While in Kyoto, in case you have time, I can totally recommend you a day trip to Osaka.
It is just a bit more than one hour by bullet train (Shinkansen), and you can use your JR pass to pay for the trip.
Osaka is a large city with plenty of activities and sightseeing, you can easily spend a day (or more) there. It’s known for its modern architecture, nightlife and hearty street food. You can get here my shared Google maps with the precise location of the great places we visited in Osaka (and Kyoto as well).
Now, let me tell you a bit of what we did in 1 Day in Osaka.
Places to go
Our first stop was at the Osaka Castle. The castle itself is amazing, and all the park around is also great, nicely maintained. You can also pay to enter the museum inside the castle and go all the way to the top to have great views from the city.
Just a note so you don’t get a bit disappointed as I did; the castle from inside is very modern, there is even a lift, so don’t expect anything very traditional as I did. 😜
Namba and Dotonbori street
Namba is a very busy suburb to explore while in Osaka. We decided to spend our afternoon walking around that area, especially along the famous Dotonboru Street. A good thing is to do is to wait until dark to see all the neons litting up.
Keep an eye to spot the Glico man! (hint: easily spotted in the image below)
Where to eat
A good place to have an authentic Okonomiyaki in Osaka. There are many different flavours, including sets for 2 people with very competitive prices. We ordered one of these sets, which included two pancakes, Japanese omelet and salad. Yummy!
This is a curious ramen house. You order from a vending machine, then one of the waiters takes you to a booth (that’s right, so cool), and your food is served from a small window in front of you. Check here photos from my experience there. Ah, of course, needless to say their ramen deserves more than a single visit to be fully appreciated.
Here is everything I’ve published about our trip to Japan.