Things to Do in Osaka – A Weekend Itinerary | Guidable - Your Guide to a Sustainable, Wellbeing-centred Life in Japan

Things to Do in Osaka – A Weekend Itinerary

By Luisa Seftel Dec 15, 2022

Pack your bags; we are going to Osaka! In this article, we share the best things to do in Osaka for a fun weekend getaway. If the city of Osaka were a person, it would be the funny and somewhat loopy uncle who cracks jokes at every party, making your stomach muscles ache with laughter. 

Other than the more cooled down, buzzing and calculated city of Tokyo, Osaka is more gritty and – how I would describe it – more lively. But, on the other hand, people in Kansai tend to be more open towards strangers, approaching you more freely. So, without further ado, let’s travel to the Kansai area to show you our top 5 things to do in Osaka.

Cool Things to Do in Osaka

1. Explore the Bright District of Osaka – Dotonburi

Glico man osaka

Image credits: author

If you come to Osaka, you can’t miss Dotonbori. The bright, colourful heart of the city is known for its extravagance, bars, clubs and yummy street food. When referring to Dotonbori, I mainly speak about the Dotonbori Canal with the famous Glico man and Dotonbori Street, which runs parallel to it. The 20 min river cruise and a ride with the famous Donki Quijote Ferris Wheel are two of the most touristy things I’ve done in a long time, but with good company, it’s so worth it. 

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Also, don’t miss the giant takoyaki, gyoza replicas and moving crabs on Dotonburi Street. Osaka is known for its delicious street food. The most famous is takoyaki, a ball-shaped Japanese snack with batter filled with octopus. Be cautious; it’s always boiling when you get freshly made, so watch your tongue! 

Osaka style okonomiyaki

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Also, another comfort food you must is Okonomiyaki (お好み焼き), a savoury pancake filled with batter and cabbage. You can add different toppings and ingredients as you like; that’s why the translation of Okonomiyaki means “as-you-like-it-fried”. Make sure to try it, as you can find them at every second street corner in Osaka. 

2. Visit the Umeda Sky Observatory 

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I highly recommend visiting the Umeda Sky Building on a clear and sunny day. Taking the escalator is an experience in itself! So make sure to try it. It feels like you are entering a rocket ship! After you reach the top, you have an astonishing 360-view over Osaka from a height of 173 metres. Inside is a lovely café where you can admire the breathtaking view indoors and buy some typical Osaka souvenirs. 

3. Have a Fun Night With Japanese Comedy

Manzai things to do in Osaka

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Have you heard of the term “Manzai” before? In Osaka, people love going to comedy shows, especially the Yoshimoto Manzai theatre. The Kansai area is famous for its traditional Japanese comedy culture. Stand-up and double-act comedy come closest to “Manzai”. If you were a 90s child like me, you might remember the iconic black-and-white duo, Laurel and Hardy. So it’s a smart and a more light-headed person exchanging fast jokes while stumbling over misunderstandings, puns and double-talks. Paired with the Kansai dialect, it’s an experience, but as it is all in Japanese, it can be hard to keep up. So as an alternative, I highly recommend checking out ROR Comedy, an all-English stand-up comedy club in the heart of Osaka. 

4. Relive Your Childhood Dreams at Universal Studios Japan

Universal Studio Japan

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Riding on Dinosaurs, saying ‘Hi” to Mario and Luigi and helping Harry Potter catch the Golden Snitch – these dreams can come true when spending a day at Universal Studios Osaka. When thinking about things to do in Osaka, USJ is a thing that comes to mind. So have a fun day at the park and check out the latest addition to Universal Studios Japan – the Super Nintendo world. Enjoy the rides and the exceptional themed food from Mario, Princess Peach, and Co. Make sure to book the special express tickets in advance, as this part of the park is very popular amongst visitors right now, and the queues are very long. 

Things to Do in Osaka – A Recap

When travelling, there is never enough time to explore all the places I intend to go. But Osaka is a city you can travel to again and again! The city is filled to the brim with fun activities and exciting places to see in two days. What are your favourite things to do in Osaka? Tell us!

Read more:

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