Tokyo for Kids! Things to Do in Tokyo with Kids – Tokyo Travel Blog

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Tokyo travel blog: what are the best things to do in Tokyo with kids? If visiting Japan with kids isn’t on your bucket list, it should be. I lived in Tokyo for 13 years. My kids were born there, and we return regularly (now in Osaka). And I can tell you that there are more things to do in Tokyo with children than you can ever do in one trip. In this Tokyo travel blog post, I list up some of our best Tokyo travel tips, as well as loads of links to other things to do in Japan with kids or without. You can visit Tokyo with teens or toddlers — we’ve got you covered.

what to do in Tokyo with kids COVER

Tokyo for Kids: Our Ultimate Tokyo Travel Blog Post

You could explore Tokyo with kids for a decade and still find new things to do. Believe me: I’ve done it. My kids were born there (in 2002 and 2006), and we still haven’t run out of things to do in Tokyo. We probably never will. If you’re a family headed east, then this is the Tokyo travel blog post you are looking for.

Keiko and I arrived in Tokyo in January of 2001. A year later, we had a baby boy to share this amazing city with. Tokyo is an incredible place to explore with children, and family travel in Tokyo offers countless opportunities to learn, play and eat. We’ll go through some of the best things to do in Tokyo for kids, as well as the best Tokyo tours, restaurants, day trips, and more. This Tokyo travel blog post will be regularly updated, so please keep checking back for new Tokyo activities!

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Table of Contents

Writing About Tokyo for Families – Our Tokyo Travel Blog

An Epic Education isn’t only a Tokyo travel blog — we’ve traveled all over. That said, I’ve been writing about various aspects of Tokyo life since 2002. First about music, then about the contemporary art scene, and then finally about exploring Tokyo with kids. A lot of that work has been for the Japan Times, but also for other publications such as CNN, Bon Appétit Magazine and various travel sites. You can find a lot of that stuff on my media page.

After 13 years, we left our life in Tokyo in 2013 and traveled around for six years, living in Malaysia, Spain, and Mexico along the way. Now we’re back in Japan living in Keiko’s hometown of Osaka for a few years and taking the train over to Kyoto when we can. That said, I still visit Tokyo whenever I have time, and recommend visiting Tokyo with kids no matter what age they are. Whether it’s Tokyo with a baby, Tokyo with a toddler, Tokyo with a 10-year-old, or Tokyo with a teen, you’ll find plenty of fun things to do in Japan’s capital. I’ve divided what to do in Tokyo into East and West since most people end up staying on one side or the other.

East Tokyo for Kids

East Tokyo for Kids - Things to Do in Tokyo Japan for Kids -Tokyo Travel Blog

Our family lived in East Tokyo for most of our 13 years in the city. Here is where you’ll find neighborhoods that look frozen in time, looking not that different than they did 50 years ago. However, galleries and cafes are popping up in various neighborhoods and making them cool again. Not that they weren’t before. If you want to get a glimpse of what Tokyo life was like before robots and neon, then you’re more likely to find it here.

The east side of Tokyo is more old-school. Here is where you find the sumo stadium, Sensoji Temple and some of the only parts of the metropolis that were spared WWII bombing. You’ll also find the modern man-made island of Odaiba, which can keep a family entertained for at least one or two days.

Asakusa: Tokyo For Kids

Kaminarimon asakusa - Tokyo for kids

Asakusa is home to Sensoji Temple, the ancient shrine and one of the city’s most famous landmarks. Whether you’re visiting Tokyo with kids or alone, this is one of the most photogenic places in Tokyo. It’s a pretty crowded area, and the sidewalks are full. That said, it’s worth seeing one of the most famous Tokyo landmarks.

On the modern side, not far from the Asakusa station in the Tokyo Sky Tree, with its unparalleled views of the metropolis. Asakusa is also where you can find boat tours that float down the Sumida River. Out of the many water bus (水上バス) routes, we recommend the route from Asakusa to Odaiba the most.

Best Tours in Asakusa

Our top recommendation for Asakusa is Magical Trip’s Walking Cultural and Street Food Tour. Magical Trip is a local business with great guides. Their Asakusa Walking Tour visits the famous Senso-Ji Shrine and introduces how people worship in Japan. They also go to Kappabashi, where the city’s chefs go for knives and other cookware. You also ride in a rickshaw and have a local meal of monjayaki. Recommended!

