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Ultimate 1 Day in Osaka Itinerary

Osaka is the third largest city in Japan. 

It is also a commercial and industrial hub as well as being a popular tourist destination. 

Osaka Japan is one of the most densely populated cities in the world, but it’s also a city with an abundance of natural beauty.

There are plenty of reasons to visit this fabulous city in Japan. 

Also Read: 2 Weeks in Japan Itinerary

Whether you’re looking for an escape from the hustle and bustle of urban life or are just interested in learning more about Japanese culture, Osaka has something for everyone. 

Even if you have only 1 day in Osaka, you can see a lot of things. 

You can delight in cherry blossoms at Osaka Castle, or eat some of the best okonomiyaki in Dotonbori.

Check out our Osaka Itinerary for more recommendations on when and where to visit, where to go & what to do in the city of Osaka in just one day.

Ultimate 1 Day Osaka Itinerary

Osaka, Japan is a beautiful city with an incredible amount of history and culture. It is a great place to visit for all kinds of travelers. 

There are many sites to visit, such as shrines, temples, museums and more. 

Whether you’re looking for shopping, culture, or just some peace and quiet, Osaka has it all.

If you’re looking for something different than the typical tourist attractions in Tokyo or Kyoto then Osaka should be on your radar! 

Osaka is home to many historic sites that have been preserved over time such as Senba-ji Temple (the oldest Buddhist temple in Osaka) and Kitano Tenman-gū Shrine (a Shinto shrine). 

There are also famous modern landmarks like the Tempozan Ferris Wheel which provides visitors with panoramic views of Osaka Bay.

Other major attractions such as Osaka Castle, Universal Studios Japan and Dotonbori which are all worth checking out while you’re in Osaka.

If you are planning a vacation to Osaka, Japan and have only one day to explore Osaka, here are some great suggestions on how to spend your time.

Osaka Castle

Osaka Castle is a beautiful, iconic symbol of Japan and one of the most popular tourist destinations in Osaka. 

It was built in 1583 by Toyotomi Hideyoshi as a symbol to unify Japan during the tumultuous Sengoku period.

It’s the first castle in Japan to have been built by an outsider.

The castle has over 500 years of war history and has been destroyed and rebuilt four times; the current structure was completed in 1931. 

Today, Osaka Castle stands as a monument to those who lost their lives defending this piece of Japanese heritage.   

The castle grounds are beautiful to explore with monuments, museums, and gardens. 

Osaka Castle is a must visit attraction if you have one day in Osaka.

Shitennō-ji Temple

For the past hundreds of years, Shi tennō-ji Temple has been a holy site in Osaka. 

It was established by Prince Shotoku in 593 and has been rebuilt twice due to fires. 

The temple is known for its large statue of Buddha. 

This famous Buddhist site also has a five story pagoda which is unique and stunning. 

Visitors can find many other attractions at this beautiful historical attraction including stonework, statues, and artwork.

There are also some great shops nearby where you can buy souvenirs for friends and family back home!

Be sure to add this beautiful Buddhist temple to your Osaka day trip.

Dotonbori

One of the most famous sites in Osaka is Dotonbori Street Market, or Dotonbori for short. It is a must visit on your 1 day in Osaka Japan.

The best way to get a feel of the heart and soul of Osaka is with a walk down Dotonbori.  

The famous food street in the center of downtown Osaka offers visitors an up close look at Japanese culture, people watching, and great tasting foods.  

To explore this area, start by heading north to Hankyu Department store from Sannomiya Station where you can find many stores for shopping and dining. 

Keep walking until you reach the iconic Ebisu Bridge where there will be a large number of shops selling souvenirs such as t-shirts or key chains. 

From here make your way south along the river enjoying all that Dotonbori Osaka has to offer!

The street is a paradise for food lovers. 

You’ll be able to enjoy local foods like takoyaki (octopus balls), okonomiyaki (Japanese savory pancakes), yakitori (chicken skewers), and kushi dango (skewered rice cakes).

Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan

If you have kids or love marine life, take them to the Osaka Aquarium.

One of the most popular tourist attractions in Osaka, Japan is the Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan. 

It’s one of the largest aquariums in all of Asia. 

