3 Days In Osaka Itinerary: How To Enjoy Japan’s Retro-Modern City

Osaka is one of the most unique cities in Japan. The city feels modern yet feels stuck in the past at the same time. It’s also a haven for food and nightlife. It’s a very different feel compared to the nearby city of Kyoto!

Compared to Kyoto’s tranquil temples, wooden teahouses, and historical charm, Osaka is a city full of contrasts.

In Osaka, you’ll find the best of both worlds: traditional temples sitting side-by-side with towering skyscrapers and retro-neon lights leading to manicured Japanese gardens.

Being the third-largest city in Japan, you already know there’s going to be a ton of stuff to do here. Needless to say, if you’re looking to fill your Osaka day trip itinerary up, you won’t have any issues with that. You MAY actually struggle to narrow things down!

If you’ve got 3 days to spare in Osaka, this travel guide is going to be your BFF. Our 3-day Osaka itinerary covers all the highlights of Osaka, with a few off-the-beaten-path attractions sprinkled in too.

While our guide is perfect for first-timers, this itinerary also works well for return visitors who want to revisit their favorite spots and discover some new activities along the way.

This post may contain affiliate links. You won’t be paying a cent more, but in the event of a sale, the small affiliate commission I receive will help keep this blog running/pumping out useful and free content. Thanks a lot!



Kuromon Market, Sennichimae Doguyasuji Shopping Street, Den Den Town, Shinsekai, Janjan-Yokocho


Osaka Castle, Hozenji Yokocho, Ebisu Bashi-Suji Shopping Street, Dotonbori


Minoo Falls, Cup Noodles Museum, Shitennoji, Tenjinbashi-suji Shopping Street, HEP FIVE, Umeda


Kuromon Ichiba Market

Kuromon Ichiba Market - Osaka, Japan

At Kuromon Market, you’ll find over 150 shops and stalls offering fresh seafood, meats, produce, and all kinds of street food. Come hungry because you’re guaranteed to find something that piques your interest!

Known as “Osaka’s Kitchen”, Kuromon Market is the perfect place to sample local delicacies like pufferfish, kushikatsu, takoyaki, sashimi, and massive oysters and crab legs, all while soaking up the lively market atmosphere.

Sadly we came here after lunch (which meant we weren’t hungry at all), which was a total mistake! Aside from buying soy milk and donuts, we were only able to eat with our eyes.

Learn from our mistake — come hungry! I suggest you come here in the morning or early afternoon to break your fast!

Opening hours vary from shop to shop, but trading hours in the market can run anywhere from 8 AM – 6 PM.

👉 Looking for more guidance? A great way to experience Kuromon Market is with a guided food tour! Led by a knowledgeable guide, you will explore one of the city’s oldest markets and taste a variety of traditional Japanese dishes.

Sennichimae Doguyasuji Shopping Street

Just a 5-minute walk from Kuromon Market is Sennichimae Doguyasuji Shopping Street, a shopping street dedicated to selling household goods, kitchenware, pottery, and other functional tools.

If you’re in the market for some kitchen upgrades (or looking to bring home unique Japanese knives as gifts), this street is a must-visit.

Nipponbashi Denden Town

Nipponbashi Denden Town

If you’ve ever been to the Akihabara area in Tokyo, then you’ll be no stranger to what Osaka’s Nipponbashi Denden Town holds in store for you.

Nipponbashi Denden Town is Osaka’s version of Tokyo’s Akihabara, where you’ll find a bustling hub for electronics, anime, and manga. You’ll easily be able to tell that you’re there as soon as you begin spotting the billboards of gundam statues, anime characters, and electronic brands.

If you love anime (or are traveling with someone who loves this kinda stuff), spend some time browsing the countless stores filled with the latest gadgets, collectible figures, and otaku culture items.

There’s an Animate location and a Mandarake location (the Grand Chaos Shop) here! Both of these chains are well-known in the anime/manga world and have many locations throughout Japan.

Joshin Super Kids Land HQ is another fun toy store to check out too. And if the kitschy cosplay maid cafes are your thing, you’ll find a few maid cafes here, including the well-known chain at-home cafe.


