Osaka 2-Day Itinerary: best things to do in Osaka for solo travellers

If you are planning your first solo trip to Osaka Japan, and wondering what to do in the city, you must follow my Osaka 2-day itinerary. There is so much to see and do as Osaka is the third-largest metropolitan city in Japan and also one of the top cities to visit in Japan.

Located in the Kansai Region of Japan, Osaka was once the ancient capital city before the Nara Period. But today, Osaka is a modern city with abundant history, vibrant nightlife and undeniable good food.

Theoretically, you can stay for many days since there is so much to discover. But ideally, you want to stay at least 2 days in Osaka to see all the city’s best attractions.

Keep reading, and I’ll show you exactly how to make the most of your Osaka solo trip with my 2-day Osaka itinerary.

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What you need to know before starting your Osaka 2 day itinerary

Before you start your Osaka itinerary, take a look at my post on everything you need to know before going to Japan. I included a lot of information including how to get around Japan and other travel tips.

Here are additional travel tips that you may find useful during your 2 days Osaka itinerary:

  • ICOCA is the prepaid IC card for Kansai Region. It is a rechargeable smartcard where you can take public transportation including buses, trains and etc.
  • If you already have a Pasmo or Suica card or other IC cards from different regions in Japan, top up your card and use it in Osaka.
  • You can see all the attractions in Osaka in 2 days.
  • Travelling in Osaka is safe for solo female travellers.
  • The city has many English signs. From the subway to the restaurant menus, you won’t have any language barrier in Osaka.
  • Osaka has many budget-friendly accommodations which make the city a good base for doing day trips to other cities like Kyoto, Nara, Kobe and Himeji.

How to get to Osaka Japan

There are many ways to travel to Osaka. If you are flying to Osaka, you will be arriving at Kansai International Airport which is just about 50km south of Osaka

Travel from Kansai International Airport to Osaka

It depends on where you want to go to in Osaka (i.e. depending on where your accommodation is), you may want to select a specific train to get into the city. All the train options will take you to either Tennoji Station or Namba Station. And at that point, you can transfer to other JR lines or subway lines to arrive at your destination. Check Hyperdia for the exact schedule and cost.

Train from Kansai Airport to Osaka

  • Haruka Airport Limited Express Train: from Kansai Airport to Tennoji Station
    • Time: 34 minutes
    • Cost: ¥1,740
  • JR Kansai Airport Rapid Service Train: from Kansai Airport to Tennoji Station
    • Time: 53 minutes
    • Cost: ¥1,080 (covered by JR Pass)
  • Nankai Airport Limited Express Train: from Kansai Airport to Namba Station
    • Time: 45 minutes
    • Cost: ¥930

Airport Limousine Bus from Kansai Airport to Osaka

Train travel to Osaka

If you are already in Japan and will be coming from the west (Kobe, Hiroshima, etc.) or coming from the east (Nagoya, Tokyo, etc.). Below are some samples fares:

Train from Hiroshima to Osaka

  • JR Shinkansen: from Hiroshima Station to Shin-Osaka Station
    • Time: 98 minutes
    • Cost: ¥10,620 (covered by JR Pass except for Nozomi and Mizuho trains)

Train from Tokyo to Osaka

  • JR Shinkansen: from Tokyo Station to Shin-Osaka Station
    • Time: 150 minutes
    • Cost: ¥14,920 (covered by JR Pass except for Nozomi and Mizuho trains)

Long-distance bus to Osaka

Another excellent option for travelling to Osaka is by long-distance bus. Generally, they are cheaper than taking the train, but it could take some time (depending on where you are coming from).

Solo travel to Osaka: 2-day itinerary

I put together an easy-to-follow Osaka 2-day itinerary with my favourite tourist attractions. Everyone has different sets of criteria when it comes to sightseeing. Mine mainly focuses on cultural and historical sights and anything related to art and design and is completely food-oriented.

All the top things to do in Osaka are pinned on the interactive map. You can find more information about each attraction by clicking on the individual pin.

You can see all the attractions on your own or join one of the free walking tours in Osaka.

Osaka Itinerary: Day 1 (red pins)

1. Osaka Castle

Your two days in Osaka tour starts with a visit to the most iconic landmark in Osaka, the Osaka Castle.

Since the 16th century, the castle has been destroyed many times throughout history. Through reconstruction and restoration, the castle has modern interior facilities for accessibility.

