Top Things To Do In Summer In Osaka, Japan For First-Timers

From visiting famous castles to sampling traditional takoyaki, ThisCityKnows reveals all the fun and exciting things to do in summer in Osaka, Japan, for first-timers. 

Low-angle shot of the Osaka Castle taken during summer in Japan
Low-angle shot of the Osaka Castle taken during summer in Japan

Summer in Japan paints a picture of warm, sunny days, colorful festivals, and lush landscapes coming to life. During this season, the buzz of bustling markets and the delightful aromas of street food stalls fill the air. In the heart of this seasonal charm lies Osaka, a city where ancient tradition and cutting-edge modernity blend seamlessly.

Did you know that Osaka is often referred to as Japan’s “soul kitchen”, a title that points to its centuries-old prominence as a culinary hub? And to this day, Osaka continues to draw food lovers from around the globe.

But as we explore Osaka during summer, you’ll find that the city offers more than just delicious eats. From lively festivals that light up the night to tranquil gardens that offer a respite from the urban hustle, there are lots of things to do in summer in Osaka, Japan, that make it a top destination for any first-time visitor.

Whether you’re here to soak in the cultural festivities or to simply enjoy the lovely street scenes, the city promises an unforgettable adventure. 

Let’s see what Osaka has in store during the dog days of summer!

Summer Festivals: Things Not To Miss In Osaka, Japan

When summer rolls into Osaka, the city absolutely comes alive with celebrations.

One of Osaka’s most celebrated festivals is the Tenjin Matsuri. Held every July 24-25, this festival ranks among Japan’s top traditional festivals that you should experience at least once. For two days, processions of beautifully adorned floats, traditional performances, and a spectacular fireworks display over the Okawa River color the city with local revelry. It’s a perfect blend of culture, history, and local enthusiasm that you should not miss.

Likewise, July in Osaka ends with a bang during the Sumiyoshi Festival, held in honor of the god of exorcism. Witness how traditional dances and rituals are performed to exorcise people’s misfortunes while sampling authentic Japanese street food from one of the hundreds of stalls set up during the event.

But if you want something more contemporary, the Naniwa Yodogawa Fireworks Festival offers a mesmerizing evening of pyrotechnics. Held every first Saturday of August, a huge crowd clad in their best Yukatas gather along the banks of the Yodogawa River to witness the stunning fireworks light up the summer sky.

Where to stay in Osaka: Consider finding a stay in the Umeda area, where you’re centrally located and just a short transit ride away from most major festival sites. Hotels like the Osaka Marriott Miyako Hotel offer luxurious accommodations with views that let you glimpse the city’s festive lights from above. 

Alternatively, opt for a secluded house in the city for a totally relaxing night after joining the festivities.

Visit Iconic Attractions: Things To Do In Summer In Osaka, Japan

Aside from experiencing traditional festivals, summer in Osaka is also the perfect time to explore some of the city’s most iconic attractions.

Let’s kick off this list of things to do in summer in Osaka, Japan with a visit to Osaka Castle, one of the country’s most famous landmarks. This five-story tower stands surrounded by sprawling parkland, which becomes particularly beautiful in the summer when you picnic under Sakura trees. Furthermore, the castle’s observatory deck offers panoramic views of Osaka, a great spot for your #WhenInJapan selfies.

And for a refreshing escape from the heat, head to Universal Studios Japan, where thrilling rides and entertaining shows guarantee endless fun. Summer evenings at the park are magical as expected of the famous brand, with cooler temperatures and special night parades with dazzling displays that light up the park. 

And of course, every Potterhead shouldn’t miss the magnificent Wizarding World of Harry Potter! Get your own magical wand, try a mug of butter beer, and visit Hogwarts Castle.

Meanwhile, Dotonbori is where you should spend most of your summer nights in the city. Its glowing neon lights will guide you to delicious street food stalls that serve everything from takoyaki to freshly grilled seafood. Plus, a stroll along the Dotonbori canal lets you feel the pulse of the city’s nightlife, perfect for those who thrive after dark.

Protip: If you want to stay close to these attractions, the Namba district is an ideal choice. Here, accommodations range from luxury hotels like the Swissotel Nankai Osaka, which offers upscale amenities and a prime location. 

There are also budget-friendly options such as Azu Garden Nipponbashi, a comfortable spot with easy access to both day and night activities. 

A boat cruising on Tombori River in Osaka, Japan
A boat cruising on Tombori River in Osaka, Japan

Make The Most of Your Summer Vacation in Osaka with ThisCityKnows

Without a doubt, your summer trip to Osaka is bound to be an experience you’ll never forget. From marveling at the historic grandeur of Osaka Castle during the balmy days to embracing the electrifying atmosphere of Dotonbori at night, there’s no shortage of things to do in summer in Osaka, Japan. 

Whether you’re soaking up the festive spirit at lively matsuris or cooling off with thrilling rides at Universal Studios Japan, every moment is packed with potential for adventure and discovery.

And remember, ThisCityKnows is here to ensure you capture every moment of your Osaka journey. With our insider tips and local insights, you’re well-equipped to explore the world’s best cities—not just in summer, but throughout the seasons.

So, what are you waiting for? 

Let ThisCityKnows guide you to a summer getaway in Osaka filled with fun and fascination!

Author: Katie

Katie is all about hitting the road solo, always on the lookout for spots the internet hasn't fully discovered yet. She’s the one turning left when the map says right, hunting for those genuine, "you had to be there" moments. With a style that's as engaging as a late-night chat by the hostel fire, her stories aren't just about places, but the raw, unfiltered joy of exploring them on your own terms.

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