Osaka Japan - Shinsekai

A visit to Shinsekai takes you back in time to early 20th-century Osaka, with its retro charm and iconic Tsutenkaku Tower. This area is a total FEAST for the senses, especially when the sun sets and all the lights come on!

This unique neighborhood was modeled after Paris and New York City, and its Art Deco architecture is truly unique.

Once a thriving entertainment hub, Shinsekai fell into disrepair following World War II. These days, it’s been undergoing a revival, with new bars and restaurants popping up alongside its old-school attractions.

When you first arrive in Shinsekai, you’ll be greeted by the iconic Tsutenkaku Tower, also known as the Eiffel Tower of Osaka. Originally built in 1958, the tower has become one of Osaka’s most recognizable landmarks.

You can explore the eclectic mix of eateries, including famous kushikatsu (deep-fried skewers) restaurants, and enjoy the nostalgic, carnival-like atmosphere of this historic district.

👉 Shinsekai is another foodie hotspot! One of the best ways to try as much food as you can is with a guided walking food tour. With this best-selling Shinsekai food tour, you’ll get to sample a total of 15 dishes and discover a handful of locals-only establishments!

Try kushikatsu

Osaka Travel Itinerary - Kushikatsu Skewers

If you haven’t had the chance to try kushikatsu yet, Shinsekai is a great place to do that!

We ate at Kawachiya, and despite the food looking quite lame (fried skewers are not the most visually appealing food), we were actually quite impressed with how the food tasted!

Once we received the skewers, we dipped them in this sauce which added a whole new dimension to the fried skewers. The vegetable skewers ended up being our favorites (don’t miss out on the shishito peppers!).

MEGA Don Quijote Shinsekai

I hope you packed an extra tote bag for your day out because Shinsekai is home to a *Mega* Don Quijote! And mega it is!

While most Don Quijotes in major Japanese cities are small, cramped, and made up of 5-6 floors, this Don Quijote is comprised of one massive floor that seemingly never ends in square footage.

This is a great time to stock up on everything souvenir-related — food and drink items, beauty/health products, Japanese character merch, clothing items, etc. You can even buy luggage and duffel bags here if you don’t have enough room to carry your new items home.


Osaka Travel Itinerary - Janjan Yokocho

The last stop for your Day 1 in Osaka is Janjan-Yokocho, located in Shinsekai. This is a narrow alley packed with tiny bars, eateries, and retro arcade parlors.

You can enjoy affordable and casual food (cheap sushi, kushikatsu, okonomiyaki, desserts) while rubbing elbows with locals and experiencing the old-school charm of Osaka’s nightlife.

For cheap sushi in a retro counter-seating restaurant, head to Taikosushi Minami — despite being a hidden gem, this place always has a long line!

Mostly everything closes at around 8pm, which makes it a great spot to grab a casual dinner and play some old arcade games before heading back to your hotel. You can even try your hand at some archery here!

Seeing people play vintage carnival games was so cool!


Nakanoshima Park + Coffee

Start your day with a peaceful stroll through Nakanoshima Park, an oasis of greenery in the heart of the city, nestled between two rivers.

After enjoying the scenic views and well-kept gardens, relax with a cup of coffee at one of the many good coffee shops flanking the river (MOTO COFFEE, Embankment Coffee, and School Bus Coffee Stop Kitahama).

Osaka Castle Park

Osaka Japan - Osaka Castle Observatory
View of Osaka Castle Park from the top of the castle.

Osaka Castle, located just a bit east of Osaka Station, is one of the most popular attractions in all of the city…and one of Japan’s most popular castles! Built in 1583, Osaka Castle was the largest castle at the time.

From Nakanoshima Park, Osaka Castle + Osaka Castle Park isn’t too far away by foot. You can either walk or train 1-2 stops to the closest subway station by Osaka Castle Park (you’ll still have to walk a bit to get onto the castle grounds).

Once you’re at Osaka Castle Park, enjoy the grounds before checking out the castle itself!

The park has some really cool Japanese architecture as well as beautifully landscaped grounds. It’s dotted with lush gardens, historical castle gates and turrets, and various complexes housing random shops and restaurants. 

Notable stops with good views of the castle include the Gokurakubashi Bridge and the Japanese Garden. You can also opt for a 20-minute cruise in the inner moat of the castle on the Osaka Castle Gozabune Boat!

