City lights Hip and happening Osaka is gradually emerging as a destination to rival Tokyo and Hokkaido. Attractions range from the breathtaking sixteenth-century Osaka Castle and the Shittenoji Temple – the oldest state temple in Japan – to a state-of-the-art aquarium and Universal Studios Japan. Osaka’s fresh sushi, sukiyaki and ramen are also worth writing home about; no wonder Osaka is known as ‘the nation’s kitchen’.
Japan’s old imperial capital Kyoto, the imperial capital city of Japan, is just a half-hour train journey from Osaka, and is one reason why many people book Osaka flights. In Kyoto, sacred Buddhist temples surrounded by bamboo groves and ancient palaces take you back to the time of the shoguns.
When to go With a temperate climate, Osaka doesn’t suffer from extreme weather. Peak season, as elsewhere in Japan, is in spring when the cherry blossoms are in full bloom, a period known as sakura. The cherry trees are at their most magical in late March to early April.
Summer in Osaka is rainy season, and it can get quite hot and sticky. In winter, by contrast, the temperature drops down to 5 degrees Celsius, and there is a mild chance of snow.
For cheap flights to Osaka, consider flying in autumn, which rivals spring for the loveliest season of the year. Not only are the tourist crowds thinner but it is a lot cooler, and the leaves are turning gold. September also sees Kishiwada Danjiri Matsuri (15-16 September in 2018), an annual festival involving wooden floats and lively celebrations.
Airports and airlinesNetflights is a leading provider of last minute flights to Osaka, and we search thousands of prices to find you the best deals. Visiting Osaka can be expensive at peak times like cherry blossom season or around the New Year, but if you book in advance you could find some bargains.
Osaka International Airport (Itami)
Osaka International Airport, also known as Itami, is seven miles north of central Osaka. Some 14.5 million passengers pass through this urban airport each year. Itami mainly handles domestic air traffic, and flying from the UK involves a stopover at Haneda Airport, Tokyo. British Airways, Finnair, Lufthansa, and some other international airlines offer return flights to Osaka from the UK, most commonly from London Heathrow. View flights to Osaka International Airport.
Getting around the airport
Itami has North and South Terminal buildings, which are adjoining, and it only takes a couple of minutes to walk between them. You’ll find check-in on the ground floor. If you have a connection between Itami and Kansai International Airport, there is a special bus every 30 minutes. Show a valid boarding ticket, and the driver will let you on for free.
Getting to the city from the airport Thanks to its central location, Itami offers easy access to downtown Osaka by road and train. Regular airport and highway buses travel to the city centre, as well as neighbouring cities, from right outside the terminal building. If you prefer to get the train, hop on the monorail opposite the terminal buildings, and at Senri-Chuo you can catch a train or a subway to Umeda. The total journey time is around 48 minutes. Car hire and taxis are also available if you prefer private transport.
Don't forget before you fly
You can also save yourself a fistful of yen by purchasing a Japan Rail Pass before your flight to Osaka. This is particularly recommended if you plan to travel between cities or around the region. It will give you reductions on the bullet train and JR-branded commuter trains, buses, and ferries. There are seven-day, 14-day, and 21-day passes.