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How to Spend 3 Days in Osaka

How to Spend 3 Days in Osaka

With three days in Osaka, you have plenty of time to deeply explore both the traditional and the modern sides of this laid-back city, as well as get out of town to one or two of Japan’s ancient capitals. Here are a few ways to see, taste, and otherwise experience the very best of Osaka in three days.

Day 1: City Sights and Bites

One of the best ways to see Osaka’s top sights and get your bearings is by embarking on a group or private tour by bus or by foot. Tours typically include stops at such must-sees as Osaka Castle, Shitennoji Temple, the Umeda Sky Building, and the colorful, neon-bright Dotonbori district. Some tours also include a river cruise. Other options include chartering a private bus, limo, or van, with a driver and optional guide, and creating your own itinerary for exploring Osaka’s sights. Alternatively, a hop-on hop-off bus and boat tour allows you to create your own sightseeing plan, disembarking at places of interest along the route. Tours usually include a public transit pass for further independent exploration.

In the evening, get a taste of Osaka’s famous eats on a street food tour of downtown. Feast on local classics including the takoyaki (battered octopus balls) for which the city is known.

Day 2: Explore Deeper

Now that you have seen the city’s main landmarks, delve deeper into local culture on a walking tour that is focused on a particular aspect of city life. You can take a tour that penetrates off-the-beaten-path, lesser-known neighborhoods or a tour focused on visiting Osaka’s most important temples and shrines. Other options include otaku (manga and anime enthusiast) tours that visit cosplay theaters, game shops, and maid cafés, as well as tours that teach the art of traditional Japanese skills such as the tea ceremony, sword techniques, or Japanese cooking.

For dinner tonight, indulge in another evening of culinary adventure on a small-group food and drink tour that takes you to hidden-away bars and restaurants to eat Osakan favorite dishes, such as kushikatsu (fried food on sticks) and tonpeiyaki (grilled pork and egg). 

Day 3: Visit Kyoto and Nara

The ancient capital of Kyoto is an easy day trip from Osaka. On a full-day tour you can absorb the city’s traditional atmosphere, explore its rich culture and UNESCO World Heritage–listed sites, stroll through serene gardens, and marvel at such spectacular attractions as the seemingly endless torii gates at Fushimi Inari Taisha shrine, the 1,000-plus Bodhisattva statues at Sanjusangendo Hall, and the gleaming Temple of the Golden Pavilion (Kinkaku-ji). Tours often include hotel pickup and lunch.

Some full-day tours also include a visit to the charming nearby city of Nara, another of Japan’s ancient capitals, which is home to Todai-ji temple, an 8th-century structure that houses some of Japan’s national treasures. Nara is also known for its eponymous park, populated by more than 1,000 deer.

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7 Tours and Activities

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Deep Osaka All-Inclusive Nighttime Foodie Cultural Experience

Deep Osaka All-Inclusive Nighttime Foodie Cultural Experience

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137
Go off the beaten track—and avoid tourist traps—on this nighttime walking tour of Osaka. In a small group of no more than six people head for the foodie districts of Tenma and Kyobashi to sample local dishes, enjoy a few drinks, and get to know the locals.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$109.00
Price varies by group size
From
$109.00
Price varies by group size
Taking safety measures

Osaka Walking Tour

Osaka Walking Tour

star-5
140
Get a taste of local life in Osaka on a walking tour of Japan’s third largest city. Witness Osaka’s different faces, from bustling business center to historic cultural hub, as you follow your guide through the city’s vibrant neighborhoods. Stroll along the lively waterfront of the Dotonbori entertainment district; visit the landmark Hozenji temple; and ride the subway like a local. Get an insight into Japanese cuisine and sample local specialty Kushikatsu as you explore traditional Shinsekai.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$49.21
From
$49.21
Taking safety measures

Day Trip by Bus to Kyoto from Osaka/Kyoto

Day Trip by Bus to Kyoto from Osaka/Kyoto

star-4
50
Enrich yourself with the fascinating history of Kyoto’s numerous UNESCO-listed temples and shrines during this day trip from Osaka. Explore the seemingly endless ‘torii’ gates at Fushimi Inari Taisha shrine, visit Kiyomizu-dera temple, and explore Kinkaku-ji temple. Customize your trip by adding on a deluxe or standard Japanese style lunch, and select from four pickup points.
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  • 8 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$72.27
From
$72.27
Taking safety measures

Evening Street Food Hopping Tour in Downtown Osaka

Evening Street Food Hopping Tour in Downtown Osaka

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4
Don’t leave visiting Osaka’s most enticing eateries to chance, guarantee culinary delights on this private 3-hour food tour of downtown Osaka. Alongside a gastronome guide, you’ll visit popular bars and food stalls to feast on Japanese classics including grilled seafood, meat skewers, savory pancakes, and Asian-style pizza. Wash it down with included beer, sake, and soft drinks, and absorb the vibrant atmosphere and bright lights of downtown Osaka. Hotel pickup and drop-off are included. 
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$175.52
Price varies by group size
From
$175.52
Price varies by group size

PRIVATE Half-Day Osaka 4-Hour Off-The-Beaten Track Walking Tour

PRIVATE Half-Day Osaka 4-Hour Off-The-Beaten Track Walking Tour

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27
Experience the best of both worlds on this half-day Osaka walking tour, designed to reveal popular attractions and hidden gems. Tick off icons such as Osaka Castle (Osaka-jo) and Tsuruhashi Market, and explore the Dotonbori district, famed for its Japanese snacks and neon signs. Plus, explore lesser-known neighborhoods such as Shin-Sekai—full of unique charms. Choose from a morning or afternoon tour.
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$60.00
Price varies by group size
From
$60.00
Price varies by group size
Taking safety measures

Osaka Cooking Class

Osaka Cooking Class

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65
Discover the culinary traditions of Japan in Osaka, one of Japan’s best food cities, during this small-group cooking lesson. Learn the preparation methods for popular Japanese dishes including green tea, takoyaki (fried balls of wheat flour and octopus), okonomiyaki (savoury pancakes), and miso soup. Expand your Japanese cuisine knowledge, and best of all, you get to eat your creations when you’re finished. This small-group course, limited to just eight participants, also includes a guide, a cooking instructor, and an optional sake and beer tasting.
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  • 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
$87.76
Price varies by group size
From
$87.76
Price varies by group size

Private Osaka Custom Full-Day Tour by Chartered Vehicle

Private Osaka Custom Full-Day Tour by Chartered Vehicle

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3
Choose your own adventure in Osaka thanks to this fully-customizable 8-hour private tour. Travel aboard your very own chartered bus, limo or van as you explore a range of of Osaka’s most unique sights. Depending on your interests you might visit historic Osaka Castle, explore Shitennoji Temple, eat and drink your way through the Dotonbori district or take in the views from the Umeda Sky Building. A driver, chartered vehicle and round-trip transport from Central Osaka are included.
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  • 8 hours
  • Taking safety measures
From
$682.73
per group
From
$682.73
per group
Taking safety measures