Planning your Osaka itinerary and don’t know where to start? Use this guide to know how to effectively spend 3 days in Osaka Japan.
📧 Reader Mail: Hi Trisha! I recently followed you on Instagram and found out you are always answering reader questions! I would like to ask this opportunity to have your Osaka itinerary. I know you spent a lot of time in Japan but I only have 3 days in Osaka. Will that be enough? Thank you for your blog! I really love your content.
-Jesse Crawford, New York
I spent a month in Osaka but it really is a destination where you can spend 3 days. Within these 3 days, you will be able to visit all attractions and important landmarks.
Just to be sure, you can put $75 USD per day as a budget for Osaka and that will be enough. More things will be detailed in this Osaka itinerary like where to stay, affordable things to do, and must-visit attractions in Osaka Japan.
If you get in touch with me, I can personally help you plan your itinerary. I don’t know what type of traveler you are but all the activities in this itinerary fit all traveler types.
Good luck and I hope you enjoy Osaka. Don’t forget to eat, eat, and eat as this is the main attraction in Japan.
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- 26 must-see attractions in Osaka, Japan
- Osaka Japan Rail Pass Guide
- Japan Travel Guide
- 25 best restaurants in Osaka Japan
- Is Osaka expensive?
🎎 Is Osaka worth visiting?
Osaka is one of my favorite cities in Asia, so if you ask me – it’s a BIG YES! Osaka is indeed worth the visit.
I have always loved traveling while enjoying the food and culture of a country or city, and Osaka never fails to fulfill my travel checklist. Osaka offers good food and access to its rich history through museums, temples, and shrines. Along with fun and adventure in theme parks and sightseeing spots, I sure had a lot of fun visiting Osaka several times.
People in Osaka are surprisingly very welcoming. So even if I travel solo, the locals make it easier for me to travel around and ask whenever I need help regarding directions or to make conversation.
📅 How many days should I spend in Osaka?
Osaka will always be one of my favorite cities in Japan. One reason is it’s a big city but not overwhelming.
If you are a first-timer, staying in Osaka for 3 days is enough to see what it offers. Anyone can spend that much in Osaka without feeling rushed to see all the top attractions!
And since Japan is landlocked, I encourage you to spend other days in neighboring cities like Hiroshima, Kyoto, Nara, or even Tokyo if you wish! It’s easy to travel around because of their railway public transport system.
🤔 Are 3 days enough in Osaka?
DEFINITELY! If you do not have much time to spare, three days is enough to see the city’s top attractions and experience their food and culture.
I suggested three days for this itinerary because after traveling to Osaka several times, I realized that anyone could make the most out of their Osaka trip within 3 days. I even experienced staying in Osaka for two days (that is when it was my fourth time traveling to the city).
In this itinerary, I included every must-see tourist spot (and even non-tourist) you should visit during your stay. You can also book a few tours, which I have tried joining myself. Although no time is included, activities can be followed as is in each day.
➡️ Osaka Itinerary Day 1
Arrival in Osaka
The Kansai International Airport has access to any transportation (train, bus, private car, taxi) that can bring you to the Osaka City Center or your hotel.
You should catch a train ride from the Airport to Osaka Station for a smooth sailing and convenient trip. The fastest that can take you to Osaka is the Haruka Express.
A ticket can cost you $14.58 USD or $21.86 USD. Meanwhile, other train ride tickets range from $7.29 USD to $11.29 USD.
Alternatively, you can always ride the bus that can take you to Osaka City Center or book a private car that will take you directly to your hotel. The price starts at $79.81 USD.
Check-in your Hotel
The usual check-in time at Osaka hotels varies from 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM. This will depend on where you will be staying.
Please arrive in Kansai 3 hours before hotel check-in so you can go through the airport process and travel to the city center. Bear in mind that the United States is 14 hours behind Japan.
Some hotels allow you to check in earlier, depending on their room availability. You can always ask the receptionist about this.
Grab the opportunity if they enable you to check in earlier (without charge). Just make sure they aren’t charging you any additional fees.
If you can’t check in earlier but arrive at the hotel, you can leave with your suitcase and return on your check-in time. You can grab some street food or look around the neighborhood while waiting.
Sunset at Kuchu Tein Observatory
After a quick rest at your hotel, head to Kuchu Tein Observatory. The Kuchu Tein Observatory is located at the famous Umeda Sky Building, connected by the two towers of the Umeda Sky Building at an altitude of 173m.
I suggest you visit them to see a spectacular 360-degree view of the city. You can catch a perfect sunset view here and enjoy the city lights afterward.
The Observatory is open from 10:30 pm. You can easily book an admission ticket in advance to avoid the hassle; this costs approximately $14.15 USD.
Dinner at Umeda
After checking out the great city view from Kuchu Tein Observatory, it’s time for dinner! You can go around Umeda and look for restaurants around the neighborhood.
