Things To Do in Osaka: 4 Things I Loved about Osaka, Japan

Things To Do in Osaka: 4 Things I Loved about Osaka, Japan

Japan is one of those countries that you need to see to believe. Before visiting Japan this past March, my partner Russell and I did a lot of research. We researched everything from the currency to transport, shopping, food and general must-know information about Japan. Every single YouTube video we watched, was filled with beautiful footage and every vlogger saying that Japan is amazing. So after reading all of these incredible reviews that claimed Japan was the best place they had ever visited, we had high hopes.

We spent a lot of time narrowing down our itinerary, making sure we had a list of everything we wanted to see and do. Osaka was second on our trip around Japan, and we spent 7 days exploring the city! With over 8 million people, it’s Japan’s third most populated city. 

There was quite a bit that we wanted to see in Osaka, and although we had 7 days, unfortunately we didn’t see everything. We did, however, cross a good amount of things off our list. So at least that’s better than not being able to explore Osaka at all!

Getting to Osaka, Japan

From within Japan: The Shinkansen Bullet Train travels to Osaka from most major cities throughout Japan. This is probably the coolest and most fun way to travel around the country!

Things To Do in Osaka: 4 Things I Loved about Osaka, Japan

From Australia: Virgin Airlines Australia can fly you direct from Melbourne to Osaka for a little under $1,000. For a cheaper option, fly to Tokyo for around $700, then catch the Shinkansen Bullet Train from Tokyo to Osaka! Not only will you be saving money, but you’ll also see more of the country!

From everywhere else: Check your favourite airline for daily deals to Japan. The same applies here in regards to internal travel around the country. When in doubt – bullet train! Especially if you prefer to fly into Tokyo and travel by train to Osaka.

[bctt tweet=”Helpful tips on getting to #japan from #australia in particular, the rest of the world and within Japan!” username=”rhiannontravels”]

Here are 4 things I loved about Osaka

1. Universal Studios (more specifically, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter!)

What is one of the best things to do in Osaka? Well if you’ve been on my blog before, you’ll know that I’m a full blown cat lady. Russell and I adopted a kitten last year, and named her Hermione after our (my) obsession with Harry Potter. So there’s that.
As soon as I knew Harry Potter World existed, I just had to go. Unfortunately I didn’t make it to the Universal Studios in California when WWHP opened. So when I discovered that there was one in Osaka’s Universal Studios, it was immediately added to my list. Right at the top, in the everything-on-this-list-is-happening-no-matter-what column. 

Things To Do in Osaka: 4 Things I Loved about Osaka, Japan

The weather changed so quickly! It was sunny in the morning, then came the clouds and rain!

Things To Do in Osaka: 4 Things I Loved about Osaka, Japan

Whether you’re a Harry Potter fan or not, I definitely suggest visiting Universal Studios. There are lots of other things to see and do within the main park, if you don’t like Harry Potter. But for those who do, and have also named their pets after wizarding characters, you won’t want to miss it! 

The decoration, detail and sets are spot on – I genuinely felt like I had walked through my TV and landed out the front of Hogwarts. It’s incredible. The park staff members are great too. They’re always in character, super friendly and will do anything they can to help you navigate the park. 

Things To Do in Osaka: 4 Things I Loved about Osaka, Japan Things To Do in Osaka: 4 Things I Loved about Osaka, Japan

My tips for Harry Potter World in Universal Studios:

  • Make sure you try a Butterbeer – if you haven’t seen the movies or read any of the books, you won’t know what I’m talking about. But it’s is a well-known, delicious beverage within the wizarding world.
    You can purchase Butterbeer a few ways: 1) from outdoor ‘carts’ around the HPW park, 2) from an indoor take away bar or 3) at a sit-down restaurant. We got ours from the indoor bar, because the restaurant was fully booked!
    You can get your Butterbeer in either a regular throw-away cup, or a souvenir cup which will cost you less than 1,000 yen.

