Osaka is one of the biggest cities in Japan. If Tokyo is the capital of Japan, then Osaka can be considered as the Eastern capital of it. On a short trip you can visit the only region of Kansai, with the focus on Osaka city. This place is extremely diverse in cuisine, gathering mostly traditional Japanese delicious dishes. Osaka also has bustling, vibrant streets, diverse goods for shopping and prices are much better than Tokyo. So, do you want make a budget trip to Osaka and don’t know how to make a plan yet? This Osaka budget travel blog (Osaka blog, Osaka travel blog) will help you from A to Z. Now, let’s check out our Osaka trip blog with the fullest Osaka travel guide (Osaka guide, Osaka travel guide blog) from how to get there, where to stay, best places to visit, must-eat food to find out the answer!
- Osaka travel blog — The fullest Osaka travel guide for first-timers
- Dotonbori guide — What to do in Dotonbori & suggested Shinsaibashi Dotonbori itinerary 1 day for the first-timers
- Cherry blossom Osaka 2023 forecast — 13 best places to see sakura in Osaka & best place to see cherry blossoms in Osaka
- Top budget hotels in Osaka — 7+ best budget hotels in Osaka & best places to stay in Osaka on a budget
- Top onsen in Osaka — 8 famous hot springs & best onsen in Osaka
Osaka travel guide blog: When is the best time to go to Osaka?
In winter, Osaka is not as cold as in the north, but summers are quite hot. When traveling in the summer, you should note to prepare clothes, hats, shoes, sunscreen to avoid direct sunlight. Due to there is little rain and the winter is not too cold, Osaka is suitable for traveling all year round.
Cherry blossoms in Osaka bloom a little later than in Tokyo, usually reachs at the peak in mid-April. All over the streets and especially in parks, where there are many cherry blossom viewing spots. You can go to several spots such as Osaka Castle and Kishiwada Castle to see the flowers. If you want to see the red leaves (Momiji, fall foliage), you can come back here in November and December.
See also: The fullest Japan travel guide for the first-timers.
Osaka trip blog: How to get to Osaka from Vietnam and other cities in Japan
Fly from Vietnam to Osaka
From Vietnam, there are many direct flights to Osaka, both from Hanoi and Saigon (HCMC). The airlines operating the routes to Osaka can be named as Vietnam Airlines, Vietjet, or ANA. Vietnam Airlines tickets are quite high, Vietjet is cheaper.
If you invest lot of time to find and hunting for cheap tickets, sometimes you can hunt Vietjet tickets with prices only around $172 – $215 million/round trip. You should avoid booking tickets close to peak occasions such as cherry blossom season, red leaves season will be pushed up very high.
How to travel from Kansai Airport to central Osaka
Kansai Airport Transfers (KIX) for Osaka
If you fly to Osaka, you will be landed at Kansai International Airport. This is a large transportation hub in the Kansai region, you have many options to travel from here to downtown Osaka.
Osaka is very large, and getting from the airport into the city depends on what area you stay in. Major city stations that have subway lines to the airport include Osaka Station, Tennoji Station, Shin-Osaka Station, and Nankai Namba Station.
Nankai Line Airport Express Train Tickets (KIX or Namba Departure)
Looking on the map above you can easily choose the right line. If you booked hotel in Umeda district in the northern Osaka, the Kansai Airport Rapid Service line is the best choice for you. Travel time arounds 70 minutes and the fare is 1.190 yen/trip.
Alternatively, you can choose the Limited Express Haruka line to getting to Tennoji Station (35 minutes for 1.710 yen) and Shin-Osaka Station (50 minutes for 2.330 yen). Shin-Osaka Station is a shinkansen station for those who want to take the bullet train to other cities in Japan.
Another airport line is the Nankai Namba Station for those who stay in the Namba area. The price of this train is quite cheap at 920 yen and takes about 45 minutes.
