The Best of Osaka

Osaka is Japan’s second largest city after Tokyo. As such, the city should be enjoyed in more than just one day; however, if you only have one day, here is an itinerary highlighting the best of Osaka.


Exploring Osaka

9:00AM Osaka Castle

Start the morning at the Osaka Castle, one of the country’s most famous landmarks and the symbol of Osaka. Visitors can enjoy the exterior and surrounding park, and for 600 yen, the museum educates guests about the castle’s history.

The Osaka Castle. The castle grounds are popular year-round, and most especially during cherry-blossom season for the blossoming of flowers and autumn season with the leaves changing colors before following off for winter

Osaka Castle
Chuo-ku, Osaka
Daily, 9am to 5pm


10:30AM Osaka Aquarium

Head over to one of the largest public aquariums in the world. The Osaka Aquarium is perfect for kids and adults who want to learn about the underwater world. The aquarium is wonderfully organized in its presentation of sea life inhabiting the Pacific Rim, including whale sharks as the main attraction

For more on the Osaka Aquarium, check out this video:

Osaka Aquarium, one of the world’s largest public aquariums. Visitors start on the 8th floor and work their way down the regions of the Pacific Rim. The aquarium welcomes and educates visitors of all ages and of all languages
The aquarium is located by Osaka Bay which also is home to Legoland Discovery Center and the Tempozan Ferris Wheel, the city’s largest. In fact, the ferris wheel was formerly the biggest, tallest, and most technologically advanced prior to the opening of the London Eye

Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan
1-1-10 Kaigandori
Minato-ku, Osaka
Daily, 10am to 8pm


1:00PM Dotonbori & Shinsaibashi

Taste and explore the famous Dotonbori area. The liveliness and bright, illuminating signage can be likened to New York City’s Times Square. Most travelers focus their stay in this area which caters to tourists.

Steps away from Dotonbori is Shinsaibashi, a roofed arcade spanning 600 meters with local eateries, shops, and department stores like Daimaru. In both Dotonbori and Shinsaibashi, visitors can taste Osaka’s classic street foods like okonomiyaki and takoyaki.

If you love food markets, be sure to visit the Kuromon Market nearby. Read about the market here, and watch my video to whet your appetite:

Welcome to Dotonbori. The area is crowded with tourists both day and night with the bright lights in the evening as an attraction for visitors. Every step along the way, you will find vendors selling some of the region’s most known specialties like takoyaki, a popular ball-shaped snack made of octopus bits and dough

Chuo-ku, Osaka


4:00PM Grand Front Osaka

After exploring the tourist destinations, enjoy local living. Grand Front Osaka (GFO) is a multi-building destination for shopping and dining catering to locals and the work crowd, as many corporate offices are located within GFO. Intercontinental Osaka is located inside GFO as well and is perfect for travelers seeking luxury in a convenient location.

Grand Front Osaka is a multi-building destination for shopping and dining. In every building from the basement floors to the top floors, visitors will find local and imported shops and a variety of restaurants and cafes

Grand Front Osaka
Kita-ku, Osaka
Shops, 10am to 9pm
Restaurants, 11am to 11pm


6:00PM Osaka Station

Next to Grand Front Osaka via an open bridge is the Osaka Station. The railway station first opened in 1874 and recently renovated in 2011 with a modern architectural structure. Osaka Station houses sweet and savory vendors for treats to take home and for gifts. There are also two major department stores, Lucua and Daimaru, for shopping and eating (remember, Japanese department stores have restaurants on the top floors and incredible food halls in the basement floors.

The Osaka Station. Immediately after Halloween, the Osaka Station lights up for the winter months. The Christmas season is celebrated through these festive lights in many of the city’s public spaces

Osaka Station
3-1-3 Umeda
Kita-ku, Osaka


Taste the region’s specialties

Eating at all times in Osaka is almost a requirement. The city is known for its street food and popular snacks, meaning you can eat deliciously in between meals. Here are some of the highlights which you can eat within your one day in Osaka:

Chao Chao Gyoza. A nationwide chain which originated in Osaka. The shop sells gyoza that you can pair which draft beer – a perfect snack. The tiny gyozas are steamed and pan-fried. You can choose different flavors of fillings inside the delicately thin wrapper
Okonomiyaki. One of Osaka’s specialties, a savory pancake mixed with cabbage and an assortment of meats and seafood. You can find countless of okonomiyaki shops which cook it right in front of you on a countertop griddle
Pizza at Ponte Echi Vecchio. Not quite Japanese cuisine, but the Japanese have perfected international cuisines and dishes. This is my favorite pizza in the world, even compared to the pizzas in Italy and the best-rated ones in the U.S. The quality of the ingredients and the Japanese touch make this pizza unforgettable
Sweet treats. In the train stations and department store food halls, there are endless amounts of amazing desserts. Many vendors even give samples to convince you to buy the products. The dessert kiosks range from local brands to international favorites, such as this high-end French butter and pastry brand, Échiré
Biiru. Japan has some of the world’s best beer, from lagers to craft selections. Take a moment during the day, during meals, and at the end of the night to enjoy a refreshing glass or two of their beers


Splurge for dinner

While the city is full of snacks and street food, Osaka also has an overwhelming choice of feasts and splurges from seafood to beef

Unagi at Bincho, a branch originally from Nagoya. In Tokyo, unagi is typically steamed and glazed. In Nagoya, near the Kansai region, unagi is meticulously grilled over bincho charcoal providing a deeper taste and crunchy texture from the grill
Sukiyaki at Moritaya. A specialty sukiyaki shop originating from Kyoto with two other branches outside of Kyoto, one in Osaka Station and the other in Tokyo’s Marunouchi financial district. The first location opened in 1869 as Kyoto’s first beef specialty restaurant
Moritaya specializes in their cooking sauce and preparation of the ingredients. The restaurant also prides themselves in serving high-quality beef. Just a few slices are enough for the meal which is balanced with hearty vegetables

Watch my YouTube video detailing the sukiyaki dinner experience. Subscribe to my channel for new videos every Sunday and Wednesday!


Spend a night or two in Osaka at the Intercontinental Osaka:

Intercontinental Osaka
3-60 Ofuka-cho
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