Osaka Castle Park Japan - Miraiza Osaka-Jo
Lots of food/shops inside the Miraiza Osaka-Jo building.

To explore shops and restaurants within Osaka Castle Park, there’s JO-TERRACE OSAKA and MIRAIZA OSAKA-JO (home to the new Kaiyodo Figure Museum!). For a dose of nature, Osaka Castle’s Plum Grove and Nishinomaru Garden are two garden areas you can check out.

👉 Pro Tip: Don’t miss Nishinomaru Garden during cherry blossom season! In spring, there are about 300 cherry trees in full bloom, making this a famous cherry-blossom viewing spot. You can enjoy a super scenic view of the Main Tower from the wide-open lawn.

Osaka Castle Main Tower

Osaka Castle

Time to explore Osaka Castle itself! The outside is absolutely gorgeous!

If you’re interested in learning about its storied past through informative exhibits, you’ll want to grab admission tickets and head inside the tower to explore the castle’s museum. The exhibits (spread across multiple floors) showcase artifacts from Japan’s feudal era.

Your ticket will also come with access to climb the Castle Tower, where you get to enjoy panoramic views of the city skyline from the observation deck. To get there, you have two options: walk all the way up the 8 floors OR take the lift to floor 5 then walk up to floor 8 to get to the views.

Due to its popularity, Osaka Castle can be quite crowded, so I recommend visiting early in the morning to avoid the bulk of the crowds. If you don’t want to waste your time standing in line while you’re there, you’ll want to buy your tickets in advance for skip-the-line privileges.

For those interested in history, a visit to the nearby Osaka Museum of History provides further insights into the city’s cultural heritage.

Osaka Castle

Lunch at Izakaya Toyo

For lunch, head to Izakaya Toyo, a local favorite known for its delicious grilled seafood. Enjoy a variety of freshly prepared dishes, including their famous tuna cheek and other izakaya-style offerings, while experiencing the warmth of Osaka’s culinary culture.

Papu had this one on his list for quite some time, so we were so excited to finally get to try his sashimi and the torched tuna belly! Get here early because he does sell out of the good stuff!

Shinsaibashi-Suji + Ebisu Bashi-Suji Shopping Street

Osaka Travel Itinerary - Shinsaibashi Shopping Street

After lunch, it’s time to head back to the heart of Osaka. Go to Shinsaibashi-Suji and Ebisu Bashi-Suji Shopping Street for all your retail therapy needs! This is Osaka’s premier shopping area.

This bustling arcade is filled with shops ranging from international brands to local fashion boutiques to traditional souvenir stores.

You’ll find stores like Uniqlo, Onitsuka Tiger, H&M, 2nd STREET, a Daimaru (department store with a food basement), tax-free drugstores selling all kinds of souvenirs and daily products, and lots of other shopping and food options.

The area is packed with liveliness from morning to night, making even just a walk down the avenues fun!

While the main arcade can be quite overwhelming (you better have some shopping stamina), it is worth taking a peek to see what’s on sale. Even if you don’t plan on buying things, it’s worth browsing through the wacky clothing shops and gadget stores.

If you have more energy in you, wander off to the side streets to explore the smaller, quieter mom-and-pop shops!


Amemura, or America-mura, is a youthful neighborhood that emulates Japan’s take on American culture. Because of how interesting the atmosphere is, it makes for great people-watching and window shopping. They even have their own Statue of Liberty on top of a building!

You’ll find dozens of shops catering to fans of urban apparel, vintage clothing, streetwear, as well as lolita, goth, rock, and punk clothing. There are lots of cafes, bars, and restaurants in the area too.

If you’re missing “international” food, you’ll have no shortage of options — America-mura is home to a high density of pancakes, burgers, pizza, and artisan coffee!

Afternoon tea and kakigori at Wad Cafe

Osaka Travel Itinerary - Wad Teahouse

Wad is a small but mighty tea room located slightly north of Shinsaibashi Station. It’s a local favorite in Osaka and most definitely worth lining up for!

Finding the tiny sign and climbing the steep stairs are all part of the fun experience of this contemporary tea ceremony room.

