Osaka Family Vacation : 8 days Itinerary for 2023 - - Singapore Lifestyle Portal

Osaka Family Vacation : 8 days Itinerary for 2023

Osaka has been named Japan's new tourist holiday hotspot for Asian Visitors.

Last December, we decided to visit this once gritty city to check out the colourful hype.

Setting 8 days 7 nights family holiday itinerary, we explore the sight, sound and taste of Osaka's modern and ancient culture. For this trip, we will be covering the major attractions as follows.
  • Universal Studios Japan
  • Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan
  • Osaka Museum of History
  • Osaka Castle
  • Dotonbori Street Food
  • Day trip to Nara
  • Day trip to Kyoto
  • Tennoji Zoo
With so much to cover, expect a long post ahead!

Highlights: Universal Citywalk, Hotel Universal Port Osaka

Osaka was the second leg of our holidays in Japan. We had earlier stayed for 5 days in Tokyo. We took a local flight, the black-clad Starflyer and embarked on an hour-long flight to Osaka.

The highlight of the flight?

A bird's eye view of the incredible snow-clad Mount Fuji. It was an obvious day, and we had Fuji-san in sight for about 10 minutes during the short flight. It was not something you get to see every day.

If you want to save costs and see more of Japan, you can opt for the JR Pass, which allows you to travel within cities for a reasonable price. Great if you are travelling between Tokyo  - Osaka - Kyoto

Get your JR Pass from Klook here.

Off to Osaka

The first thing that greeted us out of the gate at Kansai Airport was a Pokemon Store. We had been searching high and low for Pokemon cards in Tokyo to no avail. Here in Osaka, it found us instead!
Pokemon Store

Since the boy wanted to get a card, he got to pick a pack for himself. Lo and behold, he caught Ho-Oh, the one card he had been looking for all this while. Off to a good start in Osaka.
Ho-Oh ... I choose you!
The first destination was the Hotel Universal Port. This official Universal Hotel was chosen as we managed to snag a 4-bedroom room for a reasonable price through
Bus Tickets

Since there was no direct train to Universal and the taxi cost an arm and a leg in Osaka, we decided to take the Kansai Airport Bus that stops near the Hotel; the Bus ride is a comfortable 70 minutes from the Airport. Purchase your ticket outside the airport at Bus Tickets No D *

HOTEL: Hotel Universal Port

Hotel Universal Port

The Hotel Universal Port was decked out in Minions HACHA! MECHA! Theme. It was a hit with the boys. Can you say love at first sight?
Hotel Universal Port Room

The Room was a decent size and fit 4 Super Single size beds. There was a unique Minions room, but since we would be out most of the time, it would be a waste to pay double the standard room price for an upgrade. It was a wise decision.

Read about Our Review of The Hotel Universal Port here.

Want to book a room?

We booked our Hotel through, and it was fast and straightforward. Best of all, it has free cancellation if we change our minds.

ATTRACTION: Universal Citywalk, Osaka
Universal Citywalk Osaka

After checking in, we headed to Universal Citywalk to take a walk. Although it was only 5 pm in the evening, the sky had darkened, and dinner had beckoned.

Hoping to be one of the many dining options, we had a hot bowl of Udon for dinner.
Osaka Takoyaki Museum

After that, we decided to visit the Osaka Takoyaki Museum for a quick bite of Takoyaki before calling it a night. The Takoyaki was a treat. It just melted in the mouth at each edge. Takoyaki is a distinctively Japanese treat of wheat flour-based batter filled with diced minced octopus. A must-try in Japan!

DAY 2 
Highlights: Universal Studios Japan
Port Dining Rico Rico Breakfast

We had an early breakfast at the Hotel's Port Dining Rico Rico. The morning buffet was a delight. There was a dish for everyone. It was also the first time we had experienced the Japanese 'breakfast plate'. It allowed you to place a small portion of an item on a plate designed for bite-sized eats. A clever way to ensure that you would not overeat.

