Summary of contents of this post
Welcome to Osaka! Osaka is pure chaos. And we’ve been to Tokyo before! But Osaka is another story. In fact, the only time we’ve been lost in a station in Japan has been in Osaka. In this video-post we are going to talk about what to see in Osaka in two days. But not only what to see, also what to do, because Osaka is a city much more to do than to see 😉
COMPLETE GUIDE TO JAPAN
In addition to all the life and plans you can make in Osaka (mostly gastronomic), Osaka is usually ‘used’ as a starting point and as a base for travelers entering Japan through this city. It is strategically better located than Tokyo from all major attractions and is super well communicated.
From Osaka it takes 3.5 hours to get to Tokyo, 1 hour to get to Kyoto and 1.5 hours to get to Hiroshima and Miyajima. That makes it a perfect base of operations if you don’t have your ass as restless as we do and prefer to sleep always in the same city. Also, if your flight leaves Barcelona, you will most likely land there.
If you want more information about our trip to Japan you can find it here: complete guide to Japan, what to see in Hiroshima in one day, what to see in Miyajima in one day, what to see in Tokyo in 5 days, Tokyo neighborhoods, what to see in Kyoto in 3 days, map of Japan, how to find cheap flights to Japan, how to pack, tips for traveling to Japan from Spain, visa for Japan, plugs in Japan …
IATI DISCOUNT: Hire the best travel insurance for Japan
If you don’t feel like reading much, we have also made this video-guide in which we talked about what to see in Osaka in two days, but a little more entertaining 😉
Can you see Osaka in two days?
Yes, we believe that without problem, because the reality is that we think that Osaka is more a city to live and eat than to see it. It has things to do with it, but it’s not as infinite as Tokyo or Kyoto.
What to See in Osaka: Shinsekai Neighbourhood
We spent two days in Osaka, but not complete. We arrived there in the afternoon from Hiroshima the day we visited Himeji and two days later, after spending a day in Koyasan, we arrived there at mid-morning. There were some things we couldn’t see or do, but not for lack of time, more because we spend a lot of time buying souvenirs or enjoying the Dotombori area calmly. We had been travelling for many days at the top of our game and we needed to take things a little more calmly 😉
How to get to Osaka
We came to Osaka from Hiroshima (via Himeji), but as I was telling you a little higher up, Osaka’s good location makes it a SUPER place accessible from almost anywhere in Japan. Undoubtedly the easiest way to travel from Hiroshima to Osaka is by train shinkansen, a journey that you can do in about 90 minutes.
What to see in Osaka: Sennichimae Doguyasuji Shotengai
If you travel from Tokyo or Kyoto, anyway, shinkansen is your great ally.
How to get around Osaka
As you may have seen in the video and as we told you at the beginning of this post, the Osaka station seemed chaotic to us and is the only place in Japan in which we have lost 😛 There are so many different transports that sometimes it is impossible to change from one to another (or that’s the feeling we had). In the end you find everything, but it takes much longer than in other cities.
In Osaka you have several transportation options, but the most likely thing to use is the subway and the train, although many of the points you can visit on foot. Here’s a map with the most important train and metro lines, including the Osaka Loop, which is free if you have JR:
Osaka Transportation Map
If you click on the image, you can download the map with better quality to be able to see it well.
The price of subway travel depends on how long you travel but starts at 120 JPY. As in the rest of the cities there are also day passes. You can find out more about them here.
What to see in Osaka
If you ask us what to see in Osaka, no doubt these would be the places that we recommend and that you can not miss. To make it easier for you, we’ve compiled them all on this map:
Osaka is Japan’s third largest city, just behind Tokyo and Yokohama, and is home to impressive day and nightlife. It is not a pretty city in the traditional sense of the word bonita, but its lively and bustling streets, endless restaurants and huge shopping areas make it a truly special city.
Don’t forget that the best way to get money or pay abroad are travel cards, your best allies to save the most on your travels. In this post we review the most important, we tell you their advantages and disadvantages and put at your disposal all the discounts and offers we have achieved for you 😉 For example, if you order your Bnext card through our link and recharge 25 euros, you get another 10. We use it a lot to get money when we arrive at the destination. For its part, the N26 card is the best option to pay when you travel.
Of all the things you can see and do in Osaka, you can’t miss the Dotombori and Shinsekai areas. But let’s go with this one in Osaka.
