If you’re heading to Japan, you should add Osaka to your itinerary. It’s not too far from Kyoto, and close enough from Nara. Basically, it’s worth visiting! To help you plan your trip to Osaka, here are my recommendations on what to do.
I visited Osaka twice. Once a few years back while I was exploring the major cities in Japan and another time in 2019 for a few days. If you only have two days, these suggestions should be on point!
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Best Things to Do in Osaka, Japan
Take a Tour around Osaka Castle
If you only have 2 days in Osaka, you don’t want to skip walking around the famous Osakajo. This castle acts as a museum that has many different artifacts from the Azuchi-Momoyama period. You can enjoy the lookout at the top of the castle or take a photo in some traditional samurai gear.
Once you have fully explored the castle, take a short stroll next door to Nishinomaru Garden. This is the perfect place to relax in the midst of Osaka’s concrete jungle.
Planning your upcoming adventures? Travel by bus! (It’s cheap!)
Go Shopping on Shinsaibashi Street
Whether you are looking to buy a new wardrobe or just some souvenirs for friends and family, head to Shinsaibashi Street. This popular shopping street is one that you don’t want to miss on your Osaka Itinerary. On Shinsaibashi Street, you will find larger name brands, local brands, game centres and delightful small spots to grab some food.
Enjoy Osaka’s Nightlife on Dotonbori Street
If you picture flashy neon signs when you think of Japan, you must steer towards Dotonbori Street for an evening of delicious food and cool vibes. Best recognized by the famous Glico Running Man Sign and the moving Kani Doraku Crab, Dontonbori is filled with lights and oversized signs trying to attract people into their exciting izakayas. This is also a great place to try Osaka’s famous dish, takoyaki.
Blast into the Past in Shinsekai District
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Another great place to enjoy some Osakan Nightlife is Shinsekai; an old neighborhood preserved with its 80s charm. Stroll down the grungy, graffiti plastered streets and find yourself eating in a savory family-owned diner. You can stop by the famous Tsutenkaku Tower, or better yet, treat yourself to some relaxation at Spa World.
Ride the Roller Coasters at Universal Studios Japan
If you have never gotten a chance to go to any other Universal Park, Universal Studios Japan is one of the most fun things to do while in Osaka. What makes this park so different to the others around the world are the special exhibits that are often held here based off popular anime and video games in Japan.
Don’t forget to hit Universal CityWalk where you can grab a bite to eat or explore the Takoyaki Museum; a place dedicated to Osaka’s favorite fast food!
Eat your Way through Kuromon Market
You read that right, if you are a foodie, you need to stop at Kuromon Market where you can taste test almost everything that the stalls have to offer. While it is mainly a fish market, you can find all sorts of fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as traditional Japanese dishes at one of the 150 shops that are located here. You can even book a food tour to make sure to try everything you must eat while in Osaka.
Make your Own Noodles at the Cup Noodle Factory
Speaking of food, one of the most unique things you could do while spending just 2 days in Osaka is taking a tour of the Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen Museum. You can learn all about the history of instant noodles, make your very own customized cup of noodles and take a whole bunch of Insta-worthy photos.
Pray at Shitennoji Temple
If you are wanting to add any temples to your 2 day Osaka itinerary, I highly recommend Shitennoji. This is one of the oldest Buddist temples in Japan and is named after the Four Heavenly Kings. The most recognizable features are the stunning 5-story pagoda and the main pavilion. It is best to visit Shitennoji during the 21st and 22nd as they hold a festival monthly and sell many small goods and souvenirs.
Get a Bird’s Eye View of Osaka on Top of Umeda Sky Building
Japan is known for its impressive towers and Umeda Sky Building is no exception. Characterized by two towers connected at the top by a walkable observation deck, Umeda Sky Building is an incredibly popular spot to visit in Osaka. This building is equipped with a cafe on the 40th floor and a souvenir shop on the 39th.
Once you have taken in all the views of Osaka, you can wander around the grounds of Umeda Sky Building to find multiple gardens and restaurants to dine at.
Where to Stay in Osaka
Japan is known to be quite expensive when it comes to accommodation, but still, it is quite affordable if I compare it to Europe.
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