Osaka might not be quite as beautiful as Kyoto or quite as exciting as Tokyo, but it’s still well worth a visit! Not only does it have one of the most famous castles in Japan, it is also known as the nation’s kitchen. Expect lots of delicious food.
Try some French pastry, Japanese style
Start your day with breakfast at a nice Japanese bakery. I enjoyed trying new things every day while I was in Japan, like matcha croissants and cherry blossom brioche. In Osaka, I loved Painduce bakery, but there are many different bakeries you could try around town, often near train stations.
Have a matcha ice cream by Osaka Castle
It’s never too early for matcha ice cream! It’s just like having tea and milk if you think about it, right? If you happen to visit during the cherry blossom season, sit yourself down under a pink tree and admire the castle from afar. If you have the time, brave the queue to get into the castle (it was too long when I was there) and learn more about the history of the place.
Take in the view from Umeda Sky Building
This building looks like it belongs in a sci-fi film, and although its design is probably not everyone’s cup of tea, it has the best view in town. Head to the Floating Garden Observatory (the platform connecting the two towers) for 360-degree views of Osaka. Also check out the basement for some of the best food in the city and a “street” that is designed to look like a 1920s Japanese village. Try Okonomiyaki Kiji, which many people say is the best place for okonomiyaki (a local specialty) in Osaka.
Shop like a teenager in Amerika-mura
Amerikamura (the American village) is Osaka’s answer to Harajuku. This is the place to spot Osaka’s latest street fashion, shop in inexpensive little boutiques and thrift shops and get your dose of artisan coffee. Look out for the small-scale replica of the Statue of Liberty.
Eat like a local in Namba
Head to Dotombori street in the Namba neighbourhood for a huge selection of street food and restaurants with the boldest signage you will ever see. Look out for the giant octopus, blowfish and crab.
With Osaka being Japan’s capital of food, you’ll want to try a few of the local specialties. Takoyaki and okonomiyaki are the top two must-try foods. Head over to Creo-ru if you want to try some of the best that the city has to offer and avoid the queues.
After dinner, take in the neon lights from Ebisu-bashi bridge and spot the famous Glico sign. Wander through Shinsaibashi Suji, a long, lively shopping arcade full of all sorts of interesting little shops. If you would rather see the older side of Osaka, head to Hozenji Yokocho Alleyway, behind Hozenji Temple. End the day with sake or plum wine in the smallest bar you can find.
Anne-Sophie is a London-based blogger with a love of cakes, city trips, and shiny new shoes. Despite working full time, she makes the most of her free time by travelling as much as possible and taking many photographs along the way. Visit her blog City Cookie for more fun guides and travel inspiration! Find her on Twitter, Instagram and at www.citycookie.co.uk