If you’re traveling to Japan, Osaka is a city not to be missed. Japan‘s third-largest city is a lively port city packed with interesting architecture, an incredible street food scene, buzzing nightlife, and cherry-blossom trees that bring color to the city in the spring. Not sure what to do in Osaka while you’re there? We’ve got the perfect 2 day Osaka itinerary.
New York-based travel company AllTheRooms has put together a 2-day itinerary in Osaka that ranges from exploring a traditional Japanese castle through to sampling the city’s best eats and riding a giant Ferris wheel.
Morning: Start the Day like a King
Start your day with a visit to the historic Osaka Castle, which is an ornate building that was first constructed in the year 1583 for General Toyotomi Hideyoshi, who was once the most powerful man in Japan after unifying the country in the 16th century. The castle has since undergone several restorations and it’s the city’s main historical landmark. It’s surrounded by a traditional moat, and if you’re visiting in the spring, you’ll see cherry and plum-blossom trees in their full glory. Be sure to have your camera ready.
Lunch: Kuromon Market
Kuromon Market is packed with cheap eats and stalls selling quirky trinkets. Head to the market for lunch and sample traditional Japanese dishes, such as a hot bowl of ramen, tempura or fresh sushi. Once you’ve finished lunch, it’s a great place to stock up on gifts after.
Afternoon: Shopping in the Kita District
Now you’re fully fueled-up, it’s time to do some shopping. Head to the Kita District, which is filled with larger-than-life shopping malls and department stores.
Evening: Marvel at the Bright Lights
At night the city of Osaka lights up with flashing billboards and neon lights. The best way to see the city is from above, so head to the observatory at the Umeda Sky Building, which offers a 360-degree view of the city at night. It’s the 19th-tallest building in Osaka and features a striking glass and steel design.
Dinner and Drinks: Minami District
The Minami District is where Osakans go to have a good time. The district, in particular the Dotonbori area, is packed with neon lights, bars and restaurants. Head for dinner at Nishiya, which serves udon noodles, or try a bowl of ramen noodles at the popular chain Ichiran Dotonbori. Finish the night at CinqueCento, which is a lively bar that draws a big crowd of both locals and expats.
Morning: Get Fishy
Start the day at the impressive Osaka Aquarium, which is one of the world’s largest. At the aquarium you can see a large range of sea creatures found in the nearby Pacific Rim, including a variety of sharks, otters and jellyfish.
Mid-Morning: Take a Walk
After you’ve visited the aquarium, head to the nearby Osaka Bay, where you can ride the giant Tempozan Ferris Wheel, which stands over 350-feet tall, and gaze at the port and surrounding city.
Lunch: Tempozan Marketplace
By now you’ve probably worked up an appetite. Head to Tempozan Marketplace, which is located between Osaka Aquarium and the Tempozan Ferris Wheel. You’ll find cheap street food stalls and a variety of Japanese and Western options in the food court.
Japan is known for is its anime and cosplay culture, and no trip to Osaka would be complete without getting a taster of what it’s all about. Head to Ota Road, which is packed with anime and cosplay stores, alongside places to buy comics and memorabilia.
Dinner: The Oldest Pancake Restaurant in Osaka
For people in the U.S., pancakes are normally a breakfast food, but at Mizuno restaurant, they are a main meal. Mizuno is the oldest pancake restaurant in Osaka, opening in 1945 after the end of the Second World War. The pancakes, which are a popular Japanese food known as okonomiyaki, are stuffed with meats and vegetables. They are incredibly delicious and super filling.
Once you’ve spent some time in Osaka, you’ll understand why we love it so much. From the food to the views, the shopping, the nightlife, it’s a fantastic city to visit, and fall in love with. We hope you’ve enjoyed this 2-day Osaka itinerary. Let us know if you have any questions before going there yourself.
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