3 Days in Osaka, Japan

3 Day Osaka Itinerary


Osaka is one of our favorite cities in Japan. It 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!

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Where to Stay for your 3 Day Osaka Itinerary

Kaneyoshi Ryokan

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 convenience stores across the street from the hotel and a grocery store inside the nearby station which we utilized to get breakfast items, drinks, and snacks during this 3 day Osaka itinerary.


DAY 1: 3 DAY OSAKA ITINERARY

Sumiyoshi-taisha Shrine

Orange colored Japanese wood bridge at Sumiyoshi-taisha Shrine. (3 day Osaka itinerary)
The beautiful vermillion colored bridge at Sumiyoshi-taisha Shrine

The first stop on this Osaka itinerary is Sumiyoshi-taisha. Sumiyoshi-taisha is one of the oldest and largest shrines in Japan which also makes it one of the most visited. Sumiyoshi Taisha is best known for the beautiful orange bridge and water features. Since it is a little farther away from other attractions in Osaka, we recommend visiting it during the morning.
Price: Free

Wooden plaques at Japanese shrine
A water cleansing area at a Japanese shrine in Osaka
Before entering each shrine/temple it is preferred that you cleanse your hands.

Den Den Town

After visiting Sumiyoshi Taisha we headed back into the city to take on Den Den Town. Den Den Town is similar to Tokyo’s Akihabara shopping area. 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!


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 dango, and strawberry daifuku. The nice thing about this market is there are places to sit down as it is not common to walk and eat in Japan. It’s also perfect for those who are trying to do Osaka on a budget because all of the street food is relatively inexpensive!


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 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.
Location: 4-27 Nanbasennichimae, Chuo Ward, Osaka, Osaka Prefecture 542-0075, Japan

Woman standing in front of a lucky cat in Osaka, Japan
I couldn’t help but snag a photo with this maneki-neko!

Namba Yasaka Shrine

Woman holding an umbrella standing in front of a large shrine that resembles a dragon's face (Namba Yasaka Shrine - Osaka, Japan)
Namba Yasaka Shrine was so much bigger than we expected!

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 has a unique sense of retro nostalgia and far different from what we expected. It is believed that the lion’s mouth swallows evil spirits and brings good luck.
Location: 2 Chome-9-19 Motomachi, Naniwa Ward, Osaka, Osaka Prefecture 556-0016, Japan

A large Japanese shrine that resembles a dragon's face (Namba Yasaka Shrine - Osaka)
Namba Yasaka Shrine

Namba Parks

Namba Parks is a beautiful architectural shopping mall that features over 200 stores and has romantic gardens on the top floors for viewing. 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

An aerial shot of a circular building with rooftop garden (Namba Parks - 3 day Osaka itinerary)
View from the rooftop garden at Namba Parks

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.

A bowl of broth, udon noodles, and assorted tempura.
Udon and tempura set

DAY 2: 3 DAY OSAKA ITINERARY

Osaka Castle & KemaSakuranomiya Park

Woman sitting on a large rock looking at a Japanese castle (Osaka Castle)
Osaka Castle is simply beautiful!

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. 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 preserved in many ways but also remodeled into a museum with a number of artifacts and interesting pieces of history. We spent at least an hour here reading as much as we could about Osaka Castle.

Water (a moat) around a Japanese castle
A view of the water surrounding the castle.

After our visit to the castle, we stopped by one of the many food stands and small shops that are in the park. In the spring, KemaSakuranomiya Park is known for its 5,000 cherry blossom trees!
Price: 600¥ – Castle Admission

A manhole cover that has the design of Osaka Castle in Osaka, Japan
One thing we noticed in each city we visited in Japan is the drainage covers. Often they have intricate designs and are very colorful. This one is near Osaka Castle.

LUNCH: Sushi Hayata

For lunch today we recommend trying fresh sushi from a small, family-owned shop. They have an a la carte menu for those who want to pick their own sushi but we enjoyed a chef’s special which contained eel, tuna, shrimp, salmon, squid, tamago (egg), and some cucumber rolls for a finishing touch. All of the fish was fresh and delicious! Since Sushi Hayata is an incredibly small establishment so it’s best to arrive early to make sure you can get a seat!
Hours: 11:30am-2pm, 5pm-11pm

Sushi Hayata - Osaka, Japan
A sushi set from Sushi Hayata

Shinsaibashi

Shinsaibashi is the neighborhood close to Dotonbori that is known for its tax-free shopping stores from high-end fashion to mid-range items as well. A few of the stores we recommend visiting are GU, UNIQLO, Forever 21, and H&M. The first two being Japanese brands and the latter two, of course, being more western but they’re fascinating to see inside because they are 3-5 floors!


