Where To Stay In Osaka, Japan: Neighborhood Guide

When traveling to Japan, there are many things to consider when booking your accommodations. One of the biggest decisions is where to stay in Osaka.

There are a variety of neighborhoods and hotels to choose from, each with its own unique flavor and atmosphere. Ultimately, choosing where you’ll stay in Osaka depends on your travel style and priorities.

Are you in town to see the city’s top attractions, or are you planning for day trips around the region to the surrounding towns? Do you prefer a quiet neighborhood where you can fully immerse yourself in local culture, or do you want to be in the middle of all the action where the rest of the tourists play?

Here is a guide on some of the best areas to stay in Osaka and some recommended hotels in each area.

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Overview of Osaka, Japan

Osaka is a diverse and vibrant city, with something to offer everyone. In Osaka, you’ll find the best of both worlds–traditional temples sitting side-by-side with towering skyscrapers and neon lights leading to tranquil Japanese gardens.

The city is divided into 24 wards, each with its own unique attractions, character and atmosphere.

From the lively nightlife of Dotonbori to the peaceful gardens of Nakanoshima, there is no shortage of things to see and do in every corner of this bustling city. Osaka is a great place to shop, with its myriad of malls and department stores. It’s also a food lover’s paradise, with its famous street food culture and Michelin-starred restaurants.

One of the first things you need to know about Osaka is that it’s a big, big city. Thankfully, Osaka has an excellent subway/train transportation system that covers the city very well.

Therefore, staying somewhere central and conveniently located by a train station is going to save you both time and money.

When picking a hotel, try to stay as close as possible to the Midosuji subway line, as this is the most useful subway line in Osaka–it’ll get you almost anywhere you need to go.


What are the best neighborhoods in Osaka?

When choosing where to stay, it’s good to know that Osaka has a wide range of neighborhoods to choose from.

For those who want to be in the heart of the action, Minami (otherwise known as Namba) is the perfect choice. This busy district is home to some of Osaka’s best-known attractions, including the famed Dotonbori and the Shinsaibashi shopping area.

For first-time visitors, the best option is often to stay in one of the city’s major districts, such as Umeda (Kita area) or Namba (Minami area). These areas offer a convenient base for exploring all that Osaka has to offer, as well as a wide variety of accommodation options to suit all budgets.

Can’t decide between the two, or want something a little calmer? Opt for Honmachi (Central Osaka), located smack dab in between the Kita area and Minami area.

For those looking for a more affordable Japanese experience filled with cheap bites and drinks, the area of Tennoji is always a popular choice.

Now that you have a high-level overview of what some of these neighborhoods bring to the table, let’s learn a bit more about them so you can decide if it’s the right area for you to stay in.


Where To Stay In Osaka, Japan

Minami Area

Dotonburi Osaka Japan
  • Highlights: Nanba Station, Dotonbori, Shinsaibashi
  • Pros: good for travelers who want to be in the middle of all the action, centrally located, lots of shopping, restaurants, and entertainment
  • Cons: people who don’t like crowds, as it’s a very lively and busy district especially during weekends and holidays.

The Minami area in Osaka is the perfect place to stay if you want to be in the heart of the action. Minami, meaning “south”, is Osaka’s premier entertainment district.

This lively district is home to some of the city’s best shopping, dining, and nightlife, and it’s easy to get around on foot or by public transportation.

This area, also referred to as Namba (referring to the major train station in the heart of the district), is one of the best places to stay if you want to experience why Osaka is named Japan’s food capital.

There’s Ebisuya, a Michelin-starred restaurant that specializes in tempura, as well as Dotonbori Kukuru, a great place to try takoyaki.

In the Minami area, you’ll find popular attractions such as:

  • Shinsaibashi-Suji Shopping Street
  • Dotonbori District
  • Running Man Glico Sign
  • Nipponbashi Denden Town
  • Kuromon Ichiba Market
  • Namba Parks
  • Hōzenji Temple
  • Hozen-jo Yokocho Alley
  • Amerika-Mura
Shinsaibashi Shopping - Things To Do In Osaka

There are two large subway stations, The Namba Subway Station and Shinsaibashi Subway Station, both on the Mido-suji Subway Line.

There are plenty of hotels and hostels in the area close to these subway stations, so you can easily find accommodations to suit your budget. Here are my picks for the Minami area:

Kita Area

Umeda - Where To Stay In Osaka
  • Highlights: Umeda Station, Umeda Sky Building, Osaka Castle is also close by
  • Pros: good for travelers who plan on going all over the place in Osaka (the most well-connected area in Osaka), centrally located, lots of shopping, restaurants, and entertainment
  • Cons: may be too quiet if you’re looking for nightlife

The Kita area in Osaka (some also refer to it as Umeda) is a great place to stay if you’re looking for a central location that’s close to many of the city’s main attractions. Kita, which means “north” in Japanese, is considered Osaka’s business district with its many modern skyscrapers and office buildings.

