2 Days Itinerary in Osaka

2 Days in Osaka: Best Things to Do

Osaka is the second largest metropolitan area in Japan after the capital city Tokyo as well as one of the most popular tourist destinations along with Tokyo and Kyoto.

As bigger number of international flights are connected to Osaka’s Kansai International Airport (KIX), the city has been inviting more and more tourists every year.

Osaka offers tourists countless attractions and entertainments such as delicious local food, theme parks, historical sites, shopping spots, nature spots and an unique and distinctive culture.

In all honesty, I would say that the ideal duration to explore Osaka is 3 days, which allows you to get to know Osaka in depth and explore different districts. I’d suggest to spend even longer if you wish to extend your trip to outskirt or spend a whole day in the famous theme park, Universal Studios Japan. However, it is very possible to see the best highlights of Osaka in 2 days without being too hectic. 2 days is long enough to visit several iconic landmarks of Osaka, do shopping, munch Osaka’s specialties and even enjoy nightlife.

In this article, I am sharing a suggested 2-day itinerary in Osaka introducing how to get around and see the best bits of Osaka efficiently. Check out the perfect way to spend 2 days in Osaka!

Day 1

9am to 1pm Tennoji Area

In the first day morning, I’d suggest you to visit Tennoji area, which is situated in southern Osaka City. Tennoji area offers various attractions and unique cityscape where old-fashioned and modern cultures coexist, including old downtown and high-rise buildings.

You may spend 3–4 hours exploring the neightbourhood. The followings are some of attractions and landmarks in Tennoji area that should be mentioned:

Shitennoji Temple: One of the oldest temples in Japan comprising multiple buildings including several gates and the 5-story pagoda.

Shinsekai: The retro and nostalgic old downtown area where you can feel the post-war atmosphere and dine at local eateries.

Tsutenkaku Tower: The 103m tall tower is the famous landmark in Shinsekai District. There are 3 observatories in the tower offering a panoramic view of the city.

Tennoji Zoo: A 90 year-old zoo is located at Tennoji Park and it’s home to over 1000 creatures in a 11ha space including giraffes, lions, tigers, alligators, bears, chimpanzee and more.

Abeno Harukas: The tallest building in Osaka with an observatory deck “Harukas 300” at 300m above the ground. The complex offers various facilities including shops, restaurants, cafes, art museum and hotel.

2pm to 6 pm Minami (Namba) Area

Dotonbori: The most bustling area in Osaka with flashy neon lights and packed with entertainments!

In the afternoon, let’s move up to Minami Area, Osaka’s busiest and the most entertaining district around Namba Station. Food, shopping and sightseeing, Minami has plenty to offer visitors and you can easily spend a whole afternoon and even until late evening within this district. Here are some of the best highlights of Minami Area.

Dotonbori: The most popular tourist destination in Osaka, Dotonbori is a center of entertainments, shopping and dining. It’s home to a number of famous shop signs such as Glico Running Man, Gigantic Moving Crab and Kuidaore Taro. The bustling streets are lit by bright neon lights at night.

Shinsaibashi-Suji: The 600m long shopping arcade is lined by hundreds of shops including high-end department stores, fast-fashion retailers, drugstores stores, souvenir shops and restaurants.

America Mura: Situated at the west of Shinsaibashi Shopping Street, America Mura (American Village) is like an Osaka version of Harajuku which is the center of young culture and trendy fashion.

Kuromon Market: The famous food market known as “Osaka’s Kitchen” where hundreds of shops and restaurants offering fresh food and delicious Osaka’s specialties.

Den Den Town: Often compared to Akihabara in Tokyo, Den Den Town is a shopping district offering a wide variety of electronics products and Otaku interests (game, anime, manga, cosplay, etc).

Hozenji Yokocho: An atmospheric stone-paved alley near Dotonbori area where numbers of small restaurants and Izakaya bars gather. It’s a great hideaway from bustling streets with neon lights and you can immerse in a traditional Japanese atmosphere.

I guess you’d probably spend 4–5 hours in Minami area or you may continue night-out here being surrounded by glaring neon lights. If you need a little more information about nightlife spots in Osaka, I’d recommend you to check out this article!

