Taiken Japan

Autumn Leaves 2016

Rent a Bicycle and Experience Osaka Like a Local

Rent a Bicycle and Experience Osaka Like a Local

Ian Hamilton

To truly experience Osaka like a local, you need to take to the streets on a bicycle.

Osaka is a city that is designed for cycling. It is relatively flat, has pathways that connect parks, streets and waterfronts, and drivers are considerate and comfortable with sharing the road with bicycles.

Today we will look at how locals use bicycles in Osaka, where to rent a bicycle and what sites you should see.

Osakan Bicycle Culture

2 Lots of bicycles

People from all walks of life cycle in Osaka - mothers ferrying children to school, well-dressed businessmen heading to the office, young people heading out for a night on the town, and even elderly ladies going shopping.

Keep your eyes out for the all too common multi-tasking rider - with a phone in one hand, shopping bag in the other, they are still able to ride in a straight line through an intersection (don’t try this yourself!).

Renting a Bicycle

4 Hub Chari

Surprisingly, despite the strong bicycle culture of the locals, there are only a few options for tourists to rent bicycles. There at least two publicly available options:

HUBchari: This bicycle rental operation has many stations around Osaka, it costs ¥200 per hour (or ¥1000 for 12 hours) and you can pick up and return your bicycle at any station. Find out more on their official site.

3 Umegle Chari

Umegle Chari: Its stations are based around the Umeda area but that doesn’t mean you can ride all around town and return to Umeda at the end of the day! The cost is ¥200 for the first hour and ¥100 each hour after that. If you are feeling tired, Umegle Chari also has electric bicycles for hire. Find out more on their official website.

Alternatively you can join a bicycle tour group such as Cycle Osaka, which will provide a bicycle and helmet and guide you to a number of sites. Cycle Osaka has both full day and half day tours.

Sites to See While Cycling

Now you’ve got your bicycle, here are a few recommended sites to check out.

5 Osaka Castle Bicycle

Osaka Castle: Instead of taking the well-worn tourist path from the station to the castle, you are now able to explore the whole park! From this perspective you can truly appreciate the size and length of the castle wall perimeter. Be sure to ride through the plum grove, the apricot trees and past the fountain.


Travis King on Flickr

Tsutenkaku Tower: Head to the tourist area of Shinsekai to see Tsutenkaku Tower and eat yakitori ( chicken meat skewers). This is also the perfect place to try takoyaki (fried octopus balls).

Tsutenkaku (通天閣, Tsūtenkaku), lit. "Tower Reaching Heaven", owned by Tsutenkaku Kanko Co., Ltd. is a well-known landmark of Osaka, Japan and advertises Hitachi, Ltd. The current tower is actually the second to occupy the site. The original tower, patterned after the Eiffel Tower, was built in 1912, and was connected to the adjacent amusement park, Luna Park, by an aerial cable car. It quickly became one of the most popular locations in the city, drawing visitors from all over the area. The Japanese government dismantled the tower in 1943, believing that it would serve as a reference point for American bombing raids on Osaka: the iron in the tower was melted down and used for war material. After the war citizens lobbied to rebuild the beloved tower. A private company, the Tsutenkaku Kanko Co. Ltd. was established and on October 28, 1956, the second-generation tower was opened. On the fifth floor observation deck is enshrined Billiken, the God of Happiness or "things as they ought to be."Billiken, a popular American charm doll that came to Japan in about 1910, was enshrined within Luna Park when it opened. When the park was closed in 1923, the wooden statue of Billiken went missing. As a part of an effort to revive the tower, a copy of Billiken was made from an old photograph and placed inside the tower in 1979. The statue of Billiken has became closely associated with the tower and is a popular symbol of good luck. Each year thousands of visitors place a coin in his donation box and rub the soles of his feet to make their wishes come true. (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tsutenkaku)
thaths on Flickr

Kyocera Dome: This impressive stadium by the water is an iconic landmark where conventions, concerts and sporting events are held all year round.


jpellgen on Flickr

Amerika Mura: A youthful and gritty part of the city, ride around here to see vintage clothing and record stores, the latest in sneaker fashion and teenagers queueing to see up-and-coming musicians.


Simon on Flickr

Get out there and explore Osaka by bicycle!