For a small entrance fee of ¥600, you can see the museum displays of the castle’s history and climb to the top floor to see the city from above.

On the outside, the castle is surrounded by a moat, tall, gorgeous stone walls and nestled within the beautiful Nishinomaru Garden. The garden is a favourite spot for visitors, especially during the sakura season (late March to early April) when all of the 600 cherry trees are in full bloom.  Many locals and tourists come here for hanami (flower viewing) where they set up space in the park with blankets, food and drinks. Spending an afternoon in a park filled with beautiful cherry blossom trees is one of the highlights of spring in Japan.

Osaka Castle opens at 9:00 am, so go first thing in the morning to avoid the crowd.

2 & 3. Osaka Tenmangū Shrine & Tenjinbashisuji Shopping Street

As Osaka’s most famous shrineOsaka Tenmangū Shrine is one of many shrines dedicated to the deity of scholarship, Sugawara Michizane. Many students visit the shrine and pray for luck in passing their studies and exams.

If you are in Osaka on July 24 and 25th, see Tenjin Matsui, one of the biggest annual festivals in Japan. The celebration honours the god of scholarship and turns the quiet shrine into a fun-filled parade with big crowds and fireworks.

Right next to the shrine is Tenjinbashisuji Shopping Street, Japan’s longest shōtengai (traditional Japanese covered shopping street). The shopping street is over 2km long and has many local shops to buy clothes, books, and groceries. Walk part of the shopping street, bringing you closer to your next destination, Nakazakicho.

4. Nakazakicho

Known as Osaka’s young hipster area, Nakazakicho has many boutique stores and modern coffee shops hidden in small alleys. Wander around the quiet residential/commercial neighbourhood and find vintage stores, homemade goods and art galleries.

Nakazakicho is not a mainstream attraction and is typically not in any Osaka itinerary. But if you like the off-the-beaten-path type of places, this area is worth checking out. Nakazakicho is similar to Tokyo’s Shimokitazawa and Koenji neighbourhoods.

5. Umeda Sky Building

Located in the busy Umeda area, the Umeda Sky Building is a one-of-a-kind building. From far away, you can see two tall buildings connected by a donut roof structure.

While there are shops, cinemas and museums in the Umeda Sky Building, the highlight of the building includes the Kuchu Teien Observatory, where you can see a 360-degree view of Osaka from the 40th floor. For ¥1500, you can enter the observatory space that is connected by a tunnelled escalator and walk the Sky Walk on the roof.

Before you leave Umeda Sky Building, have lunch at one of the nostalgic restaurants in Takimi Koji, a retro restaurant alley located on the first basement level of the Umeda Sky Building.

6. National Museum of Art, Osaka (NMOA)

Situated on Nakanoshima Island, the National Museum of Art, Osaka (NMOA) is an underground museum (literally below the ground) showcasing artwork by Japanese artists and other contemporary artists like Cezanne, Ernst and Picasso. Check NMOA’s website for their upcoming monthly exhibits. Admission is ¥430.

But if you are looking for a free activity, you can still wander the first level of the underground museum. And you can admire the sculpture entrance of NMOA. The exterior is supposed to represent a bamboo plant and how it grows while the museum is submerged into the ground.

Want a coffee or wine break? Walk over to Takamura Wine and Coffee Roasters. They serve wine and coffee in a cozy two-level warehouse space. You may want to rest here in one of the comfortable lounge chairs. The question is: is it going to be coffee or wine? 

7. Kamigata Ukiyoe Museum

Kamigata Ukiyoe Museums is the only museum in the world with a collection of ukiyoe (Japanese woodblock prints). Woodblock printing is a popular technique for printing texts, patterns and images in East Asia. Putting together a colour woodblock print requires quite a bit of skill.

For an admission fee of ¥500, tour the small private museum and admire the prints inspired by Kabuki actors during the Edo Period. And if you want a chance to make your own woodblock print, there are several courses that you can attend. The beginners’ course starts at ¥500.

8. Hozenji Temple

In 1637, Hozenji Temple was built in the Namba area and attracted many visitors. Soon after, many food stalls and teahouses were set up in the area to welcome visitors.

During WWII, this part of Osaka didn’t survive at all except for one temple statue, Fudo Myo-o. The Buddha statue became the symbol of the area as it represents good morals and discipline.

