During a Klook event, we managed to purchase a 1-for-1 Osaka Amazing Pass at a good price. There were limited tickets released and we had to be fast in securing the tickets. At that point in time, we do not really know if it is worth getting it or not but based on the numerous positive reviews, we decided to purchase it.
After doing some research on this tourist pass, I realised that I needed to do some planning in order to make full use of the pass.
What is the Osaka Amazing Pass?
This is a tourist pass which allows you to visit many places of attractions within Osaka for free. It also allows you to enjoy an unlimited number of rides on their local public transportations like trains and buses except for JR train lines. For SGD 34 (1-day pass), you get to enjoy all of these perks. So, why not? It is really worth the deal if you managed to cover at least 3 attractions within a day. And if you are spending more days in Osaka, you can get the 2-day Osaka Amazing pass as well. The pass also entitles you to enter onsens or watch a live performance for free.
How do I maximise the use of this Osaka Amazing Pass?
But before you purchase this pass, it is best to head over to their website to check if the pass includes the attractions you wish to cover in Osaka. Also, some of the attractions may not be open during your travel periods. So do be sure to do thorough research first before making a decision.
Other than getting free access to over 40 sightseeing spots within Osaka, you can also enjoy exclusive discounts on food and shopping with this pass. Once you are there in Osaka, it is best to download the Osaka Amazing Pass app to check out all the latest deals and promotions.
When I was in Osaka, most of the sightseeing spots or facilities were not available during the winter period. Also, my fiance wasn’t very interested in visiting museums so we decided to use the pass to cover the more popular attractions within Osaka. In the end, we also managed to visit Osaka Castle and Umeda Sky Building. To end off the evening, we took the Tempozan Ferris Wheel.
Get up early to use the pass!
If not for the long queues at Tempozan Ferries Wheel, we could have covered one more attraction in that area. We also set off quite late in the morning so we have lesser time during the day to cover more sightseeing spots. So remember to set foot off early to maximise the use of the pass. Even though we managed to save quite a bit with the pass, I wish I had covered more attractions.
First up, we visited Osaka Castle. Osaka Castle is one of the popular landmarks in Japan as it plays a major role in the unification of Japan. What you’ll see here is the reconstructed castle after several episodes of destruction. The original castle is located at the former site of the Ishiyama Honganji Temple and it belongs to a Japanese General called Hideyoshi Toyotomi.
It was difficult getting there because you have to walk through the huge park in order to get to Osaka Castle. Once inside, you redeem your free admission tickets to the Osaka Castle museum, Osaka-jo Gozabune Boat or Osaka Castle Nishinomaru Garden. I only went for the boat ride and museum visit.
Osaka-jo Gozabune Boat
It was a short 2-minute boat ride along the castle moat. The boatman will briefly explain what you can look out for around the castle, especially the high stone walls that surround the castle. There’s also an English audio guide commentary onboard the boat which covers the historical significance of this palace as well as the quirky-looking stones embedded in the stone wall.
The boat ride is not as enticing as the museum but it is a good opportunity for you to rest and recover after a long walk.
The quay is right outside the entrance leading to Osaka Castle. The ticket fee is 1,500 Yen which works out to be about SGD18.
Osaka Castle Museum
With the Osaka Amazing Pass, you don’t have to wait in line for tickets. Thus, we managed to get in quickly without queueing. There are 8 decks in order and it would probably take about an hour or so just to cover all the decks.
There are certainly more things to see and read in the museum. You can even head over to the costume booth at level 2 to dress up like a samurai. But if you want to dress up an as Samurai, it will be best to visit the Samurai Museum in Kyoto where there are more Samurai and Ninja props to play with.
The museum admission ticket costs 600 yen which is approximately SGD 7.
Recommendation: Lunch at Friendship Cafe
After checking out Osaka castle museum, we headed to a nearby Japanese restaurant called Friendship cafe for lunch. They are well-known for their Japanese curry rice and omurice.
The cafe is just a stone throw away from the castle and it is also near the subway station, Morinomiya. Food is not that spectacular but decent.
2. Umeda Sky Building (Kuchu Teien Observatory)
Since it was Christmas, the central Osaka area was packed with both locals and tourists. Everyone was packed like sardines on the streets leading to Umeda Sky building as there’s a huge Christmas market next to this skyscraper. Thus, getting to Umeda Sky building took us quite a while we had to elbow our way through the crowds.
But heading up to the observatory deck at Umeda Sky Building was definitely one of the highlights for me in this trip to Japan. From the 2-storey observatory deck, you get to enjoy an unparallel city view of Osaka. If you head up to the second floor or the ‘floating garden observatory’ which is an open deck, you will get a 360 degrees panoramic view of the city.
The design and architecture of the building itself are also spectacular. Constructing this high-rise steel and glass structures, which comprise of two buildings joined by bridge, is truly an amazing feat. There’s also a small exhibition on how the building is being constructed at the observatory deck.
There’s also a cafe selling beverages, desserts and other light bites. You can enjoy a leisure afternoon tea session at the cafe itself, overlooking the city of Osaka.
We actually spend quite some time here exploring the observatory deck and taking lots of pictures too. The admission ticket costs about 1,500 yen or SGD18. At this point, we already save some money with the pass as it also covers our transportation costs too.
3. Tempozan Ferris Wheel
Last but not least, we ended the night with a Ferris Wheel ride at Tempozan Ferris Wheel. It seems like a really romantic thing to do and there were many Japanese couples who also queued with us for the ride. Unfortunately, the queue to get up the Ferris Wheel was exceptionally long in the evening. We spent about 2 hours queuing up because they allow each of us to have the whole cabin to ourselves. If we had known earlier, we might have come here during the day in order to avoid the queue.
The admission fees for the Tempozan Ferris wheel costs 800 yen or SGD 10.
How much have we saved by using the Osaka Amazing Pass?
If you do the math, we would have to fork out at least SGD 53 solely just on tickets and probably another SGD 10 on trains and buses. With the pass, we saved at least SGD 29.
Total actual expenditure = $53 (tickets) + $10 (transport) = $63
Cost of Osaka Amazing Pass = $34
Cost Savings = $63 – $34 = $29.
We saved even more because we actually managed to get the Osaka Amazing Pass 1-for-1 deal on Klook.
We made one last pit stop to Dontonburi with our Osaka Amazing Pass for dinner. Our day ended around 10 pm in the evening and though it was a long and tiring day for us, we actually enjoyed exploring Osaka with the pass. It’s definitely worth the deal! And I highly recommend that you get this pass if you exploring Osaka for the first time.
We’ve also visited Kyoto before heading to Osaka. If you are travelling to Osaka, why not spend a short day trip to Kyoto too? It is one of the best places to experience what it is like staying in a ryokan too.