Osaka Ultimate Travel Guide
In the Osaka travel guide, I will walk you through all your questions about a visit to Osaka. What, when, where, why, and how, all necessary for your preparation. However, some of our information may change due to strict travel restrictions.
I recommend you to check out any information at the relevant authorities for the latest guidelines to enjoy a safe, sound trip to Osaka. Furthermore, at the time of Covid, you should watch out carefully, even more so.
As the third-largest city, Osaka is down-to-earth, laid back, and named the soul of Japan, compared to Tokyo, which is polished and pricey. It offers you a large, modern city with glory. The city is proud of detectable food and eye-catching shopping.
As you may know the complicated global situation, travel guidelines have been changed frequently. I encourage you to verify the travel restrictions to Japan, which provides detailed information on international travel.
Depending on your passport, you may want a visa and some travel documents in a visit to Japan. Visit iVisa.com to know the requirements before a visa application to have a smooth start.
At a glance
As the central metropolis of the Kansai region, Osaka is an undisputed paradise in gastronomy. That explains why it ranks as one of the favourite cities. In addition, the city is proud of its friendly, easygoing citizens who feel comfortable talking to foreign tourists.
Best time to visit
One of the good things about your visit to Osaka is you can travel all year round as the weather is not too hot, too cold or too rainy. Summer is hot and humid, winter is cold but not freezing, and spring and fall are absolutely perfect.
Winter falls during this period and is the coldest time. If you love seafood, it’s a chance for you to savour crab and fugu. They are healthy, delicious winter dishes on which you can’t miss out.
Spring offers the most gripping times for tourists. Because the weather is warming up, kick off the cherry blooming that starts at the end of March and comes in full bloom in the first week of April.
If you are a budget traveller, you should pay attention that it is peak season. You see thicker crowds, higher than usual hotel rates, and crowded restaurants. So is the Golden Week holiday that falls in the first week of May.
Following spring comes summer. If you feel allergic to too much heat and humidity, you should stay home during this time. August is the hottest month, and June and July are the rainiest ones.
An ideal time for you to visit falls in October and November. The weather is mild, giving a chance to view the lovely autumn foliage full of color of fall. To make your trip full of valuable sightseeing, check out weather in Osaka to understand it better.
Arrive in Osaka
From Kansan International Airport
If your point of entry is Osaka, your international airport will be Kansai. You will have some means to go to downtown.
The train offers the best means to go from the airport to the hotel. However, the system of train lines is various, and you should figure out what train lines fits your accommodation. To facilitate your option, visit Osaka Station website to understand the differences between train lines.
Though it’s easy to buy train tickets at the gate, you can have an exciting discount if you purchase them ahead of your ride.
Hyperdia and Google Maps are helpful tools to explore a highly efficient but minor confusing train system. You will find all the information about train schedules, fares, and journey times at Klook.
Like the train system, transportation cards may cause a little confusion. Thus, check out this article on travel passes to get a complete understanding.
You cant take a limousine bus from the airport as well. Unlike the rail system, they operate 24/7 service so you don’t worry about off-hour transportation. You take roughly an hour from the airport to the Osaka station.
One-way fare from the airport to Osaka station costs JPY 1,600 for adults. To have the itinerary of the bus network, timetable and fare, navigate the bus transportation.
If you have many pieces of luggage and children, the good choice is to take a taxi. Of course, it is the most expensive means. The rate to the station is nearly JPY 20,000 for a 50-minute ride.
The most convenient way is a private transfer. It’s very expensive. If you want to take a try, book it in advance through Get private vehicle.
From other parts of Japan
Those interesting in a multi-city tour would like to buy a JR Pass. It provides unlimited use of JR national rails. With the 7-day pass, you make seat reservations free of charge, save your travel time, view an excellent means to admire the vast areas.
Where to exchange currency
Banks / Post offices: These places are reliable for currency exchange but it takes long roughly 30 minutes.
Licensed money changers: They are also trusted and their rates are comparable. You can refer to recommended money changers in Osaka.
Kinken shops: These shops are only small stores. They sell or buy unused event tickets. Some offer a service of exchange currency. And they are outside metro stations.
Currency exchange machines: It looks like an ATM machine. You just insert your money and it releases the JPY equivalent. They are available in tourist areas.
