Osaka with Kids
Top Places to Visit in Osaka with Kids
The true charm of Japan is being able to experience so many new things from just simply walking around and there is no better place to that than in Dotonbori. From the Glico running man to the takoyaki (battered octopus that’s been grilled) you won’t mind being among the crowd in this area. The kids will love this area that’s full of lights and delicious smells. However, it can also be quite overwhelming when you don’t understand Japanese. Here’s a good page to get a brief understanding of what you are looking at and some places to wander into with the family in Dotonbori.
Within a short walk from Dotonbori is Hozenji Yokocho temple- the small alley that leads to the temple is still traditional Edo style and is definitely worth the few minutes it will take you to get here. The alley is lined with traditional Japanese restaurants. The temple has a moss covered statues.
Osaka Castle is beautifully situated in the middle of Osaka Castle park. The castle sits atop a hill surrounded by a moat. This icon is a must see if you are staying in Osaka, but entering inside is optional. It’s a busy place and consists of 7 floors - there is a busy elevator/lift. If you are interested in history and views of the city, then you will enjoy a visit into the castle. If you have small kids with strollers you can enter and leave your stroller at the check-in counter. However, if you dislike crowds, my advice would be to go in the early morning when it first opens or simply enjoy it from the outside. There are vendors around the castle where you can purchase ice-cream and enjoy a few hours in the park. The park is stunning and very popular during cherry blossom season.
Cool Japan Park opened in 2019 and is a new theatre show that has its facilities within the Osaka Castle park grounds. There are special discounts for tourists. The show “Keren” is a combination of different performances from kabuki to broadway- it looks amazing. There is a promo video here.
Osaka’s famous aquarium is home to two whale sharks. You begin your visit of the large aquarium on the 8th floor and work your way down. You’ll find penguins, sea otters, dolphins as well as some land animals such as the Ecuadorian capibara. There is also an interactive exhibit where you can touch manta rays and get up close to penguins and seals. Keep in mind the aquarium can become extremely busy and strollers will need to be checked in. The aquarium is part of a larger complex that includes a Legoland, a ferris wheel, a food court and a 1960’s food hall. It’s a great place to spend the day with the kids.
The Sky building - Kuchu Teien Observatory is a huge drawcard here, but some kids do better with heights than others. If you want to have super clear idea of what you are getting into before you visit, Hipfig has a very clear and detailed video of their visit (from the train station all the way to the top of the tower) and you can easily decide whether it will suit your family. The steep, but safe, escalator that is suspended in the air that gets you to the top is an amazing attraction for some, but may not be great for kids who are scared of heights.
One thing that will appeal to everyone though is the retro style food hall in the basement. The “Takimi Koji” is located in the basement of Umeda towers and offers you a chance to feel like you are in a 1920’s Japanese alley. There is a range of restaurants here from traditional Japanese to Italian style food. It’s not a food court though. You can make bookings at some of the restaurants- have a look at their website here to get a better idea.
This children’s museum, near Ogimachi station, is for children from toddlers to upper primary school age. It’s a completely indoor facility split over four floors and has a range of activities from dress ups for the little ones to science experiments in other areas. The Adventure Town on the fourth floor has a unique structure that kids will love going around. Word to the wise, they often have a lot of school groups from about 10-2 and there are no food places in the museum, but you are welcome to bring your own food.
Osaka is a bright, colorful and delicious place to visit with the family, enjoy your stay! If you are staying for awhile in Osaka, you’ll want to check out lovely Kyoto- here’s a list of my top places to visit if you decide to go there.