But what is unusual about this Fudo Myo-o statue is that it is covered entirely in green moss. Legend has it that a lady made a wish to the Buddhist statue by pouring water over the statue. And her wish came true. So everyone visits Hozenji Temple and pours water over the statue, and eventually, lush green moss covers the entire statue.

Hozenji Temple is exceptionally beautiful and peaceful at night as the lanterns subtly light up the temple. It is the best time to visit the temple.

9 & 10. Namba and Dōtonbori

As Osaka’s most famous city centre, Namba is full of bright lights and excitement. You will find Dōtonbori in Namba, Osaka’s most popular street full of neon lights, animated signages, and delicious street food. Don’t forget to take a photo with the Glico Running Man sign!

Try some Dōtonbori street food or okonomiyaki and kushikatsu restaurants in a narrow street called Hozenji Yokocho Alley (north of Hozenji Temple).

Here are some more suggestions:

  • Dōtonbori Konamon Museum ($) – one of the best places to get takoyaki. You know it’s good since there is always a long queue. Just look for the giant octopus above the storefront.
  • Osaka Ohsho ($) – come here for delicious gyoza and cheap beer. There are many locations, but the main location is on Dōtonbori, right underneath the giant gyozas at the storefront
  • Kushikatsu Janjan Dōtonbori ($$) – you can order one skewer at a time or a set of five or ten mixed skewers. Remember to dip your skewer in the sauce only once!
  • Botejyu ($$) – serves okonomiyaki with traditional and fusion ingredients. And they also serve “modern-yaki,” a specialty of Osaka that combines okonomiyaki and yakisoba

Osaka Itinerary: Day 2 (purple pins)

1. Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan

Start day 2 in Osaka by hopping on the subway and taking it to Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan near Osaka Bay.

The giant aquarium has 15 tanks, each with aquatic animals from different regions along the Pacific Rim. See over 600 species of marine animals, including the giant fishes in the main fish tank, like whale sharks, tiger sharks and manta rays.

There are also interactive exhibits where you can get up close and personal with some of the cutest sea habitats, like penguins and stingrays.

Admission is ¥2,400. It is not cheap, but you can see the largest aquarium in the world! Plus, you should go first thing in the morning to avoid the crowd.

2. Kuromon Ichiba Market (Black Gate Market)

Similar to the Tenjinbashisuji Shopping Street you visited on day 1, Kuromon Ichiba Market is also a covered shopping street, but it is shorter and full of vendors selling all kinds of fresh produce and seafood. The food market has grown to over 150 stores and it’s been around for more than 170 years.

For locals, this is a market where they can buy home goods and groceries. And for visitors, it is an excellent place to try different types of fresh seafood. From fresh sashimi right from the sea to grilled scallops, fried shrimp tempura, and everything type of seafood you can imagine, you will find it here. There are other Japanese food if seafood isn’t your game.

Have an early lunch at Kuromon Ichiba Market before seeing more sights on your 2 day tour of Osaka.

3. Namba Yasaka Shrine

One of the more interesting temples you will find in Osaka is the Namba Yasaka Shrine. The unique part about the shrine is a ginormous 12-meter tall lion head surrounding the shrine itself, where the lion’s mouth is part of the shrine. It is said that the lion’s mouth swallows evil spirits and leaves you with good luck. The post-war constructed shrine is surely an Instagram-worthy photo!

If you are in Osaka during spring, visit Namba Yasaka Shrine, as it is an excellent place to see cherry blossoms in full bloom. And visit the shrine on the third Sunday in January to witness the Tug-of-War Ritual.

4. Abeno Harukas

The Abeno Harukas is the tallest skyscraper in Japan, and the modern building has an art museum, a train station and the largest department store in Japan.

But visitors are more interested in seeing the 360-degree view of the city at the Harukas 300. For ¥1500, you can visit all three levels of the observation deck and see panoramic views of Osaka from floors 58 to 60.

If you don’t want to go all the way up the observation deck, you can still see the city from the garden terrace on the 16th floor for free.

5. Shitenno-ji

Shitenno-ji is a Buddhist temple named after the four heavenly kings and is the oldest temple in Japan. Founded in 593, the temple was destroyed many times by fire. There have been many reconstructions in the past to restore the temple to its current state. The last major reconstruction was completed in 1963.

You can visit most of the temples at Shitenno-ji for free. Only the inner temple complex, the Treasure House and Gokuraku-jodo Garden require a fee.

