3 Days Itinerary in Osaka
3 Days in Osaka: Best Things to Do
The largest city in Western Japan and the second largest metropolitan area in Japan after Tokyo, Osaka offers visitors countless tourist attractions and entertainments such as bustling districts, historical sites, nature spots and delicious local food and unique culture.
If you are planning to visit Osaka but not sure how many days you should stay, my recommendation is 3 days, which is a perfect duration to enjoy Osaka fully. You can easily see the best highlights and explore different districts in Osaka in 3 days. Moreover, you may also have a chance to extend your trip to outside of the city or spend a whole day in a theme park such as Universal Studios Japan.
In this article, I’m sharing a 3-day itinerary in Osaka, suggesting how to get around smoothly and experience the best bits of Osaka. Check out the perfect way to spend 3 days in Osaka!
If you are planning to spend shorter duration in Osaka, Here are my suggested 1 and 2 day Osaka itineraries.
Day 1: Minami Area & Tennoji Area
9pm to 3 pm Minami Area
Let’s start your trip in Osaka from Minami Area, which is one of two major Osaka’s city center (other one is Kita Area) including Namba and Shinsaibashi districts. It’s the most popular tourist destination in the city with full of entertainment, shopping and dining options.
The best highlights and must-visit places in Minami area are:
Dotonbori: The center of entertainments in Osaka, Dotonbori is the principal tourist destination. The district is famous for colourful and flashy billboard signs and neon lights including the Glico Running Man. The bustling streets are filled with hundreds of shops and restaurants which many of them are open till very late night or even for 24 hours. You can also enjoy “Tabearuki” (eat and walk) with various street food sold at every corner.
Shinsaibashi-Suji Shopping Street: The 600m long roofed arcade is the busiest shopping spot in Osaka. There are hundreds of shops and eateries with a wide price from high-end department stores to discount drugstores, and you can easily complete your shopping list on this retail paradise.
America Mura: America Mura (American Village) is often called the “Harajuku of the West” as it’s the center of young culture and street fashion in Osaka. It’s situated at a few blocks west of Shinsaibashi Street.
Kuromon Market: Known as the “Osaka’s Kitchen”, the 600m long lively food market is lined with over 150 shops and restaurants. You can find all kinds of food products here including fresh seafood and meat, vegetables, dried food, street snacks, sweets and more.
Den Den Town: Often compared to Akihabara in Tokyo, Den Den Town is a center of Otaku culture in Osaka and the best area to shop electronics products in town.
Hozenji Yokocho: An atmospheric stone-paved alley located off the chaotic streets of Dotonbori. Numbers of small hidden restaurants and Izakaya bars gather on this small and narrow street. Hozenji Yokocho is named after nearby temple (Hozenji Temple).
4pm to 7 pm Tennoji Area
Shitennoji Temple: One of the oldest temples in Japan, which was founded in 593. A large temple complex includes several gates, 5 story-pagoda and Japanese landscape garden.
Tennoji Park: A spacious park with several facilities such as lawn space, botanical garden, greenhouse, museum, shops and cafes.
Tennoji Zoo: One of the oldest zoos in Japan with over 100 years history. It’s home to over 1,000 animals of 200 different species.
Shinsekai: An old downtown area that remains a post-war atmosphere. Retro and nostalgic streetscape can be enjoyed and various inexpensive dining options are available here.
Tsutenkaku Tower: A famous landmark in Shinsekai District modelled after Eiffel Tower in Paris. The 103m tall tower has indoor and outdoor observation decks.
Abeno Harukas: The tallest building in Osaka, Abano Harukas is a modern landmark of the city. The observation deck “Harukas 300” is situated at 300m above the ground, offering a breathtaking view of the city and surrounding areas.
Besides above, various special activities and tours are also available in Minami and Tennoji area in Osaka such as food walking tours, Go-Karting, cooking class and more. You can check the link below to find more fun activities in Osaka!
If you are up for night-out after sightseeing, please check out these articles introducing some of the best nightlife and dining spots in Osaka!
9am to 1pm Osaka Bay Area
The first destination on the second day is Osaka’s Bay Area. This area consists of man-made islands which are roughly divided into three areas: Universal Studios Japan area, Sakishima area and Tempozan Harbor Village area. And this time, I have picked Tempozan area to enjoy followings in a half day.
