Welcome to Osaka, one of Japan’s most vibrant and exciting cities! If you’re planning a trip to Osaka and only have three days to spend, this travel guide is for you. In this guide, we’ll share our best travel tips and advice for what to see and do in Osaka. We’ll also highlight the most important places to visit, recommend routes to take, and suggest where to sleep and eat during your stay. And the best part? We’ve also included information about free tours in Osaka that you can take advantage of. Let’s get started!
Travel Tips in Osaka
- Bring cash with you as some small establishments may not accept credit cards.
- Wear comfortable shoes as there is a lot of walking involved when exploring Osaka.
- Take advantage of the Osaka Amazing Pass, which gives you unlimited use of public transportation and free admission to many popular attractions.
- Download a map or use a GPS-enabled device to help you navigate the city.
- Be mindful of the local customs and etiquette, such as removing your shoes before entering someone’s home or certain establishments.
What to See in Osaka
Osaka is a city that offers something for everyone, from cultural landmarks to modern attractions. Here are some of the most important places you should visit:
- Osaka Castle – A must-visit attraction, this historic castle dates back to the 16th century and features beautiful gardens and a museum.
- Dotonbori – A popular entertainment district known for its bright neon lights and diverse food options.
- Shitennoji Temple – One of Japan’s oldest temples, dating back to the 6th century.
- Umeda Sky Building – A modern skyscraper with an observation deck that offers stunning views of the city.
- Universal Studios Japan – A theme park that offers a fun and exciting experience for visitors of all ages.
These are just a few of the many attractions that Osaka has to offer. Be sure to also explore some of the city’s charming neighborhoods, such as Namba and Shinsekai.
Routes in Osaka
If you’re only in Osaka for three days, it’s important to plan your routes carefully to make the most of your time. Here are some suggested routes you can take:
- Day 1: Osaka Castle and Dotonbori – Start your day by visiting Osaka Castle and its beautiful gardens. Afterward, head to Dotonbori to experience the bustling energy of this famous entertainment district and enjoy some local cuisine.
- Day 2: Shitennoji Temple and Umeda Sky Building – Begin your day by visiting Shitennoji Temple and taking in its serene atmosphere. From there, head to Umeda Sky Building for stunning views of the city. End your day by exploring the shopping and dining options in the Umeda area.
- Day 3: Universal Studios Japan and Shinsekai – Spend your final day in Osaka at Universal Studios Japan, where you can enjoy thrilling rides and attractions based on popular movies and TV shows. Afterward, head to the nearby neighborhood of Shinsekai to experience its retro charm and local street food.
Of course, these are just suggested routes – feel free to mix and match depending on your interests and preferences!
Where to Sleep in Osaka
Osaka offers a wide range of accommodation options to suit every budget and taste. Here are some recommendations:
- Hotel Granvia Osaka – A luxury hotel located above Osaka Station, with easy access to public transportation.
- Hostel Enisia Namba – A budget-friendly hostel located in the heart of the Namba area, with easy access to popular attractions.
- Airbnb – A popular option for those who prefer the convenience and comfort of a home away from home. There are many Airbnb options available in Osaka, from cozy apartments to spacious houses.
Be sure to book your accommodation in advance, especially during peak travel seasons.
Where to Eat in Osaka
Osaka is known for its delicious cuisine, especially street food. Here are some recommendations for where to eat:
- Kuromon Ichiba Market – A famous market in Osaka that offers a wide variety of fresh seafood, fruits, and vegetables.
- Takoyaki stands – Osaka’s famous octopus balls, which can be found at many street food stands throughout the city.
- Okonomiyaki restaurants – A savory pancake-like dish that is a must-try in Osaka. There are many okonomiyaki restaurants throughout the city.
- Ramen restaurants – Osaka is home to many delicious ramen restaurants, which offer a variety of different styles and flavors.
Be sure to also try some of Osaka’s famous sweets, such as mochi and taiyaki.
Free Tours in Osaka
If you’re looking for a budget-friendly way to explore Osaka, consider taking advantage of these free tours:
- Osaka Free Walking Tour – A volunteer-led tour that takes you through some of Osaka’s most historic neighborhoods and landmarks.
- Osaka Tourist Information Center Walking Tour – A free tour that introduces you to the best shopping and dining spots in Osaka.
- Osaka Free Guide – A service that matches you with a local volunteer guide who can show you around Osaka and provide insider tips and recommendations.
These tours are a great way to see the city through the eyes of a local and learn more about its history and culture.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some commonly asked questions about visiting Osaka:
- What is the best time to visit Osaka? – The best time to visit Osaka is during the spring (March to May) and fall (September to November) when the weather is mild and comfortable.
- Is Osaka safe for tourists? – Yes, Osaka is generally a safe city for tourists. However, it’s always a good idea to take basic precautions such as keeping an eye on your belongings and avoiding dark or deserted areas at night.
- Do I need a visa to visit Osaka? – This depends on your nationality. If you are a citizen of a country that has a visa exemption agreement with Japan, you do not need a visa for short-term stays (less than 90 days). Otherwise, you will need to apply for a tourist visa in advance.
- What is the currency in Osaka? – The currency in Osaka (and Japan) is the Japanese yen (JPY).
- Do I need to speak Japanese to visit Osaka? – No, it’s not necessary to speak Japanese to visit Osaka. However, it’s always a good idea to learn a few basic phrases and be patient and respectful when communicating with locals.