To really experience Osaka you need to understand the different parts of Osaka and what each area includes. I suggest starting with these 3 core areas right in the center of the city, and from there you can decide to explore further away if you choose to.
Umeda / Central Osaka
The city’s main business hub is packed with hotels, restaurants, shops, and sights. You can explore the Whitty Umeda underground shopping mall and more. Note that the Kita/Umeda area is often packed and crowded.
Dotombori / South Central Osaka
Just 20 minutes south by train, the Dotonbori / Minami area of Osaka is one of my absolute favorites as it’s a walking food palace! There are packed clubs, huge shops, and tons and tons of street food. If you want to experience the best street food Osaka has to offer then you need to spend the day here!
Osaka Castle / East Central Osaka
Osaka Castle, with it’s magnificent views of the city, is a sight to behold and one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city due to its longstanding cultural significance.
These are the top 3 areas that are must see in Osaka and you can not miss them to truly experience the city!
What to do in Osaka
Shop and Shop
Osaka has always been a market city since ancient days, and the entire city is one giant marketplace. Shopping is the thing to do! Find everything from small underground shops to large underground complexes to massive above ground train stations and incredible department stores.
Eat and Eat
Street food, amazing restaurants, and delicious experiences are quintessential to the Osaka experience. Stroll through Dotombori to experience incredible street food and seafood, or stop by any of the fabulous restaurants Osaka has to offer and eat until you’re penniless! The food in Osaka is magical and often surprisingly cheap.
Visit Universal Studios
While it’s not an essential part of Japanese culture, Japan has an incredible version of Universal Studios located in Osaka. It’s considered by many to be the best theme park in Japan.
Go to the Aquarium
Osaka’s Kaiyukan has whale sharks, tiger sharks, and tons and tons of marine life. Osaka has been a bustling oceanside city for generations and the knowledge and wealth of the sea really comes to life here.