Top 7 Things Not to Miss in Tokyo with Kids
Tokyo is an incredible city to visit with kids! From bustling districts to natural wonders, it’s full of exciting sights and activities you can do together as a family. There are so many things to do in Tokyo with kids, we are sure they will love this sprawling metropolis.
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The abundance of unique experiences in Tokyo is a sensory wonderland for children. The bright lights, bustling streets, and vibrant culture provide endless opportunities for exploration and adventure. It’s a fascinating blend of tradition and innovation.
From ancient temples to state-of-the-art technology, there is always something new and exciting to discover in Tokyo. Kids will be amazed by the futuristic architecture of the city’s skyscrapers while also enjoying the serene beauty of the shrines and temples. It’s a unique blend of culture, technology, and entertainment; there is always something new and exciting to discover in this vibrant city.
When is The Best Time to Visit Tokyo
While Tokyo has four distinct seasons, the summer months can be sweltering, making it uncomfortable to be outside for long periods. If you decide to brave the heat, make sure you bring a raincoat because this is also considered the rainy season.
To make the most of your family trip to Tokyo, consider visiting Japan during the spring months of March to May or the autumn months of September to November. During these times, the weather is milder and more comfortable for exploring the city’s many attractions.
How to Get Around Tokyo With Kids
Traveling around Tokyo with kids doesn’t have to be a hassle. The city has an excellent public transport system that makes getting around easy and convenient. Avoid peak travel times, as the trains and buses can get crowded during rush hour. Buy a JR pass if you plan on using trains to explore other parts of the country.
Where to Stay in Tokyo with Kids
Accommodation in Japan works differently from most Western countries. Guests often pay per person, and kids 5 – 12 are 70% of adult rates.
When deciding where to stay in Tokyo there are various accommodation types. For a traditional experience, ryokans are a popular choice. They have tatami rooms, and you sleep on the floor using futons.
There are accommodations for various budget levels, and you often find older properties ideal for larger families with kids at reasonable prices. Hotels and Airbnb cater to different budgets and offer more modern amenities.
Popular Areas to Stay in Tokyo
Choose accommodation near central train stations. The Yamanote line is a great way to get around Tokyo quickly; try and stay close to one of its stops.
Shinjuku, Shibuya, and Ginza are popular areas in the city with easy access to the Yamanote line. There are plenty of shopping, dining, and entertainment options too!
7 Fun Things to Do in Tokyo for Kids
When visiting Tokyo with kids, there are plenty of options for fun activities. Here are some of the top attractions and destinations to explore:
1. Ghibli Museum
The Ghibli Museum in Tokyo is a magical world where children and adults can immerse themselves in the whimsical universe of renowned Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki. The museum showcases the art and creative process behind the iconic films of Studio Ghibli, such as “My Neighbor Totoro,” “Spirited Away,” and “Princess Mononoke.”
Kids will love exploring the museum’s imaginative exhibits. This includes life-size replicas of iconic Ghibli film sets, such as the Catbus from “My Neighbor Totoro” and the Robot Soldier from “Castle in the Sky.” Visitors can also view original sketches, storyboards, and animation cells, providing a fascinating glimpse into the animation process.
You must purchase Ghibli tickets in advance, as they sell out quickly. Buy your tickets online up to three months before your visit.
2. Tokyo Disney Resort
The city of Tokyo is home to two Disney parks—Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea.
Disneyland in Tokyo is a Japanese version of Disney’s classic theme park.
As you step through the gates, you will see Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, and all their friends, each ready to hug you and snap a photo. The fact that the characters speak Japanese adds to the charm and uniqueness of the experience.
You’ll feel like you’re in a whole new world as you explore the different lands of the park, from the Wild West of Frontierland to the futuristic city of Tomorrowland. Kids will scream with delight on thrilling rides like Space Mountain and Splash Mountain and attractions like “It’s a Small World” and “Haunted Mansion.”
Tokyo Disney Sea
Tokyo DisneySea is known for its nautical and exploration-themed attractions. It was inspired by the works of Jules Verne and other literary greats.
For kids, Tokyo DisneySea offers a world of adventure and imagination. They can explore the ocean’s depths, visit the center of the earth, or ride on the Indiana Jones Adventure to unravel a mysterious archaeological mystery.
The park references Jules Verne’s classic novels, such as “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” and “Journey to the Center of the Earth”. The steampunk-inspired design of Tokyo DisneySea is an unforgettable experience.
Both parks are incredibly popular amongst locals and tourists alike. It is best to plan a visit during the week or on weekday evenings when less crowded.
Consider purchasing a Fast Pass so you don’t have to wait in lines for the rides. The Disney App gives you real-time wait times and ride statuses which is helpful when planning your day.
3. TeamLab Planets TOKYO – Digital Art Museum
TeamLab Planets Tokyo is an awe-inspiring digital art museum in the heart of Tokyo. It is an interactive museum where visitors can fully immerse themselves in a world of digital art and technology. TeamLab will take your senses on a captivating journey that will leave you breathless with wonder.
