It’s no secret that traveling to Japan can be quite an expensive feat. Its activities, travel options, and dining experiences are all unique and exciting, but they often come at a price.
However, this does not mean that you cannot travel on a budget in this wild and wonderful country.
Osaka is the third-largest city in Japan and it actually has the reputation for being relatively less expensive comparing to Tokyo or Kyoto for example.
To travel to Osaka on a budget, make sure you read all the tips and tricks that we mentioned below. We will start with a selection of affordable guesthouses for your stay and we will also list 10 FREE things you should do in Osaka!
Cheap Guesthouses For Your Stay In Osaka
We listed for you 3 nice guesthouses in Osaka with great locations and quality services. The cheapest option is to rent a bed in a dorm but they also have private rooms!
1. Imano Osaka Shinsaibashi Hostel
From $30USD a night, the Imano Osaka Shinsaibashi Hostel is the perfect hostel option. Perfectly situated in the center of Osaka, it includes features such as air-conditioned rooms and Wi-Fi, and amenities such as a bar and a shared common lounging area. There’s not much more you can ask for here – especially for that price.
Popular points of interest around here include Wakoji Temple, Amida Pond, and Shinsaibashi Shopping Center.
Book It Now: Imano Osaka Shinsaibashi Hostel
2. Osaka Guest House U-En
Osaka Guest House U-En is a unique hostel accommodation that’s located within a historic Japanese-style townhouse that’s more than 100 years old. If you’re looking for a mix of budget accommodation fused with Japanese history, this is the perfect option.
The outside may look dated, but the renovated insides and modern amenities make it a super comfortable stay. There is a well-equipped common kitchen, bicycles for rent, an in-house ground-floor cafe that serves daily freshly baked goods, and free Wi-Fi throughout.
It’s located within a 15-minute walk from the ever-popular Umeda area – the perfect base for your exploring.
Book It Now: Osaka Guest House U-En
3. &AND Hostel Hommachi East
The modern and aesthetically pleasing &AND Hostel Hommachi East is a wonderfully affordable hostel that looks much more expensive than it costs. For around $50USD a night, you’re getting designer-like accommodation that features timber furniture, light-filled common rooms with stunning lighting, and cozy guest sleeping rooms that are worth their weight in gold.
This accommodation is great for individual and group travelers as they have small rooms as well as family rooms. Points of interest nearby include Namba Shrine and Namba Betsuin Temple.
Book It Now: &AND Hostel Hommachi East
10 Free Things To Do In Osaka
1. Explore Osaka Castle Park
Whilst Osaka Castle does require a small entry fee, many people save a bit of money by taking advantage of Osaka Castle Park, located just outside of the castle area. Osaka Castle itself can be witnessed from many angles, and if you’re lucky, you’ll be able to find a fantastic spot to see the castle as well as relax on the grass at the park.
The park itself becomes a stunning display of cherry blossoms in spring and Koyo leaves during the autumn months.
- Address: Osaka Castle
- Nearest station: Osakajokoean Station
Don’t miss our article on the best castles in Japan!
2. Visit Sumiyoshi Taisha Shrine
Sumiyoshi Taisha Shrine is an elegant traditional shrine that is considered one of Osaka’s oldest shrines. Its unique architecture and design draw crowds from all over the world to admire its aesthetics. It is considered one of only three shrines in Japan that are considered purely Japanese (i.e., free of other Asian influence).
It was dedicated to the three Gods of the Sea and therefore it’s a popular visiting and praying area for sailors and fishermen alike.
The shrine is beautiful, peaceful, magical, and awe-inspiring. A wander around here will do wonders for your mind.
- Address: Sumiyoshi Taisha Shrine
- Nearest station: Sumiyoshitaisha Station
3. Pose with the famous Glico sign board in Dotonbori
Osaka city is known for its glittering colorful lights, and there is no other area that quite encapsulates this stunning facade as well as Dotonbori. Brightly lit billboards, sparkling nightlights, colorful signboards, and loud and cheerful vendors fill the streets of Dotonbori, making it a place you’d want to let down your hair and party at.
