Osaka Itinerary: A Suggested 6 Day Guide To Seeing The City

My partner Russell and I spent the whole month of March 2017, exploring Japan. Osaka was the second stop on our 4 week adventure, and we couldn’t be more excited! There were many things that drew us to the city of Osaka. One of our main reasons for visiting, was The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios. Which certainly didn’t disappoint!

We spent 6 days in Osaka, and there were quite a few things on our list of things to see and do in the city! It was a very busy week, but I’m definitely glad we decided to set aside a 6 days to explore Osaka. If you are planning a trip to Japan, and Osaka is on your wish list, here is our suggested itinerary for a 6 day visit!

Osaka Itinerary: A Suggested 6 Day Guide To Seeing The City

Osaka Itinerary: A Suggested 6 Day Guide to Seeing the City

Day 1: Arriving in Osaka & Osaka Castle

We arrived in Osaka via the Shinkansen Bullet Train from Yokohama. Since we arrived a couple of hours too early to be able to check in (check-in time in Japan is fairly strict at 3pm), we left our luggage in the lobby of our hotel (Hotel MyStays Sakaisuji-Honmachi) and decided to walk to Osaka Castle. It took us around half an hour to walk to Osaka Castle, but after spending a couple of hours sitting on the Shinkansen, our legs appreciated the workout!

Osaka Castle has been rebuilt quite a few times, and had it’s most recent rebuild in 1997. It now features an elevator inside the castle, providing easier accessibility for people who are unable to use the stairs to reach the top. After climbing to the observation deck, you’ll be rewarded with an amazing view of Osaka Castle Park and the rest of the city!

If you don’t feel like walking to the Castle, you can catch the JR Loop Line to Osakajokoen Station, which is a 10 minute train ride from Osaka Station. This will cost you around 160 yen.

If you're ever in Osaka, make sure you visit Osaka Castle! One of the best views of the city,… Click To Tweet

Osaka Castle Hours + Fees

Cost: 600 yen
Opening Hours: 9:00am – 5:00pm (last entrance at 4:30pm)
Closed: December 28th – January 1st

Osaka Itinerary: A Suggested 6 Day Guide To Seeing The City

The incredible Osaka Castle. One of the most beautiful castles in Japan, in my opinion!

Osaka Itinerary: A Suggested 6 Day Guide To Seeing The City
We kept all of our tickets and information booklets from our trip around Japan!
Osaka Itinerary: A Suggested 6 Day Guide To Seeing The City
There are so many beautiful, historic features on Japan’s shrines and castles.
Osaka Itinerary: A Suggested 6 Day Guide To Seeing The City

The view of Osaka from the top of Osaka Castle is incredible. Well worth the climb and entrance fee of 300 yen!

Day 2: Dotonbori, Shinsaibashi Street & Amerikamura

Our first full day in Osaka was spent exploring the craziness of Dotonbori and Shinsaibashi Street. These are the main two shopping streets in Minami, located around Namba Station. Dotonbori is one of Osaka’s most popular tourist destinations, and is filled with an endless amount of restaurants and street food vendors. While walking through the insanely busy streets of Dotonbori and Shinsaibashi, you’ll generally find Japanese cuisines like takoyaki (octopus filled batter balls), yakitori (meat on a stick), and various seafood dishes.

Osaka Itinerary: A Suggested 6 Day Guide To Seeing The CityRussell’s lobster roll from Luke’s Lobster in Dotonbori! Osaka Itinerary: A Suggested 6 Day Guide To Seeing The City
Luke’s Lobster in Dotonbori. It’s generally pretty busy, so prepare to wait in line!

Dotonbori is filled with a seemingly endless amount of popular, well-known shopping chains. International brands such as Forever 21, H&M and Gap can be found within walking distance of each other. However, if budget shopping chains aren’t your thing, head down the 600m long Shinsaibashi Street. You’ll find a ton of unique shopping boutiques, restaurants and bars to suit any taste. There are also a few department stores selling all sorts of high end fashion, cosmetics and accessory labels.

