A Few Days In Osaka

Mar 27, 2024 | Travel

The long lines, the restaurants, and everything in between. Here's a summary of our 4 days in Osaka!

The ultimate food & shopping district! 

You know what they say in Osaka: when there’s a line, you gotta line up, too! 

Osaka has long been the foodie haven in Japan, with a wide range of restaurants populating the busy Dhotonbori and Namba area, adding a few more hidden food gems in different districts. 

On our 22-day trip to Japan, we spent 4 days in Namba, Osaka, exploring the best food selection we could possibly try and taking side trips to famous spots in the area.

The flights we initially booked for our month-long Japan trip were NRT-MNL-NRT. Somewhere along the planning stage, we decided to visit Osaka again. Upon arrival in Japan, we spent one night in Tokyo and then headed down to Osaka for a food trip. We decided to take a local plane, NRT to KIX, saving up on time and ticket costs. We booked our Jetstar tickets at PHP 2,000 each vs. around PHP 5,000 each on Shinkansen.

We stayed at Ibis Styles Namba, a simple yet clean and elegant hotel within walking distance of Dotonbori and Shinsaibashi. Through my Accor membership, we got the hotel for only PHP 4,000 per night. Apart from the member-exclusive rates, we also enjoyed early check-in, free room upgrades, and free drinks at the lobby every day, and we also earned points for our stay.

Since we plan to travel between Osaka and Kyoto, we purchased the Kansai pass via Klook. It was a pretty convenient pass, which went well with our plans. The pass includes unlimited JR train use in Osaka for four days and one-day unlimited train vouchers for different train lines in Kyoto, including the Kyoto City Subway, Keihan Railway, and the Hankyu Railway. More about this in our Kyoto post!

The Osaka Castle

This is probably our third visit to the Osaka castle, and it’s still as amazing as ever! Our first visit was in the fall, our second was in summer, and now we’re here during the tail-end of the winter season.

These photos were from our fall visit in 2017. The red and orange foliage were just so picturesque!

Here’s a quick photo from our summer 2019 visit to the Osaka Castle. Everything’s green, lush, and really humid!

Here’s our recent visit during the tail-end of winter 2024. There’s no snow, but the weather is still as cold as it gets. We also found out, through TikTok, the best way to take a photo of the Osaka Castle—from the hidden pond.


Our trip to Amagasaki was quick and somewhat accidental. In our search for the best udon, we landed on this quiet, industrial ward 25 minutes from Namba. In a quick search on Google, we’ve read all about the past reputation of Amagasaki as a rowdy and polluted district with one of the highest crime rates in Kansai. But our quick visit was rather peaceful. Families and workers are strolling along the park. There were buskers here and there. The place is fairly clean and fresh.

Udon Honoka

Our little trip to Amagasaki was really for Udon Honoka. We’ve read somewhere about this old udon place that has been here for decades. We were the only non-Japanese people dining in during our visit. They do not have an English menu, and they do not speak English. All thanks to Google Translate, we figured out their ordering process.

Here, you’ll see the family preparing your udon. In one corner, a guy prepares fresh noodles, and in another corner, the patriarch prepares the udon. Read more about our experience at Udon Honoka here.

Dhontonbori & Shinsaibashi

Most of our time in Osaka was spent in these areas, mostly eating and shopping. These areas are still the tourist hotspots in Osaka. Almost all restaurants are fully booked, and the best ones always have lines. Shopping is still the best! The bargains are still there – from accessories and bags to clothes. Second-hand vintage stores are booming as ever- from 2nd Street to Wego. The big brands are bigger than ever. Aside from our usuals – Zara, Uniqlo, GU, etc. – we were happy to discover the new Parco department store in the middle of Shinsaibashi.

Of course, a Dotonbori visit wouldn’t be complete without the famous Cremia soft-serve and tanghulu!

We tried lining up where people were flocking, only to find out there were at least 10 more stalls selling the same things. The strawberry tanghulu is fairly nice; I mean, what else can we expect from candied strawberries? A nice surprise to us was the variations—the candied grape and melon were also good, if not better!

Wagyu Idaten

Wagyu Idaten has one of the best A5 Wagyu dishes we have tasted. This 20-seater charmer is easy to miss, as it quietly sits on the 2nd floor atop a busy restaurant. But you know what they say: once you go to A5, you can never go back!

The wagyu quality is similar to Matsusaka’s, but the price difference is a bit far. Although its price is still in a higher bracket, it’s already affordable considering its quality. Read more about our experience at Wagu Idaten here.

Gyukatsu Motomura

Gyukatsu Motomora is conveniently located on the side streets of the Shinsaibashi stretch. With its growing popularity, queueing takes an hour or even more during peak lunch and dinner slots. The long line takes you to a small dining bar in the basement, with an open kitchen and less than 12 seating capacity. 

Your Gyukatsu is prepared, sliced, and assembled right before you. These breaded steak cuts are served medium rare. You may choose to cook it further through the stone plate in front of you. Read more about our Gyukatsu Motomura experience here.

Hanamaruken Namba Hozenji

Similar to common Japanese ramen shops, Hanamaruken has a 10-seater ramen bar with an open kitchen. The place is warm and inviting and smells so good! Orders are made through a vendo machine inside the restaurant. Order before you sit!

Hanamaruken is famous for its roasted pork ramen. They boast of their slow-roasted, cooked-to-perfection pork belly, which goes with their flavorful ramen. The roasted pork is so tender it melts in your mouth, and it is equally flavorful as the broth. Read more about our experience at Hanamaruken here.

Yakiniku Rikamaru

Smacked right in the middle of Dhotonbori and Shinsaibashi, Yakiniku Rikamaru is just behind the Glicko billboard. Open until midnight, this yaikiniku is perfect for meat lovers and those who wish to dine late at night.

Rikamaru has two primary courses for the all-you-can-eat experience: Course 1 for the basi meat selection and Course 2 for the premium ones, which last either 90 minutes or 120 minutes. Their specialty meat is the beef tongue. Don’t get freaked out; they’re really, really good and tender. You can order different cuts of the beef tongue and also their rare cut for the day. Read more about our Yakiniku Rikamaru experience here.

We can never have too much time in Japan. It’s always going to be too short for all the things we wish to visit and try. But as they say, one thing at a time.

We’re hoping to try more restaurants the next time we’re in Osaka. Drop your recommendations in the comment section 🙂