Things To Do in Osaka: 4 Things I Loved about Osaka, JapanThings To Do in Osaka: 4 Things I Loved about Osaka, JapanThings To Do in Osaka: 4 Things I Loved about Osaka, Japan

  • Prepare to wait in lines – theme parks in general around Japan are super busy. Universal Studios is no exception. The lines for rides and food will probably be longer than you expected, so be prepared! Consider eating at non-meal times during the day, and bring your own snacks and water. As for rides, you can purchase an Express Pass** for the park to make your day less about waiting in line, and more about riding rollercoasters!
  • Strategically purchase your Harry Potter themed souvenirs – gifts and souvenirs within Universal Studios are super expensive. Harry Potter merchandise in particular. They know people will buy the products regardless of the cost, so why not up the price? It’s annoying and definitely unnecessary, but that’s business. If you’re trying to stick to a budget, do some research before you visit and make a list of the souvenirs you know you definitely want to buy. For example, I knew I wanted a Gryffindor scarf and Hermione’s wand. Both of these were way overpriced, so I didn’t buy anything else!
    Tip: there is Harry Potter merchandise in stores around the rest of Universal Studios park, so if you can’t decide what you want while in HPW, that’s okay! Think about it while you explore the rest of the park, then stop by later!

**An Express Pass is a type of ticket to Universal Studios. Instead of paying for just the general one-day ticket, an Express Pass gets you onto a certain amount of rides, almost straight away. There are a few different options to choose from when purchasing an Express Pass, which can become quite confusing. But it’s well worth it to get on the most popular rides, without having to wait hours and hours in line. 

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2. Dotonbori Shopping District

I’m one of those people who thinks I have under packed (at the very least, packed less than my last trip), start shopping then realise that I have still packed way too much. The most ironic part about this whole situation, is I pretty much wear the same thing every day anyway. It’s totally unnecessary for me to pack more than a pair of leggings and handful of t-shirts. 

This was particularly a problem when we arrived in Osaka. Dotonbori was another place on our itinerary that we made sure to visit. If you’re not sure what Dotonbori is, it’s essentially a giant shopping district with a ton of different sections, streets and undercover outdoor malls.

Things To Do in Osaka: 4 Things I Loved about Osaka, Japan

You’ll find the big chains like Forever 21, Gap and H&M. Fast food and coffee pit stops like McDonalds and Starbucks. But the best thing about the Dotonbori shopping district, is all the side streets and unique stores. There’s something for everyone, no matter your price range or taste.

It’s not only unique stores, either. Japan is renowned for its cuisine, so if you’re a foodie, Osaka (and Dotonbori in particular) will be a totally different experience. I’m not a foodie. I’m very basic and boring when it comes to food, so I tend to stick to Western options. But just walk down any street, and there’ll be an endless amount of new, delicious smells.

Tips for Dotonbori Shopping District:

  • Don’t leave Dotonbori without exploring its huge Daiso store – Daiso is a chain dollar store in Japan, with locations absolutely everywhere. Russell and I went on a Daiso shopping spree during our last week in Japan. We bought everything from souvenirs, a cat toy for Hermione, travel-friendly toiletry bags, chop sticks (oh, ALL the chopsticks), key rings, Hello Kitty tissues and so much more. An entire bag full of goodies, for less than $20. Bargain if you ask me. We won’t call it being stingy, let’s call it smart shopping due to being broke. 
  • The famous Japanese cheesecake can be found in Dotonbori – I’ll be honest. Russell and I spent a lot of time trying to find this so called oh-so-amazing Japanese cheesecake. We walked up and down the main street of Dotonbori so many times, searching to find the this place. Eventually we saw a long line of people, and figured we had finally made it. It cost us 600 yen for a regular cheesecake size. We excitedly walked the cheesecake 20 minutes back to our hotel, got comfy and sat down with a slice. Let me just tell you, it wasn’t worth the effort. Maybe we got a dud cheesecake, or maybe we’re just not used to Japanese desserts. But it tasted like egg to me. I felt like I was eating scrambled eggs.
  • It’s always going to be busy – I think the only time that we explored Dotonbori and it wasn’t shoulder to shoulder busy, was our first full day in Osaka. We walked to Dotonbori way too early, nothing was open, and therefore the place was empty. But apart from that, you’ll struggle to manoeuvre your way through the crowds. So if you want a less painful shopping experience, try to arrive when stores open at around 11am. There will be less people, and you won’t want to scream after being hit on the ankle by yet another Japanese person’s shopping suitcase. Yes, I’m being serious. People use suitcases when they go shopping.

Things To Do in Osaka: 4 Things I Loved about Osaka, Japan

  • Hit up Gap for some cheap warm clothes. I’ve visited the US multiple times, so I know how awesome Gap can be for sale items. I’m a sucker for a warm and cosy hoodie, so when we walked into Dotonbori’s Gap store and saw that they were on sale, I was prepared for some spending.
    Here’s a little lesser known fact about me: I prefer men’s hoodies over women’s. I’m sorry but I don’t see how women enjoy wearing such tight jumpers. It would drive me mad, I like to be able to move! #butthatsjustme

3. Kyoto is super close to Osaka, and is a day trip (or two) you won’t regret

Kyoto isn’t really talked about as much as a tourist destination. There aren’t any theme parks or huge shopping malls. For the most part, it’s still a very historic area.

