It was my first time traveling internationally as a dad. All I can say is, travelling with your kids is a totally different experience. If you’re planning a kid-friendly itinerary in Osaka, read on.
In this post we’ll share our one-week Japan itinerary that worked for our family. We will walk you through our day-to-day schedule and activities around Osaka. We will also share some insights that could help you enjoy (and survive) Osaka with kids. This article will include information on:
- How we travelled by train
- Where we ate
- What attractions we visited
- Where we shopped, and more
Download The Osaka Sample Itinerary
To make this post extra helpful, I made a sample itinerary using Google Sheets which you can download here. The spreadsheet will show you a bird’s eye view of our trip. However, the main objective is to give you a free tool to help you plan your own Osaka family itinerary.
Osaka Travel Itinerary Day 1: Arrival in Osaka
Pick-up train passes and SIM card
We departed Manila at 2pm and arrived at Kansai International Airport around 7pm. Our first priority after landing was to pick up the rail passes we bought online at Kansai Tourist Information Center. These are the ICOCA IC Card, Osaka Amazing Pass, and Kansai Thru Pass. They are important because we plan to explore Japan using its rail system for the next 7 days or so.
Unfortunately, we didn’t realize the information center closes at exactly 7pm. We spent a few minutes checking if there were other pick-up locations, but we got no luck. It’s the only redemption area in the airport. Oh well, I guess we have to deal with those passes tomorrow morning.
*** Note: You can always buy those passes locally, but of course, purchasing them online is cheaper and more convenient.
Our next priority was to get our SIM Card. We haven’t been to Osaka, and we are travelling by ourselves. Having a reliable internet connection is essential to our survival in Japan. Thank God, the pick-up point was still open. We got the SIM card installed on our phone in less than ten minutes. Here’s the SIM Card that we used. Another one we considered was this.
After getting the SIM, we headed up the escalator, then exited through the gate. We then headed to Nankai Rapi:t station to claim the express ticket we bought online. By 8:30pm, we are on-board and headed from Kansai Airport Station to Shin-Imamiya Station.
We arrived at Shin-Imamiya Station around 9pm, and grabbed a quick snack at 7-11. One train ride more to go. After eating, we then travelled from Shin-Imamiya Station to Bentencho Station via the Osaka Loop.
We got lost. But praise God for the lady who walked us to our hotel. There’s an approximately ten-minute walk from Bentencho Station to here. Yet, she didn’t mind going out of her way to help us get to our destination.
We chose to stay at the Hotel She, Osaka with my family because it was the biggest room we could find for our budget. Japan is known for its small hotel rooms, making it difficult to find a space to fit a family comfortably. But more than the size, Hotel She, Osaka is also the ideal location for our itinerary.
We arrived at the hotel at 10:29 PM. The check-in process was a breeze. We’re already in our room 10-minutes after. The only hesitation we had with Hotel She, Osaka thus far was that they only have two options for breakfast:
- Cheesy bacon on sliced bread with corn soup and salad.
- Ham croissant with egg and creamy avocado dip.
We don’t mind having these options if we’re going to stay for a day or two. But we plan to stay here for 6 days, so yeah, we’ll probably have the same breakfast each morning. To be fair, the food’s really good!
Get Discounted Rates on Deluxe Double Room at Hotel She, Osaka
Hotel She, Osaka in Osaka (Minato), is within a 5-minute drive of Kyocera Dome Osaka and Dotonbori. This hotel is 5.2 km from Universal Studios Japan and 3.8 km from Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan.
Buy dinner from Family Mart
It’s now 11 PM, and it’s time to relax. Or so we thought. One of the many challenges we encounter as parents is that kids are always hungry. So with heavy feet my wife walked across the nearest Family Mart to get us our dinner. She got an Omurice, a Katsu-Curry with rice, a Japanese custard for dessert and some drinks.
*** Tip: I do not fully recommend this day one itinerary that we had. It can be too exhausting for both you and the kids. If we could redo it, we will avail of the same-day luggage delivery to the hotel. It will surely make our airport transfer less tiring. A couple more options are perhaps renting a van, or spending the night at a nearby hotel.
Osaka Travel Itinerary Day 2: Osaka Day Tour
My wife and I designed our Osaka one-week itinerary to be loose and flexible. It’s our first time traveling with the kids, so we don’t want to stress ourselves too much. The idea is to alternate the hectic days with the relaxing days. Since day one was hectic, we began our day two a little later than planned – except for my wife. She went out early to pick up our rail passes at the nearest redemption station.