It’s modern, convenient, and picturesque–and a top contender for one of the best neighborhoods to stay in Osaka.

While not as busy as the Minami area, this vibrant neighborhood is home to a number of higher-end hotels and restaurants. Because it is a business district, it’s not the best for nightlife, but Dotonbori’s just a short train ride away!

For those who want to explore Osaka’s rich culture and history, the Kita area is also home to a number of museums and historical sites.

Here, you’ll find attractions such as:

  • Nakanoshima
  • Umeda Sky Building
  • Kids Plaza Osaka
  • Osaka Castle – about a kilometer to the east of Kita
  • O-hatsu Tenjin Shrine

Foodies will also be spoiled for choice with the abundance of restaurants and cafes serving up everything from local specialties to international cuisine.

In addition, the area is well-connected to the rest of the city via public transportation, making it easy to get around. In fact, Kita is Osaka’s most important transport hub, with a total of four train lines converging here (the JR Line and three private lines: Hankyu, Keihan and Hanshin).

More importantly, the Midosuji subway line also stops right in the middle of Kita!

My picks for the best hotels in Kita are:

Tennoji Area

Shinsekai - Osaka Day Trip Itinerary
  • Highlights: Tennoji Station, Shinsekai Neighborhood, Tsutenkaku Tower
  • Pros: good restaurant and bar scene and affordable prices, budget-friendly accommodations
  • Cons: because of the cheap eats and drinks here, it can get busy and loud in the evenings

The Tennoji Area in Osaka is another great area to consider getting a hotel in, especially for all my budget-minded travelers. This is because this up-and-coming neighborhood offers a great combination of affordability, convenience, comfort, and accessibility.

Tennoji is in an older part of Osaka, lying just south of Minami. You’ll sort of get the best of both worlds here, the photogenic surroundings of Tennoji free of skyscrapers, but also the ability to walk to the bustling neon-lit Minami area from there!

The area is also well connected to the rest of Osaka, with a number of trains and subways passing through Tennoji Station (on the main Midosuji line).

But perhaps the best reason to stay in the Tennoji area? The attractions you can find here!

Here, you’ll find attractions such as:

  • Shinsekai Neighborhood
  • Tsutenkaku Tower
  • Abeno Harukas Building
  • Sumiyoshi Taisha Shrine

This lively district is also home to a number of affordable restaurants, ranging from traditional Japanese cuisine to more Western-style fare. For something uniquely Tennoji, you’ll be happy to know that many of the restaurants here specialize in Kushikatsu, which is battered, deep-fried meat and vegetables on skewers!

For a truly memorable dining experience, head to Shitennoji Hayauchi, where you can enjoy traditionally-made soba noodles in a comfortable setting.

If you’re minding your budget, you’ll easily be able to fill yourself up by just sampling the local specialties at one of the many inexpensive roadside stalls.

My picks for the best hotels in Tennoji are:

Honmachi Area

  • Highlights: Honmachi Station, Utsubo-Koen Park
  • Pros: more affordable accommodations, can easily walk to both Minami and Kita, quiet home base good for business travelers
  • Cons: Can be too quiet for those looking for shopping and nightlife, not much to do around here

For those of you who are looking for a more relaxed atmosphere than what Minami and Kita can provide, you may want to consider staying in the Honmachi area.

This neighborhood is located just west of downtown Osaka and is known for its tree-lined streets and traditional merchants’ houses.

In addition, Honmachi is home to a number of temples and shrines, as well as the Utsubo-Koen Park, a great greenspace with a lovely rose garden to enjoy. In the springtime, it is one of Osaka’s most popular places to see the cherry blossom trees in full bloom.

While it doesn’t have as many shopping and dining options as the other districts, there are still plenty of restaurants you can choose from!

And if you’re worried about being too far away from the action, don’t be. For people who like exploring on foot, you could literally walk to either Kita or Minami from Honmachi. For all my train travelers, Honmachi Station is centrally located and on the Midosuji subway line!

In terms of accommodation options, these are my top picks in Honmachi:

My picks for the best hotels in Honmachi are:


Osaka: Essential Packing List

  • Japan Rail Pass | If you’re staying within the Kansai region, the Kansai Area regional pass makes sense. If you’re traveling across Japan (like to/from Tokyo), the national pass can be worth the money.
  • Icoca (IC) Card | Super-convenient rechargeable cards that can be used on all major trains, subways, and buses throughout Japan. You can even use them to pay for stuff at the konbini (convenience stores)! Cards can be purchased from train station ticket vending machines or ticket offices.
  • Pocket WiFi | If your phone carrier does not provide free international data, you’ll probably want to avoid those exorbitant roaming fees. Get around that by renting a pocket WiFi. Many hotels offer this as part of your stay, but in the case that they don’t, you can rent your own.
  • Portable Power Bank | You’re probably going to be out all day, snapping away taking pictures, GPSing to all the great landmarks of Japan. The last thing you want is to be stranded with no phone battery! A portable power bank is a must-have, and Anker’s ultra-light, ultra-portable power bank is tried and true by so many travelers! I never embark on a day of exploration without it.
  • Travel Adapter | If you’re traveling internationally, you’re going to need one. This one here is tried and trusted. It allows for a normal plug and has two additional USB ports.
  • Jet Lag Prevention | Chances are you will be jetlagged during your first few days in Japan. Don’t let the long flight and time change weigh you down! Here are a few preventative options that’ll help:
  • Comfortable Walking Shoes | You will be doing a lot of walking in Japan.
  • Cash and credit cards
  • Important travel documents | Passports, visas, flight tickets, medical cards
  • Lastly, be sure to save space in your luggage for souvenirs and snacks to bring home!

Japan Travel Insurance

This is a no-brainer. When traveling internationally, be sure to get yourself some travel insurance.

I’ve heard of too many unfortunate experiences where friends and family have had baggage lost/stolen, hotels canceled, or have had unexpected medical emergencies while traveling where they’ve had to cut their trips short. My partner even had his shoulder dislocated while surfing in Mexico, resulting in a huuuge emergency room bill!

Without travel insurance, you would have to pay out of pocket for these mishaps. This is why I get travel insurance for all my international trips now!

One of the best budget-friendly travel insurances for those traveling outside their home country is SafetyWing.

SafetyWing Insurance provides coverage for unexpected illness or injury, including eligible expenses for hospital, doctor or prescription drugs. This means that if you get ill or injured, they will cover the medical expenses.

In addition, it provides emergency travel-related benefits such as emergency medical evacuation (much needed if you like to go hiking / trekking in the wild), travel delay, and lost checked luggage.

Click here to price out how much travel insurance would be for your trip.


My Favorite Travel Booking Resources

These are my favorite companies to use when planning out a new trip itinerary. The sites/companies listed here typically have the best overall value, offer deals, beat out other competitors, and offer great customer service when needed.

  • WayAway | This site compares flight ticket fares from hundreds of agencies. You’re going to get the best prices on the market, at least $10 lower than those on Skyscanner, Kayak, and Priceline.com. The best part is? The WayAway Plus membership. With the membership, you’ll get up to 10% cash back on airline tickets, hotel bookings, car rentals, and other travel services.
    • DEAL ALERT! Use code ‘travelswithelle’ for 10% off WayAway Plus.
  • Booking.com | Honestly, this is my go-to accommodation booking site. This site has free cancellation and no prepayment required on reservations which is huge for me. It also has amazing abilities to filter accommodation options by rating and price. Honestly, it’s shaved off so many hours of endless research for me and has made booking hotels and other accommodations a breeze.
  • Viator | Viator is a huge online marketplace for all things tours and excursions. They have tons of tour options available in cities all around the world, including everything from cooking classes, ATV tours, sailing trips, walking tours, hot air ballooning, and more.
  • Go City | Go City offers great value-for-the-money attraction passes in various destinations around the world. Whenever I want to play tourist in a city, I always check to see if Go City operates in that city. The money you can save with this pass is unreal (as opposed to buying admission tickets for various attractions separately).
  • Bookaway | This is my go-to transportation resource when I’m traveling to lesser-known destinations and need to figure out how to get from point A to point B. Bookaway is super useful when you have absolutely no idea how to get around between cities or even between countries! Just type in your starting point and destination and it’ll show you options on how to get there by train, bus, ferry & more – as well as allow you to book your transportation right then and there!
  • SafetyWing | SafetyWing is by far one of the best travel medical insurance for travelers as they’ve got a large network and offer both short-term and long-term coverage. They have cheap monthly plans, great customer service, and an easy-to-use claims process that makes it perfect for those heading abroad.
  • World Nomads | Also a great travel insurance company if you’re looking for the most comprehensive travel insurance out there. Their coverage is very comprehensive, making it a good choice if you are more adventurous and plan on partaking in thrill-seeking activities or plan on moving around with lots of electronics and expensive gear.

I hope this guide has helped you better understand where to stay in Osaka. No neighborhood is the wrong choice, it all depends on what you’re looking for on your travel adventure.

Wishing you fun and happy travels to Japan!

Looking for more Japan travel tips? Read more:

Osaka Day Trip From Kyoto: Best Things To Do In Osaka, Japan

The Perfect Kyoto Itinerary: 5 Days In Kyoto, Japan (+ Nara and Osaka)

Best Of Tokyo: The Perfect 5 Days In Tokyo, Japan

10 Best Ryokans In Hakone, Japan

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