JR Haruka Airport Express – Kansai Airport to/from Kyoto/Shin-Osaka/Tennoji (One Way)
For those with JR Pass: Both the Kansai Airport Rapid and Limited Express Haruka lines are operated by JR West, so these lines are free when you hold the Japan Rail Pass. If you stay in Namba area, take the train to Tennoji Station and continue using the JR Pass to the airport.
JR Pass for Whole Japan (7, 14, or 21 Days)
Getting to Osaka from other cities in Japan
Traveling from Tokyo to Osaka: If you come to Tokyo from Vietnam via Narita Airport, you can take the Narita Express train to Shinagawa. From here you switch to Shinkansen to reach Shin-Osaka station in about 4 hours.
If you traveling from central Tokyo to Osaka, the easiest way is still take the Shinkansen bullet train. You take the subway to Tokyo Central Station, then take the Shinkansen back to Shin-Osaka Station with traveling time of only 2 hours and 30 minutes. You can also take a plane or a bus, but the bus takes a long time (8-9 hours) and the flight is not convenient.
Access from other cities: Osaka is located in the Kansai region quite close to some other tourist cities such as Kyoto, Kobe or Nara. Traveling between these cities is very convenient. Especially for those holding a JR Pass, just look for the JR train line (express train) to go for free.
Osaka trip blog: How to getting around Osaka
Osaka is one of the largest cities in Japan, and the public transportation here is well developed and convenient. You can choose to take regional train, metro, bus, … You can combine both subway and JR line to travel within Osaka.
JR Line: Suitable for those holding the JR Pass, easy access to the surrounding areas. In Osaka city, you notice the Kanjo line going through the city, combined with subway to get to the place you want.
Subway and bus: You can consider buying a 1-day pass, a pass that can be used to take subway lines for free with unlimited travel, only valid for 1 day. This pass does not apply to Osaka City Bus to get to Universal Studios Japan and IKEA. Price at 800 yen/adult (holidays and weekends are 600 yen) and 300 yen/child.
With the developed subway system in Osaka, you can easily go to any location in the city. If you stay only few days in this city and want to visit major and famous spots like Namba, Umeda, Shinsaibashi, keep in mind the Midosuji line. This route passes through the above points to make it more convenient for your itinerary.
Osaka guide: Where to stay in Osaka for a budget trip to Osaka?
During this my trip to Osaka, I stayed in 3 different places. One was a First Cabin capsule, a type of hostel which quite popular recently. And the second place is an Airbnb right near Namba area, convenient for shopping in the last days in Osaka. Both make me very satisfied. And the third accommodation is still First Cabin but it is at Kansai airport, the night before I fly back to Vietnam.
First Cabin: More prominent than dorm type. Spacious sleeping accommodation although only 1 bed, equipped with TV in the bedroom and has a spacious shared bath (onsen type but not onsen). The furniture here is super complete, equipped everything you need like the 5-star hotels. You will not have to bring anything from home because, it provides towels, shampoo, shower gel, razor, dryer, comb, … and all-day clothes. You can check rates on Agoda.com or Booking.com.
Airbnb in Chou-ku: A three-bedroom room, but I monopolized the whole room that day. This Airbnb apartment is built with 4 spacious floors. It features a reading room, kitchen and living room with large sofa for guests.
Read more: Best hostels in Osaka — 4 cheapest hostel in Osaka Japan & cheap hostel Osaka you should stay.
In addition, you can refer to one of the best Airbnb in Osaka: [Grandouce Hanazonocho]Newly opened in 2018 at $18/night or Grandouce Shin-Imamiya☆Namba 4min/Build in 2019 at $20/night.
–> Airbnb link discount up to $35 for the first booking here: https://www.airbnb.com/c/anht5185
Luxury hotels: In Osaka, there are many luxury hotels with super nice views. You can consider 2 luxury hotels with the best view of Osaka, namely InterContinental Hotel Osaka (Agoda.com or Booking.com) or Osaka Marriott Miyako Hotel (Agoda.com or Booking.com).
Osaka blog: What to eat and where to eat in Osaka?
