Osaka may be one of the busiest and liveliest cities in Japan, but in the winter it can be hard to find the motivation to venture out into the cold. Yet, even in the freezing months, the city has a lot going on. Here are some exciting activities that will keep you warm during your winter visit.
Warm up in a hot bath
Osaka may be an urban labyrinth of amusements, but there are plenty of onsen (hot spring) getaways both in and just outside of the city. Escape to one of them, or check out your local sento (bathhouse) to warm up in the soothing and healing waters. Most onsen and sento have, at the very least, multiple baths and a sauna, if not spa treatments and atmospheric outdoor baths as well.
Behold a blinding illumination
Perhaps the best part of winter in Japan is the illuminations, which brighten both the landscape and people’s moods as they trudge daily through the wind and snow. Osaka’s illuminations are often large-scale and complex, some including 3D projection mapping and immersive exhibits. Many are only around for a limited time, so be sure to check ahead so you don’t miss them!
Bar hop to put on your beer jacket
Osaka has many many bars, from classic favorites to niche alternatives. The best spot in the city for travelers to bar hop is by far Amemura, where local and visitor favorites like Nayuta, Space Station, and Moonshine can all be found within mere blocks of each other. Wander (or stumble) around this district for an adventure so fun, you’ll forget about the cold.
Eat seasonal crab and blowfish
Winter may not always be pleasant, but one of the good things about this time of year is the seafood. In Osaka, “the nation’s kitchen,” the best to be found this season is the crab and blowfish. Despite its reputation, the latter is quite safe to eat, as all restaurants serving it need a special certification and prepare it to be edible. Try Zuboraya or Kani Doraku in Dotonbori.
Immerse yourself in a magic show
Every Sunday night, in a small secluded basement on the outskirts of Amemura, something magical happens: two award-winning and internationally acclaimed magicians hold an intimate and hilarious show. Magic Lab, featuring Mr. Ben and Jonio, is a bilingual show that will make you laugh, amazed, and magically forget how miserable it is outside!
Sing with a fiery passion at karaoke
Karaoke is inarguably one of the best things to have come out of Japan, and what better place to experience it than in the country’s wildest city? There’s box karaoke, where guests rent a room to enjoy a private singing experience, all over Osaka. Then there’s the karaoke bar, which usually has no cover charge and lets guests sing publicly in front of strangers, a great way to make friends while traveling! Some of the best of these in Osaka are Kama Sutra, Moonshine, and Domus.
Break a sweat at the sports challenge
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. 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!
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.