June Journeys: 10 things to do in Osaka in June

June is a bit of strange time in Japan. With no public holidays throughout the entire month, for the typical Japanese worker, it represents the long slog between the end of Golden Week in early May and the coming summer vacation period from mid-July. It’s also a time when the weather can get a bit temperamental too. Heat and humidity gives way to occasional heavy rain as “Tsuyu” (Japan’s rainy season) comes into full effect.

Nonetheless, it’s still a great time to visit the Osaka area, with no shortage of exciting things to see and do. Here’s ten of the best that June in Osaka has to offer.

Good Coffee Fest Hanshin: Mid-June

An Osaka barista hard at work.

It was famously once said that “a cup of coffee gets the world off to work in the morning.” This is also true of Osaka, and indeed all across Japan. Much like the recent boom in craft beer vendors in Japan, coffee has also undergone something of a renaissance in Japan over the past few years.

Central to this emerging trend is the website goodcoffee.me

This site lists fantastic independent coffee shops all across Japan. However, the site owners chose Osaka as the venue for their annual coffee lovers gathering.


Good Coffee Fest will enter its fifth year in 2024. The event, held at Umeda’s Hanshin Department Store showcases coffee from across the country. However, it’s not just about the beans. Good Coffee Fest also offers a variety of coffee making equipment, and other coffee related items. Alongside the sales stalls, visitors will also find regular workshops for all you budding baristas out there.

Good Coffee Fest Hanshin takes place in mid-June. The event is held at the first floor food terrace of Hanshin’s Umeda Department store. Umeda Hanshin is just a 2 minute walk from JR Osaka Station.

Motor Camp Expo: June 15th-16th

A promotional image from a previous Motor Camp Expo in Osaka.

Motor homes have long been a source of entertainment for Japanese travelers. However, in the last couple of years, on the back of tightening travel budgets and the rise of the “staycation” trend, their popularity has soared to all new heights.

Never one to miss out on emerging trends, Osaka has, since 2019, played host to this, one of the country’s largest showcase events for motor homes. Every June, for two days, Osaka Expo Memorial Park plays host to exhibitors from across Japan and beyond. Whether you’re seriously considering buying a new portable home for you and your family, or you just want to see what the latest trends are in mobile heating systems, Motor Camp Expo covers it all.

There are a host of sideshows and presentations as well, to keep the whole family entertained. And best of all, the event is budget-friendly too. Entry costs just 500 yen per person.

Expo Memorial Park is a short walk away from Banpaku-Kinen-Koen Station on the Osaka Monorail Line.

Otaue Rice Planting Festival: June 14th

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Participants in last year’s Otaue Festival.

The harvesting of rice is a culinary and cultural tradition that goes right back to the earliest moments of Japan’s existence. The cultivation of rice in Japan predates the nation’s recorded history. Thankfully, we have cultural touchstones like the Oatue Rice Planting Festival to make sure we never forget what it’s all about.

The venue is Sumiyoshi Taisha, one of Osaka’s most storied religious sites. Rituals to encourage a healthy and productive rice harvest take place throughout the day. The participants wear elaborate, historically accurate garments, to underline both the celebratory and spiritual aspects of this festival.

Another highlight of the day is the parade, where the priests and their entourage join dozens of other local groups to form a colorful collage of the area’s rice cultivating cultural history. You might even see a few samurai among the crowd too!

For a closer look at this event, please check out our in-depth guide

Sumiyoshi Taisha is a two-minute walk from Sumiyoshi Torii Mae Station on the Hankaidenki Hankai Line  

Kahoen Hydrangea Festival (Kyoto): June 15th-July 7th

june in osaka
Hydrangea flowers in full bloom in Kyoto.

We jump over to Kyoto now, for this next June event. Hydrangea are one of the botanical highlights of Japan’s late spring/early summer season. The Kahoen Hydrangea festival is perhaps one of the best showcases for these stunning flowers in all of Japan. Conditions permitting, organizers expect around 10,000 hydrangea bushes to be in full bloom by the time the festival comes around. These colorful flowers fill visitors with the warm and positivity that many have come to associate with Japan’s immaculately presented gardens.

Kahoen Garden, the venue for the festival is a bit out of the way. It’s approximately one hour from central Kyoto by car. However, the natural beauty on show makes all that hassle worth it. Plus, given how busy Kyoto is these days, after visiting all the usual tourist traps, this out of the way garden may be the perfect tonic.

Kahoen Garden is open daily from 8pm to 5pm. Admission is 300 yen per person. If you are able to get there by car, on-site parking is available for an additional 500 yen per vehicle.

Himeji Yukata Festival: June 22nd-June 24th

A festival participant in yukata.

We all love a good excuse to dress up. If you’re visiting the Kansai area in June there probably isn’t a better reason that attending the annual Himeji Yukata Festival. At first glance, a yukata may look similar to a kimono. However, yukata is made of a lighter, more comfortable and perhaps most importantly, far less expensive material than the classical kimono. They come in far more vibrant colors and elaborate patterns too.

Over the three days of the festival, a variety of events take place centering mainly in and around Osakabe Shrine. Osakabe is conveniently located almost exactly halfway between Himeji Station and Himeji Castle. The festival originally dates from the time of Sakakibara Masamine, lord of Himeji from 1732 until 1741. The first festival was held in his honor after he approved the moving of Osakabe Shrine from its previous, more remote location, to its current city center venue.

