Osaka vs Tokyo: Which is the Perfect Destination for You?

Osaka Station in the eveningBEST OF

Tokyo and Osaka, the two most popular major cities in Japan. If you’re planning to go to Japan, here are some thorough explanations to make choosing easier. This article is written based on the experience of a person who has lived in both Tokyo and Osaka for almost 10 years.

Tokyo is one of the world’s most preeminent megacities and the center of Japanese culture. Tokyo will also host the Olympics in 2020.

On the other hand, Osaka is also planned to host World Expo 2025.

The author who has lived for nearly 10 years in both Tokyo and Osaka has listed full explanations on which is recommended as a travel destination for each theme.

Osaka Wins the Battle of Food

Speaking of Osaka, Takoyaki, Okonomiyaki, and other “Konamon” (粉もん, food made from flour) are Osaka’s best soul food and great snack/appetizer. But don’t get me wrong, Japanese main dishes are fantastically delicious.

There’s a well known story that Donbe in Japan is seasoned differently in Kanto and Kansai, Kansai’s Donbe is said to have a lighter Dashi (stock) than Kanto’s.

For that reason, I personally think that the ingredients in Kansai are better utilized.

Whether the warm climate on Eastern Japan, its long history, or the wide variety of ingredients that influenced the Kansai food flavor.

Osaka Wins for its many Tourist Spots around the city

Deer in Nara Park

There are many popular sightseeing spots around Osaka, if you go a bit further, you will reach many extraordinary cities and sightseeing spots for a great day trip. in my opinion, this makes Osaka more stand out than Tokyo.

In addition to the World Heritage sites such as Nara, Kyoto, Himeji Castle in Hyogo Prefecture, and Mount Koya in Wakayama, visiting the exotic Kobe City is also considered as a standard trip.

You might think that there are only a few sightseeing spots in Osaka, however, if you’re staying in Osaka, you can easily access these places. Easier to travel means easier on the wallet.

Great Combi of Art & Culture, Win for Tokyo

Shibuya Crossing

Photograph: Photo AC

Osaka has many museums and places where you can enjoy and appreciate art, such as the National Museum of Art. Even so, in my opinion, Tokyo has more to offer in the term of art.

For example, if you’re a Western Art enthusiast, then the National Museum of Western Art is a must-visit destination in Tokyo. And, if you’re a fan of Studio Ghibli animation films, then Ghibli Museum in Mitaka is the place you have to visit the most.


On top of that, if you enjoy books and music, don’t miss the Ochanomizu – Jimbocho neighborhood, the secondhand bookstores and musical instrument stores district. Jimbocho is known as Tokyo’s book town, the haven for book lovers. And Ochanomizu is a popular district for its many musical instrument stores and sports stores. I used to go to Jimbocho in my spare time.

So, it’s safe to say that Tokyo is truly the pivot of Japanese culture.

In Sport Tourism, Tokyo wins for its soon-to-be-held 2020 Olympics

New National Stadium

Photograph: Photo AC

Looking forward to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, foreign sports enthusiasts in Tokyo are increasing every day. The construction of Tokyo’s new National Stadium for the 2020 Olympics are recently has been officially completed.

In baseball, the Yomiuri Giants and the Hanshin Tigers divide their popularity in Tokyo and Osaka. But, the Olympics are just around the corner, and Tokyo will likely be the winner for this category.

Tokyo has two indoor stadiums, Nippon Budokan and Ryogoku Kokugikan. Here you’ll be able to watch Japanese martial arts like Judo and Sumo. So sports supporters, in Tokyo you’ll have many options related to sports.

Osaka & Tokyo, BOTH are Equally Fun & Entertaining

From airplane window

From some Osaka people’s perspective, there are many cold-hearted people in Tokyo.

However, as a person who has lived in Osaka and Tokyo, I think there is a bit misunderstanding. There are many different people in both cities, just like any other city.

When I lived in Tokyo, I experienced an act of kindness from many people. One day, when I took shelter from the rain in front of a small clinic, a kind doctor from the clinic gave me an umbrella.

Both cities have pros and cons. There are distinctive places and beautiful nature you can only find there. Visit Osaka and Tokyo, an irreplaceable experience is waiting for you.