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26 things to do and eat in Osaka, Japan



Osaka, the food capital of Japan! It is a place where we ate till our tummies were full, but can't help but stop by another stall to have our tummies filled again! Aside from Osaka's delicious food, there are still lots to do in Osaka, Japan!

What to do in Osaka, Japan?

1. Shop at Shinsaibashi


Shinsaibashi is a popular shopping street of Osaka, Japan where high-end retailers reside, calling out to shoppers from all around the world. The entire roofed shopping street runs for 580 metres and has about 180 stores. Besides the widely seen Uniqlo, Zara, Bershka, et cetera, you'll also definitely need to visit GU, a sister branch of Uniqlo that has cheaper clothes of similar quality. The sheltered walkway makes shopping possible even on rainy and snowy days. However, the street do gets extremely crowded as shown in the picture. If you don't mind having to jostle amidst the crowd, the Shinsaibashi-suji is a great street for all your shopping needs.

Shinsaibashi Shopping Arcade

2 Chome-2-22 Shinsaibashisuji, Chuo Ward, Osaka, Osaka Prefecture 542-0085, Japan

Nearest metro: Shinsaibashi Station or Namba Station

2. People-watch at Ebisu Bridge


At night, after going onto your day trips, you may then want to head to Dotonburi. Besides the vibrant shopping street and the myriad food choices, the Ebisu bridge is great to just watch the crowds come and go.

Ebisu Bridge is a key attraction in Osaka where it sitting in-between Shinsaibashi Shopping Arcade and the Dotonburi Night Market. As the bridge is still a popular meeting place for the locals, you'll see many people standing and waiting around and of course, many of them are..

Ebisu Bridge Osaka

1 Chome-6 Dōtonbori, Chūō-ku, Ōsaka-shi, Ōsaka-fu 542-0071, Japan

Nearest metro: Namba Station

3. Taking pictures with the Dotonbori Glico Man!


The Ebisu bridge where the famous Glico Man can be seen. Tons of commercials have been placed here and it may even be dazzling to some. What we realised is that the Japanese really love plastering all their information and advertisements all at once. But the longest-standing commercial is the Glico Man athlete in a victory pose. If you observe long enough, the background changes... Here, it shows the Glico Man standing in front of Sydney's Opera House!

Dotonburi Glico Sign

Japan, 〒542-0071 Ōsaka-fu, Ōsaka-shi, Chūō-ku, Dōtonbori, 1 Chome−10, 大阪市中央区道頓堀1丁目10−2

Nearest metro: Namba Station

4. Explore Dotonburi and Feast on its Food

There's simply so many restaurants and big billboards in Dotonburi that makes it so fun to just be walking around and getting dazzled by the bright and sometimes even neon lights in Dotonburi, Osaka. Head over on an empty stomach as there are simply just so much food and amazing restaurants in this entire stretch!

You would probably also want to visit it for several nights in a row to properly savour all its majestic food!

Dotonburi, Osaka

Japan, 〒542-0071 Ōsaka-fu, Ōsaka-shi, Chūō-ku, Dōtonbori, 1 Chome−10, 中央区道頓堀

Nearest metro: Namba Station

5. Visit Osaka Castle (or not?)


If visiting Himeij Castle is too far away, consider going to Osaka Castle. But hmm, we're not really sure if we should really recommend this but it is definitely one of the major attractions in Osaka! To learn more about Osaka Castle, read our blog post on: Don't head to Osaka Castle Without Knowing These 5 Fun Facts!

Osaka Castle

1-1 Ōsakajō, Chūō-ku, Ōsaka-shi, Ōsaka-fu 540-0002, Japan

Nearest Metro Station: Tanimachi 4-chrome Station or Morinomiya Station

6. Head to Universal Studios Japan

This was one that we debated really long and hard if we should really use one precious day to get there. Our previous experience to Tokyo DisneySEA was quite sad as we've spent a long time in the queues. But we really wanted to ride the Harry Potter rides in Japan even though we've been to the bigger and better Universal Studios in Orlando (more updates on that after we're done with the Japan postings!).

