I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Japan. I love everything about the country. The food, the culture, the people, the shopping… EVERYTHING!
In 2018, after I left from a year in Thailand, I went to Japan for almost 2 weeks. But that still was not enough time to really see the country. I’d love to go back one day and explore other cities as well. On this trip I got to visit Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka. I loved all of the cities in different ways. I ended my trip in Osaka… and it was absolutely lovely.
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Here I have compiled a list of things you MUST DO in Osaka! (in no particular order)
- Go to Shinsekai! – Shinsekai is an old neighborhood in Osaka City’s downtown “Minami” area. It was neglected after World War II and has become one of Japan’s poorest areas. It also got a very bad reputation for being Osaka’s most dangerous area. But Shinsekai boasts a very colorful history and unique identity. Although, this part of Osaka was said to have a very negative depiction, I didn’t feel that at all! I even stayed in Shinsekai during my stay. My hotel was quite nice and there were so many restaurants, shopping and bars within walking distance. I didn’t feel unsafe at all, even during the night. I walked around at night a few times by myself and never felt that I was in danger whatsoever. (We all know that Japan is also one of the most safest countries in the world.) We stayed at the Hotel Vertex Osaka… I highly recommend this hotel. It was very affordable, clean, quite spacious and near so many things and was walking distance to the subway station.
- Eat Ramen! – Well, I mean, you NEED to eat ramen if you go to Japan, whether it be in Tokyo, Osaka… or any other city. But this ramen was my favorite! I forgot the name of the ramen shop… but it was literally right next to our hotel… (Hotel Vertex Osaka) definitely stop by and eat some ramen here! The spicy miso ramen was SOOOOOOOO GOOD!
- Go to Dotonbori! – A really touristy place but definitely worth visiting. It is one of the most iconic places in Osaka. There is Dotonbori Street and Dotonboru Canal. This is the best place to try some amazing Japanese street food and also people watch! There’s great shopping and tons of restaurants and bars as well.
- Try Takoyaki! – Takoyaki is a little ball of batter with octopus. I know, that may sound weird to some… but it’s really good. Trust me! It’s the classic Japanese street food. (I got some really delicious takoyaki in Dotonbori!)
- Go to Osaka Castle! – I LOVE visiting castles on my travels. It’s one of my most favorite things to do. I am obsessed with castles and the history behind all of them. Plan to spend at least half a day here… there is a lot to see in and around the castle!
- Visit Tempozan Giant Ferris Wheel – You can see some amazing views of Osaka at the top! There’s also the Osaka Aquarium and Legoland nearby!
- Spend a day at Universal Studios Osaka! – I HAD SO MUCH FUN here… I absolutely love Universal Studios! I’ve been to 3 out of the 4 that they have in the world… and it never disappoints!
- Try Hokkaido Milk Ice Cream – This ice cream was so delicious! You must try it!
- Eat Kushikatsu! – Originally from Osaka, this is a must try while visiting the city. Kushikatsu is a Japanese dish of deep fried skewered meat and vegetables, usually served with raw cabbage leaves and dipping sauces.
- Ride a boat down Dotonbori Canal! – I had so much fun riding down the canal and looking at all of the cool buildings. The tour guide also tells you bit of history of the city and Dotonbori.
One more I wanted to add…
Get a drink at Starbucks! – I know what you’re thinking… go all the way to Japan to drink Starbucks?! But trust me… I always make it a point to go to Starbucks in Asian countries… they always have the most unique flavors that you obviously cannot get in the states. In Japan they have sakura inspired drinks and other different flavors. (I tried the yuzu iced tea… it was delicious! btw – also very expensive as with a lot of other things in Japan… but hey! Gotta splurge once in awhile!)
There’s so much to see and do in Osaka… I only had a few days so this is what I did! If you’re short on time as well… I hope this list helps. I also hope that you fall in love with Japan as much as I did.