ATTRACTION: Universal Studios Japan

After having our fill, it was off to Universal Studios JapanWe highly recommend booking the tickets online to prevent disappointment and long queues. We got our tickets from Klook along with the Universal Studios Japan Express Pass 4.
Universal Studio Japan
Given the anticipated crowd from the crowd checker calendar, we expected long queues for rides. Thankfully the Express Pass 4 allowed us to sit on Popular rides such as Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, Minion Mayhem, The Amazing Spiderman (or alternate Jurassic Park -The Ride) and Jaws (or alternate Terminator 2 and Backdraft), the day was well utilised.

You can opt for the Express Pass 7 if you go on days when crowds are insane and want to take all the rides!

Our Express Pass included visiting The Wizardry World of Harry Potter. The crowd was manageable. However, this timed visit does not apply on the day of the visit.

This attraction is a must-see destination in Universal. But, even if you do not take the rides, you must take the iconic photo with the Hogwarts Express and taste the famous Butterbeer!

In between rides, we managed to catch the Christmas Special show. The show was much better than anticipated and could give its competitor a run for its money.
Universal Parade

Being carnival fans, we could not resist trying our luck at the costly carnival game (¥1000). Lucky for us, we won a plush on our first try!

The best decision for today was made pre-trip... The Express 4 pass!

With the Express Pass 4, we managed to sit on all the rides and attractions we wanted. It included Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, Minion Mayhem, The Amazing Spiderman, Jaws, Jurassic Park the Ride, Terminator, Backdraft and Space Fantasy. Unfortunately, we skipped the Hollywood Dream and Flying Saucer due to the height restriction (minimum 132 cm). With the time saved, we had time to explore Universal Wonderland.

All in, we sat on over 12 rides in ONE day. The most we ever did in any theme park!
Spiderman - The Ride

Most of the popular rides had to wait time of 45-60 mins. The most popular ride, such as Harry Potter and Minions, had a wait time of 90 minutes. Without the Express Pass 4, we likely ended up with rides that we could count on one hand.
Universal Wonderland

If you want a stress-free time at Universal, we recommend getting your tickets from Klook. Klook is an authorised ticket distributor of USJ, and the keys are priced CHEAPER than most of the online portals we searched. Moreover, with the occasional promo code, you will end up with a great deal ( We saved $100 off for the booking!)
Ps. Get tickets only from OFFICIAL PARTNERS, else it may be void!

After a whopping 10 hours at USJ, it is time to have dinner. We head to Universal Citywalk to have our Ramen dinner before calling it a night. We paid to stay near Universal Studios as we did not need to worry about transportation back to the Hotel.

Highlights: Captains Line. Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan, Tempozan Ferris Wheel, Legoland Discovery Center
Captains Line
We kicked off the day with a Boat ride outside Hotel Universal Port. After that, we took the Captain's line as we explored the Osaka Aquarium today.
Port of Osaka

This was also the day we utilised the Osaka Amazing Pass we had purchased from Klook. We had collected the pass earlier at the airport.
Osaka Amazing Pass

The pass cost us only  SGD 28.9 per person and allowed us to several attractions in Osaka. This includes the Captain Line boat ride from the Hotel to the Osaka Aquarium (Returns cost SGD 15 each). With this pass, we visited 6 attractions with free transportation in between. We saved about 50% off the fees if we had paid for it individually. Highly recommended for 1st timers to Osaka.

You can get the Osaka Amazing Pass here.

Still undecided? Read about our Osaka Amazing Pass review here.

ATTRACTION: Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan

The first stop was the Osaka Aquarium Kaiyuka. Billed as the largest aquarium, on the whole, the star attraction is undoubtedly the Whale Shark. Compared to other aquariums we had seen, this one was showing its age. Still worth a visit if you are in the vicinity.

Whale Shark

ATTRACTION: Tempozan Ferris Wheel
Tempozan Market Place

Next, we headed to the Tempozan Marketplace to ride on the Tempozan Ferris Wheel.
Japanese Goodies

We found a couple of interesting shops in the building. Stores were selling old-school Japanese goodies, Gachapon stores, and Anime stores. So if you looking for quirky souvenirs, you might just find one here.

Soon we were up and away on the Tempoza Ferris Wheel. The ride is also included in the Osaka Amazing Pass we introduced earlier.

