Osaka is a lovely port city with stunning modern architecture, delicious street food and incredible things to do. Osaka is one of the best touristic cities in Japan, located just 15 minutes away from Kyoto by shinkansen. Now that you decided to visit, top of your planning list is the best place to stay in Osaka. Being the second-largest city in Japan, this city can be a minefield of accommodation options. To help you with your holiday planning, we put together this comprehensive guide with some of the best hotels in Osaka.
In this article, we will explain how Osaka is structured, and how to pick the best district which is most convenient to tourists visiting Osaka.
For first time visitors, Kita and Minami are our prefered locations. Kita and Minami are perfect hubs for tourists because they are close to public transport, many restaurants, pubs and cafes and tons of shopping opportunities.
For families travelling to Osaka with their kids, you should consider the Osaka Bay area. You will be very close to Universal Studios but also get larger rooms for affordable prices. Your hotel in Osaka Bay will also be close to the Aquarium and the Tempozan Giant Ferris Wheel.
Our hotel recommendations below are close to public transport. Public transport is fast, affordable and reliable so you can explore the whole of Osaka during your trip. Some tourist attractions are scattered all around the city, so having a hotel close to the metro line means being able to visit as many bucket list gems as possible.
Based on our own experience in Osaka, here are the best places to stay in Osaka with hand-picked accommodation options for all budgets.
Insider Tip: Make sure your hotel is as close to the Midosuji subway line as possible. The Midosuji subway line will take you almost everywhere you need for tourist attractions. It also connects with other important lines so you can find your way easily!
Where to stay in Osaka - Best Areas & Hotels - Contents
Where to stay in Osaka
Osaka is a wonderful city to visit in Japan, especially if you are a foodie. Sometime's called Japan's kitchen, Osaka is well known for its street food and culinary treats. Food is the top reason why we went on a trip to Osaka, and we fell in love with the city.
We believe that most first time visitors should stay in Kita or Minami because that's a great accommodation choice for those who want to be close to Osaka's top touristic points of interest like the Nakanoshima museum, the Umeda Sky Building, and Kids Plaza Osaka. Almost all touristic dining and entertainment options are located in these two districts so you will never run out of things to do.
Although Osaka is a big city, most of the accommodation spots are located close to the public transport, making it very easy for you to travel around the city and visit all the landmarks and famous areas like the Osaka Castle, Universal Studios and Dōtonbori.
The area to stay in Osaka comes down to what kind of a traveller you are: The closer to the Kita district you are, the more entertainment and restaurants you will find, but the further you'll be from budget hotels.
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 it comfortable and clean, as per the Japanese standards.
Osaka Neighbourhood Map
In a hurry? Here's our summary for the best neighbourhoods in Osaka based on your interests.
- Where to stay in Osaka for first-time visitors - Kita
- Where to stay in Osaka for entertainment - Minami
- Where to stay in Osaka for quiet - Honmachi
- Where to stay in Osaka for day trips - Shin Osaka
- Where to stay in Osaka for budget - Tennoji
- Where to stay in Osaka for sakura season - Castle Area
- Where to stay in Osaka for Universal Studios - Universal Studios
- Where to stay in Osaka if for families and couples - Osaka Bay Area
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. As a first time visitor to Osaka, you should consider Kita, thanks to its proximity to restaurants, bars and heaps of entertainment.
Staying in Kita means being close to the HEP 5 Ferris Wheel and the Umeda Sky Building, both important attractions that offer great panoramic views of the city during the day and at night.
Stay in Kita if you love the idea of shopping by day and entertainment by night. Do a bit of light shopping the Grand Front Osaka, a shopping mall just outside of Osaka Station. There are great restaurants on the top floor for when you need to be close to food places and a huge convenience store at the bottom if you want to eat on a budget.
Head to the Tenjimbashi-suji Shopping Street and check out the local stalls selling everything from clothes, shoes to food and other fun stuff. You'll never be too far from something to do in Kita.
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.
Here are our favourite accommodation options we picked 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 to stay 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.
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.
Much like Kita, Minami is a great location for first-time visitors to Osaka, who not only want restaurants, bars and attractions but want nightlife and shopping too.
The most visited street in Osaka is Dotombori. Staying in Minami means being walking distance to the street food in Dotombori with its famous crab and octopus restaurants as well as okonomiyaki and takoyaki snacks.
For fashion lovers and young adults, visit the Shinsaibashi shopping district Amerikamura (America Town) is a small area with many cafes, restaurants, bars, clubs. The town also called the "Harajuku of Osaka" is the centre of youth culture in Osaka, surrounding the Sankaku Koen Park.
Staying in Minami is practical for tourists interested in the geeky Japanese culture. Minami is home to Denden Town, an area 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.
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 from your accommodation.
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Honmachi - Where To Stay In Osaka for quiet seekers
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 very well connected to all the other neighbourhoods. Staying in Honmachi is a practical choice for visitors who wish to enjoy a quiet and calm night, but with quick walking access to either entrainment districts of Minami or Kita.