Stroll and lunch at Tempozan Harbor Village
We started our Osaka day trip by train after Lalaine came back from a tourist information center in Namba. We took the train to Tempozan Harbor Village (THV). We hopped on the Chuo Line and traveled from Bentencho Station all the way to Osakako Station (OS). After getting off OS, we walked for about 10 minutes to get to THV.
THV has many kid-friendly attractions to offer, including Tempozan Giant Ferris Wheel, Legoland Discovery Center, and Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan. Unfortunately, we didn’t have time to explore them all since it was already 11:56 AM. Based on schedule, our main goal for the day was to be in Universal Studios Japan before 4pm.
Explore Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan
After having our lunch at the Tempozan Marketplace, we then headed out and bought our tickets to Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan. I won’t spoil you with details. All I can say is this aquarium is a must-add attraction to your Osaka family vacation itinerary.
Half-day adventure at Universal Studios Japan
2:54 PM. It’s time to ride the Captain Line. This fast shuttle ferry will take you from Kaiyukan to Universal City Port (UCP). And from UCP, you only need to walk for about ten minutes to reach Universal Studios Japan (USJ).
Tears welled up my eyes as I set my foot in USJ for the first time. My wife and I have saved up and prepared for this moment since 2021. A lot of challenges happened in our lives. Planning for this Osaka trip gave us something to look forward to. Anyway, we basically spent the remaining of our day inside USJ. From 3:30 PM to 7:30 PM we were able to:
- Have snacks at Snoopy’s Backlot Café
- Ride the Minion’s Freeze Ray Sliders
- Experience the Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man 4K3D Ride
- Picture-picture and shopped for souvenirs
But what we achieved this afternoon is just a bonus. Our real intention for buying the one and a half day studio pass was to learn the ins and outs of USJ.
You see, exploring Super Nintendo World (SNW) at USJ is the main reason why we went to Osaka. Unfortunately, getting inside SNW isn’t guaranteed because of the sheer amount of crowds going there. To secure your entry, you need to pay a premium price for an express or a timed entry pass. We thought about them, but we think getting there early is the better option for us. (As in before-the-park-opens kind of early.)
Our half-day stay at USJ basically served as our ocular visit to help us better navigate to SNW tomorrow morning.
Dinner at Pomme-no-ki, Universal Citywalk Osaka
It’s 7:28 PM. We are considering having dinner at USJ. Sadly, all restaurants close at exactly 7 PM. Our next option was to look for a place to dine at the nearby Universal Citywalk Osaka (UCO). The place was packed as it seems like all people coming from USJ are also here to eat before they head home.
With all the food options available at UCO, we decided to go with Pomme-no-ki (or Pomu no ki?). In any case, Pomme is renowned for its delicious omelette rice, better known as Omurice. Lalaine and I loved it. But more importantly, both Joab and Jrue also enjoyed it. This accidental food discovery is a must-add to any Osaka kid-friendly itinerary. 4/5 stars.
Night market at Don Quixote
It was about 9:07 PM when we finished our satisfying dinner. We then head home to the hotel by boarding the JR Yumesaki Line from Universal City Station to Nishikujo Station. Then from Nishikujo Station to Bentencho Station via the Osaka Loop Line.
We didn’t go to Japan solely for kids. Mom and dad have their own agendas too. We planned out our Osaka itinerary for kids AND parents to enjoy. So based on schedule, we should be going for some late night shopping at Don Quixote. Unfortunately, the kids and I are too tired for it. Plus, we need to sleep early because we have to get up at 5:30 AM tomorrow to get a chance at Super Nintendo World.
So what happened in the end was me and the kids stayed at the hotel, while Lalaine went to Don Quixote to shop by herself.
Osaka Travel Itinerary Day 3: One day at Super Nintendo World
7:28 AM, and we’re already outside USJ’s gate eating Onigiri for breakfast. We’re excited and nervous at the same time. Bulk of my prayer today is about asking God to help us get in SNW. It feels like our Osaka trip will be a failure if we can’t get inside the park. Everything hinges on this attraction.
By 7:45 AM the park had let a number of people get in. At first, I don’t really know what’s going on. “How come those people who came late are getting inside ahead of us?” Later I learned that they are Early Entry Pass holders. They basically paid additional to enjoy USJ 15-minutes before it officially opened.
Get Your Discounted Universal Studios Japan Pass
Brunch at Kinopio’s Café
We got inside USJ at around 8:05 AM and zoomed directly to SNW. Praise God for the answered prayer. By 8:16 AM we’re already at SNW’s logo taking our first family selfie. There are already plenty of people inside, but not too crowded. We learned that the average waiting time for one ride starts at 30 minutes, but it can eventually go all the way to 120 minutes (Yikes!).
