Trip To Japan

Tokyo with Kids: A Family-Friendly Travel Guide

Ms Sasajima
Ayako Sasajima
Apr 6, 2024
Tokyo with Kids

Traveling with children can feel like a daunting task, but when the destination is as dynamic and diverse as Tokyo, the journey becomes an unforgettable adventure. Brimming with a unique fusion of tradition and futurism, Tokyo offers a multitude of family-friendly attractions that cater to kids of all ages. From towering skyscrapers and high-tech playgrounds to historic temples and serene parks, Tokyo is a vibrant city that promises an enriching and exciting experience for the whole family.

Tokyo, the bustling capital of Japan, is renowned for its rich cultural heritage, cutting-edge technology, and delectable cuisine. This cosmopolitan metropolis is also incredibly kid-friendly, featuring numerous theme parks, interactive museums, and educational attractions that are designed to entertain and inspire young minds. With careful planning and a little local knowledge, your family trip to Tokyo can be an educational escapade filled with fun, discovery, and unforgettable memories.

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Best Things to Do in Tokyo With Kids

National Museum of Nature and Science Tokyo, Japan
National Museum of Nature and Science Tokyo, Japan

Explore a Digital Art Wonderland at teamLab Borderless

A trip to Tokyo with kids wouldn't be complete without a visit to the digital art museum, teamLab Borderless. This museum offers an immersive and interactive experience that allows children to explore the world of art in a fun and engaging way. The museum is home to several exhibits that use digital technology to create stunning visual displays. From the Forest of Resonating Lamps to the Athletic Forest, your little ones will be captivated by the colorful, moving artwork that surrounds them.

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teamLab Borderless is not just a museum but a world of its own, where boundaries are blurred and creativity is limitless. It encourages children to think outside the box and interact with the artwork, making it an educational as well as entertaining experience.

Akihabara Electric Town for Tech and Games

For tech enthusiasts and gamers, a trip to Akihabara Electric Town is a must when visiting Tokyo. Known as the city center for electronics, this district is home to countless shops selling the latest gadgets, video games, and anime merchandise. From huge shopping malls to smaller specialty stores, Akihabara has something for everyone.

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Besides electronics, Akihabara is also famous for its vibrant otaku (diehard fan) culture. Here, you'll find numerous manga and anime stores, maid cafes, and arcades. If you're traveling with older kids or teenagers, they'll love exploring the whimsical world of Japanese pop culture in Akihabara. Don't forget to end your day by trying out some Japanese sweets from the vending machines scattered around the district!

Experience Samurai and Ninja Culture at Samurai Museum

A visit to the Samurai Museum in Tokyo presents an opportunity to delve deep into Japan's rich warrior history. However, if you're seeking a more immersive experience, consider extending your Japan itinerary to include the Samurai and Ninja Museum with Experience located in the heart of Kyoto. This interactive museum focuses on the history of Japan's legendary figures, allowing visitors to learn about the art of samurai swordsmanship and ninja techniques.

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At the Samurai and Ninja Museum, you can dress up in traditional samurai armor or ninja garb for excellent photo opportunities. The museum provides historical tours and lessons on swords, armors, weapons, and more. Whether you're a history buff or are simply looking for a fun activity for the whole family, this museum offers an unforgettable experience that brings the world of samurai and ninjas to life.

Time Travel to Edo at Hanayashiki Amusement Park

Stepping into Hanayashiki Amusement Park is like stepping back in time. As Japan's oldest amusement park, Hanayashiki offers a unique blend of modern attractions and traditional charm. From thrilling rides to enchanting performances, there's something for every member of the family to enjoy.

The park's Edo-period theme provides a unique opportunity for kids to learn about Japanese history in a fun and engaging way. They can try their hand at traditional games, enjoy authentic Edo-era street food, and even dress up as samurai or geisha for a memorable photo op. A visit to Hanayashiki is not just a day of fun but also a cultural experience that your kids will remember for years to come.

Visit Nakano Broadway for Manga and Collectibles

Nakano Broadway is a must-visit for families with older kids who are fans of manga, anime, or Japanese pop culture. This shopping complex is a treasure trove of manga, anime merchandise, collectibles, and vintage toys. Whether your kids are into the latest anime series or classic manga, they're sure to find something that piques their interest.

