Things to Do in Harajuku & Yoyogi with Kids — Tokyo Family Travel

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If you’re looking for things to do in Harajuku and Yoyogi with kids, then read on. This is one of my favorite areas of Tokyo, and I bet you’ll find this to be true for your family as well.

Things to Do in Harajuku & Yoyogi with Kids - Tokyo Family Travel

Things to do in Harajuku & Yoyogi with Kids

When thinking of things to do in Harajuku with kids, nearby Yoyogi Park is always an easy endorsement. Recommending a wander through Harajuku with kids, however, remains a conundrum for me. I enjoy my time in Harajuku and think you might, as well. That said, many travelers seem to leave Tokyo believing that Harajuku somehow represents modern-day Japan, which it doesn’t.

Things to Do in Harajuku & Yoyogi with Kids - Tokyo Family Travel

Moreover, underneath the area’s cutesy frills and neon lies a subversive element that some families might not be comfortable with. Nothing dangerous, mind you. Just don’t be surprised to see an occasional bong or bondage store next to the crepe shops and anime merchandise.

This post will focus on things to do in Yoyogi and Harajuku with kids. You should check out my guide to Omotesando too since these two areas overlap each other and can be visited on the same day.

Need more info on Tokyo? Try our MEGA-post on Tokyo for Kids

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Meiji Jingu Shrine

Meiji Jingu Shrine is easily one of the things to do in Harajuku with kids. This Shinto shrine is in almost every guidebook, but they often leave out some of the best bits that are far from the main entrance.

Things to Do in Harajuku & Yoyogi with Kids - Tokyo Family Travel

Just minutes away from some of the craziest intersections in Tokyo, Meiji Jingu is nestled into what looks like a patch of old-growth forest. The walk to the shrine’s main entrance can be like stepping into another world. This is where you may see traditional weddings taking place, and the kids will love that.

What most people don’t know is that it doesn’t stop there. Once you finish at the shrine, take the exit to the west, and then head northwest down a quiet road. You’ll arrive at rolling fields that are excellent for a nap or rest.

Things to Do in Harajuku & Yoyogi with Kids - Tokyo Family Travel

But keep in mind that you are still on shrine grounds. Guests are asked to remain respectful, which means no serious physical exertion. Kids can run around the field, of course. If you pulled out a soccer ball or Frisbee, however, someone may appear and ask you to put it away.

Things to Do in Harajuku & Yoyogi with Kids - Tokyo Family Travel

Keep walking toward Sangubashi train station and out the park exit. You’ll run into a small horse stable, where at specific times, free pony rides are available. This is a bit of a long walk, but in the right situation, it’s a great one. Meiji Jingu Shrine offers more than shrine itself. This is why I think visiting Meiji Jingu should be one of the things to do in Harajuku.

Yoyogi Park

Things to Do in Harajuku & Yoyogi with Kids - Tokyo Family Travel

This park has a little bit of everything. While not the most pristine of green spaces, it has no equal in the city when it comes to people watching.

On weekends, the place fills with picnickers, practicing dance troupes, buskers, musicians and drum circles, as well as families out for a stroll. It can get a little hectic when the cherry blossoms bloom in early spring, but it’s all in good fun.

Things to Do in Harajuku & Yoyogi with Kids - Tokyo Family Travel

If you want to roll through the park rather than walk, there are bicycle rentals. Prices are from ¥210 to ¥105 an hour, depending on the size of the bike. You can get tandem bikes as well, although the pricing for these is different: ¥210 for 1 round trip of the bike lanes.

Yoyogi Outdoor Stage

Things to Do in Harajuku & Yoyogi with Kids - Tokyo Family Travel

In the southernmost part of the park, over a pedestrian bridge, you’ll find this event space, which can really be happening in the warmer months. A number of free concerts and events are held here, including festivals for a variety of causes, countries, regions, and organizations.

Our family favorites include many of the country-specific festivals for India, Thailand, Brazil, Jamaica, and Hokkaido (Japan’s northernmost prefecture). During those times, food stalls are set up — often pricey but many of them exceptional — as well as events, exhibitions, and music & dance shows for all. It can get crowded (welcome to Tokyo), but you’ve got the park right across the street if you get claustrophobic.

