11am Brunch like a local
Go traditional for your first meal of the day with a bowl of udon at Kamaage Udon Ikki. Simply outfitted with wooden tables and counter seats, this cosy, family-run eatery specialises in handmade udon noodles, which comes topped with hearty ingredients like meat and veggies.
Noon Explore Tennoji
The nearby Tennoji and Abeno districts are home to Japan’s tallest skyscraper, Abeno Harukas, along with many malls at which you can pick up a souvenir or two. Head up to Harukas 300, a 60th-floor observatory that will gift you panoramic views of Osaka. After that, stroll on over to Shitennoji, one of Japan’s oldest temples, to take in the ancient architecture.
2pm Have a kushikatsu lunch
Not too far away, Shinsekai is a laidback neighbourhood that may seem left behind in time, but that is part of its aging charm. The area is known to get quite seedy at night, so it’s better to poke around while it’s bright and less rowdy. Pop over to Jan-Jan Yokocho, a dining and shopping street with many options for kushikatsu, a local specialty of breaded, deep-fried skewers of meat and vegetables.
4pm Soak in an over-the-top bath
Spa World is a sprawling bathhouse with countless public baths, many sporting over-the-top themes. Expect anything and everything from, cold-water baths and sauna houses to waterfalls and even baby sharks that swim in a glass aquarium beneath you. The facility opens till late so take time to luxuriate and explore — there are also massages to be enjoyed and arcade games to be played.
7pm Dinner at Dotonbori
With its neon lights, brightly-lit billboards and oversized creatures (this includes the famed giant moving crab) hanging outside eating houses, Dotonbori is no doubt the epicentre of action in Osaka, and one of its most iconic locales. There are tons to see and eat here, from cafe fare to street eats like takoyaki (octopus balls). Check out the legendary Hariju restaurant for excellent sukiyaki, or visit Mizuno for Michelin-starred okonomiyaki.
10pm Have a nightcap in Ura-Namba
The nearby Ura-Namba district is home to several theatres and theatre companies, and it is getting increasingly known for its bohemian vibes and tasteful bars. Options include DandeLion for bourbon and whisky in an Old West ambience or Bar Yuu for amazake, a fermented rice drink. If the midnight munchies strike, meander back to Dotonbori for some takoyaki.
8am A morning cuppa
Recuperate from the touristy buzz by going off the beaten track. A java hit from Brooklyn Roasting Company in Kitahama will certainly wake you up. The much talked about cafe specialises in drip coffee, but they also do really good espresso-based drinks. If weather permits, sit outdoors to enjoy views of the river.
10am Eat boxed sushi
Fuel up for your trip back! Osha-zushi is a boxed-style sushi that originated in Osaka. Instead of using hands, the sushi is shaped by pressing rice and toppings into a wooden box mould, and later cut into pieces when served. Yoshino Sushi is an institution that comes highly recommended.