Osaka is full of great child-friendly attractions. This itinerary is the best way to sample the best of them during a 2-day visit.
Dotombori Arcade in Minami
Itinerary Summary and Important Notes
- Day 1 of this itinerary includes Osaka Aquarium, Kids Plaza Osaka and the Minami District.
- Day 2 of this itinerary includes Osaka Castle and Expo City.
- In order to save time on transport, choose a hotel in a central district of Osaka (see the Notes section below).
- Don’t try to do too much with kids in Osaka. Just moving around the city can be tiring for them (and parents, too).
The first day of this itinerary includes Osaka’s two best family attractions: Osaka Aquarium and Kids Plaza Osaka. The second day includes Osaka Castle and Expo City, which is a great collection of attractions about half an hour out of central Osaka.
Click the district pages linked below for full details on the attractions mentioned here.
Day 1: Osaka Aquarium, Kids Plaza Osaka and Minami District
Note: Day 1 of this itinerary is the same as our Osaka 1-Day Itinerary with Children. Visit that page for full details on Day 1 of this itinerary.
- 9:30am: Start Traveling to the Osaka Bay Area
Start your day by heading out to the Osaka Bay Area. Take the Chuo subway line to Osakako Station. 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 around 10am, when the aquarium opens.
- 10am: Osaka Aquarium (Kaiyukan)
Osaka Aquarium is the premier attraction in the Tempozan complex in the Osaka Bay Area. Even if you get there right at opening time, you’ll probably find it fairly crowded, especially on weekends. But, this is one place worth putting up with the crowds, because it’s awesome! Spend a good hour or two exploring the aquarium.
- 11:30: Lunch at Tempozan Marketplace
Just outside the aquarium, you’ll find Tempozan Marketplace, which has the best selection of restaurants in the Osaka Bay Area. This is a great place for lunch. Try to get there before the lunchtime rush, which usually starts around noon. 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, in the Kita District, is a fantastic science discovery and play area for children. You can easily spend two hours here letting your children check out the brilliant hands-on science exhibits and then playing in the children’s castle.
- 3:30pm: Travel from Kids Plaza Osaka to Minami
If everyone is still going after Kids Plaza Osaka, the next obvious destination is the Minami District. In addition to being a fun place to walk around, it’s also a good place for an early dinner. To get there, walk from Kids Plaza 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. Walk west along the Dotombori Arcade, checking out some of Osaka’s most iconic sights.
- 5:30pm: Early Dinner in Minami
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. Almost all the restaurants in this area have English menus and child seats for children.
- 7pm: Return to Your Hotel
After dinner, make your way back to your lodgings.
Day 2: Expo City and Osaka Castle
- 9:30am: Travel to Expo City
Start your day by traveling to the Expo City complex in Northern Osaka. It’s about half an hour outside of central Osaka. The easiest way from central Osaka is to take the Midosuji subway line all the way north to Senri-Chuo Station and then switch to the Osaka Monorail and ride it two stops east to Bampakukinenkoen Station. Expo City is right outside this station.
- 10:30am: Explore Expo City
If your kids are older, consider visiting the National Museum of Ethnology, which sounds very boring, but is actually a super colorful and interesting museum of world cultures. Just keep in mind that it’s closed on Wednesday, or Thursday if Wednesday is a national holiday. Otherwise, just head straight into the Expo City complex. There’s a huge Ferris wheel here, as well as a hands-on aquarium called Nifrel. There’s also a movie theatre and a vast shopping mall (Lalaport Expo City). For details, visit the Northern Osaka page.
- Noon: Lunch at Expo City
Eat lunch in one of the many family-friendly restaurants in the Lalaport Expo City shopping mall. Almost all the restaurants here have English menus and many have child seats. If you want to avoid the crowds, try to enter a bit before noon. For details, visit the Northern Osaka page.
- 1pm: Travel Back to Central Osaka
Reverse your steps to get back to Central Osaka (take the Osaka Monorail back to Senri-Chuo and take the Midosuji subway line back into Central Osaka). The next stop is Osaka Castle, so you can take the Midosuji subway line down to Honmachi Station, then switch to the Chuo subway line and ride it Tanimachi 4-chome Station, which is close to Osaka Castle. For details, visit our Osaka Castle Area page.
- 1:30pm: Explore Osaka Castle and Osaka Castle Park
Walk from the station to Osaka Castle. Go up to the observation deck of the castle and admire the views over the city. Then, after exploring the surrounding park, take either the subway or the Osaka Loop Line back to JR Osaka Station (be sure to board the northbound direction when returning via the Loop Line to Osaka Station).
- 3:30pm: Rest
By this point, you’ll probably be in need of a rest. So, make your way back to your hotel for a well-earned rest.
- 6pm: Dinner in Kita or Minami
If you and the kids still have energy, head out to the bustling Kita or Minami districts for dinner. Otherwise, of course, eat near your hotel or even do takeaway.
- 7pm: Return to your Lodgings
After dinner, you and your kids will probably be ready for a good night’s sleep. Of course, if your kids are older, they might still be going strong. In that case, a walk around Dotombori might be interesting and not too wild.
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.
- Our Best Osaka Hotels for Families with Children has some great hotel picks specifically for people traveling with children.
- If you only have 1 day to explore Osaka with your children, be sure to check out our Osaka 1-Day Itinerary with Children.
Other Great Places for Kids in Osaka
Here are some other great child-friendly attractions in Osaka.
- 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.
- Hirakata Park: This local amusement park in Eastern Osaka is a great place for a day out in Osaka. It’s best in warm weather.
- Universal Studios Japan: If you’re willing to spend some money and some time waiting on line, this huge American-style theme park in the Osaka Bay Area is likely to please the kids. I've written up a complete guide to Universal Studios Japan to help you make the most of your time.
- Legoland Japan: Legoland Japan is located in Nagoya, a fifty minute train ride from Osaka, which makes for a great day trip. See my guide to Legoland Japan's attractions. Next door to Legoland is the SCMAGLEV and Railway Park which is great for adults and older kids alike.
- Choose a hotel 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.
- Don't try to pack too many sights into each 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 from Klook for collection on arrival at Osaka's Kansai International Airport
- View my comprehensive Packing List For Japan
- Compare Japan flight prices and timings on Skyscanner
- If you're visiting more than one city, get your Japan Rail Pass
- Find out why it's essential you have travel insurance for Japan