You can see half of Osaka from the top. But, most of the time, you will try to spot familiar buildings from your Ferris Wheel. At 112.5 meters with  60 passenger cars, it was the world's tallest Ferris Wheel... until the London Eye came along.

ATTRACTION: Legoland Discovery Center Osaka
Lego Discovery Center Osaka

The next stop was Legoland Discovery Center, Osaka. Initially, we toyed with the idea of heading to Nagoya for the new Legoland. However, we decided on this alternative instead due to the lack of time. Having been to the one in Tokyo, this Discovery Center is almost similar in terms of attractions.
LEGO Dotonbori

The Discovery Centre was a tad smaller than the one in Tokyo. Nevertheless, it will make a good 2 hours stop if you are in the area. However, if you have bigger kids, this might not be that suitable as it targets children under 10.

This attraction was covered by the Osaka Amazing Pass. With just 3 interests covered today, the entrance fees would already exceed the Pass cost. It was genuinely AMAZING *!

*Pun Intended
Rides for kids

Dinner was at Katusdon at the food court. We think the food quality was equally good after eating in restaurants and food courts. The food court cost about 10-20% cheaper, but they were generous with their portions.

 The Naniwa Food Theme Park was next to the food court itself. It may be interesting to explore and have your meal there instead.

Soon it was time to return to the Hotel to recharge for another day!
Goodbye Tempoza!

Highlights: Osaka Museum of History, Osaka Castle, Hep 5, Dotonbori Street Food

We were at the halfway point of the holiday. It was time to bid farewell to Hotel Universal Port as we headed to the next Hotel in Dotonbori.

With 4 luggage, calling a cab to fit everything in was impossible. So we decided to be adventurous and take the train instead. It was challenging, but we made it in the end. We need to change 2 trains to make it to our Hotel.
Hello Kitty Train

We took the train From Universal City Station and changed to another train at Nishikujo. Along the way, we had to navigate flights of stairs. If you have younger kids, this part may be challenging. Fortunately, the boys can carry their own luggage for this.

From Nishikujo, we took another train to Osaka-Namba. The journey took us about 30 minutes in total.
Dotonbori River

Given that we were too early to check in, we decided to dump our bags in the Hotel and continue to explore Osaka. Since we had the Osaka Amazing Pass, we decided to use it for today.

ATTRACTION: Osaka Museum Of History
Getting There: Covered by Osaka Amazing Pass
1) Namba Station-Tanimachi 9-Chome Station (Sen-Nichimae Line)
2) Tanimachi 9-Chome Station - Tanimaciyonchome Station (Tanimachi Line)
Face Off in Osaka

We love to visit museums around the world. It is a quick way to get to know the history and culture of a city. Our first stop was the Osaka Museum of History. The good thing was that this museum is covered by the Osaka Amazing Pass.
Osaka Museum of History.

There were a few floors of exhibits to explore with explanations in English.

Our personal favourite would be the miniature displays of Old Osaka.

Sushi today?

Other than interactive stations, we also played a game of Japanese Snake and Ladder with the staff. The elderly team actually spoke perfect English!
Playing Japanese Snake and Ladder

ATTRACTION: Osaka Castle
Getting There: Walk
Old School Car

It was a 20 minutes stroll to Osaka Castle from the museum. If you are too tired to walk, look for these people's transport. For a reasonable fee, it will bring you up to the gates of Osaka Castle (about 1 km away)
Let's Go, Osaka Castle,

What do you do when you get to Osaka Castle?

You strike a pose!
Osaka Mood

Or you could visit the Castle. The entrance to the Castle is also covered by the Osaka Amazing Pass.

Osaka Castle

Do you know the original cars and castles were destroyed not once but twice?

The first time it was destroyed by invaders. The second time it was struck by lightning in 1665 and burnt down. The current car castle was only built in 1931!

As such, do not expect much indoors. We were expecting an ancient castle decor but were greeted with modern rooms that looked no different from an office. There were a few exhibits, but the most exciting would be the view from the top of the castle.

