Even 1 day is enough to get a good taste of Osaka. I’ve put together the perfect 1-day itinerary to help you get the most out of one full day in Osaka.
Osaka Castle and tall buildings
Osaka 1-Day Itinerary Summary
- One day is enough for a good experience of Osaka.
- Stay in a place like Kita, Central Osaka or Minami to save time.
- Visit the Osaka Castle, the Kita District and the Minami District.
Full Osaka 1-Day Itinerary
- 9am: Start at Osaka Castle. If you’re coming from JR Osaka Station, the easiest way is the Osaka Loop Line to Osakajokoen Station. Go up to the observation deck of the castle and admire the views over the city. Then, after exploring the park, take either the subway or the Osaka Loop Line back to JR Osaka Station (be sure to board the northbound direction when returning to Osaka Station).
- 10:30am: Explore the Kita District. The JR Loop Line will bring you to JR Osaka Station. The subway will bring you to Umeda Station, which is directly next door. Now, most of the stores in the area will be open. Osaka Station is literally surrounding by huge shopping malls and department stores. The three that we recommend are Yodobashi Camera (a great place to buy a SIM card if you need connectivity), Grand Front Osaka (which has just about everything) and Hankyu Department Store. And, if you want to experience one of Osaka’s famous “chikagai” (underground shopping malls), check out the labyrinthine Whity Umeda. Check out the Kita District page for details on these shopping centers.
- 11:30am: Early lunch in Kita. Keep in mind that Kita is a business district, so the restaurants around here will be packed on weekdays during lunchtime (noon to 1pm). To beat the rush, try to get to a restaurant a bit before noon. See our Kita District page for some recommended restaurants in Kita. Alternatively, you could wait until a bit later and eat lunch in Minami, which is your next stop.
- 1pm: Arrive in the Minami District. From the Kita District, take the Midosuji subway line south from Umeda Station to Shinsaibashi Station. Take exit #2 from Shinsaibashi Station and walk for three minutes to arrive at Tokyu Hands Department Store, one of the coolest all-around hobby and gadget shops in the world. After checking out Tokyu Hands, cross south over Nagahori-dori Street (the wide street in front of Tokyu Hands) and walk one block west (back in the direction of the subway) and then enter Shinsaibashi-suji, one of Osaka’s famous shotengai (covered shopping arcades). Walk south through Shinsaibashi-suji, pausing for coffee, snacks and shopping as you wish. 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 Dotombori. If you walk south through the Shinsaibashi-suji arcade, you’ll eventually get to Ebisu-bashi Bridge, which takes you over the famous Dotombori Canal. Lined with garish neon-covered buildings, the Dotombori Canal is the most iconic sight in all of Osaka. Pause on the bridge for photographs and to soak up the view and the parade of Osaka characters going by. Then, walk a short distance south and you’ll find yourself in the famous Dotombori arcade (this one is not covered). This street is line with restaurants, many of which have incredibly flashy signs and symbols outside to attract customers. For details on the places mentioned here, visit our Minami District page.
- 4:30pm: Walk through Hozenji Yokocho. A short distance south of the Dotombori Canal, you’ll find the incredibly atmospheric Hozenji Yokocho, which is a narrow pedestrian-only lane lined with traditional restaurants. Don’t miss the eponymous Hozen-ji Temple, which is home to the moss-covered Mizu-kake Fudo statue. For details on these sights, see our Minami District page.
- 5:30pm: Explore Doguyasuji Arcade. Another short walk south of Hozenji Yokocho, you’ll find Doguyasuji Arcade, Osaka’s famous kitchen-supply street, where you will find a greater selection of kitchen and tableware than you’ve seen anywhere. For details, check out our Minami District page.
- 6:30pm: Dinner in Minami. The Minami District has the greatest concentration of good restaurants in Osaka. The only problem will be choosing from the thousands of options available. To help you decide, check out our recommendations on the Minami District page.
- 8pm: Nightview from Abeno Harukas 300 observation decks in Tennoji. If you’ve still got energy for sightseeing after dinner, take the Midosuji subway line south from Minami (most likely from Namba or Shinsaibashi stations) to Tennoji Station and follow the signs to Abeno Harukas and go up to the Abeno Harukas 300 observation decks. These decks, which are open until 10pm daily (ticket sales stop at 9.30pm) offer an incredible view over the entire Osaka area, and it’s most beautiful during and after sunset.
Hints, Notes and Variations
- If you’re staying in Osaka and only have one day in town, you should stay somewhere central in order to make the best use of your time. 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 or your children aren’t particularly interested in Osaka Castle (or if you plan to visit the more impressive Himeji Castle), then consider starting the day at the Umeda Sky Building in the Kita District. Just note that the observation decks there do not open until 10am.
- Alternatively, if you or your children are mad about fish, 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 don’t want to end the day at Abeno Harukas 300, you could drop the Tennoji leg of this itinerary and just spend the evening 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
- Get a prepaid Icoca card to make travelling around Osaka easy - here's how.
- Find out why it's essential you have travel insurance for Japan - we recommend World Nomads.