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This post was updated September 2020
A Complete 3-Day Osaka Itinerary
Osaka is one of our favorite cities in Japan and every time we go back, we always make a point to visit. Osaka has amazing architecture, vibrant nightlife, shopping, and abundant street food that will make your mouth water!
This 3 day Osaka Itinerary will take you to the highlights of Osaka and introduce you to the many terrific dining experiences that are in Dotonbori and other areas of Osaka too! Read on to see why this city of neon has stolen our hearts!
Where to Stay for Your 3-Day Osaka Itinerary
Our room at Kaneyoshi Ryokan was perfect for our first experience in a budget-friendly Japanese ryokan. The room itself had tatami mats and traditional futons to sleep on. Our room also had a traditional table, TV, air conditioning, and a sitting room. The sitting room has two western-style chairs, a small table, a mini-fridge, and a fantastic view of the canal. While Kaneyoshi Ryokan has smaller rooms with shared bathrooms, our room had an attached private bath with a shower/tub combo.
There are a few things to know about the Kaneyoshi Ryokan before your stay:
- Kaneyoshi has a curfew at 1 AM, and you won’t be allowed into your room if you arrive later than that time.
- You also have to leave your room key at the front desk every time you leave.
- A big perk of Kaneyoshi Ryokan is how close it is to Dotonbori, and that there is a 7-Eleven practically next door.
Hotel Brighton City Osaka
The Hotel Brighton City Osaka is a bit farther from the main areas of the city like Dotonbori, but it’s a great location for those who want to stay in an area that is a bit quieter but still very close to public transportation. There are also two konbini (convenience stores) across the street from the hotel and a grocery store inside the
DAY 1: 3-DAY OSAKA ITINERARY
The first stop on this Osaka itinerary is a bit off the beaten path Sumiyoshi Taisha (住吉大社). Sumiyoshi Taisha is one of the largest Shinto shrines and oldest in Japan which also makes it one of the most popular to visit. It was founded in the 3rd century before the introduction of Buddhism in Japan and has a unique style of architecture that has straight roofs on the temple buildings.
Sumiyoshi Taisha is best known for Sorihashi Bridge, a beautiful orange bridge with surrounding water features. But one other thing you should do isn’t as distinct. Next to one of the four main buildings of Sumiyoshi Taisha is an area with small stones. There are three different kinds and can be tricky to find! But if you do happen to find all three then they act as an amulet for granting a request from one of the shrine’s deities.
Another thing you’ll notice is an area where wooden plaques are placed. These small wooden plaques are known as ema and they are used to write prayers or wishes at shrines and temples. It is believed that if you leave your ema hanging up at the shrine then the kami (gods or spirits) can easily receive them.
Location: 2 Chome-9-89 Sumiyoshi, Sumiyoshi Ward, Osaka, 558-0045, Japan // MAP
Hours: 6am-5pm daily
Cost: Free to visit
Nipponbashi Den Den Town
After visiting Sumiyoshi Taisha we headed back into the city near Namba and visit Nipponbashi Den Den Town. For those of you who are familiar with the Akihabara shopping area in Tokyo, Den Den Town is very similar. It is a haven for those who enjoy anime or manga paraphernalia and all sorts of electronic items like cameras and computers. But even if you aren’t interested in any of those items it’s still really fun to look around while during your 3-day Osaka itinerary!
Location: 4 Chome-12 Nipponbashi, Naniwa Ward, Osaka, 556-0005, Japan // MAP
LUNCH: Kuromon Market
By now you’ll probably be pretty hungry for lunch (I know we were!) so it’s time to enjoy some of the infamous Osaka street food. Kuromon Market is a lively food market know as “Osaka’s kitchen.” Pop in and pick a stall to have your food freshly prepared right in front of you!
We enjoyed some grilled king crab (it was only 100 yen!), barbecued eel, yakisoba, grilled
Location: 2 Chome-4-1 Nipponbashi, Chuo Ward, Osaka, 542-0073, Japan // MAP
Hours: 9am-6pm daily
Cost: Most items are under 500 yen each
Sennichimae Doguyasuji Shopping Street
Osaka is called the “Kitchen of the World” and for a rather terrific reason. Chefs from all around the globe come to Sennichimae Doguyasuji Shopping Street, also known as “Kitchenware Street,” to find professional tools such as cookware, the best Japanese chef knives, and to visit the food markets.