On the flip side, we were entertained by a Canadian juggler just outside the Castles entertaining as it is; we do wish it was a local performer instead. Seeing a foreigner perform in Japan is a little odd considering that it is a country that prides its own culture.
Street Performer

Before you go, grab a bite of ice cream from the food stalls outside the entrance.

Getting There: Covered by Osaka Amazing Pass
Tanimachiyonchome Station - Higashi-Umeda Station (Tanimachi Line)

Our next stop was the HEP FIVE Ferris Wheel. Initially, we wanted to visit Umeda Sky Park, but since night is approaching, we have only time for one. We chose the former as it was closer to the train station (5 minutes) than a 20-minute walk to Umeda Sky Park. We recommend doing both as they are covered by the Osaka Amazing Pass. Tried as we did, but the family was too tired from all the walking for the past few days.

You could do it in the Summer when the days are longer.
Sunset over Osaka

It was already dark when we checked into the Cross Hotel. We chose this hotel mainly because of its location (between Dotonbori Food Street and Shinsaibashisuji Shopping Street). The downside is that the Hotel had only 3 beds. However, they allow 4 occupants if it is a combination of 2 adults and 2 kids ( below 12).

Want to stay in Cross Hotel?

You can book your stay through this link.

Want to know more about the Cross Hotel Osaka? Read our review here.
Cross Hotel Osaka
We put the luggage in the room and head off to Dotonbori Food Street; before that, we stop by the iconic Dotonobori River to admire the Neo-lit buildings lining its side.

Dotnobori River

Taking a photo with the Glico man will be mandatory while you are there!

It was time to hit the street to fill our tummies. Dinner was simple ... eat whatever we could find on the streets.
Let's hit the street!
A few stops at stalls selling Kanidouraku ( Crabs), Gyoza, Yakitori, Takoyaki and more were made. You can check out our feast at Dontobori's Top 10 must-try street food.


The massive food structures hanging from the buildings can identify the primary food stalls. Unfortunately, the crowd can get extensive, and it is a standing room for most street food stalls.

Bring a plastic bag along to bin your food, as finding a dustbin can be a little challenging ( they are located at certain spots and not at the food stalls)

Osaka Food Street

Having eaten our fill, it was back to the Hotel for a well-deserved nightcap.

Want to see more?

Check out The Wacky Duo Youtube Channel for more videos.

Dotonbori Top 10 Must-try Street Food

Highlights: Nara Park, Tōdai-ji, Mochi Pounding at Nakatanido 
Breakfast @ Cross Hotel

After our delicious first Breakfast at Cross Hotel, we were all set for a day trip to Nara Park!

Initially, our room included 3 adult breakfast vouchers, and the staff was kind enough to change one of the adult vouchers to 2 children's coupons. Thumbs up for the initiative!
Watch out!

While on our way to the station, we were met with numerous bicycles on the pedestrian path. This is the norm in Osaka, so put down the phone and watch where you are walking in Osaka.

Getting there : Osaka Namba Station - Kintetsu - Nara Station (Kintetsu-Nara Line)
Nara Deers

Oh, dear!

It's time to meet some deers today. First, getting to Nara Park from Dotonbori is a breeze. Next, we headed to Osaka Namba Station, within walking distance and took a straight train to Nara. The train journey took less than 40 minutes, and we landed in the land of deer.

You can book a fuss-free tour from Osaka at Klook here.

On the way to the park,  the deer were already on the pathway to 'greet' us. Nara Park is home to hundreds of free-roaming deers. In Shinto, deer are considered to be messengers of God. Thus they are treated very well in Nara. So much so that they are symbolic of the city. The deer are wild but are tame enough to get close to. They get aggressive if you do not have enough food, so load up on the deer crackers.

Deer crackers can be purchased from the street vendor for ¥150

Feeding a deer cracker

Other than deer, Nara Park also houses a few temple compounds, such as Kofukuji and Tōdai-Ji.


We made a quick stop at Kofukuji before heading Tōdai-jiTemple.

ATTRACTION: Tōdai-Ji (東大寺, Eastern Great Temple)
Nandaimon Gate

After walking past the imposing Nandaimon Gate, we reached Tōdai-Ji Temple.
Tōdai-Ji Temple housed Japan's world's most giant bronze Sitting Daibutsu (Budda Vairocana). The Daibutsuden itself is the world's largest wooden building. The temple is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.


