Osaka is the third-largest city in Japan so finding where to stay in Osaka could be a little challenging. There are several districts to pick from which are extremely convenient for tourists, first-timers or frequent travellers to Osaka.
So where should you stay during your visit to Osaka? We put together a comprehensive guide to the best neighbourhoods for visitors and gathered hotel recommendations for all budgets. While Kita and Minami tend to be the prefered locations for first-time visitors, there are several other options for those who want to pay less and get bigger rooms. When we stayed in Osaka during our first visit, we went for the Osaka Bay Area. Since it's Japan we are talking about, rest assured that public transport is fast, affordable and reliable, so locating yourself a little further away from the main centre won't be an issue. In exchange, you will get a really big room in a luxury hotel which is quiet, classy and pretty great. So where will you stay in Osaka? Check out our accommodation guide below to pick your best neighbourhood in Osaka.
Where to stay in Osaka - Summary
Kita - The best place to stay in Osaka for first-time visitors
Minami - The best place to stay in Osaka for shopping.
Honmachi - The best place to stay if you like quiet and are on a budget.
Shin Osaka - We recommend staying here if you want to take day trips.
Tennoji - Best for travellers who want to be centrally located on a budget.
Osaka Castle Area - Best for the sakura season and hanami lovers.
Universal Studios - Best for families who want to enjoy Universal Studios.
Osaka Bay Area - The best place to stay in Osaka if for families and couples who seek luxury for less.
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Where to stay in Osaka (Best areas for 2020) - Contents
We loved Osaka and can't wait to go back. During our first visit, we got to enjoy the many cherry blossom spots, Osaka has to offer. Our guide will tell you where to stay in Osaka to match your personal preferences and budget.
Where to Stay in Osaka
Most first time visitors go for Kita or Minami, but you can also pick a luxury hotel a little further out of the city centre and enjoy fantastic views over the bay, for a lower price. Here is an overview of your accommodation options in Osaka. If your budget can stretch, we recommend a classic ryokan to experience the Japanese culture in a traditional inn. Luxury hotels in Osaka are truly incredible as the service really is the best in the world. However, Japan is not a cheap country, so luxury can mean a whole new level of expensive. Finally, even if you decide to budget yourself and stay in a business hotel, guesthouse, hostel or capsule hotel, you will most certainly find a very clean room as that's the Japanese standards.
Ryokans in Osaka
Ryokans are the soul of Japan in our opinion. They usually have an onsen on-site and the house itself is a traditional Japanese inn made of wood. They look incredibly appealing and beautiful and usually offer full board included in the price. The downside of ryokans is their price tag and sometimes their location. As space is a luxury item in Japan, you won't find many ryokans in the centre of the city.
However, if you have a good connection, you can aim for a ryokan close to nature, and perhaps stay there for a couple of nights.
Hotels in Osaka
The most prefered and easiest way to get accommodation in Osaka. You can find a range of hotels from budget to luxury. As previously mentioned, you will probably be able to get better value for your room if you decide to stay a little further from the centre. It doesn't mean you have to compromise as public transport is ace in Japan.
Hotels are expensive in Japan and do expect to find small rooms. At least by Western standards. However, the rooms are usually very clean and they have private bathrooms.
Business Hotels in Osaka
They are cheap and reliable options for those who don't mind small hotel rooms for budget price tags. There are hotel rooms with a private bathroom and a double bed but also the famed capsule hotels. Capsule hotels are aimed at business travellers who need a place to stay for the night. They are spacious enough to feel comfortable and they have a separate (usually sparkling clean) shared a bathroom with showers. When staying in a capsule hotel or sharing a bathroom with others, we recommend familiarizing yourself with the Japanese etiquette.
Japanese Guesthouses in Osaka
Japanese guesthouses tend to be used by those interested in staying in Japan longer. They are sometimes referred to as foreigner houses and you can get a weekly or monthly contract here.
Japanese B&Bs in Osaka
These are similar to ryokans, but with fewer facilities and usually a lot cheaper. You will be normally hosted by a Japanese family. They usually have shared bathrooms so that's something to consider.
Vacation Rentals in Osaka
Vacation rentals are people's homes with cooking facilities. These are great if you want to stay in Japan a little longer and cook your own food. However, food in Japan is not expensive if you know where to look. You can get popular Japanese food for very good prices, in which case it's better to aim for cheaper accommodation and go out to eat. After all, Japan's is the world's kitchen.