Nakano Broadway is a famous shopping mall of otaku people, the place is shop center of japanese manga anime figure model at Tokyo, Japan
Nakano Broadway is a famous shopping mall of otaku people, the place is shop center of japanese manga anime figure model at Tokyo, Japan

Beyond manga and anime, Nakano Broadway also offers a variety of other shops selling everything from clothing to food. It's a great place to sample some local snacks or pick up unique souvenirs. With its vibrant atmosphere and wide range of shops, Nakano Broadway provides a fun and unique shopping experience that both you and your kids will enjoy.

Visit the Cup Noodles Museum in Yokohama

Just a short walk from central Tokyo via train stations, Yokohama is home to the Cup Noodles Museum. This interactive museum is dedicated to instant noodles and their creator, Momofuku Ando. It's a fun and educational destination for families, offering an array of exhibits and activities that are sure to entertain both young kids and adults.

Little girl look up many cup noodles decoration on wall exhibition
Little girl look up many cup noodles decoration on wall exhibition

At the Cup Noodles Museum, visitors can learn about the history of instant noodles, from their invention to their impact on food culture worldwide. One of the highlights is the "My Cupnoodles Factory" where you can create your own original cup noodle by selecting soup flavors and toppings. The museum also features a children's playground, "Cupnoodles Park", which simulates the manufacturing process of Cup Noodles.

Best Kid-Friendly Attractions in Tokyo

Tokyo, the Japanese capital, is a city that caters to all ages with its mix of traditional culture, modern technology, and whimsical attractions. Whether your little ones are fans of animation, building blocks, or towering landmarks, Tokyo has a wealth of kid-friendly attractions that will make their time visiting Tokyo an unforgettable experience.

1. Ghibli Museum

For fans of Studio Ghibli films like "My Neighbor Totoro" and "Spirited Away," a visit to the Ghibli Museum in Tokyo should be on your Japan itinerary. This whimsical museum offers a magical insight into the world of Ghibli, showcasing the creativity and craftsmanship behind these beloved animations. The museum itself is a work of art, with every corner filled with intricate details and references to Ghibli movies.

Ghibli museum is a place that shows the work of Japanese animation Studio Ghibli
Ghibli museum is a place that shows the work of Japanese animation Studio Ghibli

Inside, you'll find exhibits featuring original sketches and storyboards, a theater screening exclusive short films, and a life-sized Cat Bus for younger children to play in. The rooftop garden, home to a five-meter-tall robot soldier from "Castle in the Sky," provides a fantastic photo opportunity. Please note that tickets must be purchased in advance as they are not sold at the museum.

  • Location: 1 Chome-1-83 Shimorenjaku, Mitaka, Tokyo 181-0013, Japan

  • Opening Hours: Usually 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM (varies by day and season)

  • Ticket Price: Approximately 1,000 JPY for adults (ticket purchase in advance is required)

2. Pokemon Center Tokyo

If your kids are into Pokemon, then the Pokemon Center in Tokyo is a must-visit. Located near the bustling Shibuya Station, this huge shopping mall dedicated to all things Pokemon is sure to delight both young and old fans. From plush toys to trading cards to clothing, you'll find a wide array of merchandise featuring your favorite Pokemon characters.

Parents with their children playing Pokemon branded arcade video games at Pokemon Center
Pokemon Center Tokyo

The Pokemon Center also often hosts special events and has interactive exhibits where kids can meet and take photos with Pokemon mascots. Whether you're a die-hard fan or just looking for unique Tokyo souvenirs, the Pokemon Center is a fun stop on your Tokyo tour.

  • Location: Sunshine City alpa 2F, 3 Chome-1-2 Higashiikebukuro, Toshima City, Tokyo 170-6002, Japan

  • Opening Hours: 10:00 AM to 8:00 PM

  • Ticket Price: Free entrance

3. Tokyo Skytree

Standing tall at 634 meters, the Tokyo Skytree is a sight to behold. As the tallest freestanding broadcasting tower in the world, it offers breathtaking views of Tokyo and beyond from its two observation decks. On a clear day, you might even see Mount Fuji in the distance.