There is another area within the Minami district that you’ll definitely want to check out, and that’s Amerikamura. If you’re familiar with Tokyo’s Harajuku, Amerikamura is Osaka’s version! You’ll get a good taste of Japan’s teenage fashion and culture while you browse the clothing stores and thrift shops lining the streets.

Osaka Itinerary: A Suggested 6 Day Guide To Seeing The City

The centre of Dotonbori – one of the craziest shopping streets I’ve ever experienced!

In my opinion, a lot of the stores were fairly overpriced. Most of them sold almost identical products to one another, imported from the US. Since Russell and I had already visited the US, we weren’t interested in many of the products on sale. But it was still a cool experience to walk around and soak in the bustling atmosphere!

We also found a couple of Book-Off stores while exploring this area! If you’re not familiar with what the Book Off brand is, check out this post. Essentially, Book-Off is a second hand store selling everything from clothes, DVD’s, CD’s and books, to old and new gaming consoles and games!

Osaka Itinerary: A Suggested 6 Day Guide To Seeing The CityOur first selfie amongst the crazy hustle and bustle of Dotonbori! Osaka Itinerary: A Suggested 6 Day Guide To Seeing The CitySlightly tipsy, on the way to Dotonbori for some dinner and shopping.

Osaka Itinerary: A Suggested 6 Day Guide To Seeing The City

Have you visited Dotonbori in Osaka? Here's what to expect! #japantravel #osaka Click To Tweet

Day 3: Tempozan Ferris Wheel (and first sighting of Universal Studios!)

We started our third day in Osaka, with a brief stop at Starbucks. It was here that I had my very first cup of coffee! Let me tell you, I regret living the past 25 years of my life without coffee. I’m a big believer in the power of caffeine, and have always loved the smell of coffee, but never got around to trying it. After my first sip of the cappuccino I excitedly bought, I was hooked.

Osaka Itinerary: A Suggested 6 Day Guide To Seeing The City

My first ever cup of coffee!

After Starbucks, we caught a train to the Tempozan Ferris Wheel – the largest ferris wheel in Osaka. It was a fairly clear day, so we had amazing views of the bay area and city in the distance. For 800 yen, you’ll have 15 minutes to enjoy the incredible panoramic views of Osaka. Definitely bring a camera for this one!

Osaka Itinerary: A Suggested 6 Day Guide To Seeing The City Osaka Itinerary: A Suggested 6 Day Guide To Seeing The City

Osaka Itinerary: A Suggested 6 Day Guide To Seeing The CityOur first sighting of Harry Potter World at Universal Studios! Osaka Itinerary: A Suggested 6 Day Guide To Seeing The CityThe view from the Tempozan Ferris Wheel is amazing! Well worth the cost
Osaka Itinerary: A Suggested 6 Day Guide To Seeing The City

The incredible Tempozan Ferris Wheel!

While at the top of the Tempozan Ferris Wheel, Russell and I noticed that Universal Studios was on the other side of the bay! All it took was a sighting of Hogwarts Castle and a rollercoaster to get me super excited for our trip to Universal a few days later. Yes, I’m a Harry Potter nerd. No, I’m not ashamed of it. #harrypotterforlife

Ride the Tempozan Ferris wheel for awesome views of Osaka's Universal Studios & Harry… Click To Tweet

After our day exploring Osaka Bay, we headed back to our hotel, rested for a little while and then headed back out to the Dotonbori area for some dinner. While researching for our Japan trip, Russell and I heard a lot about Japan’s “famous” cheesecake, generally found in Osaka. It took us a long time, and a lot of walking to finally come across the cafe that sold these so-called famous cheesecakes. For 600 yen, you get a fairly large cheesecake packaged nicely in a takeaway bag.

So, how was it? Well, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but we didn’t enjoy it. It tasted like someone had scrambled a bunch of eggs, filled a cake pan and baked it. Each to their own, but we didn’t like it at all!

