Often overshadowed by its big sister Tokyo, Osaka is an incredible city with arguably the best culinary scene in Japan.
Conveniently located near Japan’s ancient capitals, Kyoto and Nara, Osaka is the gateway to the west and a great place to stay for a few days to learn more about Japanese culture and food.
Best of all, it’s much more affordable than other cities in Japan, so you can have a great time without breaking the bank.
That said, like many Japanese cities, it can be overwhelming when deciding where to stay in Osaka.
That’s why we created this Osaka area guide. We’ve covered the coolest places to stay in Osaka and our top neighbourhood picks, complete with reviews on our favourite hostels, hotels, and Osaka Airbnb apartments.
So whether your travelling to Japan just for fun or travelling in the summer of 2020 (the Olympics are coming, folks), we’ve got you covered. With this guide in hand, it won’t be hard to find the best place to stay in Osaka for your chosen flavour.
Table of Contents
- Quick Tips – Where to Stay in Osaka
- Top 3 Recommendations
- Osaka Neighbourhood Guide
- 5 Best Neighbourhoods to Stay in Osaka
- 1. Umeda (Kita) Neighbourhood – Best Area in Osaka for First-Timers
- 2. Honmachi Neighbourhood – Where to Stay in Osaka on a Budget
- 3. Namba (Minami) Neighbourhood – Best Area in Osaka for Nightlife
- 4. Osaka Castle Neighbourhood – Coolest Place to Stay in Osaka
- 5. Osaka Bay Neighbourhood – Where to Stay in Osaka for Families
- Final Thoughts on Where to Stay in Osaka
Quick Tips – Where to Stay in Osaka
- Where to stay in Osaka first time – Umeda (Kita)
- Where to stay in Osaka on a budget – Honmachi
- Best area to stay in Osaka for nightlife – Minami
- Coolest place to stay in Osaka – Osaka Castle
- Best neighbourhood in Osaka for families – Osaka Bay
- Pore over the collections at the small but interesting National Museum of Art, Osaka.
- Marvel at the soaring Umeda Sky Building and then head to the observatory for sweeping city views.
- Take a relaxing stroll around the peaceful Nakanoshima-Koen Park.
Looking for a specific place to stay? Below we have reviewed are our top picks for best places to stay in Osaka!
Best Osaka Airbnb: Cozy House Namba
This private three-bedroom apartment in central Osaka can accommodate up to 12 people! One bedroom has a double bed and a single bed, another has a sofa bed, and the other has Japanese-style tatami mats.
It has a modern and well-equipped kitchen with a dining table and chairs, separate toilet and bathroom, a washing machine, a living area, outdoor space, Wi-Fi, and four free bicycles for you to use to explore. With so much space and so many amenities, it’s perfect for anyone travelling to Japan in, say, the summer of 2020… hmm…View on Airbnb
Best Hostel in Osaka: Hostel Bushi
Make your Osaka stay a memorable one with the best hostel in Osaka! A fun and new Osaka hostel close to Kyobashi station, Hostel Bushi offers a comfortable sleep and cultural experiences within the heart of the city. Relax in the Japanese traditional baths, try on suits of armour, and admire the quirky military-themed designs.
There are mixed and female-only dorms and private twin rooms. There’s a BBQ on the terrace and a shared kitchen if you want to make your own meals, and the sociable common room is a great place to meet other travellers.
Other plus points include free Wi-Fi, laundry facilities, friendly members of staff, a hot tub, hairdryers, a large work desk, and privacy curtains on the dorm beds.View on HostelWorld
Best Hotel in Osaka: Hotel Amaterrace Yosuga
Located in Minami, Hotel Amaterrace Yosuga is surrounded by top-notch restaurants, shops, and bars. The rooms are spacious and stylish, with a seating area, a desk, and a kitchenette (fridge, microwave, kettle).
All rooms have a private bathroom with a hairdryer and free toiletries and some rooms have a balcony too. Daily housekeeping services ensure everywhere is kept clean and tidy while the laundry facilities and luggage storage make for nice extra bonuses. It’s our pick of the best hotel in Osaka for your visit!View on Booking.com
There are also some great Osaka homestays in case you fancy a true local experience.