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The lower deck, located at 350 meters, features a glass floor section for a thrilling view straight down. The higher deck stands at 450 meters and offers a panoramic view of the city. After taking in the sights, you can explore the various shops and restaurants in the Tokyo Skytree Town at the base of the tower.

  • Location: 1 Chome-1-2 Oshiage, Sumida City, Tokyo 131-8634, Japan

  • Opening Hours: 9:00 AM to 9:00 PM

  • Ticket Price: Around 2,060 JPY for adults to the Tembo Deck (350m), additional fee for the Tembo Galleria (450m)

4. LEGOLAND Discovery Center Tokyo

For those with young kids, the LEGOLAND Discovery Center in Tokyo is a fantastic indoor amusement park. Located in Odaiba, this attraction features interactive exhibits, rides, and a 4D cinema that are sure to keep little ones entertained for hours.

LEGOLAND Discovery Center Tokyo
LEGOLAND Discovery Center Tokyo

Kids can let their imagination run wild in the LEGO build and play zones, learn building tips from the Master Model Builder, or embark on a LEGO-themed adventure ride. There's also a miniature Tokyo cityscape constructed from over 1.5 million LEGO bricks, showcasing famous landmarks like Tokyo Tower and Tokyo Station. It's a perfect place for a fun-filled family day out in Tokyo.

  • Location: Decks Tokyo Beach Island Mall, 1 Chome-6-1 Daiba, Minato City, Tokyo 135-0091, Japan

  • Opening Hours: 10:00 AM to 8:00 PM (last admission at 6:00 PM)

  • Ticket Price: Approximately 2,300 JPY for adults, discounts available for children and online bookings

5. Tokyo Disneyland

Tokyo Disneyland is a must-visit for those seeking the magic and wonder of Disney in the heart of Japan. As the first Disney theme park outside of the United States, it has been captivating visitors since its opening in 1983. Covering 115 acres, Tokyo Disneyland boasts a variety of attractions, from thrilling rides to spectacular parades and shows.

The park is divided into seven themed lands, including Adventureland, Westernland, Fantasyland, and Tomorrowland, each offering a unique experience. Some of the park's highlights include Space Mountain, a high-speed rollercoaster through the stars, and the famous Shibuya Crossing-inspired "World Bazaar".

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The park also houses numerous restaurants and shops, making for a full day of fun. For a more immersive experience, consider staying at one of the Tokyo Disneyland hotels. Don't forget to check the Disneyland app for ride wait times and to plan your Tokyo Disneyland itinerary.

  • Location: 1-1 Maihama, Urayasu, Chiba 279-0031, Japan

  • Opening Hours: Typically 8:00 AM to 10:00 PM (varies by season)

  • Ticket Price: Around 7,500 JPY for a 1-day adult pass

6. Tokyo Joypolis

Tokyo Joypolis is another destination that promises endless fun and excitement. Located in Odaiba, this massive indoor theme park is packed with thrilling rides, virtual reality experiences, and arcade games. The park is divided into three floors, each brimming with different attractions.

For fans of Studio Ghibli, Tokyo Joypolis offers a virtual reality ride based on the film "Castle in the Sky". This interactive experience allows you to embark on a flying adventure, guided by enthusiastic English-speaking guides. Another must-visit attraction within Tokyo Joypolis is KidZania, an interactive city made for children to learn about different jobs through role-play. Here, little kids can try their hand at various professions, from firefighters to chefs, in a safe and educational environment.

  • Location: DECKS Tokyo Beach 3F-5F, 1 Chome-6-1 Daiba, Minato City, Tokyo 135-0091, Japan

  • Opening Hours: 10:00 AM to 10:00 PM

  • Ticket Price: Approximately 4,300 JPY for a passport ticket (unlimited rides)

7. Sumida Aquarium

If you're looking for a more tranquil experience, consider visiting the Sumida Aquarium. This aquatic wonderland is home to a diverse range of marine life, from colorful tropical fish to majestic sharks. The aquarium also offers interactive exhibits, where visitors can touch starfish and sea cucumbers.