Here is where we recommend the best accommodation in Osaka for first-time visitors and travellers. And if this is your first time visiting the country, don't forget to check the best things to do in Japan.
Osaka Neighbourhood Map
Kita - Where to Stay in Osaka for first-time visitors
Surrounding the Osaka and Umeda Stations, Kita is one of the most popular neighbourhoods in Osaka for tourists. Kita is the business hub of the city as well as the prime place for transportation as mayor train lines meet here leading to Kobe, Himeji and Hiroshima on the South and Kyoto, Nagoya and Tokyo on the North.
Why Stay In Kita
If you are wondering where to stay in Osaka, you might want to consider Kita.
If convenient access to the train station is important to you, Kita is a good area to pick. Taking day trips from Osaka? Osaka's largest train stations can be found in Kita.
You will also have access to plenty of shops, restaurants and bars. Entertainment during the day and the evening is widely available alongside interesting attractions. Plenty to see and do in the area.
Is staying in Kita the right choice?
Kita is an amazing location for first-time visitors to Osaka. Here are all the things you can do around Kita, so you can decide if staying in Kita is right for you.
Check out the views of Osaka and the neighbouring Kobe from two great locations. The HEP 5 Ferris Wheel and the Umeda Sky Building offer great panoramic views of the city during the day and at night.
Do a bit of light shopping the Grand Front Osaka, a large shopping mall just outside of Osaka Station. There are great restaurants on the top floor, a huge convenience store at the bottom. Did I mention the gelato? Gelateria Raffinato serves some seriously delicious gelato.
Up for more shopping? Head to the Tenjimbashi-suji Shopping Street and check out the local stalls selling everything from clothes, shoes to food and other fun stuff.
Find lasting love at the Ohatsu Tenjin Shinto Shrine. The story goes, that Ohatsu was in love with a man, Tokubei but their love was not meant to be. To stay forever together, they took their own lives in this temple. Couples visit this shire from all over Osaka to ask for everlasting love.
Get your collectables and merchandise from the Pokemon Centre in Osaka Station building. The store has one of the largest selections of Pokemon-themed products, figurines, plush toys, stationery and arcades.
If you are after your morning coffee fix, visit the Nakazakicho neighbourhood, which is Osaka's own hipster area. Alongside the recently opened coffee shops and restaurants, you will find vintage clothing and furniture stores and unique Japanese souvenirs here.
Where to Stay In Kita
Here are our favourite accommodation options for you to pick in Kita.
Minami - Where To Stay In Osaka for shopping
Minami is a huge and vibrant shopping, dining and entertainment district just South of Central Osaka. It is home to the colourful Dotombori, a great place for tourists and street food. Minami encompasses two districts: Shinsaibashi and Namba.
Namba City is 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 streets.
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.
There are plenty of hotels in this area for all kinds of budgets. Note, that the hotel rooms in central Osaka are smaller than outside of the centre, like the Bay Area or Shin Osaka. If you are travelling with your family and want larger rooms, it might be worth considering taking the subway.
Is staying in Minami the right choice?
Much like Kita, Minami is a great location for first-time visitors to Osaka. Here are all the things you can do around Minami, so you can decide if staying in Minami is right for you.
The most visited street in Osaka is Dotombori with its famous crab and octopus restaurants, takoyaki street food and the Ebisu Bridge.
Just west of the Shinsaibashi shopping district Amerikamura (America Town) is a small area with many cafes, restaurants, bars, clubs. The stores here selling fashion clothing from local and international designers. The town also called the "Harajuku of Osaka" is the centre of youth culture in Osaka, surrounding the Sankaku Koen Park.
Denden Town is best known for its cheap electronics and has more recently become equally well-known as a centre of otaku (geek) culture. The area is similar to Tokyo's Akihabara Electric Town and it's filled with large department stores and small, independent shops selling all kinds of electronics components and speciality electrical goods. You can also find stores selling manga comics, anime cosplay costumes, and collectable models and figures.
The two main shopping streets are the Shinsaibashi-suji Shopping Street and Doguyasuji Shopping Street, both covered streets with countless stalls selling everything from food to clothes and more. If you are after tasty street food, you can find vendors selling Takoyaki, Tako Tamago, yakitori and other delicious foods.
