Sunday, April 14, 2019

Japan Travel: Osaka with Children + Money-saving Tips for Osaka Travel

In the past, I thought that Osaka (Japan) was just a place for eating and shopping. Only after I started doing "homework" for our Japan trip in December 2018, then I realised there are many things-to-do in Osaka that are suitable for children!

We are sharing with you some of the places in Osaka that are suitable for families with children, and are easily accessible by Osaka Metro.

Cup Noodles Museum Osaka Ikeda (Momokufu Ando Instant Ramen Museum)
Many visitors make their customised cup noodles here. To enhance the experience, we signed up the instant noodles making workshop too.

Read the details of our experience at Cup Noodles Museum Osaka Ikeda in this post!

Cup Noodles Museum Osaka Ikeda (Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen Museum)
Admission fee: free
Chicken ramen making workshop fee (reservation required): Elementary school children 300 yen, Junior high school and above 500 yen (Preschoolers are not allowed to participate in the workshop)
How to get there: Hankyu Railways Ikeda Station

Kids Plaza Osaka
This is an indoor educational museum where children can learn about science and culture through play.

One of the interesting stations is the bubble play area. Our children were thrilled to be "trapped" inside a giant bubble!

The role play stations, though not as elaborated as Kidzania Koshien, enable the children to learn about different occupations.

The part that makes the me crazy - the play area with a giant slide! I went crazy as I had a hard time finding my children as they ran around!

Our children's favourite station - the machine that measures their timing to run a few metres. They were surprised that they ran at a speed slower than that of an elephant (22 km/h).

There is an outdoor playground next to Kids Plaza Osaka. It was a pity that we didn't manage to visit it as it was raining.

You can enjoy 10% off discount by showing your  Osaka Amazing Pass or Osaka Enjoy Eco Card.

Kids Plaza Osaka
Admission fee: Adult 1400 yen, elementary and junior high school students 800 yen, preschoolers (3 years or above) 300 yen, senior (65 years or above) 700 yen
How to get there: Osaka Metro - Ogimachi Station

LEGOLAND Discovery Centre Osaka
As big fans of LEGO, our children had been looking forward to visit LEGOLAND Discovery Centre Osaka.

It was close to Christmas during our visit in December 2018, our children received a small gift upon entering (why I was not given one??).

The "standard" area in all LEGOLAND - LEGO Racers Build and Test.

The MINILAND there is really a mini one, featuring Osaka city.

Other attractions include DUPLO Farm, LEGO Friends Olivia's House, LEGO City Play Zone, Merlin's Apprentice Ride, LEGO Factory Tour, LEGO 4D Cinema and Kingdom Quest.

We also signed up a parent-child LEGO building workshop (conducted in Japanese), this was too easy for our LEGO masters.

Personally, after visiting LEGOLAND Japan in Nagoya and LEGOLAND Malaysia, we felt that LEGOLAND Discovery Centre Osaka is not that impressive. Anyway, it is a nice indoor attraction that is suitable for children.

LEGOLAND Discovery Centre Osaka
Admission fee (purchase online): 2000 yen before 4 p.m., 1600 yen after 4 p.m.
Admission fee (walk in): 2300 yen
How to get there: Osaka Metro - Osakako Station

Tempozan Ferris Wheel
At the same building as LEGOLAND Discovery Centre Osaka - Tempozan Market Place, there is Tempozan Ferries Wheel. You can enjoy it for free with Osaka Amazing Pass.

Tempozan Ferris Wheel
Admission fee for 3 years old and above: 800 yen
How to get there: Osaka Metro - Osakako Station

Glion Museum
If you are interested in vintage cars, this is the place for you. Housed in an old brick warehouse, it is a nostalgic place to visit. There are tablets inside the museum for the visitors to learn about the vehicles.

Glion Museum is one of the free facilities included in Osaka Amazing Pass. You can consider checking it out after visiting LEGOLAND Discovery Centre Osaka.

Glion Museum
Admission fee: Adult 800 yen, Elementary school student 500 yen
How to get there: Osaka Metro - Osakako Station

Natural Hot Spring Naniwa no Yu
One of the must-do things in winter is to enjoy the hot spring! The use of Natural Hot Spring Naniwa no Yu is free with Osaka Amazing Pass.

image source: Natural Hot Spring Naniwa no Yu official website

Lockers are provided, and you do not need to insert coins. Shampoo and shower gel are also provided at the shower area. There are a few indoor hot springs at different temperature, but I prefer the outdoor hot springs, especially the "hot spring in a pot".

It was nice to drink some milk after enjoying the hot spring!

Please remember to bring your own towel. Alternatively, you may rent the towel at a fee. Do take note that this hot spring is located next to a few caskets, so if you have concern over this, then please consider other hot springs.

