Spring is coming soon. Osaka is one of the most popular spots for hanami 花見 and to enjoy the cherry blossom. Are you planning to fly over soon?! This can be your guide for what to do in Osaka.
Read about the full itinerary: Japan Trip 2016: 10D9N Autumn in Kyoto, Osaka, Nara & Arima
Feel free to check out my adventure during WINTER too.
TIP: get the Osaka Amazing 1 Day Pass (¥ 2,300) or 2 Days Pass (¥ 3,000) [price may varies with time]where you can take unlimited ride on Osaka city subway, New Tram, and Buses (2 days pass has more limitation on transport though). With this pass, you are entitled to enter a number of tourist attractions such as HEP FIVE Ferries Wheel, Tombori River Jazz Boat, hot spring, Osaka Castle Museum, Botanical Garden and discount on many sightseeing places.
With the Osaka Amazing 2 Days Pass, I went to a few attractions (read 1, 4, 5, and 11 as below) and traveled around the area on the subway. You can get the pass in Kansai Tourist Information Center (there is one located in Kansai International Airport).
If you are not keen on these attractions, you can get the One-day ticket Enjoy Eco Card to travel around Osaka. Priced at ¥ 800 on weekdays and ¥ 600 on weekends
1. Hop up to Umeda Sky Building Floating Garden
One of the most recognizable landmarks in the city. This 173 meter high building consists of two towers that are connected to each other by the “Floating Garden Observatory” on the 39th Floor. From here, you can have the spectacular view of the city. Do take note for a long walking journey that pass through the main road and tunnel and staircases before reaching this building.
About 10 – 15mins walk from Osaka and Umeda Stations.
Floating Garden Observatory
Opens daily from 10am to 10.30pm
Entrance fee: ¥1,000
2. Try out the Michelin-Worthy Takoyaki Balls at Aizuya
Must must must come for this one if you were in Osaka. This is classified as the B-class restaurants featured by Michelin2016 guide. Aizuya is a restaurant specializing in takoyaki in Kansai region. I tried the most original ones which is Aizuya’s signature. We were told that no takoyaki sauce or mayonnaise is needed for their version of takoyaki. These mouth size takoyaki balls were sooooo good!!! The octopus balls were so aromatic. The longer you chew on it, the more flavours you get. We regretted for not getting more.
One minute walk from Sakurabashi exit at JR Osaka Station
大阪市北区梅田 3-2-136 梅三小路内営業時間
3. Savour like a king in Kuromon Ichiba
Also known as “Osaka’s Kitchen”, it is a 580 meter-long lively market for fish, fruit, vegetables and other foods opened since the mid-Taisho Period (1912–1926).
King crab, uni, toro, oysters, local fruits and etc, just bring them all!!!
2-minute walk from the subway Nippombashi Station.
4. Sail on the Santa Maria along the Osaka Bay
In order to max our Osaka Amazing Pass, we then hopped over for a ride on Santa Maria. We enjoyed the cruise around the Osaka Bay on this sightseeing ship modelled after Santa Maria, twice the size of the original. The day cruise took about 50 minutes. Such a breezy ride and you will be introduced with the buildings and bridges from here.
Getting there: 10 mins walk northwest from subway Chuo Line Osakako Station exit 1
Entrance fee: ¥ 1,600
5. Night viewing from Tsutenkaku Tower
Located in Shinsekai, the Osaka’s “new world”, a district developed before the war and then neglected for decades. Tsutenkaku Tower is the nostalgia evoking symbol of Shinseikai. It is a observatory platform overlooking the city of Osaka, also known as “Naniwa’s Eiffel Tower” among the Osakan as it was constructed in 1912 after Paris’ Eiffel Tower. People believe that rubbling the sole of Billiken Statue’s foot will bring good luck.
Shinsekai is a short walk from Shin-Imamiya Station on the JR Loop Line, Dobutsuen-mae Station on the Midosuji and Sakaisuji Subway Lines, and Ebisucho Station on the Sakaisuji Subway Line.
Entrance fee to Tsutenkaku Tower: ¥ 700
Opens from 9am to 9pm
6. Check out the happening night in Shinseikai
Light up everywhere at night. And remember to take a photo with the 3D Fugu lantern which is symbolizing Zuboraya restaurant in Shinsekai.
5-min walk from Exit 1 of Dobutsuen-mae station on Subway Midosuji Line;
5-min walk from East Exit of Shin-Imamiya station on JR Loop Line;
5-min walk from Ebisucho station on Subway Sakaisuji Line
7. Dine-in in Yokozuna Shinsekai Honten
Because everything here looking so huge portion and had our attention. Jumbo size beer, jumbo size okonomiyaki, and everything jumbo size up for you to choose.
Also, do try out the kushikatsu in Shinsekai, as it was the most iconic food that you must eat while you are here. The battered, breaded dip fried kushi with its no dip twice policy. What’s that? Learn it here and then you will know. We skipped this as we were afraid of sore throat. LOL.