Though we didn't make it to Universal Studios Japan this time round, but it is a worthy day trip for those who don't wish to take the long plane ride all the way to Orlando, United States of America to experience being a wizard.

If you do intend to head to Universal Studios Japan, purchase the tickets online to save money and time queuing up at the entrance here!

Universal Studios Japan

2 Chome-1-33 Sakurajima, Konohana-ku, Ōsaka-shi, Ōsaka-fu 554-0031, Japan

Nearest metro: Sakurajima Station

7. Universal Citywalk Osaka

While you're at USJ, head over to explore Universal Citywalk Osaka at night. It is a huge shopping mall where you can cool down and simply do some window shopping. There are several hotels here like The Park Front Hotel, Hotel Keihan Universal Tower, and Hotel Keihan Universal City so that you can maximise your time at the park!

Universal CityWalk Osaka

6 Chome-2-61 Shimaya, Konohana-ku, Ōsaka-shi, Ōsaka-fu 554-0024, Japan

Nearest metro: Universal City Station

8. Explore Osaka's Mall in a "park"


Namba Parks is a high-end shopping mall where you can enjoy shopping and feel like you are within the oasis of a park. It is also a great area for architectural buffs as the unique curves of the mall is so cool!

Some other malls to explore include Namba City, BIC Camera, Hankyu Sanbangai, Umeda Sky Tower and departmental stalls like Takashimaya and Namba Marui.

Namba Parks

2 Chome-10-70 Nanbanaka, Naniwa Ward, Osaka, Osaka Prefecture 556-0011, Japan

Nearest metro: Namba Station

9. Spot the Women-Only Carriage


This was interesting as we were rushing to board the train only to be stopped in our tracks by the bright pink poster on the ground. We later learn that these were women-only carriages. This practice occurred even when in the past. Ever since 1912, the Tokyo Chuo line started introducing such women-only carriages to isolate female students from the rest of the population. However, after World War 2, this practice has been replaced by priority seats in 1973. It was not until in the 21st century where these carriages appeared again. In Osaka, the MidoSuji subway line, Hankyu line, and the JR West line holds these ladies-only carriages.

10. Stroll in America-Mura


The America-Mura or also known as the American Village is Osaka's youth centre. The streets hold many thrift stores, cafes, and galleries where many Japanese youth hang out. Especially during the weekends, spot flea markets and street performances which created a bustling scene in the area.

America-Mura, Osaka, Japan

Area outside Shinsaibashi Station

11. Kuromon Ichiba Market

The Kuromon Ichiba Market has everything - from food to souvenirs to random stuff. You have got to visit it in the morning to soak in the market vibes (and perhaps find breakfast!).

While you're there, check out the Nipponbashi area too. This is an area that sells cheap electronics.

Kuromon Ichiba Market

2 Chome-3-2 Nipponbashi, Chūō-ku, Ōsaka-shi, Ōsaka-fu 542-0073, Japan

Nearest metro: Nipponbashi Station

12. Visit Don Quixote

When you head to Japan, you can't miss out on Don Don Donki. Even though we now have them in Singapore, they are not the same. Especially when at night, you just have to get that midnight snack, or just to make full use of your last night, you can visit Don Quixote for their tasty snacks as souvenirs, interesting gadgets, and even naughty toys (lol)!

Since it is opened 24 hours, I also make it a point to book a hotel near a Don Quixote so that we can shop till late before taking a short walk back to rest our legs...

This time we stayed in APA Hotel Namba Eki-Higashi.

We especially loved the location because it is within walking distance to Namba, Shinsaibashi, and the Dotonburi area. Around us, we have lots of food options and 24 hours mart, including Don Don Donki! We paid only about 37,000 yen for 4 nights (which equates to about 115 sgd per night!). Although the room's honestly really small, we really liked APA for the location and the amenities they provide. In each room, there are Shiseido Body Soap, Shampoo and Conditioner. When we were staying at APA in Tokyo and Hokkaido, they even had a public onsen at their basement.

