Osaka is one of Japan’s liveliest cities, featuring culinary wonders, wild nightlife, and endless shopping year round. Visiting during the rainy season, which takes place every June, can seem like a downer, but on dreary days there is still plenty to do in this incredible metropolis. Read on for the best ways to enjoy Osaka while staying dry on those nasty weather days.
Take on the Sports Challenge at Round 1
Building, Amusement Park, Sports Center
Try out Japan’s indoor amusement craze, “spocha.” Short for “sports challenge,” spocha is many things, and Round One has them all. In this multi-story building located near Namba, guests can enjoy a variety of sporty activities, like bubble soccer, roller skating, batting cages, basketball, and darts, as well as karaoke and arcade games. Even better (if not slightly reckless) is the fact that Round One is open 24-hours a day, and they serve alcohol in addition to food. It’s a lot safer than it sounds and incredibly fun!
Tenjinbashisuji is the longest shotengai, or covered shopping arcade, in Japan. Spanning multiple kilometers and neighborhoods, Tenjinbashisuji is a wealth of shops, restaurants, cafés, bookstores, and – best of all – a fascinating insight into the daily hustle and bustle of Japanese business owners and patrons. Stroll along the shopping street no matter what the weather, and enjoy all the delicious food, souvenirs, and other goods Osaka has to offer.
This charming museum is located near one end of Tenjinbashisuji and is one of Osaka’s best museums thanks to its interactive exhibits. You can walk through a life-sized replica of Edo Period Japan, where you can explore traditional homes, buildings, and streets. Day and night are simulated in the village as you stroll, but luckily rain never is. You can also pay slightly extra to dress in a kimono while you wander.
At the Osaka Science Museum, located on a gorgeous stretch of river in Nakanoshima, visitors are immersed in “space and energy.” The museum is home to a planetarium, daily science shows featuring experiments and lectures, special exhibits about topics like electricity and the universe, a shop, and a restaurant. Most of the information is in Japanese, but the displays are fascinating and enjoyable even if you can’t understand the language. It’s also right next to the Osaka National Museum of Art if you want to make a day of it.
Located on the shores of Osaka Bay is Kaiyukan, one of the largest aquariums in the world. Many marine animals from habitats that stretch across the Pacific Ocean are on display, including an enormous whale shark. There is also an interactive exhibit where visitors can get up close to penguins, seals, and rays in rooms that recreate the animal’s original homes and environments.
Not only does Osaka have a massive kabuki theater in the heart of Dotonbori, there is also a craft beer brewery on site. One of the first Osaka-based beers, Dotonbori Beer has operated right on the famous canal since 1997. Tachibana in the Shochikuza Theater is one of the only restaurants to have it on tap. Besides drinking beer in the basement of a culturally significant building, Tachibana is an excellent place to try a variety of Japanese foods.
The Umeda Sky Building attracts tourists two ways – by offering incredible views of downtown from the top and the sight of the sleek structure itself. It’s actually two 40-story towers connected at the top by a “floating observatory” where visitors enter the space via a tunnel-like escalator surrounded by glass. There is an underground market in the basement that recreates the atmosphere of early 20th-century Osaka.
Check out EXPOCITY, Osaka prefecture's largest amusement complex
Amusement Park, Aquarium, Shopping Mall
This immense complex holds enough activities for a whole day, if not several. Located adjacent to Expo ’70 Commemorative Park, EXPOCITY contains a massive shopping center with local and international shops and restaurants; a large aquarium that houses fish, crocodiles, and even a tiger; an amusement park; an IMAX cinema; and the highest Ferris wheel in Japan, the Red Horse Osaka Wheel.
If combining the relaxation of taking an onsen bath with the heart-stopping excitement of a water park sounds like your idea of a great time, then pay a visit to Spa World – the place that does both. Inside you’ll find a variety of themed baths, a lazy floating river playground, and a mega waterslide. Balancing between being equal parts rejuvenating, bizarre, and adorably kitsch, it’s definitely worth a visit for those wanting a more unique bathing experience.
Abeno Harukas is the tallest building in Japan. It contains a train station, shopping center, art museum, hotel, office space, and more, but the most exciting feature is the three-floor observation deck and open-air atrium Harukas 300, which provides panoramic views of the impressive urban sprawl that seems to stretch forever outward. Brave souls can try Edge the Hurukas, the obstacle-less observation experience at the top of the tower.