8. Jungle through the happening Dotombori/Namba
This is the forever happening area, filled with lots of drug stores, restaurants and street food such as takoyaki and okonomiyaki.
9. Take photo with the running Glicoman
Remember to put your hands up and make a running movement like Glicoman!
10. Queue for PABLO cheese tart
Many may find this place overrated or so but I personally love it for the light and non-overly done wobbly cheese tart. Baked cheese tart with buttery flaky pastry ayer encasing the cheese filling. What’s more?! You can dine in here as there are not many PABLO café in Japan. Read, only 2!!! My new love with be the cheese soft serve which was so ohmppp and packed with cheesy flavour.
PABLO Dotonbori Shop
Address: 542−0085 Osaka-shi, Chuo-ku,
Opening hours: 11am to 10pm
11. Visit the famous Osaka Castle (Osakajo)
Standing elegantly in white and green with a touch of humble gold. This round, we dived into the history of this castle in depth. Read more about Osakajo
Closest station: Tanimachi 4-chrome Station along the Tanimachi Subway Line and Chuo Subway Line
Closest JR station: Osakajokoen Station on JR Loop Line, about 10 minutes ride from JR Osaka Station
Entrance fee: ¥ 600
12. Dive into the wizarding world of Harry Porter
And yep, this place deserves a post of itself. I will post more pictures on its individual post. USJ is oh so fun that my parents were enjoying too!
13. Savour on the affordable sushi in one of the Kaitensushi
We randomly stumbled upon one and went in for their ¥ 100, ¥ 150, ¥ 200, ¥ 250, ¥ 350, ¥ 500 sushi. The total damage was Rm 200+ for the 6 of use where we had numerous repeated orders as in the photos. But be prepared for a small queue at peak hours.
Daiki Suisan Sushi-Go-Round (Kaitensushi) 大起水産回転寿司
14. Crab Crab Crab at Kani Doraku Dotombori
The famous restaurant for crab, easily identified by its stricking giant crab on the billboard.
Here you may savour the crab cuisine; all the dishes are made with crab from appetizer to the ending. Pricewise, it’s not cheap but this once a while splurge is a kind of experience. I love the Kamameshi where the fluffy rice was dosed with sweet essence from the crab.
5 minutes’ walk from Namba station on subway, Kintetsu,Hanshin, Nankai and JR.
Kani Doraku dotombori
1-6-18, Dotombori, Chuo-ku, Osaka-shi, Osaka
15. Buy some new utensils for your dining room and kitchen
In Sennichimae Doguyasuji Shopping Street, a street filled with vendors selling cooking utensils and kitchen ware. There is so much to see so much to buy here. Those ceramic plate and bowls are cheap and pretty. Food models that mimic the real food are available here too!
Sennichimae Doguyasuji Shopping Street
542-0075 Area around Nambasennichimae,
About 3 minutes’ walk from Namba Station on Nankai Line, Subway Midosuji Line, Yotsubashi Line. About 5 minutes’ walk from Nippombashi Station on Subway Sennichimae Line, Kintetsu Line
16. Savour the top grade melt-in-mouth beef
I went once in the winter and I revisited again! Matsusakagyu Yakiniku M is specialized in Matsusaka beef that is famous for the high fat to meat ratio. The cows are fed beer to create a healthy appetite and given body massage with a mixture of shochu. This round we had the ‘Special Course’ set which is priced at ¥5,800 yen per pax; came with four different cuts of beef, soup, salad, sushi, appetisers and a dessert; and also the ‘Premium Course’ at the price of ¥7,800 yen per pax that came mainly with marbled beef and the rare parts of the beef. The marbling of the beef was very pretty and in perfect ratio. The melt in mouth moment was unforgettable. I believe this worth another itself. Stay tune!
Yakiniku M Dotonbori
2F, Inaka kaikan Bldg.
7-17 Soemoncho, Chuo-ku,
Opens daily from 12pm to 3pm and 5pm to 12midnight.
17. Shop till you drop in Don Quijote!
My favourite place to stock up all the essentials because they have everything from A to Z! Skin care, make up, alcohol, food, snack, electrical appliances, household items and all kind of souvenirs, you can get them under one roof. I explored a few Don Quijote in Osaka, found them in Umeda, Namba, Dotombori (which is the messiest one).
18. Sink your heart with the fluffiest Japanese Cotton Cheesecake.
The doink doink cheese cake is from Rikuro Ojisan no Mise. Look at the wobbly texture of the freshly baked cheese cake, fresh from the oven; it was fluffy and moist, touched with a little raisin at the base, soft and sweet. This 18cm cheesecake is priced at only ¥ 675, cheap and delicious. So good you must try. Also, their egg pudding is another great stuff to try.
JR新大阪駅中央口店(JR Shin Osaka Station)
ＪＲ新大阪駅３Ｆアントレマルシェウエスト内 (inside Entre Marche West)
19. Eat all the soft serve and ice cream and limited edition stuff!