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Best Way To Spend One Day In Osaka

Spending one day in Osaka offers a fantastic opportunity to explore the vibrant culture, delicious cuisine, and fascinating attractions the city has to offer.

I would recommend trying to spend 2 days in Osaka so you won’t feel so rushed but if you’re short on time then these are some of the best things to do with one day in Osaka.


One Day In Osaka

Osaka is actually my overall favourite city in Japan and I spent one month there enjoying the vibe of the place and using it as a base to do many day trips to other places in the region.

As you are planning for one day in Osaka I have just included some of the main areas to see so you’re not jumping around too much between places. I’m also not including much in the way of museums, etc, because the “true heart” of seeing Osaka is to explore some of the areas I mention in the article.

Osaka doesn’t have the same draw as the temples and shrines in Kyoto or Nara but is famous throughout Japan for its food, lively atmosphere (especially after dark), and down-to-earth friendly people.

If you haven’t yet booked a hotel or whatever accommodation you are choosing to stay at, you can find and book a hotel in Osaka here.


Morning

Start with Breakfast (Obviously)

Head to a local café or bakery to enjoy a traditional Japanese breakfast or try some of Osaka’s famous street food like takoyaki (octopus balls) or okonomiyaki (savoury pancakes). Osaka is famous throughout Japan for its okonomiyaki.

Okonomiyaki.

Visit Osaka Castle

Begin your day with a visit to Osaka Castle, one of Japan’s most famous landmarks. Explore the castle grounds, learn about its history at the museum inside, and enjoy panoramic views of the city from the top floor.

Originally built in the late 16th century, the castle has a rich history, including being destroyed and rebuilt multiple times. The current structure is a reconstruction that was completed in 1997. It houses a museum that exhibits artefacts related to the history of the castle and the samurai era.

Osaka Castle is surrounded by a large park and the castle itself is an impressive architectural feat, with its towering walls, massive stone foundations, and elegant design.

Osaka Castle.

Osaka Castle is one of my favourite castles in Japan.


Midday

Stroll Through Dotonbori

After the castle, head to Dotonbori, Osaka’s bustling entertainment district. Take a leisurely stroll along the canal, marvel at the colourful neon signs, and don’t forget to snap a photo with the famous Glico Running Man sign.

Basically, I’m recommending hanging around this area in general for most of the rest of the day as it’s the “true heart” of Osaka and there is a lot to see and it saves you from moving around too much.

However, if you want to explore some other areas and not spend all afternoon/evening around here then check out my other article about more places to visit in Osaka.

One option is to take a Tombori River Cruise around the Dotonburi area for a more relaxed way to see the area from the canal.

Lunch

Dotonbori is a food lover’s paradise, so indulge in some of Osaka’s best street food and local specialities at one of the many eateries lining the streets. Don’t miss out on trying kushikatsu (deep-fried skewers) or takoyaki from one of the many stalls.

Takoyaki is one of the best street snacks in Japan and it’s famous in Osaka. Just keep an eye out for any octopus signs by small snack bars and restaurants and you will find it. It goes excellent with a cold Asahi beer.

Takoyaki at a street-side stall.


Afternoon

Explore Shinsaibashi

After lunch, continue your exploration of Osaka by walking through Shinsaibashi, a bustling shopping district filled with shops, boutiques, and department stores. Take some time to browse for souvenirs or pick up some trendy Japanese fashion items.

Just be aware this is a very busy area to go to, but with one day in Osaka, you really should pay the area a visit.

Shinsaibashi.

Explore America-mura

America-mura, also known as Amerikamura or Amerika-mura, is a lively and vibrant district located in the Shinsaibashi area so it is not far to get there.

The district gained popularity in the 1970s when it became a hub for youth culture and fashion. It’s often compared to Tokyo’s Harajuku district due to its eclectic fashion scene and trendy boutiques.

America-mura is also known for its street art and graffiti, with colourful murals adorning many of its walls. The area is a popular spot for young people to hang out, socialize, and explore the latest fashion trends.

It’s one of my favourite areas in Osaka and has a very down-to-earth vibe and some cosplay stuff going on amongst some of the younger people there.

In America-mura.

Visit Kuromon Ichiba Market

Make your way to Kuromon Ichiba Market, also known as “Osaka’s Kitchen,” where you can sample fresh seafood, fruits, and other local delicacies. Enjoy the lively atmosphere and interact with the friendly vendors.

One of the joys about some of these markets in Osaka, and in Japan for that matter, is sampling lots of different foodstuffs.


Evening

Dinner

For dinner, venture around Dotonbori or Shinsaibashi and try a sit-down meal at a local izakaya (Japanese pub) or restaurant. Sample Osaka’s famous dishes like okonomiyaki, mentioned earlier, sushi, or teppanyaki while soaking in the lively atmosphere.

Nightlife

Finish off your day by experiencing Osaka’s vibrant nightlife. You can explore the bars and clubs in Dotonbori or head to one of the city’s many entertainment districts like Umeda or Namba for a memorable night out.

Take a taxi to one of the other areas if you choose to go there as they are too far for walking after a busy day out. If you’re not bothered about any nightlife then just hang out in the Dotonbori area until you go back to your hotel.

Another option for evening/nighttime is to check if there is a baseball game on at the Osaka Kyocera Dome. Even if you don’t like baseball that much (I don’t) the locals do and the ambience is brilliant! It’s a true Osakan experience to have.


Osaka

If you haven’t yet booked a hotel or whatever accommodation you are choosing to stay at, you can find and book a hotel in Osaka here.

With this itinerary, you’ll be able to experience the highlights of the city with one day in Osaka, immersing yourself in the city’s rich culture, delicious cuisine, and vibrant atmosphere. Enjoy your time exploring this dynamic city and one of my favourite destinations in Japan!

Consider getting an Osaka Amazing Pass for discounts on attractions and transportation.

For more on Osaka have a look at the 20 best day trips from Osaka that I have done if you are basing yourself in the city. They are also relevant from Kyoto as well as there is only 15 15-minute train time between Osaka and Kyoto.

For that matter also have a look at my article whether to stay in Osaka or Kyoto as your base in the area.


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