Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Travel Guide: Osaka

Osaka is one of the biggest cities in Japan, it is also a popular destination in Kansai because of the many attractions within and without it. It is also a great place to eat and shop, there are many parts of the city dedicated for these. I found myself in a sea of people looking for food and shopping.

Osaka is also a mix of old and new like many of the other cities in the country I've been to. You'll find temples and shrines while weaving in and out of alleys, skyscrapers, shopping districts and parts of the city that will elicit a sense of nostalgia.

Places of Interest

Osaka Castle

This castle is one of the most recognizable in the city's skyline and cityscape. There is a park surrounding it, you can go on a relaxing walk during your visit. This is also an ideal place to visit during cherry blossom season. You can enter the castle, but I am always underwhelmed whenever I enter Japan's castles, they're very minimalist and some are just reconstructions, so there isn't much to see.

Entrance Fee: JPY600


This part of town used to be the go-to place for locals, but as the decades came and went, others have taken its place. However, Shinsekai is still a great place to hangout and get something to eat after exploring the city.

Minoo Park

This park provides you with a green getaway after walking around the urban jungle. There are paved walkways and easy to follow trails that lead to the waterfall. For me, the best time to visit is autumn, the weather is just right and the colors perfect for pictures.

Entrance Fee: Free

Hozenji Temple

This ancient temple provides a quiet getaway amid the hustle and bustle of the big city. The temple also has some places to eat around it.

Entrance Fee: Free


This temple is ancient as ancient can get, it is one of the oldest of its kind in Japan. The building you will see is already a reconstruction, but you can still sense the history emanating from it.

Entrance Fee: JPY300, you can walk around its ground for free


Most local and foreign tourists visit Osaka to eat. You can find many restaurants that serve local specialties such as takoyaki and okonomiyaki. You'll also find several other Japanese dishes while exploring Dotonbori. You shouldn't miss the iconic Glico Man sign during your visit.


Other than eating, Osaka has plenty of shops that sell what you are looking for. Shinsaibashi is just one of the places to hunt for bargains and items.

Day Trips


You can go on a half day trip from Osaka to Himeji using one of the passes. Its main attraction is the UNESCO-listed castle.

Link to post: Himeji Guide


Okayama is a possible inclusion to your itinerary, if you have a pass that allows you to board a bullet train. This cuts an hours long trip to just an hour or slightly less. Visit the castle and the nearby garden, if you have time, go to Furashiki.

Link to post: Okayama Guide


Kyoto deserves more than just a day trip from Osaka, but if that's all the time you have, it is possible to do so. There are many UNESCO-listed temples in the historic center of the city. You'll also find quaint food stalls, shops and alleys you can get lost in to get a feel of ancient Japan.


Nara is another ancient city that is worth a day or so from Osaka. The ancient temples and deer park are great places to walk around in and learn about the country's ancient past.

*These cities are possible day trips using some of the passes you can buy before or during your trip around Osaka and Kansai.

Getting in and out of Kansai International Airport

Kansai International Airport is easy to get in and out of. You have a handful of public transportation options such as train and bus.


The Rapid Service train goes to Tennoji and Osaka Stations. You'll get to Osaka Station in around 70 minutes for JPY1190. To Tennoji it's about 55 minutes and costs JPY1060.

The Limited Express Haruka is faster but costs more. You will reach Tennoji in just 35 minutes and costs JY1710. To Shin-Osaka takes around 50 minutes and costs JPY2330.

Another train is the Limited Express Rap:it that travels to Nankai Namba Station. The ride takes up to 37 minutes and costs around JPY1130.


A bus ride to the city takes around an hour and costs JPY1550. The bus stops at Osaka Station.

Where to Stay

You'll have plenty of options when it comes to accommodation in Osaka. I found the hostel dorms cheaper here than other cities in Japan, especially Tokyo. You can stay in Tennoji, Namba and somewhere near Osaka Station. I stayed in Khao San World Tennoji (very near Tennoji Station, I'd recommend), Ark Hostel & Cafe, 04 Village Namba and Lore Hostel in Dotonbori.

Getting Around

Osaka is a HUGE city but is manageable because of the efficient public transportation system. Everything's within reach because of the interconnected networks even if you plan to do day trips to other parts of Kansai already like Nara or Kyoto.

You can use the JR Pass or the JR Kansai Wide Area Pass on JR Lines, but you can't use it on any other line in the city, you'd have to buy a separate ticket. The Kansai Thru Pass is also a good alternative for exploring the city, but you can't use it for JR Line trains. An Icoca card is another way to explore Osaka conveniently.

The passes I used:

How to Go

There are direct flights from Manila to Osaka operated by Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific and more recently AirAsia. Alternatively, you can take the bullet train or overnight bus from Tokyo. You can check train prices and schedules here:

Expenses (Sample Only)

*Everything is in Japanese Yen unless otherwise stated.

9500 - Food and drinks
9000 - Kansai WIDE Area Pass
3900 - Kansai Thru Pass
24000 - 6 nights (dorm accommodation)
600 - Osaka Castle entrance fee
1040 - Himeji and Kokoen entrance fee
560 - Okayama Castle and Korakuen entrance fee
600 - Todaiji Great Hall entrance fee
500 - Ginkakuji entrance fee
400 - Kinkakuji entrance fee
600 - Nijo Castle entrance fee
1000 - Transportation (additional if the passes don't cover some of the routes you cover)   
51700 - Total for 7 days

*This is only a sample, you can add or subtract depending on your interests and other factors such as sleeping at a friend's place, couchsurfing, finding a cheaper place to stay, hitchhiking and if you're going shopping or visiting a theme park.

I would recommend Earth Explorers Travel and Tours to book hotels and passes or apply for a visa, if you don't have the time to plan your own trip.

1 comment:

  1. Hello, just wanted to say, I liked this blog post.
    It was practical. Keep on posting!