Osaka is a massive city, second only to Tokyo. While our time here was short, it was easily the single most amazing night we had in Japan.
After wandering down the narrow street past many adult clubs, we found our hostel for the night – Not to say it was not without trouble.
Here’s how we spent a day in Osaka.
Psst…if you’re looking to explore a more underground side of Osaka, check out our alternative Osaka travel guide.
A day in Osaka itinerary
First stop, the Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan. This aquarium is one of the largest in the world, it was definitely on our to do list.
The thing that set this aqaurium apart from others we have seen is that, instead of hundred of tanks for every species, this one contains different marine life in 16 massive tanks with acrylic glass 30cm thick. If you ever find time to hit it up it is highly suggested. You really can get lost in thought due to the general serene nature of it.
We did hit the main strip, Dotonbori, in Osaka for dinner. This strip has a plethora of restaurants, each yelling at you with their amazing moving neon signs. One restaurant even has a giant crab with moving legs above the door.
We ended up eating at this popular Salisbury Steak place. How Salisbury steaks get their own restaurant is yet to be determined, however, pictures of this greasy meat with a piece of velveeta on top tickled our fancies due to the ramen diet we were currently on – and why not try this popular “local” fare? The only weird thing was that it was decorated like a Joe’s Crabshack – random decorations everywhere.
Interesting fact! Osaka and Hiroshima both claim to be the creators of Okonomiyaki. While we did enjoy it in Hiroshima, this too is a MUST TRY! The experience is fantastic. Just be aware that it is a lot of food, even if your eyes and your stomach tell you differently.
It didn’t take long before we found a small bar that would conclude our night. We quickly found out how warm the locals were in this small bar. The night continued with a drinking game involving a deck or cards and Cuervo with the regulars and salarymen. They can party and will give you a run for your money in regards to liquor intake! BEWARE!
Osaka is a wonderful city with much to do and definitely a place we will return to on our next trip back to Japan.
Now, if only we can remember where the bar is…
Here’s an extra travel tip if you’re only in Osaka for a day or two and you want to see the best sights while saving money. Then I recommend you the Osaka Amazing Pass or the Osaka E-Pass!
With the Osaka Amazing Pass (printed version), you’ll have unlimited access to Osaka’s subway, streetcar, and bus network and can visit over 40 tourist attractions for 1 or 2 days. The price starts with only around $20!
Choose from famous landmarks like Osaka Castle, Osaka Zoo or Nagai Botanical Garden, or experience a classic river cruise or jazz boat tour on the Tombori River. In addition, you’ll receive a guidebook and coupons for special offers and discounts at stores and restaurants in Osaka.
The Osaka E-Pass, on the other hand, gives you one-time free access to more than 20 establishments upon presentation of the QR code at the ticket office. The pass is valid only on the day of use (or two consecutive days for the 2-day pass) and free entry is limited to once per establishment.
You get the E-Pass for around $14 already.
The little downside is, that you have to check each attraction’s conditions. Some might only provide entry at specific weekdays etc. But for that price, whichever pass you choose, both are perfect all-inclusive passes to make the most of your Osaka experience!
You have the option with both passes to in- or exclude the public transport.
Getting around Osaka
We recommend you choose a 1-day or 2-day pass for flexible use and discover the most popular tourist attractions with just one ticket.
This exclusive offer is specially designed for foreign visitors and includes extra discounts at around 30 famous attractions, allowing you to experience the best of Osaka.
For example, you’ll be able to take a fast ride on the OSAKA Metro public transportation system in Osaka. Whether by bus or metro, you can explore the city endlessly.
With this pass, you don’t have to worry about planning your route and avoid the hassle of changing trains on crowded public transportation.
Choose between a 1-day or 2-day option and explore the most popular tourist destinations without the stress and hassle. OSAKA Metro’s city buses and trains offer comfortable seats and pleasant interiors for maximum comfort.
Osaka Metro includes:
- Midosuji Line
- Tanimachi Line
- Yotsubashi Line
- Chuo Line
- Sennichimae Line
- Nagahori Tsurumi-ryokuchi Line
- Imazatosuji Line
- New Tram
- Osaka City Bus: Imazato Liner
As a special highlight, you’ll also get discounts at about 30 attractions such as the breathtaking Umeda Sky Building, the beautiful Tsutenkaku Tower and the fascinating Osaka Castle Museum, Kuchu Teien Observatory, Osaka Tennoji Zoo, Tempozan Giant Wheel, Shitennoji Temple, Spa World Onsen and more. Pretty good for that price!
It is very easy to use. You can redeem the ticket at any metro station. You just need to show the QR code from the email at the commuter office to redeem the ticket.