If you are on a budget and don't mind walking to either entertainment district, stay in 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, so you will never be too far from tourist attractions around the city.
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. However, as Honmachi is an office district, there are many restaurants and bars with great food located in the area. After a long day of exploring Osaka, returning to Honmachi for some hot ramen and delicious teppanyaki is a real treat.
If you are on a budget, then Honmachi might be the right choice for you. But you are walking distance from both Kita and Minami. You can even walk to Osaka Castle, which is roughly 30 mins away.
Close to your accommodation is the 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.
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. Here are our hand-picked hotel options.
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 like Kita and Minami. 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, making Shin-Osaka an overlooked place to stay for visitors.
Consider getting a hotel room in 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.
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, where you will find shops, restaurants and entertainment for tourists.
There are, however, a lot of great budget restaurants in the Shin Osaka 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.
With limited accommodation options, Shin Osaka is great if you just wish to visit Osaka for a night or two before heading to another destination. 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.
Tennoji is a great place to stay in Osaka if you are interested in slightly cheaper hotels and budget options. This area is becoming a lot more popular with tourists, thanks to its proximity to the Osaka Castle. There is a lot to see in this area. Tennoji is a retro neighbourhood, which is being re-discovered by locals and tourists alike, now home to new restaurants and dining options.
The most recommended part of Tennoji to stay in 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 staying in the area with your family.
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.
For budget travellers, Tennoji is the right place to find accommodation for you. However, just because there are several 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 for sakura season
Osaka Castle is one of the most tourist attractions in the city and the best place to stay in Osaka if you visit during the cherry blossom season. This is also the most zen part of Osaka where you walk, run and relax. There are lots of restaurants and shops nearby so you will never be too far from fun entertainment.
Osaka Castle area can be a cheaper accommodation option for visitors who don't mind taking the subway to other districts. You must absolutely stay at the Osaka Castle area if you visit during the sakura season. Trust us, we visited Osaka at the beginning of April and saw how incredible this place looks like in bloom.
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.
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. By staying here you already have the main attractions at your doorstep!
There are some great places to try unagi (eel) at Nishihara, soba noodles at Shuhari and ramen at Menya Ageha restaurants.
We found great 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 plus you get to be very close to the main entertainment quarters. 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 and are thinking about spending time at Universal Studios. You are just walking distance from Universal Studios, and it takes only 20 minutes on the subway to reach Namba.
If you wonder where to stay in Osaka, you might want to consider Universal Studios if you are travelling with kids and visiting Osaka mainly 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.
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.
If you love the idea of spending time at the Universal Studios you can potentially get a theme accommodation right by the Studios. Your kids will love you for it! But of course, that means super expensive. There are plenty of options just around or a few subway stations away. Here are our carefully selected hotel recommendations.
Osaka Bay Area - Where To Stay In Osaka for families
For visitors who want to enjoy a luxurious Osaka on a budget, the Osaka Bay area is the right place to stay in. Position yourself in the Osaka Bay Area if you are a couple or family travelling with kids and wish to enjoy a large hotel room for the same price as budget hotels in Kita.
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.
However, by staying in the Osaka Bay Area means that 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. To access the main entertainment quarters in Osaka, you have to take the subway to Kita or Minami. Osaka Bay Area is a beautiful and relaxing place, very quiet at night.
If you visit Osaka with your family, Osaka Bay area is a practical option. With larger rooms, you will have ample space to feel like you are on holiday and excellent public transport to key tourist areas in Osaka.
Often overlooked by tourists, Osaka Bay area is a great location for saving money while getting a more luxurious hotel room. It's great for tourists who want quick access to Universal Studios but without the large price tag.
Even if most tourist attractions are in Kita or Minami, you will still find plenty to do in Osaka Bay too. 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.
Here are our handpicked hotels for the Osaka Bay area.
Types of Accommodation in Osaka
Osaka is a large city and it offers hotels with price ranges to satisfy all budgets. Here's what to expect from each type of accommodation in Osaka
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.
Really excited you read our deeply researched guide on Osaka accommodation. We now know that you understand how Osaka is structured and you are ready to find where to stay in Osaka for your upcoming vacation.
We explained where to stay in Osaka based on your travel styles and budget, and listed our carefully picked hotels to satisfy all budgets. We researched all the information in this guide while we were in Osaka ourselves. We are also the first travel blog to write in-depth articles about Japan!
Want to learn more Osaka? Check out how to enjoy an Osaka itinerary or the best things to do in Osaka for first-time visitors. Don't forget to check the best things to do in Japan or the best places to visit in Japan. You'll love your trip, we promise!
Now that you decided which accommodation to get in Osaka, let us know what you picked and why. For any questions and comments, please use the comments section below.
We wish you a wonderful stay in Osaka.