If you are planning a family trip to Japan, don’t miss our pick of the best things to do in Tokyo with kids, from Disneyland to Harajuku and more.
Are you planning a trip to Japan with kids? As one of the most vibrant cities in the world there are dozens of amazing places to visit in Tokyo, and it is also a great city to explore with kids.
Whether you love museums, shopping, unique cultural activities, food experiences or sporting events, visiting Tokyo with children is sure to be a fun adventure.
Here we have a guest post from Rachel at Adventure and Sunshine, who shares with us all her top things to do in Tokyo with kids. You are sure to find some great ideas here to add to your Japan itinerary.
In this article we highlight some of the top Tokyo attractions for kids, some unique things to do in Tokyo, plus some cheap places to go in Tokyo with kids too.
I hope you enjoy our pick of the most fun things to do in Tokyo with kids.
Watch a Sumo Tournament
For a truly unique Japanese experience, a sumo tournament in a Tokyo must see. Sumo wrestling is Japan’s national sport and has a long and interesting history.
Each bout lasts only a couple of minutes, which makes it great for young and older kids to watch. The most experienced wrestlers tend to compete in the afternoon, so if you don’t want to stay too long, plan to visit a tournament later in the day.
Tournaments are held three or four times a year in Tokyo and run for a couple of weeks. If you miss out on tickets, you can also visit the sumo stables to watch an early morning training session.
This is really an option for older kids, as there are strict behaviour rules for visitors to the stables.
See Tokyo from up high
A visit to one of the observation towers to see the city from above is one of the best things to do in Tokyo.
Tokyo is one of the megacities of the world and seeing it from up high is the only way to truly appreciate the size of the city. On a clear day it is possible to see Mt Fuji, but the view is also impressive at night, when neon lights sparkle all the way to the horizon.
Tokyo Skytree is the tallest observation deck in Tokyo making it one of the most popular Tokyo tourist attractions.
Take a walk down Takeshita Dori in Harajuku
Rainbow sandwiches, giant fairy floss, extravagant crepe stands and pet cafes – a walk down the iconic Takeshita Dori in Harajuku is always fun and one of the best places to visit in Tokyo with kids.
Renowned as the hub of teenage culture in Tokyo, your older kids will love exploring the unique fashion boutiques along the street. All kids will enjoy trying some of the fun food on offer and it isn’t far from Kiddy Land for some kid focused toy shopping.
It is a very popular destination for locals and visitors alike, so try and go during the week or early on the weekend when it will be less crowded.
Explore Yoyogi Park
Yoyogi Park is one of the largest parks in Tokyo and makes for a fun morning or afternoon when exploring Tokyo with kids. It is one of the best places to go in Tokyo to break up a day of sightseeing at the nearby Meiji Shrine, or when you need to get away from the intensity of nearby Harajuku.
While it is fun to wander the park and gardens, the best part about a trip to Yoyogi Park is the people watching.
It is a great place to visit on a Sunday when the park is bustling with street performers (including the famous Rockabilly dancers), people taking their dogs for a walk and having a picnic.
When your kids just need to burn off some energy, Yoyogi Park is where to go in Tokyo.
Eat at a sushi train restaurant
You can’t visit Tokyo and not eat sushi – it is an essential thing to add to your Tokyo to do list. The best way to enjoy sushi when visiting Tokyo with kids is to go to a sushi train restaurant.
They are located across the city and the most relaxed restaurants are often found above train stations and in shopping malls. Pull up a seat at the bar and let the kids choose what they want to eat as the plates pass them by on a conveyor belt.
You pay by the plate at the end of your visit. Don’t worry if your kids don’t like sushi – there are usually other kid-friendly options available, including fried chicken and noodles.
Experience the Snow at Gala Yuzawa
If you are traveling to Tokyo in winter, why not experience one of the things Japan is most famous for – the fluffiest, deepest snow in the world. Gala Yuzawa is an easy 75-minute train ride away and makes for one of the best Tokyo day trips.
The renowned ski town has its own Shinkansen station at the base of the resort. Hire some gear when you arrive and hit the slopes at Gala Yuzawa, considered the best ski resort near Tokyo.
Make fake food
One of the memorable things about Japan is the fake food displays in the windows of many restaurants throughout the city. Kids love checking out the elaborate displays of fake fish, noodles, cakes and ice cream sundaes!
If you are looking for a unique Japanese souvenir, or on the lookout for weird things to do in Tokyo, why not take a class and make your very own fake food!
Kappabashi Street in Asakusa is known as the kitchen street of Japan. If you are looking to buy Japanese ceramics, chopsticks or knives, this is the place to go.
It is also where restaurants buy the fake food displays and where you can take a class to learn how they are made. It is a fun and interactive experience and one of the more unusual things to do in Tokyo for families.
Go Shopping: Hakuhinkan Toy Store in Ginza or Kiddy Land
Shopping doesn’t generally come to mind as a fun thing to do with kids, but they are sure to love a visit to one of the best toy shops in Tokyo. Kiddy Land in Harajuku and the Hakuhinkan toy store in Ginza are two of the top Tokyo places to visit with kids.
