Discover a taste of what Osaka has to offer by following this 7-hour cycling itinerary. Robert Kodama takes us on a route that will allow you to discover some of the tourist hotspots as well as some of the hidden gems whilst zig-zagging through the backstreets of Osaka.
8:30am - 9am (Globalwheels Road Bike Rental)
8:30am - 9am - Globalwheels Road Bike Rental - image © Robert Kodama
The first thing you need is a bicycle, and there is a fantastic place called Globalwheels that will offer you a road bike for ￥3500 per day. Just make sure you follow the link below and reserve a bike in advance. Responses are very prompt and you will be able to test ride your bike before renting it for the day. The bikes are well taken care of and offer a lot of options and accessories tailored to your needs.
9am - 9:10am (Cycling to Osaka Castle and Park)
9:10am - 9:45am (Osaka Castle and Park)
9:10am - 9:45am (Osaka Castle and Park) - image © Robert Kodama
Designated as an Important Cultural Asset by the Japanese Government, Osaka Castle is definitely one not to miss. Built up of many structures, it is a great place to take in the view and learn about the history of the castle. The main tower is now a museum dedicated to showing artefacts from the original castle.
To access the museum, there is an admission fee of ￥600 per person. Please note that there is not a designated parking area for bicycles around this area so ensure that it is locked in a safe place.
9:45am - 10:10am (Cycling to Tsuruhashi Market)
10:10am - 10:30am (Tsuruhashi Market)
10:10am - 10:30am (Tsuruhashi Market) - image © Robert Kodama
Cycle through to Tsuruhashi Market to see locals shop in the local stores. Most stores specialise in Korean grocery items and clothing for the elderly. Pop into some of the stores to browse some of the items on sale, or visit some of the open-front stores to sample some kimchi and other pickled vegetables. Most of the shopkeepers are very old and are happy to talk with you briefly, but their heavy accent and lack of English knowledge may be a little tricky to understand.
10:30am - 10:40am (Cycling to Korea Town)
10:40am - 11:00am (Korea Town)
10:40am - 11:00am (Korea Town) - image © Robert Kodama
Korea Town is located very close to Tsuruhashi Market and has a variety of stores selling famous Korean cosmetics and street stalls cooking up Korean delicacies such as chijimi (Korean pancakes) and gimbap (Korean rice roll). However, ensure that you don’t fill up here as it is far too early for lunch, and a place further down the route will allow you to sample some other flavours of Osaka.
11:00am - 11:20am (Cycling to Shitennoji)
11:20am - 11:40am (Shitennoji)
11:20am - 11:40am (Shitennoji) - image © Robert Kodama
Navigate your way through some of the hidden backstreet alleys of Osaka to eventually find your way to Shitenno-ji Temple. Shitenno-ji is one of the most beautiful Buddhist temple areas located in the heart of Osaka. Whilst entrance is free for the grounds, some of the gardens and specific temples ask for a small admission fee. Modeled on Chinese architecture, these set of temples have been standing here since the year 593.
11:40am - 11:50am (Cycling to Tennoji Park)
11:50am - 12:20pm (Tennoji Park)
11:50am - 12:20pm (Tennoji Park) - image © Robert Kodama
Tennoji Park has recently been renovated with pop-up stores selling food, and a wide range of restaurants. The park is now also free to enter for you to rest by the tallest building in Japan: Abeno Harukas. Tennoji-koen Park is also home to Osaka City Museum of Fine Arts and Tennoji Zoo, both of which require an admission fee. Please note that you need to walk your bike through the park as cycling is prohibited on the grounds.
12:20pm - 12:30pm (Cycling to Shinsekai)
12:30pm - 1:30pm (Shinsekai)
12:30pm - 1:30pm (Shinsekai) - image © Robert Kodama
Shinsekai (literally translates to “New World”) is the food hub of Osaka. Restaurants try to entice you into their establishments selling a wide range of Osaka delicacies, from takoyaki (fried octopus balls - ￥350 for about 8 balls) to kushikatsu (fried everything on the menu - usually ￥100 each). Visit a store called Shinsekai Kankan for some of the best takoyaki, and Daruma for kushikatsu. If you have time, then visit some of the old games arcade to find some classics, and visit Tsutenkaku to get a good view of Osaka.
Shinsekai Kankan - Takoyaki Restaurant - image © Robert Kodama
- Shinsekai Kankan - Takoyaki Restaurant
Address: Osaka Prefecture, Osaka, Naniwa Ward, Ebisuhigashi, 3 Chome−５−１６
Hours: Wednesdays - Sundays 9:30am - 6pm, Closed on Mondays and Tuesdays
- Daruma - Kushikatsu Restaurant
Address: Ōsaka-fu, Ōsaka-shi, Naniwa-ku, Ebisuhigashi, 2 Chome−３−９
Hours: Daily 11am - 10:30am
1:30pm - 1:40pm (Cycling to Nipponbashi)
1:40pm - 2pm (Nipponbashi)
1:40pm - 2pm (Nipponbashi) - image © Robert Kodama
Nipponbashi (also dubbed as “den-den town”) is the main place to go for electrical goods in Osaka. Many stores offer second hand phones, tablets, games… the list goes on! You may also see a lot of otaku (young people who are obsessed with their computer games or other aspects of pop culture) or glimpse some cosplayers. Make sure you also visit Super Potato, which is a retro game store, or head over to some of the maid cafes available in the area.
