko and various other assorted secondhand shops, can spend hours browsing them. Will definitely seek a bunch of them out.

I have not spent much time in Osaka before, mostly a few days when visiting Kyoto. So compared to Tokyo which I have visited many times, I have much less of a feeling for it. I guess those tables will be turned pretty soon as living somewhere always give a very different and stronger sense of a place. For the few days I was there in the past, I went to some of the more obvious touristy places like Dotonbori, Osaka castle and Denden town. Will definitely be checking out some more shops in Denden town, I don’t think I actually went to that many when I was there.

I have not been to Nara and was already planning to take a trip there. It has been recommended by many.

Yeah, Nara isn‘t far and it’s neat.

See deer, feed deer, pet deer.

If you're interested in looking at stuff, there is a ton of interesting Tadao Ando architecture in and near Osaka.

Osaka in general, is just a really fun chill place. I had a lot of fun taking pictures there.

Hope you're hyped about moving to Osaka. It's my favorite city in Japan.

Osaka rules!

Very nice pictures! I am definitely excited to move to Osaka, hope it will be a good time.

Now I just need to deal with all the fun of employment contracts, finding an apartment, visa stuff, moving and assorted bureaucracy...

Walking through nara deer park eating a fresh hot yam from a vendor was the highlight of my trip to Japan, and one of the highlights of my life.

One of the deer tried to eat my rail pass and I had to wrestle it back from them!

@exodus#15095 Yeah, I'm probably just biased because my stomach has trouble with heavy duty hops these days, lol. Nevertheless I found the beer scene in Osaka to be interesting!

Osaka is probably my favourite large city in Japan! It feels a lot looser than Tokyo does, with lots more weirdos and interesting small things to see. One thing I forgot to mention in my last post is that it is absolutely, unquestionably vital to go see the Tower of the Sun in Expo 70 park!
In the off chance you don't know it, it's Okamoto Tarō's gigantic masterpiece sculpture that was created for Expo 70 (, located in Suita, outside Osaka. The park is right near a transit stop, so it's a super easy thing to go see. I can just about promise that everyone on this forum has been exposed to some variety of media featuring it.

I'm extremely bothered by how a few months after I visited the last time, the completely refurbished interior was opened to the public for the first time in several decades!

Anyway, it's an essential visit!

As a big fan of Urasawa Naoki, I definitely need to check out the tower of the sun!

If I hadn't already known it was real I would have thought it was just some weird sculpture he invented specifically for 20th Century Boys.

It really sits at a cultural sweet spot for me, since I‘m a fan of Urasawa Naoki, 60’s and 70's Japanese art and architecture, and Okamoto Tarō!

Speaking of Okamoto, even though it's outside the scope of the thread, there are a pair of excellent museums devoted to his work, one in Tokyo and another in Kawasaki. Both are really great, but I have a soft spot for the Tokyo one that's located in what used to be his house.

Two bars that I really enjoyed spending some time in were:

Bar Juniper, if you like Gin then this is a cool place to hang out for an evening
Address: Japan, 〒530-0003 Osaka, Kita Ward, Dojima, 1 Chome−4−4, Nj Bldg., 1F

Bar K, was recommended to my by the proprietor of Bar Ben Fiddich in Tokyo. Bar K is a cozy whisky/cocktail bar, and I had a cool evening hanging out there - the staff and locals were all nice and willing to just hang out and chat for a bit.
Address: Japan, 〒530-0002 Osaka, Kita Ward, Sonezakishinchi, 1 Chome−3−3 好陽ビル B1F

@Karasu#15263 I've been to the one that I guess technically is in Kawasaki but is no where near Kawasaki station. It was pretty good. Lovely park too.

I haven‘t been to Osaka much, so I can’t recommend any place I've actually been, but I do have a short list of places there I would like to go.

The Museum of Ethnography is famous (?) for having a courtyard that reminds people of Final Fantasy Tactics.

Don't know where I heard of it but Bar Nayuta looks neat.

This Twitter account retweets photos of small cafes and a disproportionate number of them are in Osaka.