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A Perfect Long Weekend in Osaka

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A Perfect Long Weekend in Osaka

Discover Kansai’s most vibrant metropolis inhabited by famously laid-back citizens with a penchant for the good things in life.

Wandering down twisting neon-lit alleys and buzzing canal sides is one of the many pleasures of exploring Osaka City. Add to that the endless tasty food options and out-there shopping experiences, and suddenly just a day or two in this unique pocket of Japan doesn’t feel like enough. Make the most of your time in Osaka with our recommendations for a fun-filled long weekend in the nation’s friendliest city.

Photo by Jason Haidar: OKONOMIYAKI SMOTHERED IN MAYONNAISE AND TOPPED WITH BONITO FLAKES AND
NORI SEAWEED

DAY 1

Start the day with a coffee in Horie

Some of Osaka’s best coffee can be found in Horie, Shinsaibashi. Boutique coffee houses Mel Coffee Roasters and Lilo Coffee Roasters pour fresh iced or steaming brews in a cozy urban setting.

Shop for offbeat and trendy fashions in Amemura

American Village, known as ‘Amemura,’ is teeming with one-of-a-kind clothing boutiques stocking an array of eclectic street fashion: punk, goth, skater-style, and Rasta-style as well as designer vintage and urban chic. Kinji in the Bigstep building is a great place to start for vintage, and check out Fugs for items at the bizarre end of the used vintage world.

PLAY RETRO PINBALL GAMES AT SILVER BALL PLANET INSIDE THE BIGSTEP BUILDING IN AMERIKAMURA

Play pinball on retro machines

Prepare yourself for a wave of nostalgia as you step into the pinball hall of fame that is Silver Ball Planet. Play on machines with classic themes like Indiana Jones, Terminator 2, Batman, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in one of the biggest pinball arcades outside the U.S.

Photo by Jason Haidar: OSAKA’S FAVORITE STREET FOOD IS BALLS OF BATTERED OCTOPUS COVERED IN A RICH SAUCE

Eat Osaka’s favorite street food takoyaki

Hit popular takoyaki haunts like Kogaryu Takoyaki or Donaiya America-mura to try these balls of batter cooked with bite-sized chunks of octopus.

Photo by Jason Haidar: TAKE A CRUISE ALONG THE DOTOMBORI

Take a cruise along the Dotonbori

Learn the backstories to famous Osaka sightseeing spots on a 20-minute guided cruise of the Dotonbori canal.

Photo by Jason Haidar: MAKE A COIN OFFERING AT THE TRANQUIL HOZENJI TEMPLE

Wander around Hozenji Yokocho Alley

Hozenji Yokocho is a photogenic stone-paved street offering a plethora of well-established Japanese dining options. While you’re there, splash some water on Hozenji temple’s moss-covered Fudo-myo statue, known as Mizukake Fudo, while saying a prayer and making a coin offering.

Play arcade games in Taito Station

Show off your Dance Dance Revolution moves or taiko drumming skills at the multi-floored Taito Station gaming center. Don’t forget to try out the purikura “print club” photo booths where you can decorate your portraits inside the machines.

Photo by Jason Haidar: THE VERMILLION TORII MARKING THE ENTRANCE TO URA-NAMBA’S TORAME YOKOCHO

Eat okonomiyaki in Uranamba Torame Yokocho

Order a serving of Osaka’s iconic dish made from a flour, yam, egg and cabbage batter with ingredients like pork, squid at Torame Yokocho, a cluster of restaurants with a large vermillion torii gate at the entrance.

DAY 2

Have a picnic in Osaka Castle Park

Roam the expansive grounds of Osaka-jo Koen and pick a spot to spread a picnic blanket and eat a bento lunchbox before visiting the iconic castle.

Look at the city from Abeno Harukas

Take an elevator to the top of Japan’s tallest building and marvel at sweeping views of the seemingly never-ending city from 300 meters above ground.

Catch the tram to Sumiyoshi Shrine

Take a streetcar from Tennoji to the photogenic Sumiyoshi-taisha. Walk over the arched vermillion bridge while exploring the beauty of the shrine grounds.

Photo by Jason Haidar: CRISPY KUSHIKATSU SKEWERS

Eat kushikatsu in Shinsekai

Head to one of Osaka’s most down-to-earth neighborhoods known as the birthplace of kushikatsu—deep-fried meat & vegetable morsels on sticks. Daruma is one of the original kushikatsu restaurants and is a stone’s throw from the iconic Tsutenkaku Tower.

Go to Spa World

Relax in onsen baths and saunas with elaborate Asian and European themes at Spa World.

Drink sake in a standing bar

Try out a classic drop of local nihonshu, or sake, at one of Ura-Namba’s standing bars, like Kujira.

FRESHLY GROUND GREEN TEA AT OSAKA CHAKAI

DAY 3

Drink green tea at Cafe Osaka Chakai

No visit to a Japanese city is complete without taking the time to savor a cup of green tea. Drink the finest tea from delicate Japanese pottery at the tranquil Cafe Osaka Chakai.