After a long day of shopping, it's time to find spiritual enlightenment in one of the many shrines and temples in Minami. The Hozenji Yokocho Temple and Namba Yasaka Shrine are popular with tourists because of their unusual building style.
Where to Stay In Minami
Minami means staying in the centre of Osaka, with everything you can wish for is just walking distance (or a couple of subway stations) away. This also means that accommodation can be a little more expensive. But worry not, there are affordable options too.
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Honmachi - Where To Stay In Osaka for quiet & budget
Honmachi is essentially central Osaka. Honmachi is small, a quieter area between Minami and Kita. It doesn't have as many shopping and entertainment options, but it's well connected to all the other neighbourhoods.
Why Stay In Honmachi
If you wonder where to stay in Osaka, you might want to consider Honmachi because it is usually cheaper than the two other districts, Minami and Kita.
There is good access to subway and trains from Hommachi Station and a direct link to Osaka Station.
Remember there is not much to do around here, the point is to have a quieter base for a good night sleep, within walking distance from both Minami and Kita.
As Honmachi is an office district, there are many restaurants and bars with great food. After a long day of exploring Osaka, returning to Honmachi for some hot ramen and delicious teppanyaki is a real treat.
Is staying in Honmachi the right choice?
If you are on a budget, then Honmachi might be the right choice for you. Here are all the things you can do around Honmachi, so you can decide if staying in Honmachi is right for you.
As mentioned above, there isn't much to do in this central office district. Luckily, you are walking distance from both Kita and Minami. You can even walk to Osaka Castle, which is roughly 30 mins away.
If you need a moment of silent contemplation, have a seat in Utsubo-Koen Park. During spring and summer, the park is covered in beautiful roses and other flowers. In the evening, colourful lights illuminate the pathways.
Namba Shrine is a small Shinto Shrine nestled between the tall office buildings of Honmachi. Separated from the busy city by it's tall, grey walls, Namba Shrine is a nice reminder that the old can exist within the new.
Where to Stay In Honmachi
Honmachi is a quiet district which is good news if you visit Osaka for business or just prefer to party during the evening and withdraw to a quiet location for the night. There are accommodation options for all budgets.
Shin Osaka - Where To Stay In Osaka for day trips
Shin Osaka is the place to be if you want to do day trips from Osaka to the surrounding areas. It's also just a 10-minute subway ride from other vibrant areas so it's not a bad place to stay. There are plenty of shops and restaurants and you have connections to all major urban hubs in Osaka. You can find reasonably priced hotels here.
Why Stay In Shin Osaka
If you wonder where to stay in Osaka, you might want to consider Shin Osaka if you are planning on taking day trips from Osaka. Shin Osaka has direct access to the Shinkansen, connecting Osaka with Kobe, Himeji and Hiroshima on the South and Kyoto, Nagoya and Tokyo on the North.
If you don't mind taking the subway when you want to explore other parts of Osaka, this is a great neighbourhood. It takes about 20 mins to Osaka Castle, and 15 mins to Kita and Minami.
Is staying in Shin Osaka the right choice?
There is not a lot to do in Shin Osaka apart from exploring the Shin Osaka Train Station. To get to the more interesting parts of Osaka, take the Midosuji Subway Line towards Osaka Station.
There are, however, a lot of great budget restaurants in the area. For delicious eel, try Unagiya a traditional unagi (eel) restaurant. If you are after ramen, Ramen Uroko will serve you the perfect ramen every time.
Where to Stay In Shin Osaka
With limited options, Shin Osaka is great if you just wish to visit Osaka for a night or two before heading to another destination like Kyoto, Tokyo or taking a train from Osaka to Hiroshima. Here are our carefully selected accommodation options for you.
Tennoji - Where To Stay In Osaka for budget-friendly places
Just a short subway ride away from Namba, you will find the colourful, upcoming district of Tennoji. 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 Tennoji
If you wonder where to stay in Osaka, you might want to consider Tennoji if you are interested in slightly cheaper hotels and budget options. As this area is becoming more and more popular, it's worth double-checking the hotel prices. You might find that the used-to-be cheap hotels now charge a premium.
There is a lot to see in this area. Tennoji is a retro neighbourhood, which is being re-discovered by locals and tourists alike.
Other districts are a short subway ride away, and the Osaka Castle is just North of Tennoji.
Is staying in Tennoji the right choice?