The inner temple complex is quite interesting; you can climb up the five-tiered pagoda. And the garden is especially beautiful during the cherry blossom season.

And if you are in Osaka around the 21st and 22nd, there is a Shitenno-ji Flea Market where you will find hundreds of stalls selling food, handicrafts, antiques, etc. It is a good place to find secondhand items and bargains.

6. Shinsekai

Shinsekai is Osaka is an old district built before WWII and redeveloped after the 1903 National Industrial Exposition. The Tsutenkaku Tower has been around since the beginning and is considered the symbol of Shinsekai. The tall tower was modelled after the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

Today, Shinsekai is an entertainment district for locals, and the area is also popular with tourists. The area has many retro Japanese-style restaurants and pubs and is the birthplace of kushikatsu, one of Osaka’s food specialties where skewers of food are battered and deep-fried.

Shinsekai is the perfect place to have dinner on your second day in Osaka. Find one you want to try along JanJan Yokocho, a covered shopping arcade with many cheap eateries.

The best time to visit Shinsekai is when the sun goes down. All the lights and signs shine bright on the narrow streets. Definitely walk around Shinsekai after dinner and enjoy the nighttime scenery.

7. Orange Street (Tachibana-dori)

Orange Street, or Tachibana-dori is an 800-meter street full of upscale fashion, furniture and interior goods stores. The area was known for its furniture production after WWII, so there are several excellent furniture stores on the chic street.

I’m not a great shopper in fashion, but I love all the modern and contemporary interior goods and furniture stores. The shops on Orange Street are more refined and hip. And it is a great place for finding furniture and knick-knacks for your home.

8. Shinsaibashi-suji Shopping Arcade

Also part of Namba, Shinsaibashi-suji Shopping Arcade is Osaka’s most popular covered shopping street. Many shoppers visit the 600-meter-long shopping arcade and shop in trendy clothing stores, department stores, and tax-free drug stores selling cosmetics and other goods. Besides all the shops along the main street, check out some of the smaller streets perpendicular to Shinsaibashi.

The main shopping street gets pretty crowded during the weekend. Actually, it is pretty busy most of the time. But that is part of the fun.

If I am not travelling with 7kg of luggage, I will buy many things here!

If you have more than 2 days in Osaka

If you can spend more than 2 days in Osaka, consider adding a few excursions from the city. Day trips from Osaka are super easy because of the ease of transportation. Plus, you do not want to miss a few must-see places in the area!

Minoo Park

Located just north of Osaka, Minoo Park has easy 3km hiking trails, temples and gardens. The trail leads to a 33-meter Minoo Waterfall, which is a highlight of the park. Definitely, visit the park during the autumn season to see the changing colours of the maple trees. Oh, and did I mention Minoh Beer Warehouse is nearby?

From Osaka-Umeda Station, take the train on Hankyu-Takarazaka Line to Minoo Station. You have to switch trains at Ishibashi Station. The journey takes 26 minutes and costs ¥270. The trail starts right when you exit the station.


With just a half-hour train ride, you can transport yourself to Kyoto, where you can experience an abundance of historical temples and culinary delights. If you only have one day in Kyoto, check out Kinkaku-ji, Arashiyama and Fushimi Inari. But if you have 2 days in Kyoto, you can see many more sights!

The journey from Shin-Osaka Station to Kyoto Station is less than 30 minutes on JR Kyoto Line and costs ¥570. If you have a JR Pass, just hop on a Shinkansen, and you can travel to Kyoto in 15 minutes.


As the sixth biggest city in Japan, Kobe is a beautiful port city with great scenery and delicious food. You can spend a day walking through Kitano-cho area to see various foreign residences, take in the view of the Kobe Harbour and enjoy a Kobe beef lunch.

To spend a day in Kobe, take the train from Osaka Station to Sannomiya Station. The journey takes half an hour and costs ¥410.


Himeji is known for the glorious Himeji Castle, also known as the White Heron Castle. As a UNESCO World Heritage site, the castle certainly does not disappoint. And make sure to visit Engyoji Temple in Mount Shosha. It is one of the most peaceful temples I’ve ever been to.

For your day trip to Himeji, take the rapid service train from Osaka Station to Himeji Station. It takes 62 minutes and costs ¥1,520.


