I love going on dates. I’m not going to lie, I love the whole process of planning, making reservations, and thinking up surprises almost just as much as I like the actual date itself. The only part I’m not overly fond of is the part at the end where the bill shows up (lol). Even that, however, is enjoyable when I see my partner’s smiling face as she thanks me for my efforts. Call me a romantic, but I feel that’s the way a good date should be. If you’re going to spend the time and money to take someone out, you might as well do a good job of it. Here are five suggestions of places where you can do just that.
Let me just make a couple points clear before getting into the actual content. This blog is not about places to take someone to get in their pants. This is about suggestions for couples who want to do something romantic and special for their partner. The more you care about the other person, the better each of these locations become. Well, maybe that is just my personal opinion.
The next point is that…once again, this is all just my personal opinion. It is an opinion that’s based on 26 years of living a train ride away from Osaka, so hopefully I know what I’m talking about. If, for some reason, what I suggest here sucks, then maybe I have bad taste. But if it doesn't look half that bad, why not plan a romantic date to one of these spots in Osaka?
DATING SPOTS IN OSAKA NO.1 ABENO HARUKAS AND TENSHIBA
You can’t go wrong with a night date at the tallest building in Japan. For 1500 yen each, you and your partner can take the 300 meter trip to the top of Abeno Harukas in Tennoji. Here you can look out over the city lights that spread out in all directions. You can see Osaka Castle, Tsutenkaku, Kaiyuukan, Ikoma mountain, and many other famous landmarks in Osaka. A glass-walled observation deck allows a 360 degree view.
One floor under the observation deck is a large outdoor space with many trees and benches to sit down and rest. There is also a cafe inside that, if you are lucky enough to get a seat, offers a beautiful and relaxing view of the city below. For the more daring couples out there, there is also “Edge the Harukas”, the first 300 meter cliff experience in Japan. Abeno Harukas offers a special couple plan which includes entrance tickets, a special memorial picture, and a fancy dinner of appetizers, pasta, a main dish, desert, and a glass of sparkling wine. I don't recommend it. It’s not that the plan is bad; its just expensive (11,000 yen), and it takes away the freedom of making your own plans. I personally would go to eat in Tenshiba instead.
Tenshiba is a grassy park located between Tennoji Station and Tennoji Zoo. It is a walking distance from Harukas (you can actually get there through the underground walkways without going outside once). You can find a nice variety of fancy and reasonably priced restaurants, some of which have outdoor seats depending on the season. Here you can enjoy your meal and a good glass of wine while looking at Harukas from a ground level. If I were to plan a date night in Osaka, I would go to Tenshiba and have a relaxing dinner and a few beers, then head to the top of Abeno Harukas to sit down and take in the spectacular view.
If you’re looking for another romantic night spot for a date in Osaka, I recommend Nakanoshima Park. This park is on a 1.5 kilometer-long man-made island, sandwiched between Dojima and Tosabori River. At the park there is beautiful green grass that you can actually sit down and relax on, and based on the season, you can also see a beautiful rose garden or cherry blossoms. The amount of people here also changes with the seasons, but if you are lucky, you can go and enjoy the beautiful flowers and trees with little to no interruption from others.
Here you can also get a stunning night view of the towering skyscrapers of Osaka. Some of the most historic buildings of the city are also in this area, such as the Osaka Prefectural Nakanoshima Library and the Osaka Central Public Hall. Nakanoshima and the surrounding area of Kitahama and Yodoyabashi offer a wonderful selection of restaurants and bars to complete your perfect date night. One of my personal favourites is GARB Weeks. This Italian restaurant has tall windows lining the walls, offering a perfect view of the European style walkways winding through the park. A glass of wine from their abundant selection is a superb way to end a good night.
There are many other good restaurants as well, so I advise you to look up more about the area. (If you really want to do things right, I recommend going to check out the area beforehand by yourself too). A delicious dinner and a nice drink followed by a peaceful walk through the park is a wonderful way to spend a romantic date night in Osaka.
DATING SPOTS IN OSAKA NO. 3 MINATO-MACHI RIVER PLACE
Another nice river spot happens to be in Namba. This might come as a surprise to those of you who know the area; the large, unsanitary ditch that flows through Dotonbori is by no means romantic.