Other than the Daibutsu, there are other smaller statues in the building.

There was also a pillar at the back with a hole. The hole is said to be the size of the Daibutsu's nostril. If you can climb through it, you will receive enlightenment. However, due to Daddy's size, he was wise enough not to try.

ATTRACTION: Nakatanido

Before leaving Nara, we made a stop at Nakatanido. Nakatanido is well known for its Mochi Pounding performance. Mochi is made live on the sport through the vicious pounding of the Mochi dough.
Mochi Pounding

Words cannot simply describe the world's fastest Mochi Pounders.
See for yourself in the video.

Don't forget to get a warm Mochi after the performance!

On the way to the station, we spotted a quaint Anglican Church in the middle of Higashimuki Shopping Street - Nara's famous shopping street.

It was rather odd to find the Narakirisuo Church. The church resembles an ancient Japanese house, but step inside, you will see the straightforward layout of a church; it is a surreal sight in the heart of Nara.

Narakirisuo Church

Soon, it was time to head back to Dotonbori.

If you think DIY is tough and want a Fuss Free Nara Day Trip, go for day tours from Klook.

Plan a day trip from Osaka, combing Nara Todaiji Temple and Kyoto Arashiyama Bamboo Forest from Klook

Alternatively, opt for the half-day Nara Tour instead.

See our full-day trip itinerary to Nara. 
Wall of Money

We found a cute little place that sells reasonable Japanese Fare. Soba and Tempura was dinner. If you see a wall of Money, it will be the place; try to spot your country's currency there.

Since we still had energy left for the day, we had a game of bowling at the nearby Round 1
Round 1

Bowling rates were reasonable. They even had a unique bowling pin not to be found anywhere. But don't believe it, see below...

We took a stroll on Ebisu Bashi-Suji Shopping street before returning to the Hotel.
Ebisu Bashi-Suji Shopping street

Nara Day Trip Video

Want to see more?
Check out The Wacky Duo Youtube Channel for more videos.

Highlights: Kyoto, Arashiyama Bamboo Forest, Fushimi-Nari Shrine, Nishiki Market

Another day... another day trip!

This time we head to Kyoto to see Kyoto 2 iconic attractions- The Arashiyama Bamboo Forest and the Fushimi Inari Shrine.

Want a fuss-free way to visit Kyoto from Osaka?

Book these value-for-money deals from Klook.

Klook: Kyoto Temples and Shrines Day Tour from with meal
Covers - Fushimi - Inari-Taisha, Kiyomizu-Dera, Kinkaku-Ji. Arashiyama

Klook: Kyoto Sagano Romantic Train, Arashiyama, Kiyomizudera & Fushimi Inari-Taisha Day Tour
Covers the popular Kyoto attractions with a Romantic Train ride

ATTRACTION: Arashiyama Bamboo Forest
Getting there 

1)Namba Station - Umeda Station ( Midosuji Line)
2)Walk to Osaka Station. Osaka station-Kyoto (JR Tokaido-Sanyo Line)
3)Kyoto-SagaArashiyama Station
Kyoto Station

We took a train to Kyoto Main Station before switching trains to Arashimiya. There are many ways to get to Kyoto from Osaka, including the Rapid train and even the Shinkansen. The latter will be the fastest and best option if you hold the JR pass. Otherwise, the regular JR trains would do about 15 minutes longer.

The whole journey took us a manageable 90 mins. So do not worry about the final fare. You can do a top-up before exiting the station ( the trip from Osaka Station does not indicate the food to Saga-Arashiyama.

After about 90 minutes, we arrived at the Arashiyama Bamboo Forest. Getting to the Forest was a tricky affair. We used Apple Maps on the phone to guide us. Otherwise, when exiting the station, look for a Locomotive Display.

 Follow the minor road and make a turn towards the main road. Go straight ( not on the main road), and you will reach the entrance at the end of the path. You should pass a mini Shrine / Temple as above along the way.