Kid watching the shoal of fish swimming in oceanarium
Kid watching the shoal of fish swimming in oceanarium

For nature enthusiasts, nearby Ueno Park is a must-visit. Known as the country's oldest zoo, Ueno Zoo houses over 3,000 animals, including pandas and elephants. The park is also famous for its cherry blossoms, making it a popular spot during the spring season. Another serene spot in Tokyo is Shinjuku Gyoen, a large park known for its beautiful gardens and greenhouse.

  • Location: Tokyo Skytree Town Solamachi 5th & 6th floors, 1 Chome-1-2 Oshiage, Sumida City, Tokyo 131-0045, Japan

  • Opening Hours: Generally 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM

  • Ticket Price: Around 2,200 JPY for adults at Sunshine Aquarium, and 2,050 JPY for adults at Sumida Aquarium

Child-Friendly Japanese Cuisine

Japanese cuisine is universally appreciated for its unique flavors, presentation, and use of fresh ingredients. It's not just a gastronomical experience but also a visual delight. However, when it comes to children, there are certain dishes that particularly catch their fancy.

These include vibrant sushi rolls, comforting udon noodles, sweet tamago (omelette), curry rice, and playful oyakodon (chicken and egg bowl). Another favorite among kids is edamame - boiled and lightly salted soybeans, which serve as a healthy and delicious snack.

Restaurants and Cafes to Try

Tokyo, Japan provides an array of dining options that cater to families and children. Here are a few recommendations:

  • Kawaii Monster Cafe: With its vibrant decor and entertaining shows, this cafe is a hit among kids.

  • Tsukiji Outer Market: For a more traditional Japanese culinary experience, visit the stalls at this market offering fresh seafood, sushi, and other local delicacies.

  • Hello Kitty-themed cafe in Shinjuku: This cafe serves adorable Hello Kitty-inspired meals and houses a souvenir shop full of Hello Kitty merchandise.

  • National Museum's cafe near Yoyogi Park: Offering a kid-friendly menu, this cafe also provides a view of the beautiful park.

Interior view of the colorful thematic Kawaii Monster Cafe
Interior view of the colorful thematic Kawaii Monster Cafe

Fun Food Activities for Kids

Involving children in food-related activities is a great way to keep them entertained and develop their appreciation for cooking and food. Tokyo offers several such experiences.

  • Cooking Class at Panasonic Center: Here, kids can participate in a fun and educational cooking class where they learn to make simple Japanese dishes.

  • Candy-making at Tokyo Dome: Children can enjoy making their own candy under professional guidance.

  • Sushi-making Classes: These child-friendly classes provide easy-to-follow instructions and hands-on experiences. It's a great way for kids to learn about a key aspect of Japanese cuisine, and they also get to enjoy their creations afterward.

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Shopping for Kids in Tokyo

Tokyo is a veritable paradise for kids' shopping, from unique toys that capture the imagination to fashionable clothing that's as stylish as it is comfortable. Whether you're planning a Tokyo itinerary with a special focus on shopping or just want to pick up a few items during your visit, there are many stores and markets that cater specifically to children's interests and needs.

Best Toy Stores and Kids' Fashion Shops

When it comes to toy shopping in Tokyo, there's no shortage of options. Some of the top-rated stores include:

A Kiddy Land toy shop in Tokyo's Harajuku area
A Kiddy Land toy shop in Tokyo's Harajuku area
  • Kiddy Land: This store is more than just a toy shop; it's an experience. With multiple floors dedicated to different themes and characters, Kiddy Land offers a wide range of toys and merchandise that appeal to children (and adults) of all ages.

  • Hakuhinkan Toy Park: Located in the upscale Ginza district, Hakuhinkan Toy Park is one of Tokyo's largest and most popular toy stores. It features four floors of toys from around the world, including traditional Japanese toys, plushies, puzzles, and more.

  • Yamashiroya Toy Store: This seven-floor toy paradise located near Ueno park is filled with both Japanese and international toys. From anime figurines to educational games, there's something for every child here.

For kids' fashion, Uniqlo stands out as a favorite place to shop for baby and toddler clothes in Japan. Known for its simple, everyday wear, Uniqlo offers durable and comfortable clothing that can withstand the energy and activity levels of young children.

