This post is part of a series from our recent holiday to Japan. You can read more about our by clicking here – Japan With Kids.
It is hard to decided what to share from our time in Japan – I have so many photos! We all adored our time there. We spent three nights in Osaka, three nights in Tokyo and would love to have stayed longer. I am going to write a series which will include posts on – Osaka, Tokyo, Food, Shopping and Getting Around.
This post will cover the below from Osaka, simply click on the link to go directly to that spot in the post, or scroll down and enjoy all of our happy snaps!
- Hotel Universal Port
- Osaka Castle
- Tempozan Ferris Wheel
- Floating Garden Observatory (Umeda Sky Building)
We landed in Osaka just after 7pm. As part of the research we did before we left Australia, we decided we would use the very efficient Japanese train network to get around Japan. We looked in to getting a Japan Rail Pass, but for the time we were going to be in Japan and the distances we were going to travel, it was not an economical option. JTB Australia has some great info on this and you can purchase tickets online before you go.
So we made our way to the train station, purchased our tickets and were on our way. We needed to change trains twice to make our way to the hotel. There were tired children. The youngest two fell asleep on the train.
We stayed at Hotel Universal Port and as the name may indicate it is located very close to Universal Studios Japan. While we didn’t actually visit Universal Studios (more on that in another post), this was a great family friendly hotel to stay at. As with most hotels now, our family is too large to fit into one room, so we had two rooms, one with three family members and the other with four.
A tip for parents is to choose your room buddies wisely! I shared with miss 9 and master 4. We are all early risers so we thought it would be best for us to stay together. The kids did however wake before me and amused themselves quietly until my alarm went off so I could head off on a run. And when I did wake, each morning it was to a tidied room!
I would highly recommend staying at the Hotel Universal Port. The staff were incredibly helpful and even if they didn’t speak English, they would find someone who could help us. It is a convenient location and the trains run so well, it was never long to wait for a train and we could catch connecting trains to everywhere we wanted to go.
It doesn’t have gym, but there is a great path around Universal Studios you can run, so take along the runners. If you have kids aged 2 to 6 years, they can use the kids/play room. It is an unsupervised area filled with great stuff for kids to play with. The hotel provides free Wifi and also has computers in the lobby which are free to use. The port area we were staying reminded me quite a bit of Docklands in Melbourne.
To visit Osaka Castle, we caught connecting trains to Osakajokoen Station and it was about a 15 minute walk from there. We were incredibly lucky that as we walked through Osaka Castle Park we came across a festival. While not exactly sure what it was, it seemed like a Japanese version of our Rock Eisteddfod!
You could choose to take a lift up the eight floors to the top of the castle, which had a long queue or simply walk the stairs. We opted for the stairs and all the kids walked them easily. Kids were free and adults only JPY600.
The views were amazing and a couple of the kids bought their first Japanese souvenirs from the shop on the top level. The first Main Tower of Osaka was completed in 1585. It has seen much action since that date and has been reconstructed and renovated in parts a number of times, most recently in 1997. The walls are almost 30 metres high and the ornamental work on the castle is beautiful.
The weather was amazing in Osaka (we were there in mid Sept), ranging from 26 – 30 degrees Celsius. At the exit from the castle, they had a spray system to cool you down. The kids thought this was fantastic. The mist is not really enough to make you feel wet, but it was refreshing.
We walked a lot in our time in Japan, but we always kept it at a pace that was for little legs. We also let them stop frequently to investigate and play. To me this is one of the benefits of traveling with kids. They are attracted to things adults aren’t and find fun where we might over look it.
We could easily see the Tempozan Ferris Wheel from the window of our hotel room, but as we had to cross the bay, it took a number of trains to get there. It wasn’t until later that we realised we probably could have caught the ferry from near our hotel!
Once we arrived at Osakako Station, it was only a short walk to the wheel. There was a mass exodus from the train at Osakako Station and we thought we may have a long wait to have our turn on the wheel. This was not the case however as the majority of the people continued past the wheel and on to the Aquarium. You can see the lines of people in the photo I took from the Tempozan Ferris Wheel
The Floating Garden Observatory at the Umeda Sky Building was impressive. We had beautiful day to see it on too, full of glorious sunshine.
My next post will highlight our time at Nara – this was definitely a favourite of the younger kids.
Have you been to Osaka? What were your highlights?
The Planning With Kids family traveled to Japan courtesy of Jetstar.