13. Rinku Premium Outlet


The Rinku Premium Outlet should be slotted on your way to or from the airport. Even though you should not expect United States' factory outlet prices, it is still a peaceful abode away from the crowded Osaka city centre. Besides the premium outlet, there's also a small mall that you can while away your time!

Rinku Premium Outlet

3-28 りんくう往来南 泉佐野市 大阪府 598-8508, Japan

Nearest metro: Rinku Town

Day Trips out of Osaka, Japan

If these doesn't spark your fancy, consider having Day Trips out of Osaka. Osaka is the gateway of Kansai and it is great to have a base here while you explore places like Kyoto, Nara, and Kobe.

Osaka Food Guide - What to eat in Osaka, Japan?

Now to cover our favourites! Being the food capital of Japan, you can't leave Osaka before trying all the amazing food it has to offer!

14. Try Kushikatsu (Fried meat or vegetable skewers)


Kushikatsu is one of Osaka's signature food. They are essentially meat or vegetable skewers that are deep fried and you should have them dipped in Kushikatsu sauce (a savoury brown sauce).


The most popular place to have Kushikatsu in Osaka is Daruma. You shouldn't have any trouble finding it as the chef cartoon is mammoth in size and is just a short walk from Ebisu Bridge.


This Kushikatsu store has a bar or table seating. To get a table, you'll often have to wait in line. We were lucky to enter Daruma with only about two groups of people before us. Should you wish to shorten your waiting time, do go for the bar seats!

We were quickly ushered to our seats and given a menu almost immediately. It isn't that difficult to order since the stall only has 3 combo sets. We asked for an English Menu so that we knew exactly what we were eating. Fortunately, they also allowed us to share a combo where not many restaurants do so. We highly recommend sharing as the fried food may get overly satiating after a couple of pieces.


We ordered the Combo Hozenji where there were 12 pieces of Kushikatsu. Each combo comes with a choice of a side dish and we recommending trying the Doteyaki which you only get in Osaka. It is a side dish made of beef tendon and konjac that is simmered with a miso sauce.


The result of the extensive simmering was an extremely tender and soft beef chunks that we enjoyed while waiting for our Kushikatsu. Do note that it can be really salty so do go easy on it!


A poster that explains what Kushikatsu is and how you should eat it is also plastered around the restaurant. To cut the long story short, PLEASE DO NOT DOUBLE DIP YOUR KUSHIKATSU!


For the sake of the many customers who enjoy having kushikatsu, only dip your skewers into the sauce once! This is because the skewers go into your mouth, and if you do double dip, your saliva on the skewer goes right into the sauce! Yikes! Should you require more sauce, use the cabbage that they provide to "scoop" more sauce and eat the cabbage as it doubles up as a way to wash down the fried food!


We also advise not to dip everything into the sauce as it can be quite salty. Just ensure that you have an adequate amount of sauce, and go for seconds with the cabbage later on.

Kushikatsu is a great snack that goes very well along with beer. We ordered a beer each and left with happy tummies! :)

Daruma Kushikatsu, Osaka

1 Chome-6-4 Dōtonbori, Chūō-ku, Ōsaka-shi, Ōsaka-fu 542-0071, Japan

Nearest metro: Namba Station

15. Savour Japanese Crabs


Another great restaurant at the Dotonburi area is Kani Doraku, which specialises in crab and kaiseki cuisines. We didn't really have stomaches to try this restaurant as it is a full meal on our own. When we researched and did our planning to Osaka. We were extremely sad that we couldn't fit all these wondrous food in our 4 nights in Osaka. 4 nights = 12 meals (assuming we have all three meals). Yikes, too much good food but not enough stomach space!