They also have a great “Night Foodie” tour, which takes you to a few local food streets and shows you how to make okonomiyaki (yum!). Children six and older can join, but remember that you’re going to izakaya-type places, which as much for eating as for drinking, so it will have that kind of ambiance. 

Book Magical Trip’s Asakusa Walking Tour
 
Reserve a spot on the Asakusa Night Food Tour

Akihabara: Tokyo with Kids

Often referred to as the geek’s paradise, the Akihabara (aka “Akiba”) area is teeming with electronic shops, maid cafes, and purveyors or manga, anime, and other elements of otaku culture. If you’re in Tokyo with kids into gaming, cosplay or comic books, then you may want to consider a stop here. I should say that the darker side of manga/anime culture is present here, but in general, it’s just a weird and wacky place. 

If you’re in Tokyo with teens, tweens or any kids into old-school gaming or anime, then you might also enjoy Magical Trip’s Akihara tour. There’s a stop at a retro gaming arcade, as well as a visit to a Maid Cafe. Also a stop at Purikura, the fun Japanese photo booths. More details in the link. 

Book the Akihabara Anime and Gaming Tour

Yanaka: Tokyo for Kids

This neighborhood was spared much of the WWII bombing, so some of Tokyo’s oldest temples and other structures are in this area. It’s a charming time capsule of what Tokyo once was. My favorite part of this neighborhood? The graveyard. Odd, perhaps, but it is an extremely peaceful and beautiful walk from Nippori station, and the nearby streets seem to be frozen in time. The Yanaka neighborhood also has Scai the Bathhouse, one of my favorite kid-friendly Tokyo art galleries.

Yanaka Neighborhood Tour

We also recommend an old-school walking tour through the area. It gives you a taste of what neighborhood and markets were like in times gone by. There are also some cool stops at the Nezu Temple and its red tori (temple gates). Tour also includes snacks and a soba lunch. 

Book the Yanaka Nostalgic Walking Tour

Ueno: Tokyo with Kids

Some of the city’s most respected museums are in Ueno. Ueno is also the location of the city’s zoo, and one of the most well-known places for hanami parties in the spring. The National Nature and Science Museum is great and worthy of several hours, and the Shitamachi Museum is a great place to learn about how working-class people lived during the Taiso era. One of my favorite places in Ueno is Ameya Yokocho (aka “Ameyoko”), which is one of Tokyo’s oldest and liveliest shopping streets. If you’re in Tokyo with kids, I consider this place a must.

Shimbashi, Tokyo Station & Yurakucho: Tokyo for Kids

Things to Do in Tokyo at night

If you’re taking a Shinkansen (bullet train) to or from Tokyo with your JR Rail Pass, chances are you’ll come through Tokyo station. Most of the area is a business district. But walk south (or go one train station south) into Yurakucho and you’ll find a few things worth doing with kids. If you like cameras and other electronics, then visit the Bic Camera store just outside the Yurakucho station. On the west side of the station, you’ll find a department store with plenty of restaurants. A few blocks west is Hibiya Park and the Imperial Palace.

My favorite thing to do in the evening here is to walk along the Yamanote Line’s raised train tracks — from Yurakucho station to Shinbashi station. The real estate under the tracks must be cheap. Why? Because there are dozens of fun, lively and reasonably priced Japanese-style eateries there. Stop for a few sticks of yakitori as the trains rumble above you. Our favorite place to eat in Yurakucho is Andy’s Shin Hinomoto (aka “Andy’s”). Great food and a one-of-a-kind atmosphere. The problem is it’s smoky on the most interesting floor. Downstairs has less ambiance, but less smoke and the food is great everywhere.

Ginza: Tokyo for Kids

Ginza Tokyo for Kids - Things to Do in Tokyo for Kids

Once the symbol of Japan’s 1980’s excesses, Ginza continues to be one of Japan’s most well-known shopping districts. Expect luxury brand flagship stores and some of the country’s most elite shops. There is also a high concentration of art galleries in Ginza, but this is what to do in Tokyo only if you have the time to spare.