There are a few things to see and do in Kyoto, and you’ll be amazed by each of them. For this extremely beautiful and photogenic city in Japan, make sure to set aside at least a day to explore. It’s a nice break from the hustle and bustle of big city Japan, and you’ll find yourself enjoying the serenity.

Here are 3 things you should definitely do while in Kyoto:

  • Bamboo Forest – this is amazing to see in person. No matter which direction you look, you’re greeted with an endless amount of impressive tall bamboo trees. 

Things To Do in Osaka: 4 Things I Loved about Osaka, Japan

  • Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine – this shrine is the most popular in Japan. There are thousands of bright orange torii gates forming the amazing pathway that are spectacular to see.
    Tip: be patient when it comes to taking photos. Unless you visit Fushimi Inari early in the morning, be prepared to share the shrine with a lot of other travelers and tourists (and of course, local Japanese people). When we wanted photos standing in amongst the torii gates without anyone else in the shot, all we had to do was wait 30 seconds or so! There will be a gap in the crowd of people, so eventually you’ll get a good, clear photo. If someone sees you taking a photo, they will also tend to wait for you to finish before walking past anyway!

Things To Do in Osaka: 4 Things I Loved about Osaka, Japan Things To Do in Osaka: 4 Things I Loved about Osaka, Japan Things To Do in Osaka: 4 Things I Loved about Osaka, Japan

  • Arashiyama – a beautiful, scenic and historic area of Kyoto which was where I saw my very first Japanese cherry blossom tree! We had originally planned to visit the monkey park in Arashiyama, but given the location, it was difficult to find on Google Maps. We decided to walk across to the town side, do a bit of shopping and eventually stumbled upon the bamboo forest! Arashiyama is a beautiful little town, and the perfect place to admire the relaxing side of Japan that isn’t often talked about.

Things To Do in Osaka: 4 Things I Loved about Osaka, Japan

There are dozens of awesome things to do in Osaka. Although it’s not as big and bustling as Tokyo, it’s still filled with awesome theme parks, beautiful scenery, and plenty of historic towns to really get a feel for what Japan used to look like. I genuinely think that no matter which part of Japan you visit, whether you stay in the city or head north for some beautiful landscapes and snowy mountains, you’ll fall in love with the whole country. 

What were your favourite things to do in Osaka? Tell me in the comments below!

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

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Things To Do in Osaka: 4 Things I Loved about Osaka, Japan

rhiannontravels

Rhiannon is a travel blogger from Adelaide, Australia. Together with her partner, they have been traveling the world for around two years, and hope to not only visit every country in the world one day, but also live in Japan. Rhiannon started this blog back in September 2016, and has been helping people just like you, travel the world with ease!

6 Day Osaka Itinerary for First Time Visitors

6 Day Osaka Itinerary for First Time Visitors

Back in March 2017, we spent the entire month exploring Japan. Osaka was the second stop on our four week adventure, and we were very excited. We decided to spend a couple of days in Yokohama, to introduce ourselves to the language and getting around. Yokohama was nice, but we were happy to finally experience the hustle and bustle of big city Japan.

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 found. You’ll learn more about our Harry Potter obsession later in our Osaka itinerary.

6 Day Osaka Itinerary for First Time Visitors | Rhiannon Travels

We spent a total of six days in Osaka, and there were quite 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 an entire week 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 an 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.

Search for hotels in Osaka

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.

6 Day Osaka Itinerary for First Time Visitors | Rhiannon Travels

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 Station. This is a 10 minute train ride from Osaka Station, and will cost around 160 yen.

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View of Osaka City from the top of Osaka Castle. Pretty spectacular view for only 600 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

6 Day Osaka Itinerary for First Time Visitors | Rhiannon Travels

If you visit Osaka from mid November through until early December, those trees will be covered in beautiful Autumn leaves!

6 Day Osaka Itinerary for First Time Visitors | Rhiannon Travels

Osaka is such a dense and busy city. It’s pretty amazing being able to see such a modern city, from such a traditional side of Japan.

6 Day Osaka Itinerary for First Time Visitors | Rhiannon Travels

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.

