Accommodation in Osaka

Updated 2024-02-28 11:31

Osaka is the third most populated city in Japan and is only 2.5 hours from the capital Tokyo by Shinkansen high-speed train. People often say that time passes differently in Osaka, maybe because of the city's laid-back atmosphere or because of its contrasting neighborhoods; but where to stay in Osaka? What types of accommodation are available there?

Overview of Osaka Prefecture and Osaka City

Japan is an archipelago shaped like a bow situated east of the Asian continent. Its local governments consist of prefectures and municipalities. 

Osaka Prefecture, one of the prefectures, is in the middle of Japan and comprises 43 municipalities (33 cities, 9 towns, and 1 village). These municipalities are responsible for handling administrative and financial matters based on the local conditions. 

Osaka Prefecture, Japan's third most populated prefecture, is home to about 8.8 million people, including approximately 260,000 resident foreigners. Despite being Japan's second smallest prefecture with an area of 1,905 square kilometers, it forms a densely-populated metropolis that comes second only to Tokyo. 

Osaka Prefecture has well-connected airports and harbors, linking it to cities worldwide, especially in Asia. This extensive infrastructure has made it a hub of international activity, attracting a significant number of foreign residents and visitors from overseas.

At the heart of this bustling prefecture lies Osaka City, which covers a mere 225 square kilometers and accounts for just 0.1% of Japan's land area. However, it is home to approximately 2.77 million people as of January 2024, positioning it as Japan's third most populated city, following Tokyo and Yokohama. Many essential functions of the government and economy are centralized in Osaka City, attracting a large number of workers from neighboring municipalities each day and creating a vibrant atmosphere of economic activity.

In addition, Osaka, often referred to as the comedy capital, is a city that knows how to tickle your funny bone. The popularity of Manzai, a comedic performance art originating from Osaka, has propelled the city into the spotlight as the home of Japan's friendliest and funniest people. 

This article discusses explicitly the city itself.

Mapping Osaka City

Osaka City is divided into 24 wards: Kita, Miyakojima, Fukushima, Konohana, Chuo, Nishi, Minato, Taisho, Tennoji, Naniwa, Nishiyodogawa, Yodogawa, Higashiyodogawa, Higashinari, Ikuno, Asahi, Joto, Tsurumi, Abeno, Suminoe, Sumiyoshi, Higashi Sumiyoshi, Hirano, and Nishinari.

The easternmost point in the city is located at 4-chome, Ibarata Omiya, Tsurumi-ku, with a longitude of 135 degrees 35 minutes 58 seconds East. On the other hand, the westernmost point is found at Konohana-ku Yumeshima Naka 1-chome, with a longitude of 135 degrees 22 minutes 22 seconds East. 

Moving towards the southernmost point, we reach 3-chome Sugimoto, Sumiyoshi-ku, which has a latitude of 34 degrees 35 minutes 11 seconds North. Finally, the northernmost point is situated at 4-chome Ikoya, Higashiyodogawa-ku, with a latitude of 34 degrees 46 minutes 08 seconds North.

The highest place in the city is Tsurumi Ryokuchi, located in Tsurumi Ward. It stands at an altitude of 37.5 meters above sea level. The lowest point within the city can be found at 4-chome Owada, Nishiyodogawa-ku, specifically within Owada Elementary School. This area is situated at −2.21 meters above sea level (source: Overview of Osaka City).

It is easy to cross Osaka from one side to the other. Far from the sprawling Tokyo, Osaka is a human-sized city. A two-hour walk will make you discover all the wonders of the city.

Start from Shin Osaka, a station served by the Shinkansen high-speed train. You can continue on foot or take the Midosuji subway. The subway crosses most of the districts of Osaka: northbound (Kita) with Umeda district, central with Yodoyabashi and Honmachi, and southbound (Minami) with Shinsaibashi and Namba. 

Going towards the East, you will come across the Osaka castle district. In the extreme South, you will find the Tennôji district. To the Southwest, you are in Osaka Bay, so be ready to enjoy the cool sea breeze and take a well-deserved break in one of the restaurants here.

Life in Osaka revolves around these poles: the two big blocks, Kita and Minami (North and South), the East block of Osaka Castle, and the seaside area of Osaka Bay to the southwest.

If you are looking for a place to stay in Osaka, you will find different types of accommodation depending on your location and budget. These include family, luxury, mid-range, and discount hotels.


Shin-Osaka is not a district but a well-known area, owing its name to the station through which the Shinkansen passes, but Shin-Osaka is more than just a station. As often in Japan, convenience has been combined with practicality. Shin-Osaka has two areas dedicated to food and shopping: Eki Market Shin-Osaka (Shin-Osaka station market), and Arde! Shin-Osaka.

