As restrictions on domestic tourism begin to ease in Japan, here are some of the best outdoor and indoor attractions to take your little ones in Kansai this summer. Needless to say: take note of the irregular opening times and anti-Covid measures being enforced at each venue.
5. Nara Park
With over 1,000 sacred deer roaming the 1,600 acres that make up Nara Park, this is a great place for young families to enjoy the outdoors, interact with the wildlife, and take in some of the historical sights within. Crackers for deer are available for purchase in the park and young kids will no doubt enjoy feeding the friendly animals.
Coronavirus Update: The park is fairly quiet due to the decrease of tourists in the area. Good for distancing yourself from others in the large, open area.
4. Kobe Animal Kingdom
Kids will surely love the range of unusual animals living in this kingdom, from the Senegal Parrot to their highlight: the grumpy looking Shoebill. Petting areas and scheduled interactive feeding events are available throughout the day.
Entry: Adult (junior high and above) ¥1,800; Elementary student ¥1,000; Preschool (4-5 years old) ¥300; Senior (65+) ¥1,300.
Open: July: Weekdays 10am-4pm (last entry at 3:30pm); Weekends 9:30am-5pm (last entry at 4:30pm); Closed Thursdays. August 1st – 23rd: Daily 9:30am-5pm (last entry 4:30pm).
Coronavirus Update: Park has reopened and has coronavirus guidelines are in place. Masks are mandatory.
3. Toei Kyoto Studio Park (Eigamura)
Immerse yourselves in a fully functioning Edo period film set. Dress up as a geisha or a samurai and reenact some of your favourite Japanese films. Take in some of the live ninja shows with some impressive stunts.
Entry: Adult ¥2,400; Junior High/High School ¥1,400; Elementary School (3+) ¥1,200; 50% discount for those with disabilities.
Open: Daily 10am-5pm (last entry at 4pm); closed Thurs (for now).
Coronavirus Update: Park has reopened but the English website is yet to be updated. Masks are mandatory for anyone over the age of 2. Individuals with a temperature of over 37.5℃ will be turned away. Park will be closed on Thursdays for the foreseeable future.
2. Osaka Aquarium
Boasting the largest tank in an aquarium in the world, take a two-and-a-half hour trip around the Pacific Ocean and marvel at some of the fascinating creatures living in the ocean nearby. Visit evenings after 5pm to see the sea transform with a light and sound display.
Entry: Adult (16+) ¥2,400; Child (Elementary/Junior High) ¥1,200; Infant (3+) ¥600.
Open: Weekdays 10:30am-7pm; Weekends 9am-7pm. Last admission at 6pm.
Coronavirus Update: Masks are mandatory. Individuals with a temperature over 37.5℃ will be turned away. Tickets must be booked online.
- Hirakata Park
With all the classic rides from a merry-go-round to a wooden rollercoaster, this theme park has something for all ages. Queues are relatively small, maximising the time for your family to enjoy the offerings of the park. To make the most of your time here, be sure to purchase the All Access Pass with your entry ticket to enjoy unlimited rides.
Price (including All Access Pass): Adult (Junior High and above) ¥4,500; Elementary School ¥3,800; Preschool (2+) ¥2,600.
Opening Hours: Vary. Check the website before going.
Coronavirus Update: Tickets to access the pool are pre-sold at Lawson convenience stores. Masks are mandatory for anyone over the age of 2. Individuals with a temperature of over 37.5℃ will be turned away. QR Codes for the Osaka Tracking System are displayed throughout the park.