Central Osaka is famous for its wide range of nightlife experiences, some of which are suitable for those travelling with children. Once the sun goes down, it's time to take in the famous neon signs of Dotonbori, spectacular night views from the Tempozan Ferris Wheel, and fantastic lanterns illuminating Hōzenji Temple. 

    You won't have any trouble finding places in Osaka that stay open until late. From soaking the day's fatigue away at hot springs and spas to enjoying fun karaoke and VR experiences, let’s take a look at the best local nightlife experiences in Osaka.



    The Dotonbori area in Osaka is mostly filled with restaurants and stalls selling regional dishes. It’s a very lively place that's constantly buzzing with people. Many shops are open until late, so the area is very busy until near dawn, especially on weekends. 

    What‘s particularly outstanding in Dotonbori is the sight of flashy neon signs on both sides of the Dotonbori River. The Ezaki Glico sign is especially popular – the design depicting a runner crossing a finish line with his arms raised is probably familiar to many people. Because it’s located at the foot of Ebisu Bridge over Dotonbori River, it’s also a great photo spot.

    Location: Dotonbori, Chuo Ward, Osaka, Japan


    Santa Maria Twilight Cruise

    Santa Maria Twilight Cruise provides a unique way of watching the sunset and night view of Tempozan Harbor Village from the sea. The cruise is a reproduction that's double the size of the original Santa Maria, which was used by Columbus to reach the US. There’s nothing else quite like a cruise around Osaka Port, which is one of the few west-facing ports in Japan. 

    You get to enjoy excellent views of the sunset as well as illuminations of Tempozan Harbor Village and various sights of the Osaka Bay Area. It’s a 60-minute cruise, but it feels longer thanks to the calming effects of the evening breeze.

    Location: Osaka Port, 1 Chome-1-10 Kaigandori, Minato Ward, Osaka, 552-0022, Japan

    Open: Vary by season

    Phone: +81 (0)6-6942-5511


    photo by DocChewbacca (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified


    Kuchu Teien Observatory Deck

    Kuchu Teien Observatory (Floating Garden Observatory) is located on the 40th floor of Umeda Sky Building in Osaka. Take the lift from the Floating Garden gate on the 3rd floor and go straight up to the 35th floor. From there, transfer to the mid-air escalator, which takes you to Floating Garden entrance on the 39th floor. You can buy tickets here before heading to the observatory on the 40th floor. 

    The north and south sides of the observatory have glass walls, offering uninterrupted views of Osaka. You can take your time and enjoy the view even when on windy days. Check out the Sky Walk if you want to enjoy the sights from an even higher level. This is an amazing point from which to enjoy views of Osaka at night, with its lights sparkling like jewels, at the circular corridor around the top of the 173-metre-high building.

    Location: Umeda Sky Building, 1-1-88 Oyodonaka, Kita Ward, Osaka 531-0076, Japan

    Open: Daily from 9.30 am to 10.30 pm

    Phone: +81 (0)6-6440-3855


    Hozenji Yokocho

    Hozenji Yokocho offers a quiet atmosphere in Osaka, thanks to its quaint cobblestone paths that contrast with the dazzling neon signs of Dotonbori. While it's a popular restaurant district, you can also find Hozenji Temple, which contains the statue of Fudo Myo-o, a Buddhist spirit. 

    One of Osaka’s unique sights is that of people praying to the moss-covered statue at the heart of the downtown Minami district. After spending time in Dotonbori, it's a good idea to have a meal at Hozenji Yokocho or enjoy views of traditional lanterns at Hozenji Temple. It might just make you forget that you’re in the middle of a modern city.

    Location: Nanba, Chuo Ward, Osaka, Japan


    photo by warabi hatogaya (CC BY 3.0) modified


    National Bunraku Theater

    Don’t miss seeing master puppeteers handling puppets that are two-thirds the size of a human at this national institution. Operating for 7 months throughout the year, bunraku puppet shows generally run for 3-week periods. It's best to check program times at the theatre unless you are a Japanese speaker. The theatre itself blends modern facilities with traditional Japanese architecture. To reach the theatre, take the subway to Nippombashi station.