Kita Osaka

To the North, you will find Umeda (in Kita-ku), the business district of Osaka. It is easily identified by its Umeda sky building, an ultramodern skyscraper built during the speculation boom. In the center of Umeda is the huge Osaka station and its multiple shops. 

The skyscraper and its 360° observatory are popular with tourists. Umeda also has its temple, the Tenmangu, and museums (National Art Museum, Oriental Ceramics Museum, Osaka Life and Housing Museum, Kids Plaza Palace). Nakanoshima Park is the green parenthesis of Umeda, ideal for escaping the urban rush. Hep Five and Tenjimbashi-suji are the district's two shopping and entertainment arteries.

Minami Osaka

Most of the attractions and entertainment areas are located South of Osaka. Evenings are festive, and the streets are particularly lively. The two major districts in the South are Namba and Shinsaibashi. 

Many foreigners choose to rent accommodation in southern Osaka. Whether for a short or an extended stay, the accommodation offers are more varied and numerous. There are apartments, houses, hotels, ryokan (traditional inn), sharehouses, etc. There are many more in the South of Osaka.


Located at the border between Chûô-ku and Naniwa-ku, Namba is the most animated district of Osaka. It is recognizable by its emblem, the famous Glico, perched on the Dotonbôri canal (it is also where the tourist neighbor Shinsaibashi Suji is located). Dotonbôri is symbolic and concentrates all the festive spirit of Osaka. Namba is crowded from dawn to dusk with its shopping malls, restaurants, and boutiques. 

On the north side of the canal, the America mura will take you into an American hip-hop atmosphere. To the East, the Dogoyasuji shopping area and Den Den town, the high-tech den, nicknamed “the little Akihabara” in reference to the Tokyo electronic district.


Right next to Namba, Shinsaibashi is the other lively district of Osaka. Its emblematic street, Shinsaibashi Suji, stretches over 600 meters. It is even 2 km if we include all the shopping zones. Like Namba, Shinsaibashi has many assets, such as fashion stores, restaurants, and entertainment areas. Cosmetic stores are the particularity of Shinsaibashi. Tourists flock there to buy cosmetics at competitive prices.

Osaka Center (Honmachi)

Between the North and the South lies Honmachi. The place is much quieter than the ultramodern Umeda or the festive districts of Namba and Shinsaibashi. Unlike other districts, Honmachi is neither known for its attractions nor the wonders of its architecture. 

The area is quiet and ideally located for easy access to the North and South of the city. There are both mid-range and luxury hotels. You will also find a large park, Utsubo Kôen, one of the best spots to enjoy cherry blossoms (hanami).

Osaka Castle

Every year (except during COVID), Osaka Castle, its museum, and its park are crowded with visitors. Tourists come in large numbers to admire the castle. Locals also come to enjoy a relaxing day. The castle and its garden are well integrated into their space. 

Joggers go around the castle while families rest or picnic in the park. It is part of history and everyday life. The castle is accessible to all, whether you have a disability or not. Unlike other countries, Japan does not hesitate to rebuild its historical monuments. 

For the Japanese, whether the stone is authentic or not doesn't matter. What matters is that the memory survives the years. The monument, on the other hand, is bound to evolve with time.

Tennôji and Abeno districts

Abeno and Tennôji comprise the retro district of Osaka, where the famous "Shinsekai", the new world, is located. The real heart of the district, the Shinsekai is a joyful vintage place with colorful and offbeat decor. It is home to vintage clothing stores, restaurants, hairdressers, etc. The atmosphere is unique. 

The Shinsekai is like a passage from one world to another, like a relaxing break during daily activities. Needless to say, it has become a popular place for visitors in all seasons. In the distance, you can visit Abeno Tower, also a relic of a festive futuristic past.

Osaka Bay

Lost in the city center, we could forget that Osaka is a port city. The bay revives our memory and offers various entertainment and good deals. This is where Universal Japan Studios and Tempozan, a massive complex including the Osaka Aquarium, a Ferris wheel, and a shopping and dining area, are located.

Types of accommodation in Osaka

Osaka has enough properties and accommodations to suit your needs and budget.

Housing options for short stays

For a short stay (vacation, business trip, internship of fewer than 90 days), you can opt for a hotel, shared house, Airbnb, or ryokan (traditional inn) rental. However, be careful with Airbnb! Establishments offering rooms for rent must comply with new regulations, which have been in force since 2018.

The cheapest solution remains the dormitory. Count about 40,000 yen (250 EUR) per month. For more privacy, look for hotels, apartments, and ryokan. Rental prices in Osaka will vary according to several factors, like the season, the location (proximity to train stations, etc.), and the services offered. Still, you can find low-cost accommodation for less than 1500 yen per night.


All travelers to Japan need a visa, even for short stays, unless they are from countries or regions with visa exemption agreements.

