Osaka Travel Blog – For first-timers heading to Osaka, this complete travel guide is all you need to plan your trip. It covers all the questions you might have about entering and exploring this wonderful city in Western Japan, and includes helpful tips on how you can make the most of your stay here. Whether you’re planning to stay over the course of a week and want to include day trips from the city centre, or you’ve only got a spare few day and need to max out your hours in the day, we’ve got the necessary information below for you to make the most of your visit.
Osaka Travel Blog – The Accommodation
One of the biggest questions that most travellers to new places ask is “Where is the best spot to stay?”.
Of course, the answer will vary for different types of travellers; some people thrive on the never-ending buzz of the crowds and actually prefer staying smack bang in the city so that the white noise of conversations never really drowns out; others will prefer staying at a location that’s relatively convenient on the outskirts of town so that they can get as much peace and quiet as possible, and don’t mind a little bit of extra traveling.
Others still, will not care where they stay as long as it provides easy access to everything that they want to do.
We’ve curated a short but detailed list of areas of Osaka that you might want to familiarise yourself with, as they are some of the most popular destinations in Osaka. We’ve also recommended some highly rated accommodation in each area which might interest you also.
Check out our blog post to choose the best area guide for your accommodation in Osaka: Where To Stay In Osaka >>
For a different kind of accommodation experience that is unique to Japan, you might want to consider staying in a capsule hotel. Like many hotels in general, you will get your own private space in a capsule hotel, however, unlike many hotels, that space might only be enough to fit you and your luggage.
You basically sleep in a capsule room, and most other facilities are shared, such as bathrooms, common rooms, and study areas. Before your turn your nose, there are actually many styles and variations of capsule hotels, and these days, some actually rival that of fancy and modern hotels!
Osaka hosts some of the most incredible capsule hotels you’ll ever come across; if you want to find out some cream of the crop capsule hotel options, we suggest you read our article here about the best capsule hotels you should try in Osaka.
Osaka Travel Blog – The Best Local Food
Every prefecture, region, city, and town in Japan is special in their own unique way. A great way to get to know a local spot is through their specialty dishes, and Osaka is no small fish in the sea when it comes to delectable dishes you absolutely need to try!
If you want to discover the local food with a guide, check these 3 great food tours in Osaka:
- Downtown Osaka and local food walk
- Adventurous evening of food and drink in Osaka
- Market tour and Japanese home cooking in Osaka
Number one on the list is takoyaki. For all those who have ever heard of takoyaki, they are one of the most classic Osakan snack foods, and you will see endless street carts and restaurants selling them in Osaka.
They are basically round balls that are crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, filed with octopus, tempura scraps, pickled ginger, and green onion. They can be topped with a variety of toppings, but the most classic combo would be with mayonnaise, takoyaki sauce, green seaweed and bonito shavings.
Second on this list is okonomiyaki. This dish is a savory pancake that consists of flour batter, shredded cabbage, eggs, grated yam, mixed together and cooked fresh on a teppanyaki grill right in front of you. At most places, you’ll be able to select from additional fillings such as pork belly, seafood, and other vegetables.
You absolutely cannot leave Osaka without trying at least one kushikatsu restaurant. Kushikatsu are skewered meats and vegetables that are placed in a crumbly batter and deep-fried fresh to order, served with a variety of sauces to dip it in. Pretty much anything you can imagine will be on the menu, including pork, beef, chicken, innards, pumpkin, onion, quail eggs, asparagus, mushroom…the list goes on and on. The only rule here is: no double dipping!
Lastly, the Osakan’s believe that they do yakiniku differently, and we’re inclined to agree. Some of the best yakiniku restaurants are based right in the middle of Osaka, with certain cuts of their meat being so perfectly marbled, you’ll be left craving it for the rest of your trip. Being so close to regions like Hyogo (i.e. where Kobe beef hails from) certainly has its benefits!
Osaka Travel Blog – The Best Places to Visit
Now to the best part of this article: the best places to visit in Osaka. We guarantee you that every single person you speak to who has experienced Osaka will provide you with differing views of what you must do and must eat, and they probably wouldn’t be wrong.
