Osaka Nightlife – Things to Do in Osaka at Night
Osaka is given new life with the setting sun - for the best things to do in Osaka at night, our guide is your best bet.
Osaka bristles with fun things to do by the light of day, but what about at night?
Rest assured, the city does not shut down with the setting sun, rather, it is reborn with a whole new set of activities to occupy eager visitors. We’re here to guide you though the best of them with our comprehensive list of things to do in Osaka at night.
1. Night Views
If you’re on the lookout for the perfect photo to impress your Facebook friends, search no further. Osaka’s streets, alleyways and landmarks are bathed in phosphorescent light by night to create a remarkable, shimmering cityscape. Osaka Castle is perhaps the best example of this. The hulking yet intricate main tower lit in kaleidoscopic color takes on a whole new life after dark and is not to be missed. For a more contemporary perspective, head over to Osaka’s main drag – Dotonbori. The neon signs and lights from a thousand windows are a feast for the eyes and the camera lens alike. Alternatively, wander the streets at will and you’ll be sure to happen on some wonderful night views wherever you end up.
2. Winter Illuminations
If this wasn’t enough, towards the end of the year many dedicated winter illuminations events take place across Osaka. Be sure not to miss the highlights we’ve selected below:
Midosuji Illuminations, Osaka’s Festival of Lights, constitutes one of the world’s largest illumination events. A 4 km stretch of the central district of Umeda is given over to the festival for close to two months, so if you’re in the city you’ll be unlikely to miss it even if you try. With sections dedicated to each of the seasons, walk the display’s length and a year will go by in a flash (of a bulb).
Hours: From Nov 20th- Jan 09th 2016, 05:00 pm- 10:00 pm
Abeno Tennoji Iluminage
Now in its 4th year, Abeno Tennoji Iluminage is an illumination display held in Tennoji Park all year round, but especially spectacular against the deep black winter sky.
This year, be taken back to the Sengoku period. If you’re at all curious about how a period of intense conflict can be communicated in sparkling lights, get yourself down to the park. A particular highlight is the depiction of Seige of Osaka hero Sanada Yukimura.
Hours: 05:00 pm- 10:00 pm
The Hikari Renaissance illumination event centers on Nakanoshima Park with the purpose of bringing a taste of the Renaissance to Osaka. The highlight of the event is the “Wall Tapestry Lighting Show” which uses the facade of the Nakanoshima Library as its canvas. If you fancy a taste of Renaissance culture Osaka style, get down to one of the four nightly shows.
Hours: From Dec 14th- Dec 25th 2016, 05:00 pm- 10:00 pm
3. NightClubs, Bars and Live Music
Osaka is regarded among veteran connoisseurs as one of the best Japanese cities for nightlife. Hectic and diverse, choose from a smorgasbord of bars, nightclubs and more unusual establishments to wile away the nocturnal hours in. Happily, most of the bars and clubs are within walking distance of each other, so if your first choice disappoints, you’re a stumble from the next option.
Here’s a few of the best:
Giraffe is a popular nightclub, despite the fact that it shuts its doors at 1 am. If you’re in it for the sprint rather than the marathon, this place is for you. A large venue playing a variety of dance and house music, head here and still make the last subway home.
Hours: 07.00 pm – 01.00 am every day
Price: Before 9:00pm, free for all, after, ¥1500 for men.
The Blarney Stone
A lively Irish pub in the heart of Umeda. Host to regular live bands and with darts and pool facilities, this one may suit the slightly Japan-weary. There’s Guinness and Kilkenny on tap, plus a large selection of international and Japanese brewed ales, as well as classic pub food like pies and fish and chips. It gets pretty busy on weekends so get there early if you want a seat.
Address: 2-10-15 Sonezaki, Kita-Ku, Osaka
Hours: Mon-Thu: 05:00 pm- 01:00 am, Fri-Sat: 05:oo pm- 05:00 am and Sun: 03:30 pm- 05:00 am
Billboard Live Osaka
Billboard Live Osaka is an intimate hybrid bar, club and live-house; host to jazz, soul, R&B and folk performers every night. The sound system is excellent and Billboard’s in-house restaurant and bar serve tasty food and drinks.
Address: B2 2-2-2 Umeda, Kita-Ku, Osaka
Price: Depends on the artist, usually from ¥4000.
5. Tempozan Harbor Village
The aquarium, one of the best in the country, comes highly recommended. With fewer visitors in the evening, the place is yours to wander around leisurely. Combine with a loop around the Ferris Wheel for an enviable nighttime schedule.
Hours: Osaka Aquarium (Kaiyukan): 10:00 am- 08:00 pm, Tempozan Ferris Wheel: 10:00 am – 10:00 pm
Price: ¥2300 Aquarium, ¥800 Ferris Wheel
Osaka is famous for its great food, envied for its local okonomiyaki and takoyaki particularly. No matter where you are, settling down to some good food at night is always a pleasure. Choosing the perfect spot for your meal after sundown is vital, however, especially when only in town for a short trip. Restaurants proliferate in central areas so have a wander and let your nose be your guide.
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