2pm - 2:15pm (Cycling to Orange Street/Minamihorie)
2:15pm - 2:45pm (Orange Street/Minamihorie)
2:15pm - 2:45pm (Orange Street/Minamihorie) - image © Robert Kodama
Orange Street and Minamihorie is the zakka heaven of Osaka. Zakka is a term that refers to small fashion or design items that compliment your home, life, and appearance. There are many independent stores that are dedicated to selling zakka items and clothing, as well as some big brand stores. Forget visiting the popular shopping districts and support local businesses by shopping here. You will be guaranteed to find some unique souvenirs floating around some of these stores.
2:45pm - 3pm (Cycling to Utsubo Park)
3pm - 3:15pm (Utsubo Park)
3pm - 3:15pm (Utsubo Park) - image © Robert Kodama
Cycle away from Orange Street and down the stunningly green Naniwa-suji Street to a park hidden amongst the concrete jungle. Utsubo-koen Park is a small park located amongst the bustle of city life. This is a great spot to take a quick break and people watch some of the locals going about their daily life. Go to the local convenience store to pick up a drink and a snack and chill. There are also a few European restaurants located nearby with some of the highest quality food on offer if you are thinking of dinner plans by now.
3:15pm - 3:35pm (Cycling to Nakanoshima)
3:35pm (Nakanoshima) - image © Robert Kodama
Nakanoshima is the final stop for this cycling itinerary. This is an island located in the middle of the O-gawa River that runs through Osaka. The views on the way as you cycle down the river show the perfect blend of buildings and nature harmonising in the city. It is the perfect place to have a picnic and relax in the midst of the city rush. Cafes, restaurants, and convenience stores are in abundance around this island. If you want to include a cultural addition last minute, visit the Museum of Oriental Ceramics on the island. Festivals and pop-up stores are also frequently seen on this island so keep an eye out for some unique additions to close up your day of cycling.
Cycling to Globalwheels Road Bike Rental
Japan is a very safe country for visiting the sights by bicycle. If you want to ensure that you have a great time without injury or trouble, then please ensure that you follow the rules below.
- You must cycle on the road with the cars unless otherwise signposted.
- Ensure that you follow all of the traffic signs and lights.
- Front and rear lights are necessary when cycling at night.
- Illegal parking is a constant problem in Osaka with bikes regularly being taken by the local government. Ensure that you have parked your bike in designated parking areas.
Globalwheels Road Bike Rental
Address: 530-0043 Osaka Prefecture, Osaka, 1-16-11 Temma, Kita-ku
Hours: Daily and Flexible - Tailored to your needs
Phone: Ian (+81)9067527039, Gareth (+81)5031360552
To reserve bikes, please ensure you contact them via email or fill out the Rental Request form on their website. Bikes must be reserved in advance. Prices start from ￥3,500 per day.
About Robert Kodama
Robert Kodama is a travel writer and photographer based in the Kansai region of Japan, and is the author of My Airport Ramblings. He is also a writer and director in performing arts. Text and original photographs by Robert Kodama.
Where Are These Places Located?See these places on the Inside Osaka Google map:
- Open the Osaka map
- You will see the list of places on the left hand side. (Click the 3-line icon in the top left corner if not). Scroll down or use the map search (the magnifying glass icon) to find the place you want.
- Click the name of the place in the list. Its location pin will be highlighted on the map.
- Map pins are color coded - BLUE: Hotels / Ryokan / Guesthouses | VIOLET: Ryokan | PINK: Places to Eat | GREEN: Shops | YELLOW: Things to See and Do
- If you're using the map on your phone, open the map and then search for the name of the place. The map will then zoom in on its location.
Osaka Vacation Checklist
- For all the essentials in a brief overview, see my First Time In Osaka guide
- Check Osaka accommodation availability and pricing on Booking.com – usually you can reserve a room with no upfront payment. Pay when you check out. Free cancellations too
- Need tips on where to stay? See my one page guide Where To Stay In Osaka
- You can buy a Japan SIM card online for collection on arrival at Osaka's Kansai International Airport. Or rent an unlimited data pocket wifi router
- View my comprehensive Packing List For Japan
- Compare flight prices and timings to find the best Japan flight deals
- If you're visiting more than one city, you might save money with a Japan Rail Pass – see if it's worth it for you
- Get a prepaid Icoca card to make travelling around Osaka easy – here's how
- World Nomads offers simple and flexible travel insurance. Buy at home or while traveling and claim online from anywhere in the world