10 Cool Things to Do in Osaka in One Day
From spending your morning in a temple to dozing off in a ryokan.
(SPOT.ph) Osaka may not get as much love as Tokyo, but this vibrant city certainly has just as much to offer as the Japanese capital. Called the nation’s kitchen by locals, Osaka is home to a strong food culture, ranging from street food to hip coffee shops and bars. If you’re someone who prefers to let their stomach take the lead while on a trip, then Osaka certainly is a must-visit.
Here are some cool things to see and do in Osaka, Japan, if you only have 24 hours:
Welcome the morning at Hozen-ji Temple
Get an early start on your day by making a quick stop at the Hozen-ji Temple in Namba. This temple, which dates back to the 17th century, stands in stark contrast to the rest of Osaka with its peaceful and almost dreamy atmosphere. Pray for some luck on your trip as you splash water over the Fudo Myo-o, an ancient statue covered in moss.
If you want to see more of old Osaka, the nearby Hozenji Alley is home to traditional stores selling souvenirs and local cuisine like okonomiyaki.
Hozen-ji Temple is at 1 Chome-2-16 Namba, Chuo Ward, Osaka City.
Eat a hearty and healthy breakfast at Northshore
After paying your respects at the temple, it’s time for some breakfast. Take a short train ride to Kitahama to visit Northshore, one of the hippest cafes in Osaka. Popular among locals, this café features hearty and healthy fare like veggie-stuffed sandwiches, acai bowls, and pancakes topped with all sorts of fresh fruits. This riverfront café also boasts a spectacular view!
North Shore is at 1/F Bilma Building, 1-1-28, Kitahama, Chuo Ward, Osaka City. It is open daily from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. and from 2:30 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Wander around Amerika-mura
Following that hearty breakfast, take the train to Shinsaibashi Station to explore one of Osaka’s more hipster neighborhoods, Amerika-mura. With its name literally translating to American Village, this area used to sell clothes and other sorts of products imported from the States. It has since transformed into a fun and quirky neighborhood known for its strong streetwear culture. It’s also become home to dozens of independently run coffee shops and bars.
If you’re interested in trying out a new look, consider stopping by Angelic Pretty. This shop, with its sparkly pink storefront, specializes in Lolita fashion.
Amerika-mura is at 1 Chome-2-4 Nishishinsaibashi, Chuo Ward, Osaka City. Operating hours vary per establishment.
Grab a cup of coffee at LiLo Coffee Roasters
If you’re exhausted from scoping out the latest fashion trends at Amerika-mura, consider taking a break at one of the neighborhood’s coffee shops.
LiLo Coffee Roasters is one of the very first specialty coffee shops to open in Osaka, introducing locals to the concept of third-wave coffee. This spot is small and cozy, but its impressive menu more than makes up for the store’s size. There are dozens of beans to choose from, in light, medium, and dark roasts, as well as in single-origin or blends. Having a hard time picking your brew? Each coffee comes with an illustrated card that details its origins and tasting notes.
LiLo Coffee Roasters is at Shinsaibashi M Building 1-1-1-28 Nishishinsaibashi, Chuo Ward, Osaka City. It is open daily from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Eat omurice at Hokkyokusei
For lunch, why not sample a dish that’s a true-blue Japanese invention? Omurice is an omelet that’s been stuffed with fried rice and then topped off with a thick red sauce that’s reminiscent of ketchup. While its origin is still being hotly debated, many believe that this mishmash of Japanese and Western cuisine came out of the kitchens of Hokkyokusei, whose main branch can be found in Amerika-mura.
Hokkyokusei’s chicken omurice remains the most popular, but you can also take your pick from mushroom, shrimp, crab, and beef stew variants. They also serve steak and Japanese hamburgers, if you’re looking for something a bit heartier to go with your omurice.
Hokkyokusei is at 2 Chome-7-27 Nishishinsaibashi, Chuo Ward, Osaka City. It is open from Monday to Friday, from 11:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.; and from Saturday to Sunday, from 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Become a daredevil at HARUKAS 300
To burn off the calories from that heavy lunch, take a short train ride to Tennoji Station. There you’ll find Abeno Harukas, touted to be the tallest building in Osaka. This skyscraper is home to the HARUKAS 300 observatory, which provides stunning views of Osaka as well as neighboring cities.
Wall-to-floor windows provide nice, unobstructed views of the city, while glass floors give you a sense of just how high up you are. If you’re a bit more of a daredevil, consider hopping on the Edge the Harukas attraction. This heart-stopping activity lets you admire the 300-meter high view, all while walking on a narrow, glass-fenced walkway.
HARUKAS 300 is at 1-1-43, Abenosuji, Abeno Ward, Osaka City. It is open daily from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Entrance fee starts at 1,500 yen.
Shop for fresh food at Kuromon Ichiba Market
It’s time to unwind and experience what Osaka is truly famous for: food! After getting your heart pumping from that observatory experience, hop on the train and get off at Namba Station to stroll through the city’s most famous food market, Kuromon Ichiba. Open since 1601, this narrow alley of shops sells everything from fresh uni to strawberries and even Kobe beef. There’s also a wide array of knives, pots, and pans to choose from if you’re a bit of a cook yourself. You can even purchase food and have it cooked right before your eyes.
Kuromon Ichiba Market is at 2 Chome-4-1 Nipponbashi, Chuo Ward, Osaka City. It is open daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Sample classic Osaka okonomiyaki at Dotonbori
For dinner, take a short walk to Osaka’s famous Dotonbori district to sample the city’s most famous dish, okonomiyaki. The savory Japanese pancake is made with a mixture of flour, eggs, cabbage, and all sorts of meat, before being topped with sweet okonomiyaki sauce and Japanese mayo. Each okonomiyaki place in Dotonbori has their own version. For example, Fukutaro makes its own okonomiyaki sauce, while Bonkuraya makes a special kind of okonomiyaki stuffed with pork, scallops, squid, octopus, beef tendon, and fried pig offal. Another favorite spot among locals is Mizuno, which is a regular on the Michelin guide. If you and your stomach are up for it, why not embark on an okonomiyaki crawl and hit up all the local spots?
Dotonbori is at 1 Chome-9 Dotonbori, Chuo Ward, Osaka City. Operating hours vary per establishment.
Grab a drink at Hana Sake Bar
For a quick drink before turning in for the night, head on over to Hana Sake Bar, which is located just a few blocks away from Dotonbori. This pub is arguably the best place to sample sake, a Japanese rice wine. They offer more than a dozen types of sake, brewed from different parts of Japan. If you want to try a bit of everything, consider ordering their sake flight, a tasting menu composed of three or more kinds of sake. Also on the menu are different brands of Japanese beer, whisky, and even fruit liquor.
Hana Sake Bar is at 1-8-4, Nishishinsaibashi, Chuo Ward, Osaka City. It is open from Monday to Thursday, from 6 p.m. to 11:30 p.m.; from Friday to Saturday, from 6 p.m. to 1 a.m.; and every Sunday, from 5 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.
Experience Japanese culture in a ryokan
There are a lot of budget hotels in Osaka, but if you're looking to fully experience Japanese culture then what better way to do it than staying in a traditional Japanese inn like Kaneyoshi Ryokan. Its minimalist rooms feature tatami flooring, sliding doors, and roll-up beds on the floor. It also has an en suite bathroom, unlike most ryokans in the area.
Kaneyoshi Ryokan is at 3-12 Souemoncho, Chuo Ward, Osaka City.