Osaka, Japan: Travel Guide

I found Osaka overwhelming but incredibly organized in a way. Though a bit confusing at first, but it is one of the places that I would like to visit again. I loved how stores and restaurants are decorated with cartoons and special anime characters. Food is delectable and people are interesting.


How to get there:

By Plane:
The nearest airport to Osaka is Kansai International Airport. It is 50 km away from Osaka city. There are plenty of options on how to get to Osaka from major cities and countries depending on your point of entry.

If you are traveling from the Philippines, direct flights from Manila and Cebu through Cebu Pacific, Airasia and  Philippine Airlines.

Cebu Pacific flies from Manila to Osaka every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday.

By Train / Bullet Train:
JR Shin –Osaka Station is the entrance to Osaka Prefecture. If you are traveling through regular or bullet trains from other locations in Japan, Shinkansen is one of the best transportation services for long distance travels. It is a bullet train line that links major cities around the country.

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Willer Express
Night bus:
Aside from traveling by train, night bus is a cheaper option to reach Osaka.
Willer Express is a premium low-cost bus service that allows online reservation in English.

Accommodation:

Osaka is one of the cities in Japan that has plenty of tourists every year, so accommodation is not a problem, you just need to look for the cheapest accommodation where you can stay comfortably. Usually, for solo and budget travelers, hostels are preferable. Hostels in Osaka offer good comfort at a reasonable price.

I stayed in Khaosan World Namba conveniently located near Dobontori, restaurants and a 10-min walk from Namba Train Station. I got a hostel room (mixed) good for 10 people for 1140.00 php with shared female bathroom, toilet, locker and wash stand.  It’s not a capsule type hostel, but their bunk beds are comfortable with agreeable privacy. The hostel has its own bar, laundry, and luggage room too.

Food:

Food options are plenty. There are choices of good restaurants around Osaka, especially if you go to Dotonbori, major train stations, and shopping malls. You can also get some grabs from Family Mart, 7 eleven and local convenience stores. Fast food and coffee shops like McDonald’s, Subway and Starbucks are conveniently accessible in random locations.

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A Japanese restaurant.
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Food for grabs in the train station.
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A typical Japanese food.
A decent meal in a Japanese restaurant costs 400 yen to 1500 yen or more depending on the menu, but yes, food is quite expensive in Japan. Fast food costs around 350 – 750 yen.  A cup of coffee at Starbucks or a local coffee shop costs 380 – 600 yen.
Vending machines are available anywhere in almost every corner / street in Osaka. You can purchase a cold drink, iced coffee, energy drink or a bottle of water conveniently.

Transportation:

  • Train:
I found Japan Railway service a bit complicated and main train stations are crowded plus most of the instructions are in Japanese. If you need assistance, you need to look for the tourist information section and talk to an attendant. Unfortunately, the information section is not available in smaller train stations and other train services.
From the airport, you can buy a ticket from one of the ticketing booths. Rapid is more expensive and the regular train service.

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JR Limited Express
About 3000 yen, 50 minutes to Shin-Osaka
Departs every 30 minutes

JR Kansai Airport Rapid
About 1200 yen, 70 minutes to Osaka
Departs every 15 minutes

Nankai “Rap:t”
About 1400 yen, 35 minutes to Namba
Departs every 30 minutes

Nankai Airport Express
About 900 yen, 45 minutes to Namba
Departs every 15 minutes

Evening / Late Transportation
– Last train departs from Kansai Airport to Namba around 11:40pm. Last train connecting from Osaka Station to Kyoto is around 11:00pm
– Late buses usually depart from the airport at 11:00pm

  • Bus from Airport
Airport Limousine Bus
About 1500 yen, 60 minutes to central Osaka

  • Taxi from Airport
About 15,000 yen – 18,000 yen, 50 minutes to central Osaka from the airport which is not reasonable for solo and budget travelers.

  • Taxi within the city
Within the city, taxis are available but unnecessary and expensive. You can get a taxi from a taxi stand near train stations or in areas where a taxi is safe to stop. Regular fare is about 600-700 yen and 80-90 yen every additional 300-400 meters. Some taxi drivers do not speak English, so it is best to show the driver a map or the address of your destination.

Bicycles are widely used in the whole of Japan, not just Osaka. So if you want to ride and discover more of the city, you can rent one from your hotel / hostel. Ask your hotel receptionist for bicycle rent options. Rent price 500-700 yen for 1 day.

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Sim Card and WiFi for rent

If your flight lands in Kansai International Airport, there are sim card vending machines available 24 hours located at the telephone and internet corner near the north and south exits of the airport. You can ask for its location through the informational counter located just outside the arrival area. You need to use Japanese Yen to purchase one of these sim cards.

Data: 1GB
30 days
¥3,000

Data: 2.2GB
Period: 30 days
¥4,000

Data: 3GB
60 days
¥5,000

At the airport, stores will not only sell sim cards but also pocket WiFi for rent. Rental is as low as 900 yen and as much as 9000 yen or more depending on the days and data. You can check these stores in the arrival area at the airport.

If you would like to ask me if it’s reasonable to buy a sim or rent a wifi, my answer is no. I did not buy or rent to have an internet connection because Wifi  is available in train and bus stations.  In stores, hotels and shops too. If you are traveling on a budget, it is not necessary; you can get it for free. In Osaka, you will just have to sign up for Osaka free wifi. Enter your email address and create a password. That’s it!


Before leaving Kansai International Airport makes sure that you have enough yen with you. Currency exchange kiosks or booths are difficult to find outside the airport. You can go to a bank to have your foreign bills exchanged to yen. If you can’t find a bank, an ATM is another option to get the local currency. Some ATM’s at the train station do not take foreign debit cards and there is no option for English. The trick is to look for a convenience store like 7-11 or Family Mart.

List of some currency exchange locations

Yodobashi Umeda
Currency: EUR, MYR, SGD, GBP, CHF, KRW, NZD, CNY, AUD, NOK,HKD,
DKK, CAD, SEK, CFP, IDR, THB, TWD, USD
Address: 1-1, Ofukacho, Kita-ku Osaka-shi, Osaka,  Japan

Hankyu Umeda Main Store
Currency: KRW ,EUR, THB, USD, TWD, GBP, SGD, CNY
Address: 8-7 Kakuda-cho,Kita-ku,Osaka,  Japan

Takashimaya Osaka
Address: 2-1-3, Nishishinsaibashi, Chuo-ku Osaka-shi, Osaka,  Japan
Opening hours: 10:00-20:00

Currency exchange shop Namba City
Address: 5-1-60, Namba, Chuo-ku Osaka-shi, Osaka,  Japan
Opening hours: 09:00-16:00



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