What’s the best thing about summer in Osaka? Obviously, it’s the heat and humidity! No, the best thing about summer in Osaka is the wide variety of fun things to do. There are numerous festivals and great outdoor concerts and activities. There are barbecues and fireworks and Osaka is a perfect place to enjoy a wide variety of summer activities.
Unfortunately, the beginning of summer isn't the best time for events. June (the 21st is the first day of summer this year) has less events than any other month in Japan. It is also the middle of rainy season. Even so, it is still sunny about 1/3 of the time (more or less). Japanese schools are all still in session and most people are still working, so attractions aren't nearly as crowded as they are in the middle of summer. There aren't many events, but there are still a handful of special things to do in Osaka in June.
Today's post will introduce 5 things you can do in Osaka in June to help you get out and explore. Some are exclusive to June; some aren’t. I have tried to include as wide a variety as possible, so hopefully, you can find an event that will interest you!
1. DRINKING BEER IS A GREAT THING TO DO IN OSAKA IN JUNE
June in Japan is hot and humid. You start sweating just by walking out your front door. Sounds lovely, doesn’t it? It’s not. Fortunately, there’s a good way to endure the heat: drink beer. Beer is a great beverage for any season, but it’s hard to beat an ice-cold glass or can (or pitcher if you’re really thirsty) of beer in the summer. Here are three places where you can find just that in Osaka in June.
OKTOBERFEST (MAY 18TH- JUNE 3)
On the first weekend of June is the German beer festival Oktoberfest. This year it is held in Nagai Park (near Midosuji Line Nagai Station). You can choose from over 70 types of German beer, eat German sausage and other foods, and enjoy German music. Here you can experience a taste of the German culture, mixed in with the strong Osaka culture. The entrance fee is only 200 yen.
Aside from the food stalls, there is a barbecue area where everything from a table to eating utensils is prepared for you and your friends to use (if you make a reservation). Oktoberfest is becoming more and more popular in Japan each year and is a great way to spend some quality beer skulling time in Osaka in June.
Osaka Castle Park hosts the biggest beer terrace in the area from June 13th to 17th. When you sign in, you pay for a beer glass and beer coins. You can use these to buy a large selection of Belgian beer, separated into 11 categories to make choosing easier. Each beer has a beer chart showing sweetness, acidity, bitterness, richness, crispness, and aroma to help you find the best beer for you.
Once you’ve finished your beer, you can wash your glass out using a Belgian glass rinser, then go try another one! If you run out of coins, you can purchase more for 210 yen a piece. These coins are valid for all 5 days, so you can always come back another day to try some more Belgian beer.
If the Oktoberfest and Belgian Beer Weekend isn't enough for you, the next place to go is Beer Garden. The Beer Garden on the 5th floor of Ana Crowne Plaza Hotel is holding a special event. (The hotel is located a five minute walk from JR Kitashinchi Station, and about 15-20 minute walk from JR Osaka and Umeda station).
At “Soulful Beer Garden”, DJ Marc Antomattei will play 70’s and 80’s music for you to enjoy while you have a refreshing drink. The set fee is 6000 yen, but if you go in June, you can buy prepaid tickets and get a 1000 yen discount. This event is held only on weekdays. Make sure to get some tickets, and go enjoy a relaxing night with some good beer and food.
On April 24th to June 24th, the artwork of Suzuki Harunobu will be on display in Abeno Harukas. This famous Japanese artist was the first to produce full-color prints and used many special techniques to create Japanese style art. Harunobu based his artwork on a variety of subjects such as classical poems and “bijinga”, the term for a picture of a beautiful Japanese woman. His largest collection of artwork is in the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. This year, 150 pieces of his artwork will be returning to Japan for this exhibit.
Traditional Japanese art is extremely different from Western art. It displays one of the most important concepts of Japanese culture: the concept is “ma”. This is the beauty of blank space. It is a difficult idea to understand, but traditional Japan valued blank space in art, as well as silence in conversation. People would sense beauty in simplicity. The more “ma” there was, the more beautiful a song or piece of art was; and the more respectable, or even trustworthy, a person was. While Japanese culture is gradually changing, “ma” is still greatly valued. Learning about this concept will greatly help with understanding and communicating with the Japanese people.