Inside you’ll find moss-filled terrariums hanging before airy, floating curtains. Low-hanging lights, warm woods, and repurposed furniture give the room that special, simple, and rustic feel that the Japanese have perfected.

The store’s name (Omotenashi) literally means hospitality, and your experience at Wad will exude just that! The menu is short, sweet, and to the point: a curated selection of teas from Kyoto. You’ll find cold and hot matcha, sencha, and hojicha as well as sets of wagashi (Japanese sweets), mochi, and kakigori.

The kakigori (shaved ice dessert) is a must! We like to order it with red beans and matcha syrup.

Dinner at Yakiniku Kitan

Osaka Travel Itinerary - Yakiniku Kitan Course Menu

For dinner, treat yourself to a memorable meal at Yakiniku Kitan, where you can savor high-quality Japanese BBQ in the form of a multi-course meal.

With your own private dining room, you get to grill your own selection of premium meats at your table, enjoying the rich flavors and interactive dining experience that Yakiniku is famous for.

Everything was absolutely delicious, all the way down to the kimchi appetizer plates and the eggy creme brulee dessert!

Alternative dinner option: If you can’t get reservations at Yakiniku Kitan (or Wagyu just isn’t your thing), you can also head back to the Dotonbori area and check out Hozenji Yokocho.

Osaka Travel Itinerary - Hozenji Yokocho

This narrow alleyway in Osaka, paved with cobblestones and lined with traditional Japanese lanterns, is home to lots of cozy izakayas, bars, and eateries offering a taste of old-world Japan.

It’s an ideal spot to eat if you’re looking to get away from the busier city streets of Dotonbori.

Nakaza Cuidaore Building

Osaka Travel Itinerary - Nakaza Cuidaore Building

After dinner, you’ll want to start your Dotonbori explorations! Start by visiting the Nakaza Cuidaore Building, an entertainment complex with a quirky and fun atmosphere.

Back in the day, Dotonbori was known as a lively theatrical entertainment area full of people who came to enjoy shopping and entertainment. You can still get a taste of that today!

The mechanical drummer Kuidaore Taro welcomes you into the building, renovated with innovative styling to create a new Dotonbori destination that’s rapidly taken the spotlight.

The shop right next to the mechanical drummer is a highlight — you can pick up all your Osaka-themed souvenirs and food items here. You can also explore the building’s various floors featuring themed restaurants, shops, and even live performances.


Osaka Dotonbori

As night falls, make your way to Dotonbori, the lively entertainment district famous for its bright neon lights and iconic Glico Running Man sign. When I say this area is lively, I mean LIVELY. It seems to be always jam-packed with people, but especially so at night!

You can wander along the banks of the river and the main dining street, take in the bright flashing lights and cute animatronics in the shape of foods, and sample street foods Osaka is famous for like kushikatsu, takoyaki, and okonomiyaki.

And of course, while you’re here, you can snap a photo with the famous Glico Running Man. Be prepared to have tons of other people in your photos though! This spot is way popular at night.

Bar Hopping at Misono Universe

At first look, Misono Universe looks like a random retro-modern venue from the Showa era where concerts are held from time to time. But that’s not what we’re here for. We’re here for the collection of bars!

End your evening with some bar hopping at Misono Universe, housing a variety of small, themed bars on the second floor of the building.

You can enjoy a drink or two while exploring the different atmospheres, each offering its own unique charm and a glimpse into Osaka’s eclectic nightlife. You’ll find some weird establishments but very interesting indeed!

Many are open until the early hours of the morning, making it a great place to bar-hop without having to walk very far from bar to bar.

More nightlife options

You’ll find bars all over Osaka, but if you need pointers, here are some unique ones we like!

Space Station – small video game bar with tons of retro and party games like Mario Kart and Mario Party to play

Bar Nayuta – Intimate, relaxed bar with a hidden entrance pouring creative cocktails.

7-UP – a lively karaoke bar in Amemura

Afrobar – a must for people who love cozy bars and Afrobeats music! The owner of the bar is originally from Ghana but has been living in Osaka for decades and is super friendly.


Your third day in Osaka is going to be a heavy subway day as we aim to see some of Osaka’s lesser-visited highlights located on the outskirts of town. There will be a healthy mix of nature, culture, temples, shopping and more on this last-day outing!

