Our One Day Osaka Trip Itinerary with Kids

Osaka is one of Japan's perennial cultural haven. It's also frequently dubbed as one of the top food cities in the world—a wholesome place of retreat for the whole family. While most tourists simply resort to visiting Tokyo and other major cities like Kyoto and Fukuoka, the often overlooked Osaka also has a lot to offer.

With that said, if you're visiting Japan without exploring beyond the main cities, then you stand to miss out on a lot of things that make the country truly unique and wonderful. Otherwise, Osaka is one of the best places to book your stay, get your feet set and explore.

After all, the country's third-largest city boasts a central location that lends itself well to public transport and a bustling downtown with a precious mix of modern and old Japan.


Staying at Hilton Osaka Made Commuting Around Easy

The key to exploring Osaka starts with finding the right hotel, and for us that's Hilton Osaka. The establishment sits close to the city center—a few minutes away from urban hot spots, main airports, stations for both bullet and regular express trains, Osaka museum and pretty much everything you need for an authentic Japanese experience.

Our day trip to the Kinkakuji Temple, for instance, went very smoothly since the JR train station that connects to Kyoto station was just walking distance from the hotel. For foreign tourists, there is an option to purchase a Japan Rail Pass if you wish to have an efficient mode of getting in and out of cities.

We also chose Hilton because our Osaka itinerary, outside of famous attractions, has a lot to do with food, shopping and theme park visits. Hilton Osaka afforded us quick access to local food and multiple gateways for exploring neighboring cities.

If you're wondering why we're so comfortable taking kids on a walk around town, then a huge part of that comes down to our ability to efficiently pack our stuff. In particular, we're using TernX's stroller suitcase, which has ergonomic storage options and can be carried in your preferred style and comfort.


Osaka Trip Itinerary_Rikuro Cheesecake

Try the Popular Rikuro Cheesecake at Rikuro Daimaru Shinsaibashi

If you share our love for Japanese cheesecake, then Rikuro Daimaru is the place to be. The store is located at the Shinsaibashi shopping street, just 10 minutes away from Hilton Osaka.

Rikuro is known to get long queues during peak hours, which is why we recommend dropping by at 10am when the shop opens and is least busy. Alternatively, if you're flying into Osaka via Itami airport, they also have a store there with less queue.

The cheesecake is flavorful and practically a guaranteed hit for kids. So, if you can make time in the morning to pick up a box or two, then you'll have yourself the perfect snack as you go around the local attractions.


Visit the Umeda Sky Building

One of the most iconic urban landmarks near the hotel is the Umeda Sky Building, which is within walking distance away from the Osaka Station and Hilton Osaka.

The main attraction here is the Floating Garden Observatory which links the twin towers through their respective 39th floors. It's an impressive architectural feat that also provides visitors with a panoramic view of the Osaka metro. Aside from this, the observatory has a variety of restaurants and shops.

We visited during the morning so that the kids could get a clear view of the cityscape and with hopes that the long escalator ride wouldn't be as nerve-wracking. It still was! But it's worth the thrill.

We imagine the towering buildings and bright neon lights would look stunning at night from the observatory—so that's something worth checking out once we've come around with more time in hand.


Osaka Trip Itinerary_Okonomiyaki by Kiji

Fancy Okonomiyaki at a MICHELIN Guide Restaurant, Kiji Osaka

We stayed in Umeda district for lunch and enjoyed a savory meal at the Michelin Bib Gourmand-rated Kiji, a popular and authentic hole in a wall okonomiyaki restaurant in Osaka. Bib Gourmand restaurants are recognized for their excellent dishes at affordable price tags. So, if you only have time to visit one okonomiyaki place during your trip, it best be Kiji.

After lunch, we strolled back to Osaka Station, which is roughly 10 minutes away on foot. With our next destination set, we took the Osaka Loop Line express train to reach the Osaka Castle via Osakajokoen Station.


Osaka Trip Itinerary_Osaka Castle

Visit Osaka Castle, One of Japan's Most Famous Landmarks

The historic Osaka Castle is surrounded by a large park area which is most beautiful during the cherry blossom season. The castle itself is a hallmark of Japanese culture, having been constructed in the late 16th century by orders of Toyotomi Hideyoshi, a powerful feudal lord and successor to Oda Nobunaga.