Back then, it was traditional that nobility would wear formal kimono to such events. However, Sakakibara was famous for the very short notice at which he often called for festivals.\. The legend says that this event, essentially, became a yukata festival by default, when, realizing that most of the townspeople didn’t have enough time to organize a formal kimono, the lord permitted them to wear simple yukata instead.

The exact schedule of events is usually formalized one or two months before the festival. Please consult Himeji’s event homepage for regular updates.  

Nyaramachi Neko Art Festival (Nara): Mid-June to Mid-July

Promotional art from the 2023 Nyaramachi Festival

Who doesn’t love cats?

Well, if you’re anything like me, you’ll adore the little fur balls. Cats have long been a symbol of good luck and prosperity in Japan. You’ve probably seen the “Manekineko” a small statue in the shape of a cat that usually adorns shop entrances across Japan.

Well, in Nara, every June, they take things a stage further. They have their own feline-themed art festival. Nyaramachi Neko Art Festival has been a permanent fixture in Nara’s annual event calendar since 2005. Now, almost two decades later, the event continues to go from strength to strength.

Dozens of local businesses take part, with the numbers steadily increasing each year. You can enjoy all kins of cat-themed artworks. From pottery and photography, to hand-made accessories, they one thing they all have in common is the celebration of our four-legged friends.

The name Nyaramachi is actually derived from the Japanese onomatopoeia for cat speak: “nyan-nyan”. The festival takes place at a variety of locations across Nara City. Nara City is about 45 minutes by train from Osaka.

Mizunomori Water Lilly Exhibition (Shiga): Early June to Late June

Mizunomori Botanical Garden is one of the most beautiful nature spots in the Kansai area.

We head over to Shiga Prefecture, about one hour from Osaka for this next event. The Mizunomori Water Lily Exhibition allows visitors to see up close over 150 different varieties of water lily. Budding botanists can also enjoy observing various other plant life in summer bloom as they stroll around the Mizunomori Botanical Gardens. If you’re feeling adventurous and want to indulge your sweet tooth, then I also recommend sampling the lotus seed ice-cream sold on-site.

Mizunomori Botanical Gardens are a 25 minute bus ride from JR Kusatsu Station. Kusatsu Station is approximately 75 minutes from JR Osaka Station on the JR Tokaido Sanyo Main Line. Entry to the exhibition is 300 yen for adults and 150 yen for kids. If you’re travelling by car, the botanical gardens also have free parking available.

Aizen Festival: June 30th to July 2nd

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One of the previous “Miss Aizen” finalists.

Next up we have a piece of Japanese history and one of Osaka’s longest running traditions. The Aizen festival is Japan’s oldest summer festival. The history of the festival dates from the time of Prince Shotoku. The prince lived from 574 AD until 628 AD. During his time, there was, of course, no refrigeration. However, Osaka was almost as hot in those summer days as it is now. So, legend has it that the Aizen Festival originated as a means for the people of Osaka to pray for good health, as survival necessitated they would often eat food that had spoiled.

The Festival runs over three days. Of special interest is the Hoekago Parade. In this precession, women wear beautifully ornate yukata and are carried down the street on palanquins, an early form of cart carried by two or four people.

The next day, we have a beauty pageant with a difference. The Miss Aizen contest is more than just a beauty competition. To qualify, entrants must be able to dress themselves in a traditional yukata without any assistance. Anyone who has ever tried to wear one of these will tell you that this is no easy feat.

Of the hundreds of young women who enter each year, 10 finalists make it to the big day. The final winner is decided by a panel of judges.

Throughout the festival you can also enjoy common festival foods, from stalls running along the parade areas. The Aizen Festival takes place mostly in the area between Shitennoji Temple and JR Tennoji Station. Entry is free.

Osaka Kaiyukan (during rainy season)

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Whatever the weather, the Osaka Kaiyukan is always a great day out.

Whilst June has no shortage of Outdoor events in Osaka, we need to remember that this is also when the rainy season hits Kansai. So, if you’re in town for a few days, chances are you’ll need to find at least one day’s worth of indoor activities to keep you occupied when the rain sets in. Of all the indoor activities in Osaka (at least the ones that are family friendly!) The Osaka Kaiyukan Aquarium is head and shoulders above the rest. Showcasing all manner of marine life from every corner of the world, The Osaka Kaiyukan is a veritable Odyssey of adventure. And the penguins are really cute too.

For a more in-depth look at the Kaiyukan and what it has to offer, please read our breakdown here.

Umeda Candle Night: Early June

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Umeda’s Candle Night in all its glory.

After two years out thanks to the pandemic, Umeda Candle Night made a stunning comeback in 2023. This art exhibit, organized by local school students, showcases thousands of hand-crafted candle lights. Nearby offices dim their lights and local street lights are turned down too in order to give maximum effect. Not only is this event stunning, its also free of charge. It is the perfect way to round off your day in Osaka, with a moment of candlelit tranquility amidst the urban sprawl.

In Summary

This is just a small sample of the many exciting things to see and do in Osaka in June. But did we miss something? If you’ve got any further suggestions for activities at this time of year in Osaka then please feel free to leave a comment and let us know. In the meantime, here’s hoping you have a great time when next you visit Osaka.


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