Yamamoto Coffee-kan

Before getting our outdoor excursion going, start your day with a visit to Yamamoto Coffee-kan (near the base of Minoh Park), where you can enjoy a meticulously brewed cup of coffee in a fancy-meets-retro atmosphere surrounded by nothing but serenity and nature.

There are trees all around the coffee shop, making it feel like you’re dining at a secluded treehouse. Really, you might even see monkeys outside the windows while dining!

They have specialty coffee (many different options!) that’s served in an antique pot and totally fits the whole vibe of this place. If you have yet to eat breakfast, you can pair your coffee with light sandwiches, honey toasts, cakes, curry plates, and more.

Minoo Falls

Now for the main attraction of your morning — a quick little “hike” to Minoo Falls! Minoo Falls is located at the end of Minoo Park, a gorgeous green area that offers a welcome respite for hikers and nature lovers.

It takes around an hour to complete the 3 km paved walk alongside a stream, which is a gift for strollers who don’t fare well on uneven ground.

If you’ve heard anything about the mindful Japanese practice of forest bathing, this is the perfect place to do it. There are nearly 1000 different types of plants in the park, including centuries-old trees, and Japanese maples.

You’ll be surrounded by gorgeous greenery throughout the hike, but the hike culminates in a picture-perfect area of an arch bridge languishing in front of the gently cascading waterfall.

The 300 m (984 ft) waterfall is what gives its name to the park! Aesthetic monks have used the waterfall for meditation as far back as the seventh century.

If you visit at the end of November (fall foliage season), you’ll get an even more special treat — a canopy of red autumn leaves that create an even more exquisite vista!

If you happen to get hungry, the narrow roads in the park are flanked by tiny food stalls, as well as souvenir stalls and craft shops. In autumn specifically, try the local seasonal snack, Momiji (maple leaf) tempura.

Cup Noodles Museum

Once you get back to Minoh Station, take a quick 16-minute subway ride over to the Cup Noodles Museum, an interactive and quintessential Japanese experience where you can learn about the history of instant noodles… even create your own custom cup!

Upon entering, you’ll be greeted with a super interesting journey through the history of ramen, featuring engaging theaters and quizzes that provide in-depth insights into the evolution of this beloved food item.

One of the highlights is the ramen tunnel, where ~800 different types of ramen packages are on display!

While the museum itself offers a wealth of knowledge and entertainment for free, the paid experience corner is a must-visit for those looking for a hands-on activity. You can actually create your very own original cup noodles here! 100% worth the money and the experience!

Shitenno-ji Temple

Shitennoji Temple Osaka Japan

Afterward, visit Shitenno-ji Temple, Japan’s oldest official temple, to explore its beautiful gardens and pagodas. This historic site provides yet another peaceful retreat on the outskirts of Osaka.

BONUS: On the 21st + 22nd of every month in Shitennoji, there’s a monthly flea market that takes place here. If you’re in town during these dates and enjoy treasure hunting, definitely check it out!

Shitennoji Flea Market Osaka -The Ultimate 2 Week Japan Itinerary

I saw so many gorgeous kimonos for sale, as well as wooden sculpture antiques, porcelain, and many other goods splayed out on tables (many that wouldn’t have fit in my luggage, sadly). It was a lot of fun to peruse the isles of treasures and you can find things there for bargain prices!

Tenjinbashi-suji Shopping Street

Shopping Arcades In Osaka

Ready to get some shopping and snacking in? Stroll through Tenjinbashi-suji Shopping Street, Japan’s longest shopping street, stretching over 2.6 kilometers, filled with an array of shops and restaurants.

You can find everything from kitchenware stores and traditional goods to delicious sushi bars not yet on tourist radars, making it a great way to experience local life.

Osaka Travel Itinerary - Omakase Sushi

We ended up having a delicious omakase set at a sushi restaurant within one of Tenjinbashi-suji Shopping Street’s arcades — the staff didn’t speak a lick of English but they had translation cards to ask us questions and serve us despite the language barrier.


Osaka Travel Itinerary - HEP FIVE

End your day with a visit to HEP FIVE, a fun shopping and entertainment complex in Umeda.