NHK Studio Park

Another one of the things to do in Harajuku with kids is to visit NHK Studio Park. NHK is Japan’s national public broadcasting network. This studio Park is for visitors to learn how programs are produced.  We went there several times on the weekend. Our kids were around 4 and 7 at the time, and they really enjoyed it, although I felt that some exhibitions had too long of a wait.

Things to Do in Harajuku & Yoyogi with Kids - Tokyo Family Travel

Go on a weekday and you’ll avoid the holiday crowd entirely (summer break notwithstanding). That could make a huge difference. You should also know that many of the exhibits are available only in Japanese. With the given pamphlet, however, you can glean the important info.

 

I hope that they turn this around soon and internationalize, seeing as they plan to host the 2020 Olympics. I mean, at least get some guidance in English, Chinese and Korean (for the neighbors). But for the time being, you can download the English pamphlet here.

NHK Studio Park is open from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm, except for the fourth Monday of each month. If that Monday is a national holiday, then they will open and then close on the following Tuesday instead (Check the date before you go!). Admission is only ¥200 for 18 – 65 y/o, and free for others. There are some dates when it’s free for everyone. I would suggest avoiding those days because it will likely be super-crowded. It’s about a 15-min walk from Shibuya station, Harajuku station, Meiji-Jingumae station and Yoyogi Koen station.

Takeshita Shopping Street

Things to Do in Harajuku & Yoyogi with Kids - Tokyo Family Travel

Yes, this is the famous bizarre fashion street that tourists think the entire city looks like.

The best part of the street — for my daughter at least — are the snack shops. If you or yours like any Japanese sweets, Takeshita Dori is certainly one of the things to do in Harajuku with kids.

My girl and I like to stop for Japanese-style crepes. There are a dozen or so stands on (or just off of) Takeshita Dori, so keep your eye out. I won’t recommend one stand over the other. Just go to the one with the shortest line, and keep in mind that there are a few stands near the end of the street.

Things to Do in Harajuku & Yoyogi with Kids - Tokyo Family Travel

Design Festa Galleries

Once you get to the end of Takeshita Dori, cross the street and keep walking. This neighborhood is more interesting, with lots of small boutiques and cafes. My favorite spot in the area, the Design Festa Galleries, is located here.

Things to Do in Harajuku & Yoyogi with Kids - Tokyo Family Travel

This labyrinth of small white rooms seems to grow larger every few years — multiple buildings, multiple floors. The artists displaying their work here are mostly students so the quality varies. It’s often the right mix of sweet, colorful and bizarre that kids can get into.

Things to Do in Harajuku & Yoyogi with Kids - Tokyo Family Travel

There’s a nice bar/café around back, but if you’re ready for a meal then I’d recommend Sakuratei, the okonomiyaki/monjayaki place on site that’s run by the gallery collective. The walls always have fun murals, and the cook-it-yourself nature of okonomiyaki/monjayaki (careful of little hands getting burned) makes it especially fun with kids. It’s pretty tasty, too.

Things to Do in Harajuku & Yoyogi with Kids - Tokyo Family Travel

Okay, those are my top recommendations for things to do in Yoyogi and Harajuku with kids. From here I’d just wander the back streets around Design Festa for a while. Or head straight to my Omotesando picks, since that area is about five minutes away.

If you’re interested in reading more about these areas, I’ve written articles about Tokyo’s kid-friendly parks and Family Hanami Spots for my column in the Japan Times.

Our Tips for the Best Family Hotels in Tokyoin Osaka and in Kyoto

CONCLUSION: Yoyogi & Harajuku with Kids

When most people go to Harajuku with kids, they wander down the one famous street and then leave. Don’t do that. Use this Harajuku guide along with my upcoming Omotesando with Kids post to get the most out of the area. Have you been to Harajuku with Kids? What did you enjoy in Harajuku and Yoyogi? What’s missing from this list? Let me know in the comments, or contact me directly.

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Disclosure: This post contains 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 enjoy Yoyogi with kids and find fun things to do in Harajuku with kids. 

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