This Osaka Travel Guide is undoubtedly the most requested as I still continue to receive requests on this place ever since I started this VLOG.
If you’ve been following me on Instagram, you know how Japan is my most frequented country: #BiancaVTravelsJAPAN
Relatedly, my Sapporo Food Guide is surprisingly my post popular post! Surprise because from an artistic perspective, it isn’t exactly what I consider the most creative amongst all the videos on the VLOG.
I guess it really does boil down to knowing the what, where, why in all things Japan.
So by now it only makes sense that Osaka is something I have gotten to share at the very least, right?
Well, if you also follow me on IG, you’ll observe that the places I feature in Japan are not exactly the most popular (yet). They’re usually far off rural places or low-key cities that have yet to be discovered by many.
As a website that focuses on VIDEO content, notice how there isn’t a video on the top of the screen, which I usually have for all my VLOG posts?
Truth is, the last time I got to visit Osaka was in 2014 & 2015. A time when the VLOG was still non-existent so I don’t really have much or any videos to compile. Not to mention my mobile photography skills were obviously suspect.
The hefty pancake is assembled in front of you on the grill then the chef cooks and charrs it to perfection.
4. Kuromon Ichiba
If Tokyo has Tsukiji (seafood market), Osaka has Kuromon Ichiba. It’s one of Osaka’s main food markets.
Here you can get to sample the freshest Japanese seafood from the many fish vendors and restos.
Just like everyone else, I headed straight for the #1 resto in the market, Kuromon Sanpei as seen on IG.
During my first visit, I couldn’t resist trying the succulent giant scallops and octopus BBQ! Legit.
Then again, you can also stock up on the freshest fruits like cherries, strawberries and other local produce.
5. ZAUO Fishing Restaurant
If you prefer to catch your own dinner, a must-try in Osaka (near Dōtonbori) is ZAUO!
Creating a fun dining experience, you get to fish for your own seafood. I guess it’s like a fancier version of our own, dampa.
From the fish you caught – presuming you did, lol, you then get to choose how you want it/them prepared or cooked.
However if that fails, don’t worry, there’s a menu to choose from as well.
When you catch a fish, you can’t toss it back as it’s considered sold.
When this happens, the staff hits the big tribal, bongo drums chanting your name as other guests cheer you on for your successful catch!
I’ve been twice and the first time, I didn’t catch a thing while my sister caught 4 because it was just that addictively fun – for her, haha!
My mom was like, “how do you intend to eat all that fish?!” Hahaha!
We ended up with so many dishes that we chose to share our food with nearby tables – free meal for them, yey!
It’s great for wholesome family fun or even friends having one too many drinks!
6. Naniwa Kappo Kigawa
From fishing to something fancier, Japanese food is not all about sushi. You don’t say….
Naniwa Kappo Kigawa (restaurant) specializes in Kappo cuisine. Kappo is a Japanese traditional cooking method where a Kappo chef is trained to master numerous ways of cooking and understand the seasonality of food.
With the seasonal menu, there’s always something new to expect.
A lovely dining experience, Kappo cuisine is the art of dining in Osaka as every dish is presented in a delicate, intricate manner.
7. Bvlgari IL Cafe
Come to think of it, Kappo style of presentation is quite evident in Bvlgari IL Cafe‘s dessert du jour.
The luxury cafe is at the upscale Umeda Hankyu department store in Osaka.
Whether shopping for diamonds or sipping some champagne, the Bvlgari IL Cafe is a perfect way to cap off an afternoon with the girls.
8. Umeda Sky Building
Speaking of Umeda, another not to be missed is Umeda Sky Building.
From below it looks like a giant space ship held together by two towers.
That’s because the twin tower complex is located in Umeda: a prime business, shopping & entertainment center in Osaka. The underground shopping complex is so massive, you could seriously get lost!
My personal recommendation?
The outdoor observation deck at night is a trippy showstopper as it’s lit up like you’re inside a cosmic night club – especially the floor! It’s like you’re walking on Mars in neon lights!
Perhaps daunting if you fear heights but makes for an exciting Osaka nighttime experience!
9. The Westin Osaka
To see Umeda Sky Building without any fear of looking straight down, the Westin Osaka has the perfect views.
I forgot to take photos of my room but it’s similar to this:
Though the hotel is relatively old, the rooms are spacious with a perfect view of Umeda Sky Building in all its architectural glory.
This is the view from my room.
10. 551 Horai
Moving onto something just as glorious… I may not eat meat but I certainly have seen the bun-demonium at every 551 Horai in Osaka.
It’s one of the most popular BBQ pork buns in Osaka: selling more than 140,000 baos daily & still growing by the day!