It is home to many different species from around the world, including a gigantic whale shark and thousands of other fish.  

It also houses rare fish that can only be found here! 

In addition to a wide variety of aquatic life, there are also many opportunities for hands-on learning experiences like watching sea lions do tricks or feeding penguins. 

Visitors can also take a ride on an underwater viewing tunnel or even dive into the shark tank with their snorkel gear! 

The entire family will find something to enjoy about this fantastic attraction.

Tempozan Ferris Wheel

The Tempozan Ferris Wheel is a huge tourist attraction for all visitors to Osaka. 

The Tempozan Ferris Wheel is one of the tallest Ferris wheels in Japan and attracts over 1 million tourists every year.

The Ferris wheel has capsules that spin around to offer 360 degree views of the city. 

The Ferris wheel offers unparalleled views of Osaka Bay. 

From here, you can see landmarks such as Tsūtenkaku Tower, Osaka skyline, and Tennōji park.

The Tempozan Ferris Wheel in Osaka provides amazing views of the city from an entirely different perspective than what you would get from ground level. 

It’s worth taking the time to visit for both locals and tourists alike!

Tennoji Park

Tennoji Park is a large park in Osaka, Japan. 

Tourists and visitors will find plenty to do at this gorgeous park whether they want to play sports, take pictures or have lunch under one of its lovely gazebos.   

There are many different kinds of trees from around the world here; in spring the park blooms with fantastic cherry blossom trees.

It is also home to many different attractions including the Tennoji Zoo, an amusement park, and some of the best museums in all of Osaka. 

The Tennoji Zoo has over 400 species from around the world with an emphasis on animals found in Asia. 

There are also four different sections to explore: forest, savanna, swamp and ocean habitats. 

The Tennoji Museum features more than 8,000 natural history specimens that include fossils as well as dinosaur bones! 

The amusement park at Tennoji Park includes thrill rides such as roller coasters and log rides for kids to enjoy along with other family-friendly activities like games and animal shows. 

If you’re looking for something more relaxing after your visit to Dotonbori and the Ferris wheel, then simply take a walk around the park.

Osaka Tennoji Zoo

The Tennoji Zoo in Osaka, Japan is a wonderful place to visit with kids. 

The Tennoji Zoo is home to several animal species including bison, pandas, deer, and bears. 

There’s the monkey island with its many troops of monkeys; there are also various animals like tigers and zebras that live in a natural environment. 

There are plenty of open spaces where visitors can explore and enjoy themselves. 

And if you’re lucky enough to visit on a weekend then you’ll be treated to performances from animal trainers.

The zoo doesn’t just have an incredible amount of animals for kids to see but also educational programs that are offered by the zoo.

Universal Studios Osaka

Universal Studios Osaka is an amusement park in the city of Osaka, Japan.  

The theme park is modeled after its American counterpart with many attractions based on Universal’s famous films such as Jurassic Park™, Jaws™, E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial®, Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit® and Shrek 4D® which are all located in Hollywood Land. 

One of Osaka’s best attractions is Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey which allows visitors to experience what it feels like to ride a broomstick. 

There are also other themed areas like Woody Woodpecker’s KidZone (which includes the popular Barney show) and Cartoon Junction where you can meet your favorite cartoon characters from shows such as Scooby Doo! Mystery Incorporated®, SpongeBob SquarePants.

Shinsaibashi

Shinsaibashi is Osaka’s most well-known shopping destination, and it’s no surprise that it attracts tourists from all over the world. 

It has a wide range of stores to suit any taste, whether you’re looking for high-end designer labels or traditional Japanese souvenirs.   

For those who love food, Shinsaibashi offers an amazing variety of restaurants serving every kind of cuisine imaginable. 

The Shinsaibashi area is home to many shops, cafes and restaurants. 

For foodies, there are several best places to eat in this neighborhood. 

You can enjoy the excellent sushi near Shinsaibashi Station; a traditional ‘bento box’ meal, or one of the best ramen restaurants in the city.

There are also plenty of cultural events throughout the year to explore!   

Whether you’re in town for business or pleasure, make sure to spend some time exploring this bustling commercial district in Osaka Japan.

Optional: Tenjinbashisuji Shopping Street

If you have more time during your Osaka 1 Day itinerary, then consider visiting the Tenjinbashisuji Shopping Street.