ATM machines: It’s my favourite way as rates are acceptable, and saves me from bringing a lot of foreign currency. I encourage you to inform your bank of your upcoming transactions through ATM abroad. This prevents them from flagging your deals.
Tip: You can have an ATM proceed “with or without conversion”. And always the WITHOUT proceed. Every so often, you get “with conversion”, the ATM realizes the conversion in place of a local bank. You may suffer bad exchange rates. Read the difference between rates can be 10% or more.
Sights and activities
Unlike Tokyo and Kyoto, Osaka offers a limited number of sights and activities. You need two days only to cover the highlights and attractions out there.Dōtonbori
In the tourist district Dōtonbori, you will find flashing neon signs, numerous restaurants and vigorous crowds. It’s the best time to visit is late afternoon or early evening as you view the district in daylight and at night.
The Osaka Castle presents the most crucial historical scenes: ancient architecture and tiered roofs. The building Tenshu offers magnificent towers, tall walls, luxuriant gardens and wide moats.
Kuromon Ichiba Market
This is a well-known market where you can buy fish and seafood. If you want to savour special fish dishes, it’s the right place. To get there, you take the Nippombashi Station and the Kintetsu-Nippombashi Station.
America-mura & Orange Street
The street is home to small shops and hip-hop music. Also, you can take a short break in cafes and bars. My tip is to enjoy a tasty cup of coffee in the Streamer Coffer. With a brief walk along Orange Street, you will find boutiques of furniture and interiors.
Osaka is proud of being the Kitchen of Japan, which produces many specialties. Two typical dishes include Okonomiyaki and Takoyki you should enjoy in a visit to Osaka.Okonomiyaki
Okomomiyaki looks like a Japanese omellete. Its ingredients include eggs, flour, and cabbage. You can add some vegetables, fish or meat.Takoyaki
Takoyaki balls are a street food you can see in markets or stalls. These balls are baked in a round mould. Inside of balls include a piece of octopus.
Central Osaka has two parts: Kita, the northern part of the centre, sits around Umeda district and Minami, the southern part of the centre, is around Namba district.
Luxury (US$100 and up)
- Hotel Monterey Grasmere Osaka – This is 4-star hotel. From here, you walk around 10 minutes to the famous area.
- Hillarys Hotel Osaka – It’s luxury 4-star accommodation. You take only a short time to go to Namba station and Namba Shrine.
- Cross Hotel Osaka – If you want to stay in the centre, the hotel is your option. Just a few minutes from Namba station.
- Holiday Inn Namba – It’s very close to Namba station.
Middle price (from $US50 to US$100)
- APA Hotel Osaka Shinsaibashi – It’s near subway and train stations, offers Wi-Fi and parking.
- Hotel Mystays Osaka Shinsaibashi – You can find luggage storage and cozy beds
- Hotel FloralHotel Nami Shinsaibashi Osaka Hotel – If you want to stay in the well-known Shinsaibashi area, this hotel is an appropriate choice.
Budget (up to US$50)
- Cabin & Capsule Hotel J-SHIP Namba – You will experience staying in a capsule pod, a small room with a bed.
- Nerarel Hostel Namba – If you don’t like a capsule pod, the other option is a hostel. You also have free Wi-Fi, air-condition, and toiletries.
Luxury (US$100 and up)
- Hilton Osaka – The hotel is very close to Umeda subway station and offers a shopping chance and food eateries.
- Granvia Hotel Osaka – You will find fabulous rooms and friendly staff.
- Imperial Hotel Osaka – 5-star, subway and train connection, swimming pool, and fitness center.
Mid-range (from US$65 to US$100)
- Hotel Monterey Le Frere 4 – It offers breakfast, Wi-Fi, and more.
- Osaka Dai-ichi Hotel – Free Wi-Fi, 24-hour front office, bar, and restaurant. A stone throw away from the hotel is Umeda Sky Building!
- Hotel Hokke Club – LCD TVs, Free Wi-Fi, heating, air conditioning, toiletries, breakfast, and 24-hour reception.
Budget (up to US$65)
- ibis Budget Umeda Osaka Hotel – A nice, clean hotel in Osaka downtown.