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Solo Traveler's Guide to Osaka - Things To Do Alone

By Elgin Sum Ying The PHD literature student and blogger who switched the lively metropolis of Kuala Lumpur for Osaka.
09 February 2020
Solo Traveller's Guide to Osaka - Things To Do Alone

Adventuring in the Kansai region and seeking things to do alone in Osaka? When organising a solo Japanese adventure and travelling to Osaka alone, it’s important to see everything you want to see and make the most of your visit. Whether you’re taking the leap with your first ever Osaka solo trip or are already an enthusiast for independent travel, discover the best of what to do in Osaka alone, uncover my ultimate Osaka solo travel tips and and enjoy an Osaka solo travel guide that encompasses the ideal mix of the city’s quirky neighbourhoods, historic temples, natural havens and some of the best things to do in Osaka at night!


Osaka’s traditional Japanese bars and magical cultural spots provide some great things to do in Osaka alone. Navigating independently is no trouble at all as the city’s attractions are accessible by subways and trains and a prepaid Icoca card is the best way to pay for transport. Regardless of how you travel, make this trip for you. Whether your priority is period architecture, yummy street food or shopping in an urban jungle, you won’t be stuck for what to do with this Osaka solo travel guide as you peel back the city’s many layers. So long as you’re travelling with an open mind, you will be sure to have fun.

If you find yourself wondering “is it safe to travel to Osaka, Japan alone?”, there’s no need for concern. An Osaka solo trip can be worry-free as the city is generally a very safe city. With a big city feel but a small town charm, Osaka is known for its safety and is largely brought about by the integrity standards that the Japanese observe. The locals work hard to ensure a safe, respectful environment, by taking responsibility together. The city is fun, dirty, laidback, diverse and safe. You can walk safely and feel content, even at night, but as with any major city it’s never a good idea to walk alone too late during dark in isolated places. Here’s a compilation of top Osaka solo travel tips and some of the best things to do in Osaka alone.

Osaka Castle

An Osaka must seeOsaka Castle, or “Osaka-jo” in Japanese, is a five-story, spectacular castle, with a history that dates back almost 450 years. Great for an Osaka solo trip, admire the castle’s intricate architecture and uncover the site’s rich history. Inside, you can find a historical museum and explore for a small fee. Each floor has artefacts detailing the extensive history of Osaka and the castle itself. On the top floor, enjoy a stunning view of the surrounding areas, taking in the leafy parks and cityscapes. If you’re wondering what to do in Osaka alone, be sure to stroll through the stunning natural landscape of the surrounding Osaka Castle park; which is particularly beautiful during the changing seasons of spring ‘sakura’ (cherry blossom) and autumn ‘koyo’ (falling leaves.)

Minoo Waterfall

Head north to see a beautiful little waterfall called Minoo. Here, you can really get a sense of nature and explore Japan’s organic, unrefined, green areas. Minoo Park is a great place for a relaxed day trip and is easily accessible by a 30 minute train ride from Osaka station to Minoo station. With plenty of time for a leisurely walk, the waterfall is situated at the end of a pretty trail contained within the park. Home to temples, a scenic river, ornate bridges, hiking routes and a spectacular view of the valley, the area is a great place to explore. See the autumn foliage and bright red maple trees planted in the area if you’re visiting in autumn. Don’t miss the opportunity to eat a fried maple leaf sold by vendors on the side of the road. Try the area’s local street food speciality and add ‘tree leaf’ to your list of foods eaten in Japan. Perhaps even turn it into a day and night trip if you want to stay a little longer and are seeking things to do in Osaka at night.

Hozenji

Check out one of the smallest temples in Japan; Hozenji. Situated at the heart of crowded Namba, discover a peaceful haven with a moss-covered Buddha. Due to the constant stream of prayers and splashes of water thrown in the Buddha’s direction, the Buddha has become a green covered shrine and serves as a serene oasis in the middle of an urban jungle and chaotic entertainment district. Splash the Buddha with water for good luck and soak up the traditional vibe. After visiting the temple, wander the narrow street of Hozenji Yokocho. Find quaint shops and traditional restaurants that hint at several centuries ago Osaka. Taste teppanyaki and other local Osaka food specialties. Try modanyaki, a version of Osaka's famous savory pancakes okonomiyaki, at Yakizen.

The Drunken Clam

Spend your night in Osaka experiencing Japanese karaoke at a fun place with a good mix of locals and visitors. Home to a welcoming vibe and reasonably priced drinks with generous pours, the Drunken Clam is not to be missed when seeking fun things to do in Osaka at night. A favourite hangout spot for many locals and regular travellers, the fun and friendly staff do a great job creating a cosy, welcoming atmosphere where strangers quickly become friends. Whether you go to sing, drink, spectate, or all of the above, you’ll easily be entertained for your entire stay.

Namba

If you like shopping, be sure to head to Namba; most known for the Dotonbori area, where neon signs and grand shop displays line the streets. With numerous shops, restaurants, and bars gathered by the glistening river, the area is a great Osaka neighborhood to explore for dining and shopping. Check out Namba Parks; a shopping oasis in the city where visitors can enjoy trees and flowers while browsing boutiques. Home to over 200 shops, the building was originally a baseball field and has been reconstructed with the concept of coexistence with nature. A must-see for anyone with a love for shopping looking for a unique experience.