Arashiyama Bamboo Forest is located within a straight path. The forest's densest part is about 800 meters into the forest.

Don't worry about getting lost; there is only one path in and out. You might be disappointed if you had seen photos of empty trails and bamboo forests. It gets crowded there during the day. The best time to visit would be very early in the morning or late evening.

You will pass by the Nonomiya shrine and Tenryuji Temple along the way.

We had a quick peek before heading back to the entrance.
Nonomiya shrine

If walking is too tiring, hire a rickshaw and travel in style instead.

Book your Rickshaw Ride from Klook here

There were food options just outside the bamboo forest. Grab a bite before heading to the next destination. If you are heading to Fushimi Inari, we suggest not filling up your stomach here as there are plenty more food options to choose from there.

Want to visit Nara and Kyoto on the same day?
You can with a day trip to Nara Todaji and Arashiyama Day tour from Klook
This is value for money as it combines 2 cities in one for those with limited time.

You can get our entire itinerary for the Kyoto day trip here.

ATTRACTION: Fushimi Inari
Getting There :
1)Saga-Arashiyama Station to Kyoto (San-In Line)
2)Kyoto-Inari Station (Nara Line)
Top Tripadvisor attraction in Kyoto

Our next stop was voted Tripadvisor's number one destination in Kyoto - Fushimi-Inari Shrine. This shrine is considered to be a critical Sinto Shrine in Kyoto.

Here you could see many Kimono-clad locals and foreigners alike all decked out to soak in the atmosphere.

Fushimi-Inari shrine is famous for the thousands of Torri gates that line its path towards the wooden forest of Mount Inari. These Torri fates are donated by individuals and companies. The names of the donors were written on the gates. The hike to the summit will take about 2-3 hours.

Given the long walk, you may have empty passages in front of you. But, in reality, it can get very crowded, especially in the beginning.

If you want to get the perfect photo of yourselves and the gates on an empty path, your best bet is actually on the way back. There are 2 sets of gates leading up. One is the entrance, and the other is the exit. Both are one way only. We suggest taking the first exit and making your way out. The exit has fewer people during the day, and it is possible to find stretches all to yourself for that perfect pose!

After the mini 'photo session', we head to the mini food street next to the shrine. If you think Dotonbori has the best food in Osaka, this street has the best street food in Kyoto.

The yakitori looked exceptionally good. However, we recommend you have a bite first before continuing your journey.

On the way back, we found a shop that sells the elusive Taiyaki (Japanese Fish shape cake with fillings); we just have to try it!

After a mini feast, we decided to head to Kyoto's Kitchen, Nishiki Market, to search for more exotic street food to sample.

ATTRACTION: Nishiki Market
Getting There 
Fushimi-Inari Station - Gion Shijo Station - Walk
Kamo River

Getting to Nishiki Market is accessible from Fushimi- Inari. Just note that you must take the train from the Fushimi-Inari station and NOT the Inari station. Upon reaching Gio-Shijo Station, you must walk past the beautiful Kamo River.

Nishiki Market is also known as Kyoto Kitchen. Here, you can find a wide variety of raw Japanese food to bring back to cook. The street food scene here is different from your usual Japanese Street Food. For one, you could try the Octopus Head with Egg.

This was the main reason we were here, as the youngest family member wanted to have a go!

Nishiki Market can get really crowded, and navigating it is challenging for small kids due to its narrow lanes. For those new to Kyoto, you should head to the nearby Ninenzaka instead to see the old Kyoto that lives in the traditional houses that lines the lane. Then, you could walk up to Kiyomizu Temple when you are there too. We were there a few years ago, so we decided to opt for Nishiki Market for this trip.
Kiyomizu Temple

On Hindsight, we might be better off booking a day trip as the cost are similar. Besides, transportation is covered, so you do not have the hassle of finding out how to get to the attractions.

You can book the tours here.

Klook: Kyoto Temples and Shrines Day Tour from with meal
Covers - Fushimi - Inari-Taisha, Kiyomizu-Dera, Kinkaku-Ji. Arashiyama

Klook: Kyoto Sagano Romantic Train, Arashiyama, Kiyomizudera & Fushimi Inari-Taisha Day Tour
Covers the popular Kyoto attractions with a Romantic Train ride

You can also check out our full one-day itinerary in  Kyoto here.