PANBO

If you are looking for a sweet treat during your Osaka trip itinerary, PANBO has a skewer of mini pancakes interchanged with fruit and marshmallows. The best part is you can put on as many toppings as you want, say hello chocolate syrup and sprinkles! We got one of the smaller skewers but you can get them much bigger!

EDIT: We were informed that PANBO is now closed, if they do reopen, we’ll update you here!

Skewer of mini pancakes, fruit, and marshmallows with chocolate sauce and sprinkles in front of a colorful background. From PANBO in Osaka, Japan
Mini pancake skewer from PANBO

Crepe Ojisan Shinsaibashi

Another sweet treat option to get in Shinsaibashi is a crepe from Crepe Ojisan. The menu might be overwhelming but we can guarantee that you’ll be satisfied with whichever crepe you choose. We shared a banana chocolate crepe that had vanilla ice cream, cocoa powder, chocolate syrup, and banana slices.

Crepe Ojisan - Osaka, Japan
Sweet crepe from Crepe Ojisan

Dontonbori

There is something so alluring about Dotonbori. Maybe it’s the neon lights, the smell of street food, the infamous neon 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 found ourselves here almost every evening. We loved the hustle and bustle of these busy streets, not to mention there are so many street foods to eat in Osaka!

Sunset over a canal in Dotonbori - Osaka, Japan
Dontonbori canal at dusk
Neon sign that says "Dotonbori" in Osaka, Japan
We love all the neon signs in Osaka!

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 this area. 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 line if you’re really hungry. There are plenty of excellent places to eat.

Girl walking through a crowd in the streets of Dotonbori in Osaka, Japan
Walking through the crowded streets of Dotonbori.

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.

Udon noodle sets at Tsurutontan Soemoncho - Osaka, Japan

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.

takoyaki balls from Osaka, Japan

Matsuzakagyu Yakiniku M, Hozenji Yokocho: This restaurant that 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.

Man and woman sitting in a booth at a restaurant with a plate of wagyu beef in front of them.

DAY 3: 3 DAY OSAKA ITINERARY

Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan

Kaiyukan 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 in the aquarium rather than wait in line to buy tickets. Be sure to account for travel time as well because it can be a 30-60 minute train ride depending on your hotel.
Hours: 10am-8pm
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.

Man looking up at a tank of water with seals swimming inside at Osaka Aquarium
Seals swimming at Osaka Aquarium

LUNCH: Kushikatsu Daruma Lucua Osaka Store

Kushikatsu is skewers of meat and veggies that are dipped in a batter, coated in panko crumbs, then deep-fried. This Kushikatsu Daruma is a branch of the original in Dotonbori that has been around since 1929 and is a popular favorite!
Located in Osaka StationLucua on floor B2

Kushikatsu

Osaka Station

While a train station might not seem like a top place to visit on this Osaka itinerary you’ll be surprised at how much there is to do at Osaka Station. If you are interested in shopping we suggest visiting the Daimaru Department Store, LUCUA, Yodobashi Camera, and Hankyu Umeda Department Store . There are also quite a few green spaces to enjoy outside.


Umeda Sky Building

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 at 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.
Hours: 9:30am-10:30pm
Cost: 1,500 yen/adults, 700yen/children (ages 4-12)


Shinsekai

Shinsekai meaning “New World” was once a bustling entertainment district during the early 20th century, much like today’s Dotonbori. Be sure to stroll down the covered shopping area of JanJan Yokocho to hunt for bargains or stop at a pinball parlor. There are tons of inexpensive kushikatsu restaurants to dine at here as well. If you think you’ll have extra time pack a bathing suit and visit Spa World, a hot spring amusement park that offers many different fun attractions and places to relax.


Tsutenkaku Tower

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.

Tsutenkaku Tower in Osaka, Japan at night
Tsutenkaku Tower

MEGA Don Quijote

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.


Other Places to Visit For Your 3 day Osaka Itinerary

Universal Studios

Universal Studios in Japan is one place we haven’t been to that we are seriously bummed about. We love amusement parks and the fact that this park has Universal Studios and Harry Potter World is a huge plus. The only reason we haven’t gone is due to the time of year we’ve always visited… summer. Summer in Japan can be brutally hot and while we were in Osaka the last time the temperatures were in the 100s!


