Fun Things to do in Asakusa with Kids – Tokyo Travel Blog

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For most people traveling in Japan, at least one day is spent visiting Sensoji Temple and looking for fun things to do in Asakusa, Tokyo. Sensoji Temple has seared its impression on locals and tourists alike, and it’s imposing Kaminarimon Gate serves as one of the most prominent images of the country. Yet visiting Sensoji temple is just one of many things to do in Asakusa.

Fun Things to do in Asakusa with Kids: Japan Family Travel Sensoji temple

Fun Things to Do in Asakusa

As impressive as Sensoji Temple can be, that’s not the only reason to visit Asakusa. Are you looking for things to do in Asakusa? If so, read on. Below I’ve listed up the most popular sites, as well as a few recommendations of my own, from Asakusa Station and beyond.

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Sensoji Temple Complex

Fun Things to do in Asakusa with Kids: Japan Family Travel Sensoji

Out of all the things to do in Asakusa, visiting Sensoji Temple is the most popular. These temples are iconic and incredibly photogenic. If you happen to be in Tokyo in May, the Sanja Matsuri festival is a spectacle to behold.

Kaminarimon

Kaminarimon asakusa (1)

When you imagine Sensoji Temple, this is the gate that you think of. Its massive red lantern looming overhead like a hot air balloon. Here you’ll also find a massive straw sandal hanging on the wall – purportedly worn by Buddha himself. One of the major tourist things to do in Asakusa is to get your picture with the lantern and sandal.

With such imposing objects in front of you, make sure the kids notice the guardian statues on each side of the lantern.

Nakamise

Fun Things to do in Asakusa with Kids: Japan Family Travel Sensoji Namamise shops shopping

This is the strip of shops and traditional snack stalls that lead you to the main temple. Yes, these are totally set up for tourists like you. However, they’re also for locals and can give a nice impression of what Japanese people buy and eat. Watch out for the choco-bananas here. My daughter begs for them every time.

Sensoji Temple

Fun Things to do in Asakusa with Kids: Japan Family Travel Sensoji

Dedicated to Kannon Bodhisattva, this is the oldest temple in Tokyo, established in 645 (!) AD.

Travel Tip: Many people just walk down Nakamise into the temple and then back out the same way. Make sure to walk down the side alleys behind these stalls, or even one street east or west of them.

Book Now: Best Tours for Sensoji

Take a Tokyo Asakusa Rickshaw Tour

Tokyo Temples & Shrines Morning Tour

Beyond Sensoji Temple

Fun Things to do in Asakusa with Kids: Japan Family Travel sky tree skyline night

The Asakusa Culture and Tourism Center

Located right across from the Kaminarimon Gate, the Asakusa Culture & Tourism Center has English-speaking staff and a great deck to look down at the Nakamise shopping area. There’s also a nice cafe where you can use wifi and charge your phone for free.

Get a Kimono Selfie

What better way to experience a traditional Japanese neighborhood than in traditional Japanese clothing. Different kimono fitting packages include different things. Some have a tour or photo session included, but most are just the fitting and possibly hair styling. Super memorable photos are up to you!

Wear a Kimono in Asakusa

Your Tokyo Kimono Experience

Learn the Ways of a Samurai

Here’s your chance to don a kimono and practice with a katana (Japanese sword). This particular class also includes a photo session and a training certificate.

Book Now: Samurai Training Experience

See Japanese Calligraphy at Work

Shodo is the art of Japanese calligraphy. If you don’t know much about the Japanese writing system, then keep in mind that various kanji (Japanese & Chinese characters) may sound the same but have different meanings. The hosts of this short shodo class/demonstration will learn a little about you and then select certain characters to use for your original Japanese name. Then they’ll use traditional shodo brush techniques to write your name and frame it for you.

Book Now: Create Japanese Name Just For You

Make Your Own Woodblock Print

A very nice souvenir from Japan, and even better if you make it yourself! All the materials are included and they pack it up nicely for you. Great from 6 to 96-year olds. Kids and adults will enjoy watching the levels of color build to the final design.

Book Now: Make your Woodblock Print ‘Ukiyo-e style’ in Asakusa

Eat and Drink Your Way from Tsukiji to Asakusa

This tour starts in the old outer market of Tsukiji (the fish market has moved to Toyosu), and you sample various Japanese flavors from the same area where high-end restaurants buy from. Then you leave Tsukiji for Asakusa sweet shops, with other stops along the way. Includes tea and one cup of sake.