Tenjinbashisuji Shopping Street is one of the most popular shopping streets in Osaka, Japan. 

It’s a great place to get souvenirs and gifts for friends and family members back home. 

The street has plenty of restaurants, cafes, kimono shops, clothing stores, art galleries and more! 

There are also many interesting things to do in the area including visiting museums or taking an evening stroll along the riverfront.

Optional: Umeda Sky Building

The Umeda Sky Building is a landmark building located in the Kita-ku district of Osaka, Japan. 

The tower stands at 173 meters high, with 40 stories, making it one of the tallest buildings in Japan.

The tall skyscraper is a great place for tourists who want an introduction to Japanese architecture. 

This building has two distinctive towers that are connected by a bridge and is famous for having panoramic vistas of the city.

Visitors will be able to take in views of the city from the Floating Garden observation deck on the top floor.

Underground, you will find a 20th century market with retail shops and restaurants.

The urban garden at the base is also beautiful for a stroll.

Optional: Kuromon Market

The Kuromon Market in Osaka, Japan is a popular tourist destination to explore. 

The market is filled with all sorts of food and goods that will make for an unforgettable experience. 

Kuromon Market offers fresh seafood from around the world, including tuna, shrimp, octopus and more. 

It also includes restaurants serving up sushi in addition to traditional Japanese food like tempura and okonomiyaki (Japanese pancakes). 

From traditional Japanese snacks like takoyaki, octopus dumplings, fresh fruit and vegetables, the market has it all! 

For those who are looking for souvenirs or gifts from Japan, be sure not to miss out on shops selling everything from chopsticks to samurai swords! 

2 Days in Osaka

Osaka has several other cultural sites and historical landmarks to explore, as well as delicious food. 

Here’s what else you can see if you have more time in Osaka.

Osaka Science Museum

There are many museums in Osaka, but the Osaka Science Museum is one of the most popular ones. 

It is located near Nara Park and Universal Studios Japan.

Osaka Science Museum is an awesome destination for any visitor who wants to experience more than the traditional tourist attractions of shopping and theme parks. 

It has a variety of unique galleries displaying interactive exhibits ranging from natural phenomena and space exploration to virtual reality simulators, robot battles, and holographic images. 

The museum exhibits are designed to make science engaging, interesting and easy to understand.

The Osaka Science Museum is a great place for kids to explore and have fun while learning. 

Shinsekai

Shinsekai is a popular tourist destination in Osaka. Shinsekai literally means New World.

This historic district of Osaka was built in 1891 adjacent to the Minami area.

Located just five minutes from the Namba Station, it’s easy to get to and explore but beware: it has the reputation of being dangerous!

You can enjoy shopping, go to the top of the iconic Tsutenkaku Tower in Shinsekai, or eat blowfish or kushikatsu.

Shinsekai has become a popular tourist destination because of its proximity to other attractions in Osaka like Dotonbori Street, Namba Parks, Umeda Sky Building.

Museum of Housing and Living

The Museum of Housing and Living in Osaka is a unique museum that displays the history of housing and living culture in the world. 

The museum was established to provide awareness about the importance of architecture as well as urban planning and is a must for enthusiasts.

Here you can experience what life was like for people in Japan from the early Japanese period to modern day life the world over.

You can see reconstructions and models depicting various types of dwellings at different periods. 

The National Museum of Art, Osaka

Osaka is a city that breathes art and culture. 

The National Museum of Art, Osaka, offers an extensive collection of Japanese artwork dating from the Edo period to the present day. 

Visitors can take guided tours where they are able to see artwork from some of Japan’s most notable artists including Hogai, Hokusai, and Utamaro as well as international masters like Monet. 

It’s easy to spend hours roaming through this amazing museum admiring the paintings, sculpture, ceramics, calligraphy, video installations and photography.

The National Museum of Art is on the east side of Osaka Castle Park near Namba Station.

Hozen-ji Yokocho

Hozen-ji Yokocho is a small, unassuming neighborhood in Osaka. It is located only a few minute walk away from JR Osaka Station.

The area has been around for over 400 years and was named after the Hozen-ji Temple which used to be located there. 

