The best places to live in Osaka
With two major city centres, Osaka's unusual layout lends the city an interesting structure. Progressively quieter areas fan out from these vibrant centres. Thanks to Osaka's excellent transport system, it isn't necessary to live right on the doorstep of major employment sectors to get to work within a reasonable commute time.
Expats searching for a new place to call home will find plenty of fantastic areas and suburbs in Osaka, each with a unique personality and quirks.
City living: vibrant and dynamic
These areas in Osaka are perfect for individuals and couples who love the energy and convenience of city living. These districts offer easy access to entertainment, shopping, dining venues and exceptional transport links to the rest of Osaka.
Umeda and Namba
Umeda and Namba, Osaka's two city centres, are nine to 15 minutes apart by subway, and both are high-energy business and entertainment. Most accommodation in both areas is in the form of high-rise apartments, resulting in these areas being especially popular with young professionals or couples. Shopping and dining opportunities abound. Umeda and Namba are both major transport hubs, making travelling around the rest of Osaka a breeze.
Shinsaibashi is a bustling shopping district in the heart of Osaka, characterised by its covered shopping street, the Shinsaibashi-Suji. The area is also home to a variety of restaurants, offering everything from native Osaka delicacies to international cuisine. Nearby, the vibrant neighbourhood of Amerikamura, often likened to Tokyo's Harajuku, is a hub of youth culture and fashion.
For expats, Shinsaibashi offers high-rise apartments with quick access to both work and play. Its central location and excellent transport links make commuting a breeze. While it can be busy, the convenience and vibrant nightlife make Shinsaibashi a popular choice for young, single expats and couples. It's an area that genuinely captures the energetic spirit of Osaka.
Tennoji is an up-and-coming district in Osaka that boasts a mix of modern urban amenities and rich historical and cultural attractions. Recently, it's become known as Osaka's third major downtown hub. It's home to some of Osaka's most iconic structures, including the Tsutenkaku Tower and Tennoji Zoo. Abeno Harukas, the tallest skyscraper in Japan, is also located in Tennoji, housing a department store, art museum, hotel and an observatory with panoramic views of Osaka.
Accommodation options in Tennoji range from high-rise apartments to more traditional houses in quiet, residential streets. Its central location and excellent public transportation make it a convenient place for working professionals and families alike. Tennoji has a sense of energy and regeneration, making it an exciting place for expats to call home.
Family-friendly suburbs: comfortable and convenient
For expats with families, these suburban areas provide a balance of convenience and quality of life. They offer a variety of housing options and access to international schools, and they are known for their welcoming communities and scenic surroundings.
Close to the airport and conveniently located just a short train trip away from Umeda, Toyonaka is often referred to as the 'gate to Osaka'. High-quality accommodation in the form of houses and apartments, along with plenty of amenities like shopping malls, make this a popular choice among expats. Toyonaka has a higher proportion of foreign residents than most parts of Osaka.
Home to Toyonaka International Center, this area is an excellent place for expats to begin their journey as new arrivals in Osaka. Here, numerous resources are available to meet the needs of foreigners. This includes adult Japanese classes, multilingual consultation services and child-centred programmes for all age groups that teach Japanese in a fun and social setting.
While technically not part of Osaka City, Ashiya City is indeed a part of the larger Osaka Metropolitan area and is largely considered an upscale residential area for those working in both Osaka and Kobe. Ashiya is a wealthy area known for its stunning view over Osaka Bay. For those who can afford it, this is a lovely place to settle down and has been home to numerous big names over the years, from Nobel Prize winners to revered writers.
Wide, tree-lined streets, hillside homes and large properties with amenities such as tennis courts and swimming pools create a sense of luxury. Expat families, in particular, favour Ashiya for its location midway between Osaka and Kobe, both of which have prestigious international schools easily reachable by bus.
Just a stone's throw from the city centre, Minoh offers a perfect blend of city convenience and natural beauty. This suburban city is nestled among the hills to the north of Osaka and is known for the scenic Minoh Park. This stunning national park features a breathtaking waterfall, hiking trails and a large population of wild monkeys.
The neighbourhood is home to several international schools, which makes it a popular choice for expat families. The community here is diverse and welcoming, and English is commonly spoken, making the transition easier for newcomers. Properties range from modern apartments to larger houses, offering something for everyone.