Our Travel recommendations in Osaka


Did you know it’s just a 49-minute Shinkansen ride from Nagoya Station to Osaka? Recently, we embarked on a one-night, two-day trip in the summer of 2023 with our one-year-old baby. My husband, Ray, and I are food lovers, so this trip was primarily focused on a walk-and-eat tour in Dotonbori and a visit to Osaka Castle.

Allow me to share how to get to Osaka from Nagoya and provide some recommendations and tips from a Japanese family.

Transportation: Nagoya ⇄ Shin-Osaka

Nagoya to Shin-Osaka: 49 minutes and 6,680 JPY via Nozomi Shinkansen

Before leaving home, we reserved seats via Smart EX, which saved us from queuing at the counter and ensured a smooth platform entry, saving us a lot of time. We opted for the Nozomi Shinkansen for the fastest option. Directional signage is also provided in English. Shinkansen trains are known for their punctuality, so you can cross-check your departure time with the information on your ticket.

Shinkansen ride tips

Japan Rail Pass for Foreign Tourists

This is a privilege for foreign tourists—an unlimited ride on Japan Rail (Shinkansen & JR trains) for a fixed price over 7 days, 14 days, or 21 days. If you plan to travel to multiple places, why not take advantage of this offer and save money!

Before you buy a JR Pass, please check the qualification and regulations more in details. Also make sure you bring your original passport not the copy one to the counter to show the sticker / stamp on passport upon arrival.
Smart EX for expats / tourists

This is an online ticket reservation system. If you have one of these IC cards, you don’t have to line up at the counter anymore!

You simply purchase a ticket via Smart EX using your registered IC card or registered mobile phone. Then, proceed directly to the ticket gate by touching your registered IC card or mobile phone. After touching the ticket gate with your registered IC card, you will receive a small piece of paper that contains the seat number and Shinkansen information.

You can change your time and seat anytime even after reservation.

How to enjoy Shinkansen ride

Japanese love to eat ‘Ekiben’ (lunch boxes sold at the station) on the train. Ekiben is typically made with regional foods, so you can enjoy a taste of the region on your journey. Instead of Ekiben, we got Okonomiyaki and Takoyaki in Osaka and savored our trip until the very end.

Hotel New Otani Osaka

Outlook of The Hotel New Otani from Osaka castle park

This time, our main purpose for visiting Osaka was to explore Osaka Castle, so we booked a hotel near the castle. We arrived around noon, well before the check-in time, but they graciously allowed us to enter our room free of charge.

Hotel New Otani is one of the top three traditional hotels, alongside the Imperial Hotel and The Okura Hotel. While we used to economize on accommodations, we recently realized that staying at a luxury hotel is a better option, especially when traveling with a little baby.

We can request a baby crib and extra towels anytime we need them. Additionally, the curtains are usually of good quality, blocking out the morning sunlight, which means our son doesn’t wake up too early in the morning, like at 5 am!

I rarely encounter a physical room key these days, except in ryokans. Most hotels now use key cards.

The bathroom was clean, although it showed signs of age.

When making a hotel reservation, if there are no pictures of the bathroom, it’s better to search for information about when the hotel was built and renovated.

A walk and eat at Dotonbori

Osaka is renowned for ‘食い倒れ’ (kuidaore), which means ‘Eat till you faint.’

Dotonbori is the liveliest area in Osaka and is famous for its regional foods, including Takoyaki, Okonomiyaki, and Kushikatsu. You can also find unique spots for taking pictures behind the iconic landmarks of Osaka.

たこ焼き18番 / takoyaki 18 ban

I had the best takoyaki ever and thoroughly enjoyed the unique way of savoring it.

Eating takoyaki with a combination of salt and yuzu-ponzu was a completely new experience for me. Watching the takoyaki being prepared was also quite entertaining! Moreover, there were a few seats available with air conditioning, which made the dining experience even more comfortable.

大阪王将 / Osaka Ohsho

We visited Osaka during the hottest season when the temperature reached around 39 degrees Celsius. After enjoying in hot Takoyaki and enduring the scorching weather, we became genuinely concerned about the risk of heatstroke.

To beat the heat, we made the wise decision to seek refuge in an air-conditioned restaurant and enjoyed a refreshing beer break. We also enjoyed in some delicious dumplings as a snack!

たこ焼き道楽 わなか / Takoyaki douraku Wanaka

This is another great spot to enjoy Takoyaki. The shop has three stories, providing plenty of indoor seating with air-conditioning. While the Takoyaki here is of the standard style, my personal recommendation would be the first place we visited.

宇治園 / Ujien

On the way back to the station, we bumped into the green tea ice cream! I didn’t know this store has a history originally began in 1869 in Kyoto. No wonder how delicious green tea was.

A walking and eating tour is better during seasons other than summer!

Osaka castle

Osaka Castle is one of the famous castles in Japan, originally built by Hideyoshi Toyotomi. You will be overwhelmed by the castle’s size and power.

I didn’t know that Ieyasu Tokugawa rebuilt the castle to a much larger size after Hideyoshi Toyotomi passed away. The castle reflects the status and power of authorities, and I found it very interesting!

Grab a coffee at Starbucks

Osaka Castle Park is a vast area, so it takes approximately 15 minutes to reach the castle. Therefore, we decided to grab a morning coffee to enjoy the walk.

These Starbucks cups are so cute and attractive.

Osaka castle park

Here is a good spot to take a picture at Gokuraku Bashi.

Now you can see just how big it is.

Osaka Castle has both indoor and outdoor lifts.

Inside, you can choose to either walk or take the lift.

The view from the top is called ‘tenshukaku.’

名代 千房 JO-TERRACE OSAKA店 / NADAI CHIBO Joterasuosakaten

This restaurant is located inside Osaka Castle Park. We had a fantastic Okonomiyaki, which is one of Osaka’s regional specialties. Both Ray and I agreed that it was the best Okonomiyaki we’ve ever tasted. The pancake was fluffy and filled with lots of goodies, and it was cooked using Teppan-yaki. The Teppanyaki counter is situated in front of the tables, so you can watch how they prepare the Okonomiyaki.

It’s better to go in the morning before it gets crowded.

Staying at The hotel new Otani was convenient that we could easily enter the castle before it got crowded. Additionally, before checking out, we returned to the hotel, took a shower, and then checked out!

Information details

たこ焼き18番/Takoyaki 18 ban SONS-DOHTONBORI

Business hours11:00〜22:00
TransportationNamba station 5 min by walk / Shinsaibashi station 10 min by walk
MAPGoogle Map

大阪王将道頓堀本店 / Osaka Ohsho Dotonbori hon ten

Business hours11:00〜22:30 (L.O. 22:00)
TransportationA 3-minute walk from Namba Station on each line The giant dumplings in the middle of Dotombori are a landmark!
MAPGoogle Map
Japanese Blogger
A Japanese working mom based in Nagoya, Aichi. Studied International Tourism Management and worked in a 5 stars luxury hotel in Bangkok for total 8-ish years. Sharing our culture, lifestyle, local tips, and experiences in traveling, especially in Nagoya and Aichi 🇯🇵