Osaka Winter – Things to Do in Osaka in Winter

Osaka in the winter is a wonderland of fantastic events and activities. Read on to discover the best of it.

Not as bitingly cold during the winter months as other Japanese cities, Osaka is a good choice for a winter getaway. And, with so much going on, it’d be a shame to miss out. 

Find below a full guide to Osaka in winter, with all the information you’re going to need to make the most of the season in the city. Festivals and illuminations, Christmas markets and ice-skating, Osaka has it all. 

Osaka Winter Illuminations

Who said winter had to be dreary? With a healthy splattering of light shows and illuminations across the city, Osaka is beautifully lit up throughout the winter months. Find the highlights below:

Osaka Festival of Light

Photo Credit: whity via Flickr cc

Photo Credit: whity via Flickr cc

Photo Credit: Tamago Moffle via Flickr cc

Photo Credit: Tamago Moffle via Flickr cc

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). 

Address: Midosuji (Hanshinmae intersection – Namba west exit intersection ), Osaka, Osaka Prefecture 

When: From Nov 20th- Jan 09th, 05:00 pm- 10:00 pm

Price: Free

 

Osaka Castle 3D Mapping Super Illumination and Illumi Night Banpaku Xmas  

Let Osaka introduce you to the multimedia delights of 3D mapping, with two stunning shows. The first, Illumi Night Banpaku Xmas, deploys sound and visual effects against the backdrop of the Tower of the Sun in the Expo ’70 Commemorative Park. This transcendent, surreal show is not to be passed up. The second is the succinctly named Osaka Castle 3D Mapping Super Illumination, at, you guessed it, Osaka Castle. Taking advantage of cutting edge audio-visual technology, images and sounds entwine in a spectacle like no other. Get yourself there. 

Address: 5-2 Senribanpakukoen, Suita, Osaka Prefecture (Illumi Night Banpaku Xmas) and 1-1 Osakajo, Chuo-ku, Osaka (Osaka Castle)

When: Illumi Night Banpaku Xmas: December 11th -27th 2016: 05:00 pm- 00:00 am, Osaka Castle: December 15th- February 26th (TBF): 05:30 pm- 11:00 pm

Price: Illumi Night Banpaku Xmas: Adult: ¥250, Children (5- 12 years old): ¥70, Osaka Castle: ¥1700 – ¥2100.

 

Namba Hikaritabi Illuminations

Provided by Foursquare

Provided by Foursquare

Provided by Foursquare

Provided by Foursquare

This winter illuminations event lights up Namba Park in a dizzying array of colors. With plenty of shopping and dining options in the area, this is a great spot to spend a bit of time and relax.  

Address: 2 Chome−2−10−70 Nanbanaka, Naniwa-ku, Osaka

When: November 16th – February 15th, 05:00pm- 00:00 am 

Price: Free

 

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. 

Address: 1-108, Chausuyama, Tennoji, Osaka

Hours:  05:00 pm- 10:00 pm

Price: ¥1,000 

Osaka Christmas Market

Photo Credit: lawtonjm via Flickr cc

Photo Credit: lawtonjm via Flickr cc

Osaka’s German Christmas market is held every year in front of the Umeda Sky Building. A typical Christmas market, expect an array of trinket and stocking filler peddlers, as well as a mouth-watering selection of food and drink stalls selling Christmas classics like mulled wine and grilled sausages. 

Address: 1-1-88 Oyodo-naka, Kita-Ku, Osaka

When: November 20th – December 25th, Mon-Thu: 12:00 pm – 9:00 pm, Fri: 12:00 pm- 10 pm, weekends and holidays: 11 am – 10 pm.