Day 4 – Kyoto: Bamboo Forrest, Arashiyama, Bengal Cat Cafe & Cherry Blossoms

On day 4, we took our first day trip out of Osaka, to Kyoto! Kyoto is absolutely incredible, and if you’re looking for a town in which you can learn about Japan’s historic side, enjoy some beautiful scenery and feel like you’re taken back hundreds of years into the past, I definitely suggest setting aside some time to explore Kyoto.

We spent a couple of days in this beautiful town, but today in particular was spent exploring the Bamboo Forest, Arashiyama, Bengal Cat Cafe and also where we had our first cherry blossoms sighting! I’ve already published a post about our day in Kyoto, so click here to read all about it!

Osaka Itinerary: A Suggested 6 Day Guide To Seeing The City

The Bamboo Forest in Arashiyama, Kyoto

Day 5: Universal Studios – The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Ah, the day that we had been waiting for! After a pretty stressful and confusing morning of missing trains and catching the wrong one, we finally arrived at Universal Studios. After much consideration, we decided to spend a bit of extra money and purchased the Express Pass. As it turned out, this was the absolute best decision! The lines for almost all of the rides were close to 3 hours long. With the Express Pass, we were able to get on 7 of the most popular rides almost straight away.

I’ll happily admit both Russell and I are quite the Harry Potter fans. We named out cat Hermione. Need I say more? So we were both pretty excited to be visiting the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. As you can imagine, I had far too much to say about our experience, so I had to publish a completely seperate post. You can read that here!

Osaka Itinerary: A Suggested 6 Day Guide To Seeing The City

A very happy Rhiannon outside of Universal Studios!

Osaka Itinerary: A Suggested 6 Day Guide To Seeing The City

The incredible & magnificent Wizarding World of Harry Potter! Seeing Hogwarts Castle was definitely a dream come true!

Universal Studios Cost + Opening Hours

1 day Studio Pass: 7,600 yen
2 day Studio Pass: 12,800
Express Pass 7: 20,700 yen

The Express Pass gets you onto 7 of the most popular rides, with significantly shortened wait times. Yes, it’s very expensive, and I know not everybody can afford or justify spending that much on a theme park ticket. But considering we only had one day to explore the park, and both Russell and I love rides and rollercoasters, we were happy to spend that extra money.

I can promise you one thing: the Express Pass pays for itself after the first ride. Our first ride was Hogwarts 4D. The standby wait time when we entered the Express Pass line, was 140 minutes. After showing our Express Pass, we were on and off the ride in under 20 minutes.
Note: Not to mention, it’s literally the second best theme park ride I have ever been on. Close second to Space Mountain!

So if you would prefer to spend less time waiting in lines and more time enjoying everything else Universal Studios has to offer (and, of course, can afford the extra money), I highly recommend purchasing the Express Pass ticket. It will be worth it!

We spent a good 6 or so hours in the park, then headed over to City Walk outside the Park gates where we had a delicious late lunch at TGI Friday’s, then headed back to the hotel!

Osaka's Universal Studios is absolutely amazing! Perfect for Harry Potter lovers, as well! Have… Click To Tweet

Day 6: Fushimi-Inari Shrine (Kyoto)

On our final full day in Osaka, we took another day trip into Kyoto. This time, the reason for our visit was to see the Fushimi Inari-taisha shrine. It took us about an hour to get there by train, but it was certainly worth the trip. If you’re currently planning a Japan visit, I’m sure you’ve already heard about this famous Kyoto Shrine. It’s well known for the thousands of torii gates that lead up a beautiful path through the mountain.

If you want to avoid the crowds, I suggest arriving early in the morning. The shrine itself is open from dawn to dusk, so the earlier you arrive, the less busy it will be! This will also give you a chance to take some pretty amazing photos. Whenever we wanted a good photo, we had to wait for the crowds to subside to steal a clear shot. Luckily, other visitors tend to stop walking or move out of the way when they can see that you’re taking a photo.

