Osaka is a great place to travel with children with some of Japan’s best child-friendly attractions. Here’s the perfect 1-day itinerary for families with children.
Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan: Meeh/Shutterstock.com
Itinerary Summary and Important Notes
- This itinerary includes Osaka Aquarium, Kids Plaza Osaka and the Minami District.
- If you’re staying in Osaka, base yourself somewhere central to save time (see the Notes section below). You may find our Best Osaka Hotels For Families page useful.
- Don’t try to do too much with kids in Osaka. Just moving around the city can be tiring for them (and parents, too).
This itinerary contains Osaka’s two best child-friendly attractions (Osaka Aquarium and Kids Plaza Osaka). We have deliberately avoided packing too many attractions into this itinerary – as parents, you know how a crowded itinerary can result in tired and grumpy children.
See the district pages linked below for full details on the attractions mentioned here.
- 9:30am: Start Traveling to the Osaka Bay Area
Your first attraction today will be the superb Osaka Aquarium in the Osaka Bay Area. You want to get there right at opening time to beat the crowds. Osaka Aquarium is about 20 minutes’ walk from Osakako Station on the Chuo subway line. If you’re coming from Minami, Kita or Shin-Osaka Station, you can take the Midosuji subway line to Honmachi Station and switch there to the Chuo line. Try to arrive at the aquarium close to 10am, which is when it opens.
- 10am: Osaka Aquarium (Kaiyukan)
Osaka Aquarium is the premier attraction in the Tempozan complex in the Osaka Bay Area. Even if you’re there right at opening time (10:00am), you’ll probably find it fairly crowded, especially on weekends. But it’s worth dealing with the crowds, because this aquarium is awesome! Spend a good hour or two exploring the aquarium.
- 11:30: Lunch at Tempozan Marketplace
Directly next door to Osaka Aquarium you will find the sprawling Tempozan Marketplace, which has the best selection of restaurants in the Osaka Bay Area. We recommend eating lunch here. If possible, try to get there before the lunchtime rush, which usually starts around noon. Within Tempozan Marketplace, you’ll find Naniwa Kuishinbo Yokocho, a faux Edo-era shopping street lined with small restaurants selling all the usual Osaka specialties. Most of the restaurants in Tempozan Marketplace have English menus and child seats.
- 1pm: Travel from Osaka Bay Area to Kids Plaza Osaka
Return to Osakako subway station and take the Chuo subway line back two stops to Bentencho Station and switch to the JR Loop Line and take it in the direction of Osaka Station. Ride the JR Loop Line past Osaka Station to the following station, Tenma. Get off at Tenma. Kids Plaza is a short walk west of Tenma Station.
- 1:30pm: Kids Plaza Osaka
Kids Plaza Osaka, which is located in the Kita District, is a fantastic science discovery and play area for children. It’s one of the best child-friendly attractions in all Japan. You can easily spend two hours here letting your children check out the brilliant hands-on science exhibits and then playing in the three-storey children’s castle.
- 3:30pm: Travel from Kids Plaza Osaka to Minami
If you and your kids still have energy left after enjoying Kids Plaza Osaka, the next obvious destination is the Minami District, which has enough energy, lights and sounds to entertain older children. It’s also a good place for an early dinner before returning to your hotel and collapsing. Fortunately, it’s very easy to travel from Kids Plaza to Minami. Walk to the Ogimachi subway station and take the Sakaisuji subway line five stops south to Nipponbashi Station. If you come up to street level and walk about 200 meters north, you will find yourself on the colorful Dotombori Arcade.
- 4pm: Explore Dotombori
Dotombori is the colorful heart of the Minami District. While it’s not great for younger children, older children will find the lights, sounds and sights of the area fascinating. Walk west along the Dotombori Arcade, checking out some of Osaka’s most iconic sights and stopping, if necessary, for snacks like taco-yaki (battered bits of octopus).
- 5:30pm: Early Dinner in Minami
By this point, everyone will probably be tired and hungry. Fortunately, the Minami District is packed with family-friendly restaurants. You’ll find the best selection on the Dotombori Arcade. Check our Minami District page for some specific recommendations. Otherwise, just stroll along the arcade and check out the menus and food models in the windows. Almost all the restaurants in this area have English menus and child seats.
- 7pm: Return to Your Hotel
After dinner, make your way back to your lodgings. If you’re staying in other parts of Osaka or back in Kyoto, you’ll probably find the Midosuji subway line the most convenient way to get home. It will take you to Tennoji, Honmachi, Umeda (close to JR Osaka Station) and Shin-Osaka (for the shinkansen). Just be warned that if you’re boarding the subway around 7pm on a weekday, it will be very crowded. If this is a concern, consider taking a taxi.
More Information on Traveling with Children In Osaka
- Be sure to also visit our Osaka with Children page for more useful information on traveling with children in Osaka.
- If you have two days in Osaka, be sure to check out our Osaka 2-Day Itinerary with Children.
- Our Best Osaka Hotels for Families with Children has some great hotel picks specifically for people traveling with children.
Other Great Places for Kids in Osaka
Here are some other great child-friendly attractions in Osaka. The first two are covered in our Osaka 2-Day Itinerary with Children.
- Osaka Castle: Children love the samurai history of Osaka Castle and playing in the expansive park around the castle. See the Osaka Castle Area district page for details.
- Expo City: This entertainment/shopping/dining complex in Northern Osaka can easily make a half-day or full-day activity for families. See the Northern Osaka district page for details.
- Tennoji Area: With a great park and zoo and Harukas 300 observatory, this area is a great half-day family destination. See the Tennoji Area district page for details.
- If you’re only going to be in the city for one day, you should try to base yourself in a central location so you don’t waste time moving around. The most convenient areas are Kita, Central Osaka and Minami. For more on where to say, check out my Where to Stay in Osaka page.
- Our Osaka with Children page has information on child-friendly hotels in Osaka.
Don't try to do any more than this in one day in Osaka – you’ll tire yourself and your kids out.
Where Are These Places Located?See these places on the Inside Osaka Google map:
- Open the Osaka map
- You will see the list of places on the left hand side. (Click the 3-line icon in the top left corner if not). Scroll down or use the map search (the magnifying glass icon) to find the place you want.
- Click the name of the place in the list. Its location pin will be highlighted on the map.
- Map pins are color coded - BLUE: Hotels / Ryokan / Guesthouses | VIOLET: Ryokan | PINK: Places to Eat | GREEN: Shops | YELLOW: Things to See and Do
- If you're using the map on your phone, open the map and then search for the name of the place. The map will then zoom in on its location.
Osaka Vacation Checklist
- For all the essentials in a brief overview, see my First Time In Osaka guide
- Check Osaka accommodation availability and pricing on Booking.com – usually you can reserve a room with no upfront payment. Pay when you check out. Free cancellations too
- Need tips on where to stay? See my one page guide Where To Stay In Osaka
- You can buy a Japan SIM card online for collection on arrival at Osaka's Kansai International Airport. Or rent an unlimited data pocket wifi router
- View my comprehensive Packing List For Japan
- Compare flight prices and timings to find the best Japan flight deals
- If you're visiting more than one city, save a ton of money with the Japan Rail Pass – here's why it's worth it
- Get a prepaid Icoca card to make travelling around Osaka easy – here's how
- Find out why travel insurance for Japan is essential – World Nomads is well-regarded