Book Now: Half-day Food and Drink Walking Tour in Tsukiji and Asakusa

Wander Asakusa & Ryogoku with a Sumo Wrestler

The Asakusa neighborhood is old-school. Sure, it has modern trappings, but the district’s soul is old. Same goes for the nearby Ryogoku neighborhood, where the country’s main sumo stadium sits. On this tour, you walk through these districts with an actual retired sumo wrestler and translator. A great introduction to the area.

Book Now: Asakusa and Ryogoku Walking Tour with Sumo Wrestler

Zip Through Tokyo on a Go-Kart

This has become one of the most popular things to do in Asakusa and Akihabara over the past few years. Here you can dress like characters from anime & video games and then drive a go-kart through the streets of Tokyo. Sounds fun, but remember that you’re actually on public roads. You have a guide, but there have been a few accidents in the past.

Book Now: Half-Day Street Go-Kart Tour in Asakusa

Miyamoto Unosuke Shoten  (aka The Drum Museum)

A few blocks northeast of Sensoji Temple is the Drum Museum. If you have any interest in Japanese taiko drums or percussion in general, this would be one of the most interesting things to do in Asakusa. It’s not a huge place and not the best-marked museum to find, but it’s quite fun with kids because of the interactive element.

Fun Things to do in Asakusa with Kids - Tokyo Travel Blog

Drums are color-coded: blue means you can touch/play, red means you can’t. There are drums from all over the world, not just Japan.

You’ll also find some small mikoshi in the front window. If you want to see a 5-ton one, head to Monzen Nakacho.

  • Opening hours:10am-5pm.
  • Closed Mondays & Tuesdays.
  • Adults: JPY ¥500 / Students JPY ¥150
  • Drum Museum Website

Hanayashiki Amusement Park

Fun Things to do in Asakusa with Kids: Japan Family Travel Hanayashiki amusement park

For some of you, this will be one of the best things to do in Asakusa with kids. For the rest of you, stop rolling your eyes. If you like old-school roller coasters, carousels, and kiddie rides, then you’ll probably love Hanayashiki Amusement Park.

Little kids love this stuff, but tweens and teens are often split. Here you’ll find all the clickety-clackety type carnival rides of your youth, but with a few differences. First, they’re more well-maintained than anything you rode at that county fair in 1987. Secondly, many of them have an element of “Japanese-ness” that makes them familiar yet bizarre.

Hanayaskiki park Asakusa

If old-timey carnivals don’t appeal to you, then skip this place and head to Disney Sea. However, if you want a retro amusement park experience with the Hozomon’s Five-story Pagoda in the background, look no further.

Tip #1: There are really only two ways to do this park: spend 20 minutes or spend several hours here. You have to pay admission to go in. Then you have to make a choice: pay for individual rides or buy all-you-can-ride passes. If you want just one or two rides and then leave, fine. If want to ride all afternoon, even better. Anywhere in-between may feel like a rip-off.

Tip #2: Don’t go on a weekend or holiday, because the place will be packed and the lines will be super long.

Sumida River / Waterbus

Fun Things to do in Asakusa with Kids: Japan Family Travel sumida park water bus

Ever since you arrived in Japan, you’ve probably been taking subways and taxis everywhere. If you’re ready for an alternate method of transportation, then count this amongst the things to do in Asakusa.

Waterbus stations are all over east Tokyo. There was one right next to my old apartment in Monzen Nakacho. One of the routes I recommend, however, is taking a waterbus from Asakusa to Odaiba or elsewhere.

It’s not cheaper than the train. Nor is it mind-blowingly scenic along the way (the last bit of the Odaiba ride is classic, though). That said, I still enjoy it and the kids love being on the boat. Certain routes have the hop-on-hop-off element to them as well, so you can stop at the Hamarikyu Gardens or elsewhere along the way.

The entire Asakusa to Odaiba route is over two hours. You can do the same route via train and monorail in less than an hour, but half of that will be underground and up and down stairs. The appeal of this is simply getting a different view of the city.

Fun Things to do in Asakusa with Kids: Japan Family Travel sumida-park-water-bus Mikio

A lot of people like taking the retro-futuristic Himiko boat (see above) out to Odaiba. If that’s your thing, then you’ll love it. Just keep in mind that it’s more expensive and it’s not open air. You’re inside that glass bubble the entire time, while the regular boats have an upper-deck to stand on.