Osaka Itinerary: A Suggested 6 Day Guide To Seeing The City Osaka Itinerary: A Suggested 6 Day Guide To Seeing The City Osaka Itinerary: A Suggested 6 Day Guide To Seeing The City

Osaka Itinerary: A Suggested 6 Day Guide To Seeing The CityIt may look like there is no one else there, but the trick to clear photos, is great timing!  Osaka Itinerary: A Suggested 6 Day Guide To Seeing The City
The temple at the main entrance of Fushimi Inari-Taisha is quite incredible!
Fushimi Inari-Taisha shrine is absolutely amazing. The torii gates are spectacular. Here are… Click To Tweet

So there you have it – my suggested 6 day Osaka itinerary! There is still a ton of stuff we didn’t get to do and see. But we did manage to cross off quite a few things from our bucket list, so I would definitely call that an achievement!

Have you visited Osaka during your Japan travels? What was your favourite part about the city? Tell me in the comments! 

Did you like this post? Pin it for later, or share with your friends!

Osaka Itinerary: A Suggested 6 Day Guide To Seeing The City Osaka Itinerary: A Suggested 6 Day Guide To Seeing The City
  • You cannot forget the takoyaki! it is one of Osaka’s most famous dishes and it is a must for any traveler. I did a lot of research before going to find the best place. It was a maze, but worth it. 🙂

  • Osaka is such a beautiful prefecture. Six days isn`t enough to fully explore this beautiful place, but if that`s the only amount of time you have, I think you covered most of the basic itinerary. Thanks for this useful information. You look like you had a lot of fun!

  • OMG this post is super helpful and jam packed full of information! I love that you have snack options and hours of operation for places. Osaka castle looks stunning – a friend of mine plays baseball there a lot so I’m going to ask if he’s ever been to these places!?

    • Thanks! I’m glad you liked it 😀
      Oh that’s cool – I love baseball!

  • Great suggestions! I am going to Japan next week and this will surely come in handy!! I was planning to go to the Bengal cat cafe, so glad to see you loved it!!! 🙂

    • Oh yay so exciting! I hope you have an amazing trip 😀
      Yesss I love cats you’ll have a great time 😀

  • Becky Angell

    I loved the castle when I visited although didn’t actually go inside, sometimes I think they look nicer from the outside!! Some great ideas 🙂

    • Yeah it definitely looks amazing from the outside. The view at the top was cool though!

  • Wow this city looks gorgeous, I’d love to visit one day! Awesome guide 🙂

  • Katherine

    Japan seems so unique! 🙂 I love the temples and that walkway. Hope you had more Japanese foods other than the ones you posted.

  • What an amazing trip! The architecture is so stunning. And the lobster – well that just looks delicious. Excuse me while I add this to my bucket list!

    • Haha it’s a wonderful place! A great addition to your bucket list 😀

  • I have been wanting to go to Japan as long as I can remember! The Fushimi Inari-taisha shrine is high on my bucket list and I enjoyed all of your pictures 🙂

    • You definitely should! I hope you get to visit one day 🙂

  • I would love to visit Japan! Your guide is really helpful. Thanks for including prices for everything – this makes planning so much easier for me when trying to decide what to do with my budget! Your photos look so great too!

    • Thanks! Yeah I love to read posts where people have included prices – definitely makes things easier!

  • I am so happy I’ve seen your post today at the Female travelers group as I am going to Osaka in just a few weeks 🙂 I was actually thinking of staying at Kyoto and having a day trip to Osaka. What do you think is better – and where to spend more time: in Osaka or Kyoto?

    • I would suggest staying in Osaka and day-tripping it to Kyoto for one or two days. Kyoto is a beautiful place, but there’s much more to see and do in Osaka (in my opinion!) Hope you have an amazing trip! 🙂

  • I would love to visit Japan one day. I especially like the style of the houses and the canals between the modern buildings look awesome!