Kani Doraku Dotonburi, Osaka

1 Chome-6-18 Dōtonbori, Chūō-ku, Ōsaka-shi, Ōsaka-fu 542-0071, Japan

Nearest metro: Namba Station

16. Learn more about takoyaki at the Konamon Museum


The Konamon Museum is great for people who want to try Osaka's Konamon Takoyaki. Besides just munching on them, you'll be able to learn more about the history of Takoyaki and even make a wax structure of the takoyaki as a souvenir.

Konamon Takoyaki Dotonburi

Japan, 〒542-0071 Ōsaka-fu, Ōsaka-shi, Chūō-ku, Dōtonbori, 1 Chome−6, 大阪市中央区道頓堀1丁目6−12

Nearest metro: Namba Station

17. Tako Takoyaki


Since we are on the topic of Takoyaki, do you know that Takoyaki is one of the representative food of the Kansai region. Not only that, but there are a wide variety of takoyaki in Osaka. During our stay, we observed Japanese having Takoyaki as a snack as they drink their beer, enjoying their time off work. Some of them also have them as a meal! In fact, the Takoyaki industry is so competitive such that there isn't even one Gindako store here!

There's just something quite different about Takoyaki in Osaka. It is crispy on the outside, but extremely soft and moist on the inside. There are blogs that talk about the various Takoyaki stores that you have to try, but we honestly think that some of them are overrated and in fact most of these takoyakis are extremely well-made.

If you are in the Dotonburi area, then you'll probably want to queue to try Kukuru. They specialise in having huge takos that some even protrude out of the tako ball itself!

Kukuru

Japan, 〒542-0071 Ōsaka-fu, Ōsaka-shi, Chūō-ku, Dōtonbori, 1 Chome−10−5 白亜ビル 1階

Nearest metro: Namba Station

18. Go for something sweet - Creamia Ice Cream


When in Japan, you have to try this ice-cream! When we first saw it, it really reminded us of the Shiroi Koibito biscuit from Hokkaido. Oh, but the ice cream is so milky and so good! You can find this ice cream about anywhere and it is such a treat, especially during the hot summer months!

19. Try Japanese Chinese Fast Food - Hurray for 551 Horai!

There are quite a bit of Japanese food that are essentially fusion dishes that were inspired from Chinese food. One of our favourite would be the gyoza!

In Osaka, 551 horai is a Chinese take-out / fast-food chain that serves up delicious and affordable gyozas and pau (chinese buns). They are only available in the Kansai region so those heading only to Tokyo wouldn't be able to try these fantastic food! Plus, their packaging is so nice that it is a perfect gift to take to your families and friends when visiting. Too bad, it would have been soggy by the time it flies back to our families... Perhaps we really should have gotten the chilled version!

The pork buns (about 170 yen) are made by hand and each one oozes out steamy juices of the pork. They are so delicious right down to their soft skin. Their gyozas are one of the best we've had. I still vividly remember purchasing these food at Takashimaya near Osaka Station and standing at one corner, eating these gyozas like some hobo. Yummmyyy... It comes also with a packet of vinegar which we also devoured. What's more, the box of 10 comes at only 300 yen ($3.58 sgd) = 36 cents per piece? Omg, superbly worth it right!

Okay, now i totally regret not purchasing the chilled ones back home... :(

551 Horai (various outlets available)

5 Chome-1-番5号 Nanba, Chūō-ku, Ōsaka-shi, Ōsaka-fu 542-8510, Japan

Nearest metro: Namba Station

20. Slurp up Ramen


When in Japan, you'll have to taste Ichiran or even Ippudo. Especially Ichiran for its cubicle seating, it will be an experience like no other!

Ichiran (Various Outlets)

1 Chome-4-16 Dōtonbori, Chūō-ku, Ōsaka-shi, Ōsaka-fu 542-0071, Japan

Nearest metro: Namba Station

Ippudo (Various Outlets)

Japan, 〒530-0017 Ōsaka-fu, Ōsaka-shi, Kita-ku, Kakudachō, 6, 府大阪市北区角田町6-7 角田町ビル1F

Nearest metro: Umeda Station

21. Hang out at Torikizoku

We previously chanced upon it when we were in Yokohama, Japan and have been thinking of it the whole time! This restaurant chain is a popular Izakaya and has amazing bar-like vibes. The most enticing thing about this restaurant is that all its dishes are 298 yen each, INCLUDING ALCOHOL! This means you can eat (or drink) to your heart's content.