Rikuro Ojisan no Mise

Rikuro Ojisan no Mise 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. 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 cheesecake that the two of us could share but it was large enough to share with 6 other people!
Location: 〒542-0076 Osaka Prefecture, Osaka, Chuo Ward, Nanba, 3 Chome−2−20, 15 ファーストキッチン難波戎橋

Japanese Cheesecake from Rikuro
Japanese Cheesecake from Rikuro

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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14 Comments

  • Reply
    Travel Essentials: Japan | Pages of Travel
    January 11, 2016 at 5:16 AM

    […] I hope we have helped you think about some essentials you might need for your next trip! Be sure to subscribe to our blog and Facebook page for more updates on our travels! To read about our three week trip to Japan, check out our first stop in Osaka! (click here to read more) […]

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    10 of the Wackiest Foods to Try From Around the World | Pages of Travel
    November 7, 2016 at 11:36 AM

    […] food poisoning from some bad airline curry (yeah, it smelled a little funky) only 3 hours in on our flight to Osaka. Did I mention I was next to the guy who was 12 beers in and puking every 8.3 minutes? (No, it […]

  • Reply
    wellcaffeinatedtraveller
    November 27, 2016 at 8:03 PM

    Wow, looks like you covered everything that Osaka had to offer! I visited there a few years ago but did not cover nearly as much. That Owl Cafe looks super cool. I’ll have to hit that up if I ever make it back to Osaka!

  • Reply
    100cobbledroads
    November 28, 2016 at 12:20 AM

    I simply love Japanese food, so that would be a major attraction for me in Japan. The painted manhole covers are a fabulous idea..street art of a different kind 🙂

    • Reply
      loganpage
      December 6, 2016 at 10:11 PM

      We love Japanese food as well, if you couldn’t tell! 🙂 Glad you enjoyed.

  • Reply
    Ticker Eats The World
    November 28, 2016 at 7:12 AM

    My Japanese wanderlust just went up a notch thanks to your post. Loved the photos and thanks for all the information. The 11 Hour turbulent flight scared me a little – i’m a nervous flier – but I am aware that once there the Japanese are such wonderful people that you would have relaxed in no time. The travel internet sounds like a good idea. Haven’t yet used it, but plan to soon. It’s nice to see that you covered almost everything touristy and also local specialties especially in terms of food – i am a big foodie. The crepes look delicious and sushi is a must when in Japan. Wonderful post, thanks

    • Reply
      loganpage
      December 6, 2016 at 10:11 PM

      I hope you are able to make it eventually! It’s such a unique country. I personally didn’t have any trouble on the flight, however I did pace myself with the food whereas Kallsy ate her airline curry in a flash so she could try to sleep right after (obvious mistake). This flight was very turbulent but most of our flights internationally haven’t been that bad. 🙂

  • Reply
    neha
    November 28, 2016 at 10:50 AM

    The sightseeing places are as per my liking. And the accommodation looks cozy. But a curfew at 1am is really interesting. But I am glad discipline is expected from the guests. Did you try any vegan food while there?

    • Reply
      loganpage
      December 6, 2016 at 10:09 PM

      There was so much to see and do in Osaka! The curfew was a little weird for us as well but we never found it to be a problem as we were always so tired after exploring all day. I personally don’t recall trying any vegan food, however my wife Kallsy eats many vegetarian or vegan options whenever we are traveling. She too doesn’t recall a vegan restaurant in Osaka but tried a few places in Kyoto and Tokyo and loved them!

  • Reply
    Lisa (Simple Sojourner)
    November 29, 2016 at 5:59 PM

    Japan is high on my list. I have been reading a lot of blogs lately about Japan. It is just so unique and it looks as if your adventure was fabulous and you covered quite a bit. Thank you for all the details it helps for a future visit. Their culture of respect is very important so I can understand a curfew. Food looks tasty too!

  • Reply
    Fair Dinkum Traveller
    December 1, 2016 at 7:57 AM

    That is some great travel tips on what looks lime an amazing destination. Osaka, Japan hopefully I see it real soon. Nice post, great pics

  • Reply
    diytravelhq
    December 4, 2016 at 7:42 PM

    Osaka looks like both a traditional & modern city, I just the ryokan-style of accommodation. I went to a cat cafe in South Korea but I’ve never ever heard of an Owl cafe, that’s insane! Fun photos!

  • Reply
    Caroline @ The Travelling Sloth
    December 5, 2016 at 8:45 AM

    I absolutely loved Japan when I visited a couple of years back. Unfortunately, I didn’t check out Osaka (though my parents did and they loved it). One of my favourite experiences in Japan was sleeping on a traditional futon and using a kotatsu (it didn’t mention you tried a kotatsu but if you get to experience it, highly recommended).

    I’m pretty sure I’ve seen videos of that cheesecake being made – it looks so bouncy! Real great guide, definitely need to pay Osaka a visit next time I’m in the region 🙂

  • Reply
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