During your trip in Japan, you’re planning a stopover in Osaka, the third-largest city in the country? Come on to see how to explore the city in just a few hours.

ITINERARY - JAPAN: here is the full itinerary for a tour of Japan.

Osaka - city view from Osaka Castle

Unlike the nearby city of Kyoto, Osaka is more likely an urban city and an economic hub, rather than a cultural city. While there, you’ll notice a whole different atmosphere. And a few hours are enough to discover the city’s major sites.

With that being said, let’s go to see the details of the schedule:

Schedule - Osaka, 1 day

Stop # 1: Umeda Sky Building!

Tip: if you follow the itinerary I took and that you’ve booked a hotel in Hiroshima for the night (or in another city), don’t forget to check out at the hotel in the morning in order to leave your suitcases at the left-luggage office.

To start the city tour, don’t miss the Umeda Sky Building which is located at a 10-minute walk from Osaka Station. Like all the towers of big cities, this building also has its own observatory that offers great views of the city. However, the admission fee is quite expensive : ¥1,500 per person.

Stop # 2: Osaka Castle

Osaka - Osaka Castle Osaka - Osaka Castle - helmets

Next, head to Osaka Castle which is located at Osakajokoen Station on the JR Loop Line. When out of the station, you’ll still have to walk for about 20 minutes in order to reach the castle. Admission fee is ¥600 and tickets must be purchased at automatic kiosks, but don’t worry it’s pretty simple. There are many floors to visit in the castle, and as a bonus you can even stroll into the garden.

Stop # 3: Minami District

Tip: you can also click on the link down below from your smartphone, to open the itinerary to follow on google maps: Osaka walking tour

For the afternoon, I recommend a walking tour into Minami district, you can even have lunch there. To get there, take the JR Loop Line and get off at Imamiya station, then take the JR Yamatoji line and get off at Namba station. From there, the walking tour can begin.

Osaka - Hozenji Temple Osaka - Hozenji Temple - Moss Statue

When leaving the station, head towards the Hozenji Temple which is located right at the entrance to the little Hozenji Yokocho alley. A wooden torii gate marks the entrance to the alley, and while there you’ll notice a very traditional atmosphere, whether in terms of architecture or food.

Osaka - Dotonbori Street - giant crab Osaka - Dotonbori Street

Once you’ll reach the other end of the Hozenji Yokocho Alley, you’ll come across a large covered shopping arcade. Then turn left and walk through the whole gallery until the end. You should then come across Dotonbori Street and its giant crab. It’s a very large shopping street with restaurants and shops. Once again, when you’ll reach the other end of the street, you should spot another giant crab. From there, turn right to be able to cross the famous Ebisu-bashi bridge. Over there you can look at a picture of the Glico brand, a running man.

Osaka - Ebisu Bridge Osaka - Shinsaibashi Suji

Continuing straight ahead, across the bridge, you’ll enter the Shinsaibashi-suji covered shopping arcade. Start walking into the gallery and when you’ll reach a road, turn left. Go forward a little bit and you’ll come across a large avenue with some luxury stores. Keep going and you’ll reach the American Village, America-mura. You’ll know you’re in from the moment you’ll see some weird lamp posts.

Osaka - America-mura - multi coloured lamp post Osaka - America-mura - green lamp post

Once the walking tour is over, you’ll have 2 options to go back to Osaka Station :

  • walking down the main avenue of luxury stores in order to reach JR Namba station
  • taking the subway from Shinsaibashi station that is located just outside America-mura, but then you’ll have to buy a subway ticket.
Osaka - Mido Suji Dori shopping street

Stop # 4: Pokémon Center

To end this Osaka city tour, if you are a Pokémon fan, I recommend a stop to the Pokémon Center located on the 13th floor of the Daimaru Umeda Tower, reachable from the JR Osaka Station. Basically it’s just a Pokémon store, where you can buy all kinds of merchandise: toys, cards, t-shirts ….

Otherwise, you can also explore Osaka Station and its surroundings. The station itself is huge, there are many shopping arcades and a well-developed underground network.

Once you’re done visiting, you’ll have to go back to your hotel in order to pick up the suitcases you’ve left at the left-luggage office, before returning to the station to take a Shinkansen to go to Hiroshima. Back then, I took the 8:02 p.m. Shinkansen and the journey lasted an hour and forty minutes. But of course, there are other trains available, so make sure to check that out on hyperdia.com.

Tip: because it’ll be quite late when you arrive in Hiroshima, I recommend buying some take out from the station before leaving, in order to be able to eat on the train.



Japanese yen

When going to Japan, the best thing to do is to get yen in cash, as credit cards are not accepted everywhere. To do so, you’ll have to go to the money exchange office, you can either bring cash to change it over there, or either change it before leaving. And if you need money at the airport, just change what you need there, you’ll change the rest in town.


