6 Day Osaka Itinerary for First Time Visitors

We spent the entire month of March 2017 exploring Japan. Osaka was the second stop on our epic four week Japan adventure, and we were very excited. There were a lot of things that drew us to Osaka. One of the main reasons being, the fact that Osaka is home to Japan’s Universal Studios, where the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is located! You’ll learn more about our (my) Harry Potter obsession later in this Osaka Itinerary!

We spent a total of six days in Osaka, and there were a few things we wanted to see in the city during that time. It was a very busy week, but we’re glad we decided to set aside 6 days to explore Osaka.

If you’re planning a trip to Japan and Osaka is on your bucket list, here is our suggested six day Osaka itinerary to help you plan your very own epic Japanese adventure!

6 Day Osaka Itinerary for First Time Visitors

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. That means, if you click on certain links within this post and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks for continuing to support Rhiannon Travels, and keeping it a free travel guide and resource for everyone to use!

Where to stay in Osaka

We stayed at Hotel MyStays Sakaisuji-Honmachi during our time in Osaka. Our hotel was in a super convenient location, being only a 20 minute walk away from the main shopping district, Dotonbori and Shinsaibashi Street.

Day 1 – Arriving in Osaka & Osaka Castle

Hotels in Japan have a pretty strict check-in time, usually between 2pm and 3pm. We arrived a little too early to check in, so instead of hanging around and waiting, we decided to walk to Osaka Castle. It ended up taking us around 30 minutes to walk from our hotel to the castle, but after two hours sitting on the Shinkansen Bullet Train, we definitely appreciated the walk.

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Osaka Castle has been rebuilt quite a few times, with its most recent refurbishment back in 1997. Osaka Castle now features an elevator inside the castle itself, providing easier access for anyone who is unable to use the stairs to reach the top. After making it to the observation deck, you’ll be rewarded with amazing views of Osaka Castle Park and the rest of Osaka City. Make sure to bring your camera for this one.


Tip: If you haven’t spent the previous two hours sitting on a train, and don’t actually feel like walking thirty minutes, you can catch the JR Loop Line to Osakajokoen StationThis is a 10 minute train ride from Osaka Station, and will cost around 160 yen.

Osaka Castle Quick Tips & Information

Directions: Take the Tanimachi Subway Line or Chuo Subway Line to Tanimachi 4-chrome Station
Cost: 600 yen
Opening Hours: 9:00am – 5:00pm (last entrance at 4:30pm)
Closed: December 28th – January 1st

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Day 2 – Osaka Shopping Day

Our first full day in Osaka was spent exploring the craziness of the city’s most popular shopping streets. If you love to shop, be sure to set aside quite a bit in your budget for Osaka! There are so many different stores, selling a huge range of awesome souvenirs, clothes and electronics. You won’t be able to tear yourself away from the bargains, I promise that much!

Osaka is famous for its delicious Japanese cuisine, too. There are hundreds of street vendors and restaurants throughout Osaka, and even more so in Dotonbori and Shinsaibashi Street.

Dotonbori & Shinsaibashi Street 

Together, Dontonbori and Shinsaibashi Street make up the most popular shopping district in Osaka. Located in Minami and close to Namba Station, Dontonbori is home to a seemingly endless amount of boutiques, restaurants, souvenir stores, quirky dessert cafes, international clothing chains like Forever 21, H&M and Gap, and much more.

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If budget shopping chains aren’t your thing, take a walk 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.


While walking through the insanely busy streets of Dotonbori and Shinsaibashi, you’ll generally find Japanese snacks like Takoyaki (octopus filled batter balls, Yakitori (meat on a stick) and various seafood dishes.

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Amerikamura

Another area within the Minami district that you might want to check out is Amerkiamura. If you’re familiar with Tokyo’s Harajuku District, think of Amerkikamura as Osaka’s version. You’ll get a good taste of Japan’s teenage fashion and culture, while browsing the endless amount of clothing and thrift stores that line the streets.

In my opinion, a lot of the stores in Amerikamura were fairly overpriced. Most of them sold almost identical products to one another, and had been imported from the US. Since Russell and I had already visited the United States, 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!

Day 3 – Osaka Bay

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!

I know what you’re thinking: how on earth did you go 25 years without drinking coffee? Well to be totally honest, I have absolutely no idea.

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I’ve always loved the smell of coffee, but never got around to tasting it. After that first sip of my very first cappuccino, though, I was hooked. Don’t worry, since March last year I’ve certainly made up for the lack of coffee in my life.

Tempozan Ferris Wheel

After a quick breakfast (and coffee) at Starbucks, we caught a train to the Tempozan Ferris Wheel – the largest ferris wheel in Osaka. It was a clear day, so we had amazing views of the Osaka Bay area and city in the distance.