Osaka is a densely populated city with so much going on and so much to see, with hundred-year-old traditions entrenched in historical buildings and structures still existing in the city, hidden amongst high rise towers that offer expansive observation decks that offer beautiful sweeping views of the city.
With this in mind, you can imagine that there are heaps of attractions to see and do in Osaka.
If you’re an Instagrammer, then you’re going to love our article on the most instagrammable places in Osaka. It covers a handful of spots in the city that will allow you to capture stunning images of traditional and modern Japan, all within easy access of transport. If you need some inspiration, why not check out these locations on Instagram before heading there to see what it is about these places that attracts people there?
For those who are after the quintessential experience of onsen bathing in Japan but are worried that their body art tattoo, then we’ve got your covered! Whilst traditional onsen rules have forced establishments to turn away guests with tattoos, in relatively recent years, more and more hot spring facilities have opened up to them.
It’s a great step in the right direction, and if you want to find out more, check out our article which details tattoo-friendly onsen in Kyoto and Osaka.
If you love hot springs, you can also check out our list of the 7 best onsen towns near Osaka.
If you’re planning to visit Osaka during the cherry blossom season, we have the perfect article for you to have a read and get to know the top cherry blossom spots you have to visit in Osaka.
Osaka city itself is a sprawling metropolis that you may think is full of flashing lights and traffic, but there are actually some (very!) decent spots within the city that take you away from that futuristic aspect of Japan and allow you to appreciate the beautiful sakura blossoms in all their glory.
For those who don’t want to travel far from the city centre at all, you have plenty of options to choose from.
For those after a more traditional cherry blossom celebration where you can pack a picnic mat and basket and sit under the sakura trees, eating and being merry with crowds of other tourists, there are plenty of parks around the city that you can easily get to. We’ve outlined these options in this article: Osaka sakura blossom spots >>
If you want to check out more cultural spots, make sure you read our article about the best free museums in Osaka!
Osaka Travel Blog – The Best Itinerary
Building an itinerary is a very important task, and the bigger and greater the city (i.e. Osaka), the more difficult it will be, especially given the amount that you can actually do and experience and the sheer size of the city.
However, we’ve broken down the best of the best activities for you to experience in Osaka across a jam-packed 3-day itinerary that will take you from the Northern district of Osaka all the way across to Osaka Bay, back into the city centre to experience some epic food adventures, and even across to Universal Studios – an Osaka must-do (specially with the new Super Nintendo World).
We believe that the perfect itinerary must have lots of excitement, some leisurely downtime, impressive architecture, jaw dropping views, a mix of scenery, and enough time at each location for you to really immerse yourself and enjoy what you’ve come to see, and our itinerary does just that.
Check out this blog post for more details: Osaka Itinerary >>
What To Do Around Osaka
If you’re staying a tad longer than three days, you might want to consider basing yourself in Osaka and traveling outside the city to do someday trips. Depending on where you go, this will allow you to experience some unique cities and towns, try different foods, get a glimpse of the rural life in Japan, come across images you’d never have seen before, breathe in fresh mountain air, and ultimately get a glimpse of the side of Japan you’ve probably only ever seen in pictures.
We’ve dedicated an article to 10 of the best day trips from Osaka that you can do, as a solo traveller or as a group of travellers. From the essential Kyoto to the lesser-known but equally captivating Ise or Koyasan, we’ve highlighted some of the beauty that you can expect to see at these cities so you can determine whether it’s something you’re interested in.
All of them can easily be done in one day, and if you’re pressed for time, you might be able to squeeze in two! (But for the sake of enjoyment, one day-trip per day is the perfect way for you to leisurely travel to and from, explore at your own pace, discover things off the beaten path, and not worry about missing last trains).
Read more about our 10 best day trips from Osaka >>
Again, with so much to see and so much to do, planning a trip to Osaka can be overwhelming. Hopefully reading this article has helped you in some way to plan how you’re going to shape your trip to this exciting city.
From deep fried food to amusement parks to gorgeous waterfalls short train rides away, a visit to Osaka would be a feast for all of your senses.
Wanna save money during your trip? Check out our guide on how to travel to Osaka on a budget.