If you’re in a hurry and want to see the really important parts of Osaka, our Must-See Osaka 1-Day Itinerary is for you. It’s the most efficient way to see the city fast.
Dotombori Canal in Minami
Osaka 1-Day Itinerary Summary
- One day is enough to get a good taste of Osaka.
- Stay in a place like Kita, Central Osaka or Minami to save time.
- The must-see attractions in Osaka are Osaka Castle, the Kita District and the Minami District. This itinerary covers all three.
Full Osaka 1-Day Itinerary
- 9am: Start the day at Osaka Castle. From JR Osaka Station, take the Osaka Loop Line to Osakajokoen Station. After checking out the castle and park, take the subway or the Osaka Loop Line back to JR Osaka Station.
- 10:30am: Stroll around the Kita District, which is centered on JR Osaka Station and Hankyu Umeda Station. The real must-see sight in Kita is the district itself, and all the great shopping to be found there. Three great shops to check out are Yodobashi Camera, Grand Front Osaka, and Hankyu Department Store. Check out the Kita District page for details.
- 11:30am: Eat an early lunch in Kita. Because Kita is a business district, the restaurants will be packed on weekdays during lunchtime (noon to 1pm). So try to get to a restaurant a bit before noon. See our Kita District page for our Kita restaurant picks. If you’re not hungry yet, you can eat later on in Minami, which is your next stop.
- 1pm: Start exploring the Minami District. From Kita, take the Midosuji subway line south from Umeda Station to Shinsaibashi Station. Take exit #2 from Shinsaibashi Station and walk for a few minutes to Tokyu Hands, one of the best hobby and gadget shops in the world. Next, cross south over Nagahori-dori Street and walk one block west to enter Shinsaibashi-suji, one of Osaka’s famous shotengai (covered shopping arcades). Walk south through Shinsaibashi-suji. If you didn’t eat lunch in Kita, you’ll find plenty of good restaurants in this area. See our Minami District page for details on shops and restaurants in Minami.
- 3pm: Explore the Dotombori area. Walk south through the Shinsaibashi-suji arcade and you’ll eventually get to Ebisu-bashi Bridge over the famous Dotombori Canal. This is the most iconic sight in all of Osaka. Pause on the bridge to take some pictures and to soak up the atmosphere. Then, walk a short distance south and you’ll find yourself in the Dotombori arcade. This street is line with restaurants that have incredibly flashy signs and symbols outside to attract customers. For details on the places mentioned here, visit our Minami District page.
- 4:30pm: Visit Hozenji Yokocho. A short walk south of the Dotombori Canal is the incredibly atmospheric Hozenji Yokocho, a narrow pedestrian-only lane lined with traditional restaurants. Be sure to check out Hozen-ji Temple, where you’ll find the moss-covered Mizu-kake Fudo statue. For details on these sights, see our Minami District page.
- 5:30pm: Walk through Doguyasuji Arcade. Another short walk south of Hozenji Yokocho, you’ll find Doguyasuji Arcade, Osaka’s famous kitchen-supply street. Here, you will find an almost endless variety of kitchenware and tableware. For details, check out our Minami District page.
- 6:30pm: Eat dinner in Minami. Minami has the greatest concentration of good restaurants in Osaka. To help you decide, check out our recommendations on the Minami District page.
- 8pm: Evening views from the Abeno Harukas 300 observation decks in Tennoji. After dinner, take the Midosuji subway line south from Minami to Tennoji Station and follow the signs to Abeno Harukas. Take the elevators up to the Abeno Harukas 300 observation decks, which are open until 10pm daily (ticket sales stop at 9.30pm). The sunset and evening views here are absolutely awesome!
Hints, Notes and Variations
- If you plan to stay the night, we recommend that you stay somewhere central. The most convenient and central districts are Kita, Minami and Central Osaka. See our Where to Stay in Osaka page for details.
- For hotel recommendations in Osaka, check out our Osaka Hotels page.
- If you don't want to visit the castle, you could start the day at the Umeda Sky Building in the Kita District. The observation decks here open at 10am.
- Alternatively, you could start the day at the Osaka Aquarium in the Osaka Bay Area. The aquarium opens at 10am.You could visit the aquarium and be back in Kita by about noon.
- Finally, if you’re too tired to visit the Harukas 300 observations decks after dinner, you could stay in Minami, which is filled with bars, clubs and other entertainments. A stroll around Amerika Mura might be interesting, as would a stroll around Dotombori in the evening. Dotombori and Amerika Mura are covered on our Minami District page.
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 from Klook 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, save a ton of money with the Japan Rail Pass - here's why it's worth it
- Find out why it's essential you have travel insurance for Japan - we recommend World Nomads.