Osaka: One Day Itinerary


Osaka may not be quite as pretty as Kyoto or quite as exciting as Tokyo, but it’s still very much worth visiting! Not only does it have one of the most famous castles in Japan, it’s also known as the nation’s kitchen. Expect a lot of delicious food. What’s great about Osaka is that you can see most of its highlights in one day with a good itinerary – perfect if you’ve only got a limited amount of time to spend in Japan.

Try some French pastry, Japanese style
painduce osaka bakery

Start your day with breakfast at one of the many Japanese bakeries in Osaka. I loved trying new things every day while I was in Japan, like green matcha croissants and cherry blossom brioches. In Osaka I can recommend Painduce bakery, but there are plenty of other bakeries you could try around town, often near train stations.

Have a matcha ice cream by Osaka Castle
osaka castle matcha
Osaka Castle itinerary

It’s never too early for matcha ice cream! It’s just like having tea and milk if you think about it, right? If you happen to be visiting during the cherry blossom season, sit yourself down under a pink tree and admire the castle from afar. If you have the time, brave the queue to get into the castle (it was too long when I was there) and learn more about the history of the place.

Osaka travel guide - castle
Take in the view from Umeda Sky Building
Umeda sky building, Osaka

This building looks like it belongs in a sci-fi film, and although its design is probably not everyone’s cup of tea, it has the best view in town. Head to the Floating Garden Observatory (the platform connecting the two towers) for 360 degree views of Osaka. I’ve heard that it’s amazing for watching the sunset too! Also check out the basement for some of the best food in the city, and a “street” that is designed to look like a 1920s Japanese village. Try Okonomiyaki Kiji, which many people say is the best place for okonomiyaki (a local specialty) in Osaka.

Shop like a teenager in Amerika-mura
amerikamura osaka

Photo credit: Laura Tomàs Avellana

Amerika-mura (AKA the American village) is Osaka’s answer to Tokyo’s Harajuku. This is the place to spot Osaka’s latest street fashion, shop in cool little boutiques and thrift shops and get your dose of hipster artisan coffee. While you’re there you could eat an ‘ice dog’ and try to spot the small-scale replica of the Statue of Liberty.

Eat like a local in Namba
Osaka Guide: Dotombori

Head to Dotombori street in the Namba neighbourhood for a huge selection of street food and restaurants with the boldest signage you will ever see. Look out for the giant octopus, blowfish and crab.

Osaka dotombori namba street

With Osaka being Japan’s capital of food, you’ll want to try a few of the local specialties. Takoyaki and okonomiyaki are the top two must-try foods. Head over to Creo-ru if you want to try some of the best that the city has to offer and avoid the queues.

Okonomiyaki Osaka Guide
Takoyaki Osaka Food Guide

After dinner, take in the neon lights from Ebisu-bashi bridge and spot the famous Glico man sign.

Wander through Shinsaibashi Suji, a long, lively shopping arcade full of all sorts of interesting little shops. If you would rather see the older side of Osaka, head to Hozenji Yokocho Alleyway, behind Hozenji Temple.

glico sign osaka

Osaka is a fantastic city to visit for a day or two, and it’s also an easy train ride away from Kyoto and Nara so it’s the perfect base. It’s a must for any foodies out there!

Other fun activities in Osaka include: Osaka Aquarium, Universal Studios Japan, Spa World, Shitennoji Temple, and Tempozan Ferris Wheel. For shopping, go to Rinku Town!

Where to stay: on my second trip to Osaka I stayed at Candeo Hotels Osaka Namba. The location is super convenient for walking around the centre of town and it also has an onsen spa on the roof which is a plus!

Planning your trip to Japan? Check out my other blog posts:

Here's a quick guide to spending 24 hours in Osaka. From finding delicious local food to seeing the best city views, this guide has got you covered!
  • Kelly | A Pair of Passports
    August 6, 2016

    This is such a great guide! We are planning a trip to Japan and I wasn’t sure if we really wanted to spend much time in Osaka – you’ve definitely made me think that we do!

  • Rosy Flynn
    August 6, 2016

    Such gorgeous pictures, I really want that ice cream!

    Rosy | Sparkles of Light Blog

  • Nice photos and the food looks so delish! I wanna try that matcha ice cream!
    I’m dying to go to Japan, soon. Hopefully, next spring! Yay! <3

    • Anne-Sophie ~ City Cookie
      August 26, 2016

      Ohh you should go during cherry blossom season, it’s magical!! 🙂

      • Yep yep that’s the plan! That’s why I skipped Japan for two years because I always missed the cherry blossoms. 🙁 The airfare prices are always too high during this season. Next year hopefully! I wanna witness that magic! 🙂

  • AlexandraLuella
    August 23, 2016

    I have just visited Osaka last month, ate a whole lot and shopped a great deal. You are absolutely right it is nothing like metropolitan Tokyo and picturesque Kyoto but it is definitely a must-go for everyone who are travelling to Japan!

    Love your post. Sums up the city very nicely!


    • Anne-Sophie ~ City Cookie
      August 26, 2016

      Thanks so much Alexandra! I’m glad you agree. It really is the place for great food, isn’t it!? xx

  • Suanlee
    September 8, 2016

    I echo these recommendations completely! I’ve been to Japan twice now but the first time I visited Osaka was this year and I loved it. Definitely agree about it being the nation’s kitchen, there are some awesome markets in Osaka and almost too many food choices to choose from. Great post, love your writing style!

    • Anne-Sophie ~ City Cookie
      September 10, 2016

      Thanks so much Suanlee! It’s really good to get a second opinion on my travel guides as I always do tons of research but could still end up missing something. I definitely miss the food – everything was so delicious in Osaka!

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Osaka: One Day Itinerary