Osaka is the largest metropolitan area on the west side of Japan.
Although it may look similar to Tokyo at first glance, there are many differences between these two cities. If you have learned Japanese before, you may even notice the different dialects spoken in the Kansai area which includes Osaka, Kyoto, and four other prefectures. The Kansai dialect is known for sounding a little more aggressive, but don’t be fooled – Kansai people are very friendly and kind. To give you a better idea, some compare Osaka to Southern France while Tokyo is like Paris, or Osaka is like California while Tokyo is New York!
You can enjoy a more lively atmosphere in Osaka and meet many fun locals. Also, Osaka attracts many tourists for its delicious specialty foods.
In this article, we will share our suggested one-day itinerary in Osaka and how to get there from Kyoto or Osaka, and last but not least, local foods that you shouldn’t miss!
Recommended tours in Osaka:
- How to get to Osaka from Kyoto or Tokyo?
- Suggested itinerary in Osaka
- What should you eat in Osaka?
- Map of Osaka with the spots we included on the itinerary
- Japan Wonder Travel Tours in Osaka
- Recommended Hotels in Osaka
- Let’s start planning your next Osaka trip!
How to get to Osaka from Kyoto or Tokyo?
From Kyoto【 JR Line 】JR Kyoto – JR Osaka station: 560 yen / 30 min
*If you already have a JR pass, there is no extra charge
From Tokyo【 Shinkansen 】JR Tokyo station – JR Shin Osaka station: 14,450 yen / less than 3 hour
*If you already have a JR pass, there is no extra charge
Suggested itinerary in Osaka
Welcome to Osaka! We have put together a 7-8 hour itinerary for you to explore the city. You can find all the places we have included on the map provided at the end of the article. Each location is labeled with a number for easy reference (e.g. Osaka station is labeled as ①).
10:00 am: JR Osaka Station ①
Osaka Station is located in the northern part of Osaka and it is a major station in Kansai.
The North Gate Building opened in 2011 and you can enjoy shopping in GRAND FRONT OSAKA. It is a developing area so if you want to know more about the area, check the article below!
10:30 am: Osaka Castle ②
The castle tower is surrounded by secondary citadels, gates, turrets, impressive stone walls, moats, and huge parks. This park is one of the most popular hanami spots which literally means flower viewing spot during the cherry blossom season, which usually takes place in early April.
1 pm: Suijo Bus Aqua-Liner ③
The Suijo Bus Aqua-liner allows you to explore Nakanoshima Island from the water. On their Osaka Castle and Nakanoshima course, you can enjoy the local scenery on the Ogawa River from the boat. The Aqualiner’s glass ceiling can be lowered to pass under the lower bridges which adds a thrilling taste to the tour.
We recommend their course from Osaka Castle to Yodoyabashi. It takes only 20 mins and costs 940 yen. It’s a bit short but you can enjoy this activity.
1:40 pm: Abeno Harukas at Tennoji area ④
Standing at 300 meters, Abeno Harukas is the tallest skyscraper in Japan.
The observation deck is called “Harukas 300” and occupies the building’s top three floors (floors 58 to 60). Take the elevators from the 16th floor to get to the observation deck. With large floor-to-ceiling windows all around, the 60th floor offers 360-degree views of Osaka, while the 58th floor features an attractively designed inner court with a wooden deck and cafe. A souvenir shop and restrooms with views are also must-sees.
▶Get e-tickets for Harukas 300 Observatory
2:30 pm : Shinsekai area ⑤
At the beginning of the 20th Century, the Shinsekai area flourished. Today, only a little bustle atmosphere remains, but many old eating and drinking establishments can still be found. One highlight of this area is Tsutenkaku Tower and Jan-Jan Yokocho Lane, which runs along one side of Shin-Sekai. This dining and shopping street is where laborers who rebuilt Osaka after World War II gathered, and it still contains Japanese-style pubs and cheap cafeteria-like restaurants with unique menus that include Kushi-Katsu and Kasu Udon. It’s an entertainment district for locals which is the same as it has always been.
To learn more about the area, check the article below!
3 pm: Kuromon Market ⑥
Kuromon Ichiba is a lively covered market that stretches for 580 meters in the Nipponbashi area. This market street is often called “Osaka’s Kitchen” because both local homeowners and restaurant chefs get their supplies here since the market is famous for its fresh seafood and street food. Take a guided tour to enjoy the market appropriately. You can find delicious local foods on the street while listening to the story behind the area.