  • Kyntra Strickland

    The castle looks lovely and the food looks delicious!! I have never been to Japan, but when I finally get there Osaka is definitely on my list of places to see. You have such lovely pictures and through information! Also, had NO idea that there was a Universal studios in Osaka. I love Harry Potter and would definitely spend a day there. Thank you for sharing!!

    • I’m glad you liked it, thanks! Yeah Harry Potter World is a must when you visit Osaka!

  • Love all your photos!!! Looks like it was such a fun time I will have to add Osaka to my bucket list 🙂

  • Kat

    I enjoyed reading your recommendations for Osaka! I was there last year and I’m dying to go back again!! My favourite thing about Osaka is the takoyaki – it’s absolutely delicious!

  • Japan seems so unique ! I enjoyed all of the pictures: the architecture is so stunning. I didn’t know that there was a Universal studios in Osaka. I’m a Harry Potter fan and would definitely spend a day there if I go to Osaka. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  • Amy Rebecca Krigsman

    It sounds like a beautiful trip! Did you find that the time you spent in Osaka was sufficient or did you feel like you were cramming and didn’t get to see enough?

    • I think we stayed in Osaka for plenty of time! There’s still probably a lot that we didn’t get to see, but it was a good amount of time in one city 🙂

  • Fantastic pictures! …You guys look great too! … I have a trip coming up in Jan ’18 to Japan.. pinning this experience.. Thanks 🙂

    • Oooh that’s so exciting! I hope you have an amazing time 😀 Thanks so much!

  • Vivian D Diaz

    Your posts are very very helpful :), thank you so much for the simple but full of useful and important information that we can use for my future travel to Japan.

    Keep it up!

    • I’m so glad! Let me know if you need any more advice! 🙂

  • Hannah

    Thank you so much for your post–it’s SO helpful!!!!

    I’m going to Japan this Thursday with my parents for the first time and most recommendation sites only had minimal information with no descriptions of the places…I’ve been finding your posts so helpful and having a genuine “insider’s” view of traveling in Japan! Your posts are very appreciated ^__^

    • Thanks so much for reading, and for your support, Hannah! I’m so glad my posts have been helpful. I try to include as much useful information as possible! I hope you have an amazing time in Japan, it’s an incredible country 🙂

  • Awesome! Fushimi Inari- Taisha Shrine looks so beautiful, good going with getting those shots without getting photobombed haha

    • Thanks Tasha! It was definitely difficult not getting photobombed haha! Thanks for reading 🙂

  • What a great itinerary. Thanks for the tips!

  • I had no idea Japan had castles! My teen has been bugging me to go to Japan and now I must put Osaka on the list.

    • Japan has a lot of castles and shrines/temples! I definitely recommend visiting, it’s a wonderful country! Thanks for reading 🙂

  • I LOVEEEEEEE JAPAN! seeing posts about this country makes me so happy. and osaka is a great home base when traveling to japan because it’s very close to nearby prefectures which are also perfect for day trips! can’t wait to go back!

    • I love Japan too! Osaka definitely is a great home base for exploring more of Japan. The train system is incredible, you could literally go anywhere in the country super quick and easy! Thanks for reading, Stella 🙂

  • Great post! We sadly only spent 2 days in Osaka so didn’t get to see that much. Will definitely refer to your post if we go back (which I hope we will!)

    • I hope you get to go back one day soon to spend more time in the city! So much to see and do! Thanks for reading, Sarah 🙂

  • Thanks so much for sharing! I’m so excited, going to japan soon 😊

    • How exciting! Have a fantastic time, can’t wait to read all about it! Thanks for reading, Nicola 🙂

  • Wow looks like fun! I would love to take photos in the bamboo forest and the lobster bar looks yummy!

