Osaka features many interesting museums. Learn about science and experience the world’s largest domed screen, at the Osaka Science Museum planetarium, or discover the exciting history of Osaka, at the Museum of History, there is something for everyone. Here are our top four museums of Osaka:
Osaka Science Museum
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Enjoyably learn in an easily understandable way about the mechanisms of science through the displays and experiments. You can also enjoy a trip through the beautiful starry heavens at a world-class planetarium with a light and music show. There are 200 interactive displays and science demonstrations under the theme of Space and Energy, and the realistic planetarium with the world’s largest domed screen at 26.5m in diameter is popular. Enjoyed by people of all ages, a café and museum shop are also available.
Various scientific displays are introduced from the 4th to 1st floors. On the space-themed 4th floor, there are displays of models and images featuring the mysteries of the Earth and Sun, and scientific discoveries from ancient times to the modern era are featured through various experimental devices. The 3rd floor has the theme of familiar science, and there are exhibits and experiments on substances familiar to everyday life such as minerals, gems, crystals, plastics, textiles, medicines and smells. On the 2nd floor which is geared toward parents and children, visitors can play at an interactive experimental area which utilizes balls, mirrors, wind and sound. And on the “Electricity and Energy” 1st floor, visitors can enjoy experimenting with generating, sending and using electricity. Furthermore, at the daily science shows, various demonstrations are given by the curators which relate the fun of science to kids.
Admission: ¥ 400
- Guidebook from Planetyze about Osaka Science Museum
- Reviews from TripAdvisor about Osaka Science Museum
- Tours of Osaka Science Museum
Osaka Museum of History
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A 5-minute walk from Osaka Castle, this is a historical museum where you can enjoyably learn about the history of Osaka. The interior of the museum, devised so that even children can enjoy themselves, has many exhibits which can actually be touched. You can learn about history while experiencing it through things such as trying on the robes of ancient courtiers, competing for points in a game of throwing fans during the Edo Era, trying the money-exchange business and wearing kimono. Also, you can tour in order the ancient lifestyle at Naniwa-no-Miya Palace, the history of Osaka Castle, the middle ages and modern times of Osaka which flourished with the merchant areas during the Edo Era, excavation sites which re-create the digs of Naniwa-no-Miya Palace in actual size, and modern and current Osaka which developed rapidly following the Meiji Restoration. You can get a clear view of Osaka Castle from the 10th floor which is also a popular spot for photographs.
The biggest highlight of the museum is Naniwa-no-Miya Palace which was the ancient capital in Osaka. Emperor Kotoku moved the capital to Naniwa in 645, and the palace was built in 652. The palace was first discovered in 1954 through an excavation survey, and it is on that site where the museum has been constructed. Remains of storehouses and walls along with water facilities which provided water to the court have been found. Most of the palace has been filled and preserved, but there is one part which has been left in its excavated state, and you can visit that part in the basement. In addition, on the 10th floor that houses the ancient exhibits, the interior of the palace has been restored to actual size and in the conditions of that time, and you can find out about the lifestyle back in those days through items such as the artifacts.
Admission: ¥ 600
- Guidebook from Planetyze about Osaka Museum of History
- Reviews from TripAdvisor about Osaka Museum of History
- Tours of Osaka Museum of History
National Museum of Art
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A museum exhibiting contemporary art in Nakanoshima, Osaka. Utilizing the Expo Museum of Fine Arts at Expo'70, it had collected, preserved and exhibited works of art from Japan and abroad for 30 years, but taking advantage of its aging, the current museum was constructed in 2004. It is a new museum of art that goes completely underground for 3 floors, something that is unusual even in the world. The exterior of the building was designed by Argentina’s Cesar Pelli to express the vitality of bamboo and the development and growth of contemporary art. Along with Joan Miro’s “Innocent Laughter” and Alexander Calder’s “London” as permanent exhibits, there are exhibitions of other collections and special exhibitions of various contemporary art works. There is also a restaurant, a museum shop, a kids’ room and a media corner.
Nakanoshima is an area that centers upon a sandbank squeezed in by a river which is the hub of business and administration beginning with Osaka City Hall. Along with the contemporary museum of art, while touring nostalgic buildings such as the Museum of Oriental Ceramics, Osaka which is famous for its rare items of beauty such as celadon and white porcelain, the Osaka Science Museum where you can learn and enjoy about science, the brick Osaka Central Public Hall and the stone Osaka Prefectural Nakanoshima Library, you can leisurely stroll along the riverside. Rides aboard the water bus Aqua-Liner which tours around Nakanoshima are also popular. Along the riverside, there are al fresco restaurants and cafes where you can spend a relaxing time. From June to September, there are street stalls on the open terrace, and there is a green market with local vegetables and fruits which first started in the Metropolitan Osaka area. In December and January, the area has a projection mapping show and is illuminated by LEDs, and a lot of people enjoy the presence of street stalls.
Admission: ¥ 430
- Guidebook from Planetyze about National Museum of Art
- Reviews from TripAdvisor about National Museum of Art
- Tours of National Museum of Art
Kids Plaza Osaka
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Kids Plaza Osaka is the first museum in Japan for “hands-on” children. There are plenty of displays for them to learn while playing and workshops where they can try out various things. In addition, there is a nursing room and a milk bar within the facilities, and for some of the washrooms, there are diaper-changing spaces and baby showers. There are also free rental baby carriages so you can bring your baby securely and enjoy yourselves. There are no restaurant facilities within the museum but there is a rest area where you can eat any lunch you have brought and enjoy a full day.
The museum has the Welcome floor (1st), the Creativity floor (3rd), the Adventure floor (4th) and the Discovery floor (5th). With 15 spots, the entire family can enjoy trying out many things. The Creativity floor is full of programs to realize the fun of making things. Things such as the computer workshops where you can produce animation, etc. on personal computers are popular. And then, on the Adventure floor, kids can play while getting a close-up on real-life experiences. They can try out various jobs such as delivering mail as employees of the post office or punching a cash register. Also going from the 4th to 5th floors, you can check out the athletic Kids Town. The town of all curves was designed by Austrian artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser. Climbing up the walls and going down the slide, you can play to your hearts’ content. On the Discovery floor, there are plenty of areas where kids can learn about nature, science, society and culture while having fun. There are many thrilling displays such as the Wai Wai studio where they can experience the world of broadcasting and video, and the Soap Bubble Supreme area. Please consult our homepage before coming out since the programs in every area will change depending on the day.
Admission: Adult: ¥ 1,200 / Child: ¥ 600