My favorite thing to do in Ginza is to go down to the basement floors (B1 and B2) of fancy department stores like Matsuya and Mitsukoshi. Here is where you’ll find their premier supermarkets and food vendors. The confectionary area looks like a jewelry shop, and the fruits, vegetables, and other delectables here are mouth-watering. You can try some samples or even pick up pre-made boxed meals here for a reasonable price.

Take a walking tour that visits Ginza, Asakusa & More

Monzen-Nakacho & Kiyosumi Shirakawa: Tokyo for Kids

Kiyosumi shirakawa Tokyo for Kids - Things to Do in Tokyo Japan for Kids -Tokyo Travel Blog

This was our neighborhood from 2005 to 2013, and I still consider the place like a second home. Hugging the Sumida River, Monzen Nakacho is where sumo originated, and its designated temple, the Tomioka Hanchimangu, is worth your time. Monzen Nakacho is a great area in the spring and summer as well. Known locally as the “Venice of Tokyo,” the canals in the area have tree-lined walking paths, most of which bring you to the Sumida River.

One station north is Kiyosumi Shirakawa. Here you have more modern cafes and kid-friendly contemporary art galleries. All in the same neighborhood as temples, traditional gardens, and a carefully recreated Edo-era village museum. This is what to do in Tokyo with kids if you want to see an older neighborhood revitalized by young artsy types.

Ryogoku: Tokyo with Kids

Ryogoku Tokyo for Kids - Things to Do in Tokyo for Kids -Tokyo Travel Blog

If you’re interested in the history of Tokyo, or in the sport of Sumo, then Ryogoku is what to do in Tokyo. In fact, I think any visit to Tokyo with kids should include it as a half-day trip. It’s here that you’ll find the country’s biggest and most important Sumo stadium and training ground. Right next-door is the Tokyo Edo Museum, the country’s biggest and most comprehensive repository Tokyo history and artifacts. The museum and the stadium are basically next-door to each other, and both very close to the train station.

Sumo Morning Practice Tour

If you’re in Tokyo with teens or tweens, it’s possible to also attend an asageiko, or morning sumo practice. Here you’ll get up close to the wrestlers as they train in the early hours. There are a few rules to respect here, but easily one of the best things to do in Tokyo for kids interested in sumo or sports in general. Kids 12 and old are allowed to attend, so if you’re in Tokyo with teens, then I’d consider it. Details in the link below.

See Sumo Morning Practice in Tokyo

Kiba: Tokyo for Kids

The main appeal of visiting Kiba is for the sprawling Kiba Park, with the Museum of Contemporary Art (one of my favorite Tokyo museums) at its northernmost corner. It’s a bit of a walk, but can be great for a weekend afternoon and what to do in Tokyo if you’re interested in a slice of local family life. Plenty of families will be here on Saturdays and Sundays, and there is plenty of space and playground equipment for all of them.

Want to grab some lunch or a pre-made bento for an impromptu picnic in the park? There’s an Ito Yokado Department Store near Kiba station. Plenty of restaurants and a nice movie theater there, too. Should Kiba be at the top of your “Tokyo for Kids” agenda? No. But in combination with other east-side attractions, it can be a great place to end an afternoon.

Toyosu: Tokyo for Kids

Toyosu Odaiba Tokyo with Kids - Things to Do in Japan with Kids -Tokyo Travel tips

When we lived in Tokyo with kids, we frequently biked over to the Toyosu area from our neighborhood. Many Tokyoites consider Toyosu the tail end of the Yurikamome Monorail line, which starts in Shinbashi and goes through Odaiba. But this is an appealing destination in its own right. There are wide-open fields, free museums, good movie theaters, and plenty of kid-friendly restaurants and activities.

Odaiba: Tokyo for Kids

Odaiba Tokyo for Kids - Things to Do in Tokyo for Kids -Tokyo Travel Guide

Odaiba is a great place to spend a day or two in Tokyo for kids. There is plenty to keep both you and kids of all ages occupied for several days. There are museums, events, a TV station and one of the best views of Tokyo from the bay. Also plenty of restaurants. Even coming and going from Odaiba with kids is fun. You can arrive by boat or by the monorail, which is a fun ride. When my kids were young, I sometimes rode them back and forth on the monorail for an hour or more. They were either entranced by the ride…or it put them to sleep. Wait to sit in the front car — highly recommended and what to do in Tokyo with kids once you want a little more space and fresh air. .