If you like art and the Japanese culture, this art display is a great way to experience and learn about Japanese values. It is also a great way to avoid the June humidity and spend some time indoors in Osaka.
When I say “Cool” USJ, I’m not talking about the temperature. If you go to Universal Studios Japan in June, it’s going to be hot. Universal “Cool” Studios is a limited-time event in which you can experience some of Japan’s most famous creative works.
This year, different areas of the park are renovated to display 4 world-famous Japanese works. The first is “Final Fantasy”, an RPG game. Final Fantasy will be collaborating with Hollywood Dream Ride to create a virtual reality ride, an experience limited solely to Universal Studios Japan. The second is “Detective Conan”, a 93-book comic series (as of now) and TV Anime series. Detective Conan is collaborating with two events, a realistic escape game and a detective challenge that you can complete by finding hints throughout the park. The third world-famous work is Capcom’s “Monster Hunter”, a series of games in which you create a hunter and fight dragons. At USJ, you can become a hunter yourself, and fight monsters in a virtual reality world. Lastly is the TV Anime “Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon”, which is still just as popular now as it was when it debuted over 25 years ago. You can help Sailor Moon fight evil in a 4D theater. This is an event that can’t be missed if you’re a gamer or anime-lover.
Universal “Cool” Studios will end on June 24. If you’re looking for something to do in June in Osaka, be sure to get your tickets soon! There are a variety of ticket options that you can buy separately from your park entrance ticket. You can choose to check out one or two of these cool limited attractions, or you can experience them all!
Aizen Festival (June 30- July 2) is one of the first major summer festivals of the year in Osaka. It is known as one of the biggest in Osaka, lining up with the Tenjin and Sumiyoshi Festivals. This festival takes place at Aizendo temple near Tennoji (Subway Tanimachi Line Shitennoji-mae Yuhigaoka Station).
On June 30th there is a large parade where you can experience the Japanese culture first-hand. A “geisha”, or traditional young Japanese woman (not the ones with white-painted faces), is carried above the crowd in a basket called a “Hoekago”, which means “blessed treasure basket”. Everyone in the parade chants “Ho-e-ka-go!” as she is carried along. Aizen Festival is a great place to have a new Japanese experience and enjoy June in Osaka.
June is the last month of this year for picking strawberries. There are a few places where you can go in Osaka, all of which are some distance from central Osaka. If you want to have a relaxing day away from the city and eat the last of this season’s strawberries, I recommend one of these places.
KISHIWADA KANKOUNOUEN FARM
Kishiwada is some distance from central Osaka, but it’s a great place to go to get away from the city. At the farm, you can enjoy all-you-can-eat Nyoho strawberries. With an extra reservation, you can also eat a barbecue lunch.
Strawberry picking is 2000 yen for Junior High School students and above and 1500 yen for Elementary School students. The farm is open on weekends and national holidays until June 24th (Sunday).
Here you can eat Akihime and Benihoppe strawberries in all-you-can-eat style for 30 minutes. You can buy some to take home as well.
This garden is family-friendly, and the strawberries are grown one meter above the ground, so you don't have to bend over to pick them. There is enough space between rows for wheelchairs and baby strollers to pass easily. Their website says they will be open until “late June”, so I would recommend checking a specific date when making a reservation. Nakagawa Strawberry Garden is located in Tenno, Osaka, north of Ikeda and Minoo.
Muratake’s strawberry picking farm uses minimal pesticide and is an ideal choice for those who want to avoid chemicals. There is no time limit, and you can enjoy all-you-can-eat strawberries for 1500 yen or less.
This farm is also open until mid-June, but the ending date will change based on the weather and fruit conditions. It is located in Izumi city, which is between Sakai and Kishiwada.
Although Osaka in June isn't as event-packed as the other months, there are still some entertaining activities that you to do.
If you love drinking beer, you can choose from Oktoberfest, Belgian Beer Weekend, Beer Garden, or even go to all three. If you want to experience some Japanese culture you can go to an art exhibit or the Aizen Festival. June is a great time to go to USJ and check out the attractions for Final Fantasy, Detective Conan, Monster Hunter, and Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon. You can also get away from the city and pick some strawberries before the season ends.
Just be sure to check the weather forecast for rain, and stay hydrated (preferably with water, not beer). Don't stay cooped up inside! I hope you enjoy this list encouraged you to get out an enjoy Osaka in June!