The First-Timer’s Travel Guide to Osaka, Japan (Updated Apr 2017)

The First-Timer’s Travel Guide to Osaka, Japan (Updated Apr 2017)

This city is a food lover’s paradise.

If you’re planning a trip to Osaka, then chances are you have an insatiable love for Japanese food. I do, which is why I chose to celebrate my 40th birthday there earlier this May.

Known as the “nation’s kitchen”, food critics and writers have described this merchant city as the food capital not just of Japan, but of the entire world. Attracting millions of tourists annually with beloved regional dishes like okonomiyaki, takoyaki, and udon, the Osakan love for food is so legendary that it’s given rise to the saying: “Kyotoites are financially ruined by overspending on clothing, Osakans are ruined by spending on food.”

Here’s a first-timer’s travel guide to what many people have described as the world’s greatest food city. Itadakimasu!


  1. When to Go
  2. How to Get There
  3. How Long to Stay
  4. How Much Money to Bring
  5. Where to Exchange Currency
  6. Where to Stay
  7. Where to Go
  1. Japanese Food Guide
  2. Where to Eat
  3. Interactive Map
  4. Side Trips from Osaka
  5. Travel Tips
  6. How to Get Around
  7. For Filipinos


Unlike Kyoto, the majority of Osaka’s attractions are indoors or within an urban setting, so there really is no best time to go. It all depends on which season you prefer or how tolerant you are to hot and cold weather. With that said, most travelers do pair their Osaka holiday with a trip to nearby Kyoto. If that’s the case, then going during the Spring (March-May) or Fall (October-November) months is ideal. The weather is favorable and the landscape is at its most beautiful.


International travelers will be arriving at Kansai International Airport (KIX). From there, you can catch a train to your hotel. We stayed in the Shinsaibashi area which is less than an hour away. Our total fare, with just one transfer, amounted to ¥1,160. For up-to-date train schedules, check out


Osaka is mostly about food. There are a few fun attractions like Universal Studios and the aquarium, but much of your time will be spent eating and shopping. For gastronomically inclined travelers, I’d say 3 full days in Osaka should be a minimum. The more days you spend there, the more meals you get to enjoy. 😉


This is a tough one. The amount of money you bring depends on how much you intend to shop and how expensively you want to eat. We didn’t shop too much on our trip, but we did eat very well.

Japan is pricier than Southeast Asian countries but it isn’t prohibitively expensive like many people think. For example, you can have a good meal at a restaurant for around ¥1,500. If you’d like to save on food, then you can buy prepackaged meals at convenience stores like 7-Eleven and Family Mart. The street food in Dotonbori or Kuromon Ichiba Market is pretty awesome and inexpensive too. If you stick to places like that, then you can eat well with a budget of around ¥2,000-3,000 per day.

Based on our experience, you’d be pretty comfortable with ¥12,000-15,000 per day in Osaka. That includes all meals, transportation, your hotel room, and some light shopping. If you’re sharing a room with someone, then you’ll be good with around ¥10,000. You can adjust depending on how much you want to shop or eat, but ¥10,000 each is a good baseline for two people traveling together.

Another thing, bear in mind that Japan is still mostly a cash society. Some places like hotels and big department stores accept credit cards but for the most part, you’ll be paying in cash so be sure to bring enough with you.


Banks and post offices are the best places to exchange currency in Japan. Based on what I’ve read, people seem to prefer post offices because the transactions are faster. I exchanged currency at a bank and the process did take some time. I had to fill a bunch of paperwork then wait for the transaction to complete. If you’re arriving in Osaka via Kansai International Airport, then you can exchange a small amount there, just enough to get you into the city, then change the rest at a bank or post office.

Alternatively, you can also withdraw JPY from an ATM. The rates are competitive. Just be sure to advise your bank you’ll be using your ATM card overseas so you don’t run into any problems. In my experience, my ATM card works in some machines but not in others.

WHERE TO STAY: Best Western Hotel Fino Osaka Shinsaibashi

In my opinion, the Shinsaibashi-Dotonbori area is the best place to stay in Osaka. It’s the heart of the city and where you’ll be doing most of your shopping and eating.

