How to Spend 8 Hours in Osaka

Namba Yasaka Shrine in Osaka, Japan
How to Spend 8 Hours in Osaka: Shinsekai

The bright blue hue of a building-high neon sign with an iconic and unnamed man as the center brings to mind only one city, Osaka. Known as Tokyo’s more laid-back cousin, Osaka is a bustling city of it’s own nestled in the Kansai region of Japan.

After my much-needed but unfortunately short stay in the USA for the holidays, I flew into Osaka ready to see as much as possible before having to return to the realities of work. With a short rest in a hostel for the night, I spent eight hours in the city of Osaka.

Where to Stay

Dorm Hostel Osaka
Dorm Hostel Osaka is a stylish hostel complete with a room stacked ceiling-high with bookshelves. There are mixed and women or men only rooms that sleep up to 16 people. Gender-separated bathrooms and shower rooms allow you the best possibility to get a head start on the day without having to wait hours. Check-in is usually until 10PM, but later times can be arranged.

If not a hostel, you can stay at one of Japan’s famous capsule hotels littered around Osaka-proper. You can book a capsule in a male or female dorm that sleeps about ten people, and you have a small square capsule to yourself for sleeping or even watching TV.

Tip

If you happen to be flying into or traveling through Osaka and want to do sightseeing, you can leave your baggage at Shin-Osaka Station in the baggage-holding room for ¥700 yen (about $7 USD) a bag.

Where to Eat

How to Spend 8 Hours in Osaka: Brooklyn Cafe

Brooklyn Roasting Company
Brooklyn Roasting Company is a small coffee shop along the Yodo River. You can choose your traditional roasts and expressos, or you can try something a little more fancy. I opted for the “Maple Shay Shay” expresso coffee and a “Chocolate Sprinkle Spray” donut to round out my true New York coffee experience. The coffee shop is quaint with minimalist wood interior and a deck overlooking the river for a perfect insta-shot.

How to Spend 8 Hours in Osaka: Luke's Lobster

Luke’s Lobster
American transplant, Luke’s Lobster is a stand-and-eat restaurant serving up seafood sandwiches with a homage to Maine, USA. It’s a small place that you might miss if you find yourself caught up in the flow of traffic in the Dotonbori covered shopping area at night. After you order your sandwich, you can watch it being made through the glass window as you wait. There is a small counter after the pick-up window you can eat at, or you can commit a cultural faux pas and finish sightseeing in Dotonbori as you eat and walk.

Of course, don’t forget to eat Osaka’s famed kushi-katsu, takoyaki, and okonomayaki. I’ve been lucky enough to eat all three in Fukui, but they are a traveler’s must-eat.

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Where to Go

How to Spend 8 Hours in Osaka: Glico Man
How to Spend 8 Hours in Osaka: Dotonbori

Dotonbori
Full of restaurants, trendy shops and entertainment, Dotonbori is Osaka’s premier area and runs along the Dontobori River Canal. Other than seeing the famous canal area and the gleaming Glico running man sign, I wasn’t able to fully explore the area. I’ll definitely be back to explore the area again.

Shinsekai
When I first found my way into Shinsekai, I wondered why I even stared the neighborhood on my Google Maps, but after I ventured into the 21 Century Store, and looked up at all the 3D signs, I realized the allure. Shinsekai is a neighborhood lined with restaurants boasting Osaka’s most famous dishes, decorated with neon signs and huge signboards and displays. I arrived to the neighborhood before sunset and found the neighborhood really lit up as the sun set.

Shitenno-ji Temple
Shitenno-ji Temple is a Buddhist temple that is said to be the oldest in Japan. It’s an impressive temple covering an expansive history of Buddhism’s entry into Japanese culture. The temple’s Nio statues stationed at every gate protect it from evil spirits. The temple was rebuilt many times though its history, but it still stands as one of Japan’s most important temples and a great place to visit if you’re ever in Osaka.

How to Spend 8 Hours in Osaka

Nambayasaka Shrine
Well-known for it’s large lion’s head ritual stage, Namabayasaka is a small shrine nestled away in one of Osaka’s residential neighborhoods. The diety of Osaka’s Namba district is only a short walk away from Nankai Station, and if you’re lucky enough to visit in the beginning of January, their is apparently a tug-a-war tradition that occurs every year, presumably for Japan’s hatsumode.

Osaka Castle
You must carve out some time in your 8 hour tour of Osaka to visit Osaka Castle. Not only is the castle an icon of Osaka, it’s beautiful in both fall and spring because it’s surround by trees, many of which are cherry blossom trees.

When I’m down in Kansai, I love visiting Osaka because it’s such a chill city—a completely different vibe from Tokyo. Have any more questions about Osaka? Drop them down below!

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