Known for its great selection of delicious food, Osaka is dubbed as “the kitchen of Japan.” It is also home to several popular attractions like Osaka Castle, Osaka Aquarium KAIYUKAN, and Universal Studios Japan. But in addition to that, the area also boasts some of the most interesting museums one can find in the country.
Out of the many museums in Osaka, here are the top five ones where you can get in for FREE! Yes, you read that right. Free admission museums do exist in Japan!
1. Mint Museum Osaka
Situated on the premises of the Japan Mint Head Office in Osaka, which manufactures Japanese coins and medals, the Mint Museum displays domestic and foreign currency, as well as rare coins and medals. Aside from viewing its approximately 4,000 historical exhibits and learning about the history of Japanese money, visitors can also observe the manufacturing process at the factory.
Every spring, the site of the museum is frequented by both locals and tourists as it is famous for its cherry garden with more than 300 cherry blossom trees that bloom beautifully in April. The garden is usually only accessible during the sakura season, wherein you can enjoy hanami or flower viewing also for free. Note, however, that the museum is closed during this period.
Mint Museum Osaka is accessible via a 10-minute walk from Osakatemmangu Station on the JR Tozai Line, or a 15-minute walk from Sakuranomiya Station, Kyobashi Station, Temmabashi Station, and Minamimorimachi Station.
Address: 1-1-79 Tenma, Kita-ku, Osaka
Opening Hours: 9:00 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. (last entry before 4:00 p.m.)
Closing Days: year-end and New Year holidays, cherry blossom viewing week
2. CUPNOODLES MUSEUM OSAKA IKEDA
Built in 1999 in the City of Ikeda in Osaka, the birthplace of instant noodles, CUPNOODLES MUSEUM is an activity-filled museum that offers more than just the history of ramen.
Start your visit by learning all about how Momofuku Ando invented the world’s first instant noodles and later founded the NISSIN FOODS Group. Then, watch short videos at the interactive theater shaped like an actual cup noodle, and go through a tunnel displaying about 800 instant noodle products arranged chronologically.
The museum also has paid experiences for a small fee. At the Chicken Ramen Factory, you can try your hand at the entire process of making chicken ramen—from kneading the flour to seasoning and drying the noodles. You can also design your own original cup noodle packaging and customize what goes into it from a selection of four soup flavors and 12 toppings at the My CUPNOODLES Factory.
And the fun does not stop there! Before you leave, try out some of the brand’s actual products from the vending machines at the Tasting Room. Popular favorites like the Nissin Chicken Ramen and the classic Cup Noodles are available, as well as limited flavors that can only be found in certain areas of Japan. Make sure to also drop by the Museum Shop on your way out and check out original CUPNOODLES merchandise with the adorable Nissin mascot, Hiyoko-chan, on it.
CUPNOODLES MUSEUM OSAKA IKEDA is only a five-minute walk from Ikeda Station on the Hankyu Takarazuka Line.
Address: 8-25 Masumi-cho, Ikeda-shi, Osaka
Opening Hours: 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (last entry at 3:30 p.m.)
Closing Days: Tuesdays (the following day if Tuesday is a public holiday), year-end and New Year holidays
3. Ezaki Glico Museum
Pocky, Bisco, Pretz… These are just some of the popular snacks from famous Japanese food company, Glico. Find out all about the brand and its many yummy products at its memorial museum in Utajima, Nishiyodogawa Ward in Osaka, ideal for kids and adults alike!
The Ezaki Glico Museum, located at the same site as the company headquarters, was established in commemoration of Glico’s 50th anniversary. It has various exhibitions on the company founder, the history of the brand, its products and advertisements throughout the years, and even cute little toys that will surely induce nostalgia.
It is important to note that while this museum is free to enter, a telephone reservation is required prior to visit. The museum tour should last an hour.
The Ezaki Glico Museum is approximately 16 minutes by foot from Tsukamoto Station on the JR Tokaido Line, or 18 minutes by foot from Mitejima Station on the JR Tozai Line.
Address: 4-6-5 Utajima, Nishiyodogawa-ku, Osaka
Opening Hours: 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Closing Days: Saturdays other than the first and third Saturdays of the month, first Saturday of January and May, Sundays, public holidays, Obon holidays, year-end and New Year holidays
Website: https://www.glico.com/jp/enjoy/experience/ezakikinenkan/ (*Japanese only)
4. KIX Sky Museum
Right within Kansai International Airport in Osaka is KIX Sky Museum, a free museum where you can learn interesting facts about the airport itself. The museum is divided into different areas that showcase the airport’s history through illustrations, the airport’s operations and aircrafts, and other learning facilities. There are also simulators such as an actual-sized cockpit and a control tower where visitors can experience what it is like to work in the industry.
Although temporarily suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the museum hosts 30-minute and 60-minute tours for large groups of people.
The fact that the Sky Museum is located inside Kansai International Airport makes it perfect for those transiting through the airport and looking to pass the time as they wait for their next flight.
Address: 1 Senshukukokita, Izumisano, Osaka
Opening Hours: 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
5. Kansai University Museum
Opened in 1994, Kansai University Museum is located in the spacious Senriyama Campus of Kansai University. The museum has two exhibition galleries with approximately 15,000 archaeological, historical, and ethnological artifacts, as well as some arts and crafts. Most of the items displayed in the museum are from the personal collection of Hikoichi Motoyama, the former president of the Mainichi Newspapers. There are also 16 Important Cultural Properties within the museum’s collection.
Apart from not charging admission, the museum also offers special exhibitions and extension classes to the public from time to time.
Kansai University Museum is about a 10-minute walk from Kandaimae Station on the Hankyu Railway Senri Line.
Address: 3-3-35 Yamate-cho, Suita-shi, Osaka
Opening Hours: 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. (last entry at 3:30 p.m.)
Closing Days: Sundays and holidays designated by Kansai University
And there you have it! With these free-of-charge museums in Osaka, you will never run out of things to do in the area even if you are on a tight budget, especially if you are a museumgoer.
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- 20 Things to do in Osaka & Kyoto with kids
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Travel tip: If you are planning to spend a few days exploring Osaka, you might want to consider checking out some of the discount passes available for purchase that will allow you access to even more museums and other attractions for FREE! For instance, the Osaka Amazing Pass and the Osaka e-Pass both offer free admissions to the Osaka Museum of Housing and Living, the Koji Kinutani Tenku Art Museum, and the Kamigata Ukiyoe Museum among many others.
So, where are you off to?