City Guides: Easy and Breezy in Osaka

April is here in full bloom! It is warm, the sun is shining, evenings arrive later and the mornings become slower. Finally. We are counting down the days until summer heat warms our bones but for now, we have spring. And in my opinion spring is one of the best seasons ever. There is a lightness that comes from knowing you survived the cold months and can finally ease into a calmer, brighter time. Flowy shirts and less layers await.

This April, I noticed a lot of people visiting Japan. My stories are filled with food markets, amazing vintage shops and sights. While Tokyo is usually the first stop for Japan first-timers with its lively streets and dynamic nature, I think Osaka captures this season's ease perfectly. It is a coastal town famous for its culinary scene (namely street food) and diverse neighborhoods, afterall. What more can you ask for?

So how to go about enjoying Osaka?

Eat your way through it

Apparently the term "kuidaore" which means eat until you drop is used to summarize the food culture here. Osaka is known for its street food, so head to some food markets to enjoy a variety of dishes from takoyaki to yakitori. The Kuromon Ichiba Market is a popular choice for not only munching on delicious food and fruit but also functions as a large produce market for seafood and produce. Fukushima neighborhood also has streets lined with izakayas and restaurants that will satisfy your ramen, unadon and soba itches. Some dishes that you must try include Okonomiyaki, Doteyaki,  and Kitsune Udon. Dotonbori district near Namba Station will also provide you with many eateries.

Enjoy the local nightlife

Osaka is known for its friendly locals that know how to have fun. Shinsaibashisuji, also known as the shopping district in Osaka, has great cocktail bars and liveliness necessary for a good night out. Close by is another neighborhood: Amerikamura, or “Amemura” as it is often referred to. Trendy and at the core of youth culture, there are many-a bars, clubs and live music venues here. If you are looking for something more upscale, Umeda neighborhood will be your best bet with bars and lounges with more sophisticated ambiances.  

Get a whiff of history

My favorite thing about going to a new city is just wandering around its many streets and getting lost. These allow for happy accidents that no guidebook or blog post can prepare you for. Nakazakicho is a great district to wander around; going into cool coffee shops and mini boutiques. However, I do value a little bit of history. So visiting Osaka Castle is a great excursion. Surrounded by citadels, fates and moats, the castle is also by The Nishinomaru Garden, with 600 cherry trees and a tea house. This park is one of Osaka’s top hanami (flower viewing) spots — which usually occurs in the beginning of April.

Get your screams in

You heard me right. Universal Studios in Osaka was built in 2001 and has expanded into having ten sections: Hollywood, New York, San Francisco, Jurassic Park, Waterworld, Amity Village, Universal Wonderland, Minion Park, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and Super Nintendo World. You can ride fast roller coasters and enjoy the variety of rides and attractions that they offer. Perhaps not the most cultural activity, but it's fun and sometimes you just want to ride a very fast roller coaster, screaming as much as your vocal chords allow.

Nishinomaru Garden


Universal Studios Japan


Osaka Castle


Umeda District




Shinsaibashisuji Shopping District


Dotonbori District


Kuromon Ichiba Market

With its delicious food, fun neighborhoods and history, you can really do it all in Osaka.

Enjoy and happy traveling,