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Osaka/Tokyo in 8 days 2007/10/27 00:31
Osaka City
My family with 3 kids (11, 9 & 4 yrs) will be in Osaka from Dec 19 to Dec 26. Our itinerary is as follows. I would really appreciate your advice. Is the itinerary doable? Too packed? Am I missing places that I must see in Osaka?

Day 1 Wed:Arrive in Osaka Hotel around 11am. Explore Kita - Umeda Sky building, HEP Five Ferris Wheel, underground mall. ShinSaibashi Street. Dinner at Dotombori

Day 2 Thurs: Visit Universal Studios

Day 3 Fri: Osaka Science Museum (are there neraby neighbourhoods for us to explore?)
Take shinkansen to Tokyo after lunch. Arrive in Tokyo. Explore Ginza.
Dinner at Roppongi Hills

Day 4 Sat: Tsukiji Fish Market, Shibuya, Harajuku, Ometesando, Meiji Shrine

Day 5 Sun: Any recommendations for things to do in Tokyo? We plan to leave for Osaka after lunch.

Day 6 Mon: Osaka - we would like to visit the wholesale market in the morning. Is Central Wholesale Mart or Kuromin Ichiba Market a better bet? We will be staying at a hotel around Umeda.
Osaka Aquarium
Suntory Museum
Osaka Castle
Is the Aquarium too far from the Osaka castle?

Day 7 Tues: Day trip to Kyoto or Kobe (can't decide which so would appreciate your advice. I would like places where the kids will have something to do & won't be bored).

Day 8 Wed: Return home on a morning flight :(

I plan to get the 7-Day JR pass. Do you think it is worthwhile? Can the JR pass be used for travelling to the places I have listed above, and for travelling within Osaka and in Tokyo?
Will shinkansen be packed travelling from Osaka to Tokyo and back, on Fri & Sun? Sun Dec 23 will be a national holiday in Japan. Should I buy the reserved seat pass (which costs more)given the holiday season and that we have 3 kids?

Is there a airport bus from Kansai Airport that I can take to my hotel at Umeda? How long would the journey be? Would anyone know the cost?

I understand the shinkansen from Osaka stops at Tokyo Station. How far is Tokyo Station to Ginza? Is it better to take a taxi or a train to our hotel in Ginza?

I would really appreciate your help with my itinerary and my questions. Many many thanks in advance!

by Susie  

I'm not a planning expert but 2007/10/27 09:26
if you can get a map, it might help writing on the map notes of where places are, and what area they are in, at least if you get lost with the family you can ask for directions

best of luck on your trip
by by the way rate this post as useful

transport 2007/10/27 22:21
I agree with the earlier post definitely write the name of the hotel in very clear writing in case the inevitable happens.

With 2 adults we tended to get a little lost.

The transfer and customs does take time - about 1hour, then the train into town. They say if you do a round trip to Tokyo from Osaka it covers the JR price.

JR is for trains only, and not subways - so travelling within city of Osaka is mainly by subway.

If do buy the JR pass - you can exchange the coupon at kasai airport - then book the transfer train using the pass (otherwise you may take the slower train for a lower price or we paid about $A39 for 2 for the express train into Osaka.

There is an airport bus at Kansai (it had finished running by the time we cleared customs) takes same period of time. Not sure of the time.

When booking the trains at the JR office (you will find some that speak extremely good levels of English and others less so) try to book as many trains in advance. You can make changes in reservations for no cost. Reserved seats are part of the fee price.

You can also book the train transfer from Shin-Osaka station (where the shinkasen stops) back to the airport. Osaka subway is relatively simple (after a little orientation)

Sunday back from Tokyo may be problematic. As we tried to come back from Tokyo to Osaka on a Sunday and only had the option of a morning train.

Re Kyoto or Kobe. We only visited Kyoto and loved the shrines (pretty easy to get around using subway)

Is there a airport bus from Kansai Airport that I can take to my hotel at Umeda? How long would the journey be? Would anyone know the cost?

We've only use the subway in Tokyo - its a bit of an underground trek between tokyo railway station and the underground. Get a map of both rail and subway before you go. Ginza subway isn't far from Tokyo. Ask the hotel how far they are from the subway and what number exit eg) exit 3 to use.

We found Osaka had escalators everywhere at the subway. Experience thus far in Tokyo is lots of long underground connecting passages (all clean and well lit) but there are lots of stairs and very few lifts. Thinking of your small child and luggage.

It sounds very exciting!

by lisa rate this post as useful

Osaka castle 2007/10/28 06:11
Hi, You might want to skip the museum and just hit the castle and aquarium. Both are huge and you might be rushed too much. Also. Take a train to umeda, not a bus.
by timmy96815 rate this post as useful

Osaka 2007/10/28 09:55
you can use the JR pass on the loop lines in both Tokyo and Osaka. Osaka castle is easily accessible from Kita Umeda via the loop line. you can also use the loop line to go relatively close to the Aquarium then take the new tram to the Aquarium area (the new tram is part of the subway system and is an automated guided transit system). on the Sunday in Tokyo you can take a similar system to go to Odaiba. The Toyota mega web there is an amazing car showroom with concept cars. interesting for kids and adults as you can sit in the cars etc.
I just came back from a 2 weeks trip to Japan. Once again it took me much longer than planned to visit places as there are so many unusual things that catch one's interest and before long a 2 hrs visit turns into 4... for example I was planning to see only one temple in the Myoshin-jin complex. That temple was closed to tourists..but another one nearby had a festival and we just had to stay.. we also found an unusual restaurant in the vicinity and the lunch turned into a long pleasant conversation with local people (no I don't speak Japanese..) so one must be flexible...
you mentionned something about a mall in Kita Umeda area. .the one under the Sky building is small enough but the one under the plaza where the stations for the 3 railways (JR, Hanshin, Hankyu) are located is huge and a confusing maze. A couple of times I also had to stay and check department stores from top to bottom rather than face the huge crowds at rush hours. Don't forget to have a look at the the amazing refrigerators etc .at Yodobashi cameras b yJR Osaka station.
by Plantagenesta rate this post as useful

Having done it myself 2007/10/30 02:18
Make sure you get takoyaki while you're in Dotonbori. Keep in mind a lot of the area is red-light. Not dangerous, and the promiscuous areas are pretty quiet during the day, but don't freak if you happen to see a nude ad for a strip club alongside all the family-friendly stuff.

I've done the Kansi trip before, and were I you, I would skip Kyoto (it's much too large for a single day anyway; good to get lost in but bad when you're on a schedule) and take a train from Osaka to Himeji to see the castle there. You will be very glad you did. :)

The high school kids in Tokyo dress up mostly on Sundays IIRC so that's a better day to hit the Harajuku Bridge. The Metro Govt Building is near and worth seeing while you there. (And it's free.)

Day 6, recommend spending the morning at the market street at Sensoji in Asakusa. At the shrine you will probably see cosplayers on Sunday.
by Jason rate this post as useful

Thanks! 2007/11/1 23:35
Thank you all for being so helpful. I am going to digest your advice and relook my itinerary. Will ask for more advice soon.
by Susie rate this post as useful

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