Osaka is known as being a city of people who love good food and good fun. There are countless nightspots to discover, from high-class cocktail bars to grungy live houses to tiny, hole-in-the-wall whiskey bars.

    If you're looking for something a little more cultured to do of an evening in Osaka, consider a visit to the National Bunraku puppet theatre or the Osaka Nogaku Hall, which presents classical Japanese noh drama. There are many venues for live music, hot dance music and relaxing jazz. Head to the area around Shinsaibashi station for the biggest concentration of nightlife.


    National Bunraku Theater

    Don’t miss seeing master puppeteers handling puppets that are two-thirds the size of a human at this national institution. Operating for 7 months throughout the year, bunraku puppet shows generally run for 3-week periods. It's best to check program times at the theatre unless you are a Japanese speaker. The theatre itself blends modern facilities with traditional Japanese architecture. To reach the theatre, take the subway to Nippombashi station.

    Location: 1-12-10 Nippon-bashi, Chuo-ku, Osaka 542-0073, Japan

    Phone: +81 (0)6 6212 2531


    photo by KENPEI (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified


    Sam and Dave One

    Join a festive young crowd at Sam and Dave One, a modern nightclub that buzzes with hot lasers, fluorescent lights and a huge dance floor. Flair bartenders put Tom Cruise to shame with their flamboyant cocktail mixing skills adding to the spectacle of this club. Regular music events range from the hottest hip hop groups to trance parties. Sam and Dave One is very foreigner-friendly and has a vibe similar to western clubs. It's located on Higashi Shinsaibashi, walking distance from Ōsaka Namba Station.

    Location: 6F, 2-7-20 Higashi-Shinsaibashi, Chuo, Osaka 542-0083, Japan

    Phone: +81 (0)6-6243-6848



    A great place to start or end a night out, enjoy a relaxing cocktail at this elegant martini bar. Rustic décor presents a contrast to the classy atmosphere inside Cinquecento. The affordable prices are another nice surprise – most drinks are 500 yen. Try a classic Manhattan or a cool chocolate martini before a night of fun clubbing around Shinsaibashi and Namba. 

    Location: 1F 2-1-10 Higashi-Shinsaibashi, Chuo-ku, Osaka 542-0083, Japan

    Open: Monday–Saturday from 9 pm to late

    Phone: +81 (0)6 6213 6788


    Billboard Live Osaka

    You can expect more than just smooth jazz by leading domestic and international artists at Billboard Live. Dimly lit and demure, this live jazz lounge serves food and drinks, so you really can spend the whole evening here. Music ranges from jazz and blues to Latin and even contemporary folk. Filling to capacity almost every night reservations are recommended to avoid disappointment.  It’s located close to Umeda station.

    Location: 2 Chome-2-22 Umeda, Kita, Osaka, Osaka Prefecture 530-0001, Japan

    Open: Monday–Saturday from 5 pm (show times vary). Closed on Sundays.

    Phone: +81 (0)6 6342 7722



    If you're looking to enjoy some niche live music genres like heavy metal or punk, head to Fandango. This is one of the best live houses in the city. Hosting acts from around the country indeed around the world, the club attracts a young and dedicated crowd who rock out to the music in a feverish manner. It's located close to Juso station, north of downtown Osaka, close to the Yodo River.

    Location: 1-17-27 Juso-Honmachi, Yodogawa-ku, Osaka 590-0985, Japan

    Phone: +81 (0)6 6308 1621


    photo by watashiwani (CC BY 2.0) modified

    Stephan Audiger | Compulsive Traveller

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