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By Lucy Dayman
December 28, 2023
By Lucy Dayman
December 28, 2023

Osaka is Tokyo's wild sibling. It's a place where folks laugh loudly, comedy flourishes, and neon lights glitter bright throughout the city's main canals.

It’s also the hometown of culinary extravagance. In Osaka, the term ‘kuidaore’ (to eat oneself into bankruptcy) is thrown around as a term of pride because, according to Osaka denizens, to eat and live so carefree is something to be admired.

Located in Kansai prefecture, an hour’s drive south of the cultural capital of Kyoto and two hours from Tokyo on the bullet train, Osaka is Japan’s third largest city. It’s also colloquially known as Japan’s kitchen, thanks to its Edo period (1603 – 1868) history as Japan’s rice-trade hub and its contemporary reputation as a gourmand’s paradise.

In partnership with HSBC, we’ve put together this helpful starter guide to the city so you can start planning your itinerary.

Osaka is Tokyo's wild sibling. It's a place where folks laugh loudly, comedy flourishes, and neon lights glitter bright throughout the city's main canals.


Before you launch into responsibility-free fun in the Japan, you’ll need to get some adult stuff out of the way first. Organise a pet (or plant) sitter, hand all your unfinished work over to your poor colleagues and, most importantly, sort out your payment plan. With an HSBC Everyday Global Account, you can have up to ten currencies (including JPY) preloaded so you can use your Visa Debit Card for all purchases and ATM withdrawals. The best part? You won’t be stung with international transaction fees.


While its networks may not be as labyrinthian as Tokyo’s, Osaka is still a train-centric metropolis. There are two main city hubs, kita (or north), which sprawls out from around Osaka/Umeda Station and minami (south), which encompasses Namba Station and its surrounds. If you want to see the city more intimately, renting a bike is a very worthy choice, too.


If there’s one thing Osakans do like it’s an Olympic sport, it’s having fun. So add Misono Building to your must-visit list. This retro complex houses some of the city’s most unique and interesting bars. Before going hard on the bar hopping, get your fill at Torikizoku, a much-loved chicken-focussed izakaya chain.


Hit Kuromon Market and partake in a little tabearuki — a Japanese term for walking and snacking. This street has existed since the Edo Period and remains as buzzy as ever, with local vendors selling fresh seafood, excellent produce, and a scrumptious selection of sweets.

Five of the Best

Tick these must-visit haunts off your bucket list.


Stay in style in some of Osaka's finest. No matter your budget, huge or humble, the city has a place for you.

Coffee and Sweets

When hours of exploring call for a little pick-me-up, get your caffeine or sugar hit at one of these five stellar spots.

Cultural Sites

Want to take a deep dive into Japanese history? Start by visiting these culturally significant locations.

Must-Try Food

Narrowing down Osaka's dining scene to five spots is near impossible, but this selection gives you a good sample of the city's best delicacies.

Fun Stuff

From quirky, family-friendly fun to cultural experiences, there are many ways to fill your time in this busy city and beyond.

Shopping Districts

Hot tip: go to Osaka with an empty suitcase. Find designer wares, cooking accessories, state-of-the-art tech and more.

Five of the Best

Tick these must-visit haunts off your bucket list.

Further Afield

If you've got a little extra time, here are five day trips you should plan from Osaka.

Get Started

Ready to start planning? We've found five experiences you can book right now, fee free, using your HSBC Everyday Global Account Visa Debit Card.

Plan Your Journey Around Osaka

Track down the must-visit spots.


Be prepared for your Japan adventure by opening an HSBC Everyday Global Account. For more information, head to the website.

This is a sponsored post in partnership with HSBC. This advertisement provides general advice only and doesn’t take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. Consider the product terms and conditions before acquiring the product, available at

Illustration: Haylee Poppi

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