It can be said Osaka is one of Japan’s busiest culinary cities. All delicious food from all over Japan you can experience here. Please refer to the article on Japan travel guide for first-timers for an overview of Japanese food. In this post, I will only cover my experiences of eating in Osaka with the delicious eateries I have already enjoyed.
Food court below the bridge of Umeda Station
Just below Umeda train station is a food court with many small, pretty bars and pubs. I stumbled here and enter a restaurant with a Japanese owner and all the waitresses were Vietnamese. The waitress recommended me some food like tofu, fish salad and oden (stewed daikon – white radish with tofu), and a light drink. The price for each dish is 300 yen.
Discover food paradise in Dotonbori
The delicious grilled food at Teppan Jinja: This shop is probably one of the best places that I eat during this trip to Japan. You will have a small seat right in front of the chef. Choose each type of food in the menu, select as much as you want then pay equivalent. Wow, each dish is seasoned and marinated carefully, fragrant, small, beautiful, but super delicious. Each dish is just a small shrimp, or a skewer of meat, a mushroom stuffed with meat inside, but extremely savory, tasty. Price will be a bit expensive, but you’ll get what you pay for, right?!
Address: Japan, 〒542-0076 Osaka, Chuo Ward, Nanba, 1 Chome−4−6, Mifune Namba Biru, 1F
Fried seafood noodles: I ate this dish in a small restaurant in Dotonbori neighbourhood, after looking around the fine restaurants, there was no place because I hadn’t reserved before. Noodles, shrimp and chopped cabbage are stir-fried right on the hot stove in front of me. I ordered a cold beef to add more protein to the meal ^^. In general, this shop is okay, the price is not too high.
Read also: 9 food must try in Osaka & must eat food in Osaka.
Ginger Hut Osaka
This restaurant I dropped in when I returned to Osaka from Himeji, walked straight down to Osaka Station and saw several eateries are lined here. This restaurant is close to Temma station, mainly serves seafood and noodles. I ordered a bowl of noodles cooked with clams, a mixed plate (this dish is quite greasy) and some fried dumplings. One person cannot eat all, the total cost for the meal is 1.576 yen.
Some other food
Beef noodle breakfast: This restaurant is located quite close to Kuromon market on Chou-Ku street. This noodle bowl is quite big, with thick, firm noodles and chewy, the broth is delicious, the beef is also excellent.
27cafebyMARIONCREPES: The strawberry crepe here is very delicious and so cool. This cafe is located right in the Dotonbori shopping district.
Address: 1 Chome-6-1 Shinsaibashisuji, Chuo Ward, Osaka, 542-0085, Japan
Dotonbori area also has a lot of snacks and street food for you to experience.
You can read this article with the fullest Dotonbori guide: What to do in Dotonbori & suggested Shinsaibashi Dotonbori itinerary 1 day for the first-timers.
Osaka travel guide blog: Where to visit and must-visit places in Osaka
Osaka is a very large city and you may spend from 3 to 7 days to experience most prominent fun and entertainment venues here. Not to mention that you may spend a few days for some day trips to visit nearby cities like Kobe, Himeji or Kyoto, Nara.
My itineray map during the trip in Osaka
Universal Studios Japan
Like Universal in Singapore or Disneyland in Paris, Universal Studio in Osaka is very large and spectacular. This place is perfect for those traveling to Osaka with families with young children. However, you should note if going on weekends will be very crowded and may have to queue to buy tickets for hours. You should book tickets online in advance at home to avoid wasting time and effort queuing up when coming here.
Address: 2 Chome-1-33 Sakurajima, Konohana Ward, Osaka, 554-0031, Japan
Access: Take the subway to Universal City Station (JR Yumesaki / Sakurajima Line)
Umeda Sky Building
This 173m high building is built by two 40-storey towers, linked together by an observatory on the 39th floor. This observatory is called the Floating Garden Observatory. To get to the observatory you go to the 3rd floor of the East Tower, take the elevator to the 35th floor, where the escalator leads to the 39th floor of the West Tower. Tickets will be purchased here to access Sky Walk.
