The BEST Things to do in Osaka with Kids | WITH PHOTOS!
If you are looking for the best things to do in Osaka with kids?
It’s a fantastic, exciting part of the world that’s sure to surprise and delight travellers of every age. There is so much to see and do that you’ll be falling all over yourself trying to manage it all. It can be difficult, particularly in such an exciting space, to determine which activities are right for you and your children. If you’ve only got a short amount of time, you’ll want to ensure that you see the very best attractions Osaka has to offer (and cut down on any wasted time).
Kids activities in Osaka range from visiting cherry blossoms, travelling under the sea in amazing aquariums and LEGO! There are SO many incredible experiences – it’s hard to choose which one to see first!
Planning a trip to Osaka with kids is made easy when you get advice from those who have been there and done that. Here’s what you need to know when planning your next incredible adventure.
Why visit Osaka with kids?
Osaka is the commercial centre of the Japanese island of Honshu. It’s well known for its incredible modern architecture, nightlife and bustling street food culture. There are castles and shrines here that are sure to be of interest as well as the surrounding moat and park that is home to plum, peach and cherry-blossom trees. It’s simply amazing!
If you saw EVERYTHING you’d need at least a couple of weeks so here are some tips on how to cut out the middle man and make sure your time is well spent.
If you’d like information about going on long haul flights with kids head over here to see our recommendations.
THINGS TO DO IN OSAKA WITH KIDS
As there aren’t many of us who can afford a weeks-long holiday trip, we thought we’d bring together some top recommendations for things to do in Osaka with kids from a number of bloggers who agreed to contribute their thoughts.
Umeda Sky Building
Osaka’s Umeda Sky Building is 173 metres of glass and steel so polished the man in the moon could probably see his face in it on a clear night. If you want to see Osaka transition atmospherically from day to neon night then head up the tower to the ‘floating garden observatory’ on the top floor. The nickname is a bit misleading, there’s no grass or flowers to speak of, but you will definitely feel like you are floating; especially if it’s windy. My three kids loved pottering around it together without fear of getting lost and there are various good selfie spots. The doughnut shaped open air deck joins two separate towers and gives you a 360 degree view of the city and a chance to play building bingo if you want to bring pen and paper and make a game of it. Last ticket isn’t till 10pm and there’s lots to do around there so why not make it the focus of your evening out? The Sky Building is only about ten minutes walk from Umeda station but if you prefer to go by car then check out The Family Adventure Project’s practical tips on driving in Japan.
Thank you to Kristie from The Family Adventure Project for this brilliant contribution.
Address: 1 Chome-1-87 Oyodonaka, Kita Ward, Osaka, 531-6023, Japan
Hours: 9.30-22.30 (adjusts seasonally)
Cost: 1000 yen
Website: Click here
Osaka Aquarium (Kaiyukan)
One of the top things to do in Osaka is to visit Osaka Aquarium, or Kaiyukan. This is an impressive building. It’s the largest aquarium in the world. The aquarium is built around an enormous main tank which is filled with two whale sharks, rays, hammerhead shark shoals and more.
Once you reach the main tank, the walkway spirals down and around, giving you plenty of opportunities to see these creatures from every angle. Watching them slowly circle the tank is hypnotic!
You can easily spend half a day (or more) exploring the aquarium. Exhibits in the aquarium cover many different aquatic habitats, from tropical reefs to the poles, and everything in between. Seals, dolphins and river otters are some of the mammalian species that you can see here. These smaller tanks are arranged around the main tank and you explore these habitats before coming face to face with the whale sharks.
My kids were fascinated by the huge spider crabs, and they loved the colourful corals and tropical fish. Near the entrance there’s a walk-through tank which they really enjoyed. You should also make a note of feeding times!
Aim to arrive as early as possible. The aquarium gets very busy, even in low season. Check online before you go! You can buy tickets online in advance which saves queuing on arrival.
Address: Change at Bentencho Station on the Osaka Looop Line for the Chuo Line subway. Get off at Osakako. The aquarium is close by.