Amongst the numerous street food stalls and traditional Japanese restaurants is the famous Glico running man billboard. Join the numerous tourists posing as him as you take in one of the most famous attractions in Osaka!
Nearest station: Namba Station
4. Namba Yasaka Shrine
The Yasaka shrine in Namba is home to one of the most iconic photo opportunities in Osaka. The impressive lion-shaped head has drawn curious onlookers for many years, many for its unique design and others for its historical significance.
It is said that the lion head in the shrine swallows evil spirits and spread good luck, particularly for educational and business endeavors.
Every third Sunday in January, the shrine hosts an annual festival where a tug-of-war game is played. It’s super fun and exciting, and we highly recommend that you join the onlookers as they cheer on the participants!
- Address: Namba Yasaka Shrine
- Nearest station: Namba Station
You May Also Like: Most Instagrammable Places In Osaka
5. Asahi Breweries Suita Factory
One lesser-known secret of Japan is that they operate many beer factories which you can sign up for a free tour! These tours are interesting and educational without a moment of dullness.
The Asahi Breweries Suita Factory is located right in the city of Osaka. It was first opened back in 1891 during the Meiji Era, and whilst the internal design may have changed, the exterior remains mostly original.
There’s a museum to explore, a theatre room to learn a bit about the history of Asahi Breweries, and a souvenir shop to purchase small goods.
- Address: Asahi Breweries Suita Factory
- Nearest Station: Suita Station (10-minute walk)
Amerika-Mura, or Ame-Mura as locals affectionately call it, is a popular hub for fashion, local artists, and bohemian vibes. It’s quite often referred to as Osaka’s Harajuku.
Known for its shopping, dining, and relaxing atmosphere, there are many great things to do here, but you can also do nothing and still experience Amerika-Mura in all its glory.
Meet at Triangle Park (a common meetup area for locals), wander the streets and take in the wild fashion, shop to your heart’s content, dance the night away at the clubs, and eat Japan’s longest soft-serve ice cream.
- Address: Amerika-Mura
- Nearest Station: Shinsaibashi Station
All our tips about visiting Japan are here: Japan Travel Guide.
7. Dotonbori Konamon Museum
Dotonbori Konamon Museum is a food theme park that’s located right in the middle of Dotonbori. Here, you can discover cool and interesting facts about ‘konamon’, the word associated with food where flour is their main ingredient, such as the famous takoyaki!
You can experience creating your own takoyaki balls, create a plastic sample to take home as a souvenir, and simply learn about the history of konamon as well.
For those who aren’t sick of takoyaki just yet, you may also find takoyaki restaurants on the 1st floor to indulge in. The entire museum spans across 4-floors and is a wonderful activity if you have a small family.
- Address: Dotonbori Konamon Museum
- Nearest station: Namba Station (4-minute walk)
8. Hike through Minoo Park
Minoo Park is located on the outskirts of Osaka City and is considered one of the most popular day trips from Osaka. If you’re a hiking buff or just enjoy getting out in nature, this easy trip is highly recommended.
Whilst it is called a hike, we consider it more of a leisurely walk. It is about 3km long and can be done at a leisurely pace whilst you take in the beautiful surroundings of the parks and old structures along the way.
In the end, you’ll witness a mesmerizing waterfall. There are benches in front where you can rest, take in the beauty and chat with other visitors before making your way back.
- Address: Minoo Park
- Nearest Station: Hankyu Minoh Station
9. Nakanoshima Park
The abundance of parks located in Japan means that you’re never truly far from nature at all. However, Nakanoshima Park sits right in the middle of Osaka, making it one of the most convenient options to admire Japanese florals without even stepping foot outside of the city.
It’s a greenery-filled space with plentiful paths to walk around and take in colorful garden displays without being too overcrowded. The Nakanoshima Rose Garden, in particular, is a must-see during peak floral season. Boasting a whopping 3,700 blooms over 300 types of species – it’s quite a sight to behold.
- Address: Nakanoshima Park
- Nearest Station: Naniwabashi Station or Kitahama Station
10. Osaka Mint Museum
Contrary to the name, this is not a museum dedicated to mint candy!
The Osaka Mint Museum opened up in 1911 when it became the central premises for the Mint Bureau. This museum boasts an exciting display of the manufacturing process of coins and medals and showcases more than 4000 items from Japan and around the world.
You can learn interesting facts about the history of coinage in Japan – and even be in the presence of ingots that are worth more than 80 million yen!
- Address: Osaka Mint Museum
- Nearest Station: Temmabashi Station
For more similar recommendations, make sure you read our list of the 10 best free museums in Osaka!
Cheap Restaurants In Osaka
If you are planning to travel to Osaka on a budget, you NEED to find great and cheap restaurants cause the food is Osaka is SO GOOD and it can become a big part of your travel budget. Here are 3 restaurants you should not miss!
1. Endo Sushi
Considered one of Osaka’s best for many years, Endo Sushi is no stranger to drawing people from all over the world into its small, unassuming joint for a fresh fix of sushi.
It’s situated away from the hustle and bustle of the crowds, an ode to its rather simplistic style menu that offers few choices – all of which are incredible, by the way.
Choose any of the platters and you’ll be blown away by just how oishii it tastes. From the assurance of daily fresh seafood to the care and detail of the sushi chefs preparing the platters, it’ll all come to a head once you take your first bite.
- Address: Endo Sushi
- Hours: 6:15 am-1:30 pm (closed Sundays)
- Nearest Station: JR Noda Station
2. Ramen Yashichi
Japan is the motherland of ramen, and so you’ll definitely find no shortage of ramen shops to dive into and conquer when you’re visiting. However, one that consistently stood the test of time is Ramen Yashichi in Osaka. With regular raving reviews and often topping lists of the best places to eat in Osaka, you’ll be surprised to find that it’s also one of the most affordable options.
Ramen Yashichi is known for its super creamy and moorish chicken-flavored ramen. Its broth is unusually rough and thick, made from excessive amounts of chicken cartilage and skin. It comes topped with spring onion, egg, and delicious slices of fatty char siu.
- Address: Ramen Yashichi
- Hours: 10:45 am-4:00 pm (Closed weekends)
- Nearest Station: Nakatsu Station
Hidden in Umeda’s impressive underground shopping complex lays the tiny, unassuming restaurant of Honmiyake. It’s honestly one of the greatest budget-eat finds that we’ve come across, due to its sheer mouth-watering deliciousness and fair price.
They serve tender pan-seared steak fillets lightly seasoned with salt and pepper and a barely-there teriyaki sauce. The bed of fluffy white rice and shishito peppers it comes with further elevates its God-tier status.
Locating the restaurant will be tedious, and the lines are always long, but it’s well worth it.
- Address: Honmiyake
- Hours: 11:00 am-10:00 pm
- Nearest Station: Hankyu Umeda Station
Osaka 1-Day Metro Pass
If you’re a real penny-pincher, we highly recommend that you look at getting the Osaka 1-Day Metro Pass.
This pass will essentially give you unlimited rides on all Osaka Metro and Osaka City Bus Lines (with a few exceptions). Not only that, but you will always be eligible for a pass that will allow you to take advantage of huge benefits in around 30 sightseeing attractions in Osaka City. These benefits included discounted fares at attractions like the Osaka Castle Main Keep and Spa World, one of Japan’s biggest hot-spring theme parks.
You can purchase this pass at any Osaka Metro station at the ticket vending machine or the sales counters
At only 800 yen per adult, this is a steal. Find out more here.
We hope our ‘Osaka On A Budget’ guide has helped you shape up your itinerary to be more cost-friendly! We all know that the big attractions in and around cities such as Osaka will cost money and therefore, you’ll still be digging deep into those wallets.
However, if you save where you can, you’ll still be able to experience the wonderful city, eat delicious and memorable Japanese cuisine, and still have money to purchase souvenirs and attend other attractions comfortably.
Let us know in the comments if you have any other tips on how to travel to Osaka on a budget!