Kyoto Day Trip

Want to see more? 

Check out The Wacky Duo Youtube Channel for more videos.

Day 7

Highlights: Karaoke, UFO Catcher, Dotonbori Food Street

If you had been to Japan, you would know that Monday is not a good day for sightseeing. As a result, most tourist attractions ( especially those run by the public sector) were closed on Monday!
Daiso Japan

Since we were staying at Dotonbori, there was always shopping and food to keep us occupied. Time to find a Japanese-flavoured Kit Kat to bring home.

After shopping, we took a break and headed to Round 1 for Karaoke. It was slightly confusing to book a session. You must book a room and order a food/ drink per person. We recommend ordering food as drinks come in free flow at the counter outside. That is where we had our lunch too. For approximately SGD 40, we got food and a room to sing to our heart's content for an hour. Not a bad deal in our books.

Next up, we hit the UFO arcades around Dotonbori. Besides Round 1 and Taito, there are at least 3 other smaller arcades in the vicinity. We visited most of them for the day.

The branded name arcades are harder to win. So we went to a No name arcade and had success there.

How many toys did we save from the arcade machine?

Before we show you, we are letting you in on our little secret...we are Ninja-trained UFO Catchers in disguise.

Have your doubts?

Check out our haul for the whole trip. We needed an extra 3 bags to pack them!

After stashing our catches in the Hotel, we return to Dotonbori for one last bite at the Street Food.

We were entertained by the Turkish Ice Cream man during our purchase. But, sometimes,  it is the process of buying the food that makes it entertaining.
Turkish Ice Cream Man at Dotonbori

We ate so much that we decided it would be best to showcase what we think you need to try in a video instead.

Day 8
Highlights: Tennoji Zoo

Our flight was in the evening. We decided we still had time to do some sightseeing and headed to the nearby Tennoji Zoo for our last attraction.

Getting there 
Namba Station - Dobutsuen-Mae Station ( Midosuji Line)
Tennoji Zoo

The zoo is another place we like to explore overseas. We have been to the Ueno Zoo in Tokyo, Taronga Zoo in Sydney, Perth Zoo and Melbourne Zoo. It is almost a must to visit zoos on our overseas trip. Tennoji Zoo is also part of Osaka Amazing Pass Attractions, so you can use it here, too, if time permits.

The weather was pretty cool to visit the zoo. Compared to the Singapore Zoo, the Osaka Zoo is much smaller. Most smaller animals are housed in a cage or small enclosed space. The zoo's highlight was the petting zoo, where we got to pet a Guinea Pig.

The downside to Tennoji Zoo was the number of animals per enclosure. Most animals come in pairs, but we see a specific section with only 1 animal. So it can get lonely sometimes, mainly if you belong to a socialised species.
Spot the lonely Chimpanzee

We spent a couple of hours in the zoo, and soon it was time to head back to the Hotel to pick up our luggage.
If you have more time in Tennoji, you could add nearby attractions such as the Shitennoji Temple and Tsutenkaku (the Effiel Tower of Naniwa').

The shopping district of Shinsekai is also a tourist attraction resembling the streets of Dotonbori. The shopping district is just opposite the zoo.

There was even a shooting gallery there for you to win some snacks.
Naturally, we had to try it before heading back.
Sharp Shooter

Soon it was time to leave for Kansai Airport. We took the ANA flight back, so it will be a flight back to Tokyo before connecting back to Singapore. Getting to Kansai Airport from Dotonbori is a breeze. Just use the Nankai Airport Express departing from Namkai Namba Station.

The only catch... walking to the station with ALL our 7 luggage!
Heading Home

We recommend taking the Rapi: t. This is a limited express service between Kansai Airport Station and Namba. Seats are reserved so it does not get crowded. There are also spaces to put your bags. Rapid:t ( Pronounced Rapido) tickets can be booked from Klook. You can exchange the key for the physical at the Nankai Electric Railway ticketing counter.
Bonus points for looking like a train straight out of a futuristic anime comic book.

