They say good things never come cheap, but they never said they can’t be FREE! You loved our round up of “Free Things to Do in Tokyo, Japan“, so we’ve decided to keep going: This time, we explore Japan’s food capital Osaka, and suss out some of the city’s best F-O-C highlights.
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#1 Explore the massive Osaka Castle Park
Don’t let its name deceive you: More than a mere “park”, the entire attraction covers about 2 sq km and features not just lush greenery, but sports facilities, a shrine, and a castle tower as well.
#2 Gather your thoughts & recharge at the Sumiyoshi Taisha Shrine
The epitome of peace and beauty, the Sumiyoshi Taisha Shrine is the go-to place for locals to ring in the Japanese New Year. Founded in the 3rd century before Buddhism reached Japan, it is considered one of the most authentic and “purely Japanese” shrines. Make sure you check out the bright vermilion Taiko Bashi, which is also known as the “drum bridge” thanks to its unique architecture. Bask in the tranquil surroundings, and observe the kimono-clad locals as they stroll the park and make their prayers.
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#3 Celebrate 5-min meals at the Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen Museum
With this family-friendly museum, you can finally meet the “chef” of all your late-night suppers and emergency meals. A showcase of all things to do with instant noodles, this museum was founded by the creator of instant noodles, Momofuku Ando, who started this venture at age 48. Also on display are his detailed storyboards, initial brainstorming notes, and the timeline of his success. Before you go, customise your very own cup noodles, and dabao the Japan-exclusive ones for later!
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#4 Go for a free beer-tasting at Asahi Beer Suita Brewery
Who can turn down a free beer, especially if it comes straight from the taps of the Japanese brewery Asahi in Osaka? The 90-minute guided tour takes you to explore the factory, where it is explained what ingredients go into Asahi beer, and how it is produced. If you’re bringing the little ones along, fret not—there’s also juice and other non-alcoholic beverages for them to enjoy. There’s also a gift shop for everything from souvenirs to pint glasses and fresh beers.
Note: The drinks will be served alongside light snacks only, so it’s recommended that visitors have their meals prior to coming.
#5 Visit Osaka’s food & shopping mecca, downtown Dotonbori
Even if you’ve never heard of it, you’ve probably seen photos of it. Featuring the iconic Glico running man sign, Dotonbori is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Kansai. It’s the most happening at night, when the streets are set abuzz with the neon lights and dizzying signs that illuminate the roads. The streets are separated by a canal, and there’s a bridge you can cross over for more restaurants, shops, and more. Don’t miss the popular Kani Doraku seafood restaurant, and the specialty cheese tart confectionery, Pablo.
#6 Spot the giant octopus at the Osaka Takoyaki Museum
Despite its name, this food stop is not really a museum, but you can still swing by to look-see on your way to Universal Studios Japan (USJ). Located along Universal Citywalk Osaka (the entertainment stretch leading up to USJ), the Takoyaki Museum houses a theme park, multiple Takoyaki shops, and a gift shop. This means you can nom on the famed seafood-filled balls, as you stroll the compound and shop for knick-knacks.
What are some of your favourite free attractions in Osaka? Share with us in the comment box below!
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