Souvenir Ideas for Children

Choosing souvenirs for children can be a fun part of your Tokyo shopping experience. Consider visiting these locations for some memorable and kid-appropriate mementos:

  • Tokyo Character Street: Located on the basement floor of the Tokyo station, this is the ultimate place for TV-struck kids to shop. It features a variety of shops selling merchandise related to popular Japanese and international characters.

  • Tokyo Solamachi at Tokyo Skytree: Besides enjoying the view from Japan's tallest structure, you can also shop for unique souvenirs here. The shopping complex houses many stores that sell character goods, traditional crafts, and other items that make great souvenirs.

  • Pokémon Center Tokyo and Nintendo Store: For fans of Pokémon and Nintendo games, these stores are a must-visit. They offer a wide range of merchandise, including toys, clothing, and other collectibles.

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Best Time to Visit Tokyo with Kids

When planning a trip to Tokyo with kids, choosing the right time to visit is crucial for a comfortable and enjoyable journey. According to various sources, any time of the year can be great for visiting Tokyo, depending on your interests and preferences.

However, spring (March to May) is particularly popular among tourists due to the pleasant weather and the chance to witness the beautiful cherry blossom season. Autumn (September to November) is another excellent choice as it offers mild temperatures, low humidity, and less chance of rain, not to mention the stunning fall foliage.

Happy family having fun in blossom spring garden sightseeing sakura or cherry blossom in Tokyo, Japan
Happy family having fun in blossom spring garden sightseeing sakura or cherry blossom in Tokyo, Japan

If you're planning to visit in June or July, be prepared for the rainy season. Waterproof shoes and plenty of indoor activities are recommended during this period. Despite the rain, these months can still offer a unique experience with lush green landscapes and fewer crowds.

Wrapping up Your Tokyo Family Adventure

Indeed, Tokyo is a city that knows how to entertain and educate its youngest visitors while keeping the adults equally engaged. The city's kaleidoscope of kid-friendly attractions, from interactive museums to expansive parks and themed cafes, ensures a trip that your family will remember fondly for years to come.

So, when you're planning your next family vacation, give Tokyo a spot on your itinerary. It's not just a destination; it's an experience – one that promises endless fun, rich cultural insights, and priceless family bonding moments.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Tokyo a good place to take children?

Tokyo is excellent for kids, offering a wide range of activities that cater to various interests. Attractions like Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea provide world-class entertainment, while educational spots like the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation engage young minds. Tokyo's public transport is child-friendly, and many restaurants welcome families, making it a convenient city to explore with children.

Which part of Japan is best for kids?

Tokyo stands out for its diversity, offering everything from theme parks to educational museums. Osaka is another great choice, especially with kid-friendly attractions like Universal Studios Japan and the interactive Osaka Aquarium. The choice depends on what experiences you want for your children—Tokyo for a bustling metropolis with endless activities, or Osaka for a mix of urban excitement and cultural charm.

Is Osaka or Tokyo better for kids?

Tokyo offers a broader range of activities, making it ideal for families seeking variety and adventure. Osaka, while smaller, provides a concentrated dose of fun and is known for its warm hospitality. If your kids love theme parks, Osaka's Universal Studios Japan is a must-visit. Tokyo, on the other hand, is unbeatable for its sheer number of attractions, from high-tech museums to traditional puppet shows.

What is the best city in Japan for kids?

Tokyo is generally considered the best city for kids due to its vast array of attractions suitable for all ages. However, the best city can vary based on your family's interests. Osaka offers a more laid-back vibe with equally engaging attractions, while Kyoto introduces children to Japan's rich history and traditional culture, though it might be more suited to older kids who can appreciate the historical context.

Which part of Tokyo to stay with family?

Asakusa is ideal for families seeking a mix of traditional culture and modern conveniences, with easy access to Senso-ji Temple and other historic sites. Odaiba offers a futuristic experience with plenty of family-friendly attractions, spacious accommodations, and stunning bay views. The Tokyo Bay area, particularly near Disneyland, is perfect for families planning to spend significant time at the theme parks, offering convenience and themed hotels that continue the magical experience even after leaving the park.