From Hello Kitty and Totoro to Star Wars and Disney, plan to spend a few hours perusing the floors of unique merchandise on offer. The Hakuhinken store has an enormous slot car racetrack set up on the top floor for the kids to have fun too.
Visit Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea
For Disney lovers, the two Tokyo theme parks – Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea – are often on the Tokyo bucket list and are undoubtedly some of the best places in Tokyo for kids.
With seven themed lands, fun rides and daily parades, Disneyland is great for families with younger kids.
DisneySea is unique to Japan and also has seven themed lands. It was designed for an older crowd with more thrill rides than Disneyland, so your older kids and tweens may prefer a trip to DisneySea. It can be very crowded on the weekends, so try to visit during the week for a more relaxing experience.
The Tokyo Disney parks are located on the outskirts of the city. You can buy bus transfers to Disneyland and DisneySea here.
TeamLab Borderless Museum
This new museum is entirely dedicated to digital art and is rapidly becoming one of the Tokyo top attractions for kids.
From crystal world, a forest of lamps, a digital teahouse and corridors of changing images – it is hard to describe this unique museum – you just need to go and experience it for yourself!
The installations are highly interactive – which makes it so much fun for kids young and old.
It is one of the most cool things to do in Tokyo and a Tokyo must visit with kids. Daily entries are limited so book your tickets in advance to avoid disappointment.
Another of our top Tokyo tourist spots and a great place to go for both kids and adults alike, the Ghibli Museum is a whimsical museum dedicated to the anime worlds created by animator Hayeo Miyazaki, producer of anime films including Spirited Away and Ponyo.
There are gorgeous interactive exhibits as well as a small theatre and rooftop garden. For lovers of anime films, the Ghibli Museum is definitely one of the top things to see in Tokyo.
Note that tickets must be booked in advance and as it is one of the most popular Tokyo tourist places, book as early as possible to secure your preferred day and time.
National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation (Miraikan)
Japan is known as a technology leader and a visit to the Miraikan is a great addition to your Tokyo itinerary if you are looking for must do things in Tokyo for kids who love science.
Located in the Odaiba district, the museum has hands on exhibits of the latest technologies, robotics, space, and emerging sciences.
A good option for older kids on a hot or rainy day in Tokyo, the kids will especially love talking to ASIMO the robot. Combine with a visit to Teamlab Borderless for a full day out at Odaiba.
Thank you to Rachel for sharing this Tokyo travel blog post with us and sharing all her top Tokyo activities for kids! If you want to learn more about Rachel, you can find her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Where to stay in Tokyo with kids
Tokyo is a huge city with a daunting public transport system for the uninitiated. So choosing the best location to stay in Tokyo can be half the battle when choosing a hotel.
Here is a brief breakdown of the more popular areas to stay in Tokyo for tourists:
- Shinjuku – this is the Tokyo you have seen in the pictures, all bright lights and shiny buildings. As the main transport hub of Tokyo it is a handy area to stay and has a good choice of shops and restaurants on its doorstep.
- Shibuya – the hip and trendy part of Tokyo, this would be a good choice if you are visiting Tokyo with teenagers or tweens.
- Tokyo Station – A good option if you are using Tokyo as a base before heading on to regional Japan, as it has good transport links. Also handy for travelling out to Tokyo Disneyland. Lots of restaurants on your doorstep and walking distance to Ginza for shopping.
- Asakusa – not as handy for transport and sightseeing but has a good selection of good-value and budget accommodation in Tokyo.
Best Family Hotels in Tokyo
This is our pick of the best hotels to stay in Tokyo if you are visiting kids.
Hilton Toyko Bay (aka the Tokyo Disneyland Hotel)
The official Disneyland hotel in Tokyo, this is probably the best family hotel in Tokyo from a kids point of view. Fairy tale themed-rooms come with interactive features, bunk beds, DVD players and even kids pyjamas are on offer.
There is both an indoor and outdoor pool, depending on the time of year you are visiting. While this hotel is ideal for visiting Tokyo Disneyland or Tokyo DisneySea, it is 30-minutes from central Tokyo, so if you don’t want to commute, it might be better to save this one for days when you plan to do the Disney thing.
Keio Plaza Hotel
Just a 5-minute walk from Shinjuku train station, this family friendly Tokyo hotel has 11 restaurants, an outdoor swimming pool and family facilities including daycare and babysitting and a nursing room with baby changing. It also offers a free shuttle bus to Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea.
For a really special stay, book one of the Hello Kitty themed rooms. There’s even a Hello Kitty room service breakfast and gifts to take home. Hello Kitty rooms are available as twin or triple rooms. Alternatively, non-themed four-bed rooms are available for families.
Asakusa View Hotel
Just a 5-minute walk from the Senso-ji Temple, this Tokyo family hotel offers good value accommodation, with twins, triples and quad rooms all on offer. There is also an indoor swimming pool, although guests need to pay extra to use it.
Some rooms boast views over the city, including of the Tokyo Skytree. If you don’t want to pay for the view from your room, don’t worry – you can enjoy the same view from the breakfast restaurant on the 26thfloor.
For more options , check out Little City Trips guide to family accommodation in Tokyo.
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