Housing options for long stays

If you work, study, or hold a Working Holiday Visa in Japan, you might be more interested in an apartment or a house, especially if you are going with friends or family. In Osaka, like in the capital (or elsewhere in Japan), apartments and houses are often rented unfurnished. Sharehouses, on the other hand, are furnished. 

For a few years now, a new type of sharehouse called social residence has emerged in big Japanese cities, including Osaka. You can thus rent a room and enjoy more shared spaces, such as a cinema room, gym, mini-cafe, game room, and coworking spaces, than in a classic sharehouse. The services differ depending on the type of establishment. 

This type of shared accommodation works on the community principle and is a kind of melting pot – Japanese and foreigners mix, share, and communicate. 

Good to know:

This type of shared accommodation is available for short-term rentals for one month or more. Some convenient property websites allow you to easily find vacancy information on shared houses in Osaka, like Oakhouse, Nowroom, and Social-Apartment

Rent prices in Osaka

In Osaka, like in Tokyo and other cities, rental prices depend on the type and size of the property, its location, its year of construction, and the duration of stay, among other factors.

For example, a property near public transportation (Osaka station) may be more expensive, but it is a strategic choice, especially if you plan to move a lot. Osaka Station connects you to Tokyo via the Shinkansen. 

Staying in Osaka also brings you closer to Kyoto and Nara, which means you can go there by train and subway. If you push a little further, you will reach Kobe. So, staying in Osaka is a good choice, whether you are on a short-term or long-term stay.

Price ranges

Compared to Tokyo, you can find bigger and cheaper apartments in Osaka. Count around 24,000 yen for a 14m² apartment 5 minutes away from Shimoshinjou station. Older apartments are the most affordable; most date back to 1988 and cost around 24,000 yen. Newer units are logically more expensive. 

As for costly rentals, there is a 222.39 m² apartment, a minute walk from Ibaraki station, for around 820,000 yen per month. It is still cheaper than in Tokyo. 

Finding accommodation in Osaka through a real estate agency

You can choose between two types of agencies: fudôsanya, classic real estate agencies, and agencies specialized in renting to foreigners. Fudôsanya usually charges extra fees. If you speak Japanese, do not hesitate to use a traditional agency. They sometimes offer more properties for cheaper. However, some of them are still reluctant to deal with foreigners.

Good to know:

Agency fees have not disappeared and can also be found in international agencies. The agency may ask you for a deposit, fire insurance, agency fees, guarantor fees, etc. Check all the information before signing the lease because these fees can increase the price. Don't forget that the lease is usually for 2 years.

Restoration costs when moving out

The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism has defined restoration to the original condition as repairing any damage caused by the lessee's intentional or negligent acts, breach of duty, or excessive use during the tenancy.

The lessee is responsible for the cost of repairing any damage or deterioration caused by their careless living or behavior when moving out and repairing scratches or stains caused by their conduct, neglect of duty, or excessive use, but not for the costs of repairing wear and tear due to age and everyday use.

The definition of restoration is a guideline to prevent problems, but any special provisions in the contract signed at the time of moving in will take precedence.

So, it is essential to understand the terms of the contract and restoration costs when moving into a new apartment to avoid problems when moving out (source: Fee when moving out). 

Moving-out expenses can vary based on factors such as the duration of your tenancy, the size of the room, and your lifestyle, so it is challenging to determine the exact cost. 

If you provided a security deposit when you moved in, it will be deducted from the total expenses. If the deposit covers the restoration costs, the remaining amount will be refunded. The apartment's condition may deteriorate as time passes, especially with longer tenancies. Therefore, you will be responsible for covering the necessary expenses to restore the property to a satisfactory condition, similar to when you first moved in. It doesn't have to be the same. 

If you didn't provide a security deposit, you will need to pay for the moving-out costs.

More tips for finding accommodation in Osaka

Osaka's property market is enormous, and there are many websites and real estate agencies to choose from. Websites in English will facilitate your search.

Depending on the agency, it is not always possible to visit a sharedhouse. Some agencies will ask you to make a booking and pay before you move in.

Invest in a transportation card whether you are here for a short or long stay. The most convenient method of payment for transportation and various other expenses in Japan is through prepaid cards, also known as chip cards. The Icoca card (IC) is specifically designed for use in Osaka but can be used throughout the country. Suica and Pasmo cards, widely accepted in Japan, are also compatible in Osaka.

You can buy an IC or Suica card for just Y1000, both for adults and children. This price includes a Y500 deposit. When you leave Japan, you can return the card to a ticket office in the JR West Area (Osaka, Kansai, etc) and receive a refund for the deposit, with a small service charge deducted.

If you don't know or speak Japanese, consider taking language courses before moving.

Useful links:


DID Global

Guest House Osaka

OAK House Osaka

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