The construction of Osaka Castle began in 1583 and at the time the castle was intended to become the center of a new unified Japan, as it was the largest castle at the time.
The main tower of the castle is surrounded by secondary citadels, gates, small towers, impressive stone walls and moats. The Nishinomaru Garden is a lawn garden with 600 cherry trees, a tea house, the old Osaka guest house and beautiful views of the castle tower from below. The perfect place to take pictures if you are lucky enough to visit this area during the cherry blossom.
What to see in Osaka: Osaka Castle
In addition to the architecture itself and the views from the eighth floor of its tower, Osaka Castle is worth a visit for its history museum.
Entrance to the castle costs 600 JPY, but is included in the Osaka Amazing Pass. The castle is open every day from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., although there are times when the opening hours are extended.
Gate Tower Building
One thing that’s going to get your attention in Japan are those curious things that seem like they can’t happen anywhere else. Not that this is the most impressive monument in Osaka, but that a highway crosses through in the middle of a building is at least peculiar 😛
What to see in Osaka: Gate Tower Building. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
The Gate Tower building, also known as ‘The Beehive’, is a building like any other, but in this case it is impossible not to photograph it.
Umeda Sky Building
Northwest of Osaka Station is Shin Umeda, a complex of buildings centered around the Umeda Sky Building, a spectacular 173-meter-high skyscraper opened in 1993 with an open-air observation platform at the top. The curious thing about this skyscraper is that it looks like a 40-storey futuristic triumphal arch and is also the work of the same architect who designed the Kyoto station.
What to see in Osaka: Umeda Sky Building
The building has two towers connected to each other on the 39th floor by a ‘floating garden’. The observatory offers excellent views of the city through its windows and from its outdoor deck.
Climbing to the top of the Umeda Sky Building costs 1,500 JPY per person and the observation platform is open from 9:30am to 10:30pm.
Hidden among skyscrapers is this sanctuary with more than 1,300 years of history. He is known for the sad story that happened in him in 1703: two lovers committed suicide there in order to live together in the hereafter.
What to see in Osaka: Tsuyu Tenjinsha
It is currently a very popular sanctuary among couples, who visit it so that their love lasts and has a happy ending.
Located on the small island of the same name, this small oasis in the midst of chaos is a perfect place to stroll and relax.
What to see in Osaka: Nakanoshima Park
Dotombori is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Osaka and Japan. This street runs parallel to the Dotonbori channel and is a popular shopping and entertainment district and, of course, gastronomic. At night, it is illuminated by hundreds of neon lights and mechanized signs, including the famous Glico Running Man sign and the Kani Doraku crab sign.
What to see in Osaka: DotomboriWhat to see in Osaka: DotomboriWhat to see in Osaka: DotomboriWhat to see in Osaka: DotomboriWhat to see in Osaka: DotomboriWhat to see in Osaka: DotomboriWhat to see in Osaka: Dotombori
It is worth taking a walk along the bank of the river and admiring the amazing waterwheel that Don Quixote’s shop has on its façade.
This is one of the most important places to see in Osaka, so don’t miss it for the world. You can’t stop eating something in one of their bizarre restaurants either.
Ebisu Bashi-Suji Shopping Street
If there’s one thing that makes Osaka stand out, it’s undoubtedly its shopping streets, and Ebisu Bashi-Suji Shopping Street is one of the most important and is full of restaurants and shops. Here you will find, in addition to Japanese brand stores and Japanese food restaurants, the classic fashion and Western food chains.
This tiny temple is hidden in a narrow alley and it is common for local merchants and visitors to pour water over the temple statues to call luck.
Crossing your front door is like changing century and has a special charm when you turn on your flashlights at dusk.
The Kuromon market is a covered public market that extends 600 meters along Sakaisujidori Street in the Minami area. The market has about 150 stalls selling almost everything: fish, meat and products, traditional sweets, clothes, household items… there are even panties!
What to see in Osaka: Kuromon MarketWhat to see in Osaka: Kuromon MarketWhat to see in Osaka: Kuromon MarketWhat to see in Osaka: Kuromon Market
The market dates back to the Edo era and is now a fun place to stroll, buy Japanese products and taste street food.
