Edited by Holly Stark
Osaka has a lot to offer. It’s a fun, dirty, laid-back, diverse city with the most peaceful and scenic temples and grounds, spots of natural beauty, historic attractions and a great food scene with lots of charming little places to eat. There are lots of great places to explore and many things to do in Osaka in one day. One day in Osaka may not seem like long, but your Osaka one day itinerary can be packed with the best of the city, including cheerful yet inexpensive things to do in Osaka. Osaka is an enchanting place thanks to its welcoming people, outstanding culinary scene, quiet and sublime spaces and stunning shrines. Discover the neighbourhoods where there is a seamless balance between the urban and the rural and immerse yourself in Osaka’s sense of peace and connection with nature. Embedded within the culture of the city, as with most of Japan, lies a zest and respect for life; a harmonious balance of work and love for nature. Here’s your guide to the best of what to do in Osaka in one day in order to get the best out of your trip.
Kickstart your 24 hours in Osaka exploring some of the city’s most-loved temples. To visit Osaka without going to some of these spiritual structures would not make for a complete trip; so anyone seeking the true heart of the city’s charm with one day in Osaka should undoubtedly head to one. Check out Isshin-ji Temple; founded in the 12th century. Situated near the Osaka Museum of Fine Art, the temple has several buildings, cherry blossom trees and two large statues at the entrance to greet you. One quirky fact about the temple is that the enshrined Buddha statues are made of human remains. From 1887, people began bringing corpses to the temple, which the Buddha was eventually made of. Every 10 years the temple adds a new Buddhist statue. Unlike other Osaka temples, Isshin-ji Temple’s entrance is completely unique and modern, not appearing at all like any other gated temples in Japan. Other places to visit in the vicinity of Isshin-ji Temple include Keitakuen Garden and Tennoji Park; where you can enjoy a peaceful stroll, Tennoji Zoo, Abeno Harukus; the tallest skyscraper in Japan, Shinsekai; a nostalgic neighbourhood and the must-see Shitennoji Temple.
Lunch & Afternoon
Meet your half-day like a local count by spending lunch time exploring the best places to grab a yummy snack. There are so many things to do in Osaka in one day that a Osaka one day travel guide simply can’t fit them all in. Arguably one of Japan’s most loved soul foods, okonomiyaki is a must try savoury pancake which became the nation’s favourite from Osaka and the Kansai Region. Not to be missed when travelling to Osaka, the dish is made from a fluffy flour-based batter, cabbage and whatever else you like (okonomi derives from the meaning “how you like” or “what you like”, and yaki meaning “cooked”). Okonomiyaki is typically topped with meat, seafood and vegetables and an addictive sauce, mayonnaise, and bonito and seaweed flakes. Cook your own pancakes at Omoni, where you can find variety of toppings; such as pork, prown, squid, egg, seafood, mayo and special sauce among others. You’ll be spoilt for choice which deciding how to customise your own okonomiyaki.
Experience Osaka’s sub-culture in the American Village. Ame-mura (Amerikamura) or ‘American Village’, is a quirky district near Shinsaibashi, most known and loved for its alternative, hipster vibe based around the Japanese interpretation of American culture throughout the 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s. One of the best things to do in Osaka at night, the American Village is a riot of fun; where you can people watch and see some of the wildest, most colourful styles. With plenty of cool bars, weird and wonderful vintage shops, anime merch stores, old-style toy shops and restaurants, your one day in Osaka would not be complete without a trip here. Make yourself at home and be intrigued by the eccentric individual vibe. Grab a conbini beer and sit in Triangle Park.
Check out Rooftop Bar OO and soak up the vibe with a relaxing drink. With a big outdoor terrace and a cool atmosphere, Rooftop Bar OO is the place be to be on a summer night. The inside lounge has comfy seats and soft lighting; the perfect place to wind down and finish your one day in Osaka. Head outside to the terrace, which is decorated by a huge projector screen and a swimming pool. With friendly and lively staff, the spot is an incredibly fun place to visit. Complete your Osaka one day itinerary by watching the sun set over the city and enjoy the blissful surroundings and unique, grounding experience.
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