Words & Photography: Priscilla Soh, travel 3Sixty° travelsmith
The Osaka Amazing Pass offers great savings on transport and attractions. Here’s how I used it.
The first time I heard of Osaka was from the manga Detective Conan, also known as Case Closed. (And if you are familiar with Conan, yes, it’s where the character Heiji is from!) Osaka is actually the second largest metropolitan in Japan, part of the Kansai region.
When visiting Osaka, the Osaka Amazing Pass offers excellent value. It comes in two forms: 1 Day Pass or 2 Day Pass. It gives you unlimited trips on the municipal subway, bus, and train (excluding JR train railway and the one to the airport), and a lot of coupons for free or discounted admission to attractions! You can get this at any subway station or Tourist Information Center in Osaka.
Checking the subway map and the list of attractions with free admission and the subway map, I then set my itinerary below with a 1 Day Pass.
|MORNING||Osaka Castle||Subway – Tanimachi 4-chome Station (Tanimachi Line)|
|NOON||Tenpozan||Subway – Osakako Station (Chuo Line)|
|AFTERNOON||House & Living Museum||Subway – Tenjinbashisuji 6-chome Station (Tanimachi / Sakaisuji Line)|
|EVENING||Natural Hot Spring Naniwa no Yu||8 min walk from above station|
|NIGHT||Dotonbori Street||Subway – Namba Station (Yotsubashi / Sennichimae / Imazatosuji Line)|
|Umeda Sky Building
|Subway – Umeda Station (Midosuji / Imazatosuji Line) OR
Subway – Nishi-Umeda Station (Yotsubashi Line) OR
Bus – #75 from Namba -> Osaka Station
Osaka Jo, or Osaka Castle, is a must-visit place when you’re in the city. Enjoy the breeze of sakura (cherry blossom) if you’re there in spring, or the fascinating beauty of maple leaves in autumn.
Even if you missed the sakura like I did, it’s still a good place to spend your time learning some history of Osaka and viewing the Osaka Castle Park from the top floor. The castle is an eight-storey building, with the 2nd to 7th floor displaying the culture and history of Japan in the old days.
Look what I found: a sewage cover with Osaka’s famous landmark!
TEMPOZAN FERRIS WHEEL
Next, a ride on Tempozan Ferris Wheel, which is located next to the Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan. Enjoy the 15-minute ride feeling the breeze of the sea together with the great 360-degree scenery!
SANTA MARIA DAY CRUISE
Right beside the Tempozan Ferris Wheel is Osaka Bay, where you can ride the Santa Maria Cruise, which is included in the Osaka Amazing Pass. Santa Maria is a themed sailing ship cruising around the beautiful Osaka Bay. If you are lucky enough, you can bump into pirates during this 45-minute cruise!
OSAKA MUSEUM OF HOUSING & LIVING
Osaka has a very interesting museum, the Museum of Housing & Living. It is like a mini Japanese society during the Edo period. Here, you will be able experience a little bit about the Edo culture. There’s yukata (Japanese robe) rental available there too at a low rental price. Stroll around with the yukata and feel Japanese!
NATURAL HOT SPRING NANIWA NO YOU
Get a culture shock when you experience the famous hot spring spa in Osaka, in a public pool! You can access Naniwa no Yu for free with the Osaka Amazing Pass. But do take note that they do not provide a towel, only shampoo and body soap. If you need a towel, you can always get from the counter for JPY 150 to 500 depending on the size.
Naniwa no Yu is a place with different baths, including outdoor ones. You can experience how Japanese families relax and spend leisure time together. As this is a public place, they share basically everything, from changing room to bath room to the public pool, separated by gender, of course. If you are not a shy person, I strongly recommend this uniquely Japanese experience for yourself!
If you can’t make it to Naniwa no Yu, entry to Natural Open-air Hot Spring Spa Suminoe is also free with the Osaka Amazing Pass.
Not part of the pass but a popular spot for all to enjoy for free, Dotonbori district is a happening area in Osaka. Be it food, shopping, entertainment, you name it, you’ll find it. As this area is built along canals, you can take a Dotonbori Cruise if you have time.
Walking along the street… I can feel the passion of the Kansai people towards their country, their people, and their way of life.
Since you are already in Osaka, remember to try okonomiyaki (Japanese pancake)!
If you are a beef lover, Osaka is meat heaven. Here, you’ll find a lot of barbeque restaurants, with your choice of the legendary Kobe or Wagyu beef.
UMEDA SKY BUILDING FLOATING GARDEN OBSERVATORY
Last, the Umeda Sky Building. I saved it for last due to its late closing time (open till 10.30pm, last entrance at 10pm), and also to see the panoramic night view of this metropolis. As it’s located near Osaka and Umeda Stations, it gives a bit of the Japanese urban lifestyle feeling when you see people walking at a very fast pace, rushing to catch the train to their next destination.
Umeda Sky Building is a spectacular high-rise building, a popular Osaka landmark. Its bridge connects the two towers with the Floating Garden Observatory on the 39th floor.
This view ends my day with 1 Day Osaka Amazing Pass!
COSTS FOR THE DAY
Osaka Castle: JPY 600
Tenpozan Ferris Wheel: JPY 800
Santa Maria Cruise: JPY 1600
Osaka Housing & Living Museum: JPY 600
Natural Hot Spring Naniwa no Yu: JPY 800
Dotonbori Street: Free
Umeda Sky Building: JPY 1000
Osaka Municipal Subways & Buses one-day pass: JPY 800 (weekdays)
Total cost without the Osaka Amazing Pass: JPY 6200
Osaka Amazing Pass – 1 Day Pass: JPY 2500
Savings: JPY 3700 (Yay!)
If you have more time in Osaka, it’s recommended to get the 2 Day Pass for JPY 3,300to maximise the remaining 30+ free attractions and enjoy great discounts for a hassle-free value-for-money trip to Osaka!
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