With summer in full swing and the temperature rising, locals head to Osaka’s many parks to escape the heat of the day and the bustle of the city.
If it is a sunny day in Osaka, every tourist should jump at the opportunity to experience a Japanese park. Let’s take a look at four parks that can be easily reached by public transport.
Be sure to follow the example of locals and remember to bring a bento box to eat, a rug to sit on, a frisbee to play with and a book to read!
Osaka’s most famous park has everything you would want in a Japanese park: large stone walls and moats, Cherry Trees, a Plum Grove and of course, the famous Osaka Castle. There are a number of benches with views of the castle, plenty of shade and even a baseball field.
Come on a weekend to see local musicians performing, young families playing baseball and friends catching up over a picnic. If you enjoy running, you should consider coming in the evening and follow Osaka local running groups as they do laps of the castle perimeter.
If you are lucky enough to be here between 16 July and 31 August, you can check out the HUIS TEN BOSCH Water Park (website in Japanese), or take part in the beer festival running at the same time.
Closest Train Stations: Osakajo-koen Station, Morinomiya Station and Tanimachi Yonchōme Station
A tranquil island in the middle of the city! It has impressive rose gardens, a large open grassy space as well as many benches to watch boats pass by.
On sunny days you can catch locals having picnics, sunbathing and sometimes youths practising gymnastic moves! Walk through the park in the evening and you may even catch groups practising Kenbu - traditional interpretive dances that involve swords!
Nearby cultural institutions include the Museum of Oriental Ceramics and the architecturally impressive Osaka Central Public Hall.
Closest Train Stations: Naniwabashi Station and Kitahama Station
An intimate park north of the trendy Minamihorie district and west of the shopping streets of Shinsaibashi, come here to see how locals truly use outdoor spaces in Japan. This is very busy on weekends. The park has fountains, well maintained gardens and a shallow pool for children to play in, as well as plenty of shade and park benches. Remember to pick up an ice cream from a convenience store on the way!
Closest Train Station: Hommachi Station
Bampaku Memorial Park
This park is an impressive sight, despite being a bit out of the normal tourist areas of Osaka. Interestingly you can can reach it via a monorail, yes a fully functional monorail! This area was the site of the 1970 World Expo and is absolutely massive at 2.6 square kilometres. It is the home to the Tower of the Sun (太陽の塔 / Taiyō no Tō in Japanese), a 65 metre tall concrete tower that was built as the symbol of the Expo.
It is now the site of expansive open areas, large forests and seasonal flower gardens. It even includes a Japanese style garden and is home to cultural institutions including the Japan Folk Craft Museum and the National Museum of Ethnology.
Note this park has an entry fee of 250 yen per adult.
Closest train station: Bampaku-kinen-koen Station, via the monorail from Senri-chuo Station
Don’t forget to bring sunscreen and a bottle of water for those hot sunny days, now get out there and enjoy summertime in Japan!