Hours: 10am-8pm (Sundays and Japanese holidays it opens at 8.30am, summer and Saturdays it opens at 9.30am)
Cost: Varies depending on age (check website for details)
Website: Click here
Thank you to Emily from Kids and Compass for this excellent contribution.
Osaka Mint Bureau
The Osaka Mint Bureau has an interesting mint museum with displays of coins and medals and exhibits showing how coins are produced and the history of the mint in Japan. This alone is interesting for kids and is not that big, so they won’t get bored. However, in mid-April, the Mint truly comes alive.
The adjacent cherry tree garden has over 300 cherry trees that burst into a ceiling of pink flowers during the annual cherry blossom season. This is a popular spot to see the cherry trees and have a picnic under the trees. Kids will love having a picnic and playing under the trees, while adults can sit and admire the incredible beauty of these ephemeral flowers.
The exact time of the blooming of the cherry blossoms is impossible to predict, as it is slightly different every year, but in general, cherry trees are at their full bloom in early April in the Osaka region. However, the trees in the Mint Bureau garden are mostly late blooming varieties, so they are typically a week or two later.
Address: 1 Chome-1-79 Tenma, Kita Ward
Hours: Museum 9.00am to 4.45pm. Blossom garden 10.00am to 9.00pm weekdays, 9.00am to 9.00pm weekends.
Website: Click here
Thank you to James Ian at Travel Collecting for this contribution.
Cup Noodle Museum
Who would have thought that a museum dedicated to instant noodles could be so cool!!! The Cup Noodles Museum is just that, a super cool museum all about the famous cup of noodles and its creator Momofuku Ando.
Located a short train ride from the Osaka City Centre, the Cup Noodle Museum is a great place to take the kids. The first part of the museum takes you through various exhibits which show you how Momofuku came to make the instant noodles back in 1958. The exhibits are interactive, which is great for kids.
The information around the exhibits is in Japanese, so it is recommended that you download the App in advance and this way you will have the information provided for you in English.
The best part about the museum is the Cup Noodles Factory. Here you get to great your very own cup noodles soup. First, you must design your packaging, and then you choose your very own ingredients to make your soup.
The museum is completely free to enter; however, it is 300 yen to make the Cup Noodles.
This museum was absolutely packed when we went, which was on the weekend. I’d suggest weekdays are quieter or go as soon as the museum opens to avoid long lines.
Address: 8-25 Masumicho, Ikeda, Osaka 563-0041
Hours: Open 9.30 am to 4.30 pm daily except Tuesday
Cost: Free entry but paid activities
Website: Click here
Thank you to Melissa from Thrifty Family Travels for this great contribution.
Legoland Discovery Centre
When KidsPlaza Osaka opened in 1997 it was the first museum in Japan entirely devoted to the education of children. Sounds boring? Well not all. At KidsPlaza, located in an old television tower, they think that children learn best when they play and have fun. Our children totally agreed!
Kidsplaza Osaka is spread out over three large floors. Here your children can enjoy themselves with scientific experiments, fancy dress parties, music, presenting the news, recording a cartoon in a TV studio, cooking workshops or art and crafts. One of our favorite activities was where you can have your coloring page scanned and the see your creation come to live on a large screen.
The museum has some facilities for young children, even a nursing room and a stroller service. But we think you will get the most out of your visit with kids 4 years and older. You should plan at least a half day but we ended up spending the whole day at Kidsplaza Osaka.
Address: 2 Chome 1-7 Ogimachi, Kita Warn.
Cost: Ticket prices listed on website
Website: Click here
With many thanks to Tikva from Gezin Op Reis.
Round 1 Stadium
Everything in Japan is ‘next level’ – arcades are no exception. This place is basically like the arcades we know and love, but on crack. Add 5 more levels of never-ending fun on top of that, and you’ve got Round 1 Stadium.
There are two in Osaka, but the one you want to go to is Sennichimae, located right next to Namba Station.
Tempozan Ferris Wheel
Who doesn’t like Ferris wheels? They are both fun AND offer a fantastic view. The good news: Osaka has three of them, so kids get the choice. The Tempozan Ferris Wheel should be on top of your list. With a total height of 369 feet, it was the tallest ferris wheel in the world when it opened to the public on July 12, 1997.