HEP FIVE is a quirky, whimsical shopping mall aimed at teenagers and younger adults. The mall is home to over 200 independent boutique shops, as well as restaurants, cafes, and attractions like an indoor climbing wall and bungee jumping.

Even if you don’t end up shopping (the fashion is definitely geared towards younger trends), it’s great for a quick visit to see the enormous red whales hanging in the atrium area! There is also a Ferris wheel on the roof that you can ride.

Explore the Umeda / Osaka Station Area

Afterward, explore the rest of Umeda / Osaka Station area, a bustling hub with an incredible variety of eateries, shopping venues, and entertainment options.

You can take advantage of the time-sale discounts from the hours of 6-6:30 pm til closing at the basement food hall at the Hankyu Department Store, wander through Grand Front Osaka for high-end shopping and trendy cafes, visit the Pokemon Center and the Nintendo Shop, or visit the rooftop garden at Lucua for a peaceful escape with panoramic city views.

Many of these spots are located within Station City, a massive shopping mall complex located on the upper floors of Osaka-Umeda Station. It really is like a whole city here — Osaka-Umeda Station is unbelievably big!

For a unique area to eat dinner, check out Ohatsutenjin Urasando, a small alley home to izakayas, restaurants with outside seating, and even some shops.


If you have more time or don’t like some of the activities featured in our itinerary, feel free to swap them out for some of these other activities in Osaka:

Universal Studios Japan - Things To Do In Osaka

Universal Studios Japan – you can’t miss the OG Super Nintendo World!

The Pokemon Center – a paradise for fans, offering a wide range of merchandise, interactive displays, and exclusive items of all your fave Pokémon characters.

Team Lab Botanical Garden – an immersive art experience that blends nature with digital art, creating mesmerizing light installations and interactive exhibits within a lush garden setting.

Tennoji Zoo – a family-friendly experience with a wide variety of animals from around the world, all set within a pretty and landscaped environment.

Tennoji Park – lush gardens, walking paths, and cultural attractions make this park perfect for a relaxing stroll / nice little escape from the crowded city streets.

Namba Yasaka Shrine – famous for its striking lion-head-shaped stage, which is believed to bring good luck and protection against evil spirits!

Orange Street – also known as Tachibana Street, a trendy area lined with stylish boutiques, cafes, and interior design shops.

Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan – one of the largest aquariums in the world!

Osaka Bay Area – you’ll find cool family-friendly experiences like the Tempozan Harbor Village and Legoland Discovery Center

Embrace the animal cafe culture – Japan is the land of kawaii, and what’s more kawaii than little animals? There’s Mipig Cafe Osaka (mini pigs), Hogoken & Hogonekokafe Tenjinbashiten (dog cafe), Cat cafe MoCHA (cat cafe) and so many more within the city!


If you have an Osaka-only itinerary: If you plan on just staying within Osaka, Minami (Namba Station or Shinsaibashi Station) is a super central area to stay with so many things to do. It’s in the middle of all the action in Osaka’s premier entertainment district!

If you have an Osaka + day trips itinerary: If you plan on taking day trips outside of Osaka, the Kita (Umeda Station) area is more convenient. This is where all the shinkansens and JR trains leave from.

If you’re on a budget: The most budget-friendly area close to major attractions is Tennoji.

For a happy medium: Honmachi is within walking distance from both Minami and Kita areas. It’s also a good area for peace and quiet because it’s not as bustling as the Umeda, Namba, or Shinsabashi areas.

Check out our full guide on some of the best areas to stay in Osaka + recommended hotels in each area.

Staying Near Umeda or Namba/Shinsaibashi: Which Is Better?

My personal vote goes to the Umeda Station area or the Namba/Shinsaibashi area.

Choosing between the two depends on your itinerary though!

If you plan on making Osaka your home base to enjoy day trips to areas like Kyoto, Kobe, Cup Noodle Musem, etc., then the Kita area (Umeda Station) is just a little more convenient.

You have all the main train stations here (you can almost go anywhere without having to transfer trains if you’re thinking about day trips), plus large malls all interconnected through underground passages or aboveground walkways.