▶ Best Things to Do in Osaka at Night
▶ Best Izakaya Alleys in Osaka

Day 2

9am to 1pm Osaka Bay Area

The view of the Osaka Bay area with Tempozan Ferris Wheel and Kaiyukan Aquarium

Your second day in Osaka will start at the Bay Area, a fairly new district on a man-made islands which is roughly divided into three areas: the Universal Studios Japan area, the Tempozan area and the Sakishima area.

As you only have a half day to explore the Bay Area of Osaka, I’d suggest you to only visit the Tempozan area, and the following are must-sees.

Kaiyukan Aquarium: One of the largest aquariums in the world that displays a wide variety of marine life in 15 water tanks including over 5m long whale shark.

Tempozan Ferris Wheel: With the height of 112.5m, it’s Osaka’s largest Ferris wheel. The breath-taking panoramic view of the Bay Area can be enjoyed on a 15mins ride.

Naniwa Kuishinbo Yokocho: A food theme park located inside Tempozan Marketplace shopping mall. Approx 20 small restaurants gather at the site, offering visitors a variety of Osaka specialties such as Takoyaki and Okonomiyaki. It’s a great place to stop for lunch.

2pm to 4pm Osaka Castle

The magnificent view of Osaka Castle from the picturesque Nishinomaru Garden

The first stop in the afternoon is one of the most famous landmarks and the greatest historical monuments in Japan, Osaka Castle. Visitors can enter inside the castle and climb up to the main keep where the stunning overlook view of the city can be gazed.

Osaka Castle is situated within Osaka Castle Park, which is a great place to walk around and relax in a peaceful atmosphere. The park is especially popular during the cherry blossom season in spring as well as the autumn leaves season.

If you are into Japanese history, I’d also recommend you to stop at Osaka Museum of History, which is situated just outside of Osaka Castle Park.

After exploring Osaka Castle and the surrounding park, I’d suggest you to head northwest to the Kita Area.

5pm to 7pm Osaka Kita (Umeda) Area

The Grand Front Osaka: a large-scale shopping complex in Kita area

The city center of Osaka is divided into two areas: one is Minami (south) around Namba Station and the other is Kita (north) around Umeda and Osaka Station. While Minami is a center of entertainments, Kita is more like a business and transportation hub of the city, but also offers a plenty options for dining, shopping and entertainments.

Several high-rise buildings and modern shopping malls gather in Kita area such as Osaka Station City, Grand Front Osaka, Umeda Sky Building and HEP FIVE. There are also a number of night-out spots within the area where you can enjoy after the sun goes down such as Kitashinchi District and Tenma District.

There are hundreds of restaurants and bars within Kita area, so you may stay here and continue your nightlife adventure! Or you can visit once again Minami (Namba) District and enjoy strolling down and take photos of the streets with colourful neon lights.

If you need some recommendations for where to eat out in Osaka, these articles might help.

▶ Michelin Star Restaurants in Osaka
▶ Best Sushi Restaurants in Osaka
▶ Best Wagyu Restaurants in Osaka

Thanks for reading! I hope you have enjoyed reading my suggested 2-day itinerary in Osaka. Two days could be short but it’s very possible to see the best highlights of the city, enjoy delicious food, experience nightlife and complete shopping if you plan a trip in advance 🙂

For transportation tips between airports and Osaka City, please check out these articles!

▶ How to Get to Osaka from KIX
▶ Ways to Move from Osaka International Airport (Itami Airport)

If you are planning to visit Kyoto before or after Osaka, here is the list of the best thing to do in Kyoto! Osaka and Kyoto are located next to each other and it’s very convenient to move around. Check out the link below and find out the best way to travel between Osaka and Kyoto.

▶ Kyoto Bucket List: Best Things to Do in Kyoto
▶ Transportation Guide: How to Travel between OSAKA and KYOTO

Also if you are planning to explore more places in Western Japan (Osaka, Kyoto, Hiroshima, etc) , you may wanna check out these articles, too!

▶ Western Japan Bucket List
▶ Best Day Trips from Osaka

For more information about travelling in Osaka, please check out these articles, too!

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