Osaka With Kids

The Best Things To Do With Kids In Osaka

View of Osaka from the Umeda Building

The Modern Transportation Museum

My kids’ favorite stop in Osaka was this museum which is essentially a train museum with a few airplanes thrown in for good measure. Very accessible for kids and right on the subway line.

Osaka Aquarium

One of the largest museums in the world but it gets very busy so get here early (i.e. 20 minutes before the doors open.) There’s a large area to run around outside so an adult could stand in line while kids play and burn off energy. Then step inside the moment the doors open. Plan for at least 2 hours inside and maybe more if your kids really like whales, penguins, otters, and dolphins.

Transportation Museum in Osaka City

Giant Ferris Wheel

This is a very very big ferris wheel and offers great views of the Osaka port and Kobe. It takes about 20 minutes to go all the way around. It’s located about 5 minutes from the aquarium.

Universal Studios Japan

Located about 20 minutes by train outside Osaka this amusement park is similar to the North American versions offering rides, games, shows, and lots to eat. It’s also very expensive.

A unicyclist performing in the square outside the Osaka Aquarium

Umeda Sky Building

Called the Floating Garden Observatory this double-skyscraper gives incredible views of the Osaka region. It’s fun getting up and down by elevator and escalator, and is located just a 10 minute walk from the either the Umeda subway stop or Osaka Station.

Day Trip To Kyoto

Kyoto deserves more than just a day of course. But if you’re based in Osaka and have limited time then a day is better than nothing. The train trip between Osaka and Kyoto is about 15 minutes by Shinkansen and 30 to 40 minutes by JR or subway. The highlights for kids will likely be the train station itself (very cool), the train museum (just a short walk away), and Nijo Castle (a great combination of history lesson and outside walk.) That said, Kyoto has a lot to see. If time permits spend a few days here.

5 questions and comments

  1. Catherine

    Thanks for the great advice!

  2. mia

    Do you know how many trains go between Osaka and Kyoto every day?

    1. DavidDavid My Little Nomads

      They’re leaving all the time. I’m guessing about 20 or 30 trains a day between the 2 cities – but it could be even more than that. Don’t worry about booking anything in advance if that’s why you were asking. Good luck.

  3. Nate

    Did you fly into Osaka directly or did you arrive by train? I’m curious if you bought a rail pass for Japan or purchased tickets individually? We’ll be in Tokyo for 2 weeks and would like to see some of the country. It might be that we only make it to Osaka, Kyoto, and Mt Fuji, so not sure if that would make a rail pass worthwhile. Thanks, Nate.

    1. DavidDavid My Little Nomads

      I think you’re right on the cusp of making it worthwhile. If you did one more long segment then go with the rail pass but for what you have planned they’re pretty close. When you factor in that buying a rail pass takes some effort (you can do it online but you still need to buy it before entering the country) and that you lose some flexibility with a rail pass then I’d go with individual tickets. Tickets are easy to book in person and the schedules are easy to understand. Either way – with pass or without pass – the Japanese rail companies are great.

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