As part of my two week trip to Japan (also read my separate post on Japan), which included visits to TokyoKyoto and Kobe as well as hiking a large part of the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage trail, I also visited Osaka. So here are the best tips for Osaka – according to me.

Why you’ll love Osaka

Although Osaka lacks much of Kyoto’s stunning temples and Tokyo’s metropolitan vibe, Osaka is a lovable city by its own right. Great food, amazing for shopping and a vibrant sea city vibe.

My best omakase experience in Osaka

The Japanese habit of omakase (お任せ) when you’re ordering at a restaurant pretty much means, “I’ll leave it up to you”, inviting the chef to be innovative and surprising in the selection of dishes. I try to do it in every city I visit, and apply the idea behind to everything between how I pick my runshow I pick my foodhow I plan activities with my kidshow I explore cities and how I travel in general. So, I tried this in Osaka as well.

Running Osaka with the locals
Running Osaka with the locals

My best omakase experience in Osaka was probably when I decided to join a local run club. When buying a specific amount of Asics gear at the Asics flagship store, I qualified to join a local run club. Just before traveling to Tokyo, I ran with 20 Japanese runners along the Yodo river. A great experience and an amazing way to get an insight in the daily life and habits of locals. If you ever got an opportunity to join something like this, please do so – one of my best tips for Osaka. 

The best things to do in Osaka – according to me

Osaka Center
Osaka Center
  • The Belgian Beer festival is an annual celebration of Belgian beer.
  • Muji (the Japanese lifestyle and interior brand) has a stunning flagship store with multiple stories of Muji books, interior, cooking material, clothing and everything else you can think of.

The best restaurants in Osaka – according to me

Puffer fish in Osaka
Puffer fish in Osaka
  • Zuboraya is one of the most famous pufferfish / fugu restaurants. Pufferfish are considered a delicacy in Japan, often eaten raw as sashimi or cooked in soups. But if the fish are not carefully prepared they can be deadly.

The best hotel tips for Osaka – according to me

My first time in Osaka, I stayed at capsule hotel New Japan (men only) which was actually a great base for your explorations of Osaka. It’s pretty much a men’s club meets capsule hotel meets spa and sauna.

The second time, I spent time at the InterContinental Osaka (part of IHG obviously). Its location is perfect in the center of the city, near different train stations that connect you to different parts of the country. And the different shopping/living towers nearby offer a wide variety of shopping opportunities and food. The hotel itself is one of the best InterContinentals I ever stayed at. Clean, up-to-date, service-minded. And not tired and worn down like some of the InterContinentals all over the world. The spa is amazing as well, especially after a long hike like the Kumano Kodo

Another great place to stay is Hotel The Flag Shinsaibashi – a really nice simple style hotel, great location and great value for money.

The best coffee in Osaka – according to me

Kiki & Lala Cafe
Kiki & Lala Cafe
  • Saturdays Surf NYC is a hipster surf bar meets coffee bar.
  • Mel Coffee Roasters has some of the best coffee I had in Japan – definitely one of my best tips for Osaka.
  • Kiki & Lala cafe is a tea and cake cafe in the city center which has hordes of Japanese queueing up.

The best place to get some work done

Osaka Tsutaya Books to get some work done
Osaka Tsutaya Books to get some work done
  • Tsutaya books has a Starbucks cafe, plenty of books and plenty of space for work stations.

The best place to go out for a run in Osaka – according to me

The best place to go out for a run is Osaka castle, without a doubt. A large green park with plenty of other runners. Consider running around sunset to get amazing views of the castle around sunset.

I also did a run with the local Asics run club along the Yodo river which was a really nice omakase experience actually.

What are the best tips for Osaka – according to you?

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