Book Now: Private Tour -Tsukiji, Hamarikyu Garden & Water Bus to Asakusa

Kappabashi Street (Kitchen Town)

Fun Things to do in Asakusa with Kids: Japan Family Travel kapabashi

Most people think of Kappabashi as where to buy the plastic food you see in Tokyo restaurant display windows. And it is, and much more. The shops on this street cater to the entire restaurant and hospitality industry.

If you’re a foodie or interested in Japanese cooking, visiting this street is one of the best things to do in Asakusa. This is where to buy Japanese knives and other cooking utensils. If you think your kids (or you) would like an authentic Japanese bento lunch box, then this is the place to look.

Tip: Please note that many shops are closed on Sundays.

Gallery ef

This gallery/cafe doesn’t have large exhibitions, nor does the humble Edo-era building have the wow-factor of the above-mentioned temples. However, I love stopping by this place for a tea, a coffee or a snack when I’m in the area. Or rather I used to (they have cats in the store and my allergies can’t take it anymore).

It’s a miracle this place is still standing, really. Originally built in 1868 to store grain, it has survived earthquakes and WWII bombing campaigns when most of the area was reduced to rubble.

Contemporary art exhibits occupy the back storeroom (you have to duck to walk in). They are often interactive using light, video or other technological elements, which provide a pleasant modern contrast to the vintage surroundings. Closed on Tuesdays.

Tokyo Sky Tree

Fun Things to do in Asakusa with Kids: Japan Family Travel sky tree sunflower

For the acrophobic, this is the most terrifying thing to do in Asakusa. Also, I should be honest and say that I hesitate to recommend Tokyo Sky Tree, and I’ll tell you why, but first let me tell you what’s good about it.

First off, wow: at 634 meters, it’s presently the 2nd highest tower in the world. Views from heights like this are always astounding in one way or another (a friend once shot a pic of an oncoming summer storm here…from above the clouds). It is an architectural marvel, and the mechanics and science behind its construction are truly fascinating.

There is an aquarium and a planetarium here, and they’re both super modern and impressive. There is also a sleek and stylish shopping center worth perusing, along with restaurants nearby.

Now: should you go? That’s up to you. If tall places and high-altitude views are your thing, then don’t let me stop you. The Tokyo Sky Tree certainly delivers on that promise. However, observation decks are severely overpriced in my opinion.

Moreover, it’s a little out of town, and there’s not that much to do or see in the area. If your time or your budget is limited, I would skip it unless you really, really like high viewpoints.

Fun Things to do in Asakusa with Kids: Japan Family Travel sky tree skyline view

Here’s a little secret: Tokyo’s skyline isn’t that impressive in the far distance. Most people think of Tokyo as this megalopolis bristling with skyscrapers, but the truth is most of them are in Shinjuku. The rest is urban sprawl. If you want to see my favorite city view, then head to the Mori Museum in Roppongi at sunset.

Tip: If you go to Tokyo Sky Tree, morning is best. It’s less crowded then, and you have a better chance of good light on the city and (hopefully) on Mount Fuji in the distance. They open at 8 am.

Book Now: Tours with Skytree Tickets

Tokyo SkyTree Skip-the-Line Ticket

Sumo Practice Guided Morning Tour & Tokyo SkyTree Ticket

Tokyo SkyTree & Sumida Aquarium Combo Ticket

Tickets for Tokyo SkyTree & Tokyo Solamachi (Coupon Combo)

Tokyo SkyTree Ticket & EKIMISE Asakusa Food Voucher Combo

Nearby Neighborhoods – Where to Go After Things to Do in Asakusa

There are loads of things to do in Asakusa, but you’ll find even more fun, excitement and educational opportunities in the neighboring areas, as well. Here are a few nearby places to visit after finishing all the things to do in Asakusa.

  • Ueno: Home to some of Tokyo’s largest and most respected museums. Also a great park (Ueno Koen) and the Ameyoko outdoor market area.
  • Ryogoku: Home to Sumo and more. The Tokyo Edo Museum is here, as well as the sumo stadium and many traditional festivals.
  • Ginza: Tokyo’s old-school Rodeo Drive. Massive department stores, art galleries and the Kabuki Theater.
  • Odaiba: These man-made islands in Tokyo Bay are home to fantastic museums and shopping centers. Open spaces too.