Originating from Osaka, it’s considered the Best Bao in Japan and I assure you makes every Osaka Travel Guide.
11. Pablo Cheesecake
One of the most popular exports of Osaka is cheesecake: specifically, Pablo Cheesecake.
Personally, when I think of Osaka food, I think of Pablo’s. I could go on & on about this cheesecake: the richness, decadence & just like steak, it’s baked the way you prefer. Plus the Creme brûlée finish on the top with blow torched sugar is life!
I also love how Pablo does seasonal and/or special flavors like strawberry, sweet potato, marshmallow, red bean toast, lemon and more.
Admittedly, I’ve tried the one in Manila but the consistency is just not the same.
Though this doesn’t apply to all imports brought to the Philippines, there really is nothing like getting it straight from the source. So when in Osaka, Pablo’s is truly a must!
12. Uncle Tetsu
Then there’s the traditional Japanese cheesecake of the light, fluffier kind from Uncle Tetsu.
Just as popular as Pablo in Osaka, sadly, it just didn’t make it big here in the Philippines. I believe it had a brief stint in the Manila market then eventually closed.
Although I actually got to try Uncle Tetsu for the first time in Taiwan, not Japan! It’s quite similar to the one of Bread Talk: airy and more like a mousse-type of consistency.
As you can tell I have but one photo as I prefer Pablo’s, haha! But I did find this cool vid on IG:
What kind of a person would I be offering a so-called Osaka Travel Guide without featuring ramen??
Consecutively included in Osaka’s best ramen lists, hit up, Jet Ramen.
For a hefty bowl of my favorite Japanese dish, tsukemen or dipping noodles, it was so worth standing in line for an hour in the cold at 1am!
It’s just a few blocks from Westin Osaka so it’s a good way to walk off the calories.
26. Kushikatsu Daruma
Another popular Osaka-style street food is kushikatsu: deep fried skewers from meat to veggies and seafood.
In Osaka, Kushikatsu Daruma is the most popular joint.
You initially dip your skewer in your preferred sauce. Then to maintain proper hygiene for communal sauces, you either have a sauce brush or a piece of sturdy veggie like cabbage to apply sauce to your succeeding bites.
I hear Kushikatsu Daruma now has a Philippine branch at Uptown Mall, Fort Bonifacio BGC.
27. Gram Cafe
Like most girls, I am admittedly one of those who enjoy quaint dessert cafes and Shinsaibashi has a couple of good ones.
I love me a strong cuppa joe paired with comforting treats like Gram Cafe‘s fluffy pancakes!
28. Rinku Premium Outlet
Japan, like the US, is home to loads of outlet shopping locations.
Having been so several of them around the country, I find that the Premium Outlet company has the best selection and prices.
For all you Athleisure fanatics, the Nike store is massive. Stuff are still relatively expensive if you’re expecting down low outlet prices but selection is pretty good.
Your usual Gucci, Kate Spade, Prada, Michael Kors are all here while I got myself some killer pumps at ETRO at 80% off!
Took a photo of my “Puff The Magic Dragon” socks for posterity’s sake!
29. Orange Street
You’re gonna have to take my word on this one as my phone died while I was here, lol.
Hipster and eclectic, Orange Street in Osaka is the epitome of cool. Think Hypebeast in the flesh!
A hub for local designers, artisans and creatives, this is where to shop if you wanna avoid the touristy vibe.
Apart from the covetable one-of boutiques, every concept cafe is an interior design dream!
30. Swissotel Osaka
I don’t know about you but I am all about convenience when it comes to traveling.
Just because something is fancy and full luxury; if it involves more walking, lugging and earlier mornings because it’s far from everything else, I’ll pass.
Osaka’s Swissotel is such a great choice as it’s connected to Osaka Station: super central and literally an elevator away from all the trains.
31. Gateway To Japan
This Osaka Travel Guide is not limited to Osaka when it truly is a gateway to other Japanese destinations. You can visit other relatively nearby cities like Kyoto, Nara, Kobe, and Himeji, to name a few.
For Kyoto and Nara, might I suggest joining a half-day or whole day tour to really get to see as much as you can especially if you have limited time.
Truly worth the time and money, as seen here from my SUPER FUN time feeding LOADS of DEERS on Instagram while in Nara:
My navigator extraordinaire sister arranged these tours from Manila via Attic Tours, the official affiliate agency of the Japanese Embassy.
Then again if you’re coming from Tokyo, you can easily do a day trip to Osaka as it’s only 2.5hrs away via Shinkansen or bullet train.
But with so much to see, do & eat, a day is never enough!
Hope you take something from my own Osaka Travel Guide! I emphasize on saying my own as it’s merely from my own experience and insights.