One of the most important things to keep in mind when preparing a trip is insurance. Never travel without insurance! Because you haven’t been saving all year for your holidays to be twisted by an unforeseen event. And so that in addition to travel insurance, save, we have for you this 5% discount on your insurance with IATI, the insurance company that we rely on for all our trips.
Shinsaibashi Commercial Zone
The Shinsaibashi area is another major shopping area in Osaka. Approximately 600 metres long, this area is unique because it combines small chain stores and fashion boutiques with more expensive department stores and top designer fashion brands.
You will also find restaurants, karaokes and other entertainment options 😉
What to see in Osaka: Amerika-mura
Known locally as Amemura, this shopping district is considered Osaka’s Harajuku and is a good place to soak up the latest in teen culture and fashion in Japan. It has a lively atmosphere and is populated by cafes, tattoo and piercing studios, hairdressers, clothing shops and second-hand shops with a slightly younger atmosphere than the nearby Shinsaibashi.
Shitennoji is one of the oldest temples in Japan. It was founded in 593 by Prince Shotoku, who supported the introduction of Buddhism in Japan. Although the temple buildings have burned several times over the centuries, they have always been carefully reconstructed to reflect the original design of the 6th century.
What to see in Osaka: Shitennoji Temple
The visit to the outer grounds of the temple is free, but to visit the inner compound, Gokuraku-jodo garden and treasure you have to pay 300 JPY per person, but it is worth it.
The temple is open from 8:30 to 16:30.
Founded in the 12th century, the Isshin-ji temple has a long history, although it was rebuilt after the destruction of Osaka during the last years of World War II, like most other temples and shrines in the city.
But one thing that is sure to surprise you when you approach Isshin-ji is that its entrance is completely unique and modern, and it looks nothing like any other door in the temples of Japan you have ever seen. Its entrance makes you not imagine at all that what you are going to find behind it is a traditional temple.
Entrance to the temple is free and it is open from 9:00 to 16:00 hours.
Abeno Harukas, with 300 meters high and 60 floors, is the tallest skyscraper in Japan. The building is located at the top of Kintetsu Osaka Abenobashi Station and is located opposite JR Tennoji Station. It houses a huge shopping centre, an art museum, a hotel and a lookout point.
What to see in Osaka: Abeno Harukas
The observation platform is called ‘Harukas 300’ and occupies the top three floors of the building (floors 58 to 60). With large windows from the floor to the ceiling, the top floor offers 360-degree views of Osaka, while the 58th floor has a beautifully designed interior courtyard with a wooden terrace and cafeteria.
On the 16th floor there is also a viewpoint that is also free, but the best views are obtained in the upper part.
Climbing to the top of Abeno Harukas costs 1,500 JPY per person and the observation platform is open from 9:00 to 22:00 hours.
Shinsekai is a vibrant district in Osaka that was developed before the war and then neglected in subsequent decades. In fact, there was a time when it was even considered a dangerous area. Today it has a lot of life and is a perfect place to have a drink, lunch or dinner. In addition to the typical empanadas brochettes, it is a good place to eat takoyakis (octopus fritters) or puffer fish.
What to See in Osaka: Shinsekai NeighbourhoodWhat to See in Osaka: Shinsekai NeighbourhoodWhat to See in Osaka: Shinsekai NeighbourhoodWhat to See in Osaka: Shinsekai NeighbourhoodWhat to See in Osaka: Shinsekai Neighbourhood
Also, in this area you will find many souvenir shops, so you can take the opportunity to do some shopping.
In the centre of Shinsekai district is the Tsutenkaku tower, the symbol evoking nostalgia for the district and one of Osaka’s icons.
The current tower is 103 meters high and has the main observatory at a height of 91 meters. In addition, a new outdoor area at the top of the main observatory was inaugurated at the end of 2015.
What to see in Osaka: tower TsūtenkakuWhat to see in Osaka: tower Tsūtenkaku
Going up to the observatory costs 700 JPY per person (+500 JPY extra for the outdoor deck) and is open from 9:00 to 21:00 hours (entrance until 20:30).
Den Den Town Neighborhood
Located in the Nipponbashi area, Den Den Town is Osaka’s ‘electronic’ neighborhood, much like Akihabara in Tokyo, where you’re likely to find the same products at a better price (Fran bought a Goku figure here at a great price).