So there you have it, the entire 8-day itinerary for families.

If you are interested in the attractions, we recommend Klook for your tickets. We got some of the best deals via Klook during our trip to Osaka.

Deals are featured in this post.

Goodbye Osaka

Want more of Osaka and Japan?

Cross Hotel Review

*Information correct as of Jan 2018

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  1. First time came across your blog from FB Japan Travel, Friendly Discussion Group and your blog is amazing. Your two boys are so cute and adorable.

  2. Amazing write up. It brings me back to the time i was in osaka. You beautiful shots btw. What camera are you using?

    1. Thanks for the compliments . I used the Sony A7Riii for most of the shots :)

  3. Regularly read your blog. Thanks for share very informative post. Keep it up.

  4. Hi, may I know what type of train or bus ticket did you buy for the whole journey? I am quite confused about the train system, not sure whether to buy local train ticket on top of JR pass. Thank you!

    1. We used Single Train tickets. The only time we did not was when we had the Osaka Pass with the 2 days free train rides

  5. Hi was reading your post on your Osaka trip and love your initinerary. Could advise how much you send per pax on average for this trip?

    1. For family of 4 , excluding airfares was about SG 8K

    2. Forgot to add, this includes 5 days in Tokyo as well

  6. Very informative travel blog. Will be travelling with my family to Osaka in November with similar itinerary so useful to read your experience. Wonder if you will recommend Universal Port Hotel vs The Park Front Hotel at USJ? Much thanks.

    1. The Park Front Hotel is nearer, but it was an easy 5 minutes walk from Universal Port Hotel.If you are heading to Tempozan Ferris Wheel / Legoland / Aquarium, the Universal Port would be more convenient as the ferry is just outside the hotel

  7. How did you manage to use the Osaka Amazing Pass over so many days? I thought it had to be used on consecutive days?

    1. We used it for only 2 days. The last day was additional cost on our own. If you have time , you can try to squeeze it in for 2 days.

  8. Hi, for the Osaka Amazing Pass, do you just tap it at the fare gates of the subway stations? Or do we have to exchange it for train tickets at the counter before we are able to enter the stations? Thanks!

    1. You can tap it at the fare gates if I remember correctly.

  9. hi,

    Is it convenient to travel by public transport on the places that you have visited?

    1. We visited everywhere with Public Transport. No problem with it :)

  10. Hihi. Great to hv came across ur blog. Was wondering if u will recommend juz staying my 4 nights at hotel universal port and travel out to dontonori and nara rather than change hotel like u did.. cannot imagine the hassle lugging luggage and 3 kids...

    1. It might be better to stay in dontobori and travel to USJ as it might be easier for day trip to Nara . If you do not mind slightly longer commute . Staying in one location would be fine

  11. Hi, thanks for the great blog post, very informative and clear. I was wondering if the day tour for Kyoto from Klook is worth. For 2 adults + 1 child that will cost around $320 in total. Do you have some comparison in terms of how much the transport and admission fee would cost for similar itinerary if we do it on our own? If you don't , that's totally fine.. just trying my luck to see if it can help me decide. thanks

    1. For DIY, not including of meal , you just have to pay for the train rides. I am not sure how much it cost but its lesser than $320. The upside is that you can go where you want, but planning to go to certain places ( eg temples ) might be challenging as only buses head to certain places. We did alot of walking compared to taking a tour. Hope it helps.

  12. Can I pls check where did you stay in Osaka and Tokyo? Thanks.

    1. We stayed in universal port hotel and cross hotel in Osaka

      For Tokyo we stayed in Grand Nikki Odaiba

  13. Hi, other than the Osaka Amazing Pass, do you use other passes to travel around Osaka or just buy tickets direct at the stations for every trip?

    1. We paid for single trips. Due to our location, it was quite easy to travel around so transport passes was not necessary for us.

  14. Hi,

    Great itinerary! Can I ask did you visit Osaka in December?

  15. Hi, I am travelling to Osaka this Dec with tweens. Never been to such a cold place and I am frankly kinda worried. Can you share some ideas how do you dress the kids or what material or type of coats do u use?


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