Definitely consider going in the evening, when the lights illuminate the whole Osaka harbour and the Ferris wheel changes colour with every turn. There are a couple of water fountains around the base of the Ferris wheel, which the kids will love as well!
Hours: Mon – Sun 10am until 9.30pm
Location: Nearest subway station: Osakako (大阪港駅) in the Minato Ward.
Thank you to Norman from Années de Pèlerinage for this contribution.
Abeno Harukas 300 Observatory
The views from the Abeno Harukas 300 Observatory are a great option for all the family. From here you can look out over Osaka city to the harbour, mountains and into neighbouring prefectures including Kobe, Nara and Kyoto. The kids will love the galaxy view as you zoom past the stars in the purpose-built elevators and join in the final countdown as you’re whisked all the way up to level 60.
The Abeno Harukas 300 Observatory is situated on the top 3 floors and roof space of Japans tallest skyscraper. While night views are often considered a romantic date night destination across Japan the team here have made it just as enticing for younger family members.
There are regular themed events such as projected fireworks displays on the windows that appear as if the city is in the midst of the biggest summer festival. Another recent event is the arrival of the Avengers cast, the kids are sure to want to hunt down their favourite character.
You have a variety of meal and snack options available onsite and many of the family favourites such as the Abeno Bear shakes and soft cream cones are reasonably priced. A summer BBQ on the open-air deck makes for great family fun but there are also 3 whole floors of restaurants conveniently located down on levels 12-14 offering options from budget to specialty.
The Harukas 300 observatory is open from 9 am until 10 pm but we highly recommend arriving late afternoon to allow enough time to see the view during daylight so you can pick out the places you will be heading in the coming days then watch the sky warm up with the sunset followed by the lights coming on across the city.
Address: 1 Chome-1-43 Abenosuji, Abeno Ward, Osaka, 545-0052, Japan (across from JR Tennoji Station)
Hours: 9.00am until 10.00pm
A big thanks to Toni from 2 Aussie Travellers for this fantastic overview.
One of the fun things to do in Osaka with kids is to spend the day at Expocity. The sprawling entertainment complex has everything you need to keep kids of all ages entertained, especially on a rainy day.
Built for the World Expo in 1970, Expocity is home to several themed attractions such as Entertainment World, where British clay animation character Shaun the Sheep will appeal to kids aged four to seven. Don’t be surprised if you end up buying a Shaun the Sheep toy!
Nifrel interactive aqua zoo has a series of sleek aquariums and an animal sanctuary with crocodiles and tigers. Shop till you drop at the Lalaport shopping centre or catch a movie at the 4D Imax movie theatre. The theatre has 11 screens, state-of-the-art laser technology and seats that move around to give you an immersive experience. There’s also Japan’s tallest Ferris Wheel, the Redhorse Osaka Wheel, which is 120m high.
Soccer fans will be keen to discover that Expocity is the home base of Gamba Osaka, a popular Japanese soccer team. If you have a soccer fan in the family, pick up tickets to a soccer match at Suita City Stadium. The stadium is in Bampaku Koen (Expo ’70 Commemorative Park), which is a large park with the original Japanese Garden built for the expo.
So, if you’re visiting Osaka with kids, you can’t go wrong by adding Expocity to your Japan itinerary.
Opening hours are 10 am to 9 pm for shops, cafes and attractions but the restaurant area is open until 10 pm.
Getting there: Take the Midosuji Subway line to Senri-Chuo station, where you can get on the Osaka Monorail to Bampaku-Kinen-Koen Station. Expo City is a two-minute walk from the station.
Address: 2-1 Senribanpakukoen, Suita, Osaka 565-0826, Japan.
Website: Click here
Hours: 10.00am – 9.00pm (with restaurant open until 10.00pm)
Thank you, Christina from Travel2Next!
Osaka Castle is one of Japan’s most famous landmarks and one of the most stunning Japanese castles to visit. It is a great place to take kids – as while adults pay 600 YEN to access the castle, those under 15 are free! The Castle is open from 0900 until 1700.
