Osaka — Day 5 of a 5-Day Trip in Japan’s Kansai Region
Kansai Region was amazing! Spending time in Osaka, Kyoto, and Nara really gave us traditional and modern perspectives of Japan. I suggest using Osaka as a base to visit the other areas. Osaka has more to offer compared to Kyoto and Nara when it comes to night life. However, it might be worth the experience to stay at a traditional ryokan in Kyoto.
We headed to Kuromon Ichiba Market for breakfast. This is Osaka’s version of Tsukiji Market.
The market is mostly covered. We visited three stalls for fatty tuna belly, kobe beef steak, and onigiri burgers. Everything was so good — the fatty tuna belly and kobe beef steak melted in my mouth! We got two onigiri burgers (both had seaweed, rice, lettuce, and an egg patty) — one filled with spam and one filled with sliced beef.
After satisfying our appetites, we headed to Shinsekai to visit the Osaka Tennoji Zoo. The zoo is located right by the Tsutenkaku Towear. The zoo recreates the natural habitats for their animals with a Flight Aviary, African Savannah, and Asian Tropical Rain Forest. It is home to a variety of animals — polar bears, koalas, giraffes, rhinos, and more. The red pandas were just the cutest!
Note: We headed to the airport after the zoo for our flight to Hokkaido. Day 5 is a split between our last morning and first evening in the Kansai Region. If you have time after the zoo, you can also visit the Tsutenkaku Tower, Keitakuen Garden, and Shitennoji Temple. All these areas (including the zoo) are included in the OAP and total to 1750yen in admission fees.
After visiting the attractions in Shinsekai, head to Dotonbori for the evening for more street food. Our first restaurant was Hottokeya Dotonbori, a kushi katsu restaurant, located on the 4th floor of a Dotonbori building. Most kushi katsu restaurants have a shared dipping sauce, so no double dipping! If you need more sauce after taking a bite, you can use the lettuce to scoop more sauce onto your skewer. We ordered a set, allowing us to try a variety of the deep-fried skewers, and a side of tako wasabi.
We headed to a takoyaki stall after and ordered 8 pieces. They cooked it right in front of us. There are plenty of stalls selling takoyaki, so it is really easy to find. We ordered the basic — diced octopus wrapped in a flour-based batter topped with bonito flakes and sauce.
We stopped at another stall for gyoza. There are also plenty of options for gyoza. At this particular stall, the gyoza was hand-made in front of us and came with a slice of lime. The gyoza had a crunchy bottom, yet a soft top. The stuffing falls apart really easy once you take a bite, so it is better to one-bite it. Be careful though because it can be hot!
We had come to love melon pan on our Japan trip, so we stopped at a bright yellow stall with the words ‘Freshly Baked Melon Pan’. We opted for no ice cream filling as it was a bit chilly out and enjoyed the melon pan on the walk back to the hotel.
Complete Day 5 Itinerary
Travel times may vary and do not include walking distances to and from train stations. Check Google Maps for most accurate travel details.
Note: If your schedule permits, I would do Day 2 and Day 5 back-to-back. That way you can get the 2-Day Osaka Amazing Pass and save more. We were flying out of Osaka, so decided to split the two days up. I suggest switching ‘Day 5’ to ‘Day 3’, and shifting the Kyoto activities a day down.
8:00am: Head to Arashiyama Park (Estimated travel time from Dotonbori is an hour and 20 minutes — 8 minute train from Nagahoribashi Station to Awaji Station, transfer for a 41 minute train from Awaji Station to Katsura Station, transfer again for a 8 minute train from Katsura Station to Arashiyama Station). Grab breakfast from the convenience store.
10:00am: Visit Horin-ji (5 minute walk from Arashiyama Station). Hike up to Monkey Park Iwatayama (30 minute walk to Iwatayama Peak). Buy some fruit from the park staff to feed the monkeys.
12:00pm: Cross the Togetsukyo Bridge (20 minute walk from Iwatayama Peak). Grab lunch at one of the restaurants in this area. Continue to Tenryu-ji (8 minute walk from Togetsukyo Bridge).
2:00pm: Walk through the Arashiyama Bamboo Forest (5 minute walk). Continue through the park to the Kameyama Park viewpoint (5 minute walk).
3:00pm: Head to Kinkaku-ji (6 minute train from Saga-Arashiyama Station to Emmachi Station, transfer for a 9 minute bus ride from Nishinokyo Stop to Kinkakujimachi Stop). If you decide to walk and have not had lunch, a possible option is Kagonoya.
4:00pm: Head back to Dotonbori for the evening (15 minute bus from Kinkakujimachi Stop to Nishioji Shijo Stop, transfer for a 41 minute train from Saiin Station to Osaka-Umeda Station, transfer again for a 8 minute train from Umeda Station to Namba Station).
6:00pm: Go shopping in Dotonbori and grab dinner. Visit Pablo in Dotonbori for cheese tarts.
8:00pm: Go bar-hopping in Namba.
16-Day Japan Itinerary
Click “Download” below for an excel version of my 16-Day Japan Itinerary. Feel free to use the excel file as a planning template for your own trip in Japan!