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

Back in March 2017, Russell and I spent the entire month exploring Japan. Osaka was the second stop on our four week adventure, and we were very excited. Although it was nice introducing ourselves to Japan with a couple of days in Yokohama, we were happy to finally experience the hustle and bustle of big city Japan. There were a lot of things that drew us to visit Osaka. One of the main reasons Osaka was on our itinerary, is because of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios. You’ll learn more about my Harry Potter obsession later in our Osaka itinerary.

We spent six 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 glad we decided to set aside six 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.

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

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

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!

Day 1: Arriving in Osaka & Osaka Castle

We arrived in Osaka via the Shinkansen Bullet Train from Yokohama. Japan has a fairly strict check-in time of around 3pm, and we arrived at our hotel in Osaka a little too early for check-in. So we left our luggage in the lobby of Hotel MyStays Sakaisuji-Honmachi, and decided to walk to Osaka Castle. It took around half an hour to walk to Osaka Castle, but after spending a couple of hours sitting on the Bullet Train, we definitely appreciated the walk.

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 people who are 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!

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 Station, which is a 10 minute train ride from Osaka Station. This will cost you 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

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

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 two main and most popular shopping streets in Minami, located around Namba Station. Dotombori 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 snacks 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 City Osaka Itinerary: A Suggested 6 Day Guide To Seeing The City

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.

Another area within the Minami district that you may 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 tons of clothing and thrift stores lining the streets.

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

In my opinion, a lot of the stores within Amerikamura 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 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!

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

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! I’ve been asked many times since telling this story, how on Earth did you go 25 years without drinking coffee? Well honestly, I have no idea. I’ve always loved the smell of coffee, but never really got around to tasting it. But after the first sip of my very first cappuccino I excitedly purchased from a corner Starbucks in Osaka, I was hooked.

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

This is the infamous first ever cup of coffee.

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 quite 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 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….

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

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 in the middle of Diagon Alley.

If you aren’t a Harry Potter fan, I apologise for the above.

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

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.

Well, I 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 – Bamboo Forrest, Arashiyama, Bengal Cat Cafe & Cherry Blossoms

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

We spent a couple of days in this beautiful town during our time in Osaka, but day four in particular was spent exploring the Bamboo Forest and Bengal Cat Cafe in the beautiful town of Arashiyama. We also had our very first Japanese Cherry Blossom sighting! Here’s an entire blog post about our day in Arashiyama, Kyoto.

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

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

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. 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, we were able to get on seven of the most popular rides almost straight away.

What is an 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 I 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.

There’s one thing I 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 cue 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 tide I’ve ever been on. A close second to Space Mountain at Disneyland, Anaheim.

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

We are both pretty big Harry Potter fans. Myself in particular. I have a Deathly Hallows tattoo on my ankle, and we named our cat Hermione. I probably don’t need to say more. So we were pretty excited to be finally visiting the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. As you can imagine, I had far too much to say about our experience as Muggles in the Magical world, so I had to publish an entirely seperate post about the topic. Read about our day at Harry Potter World at Universal Studios here.

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

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 – Fushimi-Inari Shrine

Our final full day in Osaka was spent on 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 tip. Fushimi is known for the thousands of torii gates that lead up a beautiful path through the mountain.

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.  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

A lot of patience went into capturing the above three photos! It probably looks like we have Fushimi to ourselves. Well, 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.

So there you have it, our suggested six day Osaka itinerary. Given that we were only in Osaka for six days, there are still a ton of things we didn’t get to do and see. That being said, we did manage to cross off quite a few things from our Osaka 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! If you haven’t visited yet, tell me about your own Osaka itinerary.

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

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!

  • 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!