10. Osaka International Airport (Itami Airport)
Osaka International Airport—not to be confused with Kansai International Airport—is located on the western edge of Osaka Prefecture. It straddles three cities, including Itami in neighboring Hyogo Prefecture, giving the airport its informal name. Itami Airport is fitted with an observation deck called La Sora, a huge, wooden, outdoor deck that hugs all three terminals of the airport. From the deck, air travelers are treated to a unique view of Osaka, its runways, and various airplanes taxiing.
Access: Osaka Monorail to Osaka International Airport; alternatively, fly! (Airport code: ITM, domestic flights only)
9. Shigi-Ikoma Skyline
If you've got access to a car, you should check out the view on the Shigi-Ikoma Skyline. From the Panorama Parking Lot, located south of Ikoma Sanjo toll booth, you can see Osaka to the west and Nara to the east, with Osaka appearing as a river of cars along the Hanshin Highway while tranquility reigns over Nara. Kane-no-Naru Tenbodai is another great viewing stop some 5 kilometers (3 mi) down the road to the south.
Access: Best by car; 7.7 kilometers (4.8 mi) from Ikoma Station
8. Grand Front Osaka
If you're not using a plane or car, there are lots of options by train. From JR Osaka Station, walk north to the Grand Front Osaka building. There are two buildings here, and you'll want to go to the north building. There's an observation terrace at the top, where you'll be able to see most of the Osaka skyline in detail. One note: it's roofless, so prepare to feel the wind! As an additional bonus, you can actually see our next location!
Access: From JR Osaka Station, go north. As soon as you exit the station, you'll be at the south building, but you'll need to go through it to get to the north building.
7. Umeda Sky Building — Floating Garden Observatory
Sitting just across train tracks from Grand Front is the famous Umeda Sky Building. This building has a distinct appearance, with two towers connected at the top by a broad bridge with a giant circle cut in its center. This is the Floating Garden Observatory, and it offers a spectacular view of both the city and the plaza below. The plaza hosts several events throughout the year, the most famous being the German Christmas Market in December.
Access: In between Grand Front's two buildings is a dead-end road. Cars will have to turn, but pedestrians can cross it and go underground. The Sky Building is at the end of the underground tunnel.
6. Orix Honmachi Building — Observation Terrace
When you're ready to branch out from the Osaka Station area, take the subway to Hommachi (or Honmachi), a business district that sits between Umeda and Namba, the two main tourist locations in Osaka. Here, you'll find the Orix Honmachi Building and its Observation Terrace. You can get a 360-degree view of the entire Osaka skyline from right in its center, including an eyeful of Japan's tallest skyscraper, Abeno Harukas 300!
Access: Take the Yotsubashi (blue) subway line from Umeda to Hommachi and take Exit 19. That should put right in the basement of the Orix building, and all you have to do is go up!