Price: Free

Osaka Ice Skating

Photo Credit: XTRAICE Synthetic Ice Rink via Flickr cc

Photo Credit: XTRAICE Synthetic Ice Rink via Flickr cc

For some reason, ice skating is immensely popular in Japan. As a result, come winter, temporary ice rinks pop up all over. Osaka is no exception, with a number of rinks open to the public throughout the season. Three of the best, here:

Tsurun Tsurun

Naniwa Ice Skating

Grand Front Osaka Ice Skating 

Osaka Santa Run

Photo Credit: cotaro70s via Flickr cc

Photo Credit: cotaro70s via Flickr cc

Santa Run is a charity running event in which, naturally, participants dress as everyone’s favorite elderly gift-giver, Santa Clause. The participation fee goes toward children’s charities and includes the necessary Santa suit. Stop taking yourself so seriously, get out there and have a run around Osaka Castle for a good cause! 

Address: 1-1 Osakajo, Chuo Ward, Osaka, Osaka

Hours: 9:00 am – 02:00 pm

Price: Adult: ¥3,000, Students: ¥2,000, Juniors: ¥1,000

Osaka Winter Festivals

1000 Times Rice Cake Pounding

Photo Credit: Takashi Yamaoku via Flickr cc

Photo Credit: Takashi Yamaoku via Flickr cc

 
Held at Mizumadera Temple, 1000 times rice cake pounding is a tradition involving (mainly) young men using pestle and mortars to violently make rice cakes. The pounding, done in time to the rhythm of drums, is said to chase away evil spirits, and happily, results in plentiful and delicious rice cakes. 

Address: Mizuma-dera Temple, 638 Mizuma Kaiduka city, Osaka

When: January 2nd – 3rd, 10:00 am- 03:00 pm 

Price: Free

 

Toka Ebisu Festival

Provided by Foursquare

Provided by Foursquare

Toka Ebisu Festival is one of the most popular winter festivals in Osaka. Honoring the gods of business, the festival attracts thousands of people every year, all hoping for a successful year in business. 

Address: 1 Chome-6-10 Ebisunishi, Naniwa Ward, Osaka

When: Jan 9th – Jan 11th

Price: Free

 

Doya Doya Matsuri

Doya Doya is a festival held at Shitenno-Ji Temple annually as a harbinger of good luck. Notoriously, the highlight of the festival involves freezing, semi-naked young men competing for the retrieval of a talisman from the Temple’s front hall. The ritual is said to bring good harvests and good luck for students sitting exams.

Address1-11-18 Shitennoji,Tennoji-ku,Osaka

Hours: January 14th, 2:30 pm

Price: Free

 

Setsubun

Photo Credit: Ogiyoshisan via Flickr cc

Photo Credit: Ogiyoshisan via Flickr cc

Setsubun is one of the most popular Buddhist ceremonies, held in shrines throughout Japan to welcome spring. Osaka’s Setsubun is held at Ishikiri-Tsurugiya Shrine. Festivalgoers throw and scatter roasted beans while chanting “Fuku wa uchi, oni wa soto” (Come in fortune, go away evil) to drive evil spirits away. It is also told that if you eat the number of beans that corresponds to your age, good health will follow. A show is included with more than 50 priests wearing samurai costume, scattering beans, peanuts and rice cakes to ward off evil.

Address: 1-1-1 Higashi-Ishikiri-cho, Higashi-Osaka-City, Osaka

When: February 3rd, 2 pm

Price: Free

 

Ichiya Kanjo Festival

Provided by Foursquare

Provided by Foursquare

Ichiya Kanjo Festival is held annually at Nozato Sumiyoshi-Jinja Shrine as a blessing of good fortune to young girls. During this festival, many shows and parades involving traditional dress, dancing and music are put on to the delight of all attending. This parade reflects a Kansai legend where a young girl was sacrificed to a baboon for her village, considered gods at that time.

Address: 2 Chome-9-89 Sumiyoshi, Sumiyoshi Ward, Osaka

Hours: Febuary 20th, 2 pm

Price: Free

Ines Smaili

Ines Smaili

Hi, I'm Inès, I love to travel all around the world especially in Japan, I will share with you all the information needed to have the best trip of your life!



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