Quick Summary: The Best Places to Stay in Osaka
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Your Osaka itinerary will probably be spread out across the city. Osaka is a large city and many of its neighbourhoods have places of interest for visitors. Regardless of which of Osaka’s neighbourhoods you choose to stay in, you’ll be needing to make use of the extremely serviceable (it’s Japan) public transportation. Regardless, it’s still optimal to choose the best location in Osaka to stay in based on the purpose of your trip.
Kita (also known as Umeda) is a major transportation hub with numerous places to shop, eat, drink, and sleep as well as interesting attractions. Minami is another of Osaka’s main transportation areas, and the neighbourhood is famous for its pulsating night scene and a huge array of restaurants. Tennoji is an up-and-coming area with an edgy vibe.
A fairly quiet area, Honmachi offers a good selection of eateries and leisure options and is also one of the cheapest neighbourhoods to stay in Osaka. Chiyoda is another fairly quiet but central part of Osaka. Osaka Bay offers some of the best deals on accommodations; you may not find the cheapest stay here, but you’ll get more for your money.
There are accommodations close to the famous Universal Studios, and you can also stay close to one of Osaka’s most iconic sites: Osaka Castle. If you’re planning to use Osaka as a base for exploring the wider area, Shin-Osaka is ideal as you can catch the bullet train from here. The wider area, within Osaka prefecture but outside of the city, also has good accommodations.
Try and stay close to the Midosuji metro line; it goes to almost all parts of the city and will make exploring Osaka a lot more convenient!
Let’s explore Osaka’s best neighbourhoods!
5 Best Neighbourhoods to Stay in Osaka
Osaka is a sprawling city and attractions are fairly spread out. You’ll find plenty of interesting things to see and do all around the city, but what area should you choose for your stay in Osaka?
Are you visiting Osaka while on a trip for Japan’s 2020 summer Olympics? Do you want the best Osaka neighbourhood for nightlife? Looking for the best area in Osaka for a family trip? Maybe you’re just an el cheapo in Japan.
No matter what type of travel experience you are looking for, our picks for the best neighbourhoods in Osaka will help you figure out where to stay in this incredible city.
Below is the rundown of where to stay in Osaka in 2020!
Umeda (also known as Kita) is one of the main tourist areas of Osaka, with numerous attractions as well as leisure and dining options and nightlife. It’s also an ideal location for exploring other parts of Osaka, thanks to its excellent public transportation connections. Some Osaka’s cheaper places to stay can be found here too.
Because it is so central to the main tourist areas, this is also where to stay in Osaka for one night if you’re running low on time. It’s surely the best place to stay in Osaka for your first visit too; its prime location makes exploring Osaka and coming to grips with feel of a big Japanese city comfy and breezy.
Best Osaka Airbnb in Umeda: Tenma 2 Bedroom (2 Minutes from Osaka Station)
Book this entire apartment with two bedrooms (accommodating up to six people) and choose between traditional Japanese-style sleeping, on tatami mats, or in western-style beds. There’s a comfy Japanese living room, a kitchen, and a dining area. Floor-to-ceiling windows let plenty of light in and there’s a balcony too. Pocket Wi-Fi is provided. It’s one of the best places to stay in Osaka Japan.View on Airbnb
Best Hostel in Umeda: J-Hoppers Osaka Guesthouse
With a comfortable TV lounge, a rooftop terrace, vending machines that sell beer, and a shared kitchen, this is a great Kita hostel for sociable travellers looking to meet other people and have a comfortable base from which to explore Osaka. There are mixed and female-only dorms as well as private rooms for two and three.View on HostelWorld
Best Hotel in Umeda: Sonezaki Luxe Hotel
A stylish mid-range Kita hotel, Sonezaki Luxe has spacious en-suite rooms with a TV, desk, complimentary toiletries, adequate storage space, a kettle, and a fridge. The hotel also provides luggage storage services and free Wi-Fi. Just 600 metres from the station, it’s in a prime location in Osaka with many bars and restaurants close to hand.View on Booking.com
Best Homestay in Umeda – Nordic Style Designer’s Room Umeda
If you need to be near Osaka University, then Umeda is a good location to be. So, check out this fabulous Osaka homestay! Rather than a traditional Japanese tatami room, this is inspired by Scandinavia – which is peaceful in a different kind of way! If you’ve had a long day at uni, you can come back to prepare a meal in the kitchen and then work late into the night at the laptop-friendly workspace! When you need a break, your apartment is located by the riverside, so you can head out and have a lovely walk!VIEW ON AIRBNB
Top Things to do in Umeda
– Enjoy some retail therapy at Tenjinbashi-suji shopping street, the longest shopping arcade in Osaka and home to a variety of stores as well as many places to eat.