Dotonbori & Shinsaibashi Street 

Together, Dontonbori and Shinsaibashi Street make up the most popular shopping district in Osaka. Located in Minami,  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.

If budget shopping chains aren’t your thing, 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.

6 Day Osaka Itinerary for First Time Visitors | Rhiannon Travels

You’ll find street food like this this all over Osaka! Meat on a stick is very popular in Japan, and is sold almost everywhere.

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 tons of clothing and thrift stores that line the streets.

6 Day Osaka Itinerary for First Time Visitors | Rhiannon Travels

The insanely busy, but super duper fun, Dotonbori Shopping District.

In my opinion, a lot of the stores in Amerikamura were fairly overpriced. Most of them sold almost identical products to one another that 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!

6 Day Osaka Itinerary for First Time Visitors | Rhiannon Travels 6 Day Osaka Itinerary for First Time Visitors | Rhiannon Travels

6 Day Osaka Itinerary for First Time Visitors | Rhiannon Travels

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.

6 Day Osaka Itinerary for First Time Visitors | Rhiannon Travels

This is the infamous first ever cup of coffee.

I’ve always loved the smell of coffee, but never really 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….

6 Day Osaka Itinerary for First Time Visitors | Rhiannon Travels 6 Day Osaka Itinerary for First Time Visitors | Rhiannon Travels 6 Day Osaka Itinerary for First Time Visitors | Rhiannon Travels6 Day Osaka Itinerary for First Time Visitors | Rhiannon Travels

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.

If you aren’t a Harry Potter fan, I apologise for putting you through that.

6 Day Osaka Itinerary for First Time Visitors | Rhiannon Travels

First sighting of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios!

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

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.

Arashiyama Bamboo Forest 

One of the main reasons we wanted to visit Kyoto, was the Bamboo Forest. If you’ve never been lucky enough to see photos of this place, I’ll include my favourite below to fuel your Japan wanderlust. Picture absolute relaxation in an incredibly traditional and beautiful part of Japan.

6 Day Osaka Itinerary for First Time Visitors | Rhiannon Travels

The Bamboo Forest is one of the most beautiful and relaxing places in Kyoto.

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.

6 Day Osaka Itinerary for First Time Visitors | Rhiannon Travels

First sighting of Cherry Blossoms

One of the things I was most excited for 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.

6 Day Osaka Itinerary for First Time Visitors | Rhiannon Travels

Beautiful Cherry Blossom trees in Arashiyama, Japan. This photo would have an entirely different look if you visit during November and December! Beautiful autumn leaves grow on all of the trees!

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.

6 Day Osaka Itinerary for First Time Visitors | Rhiannon Travels

The magical Hogwarts, up close and personal. I’m basically a wizard. “You’re a wizard, Harry”

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 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 line was an 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.

6 Day Osaka Itinerary for First Time Visitors | Rhiannon Travels

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.

6 Day Osaka Itinerary for First Time Visitors | Rhiannon Travels

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 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.

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.

6 Day Osaka Itinerary for First Time Visitors | Rhiannon Travels 6 Day Osaka Itinerary for First Time Visitors | Rhiannon Travels 6 Day Osaka Itinerary for First Time Visitors | Rhiannon Travels

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.


That just about covers our entire six days in Osaka, Japan! I 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 ton. 

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! 

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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!

rhiannontravels

Rhiannon is a travel blogger from Adelaide, Australia. Together with her partner, they have been traveling the world for around two years, and hope to not only visit every country in the world one day, but also live in Japan. Rhiannon started this blog back in September 2016, and has been helping people just like you, travel the world with ease!

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios in Osaka, Japan

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios in Osaka, Japan

We are both huge Harry Potter fans. We named our cat Hermione. Do I need to say more? If there was a real life Hogwarts, I’d move in tomorrow. I might be a muggle, but I’m super dedicated to the magical world.

Sadly, though, there isn’t a real life Hogwarts. I have no magical powers, and like other muggles around the world, have to settle with visiting the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. I’m also a huge nerd.

When Russell and I were planning our trip to Japan, Osaka was at the top of our list. As I’m sure you’ve guessed, a big reason behind that, was because Osaka is home to Japan’s very own Universal Studios.


Whether or not you’re a fan of Harry Potter, you’ll be impressed by all of the beautiful detail that has been put into every inch of the park. From walking down the main street which takes you through Hogsmeade Village; to the amazing and magical Hogwarts Castle, which is truly something to not be missed! It genuinely felt like I was part of the movies!