However, if you walk towards Horie and JR Namba, you will come to an area of riverfront restaurants in Minato-machi River Place. There are three that I recommend: MOULiN, BLEU, and the Beer Garden. MOULiN is an Italian restaurant along the river opposite Namba Hatch. It has a fancy interior, but I personally recommend a seat outside on the terrace. Here it is not too bright and not too crowded: a perfect spot for those couples that can’t keep their hands off each other. The food is tasty and very affordable, and the wine selection isn't too bad either.
Right above MOULiN is an elegant and exquisite bar named BLEU. The lighting is dim and very romantic. There are candles on the table. Large comfortable sofas facing the river offer a comfortable place to relax with your partner next to you. The prices can be a little more on the expensive side, so if you want to save money (and still not look to stingy), I suggest eating dinner on the first floor before coming up to have a drink at BLEU. The Beer Garden isn’t necessarily as special (because it is a franchise restaurant you can find in many other locations), but it is still a great choice. Located on the entrance level for Namba Hatch, the terrace overlooks the river from above. It offers a wonderful view of the river and the fancy bridge crossing it a little bit further downstream.
About a five-minute walk north of Minato-machi River Place is BioTop. This shop in Horie has a cafe, flower/plant shop, and daily necessities shop on the first floor, and a clothing store on the second. It is a nice place to come and relax, even if you’re by yourself.
The dating spot here is on the fourth and top floor. Here is the open rooftop restaurant Cubierta, full of green trees and beautiful lights. This gorgeous and comfortable environment makes it easy to forget that you’re in the middle of Osaka. Potted plants, large trees, and pretty flowers (brought up from the shop on the first floor) help provide a wonderful and atmosphere for your date. String lights hang from the rafters, shedding a warm and romantic light on the roof.
Cubierta specializes in pizzas. The menu has close to 20 different types you can choose from, including dessert pizzas and seasonal flavors. (My personal favorite dessert pizza is the tiramisu pizza. It tastes much better than it sounds!) There are large Ceasar salads and other vegetable side dishes as well. In summer there are barbecue nights, where you can pay a set price for an all you can eat dinner. This restaurant offers a nice selection of Mino beer, a famous beer in Osaka. In the winter you can also enjoy a hot wine while warming yourself by one of the multiple heaters placed near the tables.
Cubierta is a great dating spot for any time of day. But if you want to go in the summer, I recommend you go at night. There are rafters and parasols, but it can still get rather hot. If you want to impress your partner with a relaxing dinner date, Cubierta is a great choice. It is also very reasonably priced considering the high quality of the pizzas and the gorgeous atmosphere. This is one of my personal favorite dating spots in Osaka, and I’m sure it could be one of yours too.
ExpoCity in Suita has enough to keep you and your date busy for a whole day. You can take a walk in Banpaku Memorial Park, and enjoy the 2.6 square kilometers of green grass and trees. There are also many styles of Japanese gardens and streams to enjoy.
When you get tired of walking, you can go to ExpoCity for a movie or some shopping. If your partner likes animals, I highly recommend taking him/her to NIFREL. This is an interactive aquazoo where you can see many animals up close, such as capybara, peacocks, tropical fish, and even a white tiger! It is a very fun and new experience that even those who aren't avid animal lovers can enjoy. When you get hungry or thirsty during the day, the mall offers many cafes and restaurants where you can sit down for a breather. The restaurants here are not exceptionally fancy, but there is a good variety from which to choose what you want.
After you have spent a fun-packed day at ExpoCity, there is one final thing I recommend to complete your date. Right by NIFREL is the tallest Ferris wheel in Japan. The Redhorse Osaka Wheel is 123 meters high, and takes about 18 minutes for one car to complete a full loop. The glass walls and floor give a perfect 360 degree view of the night lights of Osaka. This Ferris wheel has become a popular spot for people to propose to their partner. It is considered a “Lover’s Sanctuary”, and is a wonderful place in Osaka to make good memories with your date.
Here I have listed five of my recommended dating spots in Osaka. Each spot has more than just one thing to do. Allowing you to freedom to plan the best night for you and your partner. If you want to enjoy the night lights together, Abeno Harukas and the Redhorse Osaka Wheel in ExpoCity are ideal places to go. For cute animals, again, ExpoCity is a good spot. If you want to eat good Italian food while admiring the night scenery, Nakanoshima, Minato-machi River Place, and BioTop in Horie are all excellent choices. The choice is up to you.
The next time you want to impress your date and show them that you care, avoid going to an izayaka or some overpriced hotel restaurant, and instead try out one of these five spots. These locations in Osaka will help create a romantic mood for your date. Hopefully, here you can make memories together that will stay with you for a very long time.