Osaka Itinerary: How to Spend 3 Days in Osaka

Osaka Itinerary: How to Spend 3 Days in Osaka

Wondering how to spend 3 days in Osaka? You are in the right place because I have prepared a detailed Osaka itinerary for 3 days with a lot of useful travel tips.

Osaka is one of the most photogenic cities in Japan with its cultural heritage, modern architecture, and some unique hidden gems. Let’s not forget about Osaka Castle which attracts a lot of tourists every year. How to make the most of your 3 days in Osaka?

In this article, you will find a complete Osaka itinerary for 3 days with other things that you should know before visiting Osaka. I will help you plan your trip to Osaka and make the most of your time there.

*Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase after clicking one of these links, I earn a small commission at no extra cost to you.

3 days in Osaka itinerary

  • Visit the Castle of Osaka
  • Eat your way through Dotonbori and Shinsekai
  • Discover the bohemian part of the city between Pulala Tenma and Nakazakicho
  • Appreciate the architecture at the Umeda Sky Building
  • Try the famous Rikoru cheesecake or Japanese pancakes
  • Find Daruma dolls at the Katsuo-ji Temple
  • Take a walk around Shitennoji and experience the oldest wooden building in Japan
  • Explore hidden gems in Osaka like Ooe Shrine, Aizendo Shoman-in, Isshin-ji
  • See the most unique temple in Osaka – Namba Yasaka Jinja
  • Head to Sumiyoshi Taisha
  • Join a food tour and visit a secret bar for a fun night out

Overview of day 1 of your 3 days in Osaka

  • Morning: Castle of Osaka, Pulala Tenma, Nakazakichō
  • Lunch: Temma Nikuyakiya or Salon de AManTo
  • Afternoon: Nakazakicho, Umeda Sky Building
  • Dinner: Dotonbori, 10 Yen pancakes, Katsudon Chiyomatsu

Castle of Osaka


Your 3 days in Osaka itinerary starts with the Castle of Osaka which is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Osaka and all of Japan. Regardless, if you are planning to visit the castle itself, you need to see this architectural gem of Osaka.

It was originally built by Toyotomi Hideyoshi in 1583 as a symbol of his power and influence during the Azuchi-Momoyama period of Japanese history. The castle has been destroyed and rebuilt several times over the centuries, so you won’t find many original pieces inside.

The castle is surrounded by a beautiful park, where you can wander around for hours and look for the best views over the castle. Make sure you visit the Japanese Garden for some epic photos. Also, if you are visiting Osaka during cherry blossom season, head to Nishinomaru Garden. The entrance fee is 200 JPY (1.40 EUR) and it is open from 9 am to 5 pm.

While the park around the castle is free to visit, the entrance fee inside the castle is 600 JPY (4.20 EUR) and it is open from 9 am to 5 pm.

Pulala Tenma and Nakazakicho

lesser-known Osaka Instagram spots - 3 days in Osaka

Take the train from Osaka Castle to explore the Pulala Tenma area, where you can find one of the most lively markets in Osaka. Explore Tenma ichiba to find some fresh goodies and find the “thousand lamps” street to snap an iconic photo of the place.

From Pulala Tenma you can walk to Nakazakicho. This is a unique bohemian neighborhood, and it certainly deserves a visit during your 3 day Osaka itinerary. It is a charming and vibrant neighborhood with a lot of character, history, and personality.

Pulala Tenma and Nakazakicho feature many small cafes, art galleries, vintage clothing stores, and independent boutiques. The streets are lined with charming old buildings that have been converted into shops and restaurants.


Osaka itinerary
Osaka in 3 days

This is a perfect place to find your lunch spot or sit down for a coffee. If you want a quick break, you might want to visit Picco Latte, La Granda Familio Nakazakicho, 89 Cafe, or Utena Cafe.

Meat lovers will go crazy for Temma Nikuyakiya, where you can try the freshest regional specialties in a traditional Japanese environment.

If you prefer something more casual but with a great character head to Salon de AManTo. This art cafe is a unique place you need to visit during your Osaka vacation. It offers simple and affordable dishes in a very vintage Japanese style.

Umeda Sky Building

Osaka’s top attractions - Osaka itinerary for first timers
best Osaka photography spots - 3 day Osaka itinerary

Umeda Sky Building is one of the must-add to your 3-day Osaka tour itinerary. This is one of the most iconic places in the city and one of the most popular spots in Osaka for first-time visitors.

The Umeda Sky Building consists of two towers connected by a circular observatory, which is suspended between the two towers at a height of 170 meters above the ground. I believe you are daydreaming about views over Osaka already.

Apart from the views, you need to take a ride in the building’s glass-walled escalators, which is, hands down, one of the most iconic places in Osaka. If you travel to Osaka for the architecture and urban landscapes, Umeda Sky Building has to be added to your 3-day Osaka itinerary.

The entrance fee is 1500 JPY (10.50 EUR) and I suggest you buy your ticket online in order to skip the queuing. It is open from 9.30 am to 10.30 pm and sunset is probably the best time to visit. You will have access to two floors – one is a cafe and the upper part is an open-air terrace.


famous Osaka Instagram spots - Osaka itinerary for 3 days
top places in Osaka to take pictures at sunset - 3 days Osaka itinerary

The first evening of your 72 hours in Osaka ends in the iconic Dotonbori. This district is a bustling entertainment district that attracts both locals and tourists, so be prepared for crowds and queues.

The main attraction of Dotonbori is the canal that runs through the district, which is lined with shops, restaurants, and bars. You can take a leisurely stroll along the canal and enjoy the lively atmosphere, or hop on a boat to get a different perspective.

One of the most iconic sights in Dotonbori is the Glico Man – a giant neon sign featuring a running athlete that has become a symbol of the district. Other popular landmarks in the area include the Kani Doraku crab sign and the Don Quijote discount store. It is known for its wide selection of souvenirs and quirky items.

A perfect 3 days in Osaka itinerary for first-timers includes trying the iconic 10 Yen pancakes stuffed with cheese. You can find the 10 Yen pancakes in two locations in Dotonbori, so pick the one with the shorter queue.


perfect 3 days in Osaka itinerary for first-timers
perfect 3 days in Osaka itinerary for first-timers

Some of the best restaurants in Osaka are located in Dotonbori and you might have to wait a while before taking a seat. I recommend getting here as early as possible to avoid the rush hour.

Katsudon Chiyomatsu is the place to be to try one of the best Tonkatsu in all of Japan. Of course, it comes with a price and you will find a long queue even before the opening time. I arrived at 5.30 pm and got a seat only at 7 pm. There are only 13 seats, so the queue is very slow.

Tonkatsu is a popular Japanese dish that consists of a breaded and deep-fried pork cutlet. This Youtube famous restaurant caught my attention even though I am not someone who would order a pork dish and I am glad it did.

The taste is so flavorful and pork is so tender it just melts in your mouth. If I was eating with my eyes closed, I would never say that it was deep-fried pork. That’s how special it is. 

The meat is served on a delicious base of rice with eggs and onion and you can find different sizes of the Tonkatsu, starting from 200 grams to 400 grams. Portions are massive and you have to order at least one dish per person, but the bigger the meat, the better it gets.

Overview of day 2 of your 3 days in Osaka

  • Morning: Katsuo-ji Temple, Shitennoji
  • Lunch: Hayauchi or 煩悩のかたまり 一瓢亭
  • Afternoon: Ooe Shrine, Aizendo Shoman-in, Isshin-ji
  • Dinner: Shinsekai

Katsuo-ji Temple

what to see in Osaka for 3 days
epic Osaka photography spots - 72-hour Osaka itinerary

A complete Osaka itinerary for 3 days must include Katsuo-ji Temple, which is situated on top of a mountain and offers beautiful views of the surrounding area. One of the unique features of Katsuo-ji Temple is its Daruma dolls which can be found all over the complex. These dolls are traditionally used in Japan as a symbol of perseverance and good luck.

The complex features a large Sanmon (as of 2023 it is under construction!), a temple, a pagoda, and a massive garden which is particularly stunning during spring and fall. Due to the peculiarity of the place this has become a very popular attraction among locals, but a true gem for tourists.

The entrance fee is 500 JPY (3.50 EUR) and it is open from 8 am to 5 pm. It is in the North of Osaka and it takes a while to arrive, but it is one of the most underrated places in Osaka and it is worth the ride. There is a frequent bus number 29 that takes you to the temple, but Google Maps will lead you to it.


prettiest places in Osaka - Osaka itinerary for 3 days

After visiting Katsuo-Ji Temple, head back to the central area to discover another highlight of your Osaka vacation.

Shitennoji is an ancient Buddhist temple located in the Tennoji district of Osaka, Japan. The temple grounds feature a variety of historic buildings, including a five-story pagoda, a main hall, a lecture hall, and a garden. The main hall, known as the Kondo, is the oldest wooden building in Japan.

The five-story pagoda is one of the best places to visit in Osaka to appreciate classic Japanese architecture. On the 21st of each month, there is a flea market around the temple, so if you happen to be here, you can’t miss it.

It is free to visit Shitennoji, however, there is a fee for visiting Chushin Garan and Treasure House. If you have limited time in Osaka, I advise you to visit only the main part of Shitennoji. The temple is open from 8 am to 4 pm and while it gets crowded, it is very peaceful and zen.


complete Osaka itinerary for 3 days

After a full immersion in culture and spirituality, is time to find a place for lunch. The area around the temple flourishes with restaurants.

My recommendation is Shitennoji Hayauch for a cozy and sophisticated lunch. The atmosphere is exquisitely Japanese and the food is truly remarkable. Great attention is paid also to the plating. Their tempura and soba are to die for! The restaurant also offers cooking classes but it requires a reservation.

煩悩のかたまり一瓢亭 is a place that I found casually during my visit. The restaurant is on 2 levels, so no worries if you see it full, there might be a sit for you. We really felt at home here and we tried a fantastic soba soup. There are only vegetarian options on the menu.

The place is a bit quirky, as tables are made of beer cases and doors but the welcoming and the service is the best, and the prices are also very affordable. You also have access to free iced tea and additional toppings like raw eggs, ginger, and pickles.

Ooe Shrine, Aizendo Shoman-in, Isshin-ji

secret photography spots in Osaka - best things to do in Osaka in 3 days

When you have 3 days in Osaka, you have time to discover some hidden gems and these were some of my favorite ones. 

Just 10 minutes away from Shitennoji temple, there is Ooe Shrine. This is the perfect place to escape the noise of the city and find a green oasis in Osaka. It is free to visit and the temple is open from 6 am to 5 pm every day.

Behind the corner of One Shrine, you will find the Aizendo Shoman-in. Like the Ooe Shrine, this is one of the hidden gems in Osaka and there won’t be many people around. Visiting the temple and learning about its known healing abilities is interesting. It is free to visit Aizendo Shoman-in and opening hours are from 9 am to 4.30 pm.

Finally, Isshin-ji is another ancient temple in Osaka, which dates back to 1185. Unlike other temples in Japan, the entrance is modernly built in steel, but it preserves the ancient charm in its heart. Isshin-ji is also free to visit and it is open from 5 am until 6 pm.


Osaka attractions - 3 days Osaka sightseeing itinerary
3-day Osaka tour itinerary

3 perfect days in Osaka can’t be complete without visiting Shinsekai, which is only a short walk away from Isshin-ji. Shinsekai is a neighborhood of Osaka developed in the early 20th century as a modern entertainment district and amusement park, and its name means “new world” in Japanese.

This area is known for its unique retro atmosphere and iconic landmarks, such as the Tsutenkaku Tower and Janjan Yokocho Alleyway. You don’t want to miss these two famous Osaka spots!

Here you will find a huge number of restaurants and shops and there is probably no better way to honor the quote  “Eat until you are broke”. I can recommend Yamatoya for a quick bite, Usagiya for okonomiyaki, or one of the famous Kushikatsu Daruma restaurants. A lot of the places in this area are badly rated, so make sure you check the reviews before.

The signs of bars and restaurants are also one of the reasons to visit Shinsekai and spend an unforgettable night out.

Note! The Tsutenkaku Tower is under construction as of 2023, so there are no lights at night.

Overview of day 3 of your 3 days in Osaka

  • Morning:  Namba Yasaka Jinja
  • Lunch: Rikoru cheesecake or Cafe Mog Namba (or both!)
  • Afternoon: Sumiyoshi Taisha, Kumata Shrine, Senkoji
  • Dinner: food tour and Bar Call me Tell me

Namba Yasaka Jinja

famous landmarks in Osaka - 3 perfect days in Osaka

The last day of your Osaka itinerary for 3 days starts with one of the most unique temples in the city.

Namba Yasaka Shrine, also known as Yasaka Shrine or Namba Shrine, is a Shinto shrine located in the Namba district of Osaka, Japan. One of the most unique features of Namba Yasaka Shrine is its large lion head structure, which stands at the entrance of the shrine.

Due to its unique design, this is one of the most photographed and most visited places in Osaka. I recommend you to get there early to enjoy the peace of the place and make your wish for good luck.

There is no entrance fee and it is open from 6.30 am to 5 pm.

Rikoru cheesecake or Cafe Mog Namba (or both!)

3 perfect days in Osaka
3 perfect days in Osaka

Take a sweet break from sightseeing and walk to Rikoru Cheesecake. Here you can try one most famous sweets in Osaka recommended in every Osaka travel guide. This fluffy cheesecake with raisins became a symbol of food in Osaka and it can’t be missed during your trip. You can either buy an entire cake and take it away or head up and enjoy a piece of cake in their cafe.

2 minutes away from Riroku, find another sweet treat – Cafe Mog Namba. This place is famous for its legendary pancakes which can be salty or sweet. Matcha pancakes were the best and I cannot recommend them enough! The place is cozy and the pancakes cost between 900 and 1600 JPY.

Sumiyoshi Taisha

complete Osaka itinerary for 3 days

Head south with Nankai Line to one of the most beautiful places in Osaka. Sumiyoshi Taisha is an ancient Shinto Shrine that is almost 2000 years old and it had a relevant importance in Japanese history.

The temple embodies perfectly Japanese architecture and design, colliding peacefully with nature. Sumiyoshi Taisha is dedicated to the four gods of the sea and maritime voyages. So, the shrine offers spiritual protection for the port of Osaka, as it has always been connected to the sea and the people involved with it.

Visiting the complex will take at least one hour of your time. Take your time to appreciate the architecture, enjoy the peaceful atmosphere, and pay your respects. There is no fee to enter and it is open from 6.30 am to 5 pm.

Kumata Shrine

most Instagrammable places in Osaka
- best things to do in Osaka in 3 days

After head east to Kumata Shrine to find another hidden gem to visit during your 3 days in Osaka. This unknown temple is a perfect place to relax after exploring some of the busiest areas in Osaka, like Dotonbori and Umeda.

When I first saw the photos of Kumata Shrine, I wasn’t impressed, but eventually, I ended up loving the place. It is so peaceful and despite the beautiful design and garden, there are no tourists visiting the complex. It is free to visit and wander around and it can be easily combined with the next location.


lesser-known Osaka Instagram spots - best things to do in Osaka in 3 days
prettiest places in Osaka - best things to do in Osaka in 3 days

And just like the previous place, Senko-ji is one of the lesser-known Osaka temples. You can reach Senkoji simply by walking from Kumata Shrine. This will give you the chance to see a lively neighborhood with markets and wooden houses.

This unique temple offers a cool experience and has a heaven and hell theme. At the entrance, you will get a route to discover curiosities about the Buddhist idea of heaven and hell.

I suggest you enter the temple from the shopping arcade and follow the map. As you go, you will find pretty gardens, unique sculptures, and even an exhibition of post-war life in Japan

It is open from 8.30 am to 5 pm and the entrance is free.


best things to do in Osaka in 3 days
best things to do in Osaka in 3 days

After this tiring day of exploring I recommend you something special for your last dinner and a tour with Deep Backstreet is one of the best things to do in Osaka in 3 days. We had the chance to take a lovely evening walking tour through some historic districts and try some local street food like locals.

Book a must-do food tour in Osaka here.

Bar Call me Tell me

Osaka itinerary for 3 days

And since your day has been all about secret locations, find also this secret bar to end your 72-hour Osaka itinerary. Bar Call Me Tell Me looks like a British phone box from the outside so it can be easily missed if you don’t know what you are looking for.

Inside the atmosphere is chilled and smooth and there is an extraordinary selection of drinks. Cocktails are made with great attention to detail, no matter if they are alcoholic or not. There is also a great selection of whiskies, especially Japanese labels.

Relaxing music completes the ultimate experience of fun for a long weekend in Osaka. The bar is open until 5 am and also serves some snacks. 

Things to know before visiting Osaka

best places to take photos in Osaka

Japanese use Type-A plugs, so don’t forget your adapters. In case you don’t have one you can find it in the airports or at other famous stores like Don Quixote.

The currency is the Japanese Yen, and 1 euro is approximately 140 JPY. Cards and Apple Pay payments are mostly accepted in stores, but everything else will require cash. Good thing is that you can find ATMs in every convenience store.

You will need to use Google Maps and Google Translate a lot and it requires a good internet connection. Getting a local SIM or wifi router is the best solution, so you can purchase a sim here or book your wifi router here.

Is Osaka worth visiting?

Is Osaka worth visiting?

Osaka is considered one of the coolest cities in Japan, it is famous for being the “Nation’s Kitchen” and its countless restaurants. The motto of the city is “Eat yourself broke!”, so if Japanese cuisine is your cup of “matcha” you need to add Osaka to your Japan itinerary.

The food is not the only reason to visit Osaka. The Castle of Osaka is one of the most famous Japanese landmarks. Unlike Tokyo or Kyoto, Osaka is less touristy and you can get in touch with Japanese culture in an authentic way. 

Osaka is also a hot destination for shopping and fun time. Countless shops and boutiques are spread all around the city and many unique bars give character to the city.

How many days in Osaka?

How many days in Osaka?

3 days in Osaka is the perfect amount of time to enjoy all the essentials of Osaka, taste delicious food, and try unforgettable experiences. If you want to include day trips or visits to amusement parks like Universal Studios I recommend you stay at least an additional night.

In this itinerary, we will cover how to spend 3 days in Osaka and how to maximize your time in this charming city. I will add some optional stops, so this itinerary suits different travelers and interests.

How to move around Osaka?

How to move around Osaka?

When visiting Osaka for 3 days, choosing the right method to move around is essential to save time and money. I will add more tips within the itinerary so you know what is walkable and where you will need transport, but here are the best ways to move around Osaka together with pros and cons.

Public Transport

Public transport is probably the best way to move around Osaka. There are many train & metro lines to choose from and it can be a bit confusing, but fortunately, you will always find someone ready to help you inside the stations.

The prices depend on how long is your journey and the fares usually start from 160 JPY. If you are planning to make intense use of public transport I recommend you get a daily pass, which will save you time and money. The daily pass usually includes all the buses, metro, and local trains. This is the best way to plan your Osaka itinerary for first-timers.

The Kansai Thru Pass gives you access to all the metro lines, busses, and trains (excluding JR trains) to move around the Kansai region. it is the most affordable choice and it will give you the chance to reach places like Kyoto or Himeji. It can be purchased here.

If you are visiting Osaka in 3 days and want to optimize your time and try the Shinkansen trains the JR pass is the right choice. This pass includes all the JR lines and you can reach all the places around Osaka in a faster and more comfortable way. You can purchase a 3 days pass here.


Taxi is another great way to move around Osaka but it comes with a price. The fees for taxis are quite high but they are a fantastic way to bring you to your destination most quickly and comfortably. It is a great option for shorter distances and couples or families visiting Osaka.

If you don’t want to grab a taxi in the street, you can download Uber. However, I don’t advise you to use a taxi from the airport to the city center. The train is faster and cheaper and overall more convenient.


A bike is a great and fun option to explore Osaka if the weather works in your favor. There are wide spaces for bikes and several companies that will rent you one. The fees for renting a bike are usually 100-300 JPY per hour, 400-800 JPY for half a day, and 1000-1200 JPY for a full day. 

On foot

Walking is a fantastic way to explore Osaka but you need to keep in mind that this is one of the biggest cities in the world and this won’t always be possible. In this Osaka itinerary, I will include also some nice walks to get the best out of your vacation, but other than that, you will certainly need wheels to bring you around.

Looking for the best way to get to Osaka from Kansai Airport? Get Nankai Rapi:t Airport Express Train Tickets.

Where to stay in Osaka for 3 days?

Where to stay in Osaka for 3 days?
Where to stay in Osaka for 3 days?
The perfect way to relax after a busy day exploring Osaka

It is important to find the right accommodation for your trip and there are a lot of options in Osaka, so how to choose where to stay in Osaka?

If you are looking for a home away from home, make sure you check Mimaru Hotels. They have multiple properties available around Osaka, Kyoto, and Tokyo and they are one of the top-rated hotels in Japan.

Mimaru offers modern accommodations with a Japanese touch in the most strategic locations of the city, so it is suitable for any kind of traveler. It also stands out in terms of hospitality and amenities. In the reception, you can meet English-speaking staff from all over the world ready to welcome and help you.

The accommodations at Mimaru are real flats providing all the amenities and comfort for short and long stays. It is a great hotel for families or bigger groups as well since most of the hotels offer connected rooms.


Where to stay in Osaka for 3 days? Mimaru Hotels

This was my choice during my time in Osaka. MIMARU OSAKA SHINSAIBASHI WEST is perfect to experience the authentic side of Osaka as the hotel is located on a quiet street full of restaurants. The shopping streets are just 5 minutes away.

Click here to see rates & availability and book your stay at MIMARU OSAKA SHINSAIBASHI WEST.


Where to stay in Osaka for 3 days? Mimaru Hotels

MIMARU OSAKA NAMBA North is set 70 m from Orange Street and 500 m from Shinsaibashi Shopping Arcade.  It’s a great choice for those who want to experience the liveliest side of Osaka for shopping and food. Dotonbori is just a few steps away.

This hotel also boasts a unique and popular Pokemon room. If you are a fan this is simply a must for you.

Click here to see rates & availability and book your stay at MIMARU OSAKA NAMBA North.

MIMARU Osaka Shinsaibashi North

Where to stay in Osaka for 3 days? Mimaru Hotels

MIMARU Osaka Shinsaibashi North is located 500 m from TKP Shinsaibashi Ekimae Conference Center and 600 m from Shinsaibashi Station. This is the Mimaru Hotel which is the closest to Osaka Castle.

What makes this hotel very special are the themed apartments like Ninja Room, so it is a great choice if you are looking for unique experiences in Osaka.

Click here to see rates & availability and book your stay at MIMARU Osaka Shinsaibashi North.


Where to stay in Osaka for 3 days? Mimaru Hotels

MIMARU OSAKA SHINSAIBASHI EAST is located 5 minutes away from MIMARU Osaka Shinsaibashi North, closer to the Dotonbori area.

If you are passionate about Japanese drinks like sake this is your place to go. The staff will take good care of you to make you experience a taste of Japan.

Click here to see rates & availability and book your stay at MIMARU OSAKA SHINSAIBASHI EAST.

MIMARU Osaka Namba Station

Where to stay in Osaka for 3 days? Mimaru Hotels

MIMARU Osaka Namba Station stands a few steps away from the infamous Kuromon Street Market and the train station. This is a perfect spot if you are planning to explore the surrounding of Osaka and the city. Many attractions are within a walking distance.

The hotel boasts some unique accommodations like Board Game Rooms. Some are perfect for families, others for groups of friends.

Click here to see rates & availability and book your stay at MIMARU Osaka Namba Station.

Further reading for 3 days in Osaka

Travel tips for Kyoto:

Travel tips for Osaka:

Travel tips for Tokyo:

Or read more about Kyoto | Osaka | Tokyo | Himeji | Nara | Uji | Japan

Other useful tips for visiting Japan

🏠 Need a place to stay? Browse Booking or Agoda
💃 How about fun experiences? GetYourGuide, Viator, and Klook have it all
🚗 Considering renting a car in Japan? Use Rentalcars
🚂 If you need transfers, bus or train tickets, check 12Go
🔒 Don’t forget about travel insurance from HeyMondo

In conclusion…

best photo spots in Osaka - 3 days Osaka itinerary

If you were wondering what to do in Osaka for 3 days, I am sure that now you are fully prepared for your trip and can’t wait to discover this unique Japanese city.

I would love to hear your thoughts, so if you have any feedback or additional tips, leave a comment below. Also, check out my Instagram for regular travel videos and travel inspiration. Or explore other destinations on this travel blog.

Pin it for later and save the best things to do in Osaka for 3 days!

Osaka Itinerary: How to Spend 3 Days in Osaka
Osaka Itinerary: How to Spend 3 Days in Osaka

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