Address: 1 Chome-1-88 Oyodonaka, Kita Ward, Osaka, 531-6023, Japan
Access: Go to Osaka Station or Umeda Station.
Opening hours: 10am-10pm, Entrance fee: 1000 yen
Osaka Castle Park
Built in the 1500s and widely opened in 1931, it clearly shows the history of Osaka in Hideyoshi era. The castle is located on the campus of Osaka Castle Park. In spring, the park is also a great place for visitors to see the cherry blossoms.
Osaka Castle has an appearance similar to other Japanese castles such as the castle in Kanazawa or the Himeji castle near Kobe. You can enjoy a panoramic view of the park and the city while standing at the top of the castle.
Address: 1 Osakajo, Chuo Ward, Osaka, 540-0002, Japan
Access: The nearest train station is Tanimachiyonchome (4-chome) Station (Tanimachi Subway Line, Chuo Subway Line) Osakajokoen (JR Loop Line)
Have fun and shopping in Dotonbori
This is a shopping district for shopping enthusiasts. This area is no less crowded than Shinjuku in Tokyo, but mainly focused on food and shopping. Coming here, you will probably immerse yourself in the countless of stores, fashion shops, restaurants and bars.
Dotonbori located in Namba is one of two major neighborhoods in Osaka. It is known for the colorful lights that spread on endless streets. There are many streets specializing in cuisine with noodles, ramen, takoyaki, kobe beef, shabu-shabu,…. You can also get on a boat and ride on the small canals to see the city on either side.
How to get there: Stop at Namba Station and walk into center.
The HEP FIVE Ferris Wheel
Another shopping complex for shopaholics. This area also has hundreds of large and small stores. However, this is a place famous for the giant Ferris Wheel at 106m high, with a 360-degree view of Umeda area and Osaka port.
Address: Japan, 〒530-0017 Osaka, Kita Ward, Kakudacho, 5−15 HEP FIVE 7F
Access: Go to Umeda station. Ticket price 600Y / adult.
Kuromon Ichiba Market
This famous Osaka market sells a wide variety of goods, especially seafood. Coming to Kuromon market, you will simply be attracted to the whole look of fresh seafood such as fish, squid, and shellfish. They will be sold in stalls, buyers choose and they will prepare food on the spot.
Kuromon Market is quite similar to the Omicho fish market in Kanazawa that I used to visit. However, Kuromon not only has seafood, there are also many other goods, especially fresh fruits. Strawberries here are also many, sorted into many types from small to large with different prices. Prices at Kuromon market are a bit more expensive than other markets, and tourists are always crowded.
Address: 2 Chome-4-1 Nipponbashi, Chuo Ward, Osaka, 542-0073, Japan
Shitenno-ji Temple is located isolated as a tall temple similar to that of Sensō-ji Temple in Tokyo. Built in the 6th century by Prince Shotoku, this is one of the oldest temples in Japan. Although it has been renovated quite a few times, it still retains the original features and design.
The areas around the temple at outside you will have free access, but the 3 main areas you’ll need to buy tickets for are Chushin Garan, Treasure House, and Gokurakujodo Garden.
Address: 1-11-18 Shitennoji, Tennoji Ward, Osaka, 543-0051, Japan
Access: To Shitennoji-mae-Yuhigaoka Station (Tanimachi Subway Line)
Opening hours: 8:30am-4:30pm and admission fee: 300 yen
Abeno Harukas – Harukas 300
Abeno Harukas located in Tennoji district is the tallest building in Osaka and is the 3rd tallest structure in Japan after the Tokyo Skytree and Tokyo Tower. You can enjoy a panoramic view of the city at Harukas 300 observatory on the 58th floor to the 60th floor. Admission fee is 1500 JPY / adult and 700 JPY for children. You can buy tickets on the 16th floor of the building.