– Have a thrilling time with a ride on the ferris wheel at the top of the Hep Five Complex; the views of Osaka are amazing!
– Soak up the glorious sights and fragrances of the colourful flower-filled Umekita Garden.
– Pore over the collections at the small but interesting National Museum of Art, Osaka.
– Take the children to Kids Plaza Osaka, an interactive science centre and gigantic play area rolled into one awesome package.
– Visit local temples like Joshin-ji and Taiyu-ji
– Learn more about the city’s history at Osaka Museum of Housing and Living, home to a replica of a shopping street from the Edo era.
– Take a relaxing stroll around the peaceful Nakanoshima-koen Park.
– Marvel at the soaring Umeda Sky Building and then head to the observatory for sweeping city views.
– Buy tickets for a performance at Umeda Arts Theatre.
– Spend an evening hopping between the area’s many bars.
Looking for budget accommodation in Osaka? Honmachi is one of Osaka’s cheapest neighbourhoods to stay in and recommended for where to stay in Osaka on a budget.
It may not have many attractions but it’s within walking distance of both Kita (Umeda) and Minami, and there’s a good selection of restaurants. It’s definitely a good place to stay in Osaka for budget backpackers.
Best Osaka Airbnb in Honmachi: Japanese room: Tatami, Tokonoma (Honmachi St 1 min)
Sleeping up to six people, this apartment has two bedrooms with tatami mats. There are many delightful features throughout the home and you’re sure to feel as though you’re having an authentic Japanese stay when you book here. The apartment has a kitchen though and you’ll find plenty of restaurants within a short walk of the property.View on Airbnb
Best Hostel in Honmachi: Roots Hostel
A sociable home from home in Osaka, meet lots of new people, have a comfortable stay, and save money with a stay at Roots Hostel. There are mixed and ladies-only dorms and private rooms for two and four. The onsite bar/café is convenient and the hostel also has luggage storage and laundry facilities. Access is by keycard and there’s 24-hour security.
It’s amongst the best budget hostels in Osaka and a place to stay for anyone wanting to get a bit lively at a good price.View on HostelWorld
Best Hotel in Honmachi: Super Hotel Lohas Honmachi (Subwayline Yotsubashi Exit 24)
The spacious air-conditioned rooms are light and airy, thanks to the large windows. The feeling of comfort is enhanced by the carpeted floors, soft beds, and private bathrooms. Breakfast is available for an additional fee and there’s an onsite restaurant. Soothe your body and mind in the hot spring bath after each day of sightseeing to feel fully refreshed.View on Booking.com
Top Things to do in Honmachi
– Try the delicacy of unagi (eel) at the relaxed Yoshitora restaurant.
– Unwind in the attractive Utsubo-Koen Park, complete with a fountain, statues, and playground. In the spring, it’s a great place to admire cherry blossom.
– Visit local shrines like Ikasuri Shrine, Namba Shrine, and Hibuse Pottery Shrine.
– Look for the small and easy-to-miss Basho Shuen no Chi Monument at the roadside.
– Observe local culture at Hongan-ji Temple.
– Have a top-class meal at the Michelin-starred Hajime French restaurant, often said to be one of the best restaurants in all of Osaka.
– Experience a local tea ceremony.
– Admire the works in Christie Art and Gallery.
– Have fun and take lots of cool pictures at Kimono Experience Shop Wasobi.
– Learn new things at Osaka Science and Technology Museum.
Wondering Where To Stay in Osaka? You can do worse than this. As the liveliest part of the city, Minami (also known as Namba) is the best area to stay in Osaka for nightlife!
There are many restaurants and a huge number of bars. It’s also a bustling commercial district with shops and malls aplenty. It’s the best location to stay in Osaka if you want to hit the town anend some dough!
Furthermore, it’s one of the city’s major transportation hubs. If you’re wondering where is the best place to stay in Namba, read on!
Best Osaka Airbnb in Namba (Minami): Convenient Location (Namba Station 5 Minutes)
Sleeping up to three people, this stylish and modern apartment has two single beds and a fold-down sofa bed in the same room. There’s a small kitchen and a dining table with chairs. It’s just a short walk from the station and there are many restaurants and shops close to hand.