Anyway, we planned to be here the entire day, so no rush. Yet, we still tried to be smart with our decisions by going against the flow. It’s 8:29 AM, and we feel like not many people will be thinking of eating at this hour. Thus, we went to Kinopio’s Café as our first stop and ordered the following:
- Gratin Hamburger Steak with a Mashed Potato Tree (Winter Menu)
- Chef’s Special: Omurice with Shrimp and Mushroom Cream Stew
- Kid’s Hamburger Meal with Mario Figurine Pick
- ? Block Tiramisu
- Super Star Hot Yuzu Lemonade
- Super Star Lemon Squash
- Hot Coffee
- Iced Coffee
The overall waiting time from being in line to having our first bite was about 45 minutes. We tried to eat as much as we can now, so we can focus solely on the rides later. But more than anything else, we gave Kinopio’s Café the priority to celebrate Lalaine’s birthday. 4/5 stars
Enjoy Super Nintendo World
It was 10:32 AM when we got out of the café. Here’s what we did for the next 7 hours:
- Meet and greet with Mario, Luigi, and Toad
- Ride Yoshi’s Adventure
- Snack at Yoshi’s Snack Island
- Ride Mario Kart: Koopa’s Challenge
- Collect coins and stamps using the Power-up Band and USJ App
- Played the interactive games to unlock keys and defeat Bowser Jr. (Power-up Band required)
- Bought souvenirs and Christmas gifts at the 1 Up Factory.
Super Nintendo World has exceeded our expectations. Spending our time here as a family was incredibly special and by far the most memorable. We still wish to stay, but we need to transfer to The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter (TWWOHP) to have our dinner.
Chill and butterbeer at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter
We left SNW at 5:45 PM and arrived at TWWOHP at 6:01 PM. Our plan was to cap our long tiring day with a Great Feast at Three Broomsticks. To our disappointment, restaurants at USJ get their last order at exactly 6 PM! Ouch, for some reason I felt more tired after hearing that. Oh well, we should at least try the butterbeer before we head home. For the next thirty minutes, we found ourselves at a corner sipping butterbeer, enjoying the beauty of TWWOHP.
Dinner at Sushihan Ichiokaten
By 8:03 PM, we disembarked the train at Bentencho Station. We bought some kiddie snacks at the nearby vending machine as we still didn’t have any idea where to eat. The plan is to travel back to the hotel and simply dine somewhere along the way. As we traversed, we realized most restaurants in the area also close at 7 PM! And so, we changed our plan to Plan B: just get something to eat at Family Mart!
It’s a bit anticlimactic for such a special day. But it is what it is. As we got to Family Mart, we saw this fine-looking restaurant across the store still open. The signage is in Japanese, but we later learned that the restaurant’s name is Sushihan Ichioken. We’re a bit skeptical because there were no people dining. I asked what time they were closing, they said 9 PM. I guess we don’t have the leisure to be choosy as it’s already 8:38 PM. We got ourselves a seat and ordered the following:
- Ebi Tempura with Cold Udon Set
- Mixed Sushi Tempura Set
- Kids Menu: French fries, meatballs, friend chicken strip and shrimp.
Of course, we ordered using Google Translate as everything in their menu is written in Japanese. The servers also don’t speak much English.
We came out of the restaurant at 9:17 PM, thankful and satisfied. I’ll give them an overall grade of 3.5 out of 5 stars. It’s not how we planned our evening, but we still enjoyed the spontaneity of the experience as a whole.
Osaka Travel Itinerary Day 4: What To Do In Osaka For A Day?
Today is a free day. Yesterday was hectic, thus we intend to take the day slow. Lalaine and I intently didn’t put any concrete agenda in our schedule. This is absolutely not how we travelled in the past. But with kids, we learned to be intentional in putting white spaces in our schedule to avoid burnout. We actually don’t have any idea what to do in Osaka for a day.
But some itches are difficult not to scratch. Halfway through my breakfast I went up and asked the person at the front desk for a brochure about Osaka. There I browsed some of the attractions we can visit via train. Most of what I saw were shrines. But one attraction that caught my eyes was The Osaka Museum of Housing and Living (TOMOHAL).
