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When it comes to exploring a city, there are simply not enough hours in the day, so you should prioritize some of the best that Osaka has to offer! This must-read list includes many things from Osaka's most famous castle to the biggest theme park in town!
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If you are a food enthusiast or adventurer, Osaka should never be missing in your Japan itinerary. The city is labeled as the “Nation’s Kitchen” because of the many original Japanese delicacies and even international dishes served here. Hence, if you want to have an amazing food experience in Japan, you should definitely come and visit the city of Osaka.
However, are you aware that Osaka is more than just a food capital? As one of the largest cities and highly urbanized metropolises in Japan, Osaka has so much offer. There are countless sites and destinations that are worth your visit in the city. If you want to experience modernity, there are modern and futuristic facilities, skyscrapers, and activity centers here. If you are more into exploring the interesting culture and history of Japan, there are historical temples, shrines, and even a castle that you can tour around.
Aside from the wonderful tourist destinations, the city is also known as a family and child-friendly place. The people here are so warm and welcoming to foreigners and the city has a care-free and fun atmosphere.
The destinations and activities waiting for you in Osaka are countless and your planned days of stay might be insufficient to enjoy all these city attractions. In order for you to maximize your stay, this article will provide you some of the best family-oriented tourist attractions that you should put on top of your bucket list.
Let us start with some of the best historical sites in Osaka wherein you and your family can appreciate the interesting past of Japan.
Osaka Castle is a stunning, beautiful castle made in 1586 that shows classic Japanese architecture and serves as the symbol of Osaka. The greenery around the castle is spacious and a good place to let your children unleash their energy and run or play around its beautiful park. Aside from the picturesque exterior of the castle, the castle itself functions as a museum and its top floor as a viewing platform. If your children are history fans, tell them to explore the samurai history of Japan featured in the museum and they will absolutely love it.
One of the most memorable experiences in traveling is living like locals. And the Tenmangu Shrine is a great place to experience Japanese customs and traditions. Every year, one of the largest festivals in Japan takes place in Tenmangu wherein guests can participate in a joyful celebration of culture and religion and enjoy some colorful festivities like tasting some incredible Japanese snacks and watching locals wearing their beautiful traditional costumes. There are many souvenir shops around the shrine as well where you can look for something cute and unique to bring home.
Are you looking for a quiet and peaceful place to relax, unwind, and meditate? You should head straight to Shitenno-ji Temple. Shitenno-ji is considered as the oldest official temple and one of the best in Japan. The temple offers you a tranquil atmosphere, a great breather from the bustling and chaotic world. There are also some wonderful spots around the temple where you can enjoy a peaceful time to meditate and appreciate nature like the five-story pagoda, the beautiful garden, and the pond behind the temple. This temple is an incredible place for families to take a breather from the bustling world and just enjoy the serenity of the temple.
Another amazing experience awaits you and your family in the National Museum of Ethnology located in Northern Osaka. The museum features various ethnic groups from different parts of the globe highlighting unique and interesting characteristics about each one of them. There is even an area to touch artifacts from around the world. This is a wonderful place to celebrate and appreciate diversity and promote unity - an important value that should be taught to children.
Live inside your favorite Hollywood movies and enter the worlds of Harry Potter, Minions, Hello Kitty, and more in one of the top theme parks in the world. Universal Studios Osaka (also known as Universal Studios Japan) is a massive theme park inspired by many blockbuster films and series. There are gigantic buildings and statues of your favorite movie characters like Minions and Attack on Titans that you can take a photo with. There are many enjoyable and nerve-wracking rides as well in the theme park that you will definitely love. Your kids would love to try the circuit course drive at Elmo's Little Drive, enjoy the word of the wizarding ride at the 360 degrees Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, or around-the-world journey at Moppy's Balloon Trip. This is truly a place of ultimate fun and happiness that is why millions and millions of people are flooding this theme park every year.
A place that your children will surely adore is the country’s pride and one of the largest aquariums in the world - the Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan. The aquarium is home to various species of aquatic plants and animals from different parts of the world. Osaka Aquarium envisions to provide the animals with a comfortable shelter by mimicking their natural habitats. There are so many fun activities here - you can even see the adorable creatures up close in the aquarium during the feeding time including penguins and seals.
If you can’t get enough sight with the beautiful destinations in Osaka on the ground, try coming up high by riding the giant Tempozan Ferris Wheel. You can enjoy a 17-minute ride of this one of the tallest Ferris wheels in the world and give yourself a better and stunning view of Osaka and some of its famous landmarks. If you want adventure, you can choose to ride the cars with see-through bottoms and have a 360 view of Osaka Bay. Tempozan Ferris Wheel is lit up at night making it more magical.
Are you looking for more adventures and attractions? Check out the following:
Give yourself a break and a relaxation spree at the largest hot spring theme park in Kansai district - the Solinawa Onsen. There are many hot springs including open-air ones in the theme park that will surely remove all your stress and exhaustion. You may also enjoy some full live variety shows and other entertainment activities that your kids may like, such as ring toss, shooting, and rubber-ball fishing at Solinawa Onsen.
Interact with nature and some wild animals in Tennoji Zoo. Experience animal petting or you can feed the sheep with food pellets available for sale at the zoo too. Some of the animals you can find here are lions, koalas, and hippopotamus. Most of the animal enclosures mimic the natural habitats of the animals thus providing guests an immersive experience. And what’s great is that it’s only 500 yen for adults, 200 yen for elementary and middle school students, and free for any kids younger than that!
Are you not satisfied with just observing animals from afar? Nifrel is a unique zoo that will provide you a wonderful experience of appreciating arts and interacting with wildlife up close. Some of the animals here roam freely inside the building thus making you feel like you are truly one with nature. With the beautiful arts and designs incorporated in the place, Nifrel is a combination of a zoo, an aquarium, and a museum.
Climb higher and appreciate the beautiful scenery of Osaka on the tallest skyscraper in Japan - the Abeno Harukas. This giant skyscraper has observation decks where you can have an amazing panoramic view of the city. Going to Abeno Harukas is convenient for the family from the abundant restaurant choices, department stores shopping, accommodation at the world-class Marriott Miyako Hotel, plus the building itself includes a museum that has fun temporary exhibits - past ones include a Ghibli exhibit and a Moomin exhibit - that can be great if your family are fans!
Learn about some of the famous tourist spots in Osaka while enjoying a 20-minute Dotonbori canal cruise and listening to the stories told by your guide.
Get inspired by the history and evolution of instant noodles and pay tribute to the founder of this staple meal at the Cup Noodles Museum. You can even make a personalized cup of noodles by choosing your own ingredients. This cup noodle making is such a fun activity for the whole family.
A children-friendly museum like no other is Kids Plaza Osaka. Your kids can learn a lot at the library and spice up their creative minds with fun workshops, activities, and exhibits in the museum while playing and having a great time. One of these activities is the Kids Street where kids can dress up and act like real chefs and other kinds of jobs.
And there are always more. Have a taste of the famous ice cream sandwich in the World’s Second Best Melonpan Ice Cream, make your childhood dream come true by renting a complete ninja outfit in Osaka Castle, and spend the rest of your time with your all-time favorite games at the countless arcades and game centers in the city. This article has shown you the countless destinations and activities that you can experience in Osaka. These attractions are child-friendly and perfect for the whole family. Therefore, in your next Japan vacation, you already know what city you should never overlook - the incredible city of Osaka.
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