Osaka is a popular tourist destination because it is surrounded by so many popular areas. Osaka having an international airport becomes the hub to visiting all the popular cities in central Japan like Kyoto, Nara, and Kobe. Spending 2 Days in Osaka is a very doable thing to do. I wanted to share my 2 days in Osaka Itinerary so that you can get the most of what to do in Osaka.
RELATED: Kyoto Osaka Itinerary
Osaka, Japan | Amazing 2 Days in Osaka Itinerary
During my visit to Osaka, I was pretty exhausted from doing so much in Kyoto. My first day of Osaka was pretty laid back compared to the second day which makes it great if you are jetlagged or just arriving in Osaka. The best way to get to Osaka is by flying into Kansai International Airport or if already within Japan to take a train to Osaka station.
Short on time? Read about whether you should travel to Kyoto or Osaka.
What to do in Osaka for 2 days
Here’s a quick layout of how your Osaka Itinerary for 2 Days
Recommended things to do in Osaka Day 1:
- Osaka Castle
- Tokyu Hands Department Store
- Sanrio Store
- Pink Kawaii Cafe
- Eat Okonomiyaki at Ajinoya
Recommended things to do in Osaka Day 2:
- Namba Yasaka Shrine
- Shitennoji Temple
- Tsukenkaku Tower
- Conveyor Belt Sushi and Takoyaki
- Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen Museum
- Umeda Sky Building
2 Days in Osaka Itinerary: Day 1
Osaka Castle – A popular destination for a 2 day Osaka Itinerary
One of the most popular things to do in Osaka for 2 days is to visit the famous Osaka Castle. This castle is one of Japan’s most famous monuments and tourist attractions. It was built during the 16th century and is surrounded by a large moat. They have now created this castle area into a large park that is accessible to the public. The park is free to enter, however, if you want to go inside the castle to the top floor and enjoy a great view of the city, you will need to pay 600 yen for entrance.
Tokyu Hands Department Store
If you want to grab some high-quality items from Japan from housewares to clothing, this is the department store for you. Maybe you just want to avoid the rain, heat, or other elements of the weather in Japan, this will be a great place to go and escape the outdoor conditions. Even if you aren’t interested in shopping or buying anything in Japan, it’s interesting to look at all the products they have to offer. Some are items you would have never thought you’d need.
You can’t go to Japan without experiencing the Sanrio Store. As a 90’s kid, Hello Kitty, Batz Maru, and Pochacco were some of my favorite characters growing up. I remember visiting the many Sanrio stores in the US and trying to get my hands on some of the cute or kawaii products. I think this kind of just transported me to my childhood and was something I really had to experience while in Japan.
This is a popular shopping area for Osaka. You can easily get some delicious street foods in Japan as well. Osaka is known as the “Nation’s Kitchen” and is popular for its food rather than its attractions like the neighboring town Kyoto. In addition to some popular street food, you can easily find some great souvenirs and shopping for Japanese fashion and more.
This is one of the most popular and famous tourist spots in Osaka. It is known for the famous Glica man advertisement that is placed on the side of the building facing the river. The famous Glica man advertisement was built in 1936 and has stayed all these years. Additionally, Dotonbori is known for some popular restaurants and interesting advertisements and billboards.
Go to Pink Kawaii Cafe
Along the river of Dotonburi, is a cute Pink Kawaii Cafe. This cafe is so pink inside which makes it absolutely adorable. Many of their drinks and desserts come in cute characters and designs. I think this is a popular part of Japan is their cute culture. Many of the staff here are dressed in Kawaii style similar to Harajuku with many patterned dresses and styles.
Eat Okonomiyaki at Ajinoya
This is a popular dish to eat in Osaka. At Ajinoya, they are known to have a Michelin star, and yet this place has affordable food. Okonomiyaki isn’t a very pretty dish, but it’s absolutely delicious. It is made up of a savory pancake stuffed with all types of meat, seafood, and veggies. It is usually topped with a sweet barbeque-like sauce, mayo, and bonito flakes (which is a dried, fermented, and smoked skipjack tuna). I suggest you arrive at this restaurant at around 5:00 pm because it does get filled up quite quickly and with a large line because of its name. If you don’t have it here, that’s okay as long as you make sure you try some Okonomiyaki during your 2 days in Osaka Itinerary.
2 Days in Osaka Itinerary: Day 2
Namba Yasaka Shrine – Hidden Osaka Tourist Spot
So I actually found this Shrine by accident and I was surprised that I haven’t seen many people talk about or write about it. I found this shrine completely different than any of the others I have seen. With the large face of a lion’s head, I found it fascinating to look at. It’s believed that the lion’s mouth swallows evil spirits. This then provides you with good luck and fortune.
Shitennoji Temple – One of the top Osaka Tourist Spots
Probably one of the most popular temples in Osaka is the Shitennoji Temple. This temple is fairly large and is considered to be one of the first built temples in Japan. This temple is a lot darker in color compared to the many orange temples and shrines in Kyoto. This had a deeper red in color and contrast with the white.
This tower is a popular tower to take photos of because of the cute walking street nearby. There are many delicious restaurants nearby and cute little shops. You can easily get an Instagram-worthy photo here to share with family and friends.