A popular North American chain, Best Western is a great choice. We stayed there on two separate legs, the first on a weekday and the second on a weekend. I made the reservation through and paid ¥5,600 for the weeknight and ¥7,520 a night over the weekend in May 2014. Like all business hotels in Japan, the rooms are small but a good size for couples or single travelers. It’s just a few minutes walk from Shinsaibashi Shopping Arcade and has a 7-Eleven right across the street for your convenience. Check out my post on Best Western Hotel Fino Osaka Shinsaibashi for more information.

NOTE: Travelers have informed me that hotel rooms at Best Western seem to have risen quite a bit, up to three times what we paid! I’m not sure if we were just lucky or they really have raised their prices that much, but please take a note of the room rate before you book. If it’s too high, then I suggest looking for a similar hotel in the Shinsaibashi-Dotonbori area. You can check for listings on or Agoda. Be sure to check both sites to find the best deal. Alternatively, you can look for accommodations on AirBnB as well. If you’re new to the site, then you can get USD 22 free travel credit via THIS LINK.
Best Western Hotel Fino Osaka Shinsaibashi

Approximate Room Rate: ¥5,600 per night on weeknights / ¥7,520 on weekends (as of May 2014)


1. Shinsaibashi-Dotonbori

The heart of Osaka. If Shinsaibashi is the city’s premier shopping district, then Dotonbori is its kitchen. Visiting Osaka without making a stop here would be like going to Paris without seeing the Eiffel Tower. It’s a sin! As mentioned above, I highly recommend that you stay in the Shinsaibashi-Dotonbori area because this is exactly where you want to be.

Check out my post on Shinsaibashi and Dotonbori in Osaka for more pictures and information.
Shinsaibashi & Dotonbori, Osaka, Japan

2. Kuromon Ichiba Market

Nicknamed “Osaka’s Kitchen”, many of the city’s chefs purchase their ingredients here. It’s home to some of the best and freshest seafood that we’ve ever tasted. Delicacies like uni, diver scallops, otoro, oysters, octopus, and even Kobe beef can be enjoyed here as street food. And for cheap too! We absolutely LOVED this place.

Check out my post on Kuromon Ichiba Market in Osaka for more pictures and information.
Kuromon Ichiba Market, Osaka, Japan

3. Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan

Holding nearly 11,000 tons of water, Kaiyukan is one of the world’s largest aquariums. It’s so big in fact, that it’s main tank is 30 feet deep and home to two juvenile whale sharks (Rhincodon typus). Cetacean freedom advocates be warned though. They house dolphins here as well.

Check out my psot on Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan for more pictures and information.
Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan

Suggested Length of Visit: 2-3 hrs / Admission: ¥2,300 for adults

4. Umeda Sky Building

There’s no better place to get a bird’s eye view of Osaka than the Floating Garden Observatory. 173 meters above ground atop the ultramodern Umeda Sky Building, it gives viewers a 360° panoramic vista of the entire city.

At its basement, gourmands will be pleased to find a food court designed as a Japanese street from the early Showa period. It’s home to Okonomiyaki Kiji, purveyors of arguably the best okonomiyaki in all of Osaka.
Umeda Sky Building, Osaka, Japan

Suggested Length of Visit: 1-1.5 hrs / Admission: FREE until 38th floor, ¥1,000 to Floating Garden Observatory (top viewing deck)

5. Grand Front Osaka

Home to the Knowledge Center and Umekita Dining Floor, Grand Front Osaka is a mall unlike any other. Remarkable for its “labs” and interactive exhibits, most of the stores here aren’t the type that you’d find in your typical shopping mall. It’s a fun place to spend a couple of hours. Be sure to enjoy a drink and some good chow at the ultratrendy Umekita food court as well.

Check out my post on Grand Front Osaka for more pictures and information.
Grand Front Osaka, Japan

6. Universal Studios Japan

I recently visited Universal Studios Japan to cover the new attractions at Universal Cool Japan 2017. They’re based on popular anime shows/movies and are available until 25 June 2017 only, so be sure to go soon if you want to experience them.

As for the permanent attractions, favorites include The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Backdraft, Jurassic Park, and Spiderman themed rides. A 1-day pass to Universal Studios is usually ¥7,400 for adults and ¥4,980 for kids, but you can sometimes get a discount if you purchase advanced tickets on Klook. I’ve seen them for ¥7,300 and ¥4,706 respectively. Follow this link to buy Universal Studios tickets from Klook. They have other Universal Studios deals as well so be sure to browse all their listings.

Check out my post on Universal Cool Japan 2017 for more information on these limited time attractions.
Universal Studios, Osaka, Japan

Suggested Length of Visit: Full day / Admission: ¥7,400 for adults, ¥4,980 for children
PICTURE CREDIT: ユニバーサル・スタジオ・ジャパン 2006年7月 投稿者撮影 Universal Studios Japan Photo by momopy June 2006

7. Osaka Castle

I asked my local Japanese friend if we should go to Osaka Castle and he said: “No, there’s nothing there dude” so we didn’t bother. 😆 If you like that sort of thing though, then you may want to pay it a visit. It’s considered one of Japan’s most famous landmarks.
Osaka Castle, Osaka, Japan

Suggested Length of Visit: 1-2 hrs / Admission: ¥600


I adore Japanese food. It’s my absolute favorite cuisine in the world and a big reason why we love visiting this country. If you enjoy Japanese food as much as we do, then you need to read our Japanese Food Guide. It includes popular dishes in Japan as well as regional specialties by prefecture, including Osaka.
Japanese Food Guide


1. Kura Sushi

One of the most popular kaiten-zushi (conveyor belt sushi) chains in Japan, a meal at Kura Sushi isn’t just cheap and delicious, it’s super fun too. Every single plate of sushi on that conveyor belt – from maguro, to hamachi, to unagi, to chuotoro, to hotate, to katsuo – goes for an even ¥100. At the time, that was equivalent to about one dollar. I LOVED this place.

Check out my post on Kura Sushi in Japan for more pictures and information.
Kura Sushi, Kyoto, Japan

Expect to Pay: ¥1,000-1,500 per person with drinks

2. Fujiya 1935

Once cited by the Diners Club as one of the world’s 50 best restaurants, Fujiya 1935 used to have the maximum 3 Michelin stars but it seems to have lost one since our meal here. Bummer. Helmed by Spanish-trained chef Tetsuya Fujiwara, we enjoyed a seven-course lunch here in celebration of my 40th birthday and it was one of the most sublime dining experiences of my life.

Check out my post on Fujiya 1935 in Osaka for more pictures and information.
Fujiya 1935, Osaka, Japan

Expect to Pay: ¥7,200 per person for lunch with drinks / ¥15,000 per person for dinner with drinks

3. Tsurugyu

This place is all about Kobe beef. We wanted to try this legendary brand of beef but were afraid of its exorbitant prices. Luckily, we had insider knowledge and a very generous friend.

Treating us to dinner here as a birthday present, my Japanese buddy Tom heard about this place from his meat supplier. Apart from serving top quality meat, it’s fairly priced for Kobe beef which is why it came so highly recommended. Cooked yakiniku style right at your table, it was INSANELY good. Seriously, if you’ve been wanting to check off Kobe beef from your bucket list, then this is the place to do it.

Check out my post on Tsurugyu in Osaka for more pictures and information.
Tsurugyu, Osaka, Japan

Expect to Pay: ¥6,500 per person with drinks

4. Iroha

As another birthday present (#bestbirthdayever!), my brother Erwin surprised us with a fantastic thirteen-course kaiseki dinner at Iroha. Owner of 1 Michelin star to date, it’s helmed by chef/owner Masatoshi Yoshimoto who specializes in fish. The second of two kaiseki meals we enjoyed in Japan, Iroha is more traditional Japanese while Fujya 1935 is modern fusion. Both were outstanding.

Check out my post on Iroha in Osaka for more pictures and information.
Iroha, Osaka, Japan

Expect to Pay: ¥15,000 per person for dinner with drinks

5. Jinen Shimizucho

Our very first meal in Osaka, Jinen is just a few minutes walk from Best Western. It’s home to some fantastic sushi. Pictured below are the most delicious pieces of unagi and anago sushi. Both are types of eel but unagi is freshwater while anago comes from the sea. Both were seriously good!

Check out my post on Jinen in Osaka for more pictures and information.
Jinen, Osaka, Japan

Expect to Pay: ¥4,000 per person with drinks

6. Zuboraya

If you’ve been wanting to cross fugu off your bucket list, then Zuboraya is a good place to do it. A chain of restaurants specializing in highly toxic pufferfish, I don’t know if they serve the best fugu in town but it will give adventurous eaters a chance to try this curious but potentially dangerous delicacy.

Check out my post on Zuboraya in Osaka for more pictures and information.
Zuboraya, Osaka, Japan

Expect to Pay: ¥2,000-3,000 per person with drinks (lunch)

Gourmands will be pleased to know that there are at present 91 restaurants with at least one Michelin star in Osaka. I’ve included two above, both of which I’m happy to recommend. Follow the link for the complete list of Michelin-starred restaurants in Osaka.


To help you get your bearings, I’ve created this interactive map so you get a better sense of where everything is. Most of the places recommended in this guide are pinned on this map. (Tap on the thumbnail below to open up in full screen mode on mobile.)


I recently went on a FAM trip of Western Japan that opened my eyes to this part of the country. There’s so much more to the Kansai region than Osaka, Kyoto, and Nara! If you have enough time and want to do side trips from Osaka (with or without a Japan Rail Pass), then here are a few places to consider.

1. Kyoto

Every list of side trips from Osaka should begin with Kyoto. It’s beloved by the Japanese and has long been considered one of the country’s most innovative centers for arts and culture. So important is Kyoto to the Japanese experience that not many travelers visit Osaka without spending a few days here as well. It’s less than half an hour away and can even be visited on daily trips from Osaka.

Check out my First-Timer’s Travel Guide to Kyoto for more information.
The First-Timer's Travel Guide to Kyoto, Japan

Fare from Osaka: Around ¥560 each way

2. Nara

Like Kyoto, many travelers visit Nara from Osaka. It’s second only to Kyoto in its wealth of temples, shrines, and traditional gardens in Japan. Apart from its cultural sites, Nara is best known for its parks with tame Sika deer. There are an estimated 1,200 Sika deer in Nara which visitors can feed with sika senbei or “deer crackers”. Nara is less than an hour from Osaka making it an ideal place for a day or overnight trip.
Nara, Japan

Fare from Osaka: Around ¥800 each way
Picture by John Hill (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

3. Kinosaki Onsen

Kinosaki Onsen is a lovely onsen town about two and a half hours from Osaka. It’s an atmospheric place known for its seven public hot springs or soto-yu. Many people visit Kinosaki Onsen to go onsen hopping in Winter. Ren and I recently went to hot springs in Yufuin and Kurokawa Onsen in Kyushu and we loved it. You feel SO GOOD afterwards. No wonder it’s so popular among the Japanese! You can go to hot spring baths in many places but I suggest going to an onsen town like this one. The experience is completely different.

Check out my post on Kinosaki Onsen for more pictures and information.
Kinosaki Onsen, Hyōgo, Japan

Fare from Osaka: Around ¥5,080 each way

4. Kannabe Highlands

Many travelers want to experience skiing in winter and you can do so here at Kannabe Highlands. It’s about three hours from Osaka and is home to a few small ski resorts. There you can go skiing, snowboarding, even snowshoe hiking!

Check out my post on Kannabe Highlands for more pictures and information.
Kannabe Highlands, Toyooka, Hyōgo, Japan

Fare from Osaka: Around ¥3,020 each way

5. Amanohashidate

Amanohashidate is a long and slender sandbar that’s considered one of the three most scenic views in all of Japan. It’s just a little over two hours away by train so you can do it on a day trip from Osaka. People who prefer not to rush may want to stay the night though.

Check out my post on Amanohashidate for more pictures and information.
Amanohashidate, Northern Kyoto, Japan

Fare from Osaka: Around ¥3,250 each way


1. Rent a Pocket Wifi Device

A constant wifi connection is a must when traveling these days, especially in Japan. There are few free wifi zones in this country so you’ll need it to do research, navigate the subways, convert currencies, etc. Having access to Hyperdia alone justifies the cost. We never go anywhere now without renting a pocket wifi device first.

You can preorder a device from many pocket wifi providers and have it sent to your hotel, or you can pick it up at their airport counter upon arrival. On this trip to Sapporo, Japan WifiBuddy was kind enough to send us their Platinum Plus WifiBuddy to review (pictured below). It’s their highest-end model that boasts LTE speeds and comes with a power bank. We’ve rented many pocket wifi devices on our travels and this one easily had the best battery life of any device we’ve used. On some days, we didn’t even need to use the power bank.

Japan Wifi Buddy

Conveniently, the device has two modes – High Speed mode and High Speed Plus Area mode. High Speed mode works great in the city but we did notice it has difficulty connecting in more remote locations like Teine ski resort. We’d switch to High Speed Plus Area mode as needed and the connection would be great. Just be sure not to use that mode too often since exceeding the 7GB monthly data limit will slow the device down to 3G speeds until the 1st day of the next month. If you stay on High Speed mode, then you’ll have 10GB of LTE speeds per 3-day period.

You can rent the Platinum Plus for USD 75 a week (USD 10.71/day) or USD 173 for thirty days (USD 5.77/day). They do have other devices and wifi plans so you can follow this link to rent a pocket wifi device from Japan WifiBuddy.

Alternatively, you can rent a 4G pocket wifi device from Klook for JPY 500 per day (with 7GB data limit). Follow this link to rent a pocket wifi device from Klook. No matter where you rent a device from, be sure to reserve it at least a couple of weeks prior to your trip.

2. Bookmark Hyperdia or Get the App on your Mobile Device

Referenced up top, this website will be your new best friend while in Japan. You’ll be riding the subway a lot, frequently changing lines and services, and this website will tell you exactly how to get from one station to another. It’s very detailed, providing several route options with fare prices and travel times. Train arrival and departure information is very accurate as well. I can’t stress enough how handy this website is. It’s a lifesaver for commuters in Japan.


3. Plan your Trip with Sygic Travel (formerly Tripomatic)

I love this app. Sygic Travel is a free app that allows you to plot points of interest on a map, including your hotel, so you can see how far you need to travel between points. It allows you to lump attractions that are in close proximity to each other so you can minimize travel time. With pocket wifi, it can turn your mobile phone into a GPS tracking device so people with a poor sense of direction never get lost again. Pretty sweet right? Check out my post on the Sygic Travel app for more information.

DOWNLOAD: iOS / Android

4. Check for Discount Passes

I recently discovered Klook and have been using them to get discounts on attractions and services. They offer deals in multiple cities throughout Asia including Osaka. If you want to find deals on tours, transportation, activities, etc, then you can search through this list of Osaka attractions on Klook. As described above, they even offer discount tickets to Universal Studios. You’ll also find interesting activities that you wouldn’t normally think of yourself. For example, I discovered ice fishing in Hokkaido thanks to Klook so I’ll be doing that in February 2017!

5. Get Travel Insurance

To be honest, it was only recently when we started buying travel insurance. Back when we traveled just once or twice a year, travel insurance felt like an extra expense, one we didn’t need. But now that we travel more often, I understand how important it is. Fact is, you never know what can happen on the road. It’s one of those things that you hope you never have to use, but if you do wind up needing it, then you’ll be thanking the gods that you had it. Or cursing them if you didn’t.

Though I do find it more necessary now, it’s still up to you if you think you need it. A 3-day trip to Singapore just shopping and eating may not really call for insurance but if you plan on doing more active things like bungee jumping, horseback riding, or even going on a city bike tour, then I’d say travel insurance is a must.

We buy travel insurance from World Nomads because every long-term traveler I know recommends it. From the sound of it, they’re the best in the industry by a mile. Not only do they provide a high coverage limit for medical expenses (up to USD 5 million with the Standard package), they also cover things like trip delays, missed flight connections, theft/loss of passport and luggage, etc. Follow this link to learn more and get a free travel insurance quote from World Nomads. It’s super quick and easy.

6. Bring the Right Power Adapter

Japan has Type A or Type B electrical outlets so be sure to bring the right power adapters for your devices. Electrical voltage is 100V and the standard frequency is 50/60Hz.

7. Learn Basic Japanese Etiquette

When in Rome, do as the Romans do. In other words, don’t be a stupid gaijin. You don’t have to know all the rules, but you can learn a few basics that will make you more palatable as a traveler. Here’s a good overview on Japanese etiquette for travelers. This, for me, is the main difference between a traveler and a tourist, understanding the importance of respect. You wouldn’t appreciate anyone being disrespectful in your home, would you?


The subway system in Osaka is very efficient and the only mode of transportation that you’ll need. However, it’s comprised of several lines and often requires multiple transfers, so it can be a little confusing. But if you rent a pocket wifi device and bookmark on your smartphone, then you should be fine.

We didn’t get any discount travel passes in Osaka because there were few areas outside of Shinsaibashi-Dotonbori that we wanted to go to. But if you’ll be doing a lot of traveling within the area, then a travel pass may be a good investment. As mentioned above, the subway system is comprised of many lines servicing different areas, so you can check out this article on Osaka Travel Passes for information on which travel pass would best suit your needs.

For Filipinos


If you’re a Philippine passport holder, then you’ll need to secure a tourist visa to Japan. The entire application process is coursed through a travel agency so you’ll never have to go to the Japanese Embassy. I went with Reli Tours & Travel and they charge PHP 950 if you’re applying as a tourist, and PHP 2,000 if you’ll be visiting friends or relatives. It takes between 3-7 days to process.

Check out my post on how to apply for a Japan tourist visa for a step-by-step process and a list of accredited agencies.


Ever since I scored my first piso fare from Cebu Pacific, I’ve been hopelessly addicted to cheap airline tickets. Our tickets to Osaka had a base fare price of PHP 10. After taxes, fuel surcharges, and a shared 20 kg baggage allowance, the total fare came out to just under PHP 6,000 each roundtrip. How awesome is that?

These piso fare tickets are limited and sell fast, so you have to be quick. For our Osaka tickets, I had to try three separate times before finally getting them. They just kept selling out before I could complete the transaction! To give yourself an advantage, I suggest liking their Facebook page and following them on Twitter to quickly find out about these seat sales. If you check off “Get notifications” on Facebook, then you’ll receive instant alerts every time they post something new.

Other airlines that fly from Manila to KIX are Jetstar Asia and Philippine Airlines. Of these three carriers, Jetstar Asia seems to have the best flight schedule with an estimated arrival time of 11:50 AM, as opposed to after 7 PM for the other two.

Have fun!

I’ve only been to Osaka once so I’m hardly an expert, but I do hope that first-time travelers will find this guide useful. It’s something that I’ll continue to work on and refine over time. We loved the Kansai region so much that we’re planning to be back as soon as possible, perhaps in winter. Apart from the inviting change in scenery, certain dishes like fugu and crab are best enjoyed during the fall and winter months.

If you have any suggestions or simply want to share your own experiences, then please feel free to do so in the comments section below. You’re welcome to join our Facebook Travel Group as well. We’d love to hear from you.

Thanks for stopping by and enjoy your trip!


These are some of the things we brought with us to Osaka. As you can tell, I document a lot of content for this blog so most of the things I bring are photo and video equipment. 😆 If you’d like to see what other gear we use, then you can check out our “What’s in Our Backpack?” post. (NOTE: The following links are Amazon affiliate links.)


Japan WifiBuddy was kind enough to let us use their Platinum Plus WifiBuddy on our most recent trip to Japan. As always, all thoughts and opinions expressed in this post are mine and mine alone.

Some of the links in this guide are affiliate links, meaning we’ll get a small commission if you make a purchase at NO extra cost to you. We only recommend products and services that we use ourselves and firmly believe in. We really appreciate your support as this helps us make more of these free travel guides. Thank you!

JB Macatulad

JB Macatulad

JB is one half of Will Fly for Food and its chief itinerary maker.  He's the one to blame for all the crappy photos and verbal diarrhea on this blog.  Don't listen to him.
JB Macatulad

There are 85 comments for this article
  1. JB Macatulad at 10:50 pm

    Hi JM, 3 days isn’t much time. If you enjoy eating, then it may be best to just stay in Osaka. But if you really want to explore other cities, then the obvious choices are Kyoto and Nara. Both are less than an hour away by train. You can check out our KYOTO TRAVEL GUIDE if you haven’t already. Hope that helps and enjoy your trip. 🙂

  2. oliver at 10:21 am

    hi all, i be planning a trip down to KIX. First time to KIX. need some good advice. route from KIX airport to Hotel (toyoko Inn Namba Furitsutaiikukaikan Nishi)
    2.hotel to (Dotonbori/Shinsaibashi/USJ) able to walk / train
    3.street food ro recomand
    4.any need for a pocket wifi (short stay 4days but actual 2 full day only as arrive late/depart early)

    thank you


  3. JB Macatulad at 12:43 pm

    Hi Oliver, you can check for train routes. You can refer to the posts on Kuromon Ichiba Market and 12 Things to Eat for street food suggestions. I highly recommend you get a pocket wifi device even for short stays since you’ll need it to access Hyperdia when navigating train routes. It’ll make things much easier. Hope that helps and have a good trip. 🙂

  4. oona at 7:52 am

    hi is ur hotel near train station? im bringing my 2yr old kid so we wanted to stay near trqin station. thank u

  5. JB Macatulad at 12:43 pm

    Hi Oona, yes it is. Please be advised though that Best Western rates have increased dramatically since our stay (x3+). If you find their rates too high, then most hotels in the Shinsaibashi/Dotonbori area will be close to metro stations. Hope that helps and enjoy your trip. 🙂

  6. Mark at 11:13 pm

    Hi! I will be coming from Tokyo, planning to go to Osaka/Kyoto for three days then back to Tokyo again. As a first time traveller, will i have a hard time in navigating the subway stations? if it’s okay with you, may I please email you some few questions about the subway? I might book a hotel in the Shin-Osaka station since i’m getting the JR pass 🙂 many thanks!

  7. JB Macatulad at 7:35 am

    Hi Mark, you can refer to when using the train system. It’s extremely helpful. I didn’t have any problems navigating the subway system because of it. Sure, you can email us via the contact form on this website. 🙂

  8. Jack at 5:36 pm

    Hi, i’m jack and planning to go to Osaka/Kyoto. First time, need some good advice.
    1. where can i rent a car, i wish to drive myself.
    2. nice place to recomand


    Rgds, Jack

  9. JB Macatulad at 8:17 pm

    I’m sorry Jack but we didn’t rent a car so I can’t recommend a company from experience. As for places to visit, you can refer to our Osaka and Kyoto guides for suggestions. Have a good trip.

  10. Jon at 2:17 pm

    Hi Jb
    your blog is very helpful

    me and my family will visit Japan on Oct 21-Nov 4 return

    Im planning my iterinary now and your tips, suggestions, comments will be greatly appreciated

    we are 5. me,wife and 3 kids 15-18yrs old

    we plan to stay at tokyo first then considering osaka

    Do you have a sample 5 day interinary for tokyo and osaka?

    Hope you can help me.


  11. JB Macatulad at 7:10 am

    Sorry Jon, I can’t help you with Tokyo but you can refer to this guide for advice on Osaka. Are you allocating just 5 days for Tokyo and Osaka combined, or 5 days for each? If the former, then that may not be enough time for both.

  12. Ria de Lara at 1:38 am

    hi jb, about riding the subways, is that the same as purchasing the rail pass? Also, are taxis very expensive? i’ll be traveling with a small child so riding the cab is less stressful than chasing the trains and buses but if it’s too expensive, then we’d take the train 🙂
    . thanks so much!!

  13. JB Macatulad at 8:08 am

    Hi Ria, sorry but I’m not sure what you mean by the first question? We rode a taxi just once and from what I remember, it was pretty expensive considering the short distance we traveled. The subway can be intimidating at first because of the language barrier but if you have wifi access and refer to, then it’s pretty easy to navigate. We didn’t get lost once. Hope that helps and have a fun trip. 🙂

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  15. Dianne at 10:40 pm

    Hi Sir JB,

    I already have a plane ticket to Japan (Sept. 29-Oct. 9). Do you think P40,000 is enough for food, transportation, and entrance fees for temples? I am planning to visit Osaka-Kyoto-Nara-Kobe. What are your tips for a first timer like me?

    Hoping for your response. 🙂

  16. JB Macatulad at 12:19 pm

    Hi Dianne, I think so. The budget I suggested is for a private hotel room so if you can get cheaper accommodations and don’t splurge on food and shopping, then that should be plenty. There’s a lot of good cheap street food everywhere. Even the 7-Elevens are good. 🙂 Sorry, we haven’t explore Nara or Kobe yet so I can’t give any recommendations. Hope that helps and have a great trip. 🙂

  17. Donna at 3:06 pm

    Thank you for sharing your experience and all the helpful info! I am excited to learn that Osaka is big on food, and it makes me that much more excited to go… can’t wait!! Thanks again for all the tips and suggestions! 🙂

  18. Cecille at 4:03 pm

    HI JB! Thank you for this! It’s a really light read and am following some of your tips. I’m thinking of reserving a portable WiFi device through Klook as well but am wary of their legitimacy… They’re reliable right?

  19. JB Macatulad at 4:12 pm

    Happy to hear that Cecille! No worries, Klook is a good company. We just came from Hong Kong where I bought 3 deals from them. No problems on any of them. 🙂

  20. Max at 9:23 am

    Hi JB. I will be going to Osaka for the first time this November. I plan to go with my parents and they have no intention of sightseeing. Their main intention is to just eat. We plan to stay for 3 days. Would you recommend going to kobe just to eat for one meal?

    Also I know you mentioned the top places to eat in your previous posts, are these places relatively accessible? My parents don’t like moving around much. haha.

    Thanks for the tips though. We plan to get a wifi device from klook as well.

  21. JB Macatulad at 9:45 am

    Hi Max, if your intention is to go to Kobe just to eat Kobe Beef, then you can do that in Osaka. You can check out my post on Tsurugyu. Kobe Beef is the most famous but Matsusaka and Saga are considered just as good. Matsuzakagyu Yakiniku M is a great restaurant that serves Matsusaka Beef and they’re conveniently located in Dotonbori. You may want to check it out. I think it’s a popular restaurant among Filipinos too. There’s so much great food in the Shinsaibashi-Dotonbori area that you don’t really need to go far. Hope that helps! 🙂

  22. Nix at 11:48 pm

    Hi Sir!

    My family plans to visit Osaka this December, may I ask the mode of transportation you took from Kansai Airport to your hotel? 🙂 Did you use the ICOCA card all throughout your travel? Thank you so much! 🙂

  23. JB Macatulad at 7:23 am

    Hi Nix, we just took the subway from the airport to our hotel in Shinsaibashi. No, we didn’t get an ICOCA card last time we went. We didn’t use the trains all that much when we were there so I didn’t feel the need to get one. But yes, if you do plan on traveling by train a lot, then it’s a good investment. 🙂

  24. Chris at 3:53 pm

    A great introduction to an awesome city. I lived there for 3 years and I’m very excited about visiting next month. Ume Kita is new since I lived there so I’ll definitely check it out. The cheapest accommodation ( ¥3000 or so) is clustered around Shin Imamiya station. It’s a few stops from the area you stayed and both airport train lines stop there. It’s a bit run down by Japanese standards but it is in easy walking distance of Shin Sekai, a great area to eat on a budget.

  25. Cebile at 5:38 pm

    Great article but now Im wondering if a poor student like me can afford a trip to Japan. I have never really ever wanted to go to Japan but many people I’ve met have said great things about the country and this article just narrates that as well. Is the food really that expensive though? What would you recommend a student on a budget does for an affordable trip there. Def crossing Tokyo off the list but thanks for the Klook recommendation, checked them, they are def a bit more affordable. Would appreciate your help thanks

  26. JB Macatulad at 8:27 pm

    Hi Cebile, Osaka is affordable! The food doesn’t have to be expensive. There’s plenty of inexpensive street food in Osaka. Even the food at convenience stores like 7-Eleven is good. As for accommodations, dorm rooms can be as low as USD 10 a night. It’s definitely doable on a budget. And yes, Klook is a great place to get discounted tickets. Hope that helps! Let me know if you have any other questions. 🙂

  27. Dar at 11:04 am

    Thank you so much for this well-written post. Your blog has been invaluable while I am planning for my trip to Japan.

  28. man joe at 9:58 pm

    Is anybody here wanted to visit OSAKA, JAPAN on MARCH 10-15, 2017? I have a friend who was denied in Embassy of Japan in the Philippines and so sad to say I don’t have accompany to go there since it is my first time to go Japan. I got my tourist visa here in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. by next week, I will be going for a vacation in the Philippines.

  29. man joe at 10:00 pm

    i hope someone will go also same date with me so that i can join to them. i need to go there since i bought my ticket already. if i can go there by my self, maybe i cant do it by my own. i hope someone will go same date as i have. thanks

  30. JB Macatulad at 2:40 pm

    I hope you find someone you can travel with man joe! But if not, solo travel is cool too. It’s a different experience and will open your eyes to a lot of new things if haven’t done it before. Enjoy Japan! 🙂

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