Osaka is the second largest city in Japan after Tokyo, and has made its way to almost every traveller’s bucket list. It is also affectionately known as the Kitchen of Japan.
You have seen many guides and lists on things to do when in Tokyo, but what about Osaka? If you have yet to visit Osaka or need a reason to, this will help you out and convince you to visit the wondrous Japanese city.
Here is your definitive guide to 13 Things Every First-Timer Should Do While In Osaka.
Cafes, local eateries, ramen parlours, sushi bars, exquisite dining in aristocratic ryoteis… you name it, Osaka has it. Here is our Osaka Food Guide featuring 22 restaurants, cafes and eateries you must dine at.
Photo Credit: waytogo
#1 VISIT UNIVERSAL STUDIOS JAPAN
Perhaps you have already visited Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea but those aren’t the only theme parks in Japan.
Universal Studios Japan is a different experience altogether. Some of their more popular attractions include the backwards-riding Hollywood Dream roller coaster, the Space Fantasy Ride and the thrilling Flying Dinosaur. We can also foresee Potterheads spending hours in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter within the park.
There is also the Universal Citywalk Osaka, located just outside the park’s gates. It is lined with restaurants, shops, hotels and speciality stores.
Universal Studios Japan
2 Chome-1-33 Sakurajima
554-0031, Osaka, Japan
Nearest Station: Universal-City
#2 EAT YOUR WAY THROUGH DOTONBORI
Dotonbori is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Osaka thanks to endless dining options, as well as souvenir stores that will keep you occupied for the whole day. The bustling street is filled with Japanese eateries and restaurants that will leave you so spoilt for choice.
It is also where you will find the iconic Glico Man! Dotonbori is nearest to the Osaka-Namba Station.
#3 VISIT SPA WORLD TO UNWIND AFTER A DAY OF SHOPPING
Shopping is hard work, and we often find our bodies aching after a long day of exploring the various shopping streets that Osaka has to offer. The perfect way to relax your muscles would be to visit an onsen for the night!
Spa World is in the Shinsekai precinct, another district filled with restaurants, and Spa World is rated the best spa in Osaka. For a single, basic entry price of ¥1,200, you will be treated to unlimited time at the onsen.
Tel: +81 6-6631-0001
Mon to Sat: 1pm – 2am
Sun: 1pm – 11pm
Nearest Station: Dobutsuen-Mae
Photo Credit: Osaka Info
#4 MAKE YOUR OWN CUP NOODLES AT THE INSTANT RAMEN MUSEM
The Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen Museum is located in Ikeda City, the birthplace of instant noodles. Momofuku Ando is the founder of Nissin Food Products, and the museum will walk you through the history of instant noodles.
Forget regular museum souvenirs; how does bringing home your very own customised cup noodles sound?
Pop by My CUPNOODLES Factory within the museum itself and create your very own instant noodles with your choice of soup and ingredients—prices start from ¥300.
Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen Museum
8-25 Masumicho, Ikeda
563-0041, Osaka, Japan
Tel: +81 72-752-3484
Wed to Mon: 9.30am – 4pm
Closed on Tuesdays
Nearest Station: Ikeda
#5 VISIT THE LARGEST POKÉMON CENTER IN JAPAN
It doesn’t matter whether you have been hit by the Pokémon Go craze, or grew up loving these pocket monsters. So needless to say, a visit to the Pokémon Center in Japan is almost obligatory.
Limited edition plushies, stickers, t-shirts, tote bags, stationary etc—you are bound to have so much fun at the Pokémon Center!
Pokémon Centre Osaka
13F Daimaru Umeda Store
3-1-1, Umeda, Kita-ku
530-8202, Osaka, Japan
Tel: +81 6-6346-6002
Daily: 10am – 8pm
Nearest Station: Osaka
#6 SHOP AT SHINSAIBASHI
Shinsaibashi is a collection of sheltered shopping streets located and is one of the most popular places in Osaka. There are countless independent boutiques, departmental stores, little snack kiosks, vintage shops and souvenir stores that everybody can take delight in.
Shinsaibashi is extremely bustling to say the least. It is nearest to Shinsaibashi Station.
#7 ADMIRE THE BEAUTY OF OSAKA-JO
A visit to Osaka is not complete without visiting the magnificent Osaka-Jo.
The site is also home to the Nishinomaru Garden, a beautiful garden with 600 cherry trees and a teahouse. It also offers spectacular views of the castle grounds and experiences a peak in tourism during the cherry blossom period, but that does not mean that you should not visit it any other time of the year!
Entrance to castle grounds is priced at ¥600, while entry to the Nishinomaru Garden is priced at ¥200 during off-peak periods, and ¥350 during the cherry blossom season.
1-1 Osakajo, Chou Ward
540-0002, Osaka, Japan
Tel: +81 6-6941-3044
Daily: 9am – 5pm
Nearest Station: Osakajokoen
#8 CAFÉ-HOP AROUND ORANGE STREET
Orange Street, also known as Horie Tachibana, is a hipster street in Osaka. Filled with fashionable stores, florists, boutiques and cafes, the 800-meter long stretch sees a ton of teen visitors, especially on the weekends.
There are a couple of notable cafés to visit in the area, including Biotop Corner Stand, Granknot Coffee and Timeless Comfort Café.
#9 GO IZAKAYA-HOPPING AROUND NAMBA
For those who are unfamiliar with the term, izakaya refers to casual drinking establishments, where customers can enjoy a pint of beer coupled with small dishes. Izakayas are common spots for locals to gather for post-work unwinding.
Namba is known to be one of the best spots in Osaka to get a taste of the izakaya experience. The area sees a great deal of izakayas, so you will have no problem finding one along the way.
#10 THE TOP 3 MUST-TRY STREET FOOD OF OSAKA
Osaka offers a handful of street finger food, but we believe that there are three main ones that you definitely have to try when you are in Osaka.
They are Kushikatsu—which are deep-fried meat and vegetable skewers served with tonkatsu sauce—takoyaki, and okonomiyaki.
#11 EXPERIENCE KAPPO
Like how Kyoto has its kaiseki, Osaka takes pride in their cutting and cooking, hence making up the word ‘kappo’. But do not be intimidated by the language if you do not understand, because if any, it is really a very affectionate way of dining.
‘Kappo’ consists of an open kitchen surrounded by counter bar seats, and a team of chefs preparing your dishes right before your eyes.
#12 VISIT KUROMON-ICHIBA MARKET
Kuromon-Ichiba is one of the most popular food markets in Osaka and is the ultimate foodie destination to tick off the must-eat street snacks. The market has been around for over 170 years and is situated in a friendly little neighbourhood.
There are the usual commercialised stalls, but you will still be able to find a couple of quiant family-run independent stalls all around the market.
1 Chome-4-1 Nipponbashi, Chuo Ward
542-0073, Osaka, Japan
Tel: +81 6-6331-0007
Daily: 9am – 6pm
Nearest Station: Nippombashi
#13 GO SHOPPING AT UMEDA
Umeda is also known as Kita, meaning the ‘North’ district, and is one of the two main cities in Osaka. It is considered Osaka’s busiest transportation hub, but is also home to some of Osaka’s largest departmental stores and underground malls, making it one of the best places around the city to get your shopping done.
One of Umeda’s main attractions includes the Umeda Sky Building—a towering skyscraper stretching 173 metres tall. There is an open-air observation deck on the roof of the building that allows you to enjoy an unparalleled view of the city.
Mark Osaka down in your travel bucket list. We promise it would be worth a visit. Here are 20 reasons to love Osaka.