Tokyo with Children: My City Guide for You and Your Family

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Tokyo with Children City Guide — An Epic Education

The gist: I have a new eBook for sale and you can buy it here. Read on for more details, or click the link in the sidebar. For more details, read on, because if you must know…

…I LOVE Tokyo.

It’s such an amazing city to explore with children. It’s safe, clean and full of so much cool stuff for families to see and do. When my son Jamie was born here in 2002, I couldn’t wait to start exploring the city with him. Those first few years were tough for us — Keiko and I didn’t have much money, and we still looked at Tokyo the way many people do: as an impenetrable, bewildering and ridiculously expensive megapolis.

Little did I know that I would end up considering it my second home.

We didn’t think we could afford to do anything back then, a predicament worsened by the fact that we lived in a small and rickety old apartment in a less-than-glamourous part of the city. Cramped, drafty and a little too close to a highway, this tiny wooden box we called home provided shelter and very little else. The discomfort I felt there fed my desire to get out and explore the city, which became a blessing in disguise.

Koenji: Tokyo with Children City Guide — An Epic EducationAs Jamie grew more mobile, I scoured magazines, newspapers and the internet for places to take him, and you know what? I found plenty. There were opportunities to learn and play everywhere. Some activities were beyond our then-meager budget, but most were fairly cheap or even free: museums, galleries, events, festivals, parks, public spaces and much, much more.

By 2006, we had moved to a neighborhood I loved, had a baby girl in the house and I was refining my growing list of fun places to go. Tokyo has a reputation for being pricey — and it can be, for sure — but in a city bursting with so much culture and inspiration, I have never run out of fun, affordable things to do with my family. A few years ago, I started writing a column in the Japan Times about family fun in Tokyo, which helped me add even more items to my list.

The problem for me in the early days — and perhaps for many of you today — was that it was hard to find a steady source of English information regarding family fun. Sure, there are hundreds of English-language websites and travel guides for Japan and its capital, but when it came to kid-friendly activities, most books recommend Disneyland and not much else.

And that’s why I made this Tokyo with Children city guide. Packed with over one hundred specific places to go (Disneyland not included), I essentially made the guidebook that I longed for over a decade ago. When I looked through Tokyo travel books and websites back then, I always found plenty I wanted to see and do, but I always had to ask myself: “Yeah, but would the kids enjoy this, too?”

Espace Louis Vuitton — Tokyo With Children City Guide: An Epic EducationNow I have answers, and I’ve loaded the Tokyo With Children city guide with them. Here you’ll find places to go and things to do, but from a parent’s perspective. Some of my recommendations are well-known — the Meiji Shrine and the Ryogoku Kokugikan Sumo Stadium come to mind — but I added a bit of insight into these places that families may appreciate, as well as a number of other activities in the area that you might want to check out while you’re there.

Also included is lots of stuff that isn’t on the “family friendly” radar at all: places that are great with kids but no one’s really broadcast it yet. Places like Espace Louis Vuitton, an art gallery run by the French luxury brand on the glitzy Omotesando shopping street. Or the somewhat-ominous-sounding  Tokyo Rinkai Disaster Prevention Park, which demonstrates the science and practicalities of Japan’s unique seismic situation in interesting and engaging ways.

I love history, science, art, architecture and open spaces, and many of the 100+ locations inside my city guide reflect those predilections. Tokyo is full of cool buildings, interactive science centers, child-friendly galleries and fun places to run around. Download Tokyo With Children and you’ll see some of my favorites.

Science Museum Takebashi — Tokyo With Children City Guide: An Epic EducationEach of the 100+ entries comes with an introduction by me, along with venue information, the nearest subway station(s), a few nearby activities, and links to relevant websites with additional information. I’ve also listed nearby activities for each entry, as well as links to a private Google map with all of my recommendations (and then some) plotted out. The name of each place is also written in Japanese, just in case you need to show it to a taxi driver or any other friendly local.

There are hundreds and hundreds of links in the eBook — most of them leading you to more information on the web, but there are also hundreds of links to navigate you easily around the book — internal links in the table of contents that guide you to every entry, and a “TAGS” index that shoots you to specific interests and categories such as “Art,” “Science,” “Free,” and “Indoor/Rainy Day.” You can also search for activities by regions of Tokyo, such as Ueno, Ginza, Roppongi, Odaiba and Harajuku.

Takeshita Dori — Tokyo with Children City Guide — An Epic EducationMy goal is to save you time and stress while giving you enough to see and do for weeks, if not months or longer. Many of these places are worthy of multiple visits: gallery and museum schedules change all the time, and the seasons bring out new and interesting aspects of certain parks and other places to shop, eat and play.

I’ve tested the book with both traveling families as well as ex-pat parents who live in Tokyo and are looking for places to take their kids. This book is designed for both of types of parents, and I’ll continue to update the book as needed. 

Tokyo with Children City Guide — An Epic Education

It’s been a labor of love — and took me longer to put together than I expected — but at last it’s available to buy. I’ve also made an abbreviated Kindle version for those who are unsure if they want to buy and want to sample it first. The Kindle version is cheaper ( Indeed, I’m selling for just a dollar right now) and it gives you a taste of what the full guide has to offer. Try that out here if you’re interested, or send it to someone who might be.

Whew! Well I think that’s what I wanted to say. Here are this links once more:

Tokyo With Children Deluxe City Guide
 (Full Version)

Tokyo With Kids mini-guide for Kindle

Like what you see? Then please share! If you buy it and like it, leave a review! Pretty please?


  1. Thanks for comprehensive guides! We have decided to stay in Grand Nikko Odaiba. By the way, we read that the journey from Haneda airport to Grand Nikko is less than 15 minutes by car/ taxi. We are a family of 2 adults and 3 kids (age 5, 9 and 13) and would like to hail a taxi from the airport straight to the hotel. However, we are unsure if there is a cap in number of passengers per taxi.
    Will you please share some info with us?

    • Hi Kam,

      Glad our guide is helpful! If you have time to leave a review, I’d be more than grateful! Thank you!

      If heading to Grand Nikko Odaiba, depending on your arrival time, you can take a bus there from Haneda airport. You have two lines to choose from: the Keikyu bus and the Airport Limousine bus.

      There’s no guarantee for you to find a mini-van type taxi at the airport. Only four people can get on a regular sedan taxi. If taking bus doesn’t work for you, then it might be best to pre-book either a shared taxi or a private taxi (*affiliate links*). Pre-booking taxi would cost more than taking a bus, but it would certainly be easier with three kids. Hope this helps! Have a great trip!

  2. Japan is a beautiful country but not really a budget country. It’s a little bit expensive to travel in Japan.

    • Hi Yulie. You’re right: Japan isn’t as inexpensive as many places we love to travel, such as Latin America and Southeast Asia. However, it’s more reasonable that you may think. Especially now. The yen has been low for a while now. This might be one of the best times to visit!

  3. Those pictures are amazing. I’ve always wanted to visit Japan.