Osaka is half the size of Tokyo but just as much fun. Lightning-quick shinkansen trains link the two cities in a little over two hours while nearby cities of Kyoto, Kobe, and Nara are an easy day trip. Osaka itself is home to its namesake castle, scores of Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples, and a belting street food scene. The central districts are defined by Honmachi, Dōtonbori, Namba (Minami), and Kita (Umeda) although Osaka Bay is a handy base for visiting Osaka Aquarium (Kaiyukan) and Universal Studios Japan. Mingling Japanese and Western traditions, these are the top-rated Airbnbs in Osaka’s coolest neighborhoods.
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This third-floor apartment is turned out with natural materials including cedar flooring and a private balcony teeming with greenery. Woven rugs and antiques add personality to the space while the kitchen is stocked for home cooking. Shoji doors make it possible to partition the ryokan-style living quarters into a second bedroom. The location is perfect for nightlife hubs and Osaka Castle.
One of the best Osaka Airbnbs for large groups, this four-bedroom apartment is minutes from the aquarium and Tempozan Ferris Wheel. After a day at local attractions, the fun can continue with a flick in the home cinema or a round on the Nintendo Switch. Bedrooms comprise tatami beds and the rooftop onsen bath is the cherry on top of the cake.
Fifteen guests, four bedrooms Price: $621 per night
This 100-year-old Japanese house is a strollable walk from Shitenno-ji and Tennoji Park. All other sights are easily accessible from Tennoji Station. Modeled on the traditional Japanese ryokan, the Osaka Airbnb has an ochanoma area for meals and jibber-jabber on tatami mats. The luxury bathing suite peers into the secluded courtyard and tricks you into thinking you’re in rural Japan.
Ten minutes on foot from the buzzing Dōtonbori, this beautiful one-bedroom apartment is the antidote to a late night in the izakaya. The bedroom is Western-style but the adjacent sitting room adopts the Japanese horigotatsu style. Latticed shoji doors and a small balcony emphasize the sense of light and make this far more than just a place to rest your head.
This top-rated rental in Downtown Osaka has a mix of Western beds and Japanese futons. Two bedrooms attach to a shower room whereas the master bathing suite has a spa-like tub overlooking an internal garden. A modern kitchen features a cooking island plus botanical accents to turn cooking into part of the adventure. As a hotel/Airbnb hybrid, this is the perfect base for a family vacation.
Constructed at the tail end of the Meiji era, this beautiful Osaka Airbnb was refurbished in 2015 and contains a mini museum. You’ll sleep like a baby in the tatami beds after a soak in the private Japanese bath overlooking the garden oasis. There’s a cold bath in the yard for the brave. The Jōtō-ku “east of the castle” neighborhood is a lively part of the city but the noise doesn’t travel into the bungalow.
Snug yet functional, this Osaka Airbnb is the homeowner’s base for business trips. As such, it’s smartly tricked out for light cooking and remote work. It’s most suited to a solo explorer although couples are welcome. The host is very obliging when it comes to recommending local bakeries, cafes, and dessert spots. Shinsaibashi is a hip neighborhood close to Dōtonbori, Namba, and Osaka Castle.
Two guests, one bedroom (studio) Price: $80 per night
Fusing Japanese and Western styling, this family-friendly rental in Osaka has both horigotatsu and raised seating areas. The kitchen has all the necessary gadgets plus a play cooker for mini chefs. Futons atop tatami flooring guarantee a comfortable night’s sleep – or sneaky naps between sights. Kishinosato Station is five minutes from Namba by subway and has a direct line to Nara.
This Guest Favorite Airbnb in Kita sits between the Nakatsu subway and mainline stations. It’s a peaceful neck of the woods popular with Osaka families and travelers who prioritize undisturbed sleep yet you’ll needn’t stray far to find grocery stores and street food joints. Comprising two floors and a balcony plus a loft bedroom suitable for older children or adults, the rental feels almost like a houseboat.
Minutes from the Ferris wheel and harbor, this Guest Favorite Airbnb is a hit with families and groups – as well as couples who value their space. One room is laid out with tatami mats and futons while the other has Western beds. This doubles up as a disco; you’ll figure that out when you switch the lights on. Chat to the hosts about borrowing a stroller to take the nearby attractions.
This upscale Airbnb in Osaka consists of three cozy bedrooms plus a state-of-the-art kitchen and two modern Japanese bathrooms. The wraparound balcony is a major advantage and allows a peek at the main artery dividing Dōtonbori and Namba. Most sights in and around the city are an hour or less via train and returning to this comfortable apartment is a joy.
Seven guests, three bedrooms Price: $228 per night
Airbnb is legal and safe in Japan. All hosts are required to publish their license number on the listing and request a passport copy of any non-Japanese guests.
What time is it in Osaka?
Osaka adheres to Japan Standard Time (JST) which puts the current time at UTC/GMT +09:00. Daylight saving time doesn’t apply to Osaka.
What is there to do in Osaka?
Downtown Osaka is packed with cultural sights and family-friendly attractions:
Visit Osaka Castle and learn about how this reconstructed stronghold symbolized the unity of Japan in the late 16th century.
Explore the lively Dōtonbori, Namba, and Shinsaibashisuji neighborhoods where nightlife, street food, and shopping reign supreme.
View the city from the rooftop garden at the Umeda Sky Building.
“Sea” whale sharks, manta rays, and penguins at Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan – one of the world’s largest aquatic zoos.
Plan a visit in late March/early April to coincide with sakura season: the Japanese cherry blossom bloom. Viewing spots include Osaka Castle, the Osaka Mint, the canalside, and the Horikoshi Jinja shrine.
Roam the Osaka Bay waterfront at sunset.
Test out how Universal Studios Japan compares to the stateside amusement parks.
Soak at an Osaka onsen. Tatsumi Onsen and Spa World are located downtown although Arima Onsen is worth the hour-long trip north.
Sample “jiggly cheesecake” at Rikuro Daimaru Shinsaibashi.
Chase waterfalls and marvel at the forest scenery in Minoh Park.
Learn about everyone’s favorite lazy dinner at the Cup Noodles Museum.
Take a day trip to Nara where deer meander between temples and Shinto shrines.
Spend a day roaming around Buddhist temples, Shinto shrines, and the Gion geisha district in Kyoto.
Ride the train to Kobe, hop on the cable car, and take in panoramic views from Mount Rokko.