Osaka with kids: More than we bargained for

Posted by in Mike's blog

We have taken the Bunny around the world.  Before her 2nd birthday (when she could ride on airplanes for free) she had been to Montreal, Toronto, Paris, Rome, Pisa, Tokyo, Osaka and Seoul.  We consider ourselves to be experienced at travelling with kids, but last month…we lost to Osaka.

We’ve since identified the problems.  Some have solutions, others don’t.  Between the Turtle needing to stop for mommy milk and diaper changes and the Bunny running out of steam mid-day (she’s too old for a stroller now), we learned the hard way that we’re in a different stage of parenthood and we need to adapt.  Some parts of Osaka that we failed to account for hit us hard:

Osaka’s subway system

The Osaka subway isn’t hard to figure out.  The lines are colour coded and the stations all have numbers in case the names are difficult to remember.  Lots of day pass options are only a quick web search away (we went for the Osaka unlimited pass on day 1 and the kaiyu ticket on day 2).

The hard part was the transfers.  Many of the stations we transferred had platforms that were very far apart.  Take this station for example, which is kind of like 2 stations joined together with a hallway (a common layout in Osaka).   With the whole family, some transfers took almost 30 minutes even though the trains were coming every 3-4 minutes.  All the time went to walking/carrying children through hallways, up and down escalators and stopping for potty breaks.  When we had bags, finding elevators added to this time.

Osaka station is a beast of its own.  We passed through 4 times.  45-60 minutes is an appropriate amount of time to save for going through the mess.

The hordes

Osaka is crowded, we know that.  It’s more crowded on holiday weekends, we know that too.  We shouldn’t have been surprised when we tried to go to the aquarium and there were 5 or 6 layers of people all trying to watch the same fish tank over and over again, but we were.  The Bunny learned to push her way past people’s knees to get to the front.  The aquarium was really cool…but it might have been cooler with a few thousand people missing.

No diapers

We ran into this problem last time we went to Osaka in 2011, so we decided to start our hunt for diapers BEFORE the Turtle ran out.  We found some on attempt #5 or 6 at a department store.  Supermarkets and pharmacies don’t seem to carry diapers for babies in Osaka.  Everybody has diapers for old people though.  This is a sign of the times…

Taking the kids to Osaka was challenging, but not without rewards.  Here are some of the fun things we did: