Osaka Travel Guide: How to spend the perfect 24 hours in Osaka, Japan

By Nicole Moraleda

Here are the best things to do in Osaka if you're pressed for time

By Nicole Moraleda |

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Go back in time at the 20th century-style market beneath the Umeda Sky Building.

It’s amazing how much you can get done when you’ve got a solid plan. Here’s how to make the most of your 24 hours in a different city.

Whether you’re a foodie, animal-lover or a sucker for a great view, Osaka has something for you. This popular destination, like many other Japanese cities, is a melting pot of modern and traditional – you can feel as if you’ve stepped into a futuristic anime one second, and travelled back in time the next. It can certainly be a little overwhelming, but don’t worry; we got you. Here’s how we would tackle the city in 24 hours.

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Call us crazy, but if you ask us, one of the best (and certainly cheapest) places to have breakfast in Japan is at a 7-Eleven. We love their egg sandwiches, or tamago sando, which are bursting with a rich yolk and kewpie mayo flavour. For something bought from a convenience store, it’s surprisingly decadent. 

Alternatively, you can buy a couple of onigiri (Japanese rice balls) to eat on the go. You can find them filled with a variety of ingredients, from the traditional ume (pickled plum) to more modern flavours like fried chicken, and they won’t cost more than HK$15 each.

Alternatively, we recommend you visit one of Osaka’s owl cafes. There are several in the city, so go ahead and pick the one closest to where you’re staying. Pay a reasonable fee to enjoy your breakfast with the company of a parliament of owls. What better way to kick off your IG stories than with a selfie with an owl?

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For lunch, there’s no better place to go than Dotonbori. The area is a foodie mecca and boasts rows of popular restaurants offering a range of traditional and modern Japanese dishes. You’ll find everything from ramen to fugu, or blowfish, a deadly Japanese delicacy. But if noodle soup is a bit too clichéd for you and you’re not about to risk your life for sashimi, your next choice should definitely be takoyaki.

At Osaka Konamon Museum, you can learn about the octopus-filled, ball-shaped snack – which was first popularised in the city – and even learn how to make some yourself! Choose from a variety of ingredients with which to fill your takoyaki, and enjoy them fresh on the spot.

Head to the futuristic observation deck at the top of the Umeda Sky Building for incredible views of the city.
Photo: Shutterstock


Once you’ve had your fill of food, make your way to JR Osaka Station and walk 10 minutes to the Umeda Sky Building. It is made up of two 40-storey towers that connect at their two uppermost levels, and stands 173 metres high – you can’t miss it! Surrounding the building is a picturesque urban garden with walking trails and water features, but the reason tourists visit the area is to steal a view of the city skyline from the Floating Garden Observatory on the building’s rooftop.

Underground is a market that recreates the atmosphere of Osaka in the early 20th century, where you can find a variety of eateries. You’ll definitely be hungry again by then, right?

Edited by Charlotte Ames-Ettridge