Osaka is the third largest city in Japan so finding where to stay in Osaka could be a little daunting. There are several districts to pick from which are extremely convenient for tourists, first timers or frequent travellers to Osaka. This guide will tell you where to stay in Osaka based on your personal needs and preferences.
Where to Stay in Osaka: Kita
Kita is the perfect place for tourists or first-time travellers to Osaka. Kita and Umedia Area are the business hub of the city as well as the prime place for transportation purposes. There are lots of restaurants and attractions in the area, as well as plenty of hotels to suit any budget. It is in Umeda you will find the HR Osaka station, which is dotted with department stores. This is a vibrant area, which also features the Nakanoshim-koen Park, a relaxing spot for those in need of zen.
There are lots of things to do in Kita, including the Umeda Sky building, Osaka Museum of Housing and Living the Tenjimbashi-suji Shopping Street and the National Museum of Art, Osaka.
Why stay in Kita
If you wonder where to stay in Osaka, you might want to consider Kita:
If you want convenient access to the train station, access to plenty of shopping places and are interested in having day trips from Osaka, then Umeda is the place to be.
Expect amazing skyscrapers around, bars and restaurants packed with salarymen and lots of epic department stores. Plenty to see and do in the area.
Where to Stay in Osaka: Minami
Minami is also a great transportation hub in Osaka. It is a huge and vibrant shopping, dining and entertainment district. It is home to the colourful Dotombori, a great place for tourists and street food. Minami encompasses two districts: Shinsaibashi and Namba. It is in Namba where Osakans go for a great night out. For shopping lovers, this is a great place as the district is filled with shopping centres, department stores and fashionable boutiques.
There are lots of things to do in Minami, including the already mentioned Dotombori, Midosuji for shoppers, Hozenji Yokocho (a traditional alley which is lovely for night photos) and several shopping arcades. It is also home to Amerikamura and Den Den Town. Amerika Mura is the Harajuku of Osaka and Den Den Town shares many things in common with Tokyo's Akihabara.
Why stay in Minami
If you wonder where to stay in Osaka, you might want to consider Minami:
If you are after an epic night out, you love being in the middle of a vibrant city and enjoy experiencing a large variety of things to do, then Minami is your place.
So if food and nightlife are on your menu then Minami is where you need to stay in Osaka.
Where to Stay in Osaka: Honmachi
Honmachi is essentially central Osaka. Honmachi is quieter than both Minami or Kita, and it doesn't have as many shopping options but it definitely has plenty of restaurants and bars. You can either walk or take the subway to both Minami or Kita. Hotels in Honmachi are also cheaper than the other two areas and it's much quiet during night time. To me, this is also a big bonus. If you remember, in my previous post, where to stay in Tokyo, I always say that Chiyoda is my favourite place because of its key location, amazing silence and proximity to transportation. Honmachi plays by the same rules.
Why stay in Honmachi:
If you wonder where to stay in Osaka, you might want to consider Honmachi:
If you want a quiet place in-between Minami and Kita, access to cheaper hotels and proximity to subway stations, then Honmachi is for you. Remember that you don't really have what to do around here, the point is to have a quieter base for a good night sleep, which is walking distance from both Minami and Kita.
Where to Stay in Osaka: Shin Osaka
Shin Osaka is the place to be if you want lots of day trips from Osaka to the surrounding areas. It's still just a 10-minute subway ride from other vibrant areas so it's not a bad place to be. There are plenty of shops and restaurants around and you have connections to all major urban hubs in Osaka. You can find reasonably priced hotels in the area.
Why stay in Shin Osaka
If you wonder where to stay in Osaka, you might want to consider Shin Osaka:
If you want lots of day trips from Osaka and don't mind taking the subway when you need to go explore the city.
There isn't much to do here apart from the train station, so only position yourself in this area for further travelling purposes.
Where to Stay in Osaka: Tenoji
Just a short subway ride away from the Namba, you will get the district of Tennoji, a now up and coming shopping place. It is home to the Abeno Harukas, a 300-metre tall tower with an observational deck. There are lots of new restaurants and shops in the area. Don't forget to spend some time around the Shinsekai retro area.
Why stay in Tenoji
If you wonder where to stay in Osaka, you might want to consider Tenoji:
If you are interested in saving and travelling for cheap, this area is perfect.
Tenoji is not far from other districts but because it is less popular, you can find great hotel rates around here.
Where to Stay in Osaka: Castle Area
This is a great zen space in Osaka, with a large park right by the castle. You can walk, run and relax here. Don't worry, there are still plenty of restaurants and shops around to keep you entertained. The rest of Osaka is just a short subway ride away. Because of its location which is a little less convenient than other more vibrant parts of the city, the Osaka Castle area is also a little cheaper.
However, this area is just one kilometre away from the other Osaka's two downtowns (Kita or Minami). The area is built area the beautiful Osaka Castle, which really looks stunning. Apart from the Osaka Castle and the Osaka Castle Park, you can also enjoy a stroll around the Osaka Museum of History.
Why stay in Osaka Castle Area
If you wonder where to stay in Osaka, you might want to consider Osaka Castle:
If you fancy peace and quiet, want a large space for walks where you can also do your daily exercise, then Osaka Castle area is the place to be.
It's also relatively quiet, not far from the vibrant districts, has plenty of restaurants around and of course, it's cheaper due to its location.
Where to Stay in Osaka: Universal Studios
Universal Studio sure is a great reason to visit Osaka. You usually get bigger and cheaper rooms around the Universal Studios. As with most parts in Osaka, the area has great infrastructure and great links to other districts around the city. This is definitely the place to be if you are travelling with children. You are just walking distance from the Universal Studios, you have 20 minutes access to Namba and you have convenient airport transfer.
Why stay close to the Universal Studios
If you wonder where to stay in Osaka, you might want to consider Universal Studios:
If you are travelling with kids and only visiting Osaka for Universal Studios, then this is the right place for you. There are several restaurants in the area so you will have plenty of places to sample epic Japanese food. As it is quite far from the centre itself, hotels are a little cheaper and the rooms are definitely bigger.
Where to Stay in Osaka: Bay Area
When we first visited Osaka, we stayed in the Bay Area, close to Cosmo Square. This is because we found a well priced 4* hotel which promised really large room and epic breakfast. It didn't disappoint. I think Hotel Le Raison, was the best hotel I've ever stayed in Japan. However, as comfortable as it was, the hotel is located quite far from the central areas of Osaka. Nothing is walking distance away and there aren't many shopping or restaurant options.
You do have the Aquarium, the Ferris Wheel and the Universal Studios nearby, but in reality, you have to rely on the subway to be able to get to the centre. It is about 20-30 minutes on the subway and you will probably have to change at least once. But all in all, it was worth it since we got such amazing hotel. We liked the Bay Area because the place is incredibly quiet and it looks pretty cool with the office skyscrapers.
Why stay in the Bay Area in Osaka
If you wonder where to stay in Osaka, you might want to consider the Bay Area:
If you want fancy hotel rooms for a much cheaper price than anywhere else in the city, then the Osaka Bay Area is the place to be. You will get a nice and quiet sleep, but you will be relatively far from the fun and vibrant areas of the city.
Have you decided where to stay in Osaka? Which area will you pick and why? Tell us about your travel plans in the comments section below.