The Minami area (Namba/Shinsaibashi stations) is great in its own way because it’s packed with things to do and places to eat. It’s a better area to stay in if you plan on JUST staying within Osaka to do Osaka things.

With the Umeda area, you would have easier access to Osaka attractions as well as nearby cities/day trips.


World Expo (April to October 2025): The World Expo is an event that brings together people and innovations from around the world in an effort to address issues facing humankind on a global scale. It’s a big deal!

Tōka Ebisu Festival (January 9-11): Held at Imamiya Ebisu Shrine, this festival is dedicated to Ebisu, the god of business prosperity. It attracts millions of visitors seeking good fortune for the new year.

Setsubun (February 3): This traditional festival marks the beginning of spring according to the lunar calendar. Various temples and shrines, like the Sumiyoshi Taisha, hold events to drive away evil spirits.

Osaka Marathon (Early March): A popular event that brings together runners from all over the world to compete in a scenic marathon through the city.

Cherry Blossom Season (Late March to Early April): Parks like Osaka Castle Park and Kema Sakuranomiya Park become prime locations for hanami (cherry blossom viewing).

Kishiwada Danjiri Festival (Early May): This festival features large, ornate floats pulled through the streets at high speeds. It’s a thrilling and energetic celebration held in Kishiwada, a city in Osaka Prefecture.

Tenjin Matsuri (July 24-25): One of Japan’s top three festivals, held at the Tenmangu Shrine. The festival includes a grand boat procession, fireworks, and traditional performances.

Naniwa Yodogawa Fireworks Festival (First Saturday of August): A spectacular fireworks display along the Yodogawa River that attracts thousands of spectators.

Awa Odori (Mid-August): This dance festival, originally from Tokushima, is celebrated in Osaka with lively traditional dance and music.

Osaka Castle Festival (Late September): A celebration of traditional Japanese culture with performances, food stalls, and historical reenactments held at Osaka Castle.

Kishiwada Danjiri Festival (Early October): A repeat of the May festival with equally thrilling events, held in Kishiwada.

Midosuji Illumination (Mid-November to Early January): The main street of Osaka, Midosuji, is adorned with beautiful lights, making for a picturesque winter evening stroll.

Osaka Hikari Renaissance (Mid-December to Early January): An art and light festival held around Nakanoshima, featuring intricate light displays and installations.

Universal Studios Japan Countdown Party (December 31): A New Year’s Eve event with special performances, fireworks, and extended park hours to ring in the new year.


Flying Into Osaka

Fly into either Osaka’s Itami Airport (ITM) or Kansai International Airport (KIX).

Flying into ITM means shorter commute times to Osaka (40 minutes to Osaka Station by airport limousine bus, 27 minutes by train). But because it is a smaller airport than KIX, you might not be able to find direct flights to ITM unless you’re flying from other parts of Asia/Japan.

Flying into KIX means a slightly longer train ride to Osaka, but you can usually find international flights headed to KIX directly.

From Kansai International Airport (KIX) to Osaka, you can take the JR Haruka Limited Express train, which runs approximately every 30 minutes and takes around 55 minutes to reach Osaka Station.

There are also limousine bus services available from KIX to various locations in Osaka.

I’ve taken both limousine buses and trains to get to/from the airports in Japan and both work great. I’ll typically opt for the train if I’m traveling lightly with limited luggage, but if I end up with too many bags on a trip, I’ll opt for the limo bus!

Bullet Train From Tokyo

Coming from Tokyo, Osaka is located approximately 515 kilometers (320 miles) away, making for a substantial distance between the two cities. The most efficient and popular mode of transportation for this route is the shinkansen bullet train, which can whisk you from Tokyo to Osaka in about 2 hours and 30 minutes.

Unless you have a Japan Rail Pass, the one-way ride will cost you ~¥14,720.


Getting around Osaka on foot and by subway/train is super easy and efficient thanks to its extensive public transportation system.

To truly streamline your transportation experience, load up an IC card such as ICOCA, SUICA, or PASMO and use this to pay for subway rides. IC cards allow for seamless access to trains, buses, and even some shops. You just tap the subway gate and go — it takes less than a second each and every time!

In terms of train lines, the Midosuji Line (the red line) is a crucial one to be familiar with, as it is one of the major subway lines running through central Osaka.

