Osaka is known as the boisterous home of an exceptional culinary culture and its sense of fun. Osaka’s wealth of tradition, food, and history are enough to entertain people for a lifetime. But if you only have one day to spend in Osaka, there’s still time to get a sense of this exciting city. Here is a jam-packed itinerary to help you see as much as possible in just one day.
8:30 am - Osaka Castle
Start the day in a big way at the city’s most iconic landmark, Osaka Castle. Morning is a great time to visit to avoid the crowds that come later on in the day. Inside, there is a museum and spectacular views of the city that you are about to explore. Afterwards, take a stroll through Osaka Castle Park and enjoy the quiet of an Osaka morning.
11:00 am - Tsuruhashi, Ikuno Korea Town
A short three-station hop on the Loop Line from nearby Osakajokoen Station will take you to your next destination. Tsuruhashi is a well-known culinary hub and the historic Korean Town of Osaka. Come hungry. The area around the station is packed with mom n’ pop restaurants and market stalls while the nearby Ikuno Korea Town has lots more restaurants and shops to explore. There are also a host of sushi, ramen, and Japanese BBQ restaurants, making Tsuruhashi an excellent place for an early lunch. Don’t eat too much though, you’ll want to leave snacking room for Shinsekai, your next destination.
1 pm - Shinsekai
Four stops along the Loop Line will take you to Shin-Imamiya Station. A further six-minute walk away, you will find a curious and colorful part of the city. Shinsekai, meaning “New World,” was originally built as an amusement park in 1912. Bright and colorful streamers and banners still decorate the streets and buildings. The northern half of Shinsekai was modeled after Paris, with the Eiffel Tower-esque Tsutenkaku Tower standing at its center. The southern half was modeled after New York’s Coney Island, where you can sample some of the finest examples of traditional Osakan cuisine. These iconic delicacies include kushikatsu (deep-fried skewers of meat and vegetables), takoyaki (breaded octopus with an iconic ball-shape), and okonomiyaki (savory pancakes).
3 pm - Shinsaibashi & Namba
A short ride back on the Loop Line will take you to Shinsaibashi Station, an area densely packed with things to see and do. At its heart is Amemura, or American Village, the thriving center of Osaka’s youth and alternative culture. Expect street-wear shops and boutiques, street snacks and prime people-watching spot, Triangle Park.
When it gets dark, head to Namba, Osaka’s best-known tourist destination. The main draw is Dotonbori, the canal street running over the Ebisu River, famous for its bright neon lights and flashy signs. It’s also worth checking out Kuromon Market, Orange Street, and Denden Town before hitting Dotonbori. Things kick into full swing at around 6 pm.
7 pm - Umeda Sky Building
From Namba, take the Midosuji Subway Line to Umeda. The Floating Garden Observatory at the top of the Umeda Sky Building provides panoramic views of the city at night. It’s also a great place to pick up a souvenir or, depending on the time of year, warm up with a cup of coffee or hot chocolate.
8:30pm - Tenma
Hop on the Loop Line to Tenma, one stop away from Osaka Station. You’ll find some of Osaka’s best cuisine in this densely-packed area. Tenma is renowned for the fantastic yakiniku (grilled meat) restaurants in its crowded backstreets. There are also plenty of ramen and sushi restaurants, and a generous helping of authentic international options that make Tenma a fantastic spot to enjoy a hearty dinner after the day’s trek. Tenma is also home to many hole-in-the-wall bars, traditional izakaya pubs, and even craft beer spots if you’re looking for a nightcap.
About the author
Andrew Echeverria has been living in Japan for 5 years and currently makes his home in a haunted apartment in Kansai. When he's not guzzling coffee and translating video games, he's listening to the strange sounds coming from the vacant room next door...