    • The bamboo forest was amazing! Pretty unreal to be surrounded by so many bamboo trees! Thanks for reading 🙂

  • We absolutely loved Osaka, actually liked it more than we expected as most people aren’t so enthusiastic about it. Our favourite part was all the good food and amazing city buzz. Great itinerary!

    • I feel the same way! I didn’t expect too much from it, as I was comparing everything to Tokyo. But it’s an amazing city! I’m glad you also had a great time. Thanks for reading, Lisanne! 🙂

  • Meg

    I didn’t think that Japan would have castles for some reason, so I’ve learned a new thing today! I was also tickled by the fact that you’ve never tried coffee before and an Osaka Starbucks was your grand introduction to the world of caffeine! Watch out world!

    • Haha so many people are fascinated that I’d never had coffee! haha. I’m forever grateful for Osaka Starbucks! Thanks for reading 🙂

  • It looks like you had such a great time! I would go specifically for the Wizarding World of Harry Potter too haha but it’s clear that there’s so much to do in the area as well. My friend actually spent a week in Osaka & Kyoto and loved it… I guess I should follow suit 🙂 haha. Thanks for sharing!

    • I’m glad we’re on the same page with Harry Potter! Haha. There definitely is a lot to see and do in Osaka though. You should follow suit! I hope you get to visit soon 🙂 Thanks for reading, Ella! 🙂

  • What an awesome post! I am hoping to make it to Japan soon and seeing what you got up to makes me see what I can do there. The Shrine is at the top of my list. I see it everywhere. As an Aussie though…how have you possibly never had a cup of coffee???? Blasphemous! Haha

    • I hope you get to visit soon! I have no idea why I’d never had coffee hahah I’ve always loved the smell of it, but for some reason I never tried it! I’m now addicted though haha. Thanks for reading 🙂

  • Wow looks amazing! I have never been to Asia but it’s somewhere I’d love to go one day

    • I definitely suggest making Japan your first Asian adventure! Incredible country 🙂 Thanks for reading, Hayley!

  • Kelly

    I only got to check out Tokyo when i was in Japanbut Osaka lookd lovely. Would love to check out the bamboo forest and the Bengal Cat cafe. I also had no idea there was a universal studios here. Would love to visit Hogwarts. Thanks for a lovely and helpful post.

    • I hope you get to go back and visit Osaka as well! It’s definitely a must-see 🙂 Thanks for reading, Kelly!

  • I did not know that there was a Harry Potter theme park in Japan! This got me thinking that I should reread the books sometime soon and maybe do a movie marathon 🙂 Not yet Hermione-cat level fan here, but I did enjoy the books a lot! My brother actually said that HP ruined book reading for him, as nothing else is as goof!

    • That sounds like a fantastic idea! You can never watch or read Harry Potter enough times! Haha, yeah we’re a little bit obsessed 😛 I agree with your brother – nothing else is as good! Thanks for reading 🙂

  • Flo

    Ahhhh so bummed that we missed Universal when we visited Osaka! I really miss Japan so these photos brought me back – I’d love to go back for the hustle & bustle of Dotonbori one day!

    • Ohhh that’s is a bummer! Oh well, next time! 😉 Japan definitely is an amazing country, isn’t it! Dotonbori was one of the busiest and craziest places I’ve ever been! So many people! Thanks for reading 🙂

  • Love this guide! I just went to Osaka for my first time. Unfortunately, we only stayed for one day/night while en route to Kyoto, but the one day was better than nothing! I’d love to go back. The food there is out of this world!

    • Oh that’s a bit of a bummer you only got to stay one day. But you’re right – better than nothing! Osaka definitely is one of the craziest and wonderful cities in Japan! 🙂
      Thanks for reading, Kristen 🙂

  • Would love to see the Fushimi Inari-taisha shrine. Were there tons of people when you went? What time of day would you suggest going?

  • I’ve wanted to visit Japan for as long as I can remember, and Osaka and Kyoto are two of the spots I’m most excited to visit! This guide is perfect and so detailed. I’ll definitely be consulting this when I do visit Japan!