Location: Nakanoshima, Osaka

Nearest station: Kitahama on the Sakaisuji line

Good for:

  • Longer encounters
  • Art and architecture lovers
  • Energetic early birds

Quick points:

  • Indoor/Outdoor
  • Breakfast/brunch/lunch
  • Some walking
  • Adjustable timing and length
  • Best between May to October

Osaka is famous for its neon night-scape, the enthusiastic irrashae! welcomes of shop owners, and of course, being the kitchen of Kansai. Not everyone is an owl, however. In fact, some people feel at their brightest and best in the freshest part of the day.

This dating itinerary is for those that rise with the sun, and want a post-Omiai date with a difference. It winds from one end of Nakanoshima to the other, starting with a tasty breakfast, before uncovering some culture, and capitalizing on that early morning brain boost. Enjoy the space, the sights and the scent of fresh ground coffee on this early morning art date.

Breakfast Brooklyn Roasting Company

The Ship's Cat In Nakanoshima An Intersting Talking Point For Couples

Never seen the Ship’s Cat before? Read on!

Open from 7am every day.

This comfy café is a rare spot in Osaka that opens early, but is also non-smoking.

Inside is warm, with wooden tables, soft auburn couches and an 80s soundtrack. Apart from its espresso machine and selection of freshly roasted beans, breakfast choices include croissants, cinnamon rolls, doughnuts, chocolate chip cookies and even gluten-free brownies with a nutty crunch.

The café’s terrace overlooks the Tosabori river. Later in the day, boatloads of tourists will putter past, but in the morning the waters are still. On the far side is Nakanoshima’s rose garden, in bloom from May to early June. Earlier in spring, the island is also a gorgeous spot for cherry blossoms.

Brooklyn Roasting Company Croissants Cinnamon Rolls And Coffee Great Breakfast Date

Croissants cinnamon rolls and doughnuts are available from 9 a.m. and depending on the day can sell out quickly, usually disappearing by lunchtime. Another example of how the early bird can catch the tastiest bakery goods.

The café’s terrace overlooks the Tosabori river. Later in the day, boatloads of tourists will putter past, but in the morning the waters are still. On the far side is Nakanoshima’s rose garden, in bloom from May to early June. Earlier in spring, the island is also a gorgeous spot for cherry blossoms.

Coffee Overlooking Nakanoshima Provides A Great Start To A Date

When the weather is fine, this is a prime people watching spot as jugglers, jump rope dancers and basket ballers trying trick shots often practise in the open space beside the garden. You may even see a Brazilian water rat or some adventurous SUP boarders.

The Tosabori River Can Be A Beautiful And Serene Place To Enjoy

Helli, a travelling artist, described the view as reminiscent of Basel in Switzerland: cute bridges over the Rhine.

Nakanoshima Rose Garden

For romantics who would like to date closer to the flowers, Brooklyn Roasters also offers some picnic possibilities. A cute, patterned furoshiki, can carry a selection of cakes and sweets before opening to become a picnic blanket just big enough for two.

Enjoying A Picnic While Dating On Nakanoshima Can Be Easy
Small Picnic Blanket Great For Bringing Dating Couples Closer Together

Not the largest picnic blanket, but a nice size for sharing.

In May, the rose garden is full of bushes and trellises, benches and boughs to sit beneath. Despite the highway elevated above the garden’s northern side, the park feels sheltered from traffic. In any season, the garden is green and serene. The perfect place to sit with a cinnamon roll, while also large enough to wander peacefully with your partner.

Roses Have Long Been Romantic And Nakanoshima Rose Garden Is Great For Dating Couples

During peak season, the garden can quickly fill with photographers, so an alternative itinerary suggestion could be to start with the photos first, before enjoying a refresher at the café.

Nakanoshima Public Hall

Open from 9:30am. Closed Tuesdays.