It’s an excellent location in Osaka for getting out and exploring the vibrancy the city has to offer!View on Airbnb
Best Hostel in Namba (Minami): Home Hostel Osaka
Home Hostel Osaka has a choice of two and four-person private rooms as well as mixed and single-gender dormitories. The pod-like beds have privacy curtains, individual power outlets, and reading lights.
Bathrooms have hairdryers, and free Wi-Fi is available. There’s a shared kitchen and you can socialise in the cafe. Bikes are available to rent.View on HostelWorld
Best Hotel in Namba (Minami): Sarasa Hotel Nipponbashi
The attractive, air-conditioned, and sound-proofed rooms at Sarasa Hotel Nipponbashi ensure you have a great night’s sleep. Rooms have a desk and TV. Some rooms have a separate seating area too.
Rooms are available to sleep between one and six people. The hotel has a restaurant too.View on Booking.com
Top Things to Do in Namba (Minami)
– Pass through the gaping mouth at the entrance to Namba Yasaka Shrine and learn more about local spirituality.
– Travel back to the Edo era at Hozenji Yokocho temple.
– Upgrade your electronics at Den Den Town.
– Shop ’til you drop along the glitzy Shinsaibashi-suji.
– Combine shopping and nature at the stunning Namba Parks, a mall with cliffs, trees, ponds, waterfalls, and thousands of plants.
– Browse independent stores and boutiques in Amerikamura, a place where Japanese and western cultures meet.
– Watch a terrific performance at National Bunraku Theater.
– Be dazzled by flashing lights and have lots of fun in the entertainment area of Dotonbori.
– Eat your fill of delicious and affordable street food.
– Have a good laugh as you watch a comedy show at Namba Grand Kagetsu Theater.
– Take a cruise along the Tonbori River.
– Hop from bar to bar in the evenings and experience the area’s energetic night scene.
One of the coolest neighbourhoods to stay in Osaka, the area near Osaka Castle is full of character and history. It might not be conventionally hip and cool, but you’ll find plenty to keep you occupied. Plus, it’s easy to travel to other areas by metro or – if you’re feeling active – you can even walk.
Best Osaka Airbnb in Osaka Castle: LuxuryPenthouseSuperView MDZ46
Maybe you’re travelling in the summer of 2020. You’ve come to Japan for the Olympics and you’ve said, “Hell, let’s go stay in Osaka in the most flash, the swankiest place we can find!” Boom.
If you fancy staying close to Osaka Castle in the lap of luxury, this studio apartment is difficult to beat. There are two beds plus a sofa bed squeezing in up to six people.
The major draw of this modern and stylish pad is the incredible views it offers over Osaka. The toilet and shower are separate and the apartment has a kitchen with all the essentials.View on Airbnb
Best Hostel in Osaka Castle: “Bike & Bed” Charinko Hostel
Stay a ten-minute stroll from the castle and rent a bike to discover the rest of Osaka’s delights. The hostel encourages travellers to explore Osaka as a local would.
The dorms are large but the pod-style beds, complete with a light and power outlet, give you privacy at bedtime. Other features: café-bar, common area, kitchen.View on HostelWorld
Best Hotel in Osaka Castle: Hotel the Lutheran
The Western-style rooms are en-suite and have conveniences like a fridge, TV, kettle, phone, Wi-Fi, and hairdryer. The hotel’s restaurant serves a buffet breakfast each morning for an extra fee.
Guests can arrange a relaxing massage too. The reception is open around the clock and there are rooms that are suitable for wheelchair users.View on Booking.com
Top Things to Do in Osaka Castle
– Tour the large and striking Osaka Castle; the original castle was built in the late 1500s and reconstructed in the 1990s and it is one of Osaka’s primary tourist destinations.
– Wander through the beautiful Osaka Castle Park, often filled with street performers and a terrific place to see stunning cherry blossom in the springtime.
– Uncover more about Osaka’s past at the Osaka Museum of History.
– Immerse yourself in spirituality at Hokoku Shrine.
– See how coins and medals are made at the Mint Museum and admire the many cherry blossom trees that flourish here in season.
– Visit the historic Tamatsukuri Inari Shrine.
– Sink your teeth into eel (unagi) at Nishihara restaurant.
– Catch a show at Theater Brava.
– Learn how Osaka was destroyed during WWII and see why peace is so important for the world in general at the Osaka International Peace Center.
