Eating with kids in Japan

Eating With Kids In Japan – Osaka

Eating with kids in Japan

This post is part of a series from our recent holiday to Japan. You can read more about our trip by clicking here – Japan With Kids.

Our kids eat quite well and will try new things, but they all have their moments of fussiness and little idiosyncrasies when it comes to eating.

Before we left for Japan we talked to them about the type of everyday food the Japanese eat and how we would try to eat a combination of traditional Japanese food and food that was familiar to them. I have listed below some of the places we ate at, so you can either read the whole post or click on the links below to go directly to one of the places.

Or you can watch this video which is a 1 minute 30 second version of the post! {Click here if you are reading via email to see the post.}

Eating In Osaka With Kids:

Hotel Universal Port Buffet Breakfast

We decided to start our days with a hearty buffet breakfast at the hotel each morning. We were going to bed later and getting up later than at home, so breakfast was also much later in the day than what we were used to.

This worked really well for us as we would then have a snack a few hours later in the day and then find somewhere to have dinner.

The buffet breakfast at the Hotel Universal Port was more traditional Japanese with a few western breakfast favourites thrown in. They did have  a specific kids breakfast area which was more of a fun breakfast! Even though it was September the hotel was all decked out already for Halloween.
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I resisted the urge to persuade the kids to go for a pure traditional Japanese breakfast and let them choose for themselves. I remember from our family trip to Hong Kong, the buffet breakfasts were a highlight for the kids so just made sure they had plenty of food that would not only fill them up right then, but sustain them for our morning of sightseeing.
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They all ate differently, those with more of a sweet tooth enjoyed some of the cereal offerings!
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We certainly didn’t each as much fresh fruit and veg while we were away, so breakfast was a great time for the kids to have their fill.
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The fruit we came across in Japan was very expensive as you can see in the picture below:
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  • bananas (for 2) 380 Yen = $AUD4.09
  • rockmelom 2000 = $AUD21.52
  • apples (for 6) 2000 = $AUD21.52

But on the flipside their seafood was cheaper.
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Eating Out and About

Just like we would when heading out and about in Australia, where possible, I would pack some food for us to take along, to help us keep costs down.

There were a number of convenience stores like Family Mart, where you could buy rice crackers, popcorn, etc for around 100 Yen a pack. We would add these to our day bag along with plenty of water.

We had brought empty water bottles with us and they came in so handy as the weather was gloriously warm in Osaka and with all the walking we did, it was important to have lots of water on hand.
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Where opportunities arose we would buy snacks that would add to our experience, like these lovely snow cones at the festival we found ourselves at.
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And on the way back from the Nara Deer Park we came across an entertaining cooking display.
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I still don’t know what these little dumpling style foods were, but we enjoyed them and it was great to watch them whacking the dough. Feel free to leave a note in the comments if you know what these are called and I can update my post!
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There are vending machines everywhere in Japan and while not as cheap as in store, they are not as expensive as they are in Australia.
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It is important to note that the Japanese do not eat on public transport at all and you very rarely see people eating / drinking while they are walking. This is one of the things I really liked about Japan, they single task so well!

Right next to Nara train station was a supermarket, the first that I had seen on our travels.
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I took the opportunity to stock up on some nuts and berries to make as snack packs.
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I worked for a number of years in an office block in the Melbourne CBD known as Melbourne Central. Melbourne Central was also a shopping centre and for a few years it was home to the Japanese department store Daimuru. My friends Carolyn and Paula would be able to attest to my fondest of their fabulous food court. I had two very special favourites, beef vindaloo for lunch and New York baked cheesecake for something sweet!

We found Daimaru located within the main Osaka Train Station shopping precinct. The food court here was even more impressive with such a huge range of food to choose from. We deliberately chose Daimaru as an option one day because it served traditional Japanese food and the range meant everyone was going to be able to choose something they really liked.
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Master 14 and 7 adored sushi so they were the first to choose what they wanted.
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There were no tables or chairs at Daimaru and we were conscious about just eating in public, but we found a space outside the shopping centre where we could sit down and eat together.

Food on a stick is pretty popular with my kids and there were plenty of options for that.
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As there was for crumbed food.
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Okonomiyakiya “Kiji”

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Okonomiyakiya “Kiji” would have been everyone’s favourite eating experience in Japan. And it is really an eating experience. You get to watch them make your food and then they serve it on your own hot plate and cook it in front of you.

Okonomiyakiya “Kiji” is located in the “Takimi-koji” restaurant mall at the basement of Umeda Sky Building. We went to the Floating Garden at Umeda first, then had our late lunch here. It is very popular among the locals, so I recommend visiting outside of traditional meal times. We would have waited for about 25 minutes before we were seated and had our orders taken.

Okonomiyaki is a Japanese savoury pancake containing a variety of ingredients. The name is derived from the word okonomi, meaning “what you like” or “what you want”, and yaki meaning “grilled” or “cooked”.

We told the staff our preferences and they worked out the rest.
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They did however underestimate our appetites and how much we loved the food, so we had to order a second sitting!
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The Planning With Kids family traveled to Japan courtesy of Jetstar.