Know Any Other Fun Things to Do in Asakusa?

The above list can only grow larger. Do you know any fun things to do in Asakusa or around the Tokyo Sky Tree? I’d love to add them here and give you full credit, of course. Fill me in using the comments below.

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Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. This means, at no extra cost to you,  we might receive a small commission if you make a purchase or book using those links. My opinions are my own and I only recommend places/services that I believe will genuinely help you find the best things to do in Asakusa and Tokyo in general.

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Comments

  1. We will be going to Tokyo June 12-16, Kyoto June 16-20 and Okinawa after that. Two adults and 1 year 10 months old toddler.

    We are staying in Asakusa area. I’ve made a day plan for Tokyo 😂:
    Tuesday
    Asakusa area, Senji-ji, Nagamise dori shopping, lunch at Mugitoro buffet, Hanayashiki Amusement Park.

    Any good ramen places in Asakusa? Any other good place for kaiseki dinner? What about a recommendation for a karaoke box with a tobbler? Is it possible?

    Wednesday
    Shinjuku and shibya area
    Any family frienly or interesting restaurants to recommend? Or parks for kids to play. We want to walk trough Yoyogi and Shinjuku goen park.

    Thursday
    Tsukiji fish market (not early, just to see… is it worth it?)

    Yakatabune dinner cruise

    Friday
    Ueno Zoo and park. Not sure if this will be sad and unethical… any better idea?

    Friday night open for ideas

    Since we are travelling with a toddler we want to do one thing in the morning and one after nap time, keep it simple. Do you know are skytree water fountains open in june? Any good parks in Asakusa? What do you think about the plan? Is it a good idea that we would like to eat on Michelin star restaurant with a toddler? Any recommendations for that?

    I would also love, love, love to go to onsen but I have tattoos. Any place to go private with the family that is not too expensive? Is there going to be other issues because of my tattoos. Do i have to cover them to the Amusement park?

    Thanks you.

    • Hey Salla,

      Ok, detailed replies below:

      There are many ramen places in Asakusa, but those are favored by many. *Note following links are affiliate links
      Yoroiya Ramen – small venue
      Fuji Ramen – small venue
      Ippudo – big enough to have several tables, probably best with a toddler

      Kaiseki in Asakusa
      Innsyoutei 
      Ichimatsu

      You’ll have no problem going to Karaoke Box with a toddler

      Yoyogi Park and Shinjuku Gyoen are big enough for kids to play all day. I don’t think you need any more than that for a day.
      I’d recommend to check out Crayon House to eat lunch if you are around Yoyogi area. It’s a long but entertaining walk from Yoyogi park. Try to be there when they open. If not, you may need to wait for a long time, especially on the weekend.

      If not, you can find many kids’ friendly restaurants on top of any department store near Shinjuku station or Shibuya station.

      Tsukiji Fish Market – I think it’s worth it to visit. My post on Tsukiji if you haven’t read already.

      As for Ueno Zoo…We skip most zoos to be honest. Instead, I’d take my kids to National Museum of Science Nature 

      As for friday, perhaps Ryogoku and other spots on the east side of Tokyo  They’re not too far from Asakusa. That’s a fun place to explore with kids.

      The Skytree fountains start from May, but the schedule changes without prior notice. According to the May schedule, no water fountains open on the weekends. So you may want to check out on weekdays. No naked kids are allowed it says. Bring the change of clothes for your child, please.

      Our favorite park in/near Asakusa is Sumida River park — a long green strip down the sides of the river.

      Re: Michelin star restaurants with a toddler, it really depends on restaurants. Some welcome kids and others don’t. Below are known to welcome kids. May want to make a reservation to be safe.
      Tateru Yoshino Ginza
      Argento ASO
      Chez Matsuo

      RE: Onsens with tattoos, I wouldn’t count on entry. Public baths are definitely out. If you plan to stay at any Ryokan (traditional Japanese style hotel) with a private bath in the room, it’d be ok, but many have public baths for guests and the rules vary so it’s best to check with Ryokan before you book. Kadensho in Arashiyama, Kyoto has five private baths for anyone to use, which gives you chance to bath without anyone seeing your tattoo. Again, it’s best to check with the hotel. This is changing, but slowly. You’ll see lots of young people with tattoos.