Eat Conveyor Belt Sushi and Takoyaki
In the neighborhood of Tsukenkaku Tower, I suggest you eat at some of the places nearby. Thankfully with conveyor belt sushi, you can control how much you want to eat and get charged by the plate. Afterward, I’d suggest you grab some Takoyaki, which is a ball-shaped snack made of a wheat batter and filled with minced or diced octopus. It is usually covered in a sweet barbeque-like sauce and bonito flakes. This is another popular dish for Osaka that you need to try.
Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen Museum
Next, head over to the Instant Ramen Museum where you can make your own flavored ramen to enjoy. This is a popular tourist attraction that is perfect for everyone in the family. You can learn about the history and invention of Instant Ramen. Afterward, create your own completely original cup of noodles package, which is unavailable anywhere else in the world. Check out the displays and exhibitions of cup of noodles and their evolution over time. Finally, of course, don’t forget to visit the gift shop for some original souvenirs.
Umeda Sky Building
After the Instant Ramen Museum, head on down to get a gorgeous view of the city from the Umeda Sky Building. This is the 19th tallest building in Osaka and a famous landmark as well. The observatory section is a bridge that connects the two buildings for a gorgeous 360 view.
Add to your Osaka Itinerary: Day trips
For these day trips, you can easily take the Japan rail and travel to and from these destinations quite easily.
- Kyoto – Although you could do a day trip from Osaka to Kyoto, I would highly suggest you just take the time to stay in Kyoto. There is so much more to see and do in Kyoto than in Osaka. It would be better to spend more time in Kyoto. You may be interested in my 2 days in Kyoto Itinerary.
- Nara – I felt Nara was completely doable as a half-day drip. I actually went to Nara on my way to Kyoto. I only went to see the deer at the park and eat Tonkatsu. I’m sure there is more to do there other than that, but I knew that was the highlight of my trip there.
- Kobe – It is very necessary to come here to eat Kobe beef. It isn’t considered Kobe beef if you haven’t had it in Kobe. It’s absolutely delicious and a must thing to try if you are a major foodie or love meat.
Be sure to read my Osaka Nara Kyoto Kobe Itinerary.
Other things to do in Osaka for more than 2 days
- Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan
- Tempozan Ferris Wheel
- Tempozan Marketplace
- Mishima Pottery Museum
- Asahi Beer Tour
- Universal Studios Japan
- Kamigata Ukiyoe Museum
- Osaka Museum of Housing and Living
- Sumiyoshi Shrine
- National Bunraku Theater
- Maishima Pottery Museum
- Abeno Harukas
- Tsutenkaku Tower
Where to Stay in Osaka
There are other areas you can stay in Osaka, however, you will be far away from all the attractions and it may be expensive to go in and out of town. If you want to stay away from the crowds then that is fine and you can be outside of these areas. I’m only suggesting the two popular areas to stay to make the most of your Itinerary for 2 days in Osaka.
- Central Osaka – This is where all the action is located. You won’t be too far from Osaka Castle and very close to Dotonbori and the shopping areas.
- Minami – This is where many of the popular tourist attractions and is the neighborhood right next to central Osaka. Minami is close to the shrines, Dotonbori, and popular shopping areas. It is not too far from Osaka castle as well.
Getting Around Osaka
The best way to get around Osaka in 2 days is by subway and honestly just by walking. The subways aren’t very convenient in some areas. Osaka requires quite a bit of walking to get around. I highly suggest you avoid taxis since taxis are very expensive in Japan. You can easily get a subway day pass for 800 yen but keep in mind that the pass expires the day you use it. So if you are only there for half a day, paying 800 yen might not be worth it since it does not roll over for a 24 hour period.
You can also purchase the Osaka Amazing Pass at the Kansai airport that gives you access to many of the locations and transportation as well. Book your ticket here.
There is also an option to get a Japan Rail Pass as well.
How Many Days in Osaka?
Spending 2 days in Osaka is pretty doable. I would rather spend more time in Kyoto, take a half-day trip to Nara and Kobe. I think after spending 2 days in Osaka that it was fine, however, more of the places are more spread apart. So if you are traveling with kids or more of a person who likes a more relaxed itinerary, you may need more time than 2 days.
When to Visit Osaka
I would suggest visiting Osaka during the offseason as it will become very crowded during the Fall and Spring months because of the foliage. Additionally, traveling 2 days in Osaka during the summer months can be brutal some very high humidity and tropical rainstorms and typhoons. I visited during October which was great and felt comfortable with not being too hot or too cold, but also fewer tourists.
What to Pack for Osaka Itinerary for 2 Days
Japan is more modest when it comes to clothing, however, they are pretty used to seeing tourists all over the city. If you want to be more respectful, then try to wear my conservative clothing.
Clothing to Pack for 2 Days in Osaka
- Winter – Thick clothing, hand warmers, knitted hat, long sleeve shirts, boots, pullovers, thick sweaters, scarves, and heavy winter coats.
- Summer – Umbrella, poncho or very thin raincoat, sandals or waterproof shoes, dresses, shorts, hat, and shirts.
- Spring and Fall – Pants, light coats, layering items, shirts, blouses, light sweaters, skirts, flats, dresses, and leggings.
Electronics to Pack for your Osaka Itinerary
- Universal Adapter – If you are from the US though, they do use the American-style plugs. Just make sure your electronics say 110-220 V or you may fry your devices.
- Unlocked Cell Phone with Sim Card from the Airport
- Battery Pack
- Tablet, Laptop, Kindle