Say a prayer at Osakatemmangu Shrine

Visit one of Osaka’s most important Shinto shrines famous for hosting the massive annual festival known as Tenjin Matsuri.

Stroll around the Museum of Housing and Living

See what Osaka was like during the Edo Period (1603–1867) through recreated houses and neighborhoods. Borrow a kimono for a small fee and stroll along the old streets in traditional dress.

Go shopping in the Tenjinbashisuji Shopping Arcade

Browse the quirky stores in Japan’s longest shopping arcade. Afterward, treat yourself to fresh sashimi at the lively and loud seafood restaurant Tottsuan then some local Minoh craft beer at the rustic Beer Belly.  

See the city lights at Umeda Sky Building

View the cityscape lit up at night from the observation platform of this spectacular high-rise building in the Kita district.

DAY 4

Roam the shops of Nakazakicho

Visit this retro neighborhood full of nagaya (old Japanese wooden buildings) renovated into artsy shops and cafes. Have brunch at one of the many quaint cafes like 1930 cafe or Public Kitchen Cafe before browsing boutique shops like Jam Pot, whose white, wooden shelves are filled with jewelry and accessories from over 80 different artists in Japan.  

There are many ‘buy and sell’ used clothing stores in Nakazakicho, with Green Pepe being a great place to start.

Watch Sealife at Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan

Spiral around the eight floors of one of the world’s largest and most spectacular aquariums, renowned for its innovative presentation.

Eat sushi in Shinsaibashi

Devour Japan’s most famous dish at popular sushi joints like Jinen Unagidani or Hasegawa Shinsaibashi.

CLASSY COCKTAILS AT CAFE ABSINTHE

Order a nightcap at a trendy bar

End the day with a mojito at the Mediterranean-style Cafe Absinthe or a lychee martini at the Suite—modeled on a New York hotel suite, it’s like stepping into a scene straight out of The Great Gatsby.

Find it…

Mel Coffee Roasters 1-20-4 Shinmachi; melcoffee.stores.jp • Lilo Coffee Roasters Shinsaibashi M Bldg, 1-10-28 Nishishinsaibashi; coffee.liloinveve.com •

Kinji BIGSTEP Bldg, 1-6-14 Nishishinsaibashi; kinji.jpFugs 2F Nippo San Tera Kaikan, 2-9-5 Nishishinsaibashi; wa1969.blog.fc2.comSilver Ball Planet BIGSTEP Bldg, 1-6-14 Nishishinsaibashi; big-step.co.jpKogaryu Takoyaki 2-18-4 Nishishinsaibashi; kougaryu.jpDonaiya America-mura1-16-15 Nishishinsaibashi; donaiya.jpTombori River Cruise Ticketing on 1st floor of Don Quijote Dotonbori; osaka-info.jp/en/page/tombori-river-cruise •  Hozenji Temple 1-2-16 Nanba; houzenji.jpTaito Station 15-12 Nanbasennichimae; taito.co.jpUranamba Torameyokocho 2-3-15 Sennichimae; xn--5gq699ddyi2op.comOsaka Castle Park 1 Osakajo, Chuo Ward; osakacastlepark.jpAbeno Harukas 1 Chome-1-43 Abenosuji; abenoharukas-300.jpSumiyoshi Shrine 2-9-89 Sumiyoshi; sumiyoshitaisha.netKushikatsu Daruma Shinsekai 2-3-9 Ebisuhigashi; kushikatu-daruma.comSpa World 3-4-24 Ebisuhigashi; spaworld.co.jpKujira Nanbasennichimae 14-18; chiyoshuzo.co.jpCafe Osaka Chakai 2-1-25 Tenjinbashi; osakachakai.jpOsakatemmangu Shrine 2-1-8 Tenjinbashi; tenjinsan.com

Museum of Housing and Living Tenjinbashi, 6-4-20 Housing Information Center Building 8F; osaka-info.jp/en/page/osaka-museum-housing-livingTenjinbashisuji Shopping Arcade Tenjinbashi, Kita-ku; tenjin123.comtemma spot temma spot; temma spot • Beer Belly Ikedacho 7−4; beerbelly.jpUmeda Sky Building 1-1-87 Oyodonaka; skybldg.co.jp1930 Cafe Nakazakinishi, 2-5-21; 1930cafe.jpPublic Kitchen Cafe 1-9-12 Nakazakinishi; pkp.co.jpGreen Pepe 3-1-12 Nakazaki; greenpepe3104.comJam Pot 3-2-31 Nakazaki; jampot.jp Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan 1-1-10 Kaigandori, Minato-ku; kaiyukan.comJinen Unagidani 1-8-26 Higashishinsaibashi; jinen.orgHasegawa Shinsaibashi Stage Bldg 4F, 1-16-20 Higashishinsaibashi; 06-6120-1600 • Cafe Absinthe 1 Chome-2-27 Kitahorie; absinthe-jp.comThe Suite Nishishinsaibashi, 2 Chome−18−18; thesuitejapan.com

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