    Location: 1-12-10 Nippon-bashi, Chuo-ku, Osaka 542-0073, Japan

    Phone: +81 (0)6 6212 2531


    photo by KENPEI (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified


    Jankara Osaka

    Jumbo Karaoke Hiroba, or Jankara, is one of the most popular karaoke chains in Japan. It offers a wide range of services, including low-cost room charges with free all-you-can-drink menus. You can even bring your own food and drinks to Jankara. 

    There are a variety of concepts rooms, free Wi-Fi and free use of phone chargers. Many Jankara outlets are open until dawn, so you can casually go whenever you want to sing without having to worry about the time. One of its most popular branches is located in Dotonburi, located 350 metres south of the Shinsaibashi-Suji Shopping Street.

    Location: 1 Chome-7-23 Dotonbori, Chuo Ward, Osaka, 542-0077, Japan

    Phone: +81 (0)6-6213-9996


    photo by Kirakirameister (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified


    Osaka Castle Tower

    Situated right in the centre of Osaka, Osaka Castle is designated as a Special Historic Site. One of Japan’s oldest castles, it also won the 9th Night View Heritage of Japan Award for its illuminations. 

    If you visit in the daytime, you can check out the exhibitions on display in the Castle Tower (Tenshukaku) and enjoy a stroll in the park. The illuminations at night give Tenshukaku a completely different look. The best time to visit is at night, during Osaka's cherry blossom season. If possible, check out Osaka Castle's 3D mapping illumination event, which changes its theme every year.

    Location: 1-1 Osaka, Chuo Ward, Osaka 542-0002, Japan


    Tempozan Ferris Wheel

    Tempozan Ferris Wheel is one of the largest Ferris wheels in Japan. Located in Tempozan Harbor Village, there are many famous spots to enjoy night views, the best of which is with a ride on this 112.5-metre-tall attraction. 

    Expect panoramic views of the illuminations overlooking Osaka Port and the neighbouring areas. You can see Tempozan Bridge and Kobe in the north, the buildings of Umeda in the east, Osaka South Port ATC in the south, and Aquarium Kaiyukan and Osaka Port in the west. Tempozan Ferris Wheel itself is illuminated with LED lights, with motifs such as fireworks, kaleidoscopes, and its mascot called Tempomaru. 

    Location: 1-1-10 Kaigandori, Minato Ward, Osaka 552-0022, Japan

    Open: Daily from 10 am to 9.30 pm

    Phone: +81 (0)6-6576-6222


    Shimoakasaka Terraced Paddy Fields

    The Shimoakasaka Terraced Paddy Fields are located in Chihaya Akasaka, the only remaining village in Osaka prefecture. This quaint rural area is known for its picturesque scenery, which changes every season. 

    The best time to visit the Shimoakasaka Terraced Rice Fields is at dusk. The light of the setting sun reflects on the terraced rice fields, resulting in a stunning view. You should also visit in November to see the rice fields illuminated in artificial lighting.

    Location: Moriya, Chihayaakasaka, Minamikawachi District, Osaka 585-0044, Japan


    photo by KENPEI (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified


    Club Circus Osaka

    Dance the night away at this underground nightclub

    Club Circus is an intimate nightclub in Osaka’s Nakanishi Building. It has an excellent sound system that plays a wide range of music, from techno to hip hop. The city’s young crowd often come here on weekends for late-night dancing.

    Club Circus is easy to get to from anywhere downtown, as it’s located between the Yotsubashi and Shinsaibashi metro stations. The cover charge varies depending on the DJ of the night. It’s a good idea to check its schedule online before you head to the club.

    Location: Nakanishi Building, 2F, 1-8-16 Nishi-Shinsaibashi Chuo-Ku Osaka 542-0086, Japan

    Phone: +81 (0)6-6241-3822


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