Nakanoshima Public Hall Plenty Of Japanese Heritage For Couples To Enjoy Together
This beautiful Neoclassical structure feels like a little known secret spot in Osaka, despite being over a century old. The Osaka Public Hall has a small free museum in its basement, with bilingual explanations of its history and artefacts uncovered during its renovation in the early 2000s.
Discover The Depth Of Osaka History With Your Partner
Different Artifacts Bring Up New Talking Points For Dating Couples
A Romantic View For Couples From Nakanoshima Public Hall In Osaka

The view from the stained-glass window.

While this can be fun for a quick peek inside, and maybe a sneaky selfie with your date on the beautiful staircases, true architecture nerds can take a guided tour to see the public hall’s “special room” which is usually off limits to the public. This tour is only available on certain days a month, is completely in Japanese, and must be booked in advance. While a brisk 30 minutes, half of which includes the aforementioned free museum collection, the cost is only 500 yen for the tour, or 2500 to enjoy lunch in the restaurant and receive a gift to remember the day.

Once only for VIPs, the Special Room depicts a scene called Tenchi Kaibyaku (creating the world) from Japanese mythology in a style reminiscent of Neoclassical European art in the 19th century.

Once the tour is done, follow up with a quick visit to Osaka’s Prefectural Library next door for more staircase selfies.

Elegant Setting For Dating Selfies With Your Partner In Nakanoshima

Nakanoshima Promenade

Crossing the Yodoyabashi bridge, this section of the boulevard is where current day Osaka contrasts most strongly with its historical past: from the bronze dome of the old Osaka bank, framed by its glass and steel neighbours, to the modern art sculptures overlooking the sandstone blocks of the old Sumitomo Mitsui building, to the ancient bridges nestled beneath the highways. Sit and take in the clash of eras and styles on one of the many benches, or even some of the art itself.

Enjoy Playing In The Sun By Yasunari Fujiki With Your Date
Lots Of Artwork And Sculptures To Inspire Feelings Of Love Around Nakanoshima
Views Along The Tosabori In Osaka Help Couples Relax Into Dating Together
Old And New Existing Within The Same Visual Space In Osaka

Old and new existing within the same visual space.

The path leads to the grand finale of the itinerary: two world-class art museums within a minute of each other, and design notables within their own right.

Nakanoshima Art Museum

Open from 10am. Holidays Monday and Wednesday.

Opened in 2022, the black box of the Nakanoshima Art Museum houses a collection of Osakan and Japanese art from the mid-19th century until today, and in particular has a large body of work from the Impressionist inspired painter, Yuzo Saeki and travelling collections including Japanese Mingei craft and Monet.
Postman One Of Yuzo Saeki’s Paintings Kept In The Nakanoshima Art Musuem’s Collection

Postman, one of Yuzo Saeki’s paintings kept in the Nakanoshima Art Musuem’s collection.

The museum overlooks, and is connected via footage bridge to, the National Museum of Art, Osaka (NMAO).

Nakanoshima Art Museum Offers A Beautiful Place For Couples To Escape From The Osaka Weather

Particularly on weekends, it’s possible to visit one museum, then another.

The National Museum of Art, Osaka

Open from 10am. Holidays Monday, Thursday, Friday.

Steel “Bamboo” Frames The Entrance To The Underground National Museum Of Art Osaka
Poster Showcasing Murakami’s Piece 727 Fatman Little Boy 2017 Part Of An Upcoming Collection Shown At National Museum Of Art Osaka

A poster showcasing Murakami’s piece, 727 FATMAN LITTLE BOY (2017), part of an upcoming collection shown at NMAO.

Living up to its impressive César Pelli designed entrance, the NMAO focuses on post-war art, with exhibitions that highlight contemporary Japanese creators such as media artist Kubota Shigeko and pop artist Murakami Takashi, as well as global names like Picasso and Warhol.

Both museums are within easy distance of cafés, convenience stores and even a little gelato stand, to refresh and renew flagging energy levels, or to reflect on the vast array of art and architecture experienced in the hours before lunch.

Whether taking a quick walk around the rose garden and enjoying a chat at a café, or extending the morning into a half-day adventure uncovering the artistic nooks of Nakanoshima, this itinerary has a lot of variety and points of interest to inspire couples of all ages.

At once Instagrammable and memorable, set your alarm for this daybreak date.

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