Natural Hot Spring Naniwa no Yu
Admission fee: Adult 800 yen, school children (6-12 years old) 400 yen, preschoolers (5 years old and below) 150 yen
How to get there: Osaka Metro - Tenjimbashisuji 6-Chome Station

Osaka Castle
An important historical landmark in Osaka, Osaka Castle is a popular tourist attraction.

The queue to the lift to get to the observatory at level 8 was super long, so we decided to climb the stairs! It was quite tiring to climb up the stairs, but the view from the observatory was rewarding.

The exhibits were quite interesting, however, it was too crowded that I couldn't really appreciate the exhibits peacefully.

If you are interested, you can try out the costume at a fee.

What a big piece of rock that makes up part of the giant wall!

You may wonder why Osaka Castle can be a place that appeals to children. The playground near Osaka Castle (near Osaka Metro Morinomiya Station) is the highlight for our children!

Osaka Castle is also a great place to visit during cherry blossom and autumn foliage seasons!

Osaka Castle
Admission fee: Adult 600 yen, Child (junior high school and younger) free admission
How to get there: Osaka Metro - Tanimachi 4-Chome Station or Morinomiya Station

NHK BK Plaza
NHK is a major broadcasting station in Osaka. To get to know about television production, you may consider visiting NHK BK Plaza next to Osaka Castle. The admission is free!

At level 1, you can experience being a news or weather reporter on TV at a fee. At level 9, you can view the studio recording (no photography or videography is allowed) from the window. You can also learn how the sounds of waves, horse walking and raining on TV shows were prodcued in the past.

NHK BK Plaza
Admission: free
How to get there: Osaka Metro - Tanimachi 4-Chome Station

Tsutenkaku Tower
The symbolic icon of Osaka, Tsutenkaku Tower, is surrounded by eateries that specialise in kushikatsu (deep-fried skewers). You can visit Tsutenkaku Tower for free on Monday to Friday using Osaka Amazing Pass.

We actually didn't climb up to Tsutenkaku Tower, we were there because we wanted to visit a restaurant ジャンボ釣船つり吉 where we could catch the fish on our own!

Along the way, we spotted Billiken, it is said that your wish would come true if you rub its feet!

Tsutenkaku Tower
Admission fee: Adult 700 yen, elementary and junior high school students 400 yen
How to get there: Osaka Metro - Ebisucho Station or Dobutsuen-mae Station

Osaka Hikari-Renaissance (December)
If you are visiting Osaka in mid to late December, don't miss the Festival of Lights in Osaka! One of the highlights is Osaka Hikari-Renaissance at Nakanoshima Park.

We were there on the opening day in 2018, and were the first group of audience to watch the first light show at Osaka City Hall. The light show was spectacular!

Other than the winter illumination and light show, there were also some food stalls near Osaka City Hall.

Remember to wear warm clothing as it is very cold in the evening!

Osaka Hikari-Renaissance
Admission: free
How to get there: Osaka Metro - Yodoyabashi Station

Money-saving Tips for Osaka Travel
In order to save money, there are two useful tourist passes that I would like to recommend to you - Osaka Amazing Pass and Osaka Enjoy Eco Card.

Osaka Amazing Pass
Osaka Amazing Pass includes unlimited rides on Osaka Metro, Osaka City Bus and New Tram (One-day Pass also covers part of private railways within Osaka), and it is amazing because it also includes free admission to selected attractions, and discounted admission to some others.
Cost: 2500 yen for one-day pass, 3300 yen for two-day pass 

Osaka Enjoy Eco Card
Osaka Enjoy Eco Card includes unlimited rides on Osaka Metro and Osaka City Bus, and it also includes discounted admission to selected attractions.
Adult fare: 800 yen on weekdays (700 yen at Tourist Information Centre at Kansai International Airport), 600 yen on weekends and holidays
Child fare: 300 yen

We purchased Osaka Amazing Pass 1 Day Pass (2500 yen) from the Tourist Information Center at Kansai International Airport. Even though there is no discount for children, we still purchased for our two children. Let me explain why.

In addition to the rides on Osaka Metro, we also used the pass to visit the following places in one day:
  • LEGOLAND Discovery Centre Osaka: 2000 yen for online ticket, 2300 yen for walk in)
  • Glion Musuem: adult 800 yen, school children (6-12 years old) 400 yen
  • Natural Hot Spring Naniwa no Yu: adult 800 yen, school children (6-12 years old) 400 yen
Based on our itinerary, we saved quite a fair bit to get Osaka Amazing Pass for both the adults and children!

Our Japan Travelogue (Osaka, Kyoto, Kobe, Nara) December 2018

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