Kaiyukan Aquarium: One of the largest aquariums in the world, Kaiyukan Aquarium is home to nearly 30,000 sea creatures in 470 species including whale sharks and manta rays.
Tenpozan Ferris Wheel: A 112.5m tall gigantic Ferris wheel offering a breathtaking view of the Bay Area on 15 minds ride. It’s situated next to the large shopping/dining complex Tempozan Marketplace.
Naniwa Kuishinbo Yokocho: A food theme park inside Tempozan Marketplace. One of the best place to eat out in the Bay Area as over 20 selected restaurants gather inside the complex, offering a variety of Osaka specialties such as Takoyaki and Okonomiyaki.
2pm–4pm Osaka Castle
If you are into Japanese history and culture, Osaka Castle is definitely a must-visit place. Osaka Castle (Osaka-jo) is one of the most spectacular Japanese castles, which was built in 1583 by the famous feudal lord and warrior, Hideyoshi Toyotomi.
The castle tower is open for visitors and you can climb up to the main keep to gaze down the city and surroundings. The castle is located within Osaka Castle Park which is a popular spot for cherry blossom viewing.
If you have extra time after visiting the castle, I’d recommend you to spend some time in the park and relax in a pleasant nature. Or if you wish to learn a bit more about Osaka history, you should visit Osaka Museum of History, which is located right outside of the park.
5pm–7pm Kita Area
As I mentioned above, the city center of Osaka is divided into two areas: Kita (north) around Umeda and Osaka Stations and Minami (south) around Namba and Shinsaibashi Stations.
In comparison with Minami area, Kita area is more like a business district with modern buildings and the skyline view. However, there are plenty spots for shopping, dining and entertainments including Osaka Station City, Grand Front Osaka, Umeda Sky Building, HEP and Tenjinbashi-Suji Shopping Arcade.
After shopping and sightseeing, you may wanna continue hanging out in Kita area as there are numbers of great night-out spots such as Kitashinchi District, Kappa Yokocho and Tenma District.
Or I’d also suggest you visit once again Minami (Namba) District. As you visited there at daytime on the day before, you would enjoy a completely different view of the district with glaring neon lights!
As you have seen a lot of things within Osaka City, I’d suggest you to take a little day trip to outside the city center and spend a whole day there. Followings are popular day trip destinations in Osaka prefecture.
Universal Studios Japan: USJ offers numbers of fun and thrilling attractions for kids and adults with themes of popular movies and characters including Spiderman, Jurassic Park, JAWS, Harry Potter, Minions and Super Mario.
Expo 70 Commemorate Park: Also known as Osaka Expo Park. The large park was originally founded in 1970 as the site of Osaka Expo ’70, and now it’s a popular sightseeing spot. It’s best known for the symbolic “the Tower of the Sun” created by the famous Japanese artist, Taro Okamoto.
Minoo Park: The vast park located in the outskirts of Osaka is a popular destination for hiking among Osaka residents. The hiking trail is approx 3km long along the Minoo River and leads to Minoo Falls, a waterfall with a height of 33m and a main nature attraction of the park. It’s recommended to visit especially during the autumn leaves season.
Sumiyoshi Taisha Shrine: Sumiyoshi Taisha Shrine is one of the oldest historical sites in Japan, which was built in the 3rd century. It’s the head shrine of approx 600 Sumiyoshi Shrines located across the country. The shrine is famous for its unique architectural style called Sumiyoshi-zukuri.
Mozu Tomb: a group of ancient tombs located in Sakai City. The site was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2019. The tombs comes in various shapes and sizes and the largest one is the 800m long and 600m wide key-hole shaped Daisenryo Kofun. At the tomb site, there are several tourist attractions such as park, Japanese garden and museum.
Or if you are up for a little longer journey, there are several great one day trip destinations from Osaka in Western Japan.
For more one-day trip destinations from Osaka, here is recommended article to read.
Thanks for reading! I hope you have enjoyed reading my suggested 3-day itinerary in Osaka. Three days should be a perfect duration to see the best highlights of the city including visiting city’s landmarks, delicious local specialties and shopping, and to extend your trip to outside of the city!
If you need some recommendations for where to eat out in Osaka, these articles might help.
For transportation tips between airports and Osaka City, please check out these articles!
For more information about travelling in Osaka, please check out these articles, too!