Address: 1 Chome-1-43 Abenosuji, Abeno Ward, Osaka, 545-6016, Japan
Access: Go to Osaka-Abenobashi Station, JR Tennoji Station
See also: How to spend 3 days in Osaka?
Osaka trip blog: Day trips to surrounding areas from Osaka
Osaka is located in the vast Kansai region with lots of attractions and places to visit. You can spend a day traveling from Osaka to surrounding cities and areas and go back to Osaka to sleep at night. Some reference places to go such as:
- Kobe: A coastal city with famous Kobe beef, coming here must definitely experience authentic beef in an equally upscale restaurant.
- Himeji: Stand out for Himeji Castle, especially during cherry blossom season. You take the train to Himeji from Osaka only takes about 1 hour (30 minutes if you take Shinkansen), and walk about 700 meters to reach Himeji castle.
- Kyoto: Japan’s ancient capital with countless attractions, you should spend 2-3 days in Kyoto to fully experience this wonderful place.
- Nara: Nara Park with a lot of animals and trees, suitable for those who traveling with family. Or simply for animal lovers, the deer here are also worth seeing and explore.
Osaka travel guide blog: Shopping in Osaka
Osaka is Japan’s shopping paradise. What makes this title is probably the bustle, diversity and extremely affordable prices in Osaka, which Tokyo can hardly compete on price. There are 3 main areas for you to consider when shopping in Osaka:
Famous for the Dontobori shopping district. If you are a fashionista, you can go to Namba Marui with more than 150 stores. Here, there is a concept of Mingle that is a combination of fashion from Osaka and Tokyo.
In addition, if you looking for medium to high-end fashion brands, you can go to Shinsaibashi-suji, with full brands of UNIQLO, ZARA, LUIS VUITTON and CHANEL.
Umeda is central to the Kita area, with a lot of major stores right close to the train station. You can go to big shopping malls such as HERBIS PLAZA, HEP FIVE and the Diamor Osaka underground shopping district.
Located in the south of Dotonbori, Tennoji is commonly known as a tourist attraction such as Tsutenkaku and Shinsekai. But in recent years, Tennoji has emerged with many large shopping malls.
Abeno Harukas high-rise building with 16 floors is a large shopping mall, free WiFi. Tennoji MIO connects directly to Tennoji Staion with 12 storeys of shopping mall and 240 fashion shops to ensure you have a day of shopping for your favorite items.
Some best day tours, trips, activities and transfer services, tickets in, to and from Osaka you can refer to
- Osaka Amazing Pass (Osaka Pick Up & HK/TW Delivery)
- OSAKA Unlimited Travel Pass (1 or 2 Days)
- Osaka Amazing Pass (HK/TW/ICN/Osaka Pick Up & MY Delivery)
- Kyoto-Osaka Sightseeing Pass (1 Day/2 Days, Kyoto Pick Up)
- JR West Kansai Pass (1, 2, 3 and 4 Day Rail Pass)
- Kyoto Day Tour from Osaka
- Kyoto Temples & Shrines Day Tour from Osaka: Fushimi Inari-taisha, Arashiyama, Kiyomizu-dera & More
- Osaka One-Day Walking Tour
- Private Kansai International Airport Transfers (KIX) for Osaka, Nara, & Kobe
- Limousine Bus Transfers between Kansai International Airport (KIX) and Osaka or Kyoto
- Private Kansai International Airport (KIX) Transfers for Osaka (Same Day Booking)
- Private Kansai Airport (KIX) Transfers to Osaka, Kyoto, Nara, Uji, Kobe, or Arima
- 4G Prepaid Sim Card (JP Airports Pick Up) for Japan
- 4G WiFi (Japan Pick Up) for Japan
- JR Pass for Whole Japan (7, 14, or 21 Days)
Are you looking for more Osaka travel guide and top things to do in Osaka: Tours, activities, attractions and other things? Read more: Osaka itinerary 3 days — What to do in Osaka for 3 days? And fullest Osaka travel blog here.