Lunch at Yoshinoya, Tenjinbashi-suji Shopping Street
We travelled to the Housing Information Building in Tenjinbashi via JR Osaka Loop Line. The exhibit is located on the 8th floor. We boarded the train from Bentencho Station to Temma Station, and walked for about 10 minutes to get here. Time check, it’s 12:44 PM, and we haven’t eaten our lunch yet. We checked Google Maps and saw there’s a Yoshinoya nearby. Our friends said that it’s a must-try.
We ordered a Beef Sukiyaki Hot Pot for me, an Unagi (Broiled Eel) Rice Box Set for Lalaine, and a Chicken Karaage Meal for the kids. I’m not sure if it’s over-hyped, but the food is just alright for us. Maybe around 3 out of 5 stars.
Educational tour at The Osaka Museum Of Housing and Living
Also known as Kurashi no Konjakukan in Japanese, TOMOHAL is a recreation of a townscape of the Edo era. It’s like being flashed back in time as you will be able to walk in the street and peek inside the houses. As a dad, I pressed more on the lesson of gratitude. I showed them how living that time is not as comfortable as today. There’s no internet, air conditioner, and mobile phones. If you want water, you have to get it from the well. Being there for 45 minutes gave us a perspective on how pampered we are in this generation.
Shopping at Namba-Sennichimae
We arrived Namba at 3:22 PM. The plan is to spend the rest of our day here food tripping, chilling, and shopping. We got here using the Sakaisuji Line. From the museum, we walked for 7 minutes, got on board at Ogimachi Station and got off at Nippombashi Station. Then from the station, we walked about 10 minutes to reach Namba-Sennichimae shopping district.
We stayed here until 7 PM. And during those times we were able to:
- Buy Playstation 5 Slim at BIC Camera
- Shop for skin care products, eye drops, and toiletries
- Nap time for kids while we took a break at Hoshino Coffee
- Enjoyed the best Takoyaki we ever tasted.
Dinner at Matsusakagyu Yakiniku M
I’m sure you have already heard of Kobe beef. But one type of beef they said is an equally must try is the Matsusaka beef. So now we’re here at Matsusakagyu Yakiniku M, one of the well-known restaurants serving Matsusaka in Japan. Going here is about a 10 to 15-minute walk from the BIC Camera. We came here without reservation, and we were advised that the waiting time is about 45 minutes. It’s already 7:25 PM. My tummy is grumbling.
Thankfully a group of diners came out after 15 minutes, thus we were seated earlier than advised. By 8:40 PM we’re done, and I must say that the food is amazing, but the place is horrifying. I’ll give the food a 4.5 out of 5 stars, however my overall experience is 3.5. The beef is one of the best I’ve ever tasted. Sadly, the darkness and narrowness of the place gave me a terrible claustrophobic experience the entire dining time. If you don’t mind tight and dark spaces, add this place to your Osaka travel itinerary.
Stroll around Dotonbori
We got lost a little bit, but we eventually got to the famous Dotonbori by 9:21 PM. It’s a long walk from the restaurant. Maybe around 2,403 steps. On the way here we got to try the 10 yen cheese coin pancake which my little cheese-monster Jrue enjoyed. The reality is all we want to do here is eat and have a picture with the Glico Man. But since we were still stuffed by all the meat we ate, we simply had an orange juice and endured our aching feet to find the famed landmark.
By exactly 9:30 PM we got our family picture with Glico Man and travelled our way back to the hotel. From Nippombashi Station to Sakaisuji Hommachi Station via Sakaisuji Line. Then transferred to Chuo Line going from Hommachi Station to Bentencho Station.
Day 5: One Day Trip From Osaka To Kyoto
We kind of messed up day 5. Yesterday was supposed to be a relaxing one. Yet, it turns out to be the most stressful day thus far. The plan was we should already be on-board to Kyoto by 9 AM. Unfortunately, we overslept and got out of the hotel at 11:41 AM! Oh well, we don’t want to ruin our day so decided to simply have a chill day trip to Kyoto.
Day 6: One Day Trip From Osaka To Kobe
Day six in Japan. We have two more days before going back home. It’s weird, but I feel like I’m missing this wonderful country already. My personal mission here is almost over. I already took the kids to Super Nintendo World, and I already bought my PlayStation 5 Slim. There is one thing left to do: go to Kobe and have a date with my wife over the legendary Kobe steak.
Osaka Travel Itinerary Day 7 to 8: Rinku Town in Izumisano
Thank you for checking our one-week family itinerary in Japan. This article highlights the Osaka side of our trip. If you found this piece helpful, please consider following us on Twitter (now X), Facebook and Instagram. We’ll post an update once our day 7 to 8 itinerary is ready. It will be about our trip to Rinku Town in Izumisano.