Osaka Travel Guide
Aptly named ‘Japan’s Kitchen’, make sure you fast before you embark to Osaka as you will glutton yourself stupid in sampling some of Japan’s best street food.
Aside from good eats Osaka is the heart of civilization in Western Japan, with over 2.5 million people in the metro area and approximately 10 million people in the Tri City area (Osaka, Kyoto, Kobe).
Osaka is conveniently 30 minutes away from Nara, Kyoto and Kobe, putting it right in the center of the action. Sight seeing includes Osaka Castle, Shinsaibashi, Tsutenkaku and others.
Osaka Restaurants & Food [VIEW ALL]
Experience Local dining
Dotonbori Imai honten
Dotonbori, Chuoku, Osaka, Osaka Prefecture 542-0071, Japan
Known by the locals as one of the top places to get udon in Osaka, the Dotonbori Imaihonten has become popular with the tourists, however they have a hard time trying to find it as there are no English signs and the restaurant itself is small and unassuming.
Assuming you make it to the Imaihonten make sure you score some Udon and Tempura. They offer a whole slew of traditional Japanese food and it is all done very well so you can't go wrong. Lunch sets start at 1050 yen and go as high as 8400 yen.
La Piccola Cucina
2-4-3 Nanbanaka, Naniwa Ward, Osaka, Osaka Prefecture, Japan
Just a few minutes East of Nanba Station by foot, is the Japanese Italian fusion La Piccola Cucina. Italian travelers have vowed that their pasta and tiramisu tastes just like it does in Italy. So why don't you do what the Romans do and get some Italian at the Piccola? Other recommended menu items are: the grilled tuna, and gyoza.
The restaurant is very small and there is just one cook so try to make a reservation.
Osaka Sightseeing & Attractions [VIEW ALL]
Our top picks of things to see and do
The jewel and pride of the town, Osaka Castle is located in a vast clearing the center of the city, between the two city centers of Umeda in the North and Namba in the South.
Burnt down and destroyed many times over the past several hundred years through wars and natural disaster, the present rendition of the castle was built in the 1930s and surprisingly survived the fires of WWII.
The complex is rather large, holding the castle, mote, court yard, public spaces, gardens and other structures. The grounds are a favorite place for locals to come during the Spring to view the blooming cherry blossom tress, over which are over 500 throughout the grounds.
Once the shame and scourge of Osaka, the area surrounding Tsutenkaku was dirty, dangerous and inhabited by bums and vagrants. But over the past years the city cleaned things up and it now stands as a top tourist attraction for the city, all centered around the Tsutenkaku Tower, a strange looking 100 meter steel tower.
Throughout the district you will find cramped and crowded streets, lined with some of the best eating in the city, second only to the Shinsaibashi/dotonbori area. The best time to come is at night when all the lights come on and the atmosphere is transformed.
Some Japanese may try to persuade you that Tsutenkaku and Shinsekai (the name of the tourist district which Tsutenkaku is in) is unsafe but this is not true! It is absolutely safe and tourist friendly. Even neighboring areas such as Tobita (Osaka’s prostitution district) and Airin-chiku (Osaka’s Yakuza strong hold) pose little threat to tourists.
Osaka Hotels & Accommodations [VIEW ALL]
Cheapest and best places to stay
Fraser Residence Nankai Osaka
1-7-11 Nambanaka, Naniwa-ku, Osaka, Osaka Prefecture 556-0011, Japan (Shinsaibashi/Nanba/Tennoji/South Area)
There is much to rave about with the Osaka Frasure Hotel. Firstly it is locating just outside of the JR Namba Station, which is one of two hubs in Osaka (the other being Umeda), this means its a two minute walk from the platform to your hotel.
Secondly, the hotel rooms themselves are designed and structured as apartments, so every room has its own kitchen! Oh Joy! Most importantly however, all the rooms at the Fraser are designed in the modern Asian minimalism, so you'll be in some very hip quarters indeed.
Thirdly and lastly is the money. Quite mind-boggling is that the excellent price for the grade of quarters and location.
Single Occupant: $150
Double Occupant: $150
The Ritz-Carlton Osaka
2-5-25 Umeda, Kita-ku, Osaka, Osaka Prefecture 530-0001, Japan
You can't get any more luxurious than The Ritz. And with prices starting at only $350 its not as absurd as one would normally think!
The Ritz Carlton Osaka is perfectly located ten minutes by foot, West of Umeda Station (Osaka Station). There is also a shuttle from Kansai International Airport for those coming by plane.
As you would expect the Ritz's rooms are clean, classic and elegant, however starting to become dated. Despite that, the rooms are very spacious and comfortable. The hotel's facilities are excellent as you would expect; pool, spa, fitness center, massage, the works.
Being in Japan's Kitchen (Osaka), we suggest you hit the streets for your dining, however the restaurants at the Ritz are perfectly acceptable.
Single Occupant: $350
Double Occupant: $350
Train from Tokyo to Osaka
Depart from JR Tokyo station via the Shinkansen NOZOMI 1, bound for Shin-Osaka Station.
Arrive at Shin-Osaka Station and transfer to the JR Kyoto Line Local, bound for JR Osaka Station
Total time: 161min
Cost: 14,050 yen