We loved seeing all of the different bowls, plates, tea sets, and of course, the fun plastic food items that are often seen in the windows of restaurants. If you’re wanting to purchase some Japanese kitchenware, cooking items, or even fun souvenirs this is the perfect place to do so!
Location: 14-5 Nanbasennichimae, Chuo Ward, Osaka, 542-0075, Japan // MAP
Hours: 10am-6pm daily
Namba Yasaka Shrine
After doing a little shopping and eating you’re on to your next shrine on this 3 day Osaka itinerary! While most shrines in Japan have similar features, Namba Yasaka Shrine (難波八阪神社) has a unique sense of retro nostalgia and far different from what we expected
The main attraction of Namba Yasaka Shrine is the large lion with an open mouth. It is believed that the lion’s mouth swallows evil spirits and brings good luck. In the spring, the area becomes even more picturesque with rows of fragrant sakura (cherry blossom) trees close to the shrine. Another popular time to visit is during the summer for the Namba Yasaka festival in which dance rituals are performed on the stage within the lion’s mouth!
Location: 2 Chome-9-19 Motomachi, Naniwa Ward, Osaka, 556-0016, Japan // MAP
Hours: 6:30am-5pm daily
Cost: Free to visit
Namba Parks is a beautiful architectural shopping mall that features over 200 stores and has romantic gardens on the top floors for viewing (which is my favorite part!). The stores are really fun to stop in but if you aren’t looking for more shopping head to the top to see the gardens and on a nice day lay in the grass while looking up at the sky. It’s the perfect place to relax!
Location: Japan, 〒556-0011 Osaka Prefecture, Osaka, Naniwa Ward, Nanbanaka, 2−10−70 // MAP
Hours: 11am-9pm daily
Cost: Free to visit
DINNER: Tsurutontan Soemoncho
On our first trip to Osaka, we found Tsurutontan Soemoncho, a small shop that makes some of the best udon dishes that we had while in Japan. Not to mention that you can get a double or triple order of noodles for no extra cost! The location for this restaurant is right on the canal in Dotonbori so before or after getting dinner make sure you enjoy the sunset on the bridge outside.
Location: 3-17 Souemoncho, Chuo Ward, Osaka, 542-0084, Japan // MAP
Hours: Sunday 10:30am-8am, Monday-Saturday 11am-8am
Cost: Under 1,000 yen
DAY 2: 3-DAY OSAKA ITINERARY
Osaka Castle & Osaka Castle Park
Osaka Castle is one place you cannot miss on this 3-day Osaka itinerary. It is truly marvelous and the park it is located in makes it even more beautiful. The original castle was built around 1583 for the wife of the 16th-century ruler Toyotomi Hideyoshi, but it has suffered a lot of damages throughout history.
The first disaster was in 1615 when it was destroyed by Tokugawa troops. It was later rebuilt in the 1620s but was destroyed again in 1665 by lightening causing a massive fire. Many years passed and in 1931 it was rebuilt again and refinished in 1997. Whew, talk about a lineage!
Although Osaka Castle is beautiful to view from the outside, it’s just as interesting on the inside too. When you first go in you’ll notice that it has been restored in many ways but also remodeled into a museum with a number of artifacts and interesting pieces of history about the castle. You can learn even more about the battles fought, destruction of the castle, and it’s role in Osaka. I lost track of time, but I know we spent at least an hour here reading as much as we could about Osaka Castle!
After our visit to the castle, we stopped by one of the many food stands and small shops that are in the park for a snack. In the spring, Osaka Castle Park is known for its cherry blossom trees! It is by far one of Japan’s most cherished cherry blossom viewing spots.
Location: 1-1 Osakajo, Chuo Ward, Osaka, 540-0002, Japan // MAP
Hours: 9am-5pm daily
Cost: 600 yen/adults, free for junior high students and younger – Osaka Castle, free to visit Osaka Castle Park
LUNCH: Sushi Hayata
For lunch today we recommend trying fresh sushi from a small, family-owned shop called Sushi Hayata. They have an a la carte menu for those who want to pick their own sushi but I suggest ordering the omakase menu. Omakase translates to “I’ll leave it up to you” meaning the chef will select the fish that pairs well together and is the freshest.