Subway and JR Loop Line

In Osaka, the easiest way to get around is to take the subway. But like in Tokyo, the main network doesn’t belong to JR, therefore it’s not included into the JR Pass. However, there is the JR Loop Line which is included into the JR Pass. It draws a loop around the city centre and is more than enough to visit the city because it stops at each of the main tourist sites.


It’s a website that gives train timetables and that allows you to plan all your trips. The information provided is very accurate and the website gives not only the timetables but also the type of train, the journey time, and also the most important information, the platform number. You’ll see that in the train stations in Japan, there are a lot of trains and therefore just as many platforms. So for sure you could look for your train and its platform number on the TVs, but with the website, you’ll have these information right away and even before arriving at the station. This will save you a lot of time. And the best thing to do is to search the itinerary on your phone, on the way to the station, that way you’ll find out the platform number as soon as you arrive and could directly go to wait for the train. There is also a mobile app, but the mobile website was more than enough for me on my trip.

Tip: I had also used it a lot while planning my trip. Since you’ll be traveling by train from city to city, it’s quite important to have a rough idea of the train times available for each route. Especially since sometimes, for half an hour sooner or later, the length of the journey can go from simple to double. If you follow the route I took, I would give you the schedules of the trains I took, in each post about the different cities.

About the search, it’s quite simple, after going to the website hyperdia.com, all you have to do is to enter the departure and the arrival stations, as well as the desired date and time of departure. Just before clicking on « Search », click on « More options » to uncheck « Airplane », « Airport Shuttle Bus » et « NOZOMI / MIZUHO / HAYABUSA (SHINKANSEN) ». In the search results, the website will suggest several routes, it is up to you to select the one that suits you best. But the first one is usually the best.


To find your way in Japan, to get to all the sightseeing places, I highly recommend using Google Maps, especially if you take the data SIM card. But if you don’t, don’t worry because it works even without having an internet connection, it’s just that the « walking » routes won’t be available, you’ll only have the « driving » routes. But it’s still quite OK because it gives you a rough idea of the location, depending on your position. To do so, you have to save the map before going, or even while there, as long as you have an internet connection. On your smartphone, in the application, click on your profile picture at the top right of the screen, and then click on « offline maps ». Then click on « select your own map » and zoom out the map until you see the area you want to save. If the area to be saved is too large, then you’ll have to repeat the operation several times.

Tip: for your trip, I highly recommend getting a prepaid data SIM card which allows unlimited access to high-speed internet through your phone in Japan. And don’t worry, it comes pre-cut with all available formats (standard, micro, and nano SIM). And of course tethering is allowed. It’s not that expensive and it’s really convenient, it costs $23 for 8 days (there are different rental periods available with decreasing prices). This not only allows you to use Google Maps to find your way, but also to use the Hyperdia website, that gives real time train timetables (more details just down below). And I didn’t have any connection troubles during my trip.
In my opinion, Pocket Wifi is not an option to consider, because in addition to being much more expensive than the data SIM card, while providing exactly the same service, it makes an additional box to charge and carry around everywhere.
Remember to download the activation guide in order to set-up the SIM card.


In Japan, in restaurants, food is not much more expensive than in France. The special thing is just that you’ll always find the miniatures of the dishes on display in front of each restaurant, which is very convenient for choosing where you want to eat. You’ll also see that there are some kinds of noodle fast food restaurants, where you can find all kinds of noodle bowls at rock bottom prices. And this is the perfect place if you are in a hurry, because in front of the restaurant there is an order kiosk, you make your choice, you pay, and when you enter the restaurant, your order is usually already available! You’ll also notice that the Japanese gulp down their bowls of noodles at breakneck speed.

Japan - ramen Japan - ramen at Kamukura restaurant Japan - udon

Tip: NEVER leave tips in Japan, the Japanese would consider it rude and insulting!

You could also try small nibbles you can find in some small stalls located on the edge of streets.

Japan - fried-sausage Japan - takoyaki


I highly recommend booking a hotel located close to Osaka Station, because it’s very convenient. Not only for your arrival and departure, because you can reach your hotel or the station on foot, but also to take the JR Loop Line from Osaka station in order to explore the city.

During my stopover in Osaka, I stayed at the hotel II Monte. However, I think that the Ibis Osaka Umeda can also be a good option.

Description: rooms are not that big, like everywhere in Japan, but the inside is very bright and clean. Moreover, there’s a desk and a small fridge into the room. In the bathroom, you’ll find a bathtub and high-tech toilet.

Price: about €65 per night for 2 people, in March.

Location: pretty well located, at about 600m from Osaka station.

How to get there: when leaving the station from Hankyu Umeda Station, cross the street at the bridge and at the end of the street, turn left in order to pass between the “EST” and “FIVE” buildings. Then continue straight on and at the crossroads, turn right. Then, go forward and once you see the KFC, turn left. Finally, walk forward to the bridge, and you should see the hotel on the other side of the bridge. The building has green details.

Pros Cons
price -
convenient location -
free Wi-Fi in the rooms -
free left-luggage service -

Thanks for reading :)

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