Now that Air New Zealand will resume direct flights from Auckland to KIX (Kansai International Airport) in September, it is a viable option for people visiting western Japan and beyond. If you have a day or two in Osaka with kids, what are the places to visit? I would suggest Universal Studio Japan to spend a day, and if you have another half a day, Kaiyukan Osaka Aquarium.
Universal Studio Japan (USJ) is a 12 minutes’ trip by train from Osaka station. You could stay in a hotel near the theme park if your kids would be very tired after a late night, but you can easily reach other parts of Osaka to stay in more budget friendly hotels.
Currently the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is a hugely popular attraction. (A kiwi friend of mine works at Ollivanders.) Jurassic Park-The Ride has recently opened. My daughter has an annual pass and tried this ride with her friend. The following is her comment. “Looks terribly scary when you see it rotating. Once you are seated you face down 90 degrees with legs fastened and with a robust bar coming down you actually feel safter than other roller coasters. It is a bit cumbersome that you must take off your glasses and take everything out of your pockets.” New Super Mario area by Nintendo will open in time for the Tokyo Olympic Games in 2020.
Kaiyukan is located across the harbour from USJ and taking a taxi is the easiest. (You can take trains and ferries, or, even walk.) It is a much bigger aquarium than Kelly Tarlton’s in Auckland, so ¥7,000 for a family of four could be justified. After seeing lots of fish, you can go back to Osaka station and visit Pokemon Center, another popular place for kids.
So, a couple of days in sightseeing Osaka with kids are sorted. If you have more time, I would suggest visiting Nara, rather than Kyoto. Please wait for another article to find out why.