Covers Everything from the Staple Osaka Castle to Well-Kept Secret Places! Model Course for a One-Day Tour from Osaka Station
Osaka is a wondrous place that houses classic tourist destinations like Osaka Castle, as well as hidden spots and specialty dining establishments. Below is a model course that will let you enjoy Osaka’s towns and streets to the fullest in a single day.
Begin your journey from JR Osaka Station. Located in the Umeda area where JR lines, subways, Hankyu Railway, Hanshin Electric Railway and various other train lines run through, this station can be easily accessed from within the region, as well as from other regions like Kyoto or Kobe. Furthermore, it is close to Shin-Osaka, where there is a station for the shinkansen (bullet train), so it is a perfect base for sightseeing.
9:00 AM: Osaka Station
Walk for about 4 minutes from JR Osaka Station to Umeda Station, which is on the subway’s Midosuji Line. Get on the train and after about 8 minutes, get off at Namba Station.
About a 3-minute walk from Namba Station
The first place you must visit is Sennichimae Doguyasuji Shotengai (Sennichimae Doguyasuji Shopping Street), a spot that supports the food culture of Osaka, which is said to be a “kuidaore no machi” (town where people eat until they collapse or go bankrupt). The special shopping arcade that spans 150m is where you can find all sorts of tools and instruments related to food, such as kitchen utensils, knives and tableware. There are shops that sell the same noren (curtains) as those that are hung at shop entrances, as well as lanterns, uniforms for all kinds of businesses, and even plastic food samples! Many of the shops open at 9:00 AM, so for those who want to go sightseeing and still have some time to spare, it might be good to get here early.
About a 6-minute walk from Sennichimae Doguyasuji Shotengai
Head over to the Kuromon Ichiba market to better enjoy the food in Osaka! This market houses more than 50 shops that sell fruits, vegetables, fish and meat. With all the fresh ingredients available here, even the chefs of well-established restaurants around the area come here to shop. It has also become extremely famous as a spot for eating tours in recent years. You will be able to taste various kinds of dishes, such as fish and meat kushiyaki (grilled on a skewer), sushi and kaisendon (rice bowl topped with sashimi). Why not eat an early lunch here?
The subway’s Nipponbashi Station is just a short walk from Kuromon Ichiba. Ride the Sakaisuji Line for about 2 minutes and then get off at Ebisucho Station.
About a 5-minute walk from Ebisucho Station
Tsutenkaku, located in the entertainment district or the shin-sekai (new world) south of the city, is a viewing tower with a height of 103m. From the viewing deck on the 4th and 5th floors, you will be able to enjoy a panoramic view of Osaka’s townscape. Furthermore, the special outdoor observation platform (additional fee of 500 JPY) at the top of the tower, which is 94.5m above the ground, offers an exceptional unobstructed vista of the city below. Enjoy the scenic beauty of Osaka while feeling the seasonal wind blow against your face.
Admission Fee: Adults 700 JPY; University Students 500 JPY; Middle School and High School Students 400 JPY; Elementary School Students 300 JPY; Small Children (at least 5 years old) 300 JPY
Walk for about 9 minutes from Tsutenkaku to JR Shin-Imamiya Station. Get on the train and ride for about 12 minutes, and then get off at Morinomiya Station.
*If you take the subway, then to get to Morinomiya Station, you would need to get on the Sakaisuji Line from Ebisucho Station and then transfer to the Nagahori Tsurumi-Ryokuchi Line at Nagahoribashi Station. Travel time will be about 15 minutes.
About a 15-minute walk from Morinomiya Station
The Osaka Castle Ruins, located inside Osaka Castle Park, is a place where numerous castle structures remain intact, including the Otemon Gate (main gate), the turrets and the inner moat. Its stonewall is the largest in Japan at height of 30m, and its beauty should not be missed! While the current Daitenshu (Large Castle Tower) might be a rebuilt version, it still showcases valuable historical artifacts and works of art inside its walls. The view from the observation platform is also stunning.
Admission Fee: Adults 600 JPY
About an 18-minute walk from Osaka Castle
After touring the castle, board Osaka’s aqua bus called Aqua-Liner. This elegant sightseeing cruise, which lasts for about 55 minutes, will treat passengers to boat-side views of Osaka’s major tourist spots and historic sites, such as Osaka Castle and Nakanoshima. Osaka Castle Port, the point of departure for the cruise, is located at the farthest end of Osaka Castle Park, so make sure to give yourself plenty of time to get there. Note that if you miss the 3:00 PM trip, you will have to wait for an hour to get on the next trip.
Fare: Adults 1,700 JPY; Children 850 JPY (incl. tax) *With certain exceptions
Walk for about 10 minutes from Osaka Castle Port to the subway’s Osaka Business Park Station. Get on the Nagahori Tsurumi-Ryokuchi Line and after around 10 minutes, get off at Shinsaibashi Station.
About a 3-minute walk from Shinsaibashi Station
A place where trends start, Americamura (America Village) is a spot that is constantly filled with young people. It is crammed with shops selling the latest fashion items, unique vintage clothes, records and other items. Kogaryu, located in front of the park’s symbol Sankaku Koen (Triangle Park), is a famous shop that serves takoyaki (octopus dumplings), a known specialty dish of Osaka. You also absolutely need to see the human-shaped streetlights, as well as the wall murals created by artists!
About a 6-minute walk from Americamura
For dinner, enjoy Osaka’s specialty treat: Okonomiyaki, a round savory pancake that is made by mixing batter consisting of dissolved wheat flour with cabbage, pork, seafood and other ingredients, and then cooking the mixture on an iron plate. You will surely love the fluffy and supple texture of Sanpei’s original batter, which uses soy milk, fresh cream, grated yam and other ingredients. This shop’s bestseller is the Negiyaki (Fujiyama) (1,340 JPY – 1,850 JPY (incl. tax)), which is cooked with a heaping amount of chopped spring onions. This okonomiyaki, which has slowly simmered beef sinew, is best eaten with soy sauce.
About a 4-minute walk from Okonomiyaki Sanpei
When you’re done eating, head to Ebisubashi in Dotonbori through the Shinsaibashisuji Shopping Street. This place is a known symbolic spot in the neighborhood, alongside the Dotonbori River that flows under the bridge, the neon light billboards and the bustling downtown area. The huge Glico billboard featuring a man spreading his arms and the giant mechanized crab at Kani Doraku are very popular here. There is also a promenade along the river, so you can take a leisurely stroll.
About a 2-minute walk from Dotonbori
Hozenji Yokocho is a quaint cobblestone-paved alley that is crammed with small restaurants, bars and other establishments. Just like Dotonbori, it is a symbolic spot that appears in many novels and songs that are set in Osaka. At the heart of Yokocho lies Hozenji Temple. They say that if you throw water at the statue of Fudo Myoo, more commonly known as Mizukake Fudo, your wish will be granted. Some wishes that could be granted include having a thriving business and achieving success in love.
Walk for about 4 minutes from the statue of Mizukake Fudo up to the subway’s Namba Station. Take the Midosuji Line and then get off at Umeda Station after about 8 minutes on the train. Osaka Station, the starting point of your journey, is just a short walk from there.
When traveling through the region, the Osaka Amazing Pass – which lets you enjoy unlimited rides on the subway and private railway lines – comes in handy. This pass comes with coupons that grant you free access to or discounts for specific establishments and facilities, so make sure to use them!
*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.