Our omakase had seven different kinds of sushi including unagi (eel), maguro (tuna), ebi (shrimp), sake (salmon), ika (squid),
Location: 2 Chome-6-4 Fushimimachi, Chuo Ward, Osaka, 541-0044, Japan // MAP
Hours: Monday-Friday 11:30am-2pm, 5pm-11pm, closed Saturday & Sunday
Cost: 800 yen or less per piece of nigiri sushi
Shinsaibashi-suji Shopping Street
Shinsaibashi is located close to Dotonbori and known for its tax-free shopping stores from high-end fashion to mid-range items as well. Shinsaibashi-suji Shopping Street (心斎橋筋商店街) is a 600-meter long street full of places to shop and is one of the most popular places in this area.
A few of the stores we recommend visiting are GU, UNIQLO, and Daimaru which are Japanese department and clothing stores. As you continue to walk you’ll also notice a number of smaller independent boutiques to shop from too!
Location: 2 Chome-2-22 Shinsaibashisuji, Chuo Ward, Osaka, 542-0085, Japan // MAP
Hours: 11am-8pm daily
Rikuro Ojisan no Mise
If you’re on the hunt for a unique sweet treat to try in Osaka, then consider visiting Rikuro Ojisan no Mise. This popular store sells Japanese cheesecake which is a must-try for anyone visiting Japan. Not to mention it’s very entertaining to watch the cheesecakes being made at the storefront!
Japanese cheesecake is very different from the cheesecake that you might be used to as it is more cake-like and spongy. We bought one thinking that it would be a small slice of cheesecake that the two of us could share but it was actually an entire cheesecake that was big enough to share with 6 other people! If you don’t want to purchase a cheesecake you can also buy a number of smaller pastries or confections too! Regardless we enjoyed it that evening and with our tea and coffee the next morning. 😉
Location: 1 Chome-7-1 Shinsaibashisuji, Chuo Ward, Osaka, 542-8501, Japan // MAP
Hours: 10am-8:30pm daily
Cost: 725 yen for the cheesecake
There is something so alluring about Dotonbori (道頓堀). Maybe it’s the neon lights, the smell of street food, the infamous Glico man sign, or the charming sunsets over the canals. Who are we kidding? It’s all of it. We love Dotonbori so much that we find ourselves here almost every evening when visiting Osaka. We loved the hustle and bustle of these busy streets, not to mention there are so many street foods to eat in Osaka!
One last thing before we move on, I want to point out that you will see Dotonbori spelled with an ‘m’ instead of an ‘n’ like “Dotombori.” We asked a friend of ours in Japan and he said the most common spelling is Dotonbori. But rest assured, if you see Dotombori, it’s the same place. 🙂
Location: 1 Chome Dotonbori, Chuo Ward, Osaka, 542-0071, Japan // MAP
Dinner in Dotonbori
After taking in the sights and doing some shopping pick a spot to eat! You can do this in a few different ways. One, you can try a sampling of all the different Dotonbori street food by visiting different food stalls or two, by picking a specific restaurant to dine at.
Whichever route you take we recommend saving room for some takoyaki, a ball of fried octopus that is a specialty of Osaka. Another thing to note is that you’ll often see MASSIVE lines outside of restaurants in Dotonbori. Some of these lines are because the restaurant is really popular, but others are just mob mentality. Don’t feel like you have to wait in an hour-long
Restaurant Recommendations in Dotonbori
Tsurutontan Soemoncho: If you’ve been following this 3 day Osaka itinerary then you probably already ate at one of our favorite udon shops, Tsurutontan Soemoncho. But if not, this place is amazing! It has enough seating to accommodate a family and a variety of menu options including steak, sushi, and noodle dishes. We highly recommend their udon because it is perfectly chewy and savory. Plus you can get a single, double, or triple order for no extra charge.
Ichiran Dotonbori Honkan or Kinryu Ramen Dotonbori are two popular ramen shops in the Dotonbori area. Ichiran is a well-known chain that has a creamy soup broth and thin ramen noodles whereas Kinryu has a soy sauce-based broth and a variety of toppings.
Creo-Ru: You can choose to dine at the restaurant inside but if you are wanting to try some takoyaki grab a spot in line at the food stall outside of the restaurant. The queue is usually long but the line moves pretty quickly.
Matsuzakagyu Yakiniku M, Hozenji Yokocho: This restaurant offers unique culinary experiences where you can cook your own steak and choose your own cuts of Matsuzaka beef. It’s not cheap but if you’re wanting to try some of Japan’s finest steak, this is a meal worth savoring.
DAY 3: 3-DAY OSAKA ITINERARY
Universal Studios Japan
Universal Studios Japan is one of the most popular amusement parks to visit in Japan! But this park has not only Universal Studios but also Harry Potter World too. Depending on your interest in amusement parks you may want to do an entire day here, a half-day, or skip it altogether.