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter: Universal Studios in Osaka, Japan

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!

What we Loved about the Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Hogwarts Castle

This was definitely our favourite part about the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. As I mentioned before, the detail is incredible. I took so many photos of the exterior of the castle, even though they all pretty much look exactly the same. But it’s hard not to. It looks exactly like what you see in the movies, and from what we saw while walking through the castle to get to the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey 4K3D ride (more on that next!) the interior is just as amazing!


Note: There is a Hogwarts Castle Walk that you can do, which takes you through the entire castle, giving you a chance to see more than what you would by standing in line for the 4D ride. We didn’t do this though, as the lines were far too long and I also didn’t fully understand what it meant. But you still see quite a bit of the Castle just by standing in line for the Forbidden Journey ride – even if you have an Express Pass!

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Universal Studios Osaka, Japan: The Ultimate Guide!

Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey 4K3D ride

This ride is something I can almost guarantee you’ve never experienced before. If you’ve been to any of the Universal Studios Theme Parks around the USA or Singapore, you would be familiar with this type of ride. However, of course, Harry Potter takes it to a whole new level! You sit in a regular looking rollercoaster seat, get strapped in, and unless you’ve been on the ride before, you will have NO idea what to expect.


Think Soarin’ Over California from Disney’s California Adventure Park, but a million times better. You fly through Hogwarts Castle, play Quidditch with Harry and his friends, be taken through the Forbidden Forest, almost get attacked by spiders and SO much more. But I don’t want to ruin it for you, so I’ll stop here.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Universal Studios Osaka, Japan: The Ultimate Guide!

Note: If you’re prone to motion sickness, I don’t recommend riding this ride. You do get thrust around in your seat quite a bit, and if you’re already feeling unwell or can’t handle sharp twists and turns and fast motion, it wouldn’t be enjoyable for you or the person you potentially throw up on. But since I don’t suffer from motion sickness, I thought it was one of the best rides I’ve ever been on! Up there with Space Mountain. Yeah, I said it. I went there.


Tip: Make sure you invest in the Express Pass, if nothing else, for the sole reason of getting on this ride in less than 140 minutes (which was the average wait time while we were there – on a freezing cold Tuesday, in the middle of Winter. Trust me, you’ll thank me later. But more on the Express Pass in a bit).

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Universal Studios Osaka, Japan: The Ultimate Guide!

Ollivander’s wand shop

This was one of the coolest experiences at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. We had to wait for around 10 minutes before we could enter Ollivander’s, but it was definitely worth it. First we were taken into a room with a group of people, where we heard an introduction in Japanese. Next, we were taken into Ollivander’s Wand Shop. There was a man waiting in the room, ready to blow our minds.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Universal Studios Osaka, Japan: The Ultimate Guide!

Remember the scene from Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone, where Harry chooses his wand? He picked up multiple wants, and all sorts of things go wrong? Well, Ollivander chose someone from the group of people we were standing with, and acted out that very scene!


He switched between speaking in Japanese to speaking in English so seamlessly, it was hard to keep up. So if you’re thinking of purchasing a wand during your stay at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, I recommend you do so at Ollivanders! It’s a much cooler experience than simply buying one at a regular merchandise store.

Butterbeer

Butterbeer is a must when visiting the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. There are a few outdoor stalls where you can buy a regular plastic throw-away cup. We decided to splurge and spend 600 yen on a souvenir cup! If you’d rather enjoy your refreshing cup of Butterbeer out of the elements, there are a couple of indoor dining locations. Make a booking or arrive early at the Three Broomsticks, or purchase a takeaway Butterbeer from the Hog’s Head!

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Universal Studios Osaka, Japan: The Ultimate Guide!

We purchased ours from the Hog’s Head, then sat outside on the undercover seats nearby. It was an extremely cold day, which meant all of the indoor restaurants were unfortunately taken!

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Universal Studios Osaka, Japan: The Ultimate Guide!The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Universal Studios Osaka, Japan: The Ultimate Guide!The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Universal Studios Osaka, Japan: The Ultimate Guide!

What we Didn’t Love about the Wizarding World of Harry Potter

It is insanely busy

Japan’s Universal Studios was a lot busier than any other theme park that Russell and I have every visited. If you’re planning to purchase a regular ticket, definitely arrive at least an hour before the gates open. The park usually opens at around 8:30am, but there can be specific opening times for each day of the year. So make sure to check the website when it gets closer to your visit!


The Wizarding World of Harry Potter section in particular, was hectic. You’ll have to wait in a line for almost everything. From using the toilet to taking a photo with the Weasley’s Flying Car. We didn’t eat inside the park (except a churro), because all of the restaurants and food stalls were far too busy. Try to eat lunch a bit earlier in the day, to avoid the busy midday queues.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Universal Studios Osaka, Japan: The Ultimate Guide!

After cuing in line to have a photo with the Hogwarts Express

It’s a crazy expensive place

We saw so many people lugging around huge Wizarding World of Harry Potter bags filled with everything I wish I could have bought. However, unless you’re rich or have successfully done some serious money saving, be prepared to spend a small fortune on Harry Potter merchandise.


The scarves and wands cost around 5,000 yen, which is pretty standard for theme park souvenirs. Everything is overpriced and has been marked up, because they can. It’s all park of the theme park experience. Just be prepared to pay a little more for Harry Potter souvenirs, and budget a bit more for your day at Universal Studios!

We didn’t buy much. I had my heart set on a Gryffindor scarf and Hermione’s wand, but if I had more money I would have bought so much more.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Universal Studios Osaka, Japan: The Ultimate Guide!

4 Top Tips for Visiting The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Purchase a park Express Pass

Purchasing a Universal Studios Express Pass will be well worth the investment. You’ll definitely be glad you bought it after your first ride. As I mentioned earlier, Harry Potter World is super duper busy. This means, obviously, that all the ride lines are going to be painfully long. But not if you have an Express Pass.


Essentially it’s like Disneyland’s FastPass. But you have to pay extra for it. We chose the Express Pass 7 option, which gave us entry to 7 of the most popular rides, with almost no wait time. I think the longest we had to wait for any ride was 10 minutes. The Express Pass gets you access to rides all around Universal Studios itself – not just the Harry Potter World rides.

So if you would rather spend your day looking around the park, eating delicious food and taking ALL the selfies, I would highly recommend investing in an Express Pass.


Note: There is a limit on how many Express Passes are allocated each day. So if you are intending on purchasing the Express Pass, make sure you arrive at the ticket gate early to guarantee you get one!

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Universal Studios Osaka, Japan: The Ultimate Guide!

Bring food and a water bottle with you

Bringing your own snacks and a refillable water bottle is the best way to avoid spending all of your money on overpriced snacks, and waiting in line for food all day. There are a ton of water fountains around the park to refill your water bottle, which is super convenient and helped me drink plenty of water throughout the day.

This is the best advice I can give for families who are planning on visiting the park: save your money and bring your own snacks!

Purchase your tickets before you get to the park

There are a few ways you can purchase your tickets beforehand. Any Lawson Station convenience store around Osaka should sell them. Otherwise, purchase them online and print out your e-ticket – I’m sure most hotels will be happy to help you with this, if you’re a tourist and don’t have access to a printer! This will cut your wait time in half when arriving at the park, which means you can spend more time exploring the magically beautiful Wizarding World of Harry Potter!

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Universal Studios Osaka, Japan: The Ultimate Guide!

Visit the park on a weekday, during the off-peak season and NOT on any Japanese holidays

This is probably the most important advice I can give to anyone looking to visit Universal Studios Japan in general. We went to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter on a Tuesday at the beginning of March, during Winter. This particular day was painfully cold, almost unbearably cold. Yet it was still incredibly busy.


To make the most out of your day and avoid spending 8 hours in lines (if you don’t purchase the Express Pass), definitely visit on a weekday. Tuesdays and Wednesdays are the best days to visit during the week, as they are a lot quieter.


The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is an amazing place, with incredible detail put into every inch of the place. All of the staff are super friendly and will do their best to help you find your way around. I finally lived my dream of spending a day at Hogwarts. I’ve even got my very own Hermione’s wand and Gryffindor scarf to remember the magical day I had, back in March 2017.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Universal Studios Osaka, Japan: The Ultimate Guide!

Have you been to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter? What did you think? Tell me in the comments below! I’d love to read your thoughts on the magical land of Harry Potter!

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Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Osaka, Japan | Rhiannon Travels Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Osaka, Japan | Rhiannon Travels

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rhiannontravels

Rhiannon is a travel blogger from Adelaide, Australia. Together with her partner, they have been traveling the world for around two years, and hope to not only visit every country in the world one day, but also live in Japan. Rhiannon started this blog back in September 2016, and has been helping people just like you, travel the world with ease!