      Re: Tattoos at the amusement park No, no need to cover them.

  2. Hi Jason, I’m thoroughly enjoying reading your posts.
    We’re visiting Tokyo in September and will be staying at Asakusa View Hotel. Do you know any good bargain shopping places or are there markets to visit?
    We’re also there to celebrate my 40th, I’m struggling for ideas on what to do, our 2 kids will be with us (3&5). Any advice would be much appreciated!

    • Glad to hear you are enjoying our posts!

      Re: shopping, It depends on what you are looking for.
      If you are looking for some Anime or electric items, go to Akihabara.
      If you’re looking for quirky Japanese clothings, go to Takeshita-dori in Harajuku
      If you’re looking for any small souvenir, try Don Quijote (several in Tokyo).
      I also like Asian Bazaar on Omotesando for ceramics and other gifts.

      As for your 40th, it really depends on what you want…

      – Japanese Kaiseki Dinner
      – Ume no Hana Tofu restaurant ( we love this place since we can reserve our own room where kids can be kids without worrying about them disturbing other guests…it’s specialty is tofu, but it’s not vegetarian)
      – Tokyo Bay Lunch Cruise
      – Tokyo River Yakatabune Dinner Cruise
      – Watching Sumo (September Tournament at Kokugikan: Sep 9-23)
      – Hot Spring Theme park (Oedo Onsen Monogarari in Odaiba, Niwa no Yu in Toshima)
      – Day trip or overnight to Hakone or Nikko for onsen (that’s what I’d want)
      – Family Photo shooting with Flytographer

      I hope you have a great time in Japan. Let us know how it goes!

  3. Is it possible to rent bikes at Ueno Park or any of the large parks for a family bike ride? We are heading to Tokyo / kyoto with our 7 & 9 year old girls for last two weeks of May and I also considered scooters but think it might be too much hassle, would love to hire bikes though

    • we have rented bikes in Yoyogi Park, and there are a number of bike rental places in the area. Shinjuku Gyoen is for walking only, as is the Meiji Jingu grounds. As for scooters, I’d advise against it. Taxis, Public transport, and plain old walking are much less of a hassle. As for Asakusa, http://museum.guidenet.jp/rentacycle.html

      There are four locations that will rent you a bike with your ID.
      Unfortunately, no bike for kids.

      Sumida Park Bike Parking Lot (隅田公園自転車駐車場)
      Tsukuba Express Asakusa Station South Bike Parking Lot (つくばエクスプレス浅草駅南自転車駐車場)
      Shin-Okamachi Bike Parking Lot (新御徒町自転車駐車場)
      Naka-Okachimachi Bike Parking Lot (仲御徒町自転車駐車場)

  4. Two week ago we were at Tokio Sky Tree with our two boys (4 and almost 2). On the hot summer day, they were so happy to be able to play in the fountain in front of the entrance!

  5. Hi Jason,
    Thank-you so much, have just been trawling your pages for info as taking my 6 & 8 year olds to Tokyo in June. My worry is all the walking, as my two aren’t known for their tolerance of walking long distances! I was thinking of bringing their scooters, but do you think the pavements would be too crowded to scoot?
    Cheers, Sonja

    • Hey Sonja. Glad you found us! We have plenty to say about exploring Tokyo with kids — you’re going to have a blast! Re: scooters, I say sure, bring them, but use good judgement about when & where the kids ride them. The key question is will you/they be willing to carry the scooters through the crowded bits? Some sidewalks will be *very* crowded, while others will not. Plus, there are plenty of parks and open spaces worth checking out. For example, a day in Odaiba would be great scooter time, but the Asakusa neighborhood will likely be crowded, especially near Sensoji. However, if you plan to walk through Ueno Park nearby, a scooter sounds like a great idea. Also note that on the grounds of some temples and shrines, “play” and strenuous physical activity aren’t allowed. Kids are allowed to be kids of course, but as a rule I’d discourage them zipping around near shrines, even if there are no crowds.

  6. This is a very informative write-up. We haven’t made it to Asia with the baby yet, but Tokyo is high on our list once we do. I’ll certainly keep your app in mind.

    • Thank you! Japan is a great place for family travel, and Tokyo is sure to be a highlight. We lived there 2001-2013, so I have plenty to say about it! You’ll find some of that here on the blog and/or the app. Enjoy!

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