While you’re in Osaka, you’re likely to encounter stations such as Namba, Umeda, Shinsaibashi, and Tennoji frequently, as these are major transportation hubs that connect various train and subway lines, making them key points for navigating the city.


Personally, I love visiting Osaka in May and October/November.

Osaka in May is great because you’ll have dodged the cherry blossom and Golden Week crowds while still getting to witness fabulous spring weather and colorfully blooming gardens.

October/November are also amazing months to visit. The summer humidity will have passed and the fall foliage that Japan is famous for will be in full effect!

Here’s a quick breakdown of what Osaka looks like during all the seasons:

Spring (March to May): Spring is a popular time to visit Osaka due to the blooming cherry blossoms, particularly in early April! The city’s parks and gardens, such as Osaka Castle Park and Kema Sakuranomiya Park, become adorned with beautiful pink and white blossoms, creating a picturesque setting for cherry blossom viewing picnics. Aside from a few chances of rain showers, the weather is warm and nearly perfect!

Summer (June to August): Summer in Osaka can be hot and humid, with temperatures often reaching above 30°C (86°F). While the summer months bring vibrant festivals and events, you should be prepared for the heat and occasional rain showers.

Autumn (September to November): Autumn is a popular time to visit Osaka due to the pleasant weather and the colorful foliage that adorns the city’s parks and gardens. The vibrant autumn colors, known as koyo, attract visitors to iconic spots like Minoo Park and Mount Koya.

Winter (December to February): Winter in Osaka is relatively mild compared to other parts of Japan, with temperatures averaging around 10°C (50°F). While snow is rare, you’ll still feel the holiday spirit! The city is adorned with festive illuminations during the holidays.


As someone who enjoys slower travel, I think a total of 3 to 5 days is perfect.

If you want just to check off the major sights, I’d say you can see most of the “iconic” spots in 2 days.

But if you want to take your time to soak in the local culture, visit gardens/parks, and enjoy less touristy areas, 3 to 4 days is perfect.

5 days will allow you to take a day trip or two to nearby places like Kobe, Nara, Himeji, or Kyoto.

Planning Your Trip To Japan?

Here are some of our other Japan travel guides to help you plan an incredible trip!


The Perfect Kyoto Itinerary: 5 Days In Kyoto, Japan (+ Nara and Osaka)

2 Days In Kyoto: The Ultimate Kyoto Highlights Itinerary

25 Unique Activities To Add To Your Kyoto Bucketlist

7 Best Ryokans In Kyoto To Truly Feel Relaxed


Osaka Day Trip From Kyoto: Best Things To Do In Osaka, Japan

Where To Stay In Osaka, Japan: Neighborhood Guide

3 Days In Osaka: How To Enjoy Japan’s Retro-Modern City

20 Free Things To Do In Kyoto and Osaka, Japan

Is The Kansai Wide JR Pass Worth The Money? (My Actual Experience)


15 Best Hotels In Tokyo Near JR Yamanote Line (With Map)

2 Days In Tokyo, Japan: Best Things To Do With Your Time

The Perfect 5-Day Itinerary In Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo Travel Tips: 50 Things To Know Before You Go

10 Other Cities Worth Visiting Near Tokyo, Japan

20 Best Things To Do In Tokyo At Night

18+ Best Attractions In Tokyo For Anime Lovers

20 Top Things To Do In Shinjuku, Tokyo’s High-Energy District

Disney Tokyo vs. DisneySea: Which One Is Right For You?

10 Of My Favorite Cheap Eats In Tokyo, Japan

10 Best Tattoo-Friendly Onsens Near Tokyo, Japan

Japan In General

Japan On A Budget: 50 Essential Tips For An Affordable Vacation

Best Of Japan: The Perfect 2-Week Itinerary For First-Timers

18 Popular Foods To Try In Japan

15 Amazing Onsen Towns In Japan To Visit On Your Next Trip

Other Posts You’ll Love:

Photo of author


Elle Leung

My name is Elle and I'm a travel blogger and adventurer based in California. I love helping people plan trips and create unique itineraries based on their interests and their budgets. I'm a huge fan of outdoor adventures and doing off-the-beaten-path things in my state (and all around the world too)!

Leave a Comment