Nara is a wonderful destination for a day trip from Osaka. Spend the day roaming in Nara Park, encounter the wild deer closely, and get lost in the small streets of Naramachi (Old Nara City). And check out the famous Tōdai-ji Temple, one of Japan’s most important Buddhist temples.

Spending the day in Nara is easy with an efficient train system. Take the Kintetsu Railway from Osaka Namba Station to Kintetsu-Nara Station. The journey takes about 40 minutes and costs ¥730.


Koyasan is a sleepy little town but full of charm. It is known for its hundreds of sacred temples and Japan’s biggest graveyard. It is one of the most spiritual towns in Japan.

Take the train on Nankai Koya Line from Namba Station for Gokurakubashi Station (81 minutes, ¥1,680). Take the Nankai Koyasan cable car from the station towards Koyasan (5 minutes, ¥500).

Where to stay in Osaka for 2 days

The best place to stay in Osaka is either in Namba or Shinsaibashi because they are central to most Osaka attractions and well connected by subway and trains. But as long as you stay near a station, moving around Osaka is quite easy.

Check out some of these accommodations that are great for solo travellers:

  • Bon Hostel ($) – A minimalistic design hostel with modern dorm beds. They have small rooms (i.e. six-bed per room) options for an all-female or mixed dorm. Located in Namba
    • Check prices & reviews: Agoda
  • Superhotel Lohas Honmachi Subway Yotsubashi Line ($) – You can get everything in a compact single room, including a desk and private bathroom. Near Honmachi Station
    • Check prices & reviews: Agoda
  • hotel and rooms Osaka Hommachi ($$) – A clean and simple boutique hotel with small modern rooms. Near Hommachi Station.
    • Check prices & reviews: Agoda

2 days in Osaka: where to eat

Osaka is a food lover’s paradise! Many cafes and restaurants are in Dōtonbori, Namba, Umeda, and Shinsekai areas, but you can find almost good food anywhere in the city.

Aside from the usual sushi, ramen and soba noodles, there are a few specific foods you must try during your 2 days in Osaka:

  • Takoyaki – made with flour, eggs, and octopus and topped with takoyaki sauce and dried bonito flakes. It is formed in a metal ball-shaped pan where each takoyaki is made into a perfect sphere. Takoyaki is the quintessential snack in Osaka!
  • Okonomiyaki – Japanese savoury pancake made with noodles, shredded cabbage, flour batter and various toppings, including seafood and meat. Then a copious amount of sauce drizzles directly on the pancake. Okonomiyaki is made on a hot plate right before you at your table. So you get to eat a delicious meal and watch a show simultaneously!
  • Kushikatsu – skewered and deep-fried meat, seafood and vegetables on a stick. Eaten with cabbage and a ponzu-type sauce that you can only dip once (no double-dipping!) Kushikatsu originated in Shinsekai, but you can find a kushikatsu restaurant anywhere in Osaka.
  • Kitsune Udon – a bowl of delicious udon noodles with soup and topped with a big piece of fried tofu. This dish originated in Osaka.
  • Yakiniku – Japanese barbeque where you grill meat over a charcoal grill at your table. Osaka has a great selection of beef, including Kobe wagyu beef and Matsusaka beef.

Solo travel in Osaka: things to do alone in 2 days

Osaka is one of the best cities to visit in Japan because there are so many things to do. It might be overwhelming as a first-time visitor, so I put together the most comprehensive and easy to follow 2 days Osaka itinerary so you can concentrate on having a good time rather than planning all the details.

Let me know in the comment if you like the suggested places in this Osaka solo travel guide or if you have any questions.

Thank you for reading my Osaka itinerary post

You might also like these other posts on solo travel in Japan:

Introduction to Japan

Kanto region

Kansai region

Chugoku region

Kyushu region

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About Author

Hi, my name is Queenie, and I've been a solo traveller for 18+ years and currently based in Hong Kong. Follow me on my adventures through Instagram and my blog!


  • albert teh
    March 26, 2019 at 12:58 am

    Hopping from one place to another at Osaka as advice by you is simple as ABC. But your blog somehow never benefit any travelers at all.

    • queenie mak
      March 26, 2019 at 3:14 pm

      Hi Albert, thank you for your feedback. I’m wondering if you can give me any further feedback so I can improve. Was there something that you feel missing? Or perhaps I didn’t explain enough? Anyway, I’d appreciate your honest feedback. Thanks again!


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