Umeda is an ideal lodging destination and an excellent shopping place in Osaka. You can find a lot of shopping malls and major department stores in the neighborhood.
From there, you can find an array of establishments, including standing bars, kushikatsu restaurants, and coffee shops that offer different cheap and delicious Osaka cuisine. I recommend you not miss trying out Okonomiyaki, Takoyaki, and Ramen in Japan.
You can also visit Tenjinbashisuji Shotengai to get takeout food like croquettes, wagashi sweets, and even sushi you can bring back to the hotel.
➡️ Osaka Itinerary Day 2
Enjoy the Day at Universal Studios Japan
Universal Studios Japan is not just for children but for every age to enjoy! This is one of the world’s best theme parks, so you should not miss this experience.
Universal Studios is a great mix of exclusive attractions, fun rides, and spectacular entertainment. It may seem impossible to enjoy a theme park alone as a solo traveler.
But if you’re like me, who likes to go all out and bring out the adventurous side of yourself, do yourself a favor and book a ticket to USJ.
There are nine different zones in the park, so you need 6 to 8 hours to go around the park. I suggest you go early, book your tickets in advance ($40.95 USD), and if you have extra money, get express passes ($78.95 USD) to avoid long lines.
Shop at Shinsaibashi-Suji Shopping Street
After a long day at Universal Studios, take your time and stroll around the long Shinsaibashi-Suji Shopping Street. In this famous 580-meter commercial avenue, you’ll see favorite international shops alongside local fashion boutiques, Japanese stores, cafes, and arcades.
During this time, you can relax and take your time looking around. Although it might get crowded in the afternoon, you can always take a quick break and snack in cafes.
Some of the major shops in Shinsaibashi-Suji are:
- United Arrows
- Urban Research
- Lowrys Farm
- Ralph Lauren
Nightlife at Dotonbori
After shopping at Shinsaibashi-Suji, head to Dotonbori; Dotonbori is a famous entertainment district famous for its local nightlife with many restaurants, cafes, street food shops, amusement facilities, and shopping centers open 24/7.
When I go to Osaka, I visit Dotonbori, especially at night. It’s easy to get to because it’s just a 5-minute walk away from Shinsaibashi-Suji.
After strolling around for a few hours, you can have your first full dinner in your chosen restaurant. Some of the restaurants you can try (personal favorites and local recommendations) are:
- Creo-Ru: serves the best yakisoba okonomiyaki
- Kani Doraku (Dotonbori Honten): best seafood restaurant in the neighborhood
- Kimukatsu: Japan’s most famous pork restaurant
- Kinryu Ramen: serves one of the best Chashu ramens I’ve tried
To cap off your day, visit an Izakaya and have a Japanese drink with some snacks!
➡️ Osaka Itinerary Day 3
Osaka Tour with A Local
For your last day in Osaka, I recommend booking a tour with a local via Viator (from $74.06 USD) if your flight back home is during the night. Or if you are transferring to another city, just make use of your last day in Osaka.
I enjoyed this tour specifically because it was a hundred percent personalized based on my liking. A day before, they sent me questionnaires to know my interests, so I was sent a very likable host!
Since day three is also check-out day, I searched for Luggage Storage Options in Osaka before proceeding with the tour. I stored my luggage in Osaka Station and asked my guide to meet me there.
The tour I chose lasted 4 hours, so I had time to prepare and travel to another city. But depending on your liking, you can always choose to have it for 3 to 8 hours.
My guide was really helpful during this tour because I got to discover the hidden gems of Osaka (restaurants, small shops, and more). Again, the itinerary of this tour is flexible. But within four hours, I visited Osaka Castle, Namba Yasaka Shrine, and Shitennoji.
Your place to visit may vary depending on your interest and preference. And among the other places you can see are:
- Nakanoshima Park
- Grand Front Osaka
- Shinsaibashi-suji Shopping Street
- Dotonbori Canal
If you are flying back home, ensure you arrive at the airport 3 hours before your flight. This is, so you avoid rushing. You can again hire a private car to take you back to Kansai Airport, picking you up at your desired location.
You can also ride the train back to the airport from Osaka Station. The trip lasts from 30 minutes to an hour, depending on the train you will be riding. Ticket price varies from $7.29 USD to $21.86 USD.
🇯🇵 Osaka Travel Resources
🚑 Do I need insurance to travel to Osaka Japan?
Yes, you do! This is the number one requirement when traveling to Japan. I use SafetyWing and I only pay $40 USD per month for my digital nomad travel insurance!
✈️ Where can I find cheap flights to Osaka Japan?
You can find cheap flights to Osaka, Japan by using WayAway. This is my current flight search favorite and I have proven that flights on this website are way cheaper!
🛏️ Where can I find cheap hotels in Osaka Japan?
Budget travelers, use Hostelworld when looking for accommodations in Japan. A bed in a hostel dorm starts at $25 USD per night. Booking.com is best for boutique hotels while you will find many luxury hotels on Expedia.