If you have three days, you can really explore the different districts of Osaka. Our 3-day Osaka itinerary allows you to see the best sights efficiently and easily.
Yodo-gawa Rive and Kita Area
- Three days allows you to explore Kita, Minami and the Osaka Bay Area, plus one outer district of Osaka.
- Base yourself somewhere central to save time.
- On Day 1, visit Osaka Bay Area and Kita.
- On Day 2, visit Minami and Tennoji.
- On Day 3, visit one of Osaka’s outer districts like Northern Osaka
Note:The first two days of this itinerary are based on our Osaka 2-Day Itinerary. See that page for full details on these two days.
Day 1: Osaka Bay Area and Kita District
- 9:30am: Travel to the Osaka Bay Area
- 10am: Visit Osaka Aquarium (Kaiyukan)
- 11:30: Eat Lunch at Tempozan Marketplace
- 1pm: Travel from Osaka Bay Area to the Kita District
- 1:30pm: Explore the Kita District
- 3pm: Travel to the Osaka Castle Area
- 3:30pm: Visit Osaka Castle
- 6pm: Dinner in Kita, Minami or Central Osaka
Day 2: Minami District and Tennoji
- 9:30: Travel to the Minami District
- 10am: Explore Minami
- Noon: Dotombori Area and Lunch
- 1:30pm: Visit Hozenji Yokocho
- 2:30pm: Walk through Doguyasuji Arcade
- 3:30pm: Visit Den-Den Town
- 5:30pm: Eat dinner in Minami
- 7:30pm: Check out the evening views from the Abeno Harukas 300 observation decks in Tennoji
Day 3: Outer District of Osaka
- On your third day in Osaka, it’s a good idea to head out of central Osaka to explore one of the surrounding districts. The most rewarding sights outside of the city center can be found north of the city, including those in the Expo City/Banpaku Park area. See our Northern Osaka page for full details.
- Alternatively, you could spend a day at the Universal Studios Japan theme park in the Osaka Bay Area, or take the train to Nagoya to visit Legoland Japan and the SCMAGLEV and Railway Park
Hints, Comments and Variations
- If you’re only going to be in the city for three days, choose a hotel in a central location so you don’t waste time on transport. The most convenient areas are Kita, Central Osaka, and Minami. For more on where to say, check out my Where to Stay in Osaka page.
For hotel recommendations in Osaka, check out our Osaka Hotels page.
- Note that Kyoto is only 14 minutes from Osaka by shinkansen and about 30 minutes by regular express trains. If you’re based in Osaka, you can easily make a daytrip to Kyoto. See our dedicated Kyoto travel website InsideKyoto.com for full details on Kyoto.
- Likewise, Nara is only about 50 minutes from Osaka by express train. You can easily visit Nara as a daytrip from Osaka. See our Nara travel guide for full details on Nara.
- For more daytrip ideas from Osaka, visit our Best Osaka Daytrips page.
- Don't try to do any more than this on three days in Osaka – you’ll tire yourself out. If you want to relax, subtract one or two places from this itinerary. As usual, it’s better to enjoy a few places properly than to sprint through many places.
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