Today many visitors come to Hozenji Tokocho to enjoy traditional Japanese food, drink, and entertainment like geisha performances. 

Osaka Museum Of History

Osaka Museum of History is a museum that displays the history and culture of Osaka. 

The museum has exhibits about Osaka’s ancient history, modern industry, and natural disasters in the last century. 

It also features items from around Japan including pottery, swords, and scrolls. 

The museum is great to visit for anyone who wants to learn more about Japanese culture or just explore different artifacts from all over Japan!

Abeno Harukas

The 62 story skyscraper of Abeno Harukas is currently the tallest building in Japan.

It is a part of the Abenobashi Terminal Building.

This architectural masterpiece is located near Osaka Bay on a site that once housed an oil refinery and has been transformed into a stunning tourist attraction with spectacular views of Osaka’s port area as well as Kobe.

The skyscraper has an observatory at the top which provides visitors with views of Osaka’s coastline, as well as the city at night! 

It also features a rooftop garden and museum.

Spa World, Osaka

Spa World offers an array of spa treatments and services for visitors wanting to have a relaxing day out or even just escape the hustle and bustle of the city. 

Spa World has everything from natural hot springs baths – the onsen – to manicures and pedicures. 

It features a variety of different bathing themes.

The spa also offers massages, facials, hair removal treatments, aromatherapy, reflexology as well as one-hour saunas with refreshments. 

Spa World Osaka is an experience that’s sure to leave you feeling refreshed and renewed.

Where to stay if you have 24 hours in Osaka

Osaka features a range of different accommodations ranging from budget hostels to luxury hotels. 

We recommend staying in Kita or Minami district. 

Hotel Nikko Umeda is one of the most popular hotels in Osaka.

The location is perfect with easy access to restaurants, shopping centers, theaters, museums and more! 

Another great option is Sheraton Miyako Hotel. 

Located right next door to Universal Studios Japan (one of the top attractions), this hotel provides a relaxing stay with clean and spacious rooms.

Getting to Osaka, Japan

Osaka is a popular tourist destination for people who want to experience Japanese culture and food. Here are some tips on how to get there.

By air

The easiest way to reach Osaka is by plane.  

One convenient airport for Osaka flights is Kansai International Airport (KIX). Once you arrive at the airport, it’s easy to access the city center via bus or train.

By train

Train is one of the best ways to get around in Osaka, Japan. Just get down at the Osaka station and walk to your attraction.

Take the bullet train from Tokyo Station or Shinagawa Station, then take the Seishin-Yamate Line at Tennoji Station or Tsuruhashi Station. 

To explore the Kita area, take the train to Umeda Station on the Osaka subway.

Travel Tip – Get the Japan Rail Pass to save on Japanese bullet train travel during your vacation.

Best Time to Visit Osaka, Japan

The best time to visit Osaka is during the cherry blossom season in March-April. 

This way you can enjoy the beautiful flowers while also getting a taste of what the city has to offer. 

Other months have their own benefits as well, with September being great for festivals and October perfect for autumn leaves. 

October through December, Osaka sees less rainfall than other times of the year. 

If you are planning on visiting Osaka in winter, then it would make sense to visit in January or February. 

The temperature during these months usually hovers around thirteen degrees Celsius (55 degrees Fahrenheit) which should be nice and warm compared to cold weather elsewhere! 

For those who like their summers hot, July might just be the perfect time for water parks and fun family times.

Whatever month you choose to visit, there are plenty of places to explore in all seasons in Osaka!

Tips for planning Osaka trip

Our 1 day Osaka itinerary will give you a taste of Osaka’s culture, food and nightlife. 

Aim to arrive at Osaka early in the morning, if you are planning a day trip from Kyoto. 

Be sure to stay in Osaka for the evening when the city truly comes alive. 

If you are planning a multi-day Osaka trip or have 2 to 3 days in Osaka, then be sure to check out Kyoto, Hiroshima and Nara. 

These are all easy day trips from Osaka, and are a must on your Japan itinerary. 

Get the Japan Rail Pass to save on your travel expenses.

Also, make sure you have an empty stomach… food is the absolute highlight of a trip to Osaka!

We hope you liked our post on the 1 Day in Osaka itinerary.

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