What to see in Osaka: Dem Dem Town
Den Den Town is becoming an otaku paradise with numerous manga and anime shops.
What to see in Osaka if you have plenty of time
If you’re lucky enough to spend more than two days in Osaka, you’ll have the option of visiting the farthest points of the city centre and even spending a day enjoying Universal Studios Park.
Sumiyoshi Taisha Shrine, one of the oldest shrines in Japan.Universal Studios Japan.Osaka Bay and Tempozan Ferris wheel.Spa World, a huge bathing complex with a lot of pools.
Where to Eat in Osaka
If there’s one thing you can do in Osaka, it’s eat. In two days you have the most important points of interest seen, but… what about gastronomy? You’re going to need months to prove everything Osaka has to offer. One of the things you need to know, is that in general Osaka seemed to us a more expensive city than Tokyo or Kyoto, also when it comes to food.
Where to Eat in Osaka
In the map we have added above, you will find in dark grey all the interesting areas to eat and specific restaurants where you can try Osaka’s specialties. We’re going to write an independent post about this but for now we’re going to talk about the coolest eating areas in Osaka:
These are the most important areas, but you will find places to eat everywhere. We had three meals in Osaka (two dinners and one meal), but we also had some street food and tried takoyakis.
Where to Eat in OsakaWhere to Eat in Osaka
The first dinner was at Yakiniku Goen, one of these typical places in Japan that has a mini barbecue in the middle of the table, you order different types of meats and vegetables and prepare them yourself. The truth is that during our trip to Japan I became super addicted to this type of restaurants. I love them! In this case we liked the site quite a lot and paid in total 4.287 JPY for dinner for both (about 35 euros).
Where to Eat in Osaka: Yakiniku GoenWhere to Eat in Osaka: Yakiniku GoenWhere to Eat in Osaka: Yakiniku Goen
The next day we spent in Osaka, we were able to enjoy the typical empanadas brochettes that are dipped in soybeans (it is an art and even has instructions on how to do it so as not to leave dregs in the soybeans, which will be reused by the next diners). We ate in one of these typical Japanese streets that are full of shops and businesses that sell items related to the kitchen: crockery, utensils, luminous signs, lamps, blackboards, teapots… It reminded us a lot of Kappabashi Street in Asakusa.
Dónde comer en Osaka: Gyoza No Ohsho
The site was called Kushikatsu Sakura and although we found it a bit expensive, the truth is that we ate great and tried a variety of skewers. We paid 3,445 JPY for the meal for both of us (about 28 euros).
That same day we enjoyed a simple but delicious Chinese dinner at Gyoza No Ohsho, a restaurant that caught us super close to our hotel that night. We ate many gyozas and some Chinese dishes for a total of 1,834 JPY (about 15 euros).
Where to Eat in Osaka: Gyoza No Ohsho
Here’s a list of some interesting restaurants in Osaka:
Where to Sleep in Osaka
As we have told you on numerous occasions, the most important recommendation we can make regarding accommodation in Japan in general is that you book well in advance because it is quite expensive, especially if it coincides with an event or festival.
Where to Sleep in Osaka: Hotel Public Jam
As we told you a little above, we spent two nights in Osaka, but not in a row, so we were in two different hotels: a love hotel on the first day and a more normal hotel on the second. In both cases we looked for useful locations in order to visit the sites we had planned to visit.
Below I show you some superbly scored accommodation options at Booking in Osaka:
IATI DISCOUNT: Hire the best travel insurance for Japan
You want to organize a trip to Japan like this?
Find cheap flights to Japan here.
The best accommodations in Japan here.
Get 25 euros for your apartment with Airbnb here.
Book your Japan Rail Pass for Japan here.
The best excursions and tours in Japan here.
What are the best travel cards?
Change money at the best price here.
Take out your travel insurance with a 5% discount here.
The best guides in Japan here.
Other content that you may be interested in:
If this post about what to see in Osaka in two days has known you little by little, you should know that we have a group about trips to Japan on Facebook in which travelers from all over the world participate with their questions and answers related to their trips to this wonderful country. So if you have any questions that we haven’t answered in this post, don’t hesitate to stop by and ask your questions – we’ll be happy to help!
If you liked this post about what to see in Osaka in two days, which is part of our complete guide to Japan, don’t forget to follow us in our profiles in social networks, where we tell you everything live: