How to Spend 2 Days in Osaka
Two days in Osaka allow you time to thoroughly explore the thrilling city, with its contrasting neon-lit center and traditional backstreets, as well as venture to nearby Nara for stunning temples and a brush with nature. Here’s how to spend 48 hours sightseeing, eating, and reveling in one of Japan’s most fun cities.
Day 1: Explore the City
Morning: Begin your stay in Osaka with a group or private tour of its top sights. Tours typically include stops at must-sees such as Osaka Castle, Shitennoji Temple, and the Dotonbori district. Alternatively, a hop-on hop-off bus and boat tour allows you to create your own itinerary and typically includes a public transit pass.
Afternoon: After seeing the sights from a vehicle, get a closer look on an afternoon walking tour that reveals gems hidden amongst the main landmarks. Walking tours often include admission to places such as Osaka Castle, as well as a river cruise around nearby Nakanoshima island.
Night: Get a taste of the culinary delights upon which the city built its reputation as a foodie hot spot on an evening street food tour of downtown Osaka. Feast on local classics including grilled seafood, meat skewers, and savory pancakes, as well as the takoyaki (battered octopus balls) for which the city is known.
Day 2: See Marine Life and Deer
Morning: Begin your second day with a visit to the world’s largest aquarium. The Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan is home to an enormous variety of sea life, from seals and penguins to whale sharks and manta rays. Prebooking skip-the-line tickets saves time; some packages also include a cruise on the bay.
Afternoon: Head for the charming nearby city of Nara, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, to explore its temples, shrines, and reserve home to more than 1,000 free-roaming deer. Afternoon tours from Osaka typically include hotel pickup and drop-off plus round-trip train travel.
Night: Conclude your Osaka visit with an evening food and drink tour. A small-group tour takes you to some bars and restaurants missed by most visitors and introduces you to the best of local cuisine, such as kushi katsu (fried food on sticks), dote nikomi (slow-cooked meat), and tonpeiyaki (grilled pork and egg).