Historical context adds more to the presentation of iconic places, but even without it, the compound is picturesque and the castle looks prestigious. You can freely roam the area around The Main Castle, Osaka Castle Park, Osaka Castle Museum and Observation Deck and the Osaka Museum of History.

The place is open from 9am to 5pm but do check online about the updated Osaka Castle operating hours and fees before making the trip. Seasonal events are held in the castle grounds, so you might want to plan your visit around that or the aforementioned cherry blossoms.

We had fun and spent the entire afternoon exploring the compound, and one of our favorite spots was definitely the observation deck of the castle with overlooking views over the city.


Osaka Trip Itinerary_Hilton Osaka Entrance

Wine and Dine at the Hilton Plaza Osaka

After exploring Osaka Castle, you can take either the subway or the Osaka Loop Line back to JR Osaka Station. Again, you will only need a 10-minute from the station back to Hilton Osaka, which is convenient for anyone coming off an eventful day trip.

For our family, we wined and dined at the hotel. Hilton tends to have an exquisite selection both for local and international flavors, and that stays true here. The food corners are even handily separated in the buffet to make each cuisine stand out.

Our Diamond membership also gave us access to a few extra amenities, but even with less, the location and accommodation made for a charming rest stop.

Osaka Travel Itinerary FAQ

Osaka is home to more than a handful of iconic Japanese landmarks and attractions including the scenic UNESCO world heritage site Mozu-Furuichi Ancient Kofun in the southern Osaka Prefecture, and Universal Studios' theme park in the busy Osaka Bay Area.

There's also the Tsuyuno Tenjinsha Shrine in Umeda, a small Shinto shrine that is said to have been founded 1,300 years ago, which we would love to see if we revisit Umeda.

How Many Days Do You Need for Osaka?

You could easily spend a few days or even a week in Osaka without getting bored, but if you have a checklist of local places to visit, then a 3 to 5-day trip should help make for an unforgettable adventure in and around Osaka.

Should I Go to Kyoto or Osaka First?

You can start the trip both ways since these two historic cities are well connected by rail and other modes of public transport.

In fact, you can choose to stay at Hilton Osaka and make day trip arrangements to Kyoto, which is barely 30 minutes away if you take a bullet train. Just make sure to secure a Japan rail pass beforehand for seamless local travel during your stay.

Is 2 nights in Osaka Enough?

We think two nights is enough to make the trip memorable, although an extra day or two should give you more room to explore the hidden gems in Osaka.

Is Kyoto or Osaka More Fun?

Both Kyoto and Osaka are beautiful cities, although the former comes across as more traditional in terms of activities. For its part, Osaka has a more dynamic nightlife for adults to explore. There's the Dotonbori district for example, famous for its neon lights and entertainment options.

Osaka is also arguably cheaper. There's the bustling street food scene for starters, and the well-established transport hubs that will help you go in and out of Osaka with relative ease and efficiency. Kyoto, of course, is widely considered as Japan's cultural hub, which means there are definitely separate appeals for both depending on your priorities or the purpose of your trip.


Osaka Trip Itinerary_Kiji Okonomiyaki Restaurant

Summing Up on Our 1 Day Osaka Trip Itinerary

We had a marvelous day trip at Osaka that concluded within the familiar grounds of Hilton. We were satisfied with our day itinerary although we concede that it's challenging to fit everything that's good and wonderful in Osaka with such limitations in mind.

If you're working on a similar day trip, we recommend choosing a central location to book your accommodation. From our experience, our kids loved the trip to Osaka Castle, but if that wasn't so much the case, a visit to the Osaka Bay Area's marine aquarium or theme park would have been our next best effort.

As a starting point, the Umeda Sky Building should cater to almost anyone. It also sets up the day perfectly as you're able to see the heart of Osaka from a beautiful vantage point that both parents and children can enjoy.

When it comes to food, you'll have no shortage of options across Osaka. Aside from appetizing local offerings, you'll find it convenient that restaurants and food complexes have direct access to roads and nearby stations. You can jump right back in if you please!

If you're interested in our experience with Hilton, you can also check out our full Hilton Osaka review to help you plan a more detailed stay.


Blog Category

Flying With Kids

Going Places

Traveling With Kids