The most recommended part of Tennoji is the Shinsekai neighbourhood. This slowly disappearing area used to be home to an entertainment district with all the funky and weird of the ‘old' Japan.
Take the elevator to the top floor of the 300-metre tall Abeno Harukas Skyscraper and marvel at the panoramic views of Osaka and Kobe. Don't forget to come back after sunset to see the night lights of the city.
Tennoji-koen Park and Tennoji Zoo are lovely green spaces and worth a visit, especially if you are travelling with children.
Shitenno-ji Temple is regarded as the oldest Buddhist Temples in Japan. Sadly the temple has been reconstructed in the ‘60s. Even so, the pagoda and some of the side buildings provide a glimpse at the temples former look.
Where to Stay In Tennoji
For budget travellers, Tennoji might have the right accommodation for you. However, just because there are budget options around, it doesn't mean you can't find a hotel to splurge on. Worry not, Tennoji is close to attractions and in just a few subway stations you can find yourself in the heart of colourful Osaka.
Osaka Castle Area - Where To Stay In Osaka during the Cherry Blossom Season
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, bars 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, Osaka Castle area is also a little cheaper.
Why Stay close to Osaka Castle
If you wonder where to stay in Osaka, here is why you might want to consider the Osaka Castle Area.
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. This area is just one kilometre away from the other Osaka's two districts, Kita and Minami.
Is staying close to the Osaka Castle the right choice?
The area is right by the beautiful Osaka Castle, which really looks stunning, especially during the Cherry Blossom Season. In the Castle, there is a museum, displaying the history of the Castle. Castle Park is a great place to relax and enjoy a quiet afternoon.
The Osaka Museum of History is just outside of the Castle grounds and it's a great place to learn about the 1350 years history of Osaka.
There are some great places to try unagi (eel) at Nishihara, soba noodles at Shuhari and ramen at Menya Ageha restaurants.
Where to Stay close to Osaka Castle
Of course, you cannot stay right at the Osaka Castle but that would be pretty awesome. However, there are accommodation options just a stone throw away from the castle itself. It's a lovely area, and during the cherry blossom season this is a must.
Universal Studios - Where To Stay In Osaka to be close to Universal Studios
Universal Studio sure is a great reason to visit Osaka. You usually get bigger and cheaper rooms around 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 Universal Studios, and it takes only 20 minutes on the subway to reach Namba.
Why Stay close To 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.
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.
Is staying close to Universal Studios the right choice?
There are 9 zones in Universal Studios:
- Universal Wonderland
- The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
- Amity Village
- Jurassic Park
- San Francisco
- Minion Park
- New York
As you would imagine, currently, the Harry Potter area is the most popular. Universal Studios is great entertainment for everyone. Most rides are family-friendly. Check the official website for more details and ticket prices here.
Where to Stay close to Universal Studios
If you love the idea of spending time at the Universal Studios you can potentially get a theme accommodation right by the Studios. But of course, that means super expensive. There are plenty of options just around or a few subway stations away.
Osaka Bay Area - Where To Stay In Osaka for families
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 a 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 around here.
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 an amazing hotel. We liked the Bay Area because the place is incredibly quiet and skyscrapers look pretty cool.
Why Stay In the Osaka Bay Area
If you wonder where to stay in Osaka, you might want to consider the Bay Area if you travel with your family.
If you are after larger rooms and cheaper prices, then the Osaka Bay Area is the place to be. You will get a good night sleep as the Bay Area is pretty quiet during the evening. In exchange, you are relatively far from the fun and vibrant areas of the city.
Is staying in Osaka Bay Area the right choice?
There are a few things to do in the Bay Area, but you will have to take the subway to get to all of them. The Osaka Aquarium, for example, is an amazing experience. It's worth the visit just to see the majestic whale sharks.
The Giant Ferris Wheel gives you a lovely panoramic view of the bay and the surrounding city.
Lastly, remember that Universal Studios is also in the Bay Area.
Where to Stay In Osaka Bay Area
We loved our time spent in the Osaka Bay Area. When we wanted quiet, we got it. When we wanted to have a date around the Bay and enjoy the Ferris Wheels and fun treats, this was the place. Our hotel was also much cheaper for incredible luxury and service. Overall this was a great place to stay in Osaka.
Planning more trips around Japan? Read more about where to stay in Tokyo or where to stay in Kyoto to better plan your trip. 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.