Let’s talk all things Osaka.
Osaka is the second largest metropolitan area, making it busy, busy, busy! Apart from the hustle and bustle, you’ll find castles, temples and gardens to get away from it all.
This post is made up of a visit in November 2017 and July 2018 (which explains the change of outfits!) Originally I’d only checked out Osaka for a day and when I returned I had 4 days here. I believe you should give Osaka a bit more time.
In this article, you’ll find: (click to be taken there)
The Basics: How to get to Osaka
My Top Choices: What you should see
Where to Stay: Where I stayed or where friends stayed.
What I did: My diary entry.
Getting to Osaka: From Tokyo
🚄The Bullet Train:
2h 30m ¥10000 – ¥15000 | AUD: $110 – $170 | USD: $89 – $137
Included in the JR PASS.
The Bullet Trains are beyond anything! They will cut your time more than in half. They have toilets, reclining seats, food carts and if you’re a smoker – a smokers room on board as well.
Don’t have a JR PASS? Get discounted tickets for the Kodama (4hrs)
8h 45m ¥8000 | AUD $91 | USD $73
You can take Willer Bus (Detailed Blog here), Nankai Bus or JR East Group.✈️ Flight:
1h 15m ¥6700 – 28000 | $75 – $310 AUD | $60 – $250 USD
Check out Skyscanner, Kayak or Google Flights for base flights and Peach, Jetstar & Ana Airlines are your cheapest domestic airlines.
Getting to Osaka: From Kyoto
🚄The Bullet Train:
0h 28m ¥560 | AUD: $6.99 | USD:$4.98
Catch the ‘Thunderbird’ (great name) if you’re using the JR Pass
No Jr Pass? You can catch the same train or the Nozomi (Not included in the JR Pass, No to Nozomi) for the same price.
0h 52m ¥400 | AUD: $4.99 | USD:$3.55
You can take the Keihan Main Line into the city district for a little bit cheaper and depending on what line you need to connect to it may be better / easier.
Getting Around in Osaka
🚕 Taxi / Uber
Uber is not available in Osaka. You can grab a Taxi from stations/streets. Taxis are a little more expensive here.
This is the recommended way to get around for Osaka. The lines span over 8 lines and tickets start at ¥180. You can get day-pass information here.
Included in the JR PASS. The JR Line connects main central areas (in an almost loop format.)
Not recommended for short-term travellers.
Mainly known for Osaka Castle, it’s filled with good food, modern architecture and nightlife. To get the best out of your time, check out Inside Osaka, which is written by lonely planet writer, Chris Rowthorn. This will give you 1 – 5D Itineraries if you’re a bit lost on what to do!
⏰ 9:30 – 17:00 (Closed Tuesdays)
💰 ¥600 General Entry | ¥900 Combination for Osaka Castle Entry.
The Osaka Museum of History was a real surprise – filled with the history of Osaka, it spans over 4-5 floors. They have engaging hands-on experiences as well as lots of information in English and Japanese. We ended up spending 2 hours here.
If you’re wanting to go inside the castle, I’d suggest getting the combination as it will save you some Yen.
⏰ Gardens: 24:00 – 24:00 + Castle: 9:00 – 17:00
💰 Gardens: Free + Castle: ¥600 | $7 AUD | $5 USD
The Castle grounds temple is open 24/7 and is easily accessible by taking JR line to Osakajokon station. It’s then it’s a brief walk to Osaka Castle. The gardens are home to around 600 cherry blossom trees and 1000 ume trees. Two options to get to the top: Elevator and walk down or walk up and down.
The inside of the museum has been reconstructed and I wouldn’t personally recommend going inside. I would suggest Himeji Castle.
📍 Dotonbori, Chuo Ward, Osaka,
Dotonburi is one of the most famous areas in Osaka. Filled with food stalls, neon lights, spiderman set up in different areas, the moving crab sign it’s a sensory overload. Try and see a glimpse of the famous Glico Running Man (which I did not manage because I got lost.)
Osaka: The Cup Noodle Museum
Read a whole post I did on it here.
⏰ 9:30 ~ 16:00 last admission at 15:30
💰 Free ~ a fee of 300¥ applies for the hands-on workshop.
Momofuku Ando, born in Taiwan and moved to Japan first created the instant ramen back in 1958. Created in his shed through much trial and error it was released at 35¥ which was higher than the traditional noodle at the time, making it a superior product.
WHERE TO STAY
|🍽||Free toast w/ Jam + Coffee/Tea|
|🛁||Separate Female & Male bathrooms. Toilets separate. Free Body Wash, Shampoo & Conditioner.|
|🛏||Capsule beds with think mattress, USB port + plug, coat hanger and pull down blind.|
|🎲||Free bike rental, free wifi, bar with a small seating area.|
|🍺||Bar within the Hostel with reasonably priced drinks.|
WHAT I DID
We spent 3 hours wandering around the grounds of Osaka Castle. We stopped in via Hokoku Shrine and the Forth Division area which was created in honour of Toyotomi Hideyoshi.
After walking, we head off for a buffet style grab as you feel Japanese restaurant. Whilst eating our hearts out, we watched a Sumo tournament.
While trying to head to the district of Hosenji Kokako, we got a bit lost within the underground subway area. Located within this district we found a bar that had a bartender that had the best postcards of himself, lovely music and low lighting. If you wish to go it’s called Bar Seven. The second bar we went to was directly under and turned out to be a karaoke bar. They sat us down at a booth and gave us a small shot of whiskey, which turned out to be snake whiskey.
After 10:30 we headed off for the train back to Kyoto, nearly saw someone chuck, lost Benjamin at one point and we all fell into a bush.
We headed to the Dontonburi area the first night where the sensory overload whilst jetlag proved a bit too much and so I headed home a bit earlier. Whilst walking home I found a store that had the famous Melon-pan ice cream which is ice cream in this buttery, sweet bread. It’s very messy and very delicious.
We roamed the streets of Nakazakicho and at 39 / 102.2 degrees we stopped in a fair few cafes for some iced, iced coffee. Also getting distracted I knocked over a few bikes.
Have you been to Osaksa? What did you see/do?
Is it now on your list?
Let me know in the comments below!
As always, stay cool,