Despite being Japan’s third-largest city, it still feels like Osaka is somewhat overlooked as visitors head out of Tokyo along the so-called ‘Golden Route’ that takes them to Hakone, Kyoto and Hiroshima. With its incredible food, activity and accommodation options, the city deserves to be experienced, even if just for a day. Here’s a suggested itinerary for an action-packed but relaxing 24 hours in the city. We recommend scheduling to arrive around 9am to give yourself plenty of time to wander.
In the AM: Osaka by Boat
Freed of your luggage, it’s time to experience Osaka via water aboard Ofune Camome. Converted into a sightseeing boat in 2009, Ofune Camome comes equipped with tons of charms and qualities that only a pearl cultivation boat from Kyushu would have. Regular tours that include breakfast, siesta and a night tour are offered. Groups of up to 10 people can even book the boat for private events. The perfect time to book a ride is in the spring when blooming cherry trees (or sakura) line the canal.
For Lunch: Shabu-shabu
Osaka is known as the kitchen of Japan. It’s famous for its okonomiyaki and takoyaki, but that’s not all it has to offer. Fun fact: It’s said to be in Osaka that the name ‘shabu-shabu’ first caught on.
One local favorite is Shabu Tei, a restaurant that specializes in shabu-shabu. They have four branches and one is located just a few minutes from Nishi-Umeda Station, conveniently just around the corner from Hotel Intergate Osaka Umeda. Its retro interior is reminiscent of simpler times, but the real draw is the homemade (and patented) sesame dipping sauce.
In the PM: Coffee and the Nakanoshima Museum of Art
Head back to your hotel and treat yourself to a post-lunch caffeine treat thanks to Hotel Intergate Osaka Umeda’s coffee service. Here, there is no instant coffee pack to be found. In the lounge, guests can taste and enjoy coffee from two Osaka institutions: Yamamoto Coffee, founded in 1950, and Hiro Coffee, founded in 1977. After a relaxing brew, it’s time to check in.
Hotel Intergate Osaka Umeda’s best feature is without a doubt how they showcase local food, drinks, arts and crafts. Among its 386 rooms, some are decorated in collaboration with the Osaka University of Arts. The hotel hosts a range of hands-on activities for those wanting to dabble in some crafts themselves, including one where guests can make their own izumi tonbodama bead bracelet.
To venture further afield for some art, head out to the Nakanoshima Museum of Art, only 15 minutes away on foot. This museum opened in February 2022, after almost four decades of planning. The inaugural exhibition, “Hello! Super Collection – 99 Untold Stories”, was a real statement of intent by the museum, exhibiting select pieces from its vast collection and boding well for the future of this institution. The Borg Cube-like building itself makes an impression, and standing guard outside is Kenji Yanobe’s Ship’s Cat (Muse).
After Hours: Hunting for Food in Kitashinchi
For a dinner and late-night eating, you can’t go wrong with Kitashinchi, a mecca for food and drink just north of the city center filled with a variety of bars and restaurants. Our top recommendation is Unzen, a kushiyaki restaurant that has been in business since 1950. Their unique method of cooking the skewers on a piping-hot iron plate maximizes retention of flavor and is believed to be much healthier.
And if that wasn’t enough, Hotel Intergate Osaka Umeda offers an ochazuke buffet between 8 and 10pm (hours are subject to change). Ochazuke is a Japanese dish made by pouring hot tea, water or dashi over rice. This is a feature exclusive to the Hotel Intergate chain, though teas and soup stocks change to highlight regional specialties.
If a late night is what you’re looking for, the areas around the hotel are full of interesting bars. Quite convenient if you’re keen to explore the range of local beers and drinks.
The Next Day: Checking Out
Hotel Intergate Osaka Umeda embraces the early birds. The hotel offers a coffee and smoothie service from as early as 6am. Alternatively, start your day with a generous meal from 7am. The hotel buffet has over 50 items available, offering a mix of Japanese-style and Western-style breakfasts. You’ll even find some crème brûlée.
And there you have it. You’re ready for more Osaka fun, a day trip to Sakai or to continue along the Golden Route to Himeji, Kobe, Hiroshima and beyond.
For more information on Hotel Intergate Osaka Umeda, visit www.intergatehotels.jp/en/osaka_umeda/