As you step into the exhibit, you’re transported to a world of fantasy and creativity. The cutting-edge digital installations will astound you. Art pieces react to your movements, creating an immersive experience that engages your senses.
Walk through an enchanting forest of light, wade through a pool of water that responds to your footsteps, and even explore the interactive planetarium.
TeamLab Planets Tokyo is more than an art museum – it is a place of innovation and discovery. Every visit feels like a new adventure with its constantly changing and evolving exhibits.
Note: This is a very popular attraction in Tokyo and you will need to buy your tickets ahead of time. Tickets are usually released 6 weeks in advance.
4. Tokyo Skytree
At 634 meters, the Tokyo Skytree is the tallest tower in Japan and the second-tallest structure in the world.
The tower’s two observation decks, at 350m and 450m, respectively, offer some of the best panoramic views of Tokyo. For the young and brave, there’s no better way to experience Tokyo than from the Tembo Deck observation deck.
From its 350m dizzying height, children can marvel at the stunning skyline as they prepare for a walk on its glass floor! But if that isn’t high enough for you, make your way up to Tokyo Skytree Tembo Galleria at 451m. Named Sorakara Point, this is the highest viewpoint in Tokyo and will take your breath away with unrivaled views.
After taking in the Tokyo skyline, visit the shopping mall at the base of the tower for a variety of souvenirs and treats. There are also plenty of restaurants around the tower where you can sample some delicious local dishes.
5. Heiwa no Mori Park
An exciting and adventurous day awaits at Heiwa no Mori Park. Let kids challenge their inner ninjas as they put their skills to the test on over 40 different obstacles!
The Field Athletic Course at Heiwa no Mori Park features a range of challenges perfect for active kids. From scaling high walls to crossing swinging bridges and zipping through the air on a series of ziplines, there is something to challenge every skill level.
For those who love water-based activities, the pond at Heiwa no Mori Park offers a range of exciting obstacles, including log rafts and stand-up barrel boats.
But that’s not all – Heiwa no Mori Park also features a traditional Japanese archery range. And with the park’s beautiful shaded surroundings, it’s the perfect place to relax and recharge after an action-packed day.
6. Ueno Park & Ueno Zoo
Ueno Park in Tokyo is perfect for families with kids. Spend a day exploring its vast grounds and many attractions.
Once a part of Kaneiji Temple during the Edo Period, the park is now home to numerous museums, including the renowned Tokyo National Museum and the National Museum for Western Art. These museums feature extensive collections of art and artifacts from ancient times to modern Japan and offer a great way for kids to learn about Japanese culture and history.
The park is also home to the Ueno Zoological Garden. The zoo houses over 2,500 animals, with approximately 350 species, including three of the world’s rarest animals – the Giant Panda, the Okapi, and the Pygmy Hippo.
Kids will love visiting the zoo and seeing these exotic animals up close while learning about their habitats and behaviors. The zoo also offers various educational programs for children, such as animal feeding and animal behavior shows, making it a fun and interactive experience for the whole family.
7. Tokyo Sea Life Park
The Sea Life Park is in Kasai Rinkai Park, a 15-minute train ride from Tokyo Station. The Aquarium is a must-visit for families visiting Tokyo with kids. This state-of-the-art aquarium houses habitats from around the globe, including Tokyo Bay, the Caribbean Sea, the Indian Ocean, and the Atlantic Ocean.
The wide range of sea life includes the famous bluefin tuna as well as penguins and puffins. Plus, the views from the glass dome entrance are not to be missed.
In the petting area, visitors get up close and personal with stingrays, bamboo sharks, and more! The Sea Life Park will provide hours of educational fun for the whole family.
Other Fun Things to Do in Tokyo with Kids
- Tokyo Tower
- Hello Kitty Mega Store
- Samurai Museum
- Yoyogi Park and Meiji Shrine
- Legoland Discovery Center (younger kids)
- Tsukiji market
Tokyo, Japan, is an excellent choice if you’re looking for a family-friendly vacation destination. With its wide variety of attractions and activities, there’s always something for everyone. From visiting Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea to exploring the Tama Zoological Park and Tokyo Sea Life Park, Tokyo offers plenty of opportunities for adventure and fun.
When planning your Japan trip, be sure to consider where you’ll stay. Tokyo has a diverse range of accommodations, from traditional ryokans and onsen to hotels of all levels, so there’s something to suit all tastes and budgets.
Transportation in Tokyo is relatively easy to navigate once you’ve familiarized yourself with the options, but try to avoid peak rush hour times.
And don’t forget to bring your patience – Tokyo is a bustling metropolis and can be pretty crowded!
For the ultimate family experience in Tokyo, try to spend at least a week exploring all it offers. Tokyo has something for everyone with its world-class attractions, diverse culture, and delicious cuisine.
About the author: Mike Humphrey lives with his wife and three boys in the beautiful Japanese mountains. When not hiking, skiing, or enjoying the outdoors, Mike is exploring Japan with his family. Read more of his articles on MykHumphrey.com