For 800 yen, we had 15 minutes to enjoy the incredible panoramic views of Osaka. Bring along your camera and be sure to film some footage from the top. It’s one of the best stories to share with family and friends, especially if you’re a Harry Potter fan!

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While at the top of the Tempozan Ferris Wheel, we noticed that Universal Studios was on the other side of the bay. All it took was a distant sighting of Hogwarts Castle, and the nerd in me was released. We were planning to visit Universal Studios a few days later, but I still wanted to jump off the ferris wheel, swim across the bay and stand in awe outside of Hogwarts.

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After our day exploring Osaka Bay, we headed back to our hotel for a quick rest and rejuvenation, before walking to Dotonbori for some dinner. While we were researching our trip to Japan, Russell and I read a lot about Japan’s famous cheesecake, generally found in Osaka. It took us a long time and a lot of walking, before we finally found the so-called famous cheesecakes.


We hate to be the bearer of bad news, but it was pretty average. It honestly tasted like someone had scrambled a bunch of eggs, filled a cake pan with said eggs, and baked it. Each to their own, but we didn’t like it at all. If you’re still curious, a fairly large size cheesecake costs around 600 yen.

Day 4 – Kyoto Day Trip

Day four was our very first day trip from Osaka to Kyoto. Let me start by saying that Kyoto is absolutely incredible. If you’re looking for a town to learn about Japan’s history, enjoy some beautiful scenery and feel as though you’re hundreds of years in the past, we definitely suggest setting aside a day or two to explore Kyoto.


The best way to travel from Osaka to Kyoto is by train. You’ll need to catch a couple of them, depending where you’re staying, but the journey is never usually longer than a couple hours. It’s absolutely worth it too, we promise.

Arashiyama Bamboo Forest 

One of the main reasons we wanted to visit Kyoto, was to experience the Bamboo Forest. If you haven’t seen photos of this place, we will include our favourites below to fuel your Japan wanderlust. Imagine absolute relaxation in an incredibly traditional and beautiful part of Japan.

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Arashiyama Bengal Cat Cafe

I’m a huge cat lady. I treat my cat, Hermione, as if she were my child. So being away from her for the whole month we spent in Japan, was super hard. Lucky there is an adorable Bengal Cat Cafe in Arashiyama, which we definitely paid 600 yen to visit and spend around half an hour playing with some adorable Bengal cats.

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First sighting of Cherry Blossoms

One of the things that we were most excited about in Japan, was seeing Cherry Blossoms. For some reason, although blossoms are found all over the world, they remind me of Japan every time I see one.

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Day 5 – Harry Potter World

The day that we had been waiting for! After a pretty stressful and confusing morning with 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 purchase an Express Pass each.

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As it turned out, this was the best decision we made all day. The lines for almost all of the rides were close to three hours long. With the Express Pass, though, we were able to get on seven of the most popular rides almost straight away.

Universal Studios Express Pass

When purchasing tickets to Universal Studios Japan, there is an Express Pass available, both online and at the gate. The Express Pass gets you onto seven of the most popular rides, with significantly shortened wait times. Yeah, it’s quite expensive, and we know not everybody can afford or justify spending that much on a theme park ticket. But we only had one day to explore Universal Studios, and we both absolutely love rollercoasters and theme parks, so we were happy to spend that extra money.

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There’s one thing we can say for sure: the Express Pass pays for itself after the first ride. We decided to ride Hogwarts 4D first, and when we entered the Express Pass line, the standby line was a 140 minute wait. From the moment we showed our Express Pass, to the moment we were off the ride, was around 20 minutes.


Not to mention the fact that’s it’s literally the second best theme park ride I’ve ever been on. A close second to Space Mountain in Disneyland, Anaheim.

As you can imagine, we had far too much to say about our experience as Muggles in the Magical world, so we had to publish an entirely seperate post about the topic. Read about our day at Harry Potter World at Universal Studios here.

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Universal Studios Cost & Information

1 day Studio Pass: 7,600 yen
2 day Studio Pass: 12,800
Express Pass 7: 20,700 yen
Address: 2 Chome-1-33 Sakurajima, Konohana Ward, Osaka, Osaka Prefecture 554-0031, Japan
Purchase Tickets: Buy Universal Studios Japan tickets here

Day 6 – Kyoto Day Trip

Our final full day in Osaka was spent with another day trip into Kyoto. This time, the reason for our visit was to see the Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine. It took around an hour to get to Fushimi by train(s), but it was definitely worth the trip. Fushimi is known for the thousands of torii gates that lead up a beautiful path through the mountain.

Fushimi-Inari Shrine

To avoid the crowds, try and arrive 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 the chance to take some pretty amazing photos. Whenever we wanted a good photo (well okay, it was normally just me) 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 you’re taking a photo. Most of the time, anyway.

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A lot of patience went into capturing the above three photos! It probably looks like we have Fushimi to ourselves. But sadly, that’s extremely far from the truth. We were amongst hundreds of people, and had to squeeze our way through most of the time. But that’s one thing you should get used to before visiting Japan for the first time – being surrounded by thousands upon thousands of people.


That just about covers our Osaka trip itinerary. We hope you found our Osaka itinerary helpful, and use it to plan your very own epic Japan adventure! Although we only spent six days in Osaka, we still managed to see a lot of cool stuff

Do you know the absolute best thing about us seeing so much of Osaka in just six days? We can help you do so too! You’re welcome.

Have you visited Osaka before? If not, what are you most excited about? Tell us in the comments below! 

Don’t forget to like us on Facebook to follow along with our travels. You can also find us on Pinterest, Twitter and Instagram!

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Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. That means, if you click on certain links within this post and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks for continuing to support Rhiannon Travels, and keeping it a free travel guide and resource for everyone to use!

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68 Comments

  1. April 8, 2017 / 9:47 am

    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. 🙂

  2. April 8, 2017 / 10:27 am

    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!

  3. April 8, 2017 / 7:52 pm

    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!?

    • April 9, 2017 / 9:20 am

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

  4. April 8, 2017 / 8:03 pm

    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!!! 🙂

    • April 9, 2017 / 9:19 am

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

  5. Becky Angell
    April 8, 2017 / 8:28 pm

    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 🙂

    • April 9, 2017 / 9:18 am

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

  6. April 8, 2017 / 8:33 pm

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

  7. Katherine
    April 8, 2017 / 8:43 pm

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

  8. April 8, 2017 / 8:55 pm

    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!

    • April 9, 2017 / 9:17 am

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

  9. April 8, 2017 / 9:27 pm

    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 🙂

    • April 9, 2017 / 9:16 am

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

  10. April 8, 2017 / 11:06 pm

    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!

    • April 9, 2017 / 9:16 am

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

  11. April 8, 2017 / 11:31 pm

    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?

    • April 9, 2017 / 9:15 am

      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! 🙂

  12. April 8, 2017 / 11:50 pm

    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!

  13. Kyntra Strickland
    April 9, 2017 / 5:12 am

    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!!

    • April 9, 2017 / 9:14 am

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

  14. April 9, 2017 / 9:25 am

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

  15. April 9, 2017 / 3:51 pm

    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!

  16. April 9, 2017 / 10:18 pm

    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 🙂

  17. Amy Rebecca Krigsman
    April 12, 2017 / 11:34 pm

    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?

    • April 14, 2017 / 1:53 pm

      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 🙂

  18. April 15, 2017 / 7:25 pm

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

    • April 15, 2017 / 8:02 pm

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

  19. Vivian D Diaz
    April 21, 2017 / 11:46 am

    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!

    • April 22, 2017 / 10:58 am

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

  20. Hannah
    July 4, 2017 / 1:37 pm

    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 ^__^

    • July 13, 2017 / 8:02 pm

      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 🙂

  21. August 26, 2017 / 12:37 pm

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

    • August 26, 2017 / 12:54 pm

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

  22. August 26, 2017 / 12:50 pm

    What a great itinerary. Thanks for the tips!

  23. August 26, 2017 / 12:56 pm

    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.

    • August 26, 2017 / 4:56 pm

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

  24. August 26, 2017 / 1:16 pm

    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!

    • August 26, 2017 / 4:56 pm

      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 🙂

  25. August 26, 2017 / 1:41 pm

    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!)

    • August 26, 2017 / 4:55 pm

      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 🙂

  26. August 26, 2017 / 3:17 pm

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

    • August 26, 2017 / 4:54 pm

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

  27. August 26, 2017 / 4:35 pm

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

    • August 26, 2017 / 4:54 pm

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

  28. August 26, 2017 / 4:47 pm

    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!

    • August 26, 2017 / 4:53 pm

      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! 🙂

  29. August 26, 2017 / 6:14 pm

    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!

    • August 27, 2017 / 4:37 pm

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

  30. August 26, 2017 / 6:19 pm

    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!

    • August 27, 2017 / 4:36 pm

      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! 🙂

  31. August 26, 2017 / 11:09 pm

    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

    • August 27, 2017 / 4:33 pm

      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 🙂

  32. August 27, 2017 / 12:34 am

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

    • August 27, 2017 / 4:32 pm

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

  33. Kelly
    August 27, 2017 / 1:33 am

    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.

    • August 27, 2017 / 4:31 pm

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

  34. August 27, 2017 / 2:06 am

    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!

    • August 27, 2017 / 4:29 pm

      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 🙂

  35. Flo
    August 27, 2017 / 2:56 am

    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!

    • August 27, 2017 / 2:51 pm

      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 🙂

  36. August 27, 2017 / 1:20 pm

    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!

    • August 27, 2017 / 2:48 pm

      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 🙂

  37. August 27, 2017 / 10:26 pm

    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?

  38. August 28, 2017 / 7:18 am

    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!

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