Pro Tip: Head to outlets that are slightly further away from major metro stations and you can save time or even skip the queue altogether! We went to the Nipponbashi outlet (address below) and didn't have to wait at all!

Torikizoku (Various Outlets)

1 Chome-21-20 Nipponbashi, Chūō-ku, Ōsaka-shi, Ōsaka-fu 542-0073, Japan

Nearest metro: Namba Station

22. Check out Osaka's Station Food Hall


Osaka's Umeda Sanbangai Food Hall is like our food court, only better. It looks aesthetically pleasing and is bright and vibrant. We arrived just before dinner and managed to get amazing quality food at affordable prices.


We tried Toroya's Don which offers extremely fresh sliced sashimi bowl and their unagi is savoury and soft! The set comes with an okra appetiser and miso soup.


We also had this Katsu with rice! Both were extremely tasty and was so popular amongst the locals. We would definitely make a second trip if we had more days but due to the short trip, we only had stomach for just one meal!

Umeda Sanbangai Food Hall

Japan, 〒530-0012 Ōsaka-fu, Ōsaka-shi, Kita-ku, Shibata, 1 Chome−1−3 阪急三番街 北館B2F

Nearest metro: Umeda Station

23. Feast on the Freshest Sushi


Sometimes the best sushi may not be from restaurants or sushi bars. In fact, it may be from supermarkets!


We chanced upon a store selling freshly sliced otoro sushi. Different portions of the fish would have a different price and the only way to savour large quantities of the otoro is to order it as take-out. We saw local Japanese queuing for it, purchasing it in packs of 8, 9, 10, and we decided to try some too!


Look at the fatty tuna! It was the best. The fish melts in your mouth and pairs really well with the vinegared rice. Each piece of fatty tuna costs 250 yen and we couldn't believe how fresh and tasty it was. We ordered additional portions after tasting it and wanted to return on another day to have more of it but we just couldn't find this particular supermarket!


Help guys, do you know where this is? Comment below please!

24. Din's

Funny how we kept veering towards Chinese food! Here's an interesting restaurant that we tried. There's Xiao Long Bao with a crispy skin and more gyozas!

Din's

Japan, 〒バルチカ Ōsaka-fu, Ōsaka-shi, Kita-ku, Umeda, 3 Chome−1, Unnamed Road、3丁目-1 梅田 北区 大阪市 大阪府 530-0001

Nearest metro: Umeda Station

25. Matsuya

We can't get over just how much we love Matsuya. We've talked about it when writing our Sapporo must-eats, and also our Tokyo ones and it is still the number 1 joint that we have to go to whenever we are in Japan.

A. We absolutely loved their beef bowl, better than Yoshinoya and Sukiya.

B. We loved their marinated grilled beef. It is sliced thinly and slightly charred when served!

C. We love their curry that is slightly black - does anyone have the recipe for this?

D. Salmon is really good but slightly too salty. We love the slightly charred flavour!

26. Last but definitely not the least, you must have Matsusaka Beef


We've previously written about Matsusaka Beef and YOU MUST REALLY TRY it. It is quite pricey but worth every single penny. It is that good that I'm yearning to fly back to have more!

Read our article on Where to find the best Matsusaka Beef in Osaka, Japan!

Now that we're done with this monster post on what to do and eat in Osaka, Japan, stay tune to our guides and itineraries of travelling in Japan!

#TravelGuide #FoodGuide #TravelTips #Travelogue #TravelHacks

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Hello there! Michelle is based in Singapore, and she started The Munching Traveller to document her love for travelling, trying delicious food, and writing.

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