Regardless of what you choose, we’ve got you covered with some additional activities for the last day of this 3 day Osaka itinerary. Also, if you wanted to do both USJ and the other activities we included then you can add an additional day to this itinerary if time permits!
Location: 2 Chome-1-33 Sakurajima, Konohana Ward, Osaka, 554-0031, Japan // MAP
Hours: Make sure you check the USJ calendar for the most up-to-date schedule
Cost: 7,800 yen/adults, 5,400 yen/children, 7,100 yen/seniors
Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan
If you decide to do a half-day at Universal Studios Japan or skip USJ then you can head over to Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan. This aquarium is one of the largest and most impressive aquariums in Japan. Marine life is in 15 different tanks representing different areas of the Pacific Rim. You’ll start your journey on the top floor making your way down a spiraling ramp while gazing at beautiful marine mammals.
We recommend buying tickets ahead of time on their website so you can immediately go
Location: 1 Chome-1-10 Kaigandori, Minato Ward, Osaka, 552-0022, Japan // MAP
Hours: 10am-8pm daily
Cost: 2,300 yen/adults (age 16+), 2,000yen/adults (age 60+), 1,200 yen/child (ages 7-15), 600 yen/child (ages 4-6), children under 3 are free.
LUNCH: Kushikatsu Daruma
Kushikatsu is skewers of meat and veggies that
Location: Japan, 〒530-0001 Osaka, Kita Ward, Umeda, 3 Chome−1−3 ルクア大阪 10F – Located in Osaka
Hours: 11am-10pm daily
Cost: Under 400 yen a skewer
After eating lunch, it’s time to explore Osaka Station. I know what you’re thinking… a train station might not seem like a top place to visit on this Osaka itinerary. But you’ll be surprised at how much there is to do at Osaka Station. It is considered to be one of the largest shopping complexes in Japan! If you are interested in shopping we suggest visiting the Daimaru Department Store, LUCUA, Yodobashi Camera, and Hankyu Umeda Department Store which have a lot of unique items and souvenirs. There are also quite a few green spaces to enjoy outside on a nice day!
Location: 3 Chome-1-1 Umeda, Kita Ward, Osaka, Japan // MAP
Umeda Sky Building Observatory
The Umeda Sky Building has an incredible observation spot known as the Kuchu Teien Observatory which offers an unobstructed 360-degree view of the city. If you visit day or night the view is spectacular and different. We enjoyed visiting at night in order to see all the city lights and trains rushing by!
Location: 1 Chome-1-88 Oyodonaka, Kita Ward, Osaka, 531-6023, Japan // MAP
Cost: 1,500 yen/adults, 700yen/children (ages 4-12)
Shinsekai meaning “New World” was once a bustling entertainment district during the early 20th century, much like today’s Dotonbori. But even though it’s an “older” area, it’s still thriving with a ton of unique places to shop, eat, and browse.
Be sure to stroll down the covered shopping area of JanJan Yokocho to hunt for bargains or stop at a Pachinko pinball parlor. There are tons of inexpensive
Location: 1 Ebisuhigashi, Naniwa Ward, Osaka, 556-0002, Japan // MAP
While visiting Shinsekai you can’t miss Tsutenkaku Tower. This timeless tower was originally built in 1912 and at the time, was quite an impressively tall tower at 64 meters (the tallest of the area for its time). After a fire destroyed part of the tower in 1943 it was taken apart to supply steel during World War II. It was later rebuilt in 1956 which is the tower you can see today.
MEGA Don Quijote
Before you head back to your hotel be sure to stop at the MEGA Don Quijote in Shinsekai! Don Quijote is a HUGE chaotic yet thrilling souvenir store that is sure to check something on everyone’s list. It has electronics, costumes, clothing, kitchen supplies and appliances, luggage, Japanese food items, beverages, you name it, Don Quijote probably has it and for an inexpensive price.
This MEGA Don Quijote is one of the largest and most impressive we shopped at while in Japan. Even if you aren’t interested in shopping here, you could easily kill an hour looking around at all the crazy, yet cool finds at Don Quijote.
Location: 3 Chome-4-36 Ebisuhigashi, Naniwa Ward, Osaka, 556-0002, Japan // MAP
Hours: 9am-5am daily
Even after visiting Osaka multiple times we always find something new to see or eat. We absolutely love this city! What are you most looking forward to doing in this Osaka itinerary?
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