– Step into the world of Japanese TV at Japan Broadcasting Corporation BK Plaza.
Osaka Bay is a top location to stay in Osaka for people looking to enjoy the city’s more modern attractions and have heaps of fun. It’s also a really cool place to stay in Osaka! There are theme parks, museums, plentiful restaurants, and many shops.
There are accommodations on the mainland, dotted through modern developments, or you could opt for a stay on one of the artificial islands. It’s a popular area for both international and Japanese tourists, and you’ll find lots of home comforts to keep all members of the family more than happy.
Best Osaka Airbnb in Osaka Bay: Renovated & Private for Families and Groups
Up to five people can stay here, making it a top choice for families and friends. There’s one large bedroom with Japanese-style tatami mats. It’s basic but clean and neat. The bay is perhaps the best neighbourhood to stay in Osaka for families.
There’s a low dining table (sit on the floor as the locals do), a small kitchenette, and a bathroom. If you’re looking for all western comforts this may not be the best place for you but if you want to experience a taste of traditional Japanese living with the family, it’s perfect! Give the kids a taste of culture when you venture to Japan for the 2020 Olympics!View on Airbnb
Best Hostel in Osaka Bay: Hostel Jin
Offering a blend of Japanese and western styles and comforts, Hostel Jin has dorms with bunk beds (complete with curtains for privacy), tatami rooms, and private rooms in different sizes. It has an onsite bar-café, laundry facilities, a shared kitchen, and an outdoor terrace. It’s also close to the train line.View on HostelWorld
Best Hotel in Osaka Bay: Hotel She Osaka
Close to a train station, Hotel She has an onsite restaurant and bar as well as a communal kitchen and an outdoor terrace where you can relax. The retro record players are novel, complete with a selection of tunes on vinyl to rent or buy. Rooms are en-suite with a TV.View on Booking.com
Top Things to Do in Osaka Bay
– Spend a day (or longer) at the popular Universal Studios theme park, complete with rides, shows, and other attractions based on well-known movies like Jaws, Spiderman, Shrek, and Jurassic Park.
– Discover the many delights of the underwater world at the enormous Osaka Aquarium, home to many species of fish and other aquatic life.
– Enjoy diverse shopping at Tempozan Harbor Village.
– Soak up the views from the top of the tempozan Ferris wheel; the nighttime vistas are especially magical.
– Travel back to the Edo period at the reconstructed themed food street of Naniwa Kuishinbo, located within Tempozan mall.
– Observe an array of interesting feathered creatures at Nanko Bird Sanctuary on Sakishima Island.
– Ride to the 55th-floor observation deck of Cosmo Tower.
– See Mount Tempozan, the smallest mountain in Japan.
– Enjoy some retail therapy at the Asia Pacific Trade Center.
Final Thoughts on Where to Stay in Osaka
Osaka is one of the coolest cities in Japan! There are so many unique things to do in Osaka, like feast yourself at street food stalls and 5-star restaurants, drink coffee at the original cat café, indulge in some of the best green tea in the world, and watch a puppet show at Bunraku! (Osaka is the home of the distinctive Japanese art of puppetry, which dates back in the 1600s.)
This guide was written to help you pick the best place to stay in Osaka based on your travel style! And remember, if you can’t decide where to stay in Osaka, stay in Umeda (Kita) neighbourhood for convenience, and Namba for the nightlife.
Japan is super safe but still, don’t forget to sort your travel insurance! We’ve put together a roundup of the best travel insurance for backpackers – check it out here, or if you’re low on time, get a quote from World Nomads now, our favourite travel insurance provider.
That’s it, folks! Japan is excellent – truly a magical place -and Osaka is too. Think of it this way Tokyo (home of the 2020 summer Olympics) is the big brother mega-metropolis (‘mega’ is underselling it). Kyoto is the middle-child old cultural capital concerned with the ways of old… and Osaka?
Osaka is the little bro, influenced by all the American TV it watched growing up. It’s got a real penchant from standing out with its eclectic nightlife and it’s desire to just do things a bit different than the other destinations in Japan. And so, by now, you should hopefully know exactly where to stay in Osaka.
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Writer and Editor, Ana Pereira is a California native, inspired by Earth exploration and introspection. Recently, she spent several months exploring Africa and South Asia. She spends most of her “down-time” out in the wilderness, climbing, hiking, and beyond, and is feverishly passionate about travel and health.