This is a traditional castle, despite several rebuilds and is famous for the enormous stones that make up some of the walls and the moat of the castle. There are walls more than 20 metres high and the moats are up to 90 metres wide! The largest stone in the construction weighs 108 tonnes and measures more than 59 metres cubed!
Osaka Castle contains a lot of historical artefacts and the observation deck gives you quite stunning views of the city and surroundings. Many of the dioramas detailing the history of the castle are designed specifically for children – from the high tech diorama on the 7th floor of the castle to the panoramic videos of Osaka’s summer war in which the main tower of the castle was destroyed by fire – There is signage and subtitling in a number of languages, including English. For kids of all ages, its also possible to try on a helmet, surcoat and kosode kimono and have your photograph taken. This costs 500 YEN per person, but is great fun!
Hours: 0900-1700 (may be longer in Spring and Summer)
Address: 〒540-0002 1-1, Osakajo, Chuo-ku, Osaka City
Cost: 600 Yen entry fee for adults, kids under 15 free. Activities are 500 Yen per person.
Website: Click here
Thank you, Sarah from ASocialNomad, for such a comprehensive overview.
Osaka is an amazing city to explore in Japan. It was our first stop and the city that we flew in and out of. One of the highlights of Osaka was our visit to Dontonbori, the food mecca of the city. Not only is it full of amazing food options, sights and smells but it is an entertainment hub all of its own.
Dontonbori is arguably Osaka’s mot famous tourist attraction and, like Tokyo, is known for its excess of neon. You would almost be able to see it from space! The best place to see the lights is down the Dotonbori Canal where the neon bounces off each side of the canal and reflects in the water.
Dontonbori is famous for the vibrant food culture and you can taste all their famous local treats from the street vendors on Dontobori Street (parallel with the canal). There are a number of ‘must try’ dishes such as takoyaki octopus dish or if you are game a pufferfish (local delicacy). Traditional Japanese restaurants are plentiful in this area and you definitely won’t go hungry. Our favourite was the Lord Stowe famous egg tart shop.
The best time to visit is at night when you can see all the lights.
Address: Alight at Namba Subway Station for a short walk to Dontonbori Street.
Thank you to Sally from OurThreeKidsvTheWorld for this fantastic write up.
Universal Studios, Japan
Universal Studios Japan is located in Osaka, Japan, and brings in folks from all over the world. With major attractions such as The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, to Despicable Me Minion Mayhem, to Hello Kitty Fashion Avenue, and to Jurassic Park, there is something for everyone here. If you’re looking for thrilling roller coasters you need to ride The Flying Dinosaur. For the cutest snacks in all of Osaka, head over to Minion Mayhem where you can find minion themed snacks and drinks. Can you even visit an Universal Studios and NOT treat yourself to the amazing butter beer from the World of Harry Potter?!
Universal Studios Japan can be very busy and the lines can have long waits. However, if you download the Klook app, you can purchase Universal Express Passes. These passes will allow you to bypass the lines and making your trip to one of the busiest theme parks in the world more enjoyable. Last but not least, when visiting Universal Studios in Osaka, you can’t leave without catching the night parade, Universal Spectacle Night Parade – The Best of Hollywood. You will witness projections, synchronized visual and audio components, and get this…an actual transforming float!
Whether you have toddlers or teens, USJ is the perfect place to find family fun during your trip to Osaka.
Hours: (vary based on day of week and month) Average – 9.00am to 10.30pm
Address: 2 Chrome-1-33 Sakurajamia, Konohana Ward, Osaka
Website: Click here (costs are found on website)
A big thank you to Jaems from Time Zone Travellers for this fantastic insight!
The very best things to do in Osaka with kids
It was so great to collate all of these brilliant contributions – and it left us seriously thinking of planning our next family trip. We’ve also written about the best things to do in Tokyo with kids.
Have you been to Osaka with kids? Did we miss anything? Let us know YOUR hints and tips in the comments, and thank you again to all who contributed! Make sure to check out their blogs but be warned – the FOMO is real!