4 pm: Dotonbori area ⑦
The lively entertainment area of Dotonbori is Osaka’s most famous tourist destination and is renowned for its gaudy neon lights, extravagant signage, and enormous variety of restaurants and bars. You can walk to the Dotonbori area from Kuromon Market.
There are Namba Grand Kagetsu and Doguyasuji Street in this area. Dotonbori is famous for its eye-catching signage and billboards with a giant pufferfish, an octopus, a clown, and the Kani Douraku crab all vying for your attention and creating an amusement park-like atmosphere. Of all these signs, however, the most famous one is the Glico running man above Ebisubashi Bridge. Take a picture with the Glico sign!
5 pm: Back to JR Osaka station ①
It is time to go back to Kyoto or Tokyo. Osaka is a perfect day trip destination and if you haven’t added it to your Japan trip itinerary yet, don’t worry. It is not too late to add this one-day Osaka itinerary to yours!
If you have time, check out the Floating Garden Observatory at Umeda Sky Building (⑧ on the map) before you take a train back to your stay.
Umeda Sky building is located near JR Osaka Station. You can spend time on the open-air rooftop of this 568-foot-high, 40-stories building overlooking the city of Osaka. It opens until 10:30 pm (the last admission is 10 pm) and it is perfect for sunset or night view.
What should you eat in Osaka?
Do you know the word “Kuidaore“? This is a very famous word that is often used to describe Osaka.”Kuidaore” means “Eat until you drop” so you should spend money and eat a lot of food! In Osaka, there are many delicious street foods. Here we listed the three most popular foods which are your must-try when you visit Osaka.
A ball-shaped Japanese light meal containing pieces of octopus inside, Takoyaki is one of the best street foods in Japan and also a popular home-cooking meal for many people in Osaka. Almost everyone who lives in Osaka has a Takoyaki-making machine at home!
Okonomiyaki is often described as a Japanese savory pancake.
The ingredients could be varied but the popular ones are vegetables and pork or seafood.
You can make it by yourself at the restaurant and it will be a very fun experience for you!
Kushi katsu is a deep-fried skewered meat and vegetable. You dip them into the thick sauce but some restaurants have the very unique rule such as not allowing to dip into the sauce twice!
Also, each area in Japan has its own specialty food. We highly recommend checking out the local foods in each area before traveling to Japan!
Map of Osaka with the spots we included on the itinerary
Japan Wonder Travel Tours in Osaka
If you are planning on visiting Osaka and need some help organizing your trip, you came to the right place! We would be more than happy to help make your trip the best it possibly could be. We can advise you on where to go, or even better, hook you up with a local English speaking guide that can show you all of the best spots. Let us help you make fun, safe, and unforgettable memories in Osaka!
▶Osaka Highlights Private Walking Tour
On this full-day private tour of Osaka, we will take you to Osaka’s highlights that include Osaka Castle, Kuromon Market, the popular Dotonbori area, etc. Learn about the rich history of the area, local lifestyle, and of course delicious Osaka food!
▶Osaka Tenjinbashi Local Street Walking Tour
Walk around the Tenjinbashi area with an experienced and knowledgeable English speaking guide! You can find all of the local secret hidden gems along the way. This tour also includes some delicious street food and drink.
▶Kyoto Food and Drink Tour @Nishiki Street & Gion
If you’re planning on visiting Kyoto along with Osaka and are looking to learn more about the culture and local cuisine, this is definitely the perfect tour for you! Take part in this fun food and drink tour and explore the 400-year-old market and the famous Gion district.
Find the Other Tours
If you want to make travel easier, we suggest you look into tour packages.There are a wide range of tour packages out there to suit the accomodate for each traveler needs. Click the button below to find the best tour package from various Tour Operators!
Recommended Hotels in Osaka
In case you want to stay in Osaka, we recommend hotels below.
Spending a night in Osaka is fun so highly recommend to stay over!
|[Luxuryl] The Ritz-Carlton Osaka||Near Osaka and Umeda station.|
It’s easy to access.
|[Luxury] Conrad Osaka||Located in Nakanoshima area|
*In front of Italy Consulate General
|[Luxury] St. Regis Osaka||Located in Hommachi area. (Business area)|
|[Ryokan] Hotel Ichiei||Traditional ryokan in the busy Dotonbori area|