Kasai Rinkai with Kids

This park area isn’t at the top of my recommendations for visiting Tokyo with kids. However, if you’re going to Disneyland, or happen to be staying on the far east side of Tokyo with kids near Disneyland, then this park might be a welcome bit of open space. There is a nice aquarium here, as well, and plenty of seaside fields for a family picnic.

West Tokyo for Kids

When you imagine the sleek, modern side of Japan, you’re probably thinking of Tokyo’s west side. There is where the skyscrapers are. Much of the city’s style and creative industries as well, although that’s changing. Come to the west side of Tokyo with kids and you’ll find incredible museums, great food, jaw-dropping buildings and some of Japan’s best parks.

Shinjuku: Tokyo with Kids

Tokyo is a crowded place, and Shinjuku is the most crowded section of the uniquely crowded city. For example, the Shinjuku train station has over two million people pass through its gates every day. That’s more than the population of New Zealand. Every day.

Shinjuku station is one of the most complex and perplexing places I’ve ever been to. There are dozens and dozens of exits, and a thousand ways to get each place. I usually don’t recommend passing through Shinjuku station if you can help it, or unless you want to see it for yourself. If you do, give yourself enough time. I lived in Tokyo for 13 years and I’ve still lost my way a few times here.

That said, the area is a fascinating place to visit in Tokyo with kids. There are lots of great things to do in the cities most beautiful park is a 10-minute walk from the station. Also in the area are the Fire Museum, the Toy Museum, and many other fun things to do in Tokyo for kids. That includes Shinjuku Gyoen, the city’s most beautiful and manicured park. But beware: it closes early!

Shinjuku Food Tour

If you’d like to try some of the area’s best food but don’t know where to start, then I’d suggest taking a Tokyo food tour in Shinjuku. The entire Shinjuku ara is packed with great eateries, but it can be confusing trying to sort out where to go and navigating the menu — especially if you don’t speak or read Japanese.

Go with a guide and you’ll get to sample several things and then possibly return for more on your own later. Magical Trip has a great night food tour where you’ll hit several restaurants along the way. They include sushi and a yakiniku (Korean barbeque) restaurant serving wagyu (和牛) beef, which is some of Japan’s finest. This tour isn’t specifically for when you’re in Tokyo for kids, but children are welcomed. The pics and videos in the link below speak for themselves. 

Book the Authentic Tokyo Food Tour with Wagyu and Sushi in Shinjuku

The Tokyo Robot Restaurant

Deep in the urban center of Shinjuku is one of the wackiest experiences in Tokyo for kids of all ages. It’s called the Robot Restaurant and it’s one of the most surreal shows you’ll ever see in your life. It’s best to book it online ahead of time. 

Buyer’s Guide: Shinjuku Robot Restaurant Tickets

Book Robot Restaurant Tickets Now

Yoyogi & Harajuku: Tokyo for Kids

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

Whenever some Tokyo travel blog wants to show “freaky Japan,” they often show pictures of Harajuku. It’s a stereotype now, for better or worse. Harajuku is where much of today’s Asian youth culture and fashion originated. It can be fascinating to walk by all the bizarre shops, salons, and boutiques in the area.

The Kawaii Monster Cafe

Harajuku fashion has always been a bit freaky, so no one should be surprised that places like the Kawaii Monster Cafe have come into being. Like the Shinjuku Robot Restaurant mentioned above, the Kawaii Monster Cafe takes some of the weirdest elements of Harajuku’s kawaii (cute) culture and amplifies them until they transmogrify into what you see here. 

Reserve Kawaii Monster Cafe Seats Now

The Harajuku Kawaii Tour

Everyone talks about how Tokyo is where elements of old and new coexist in interesting ways. One of the best examples of this is in Harajuku. Here you have Takeshita Street, the origin of so much Tokyo fashion, while a few hundred meters away is Meiji Jingu, one of the most revered Shinto shrines in the country, with a massive garden surrounding it. 

The tour I’m recommending here introduces them both. It’s called the “Harajuku Kawaii Tour” because lunch and admission to the Kawaii Monster Cafe are included, but it also takes you to Meiji Jingu, which is one of the most awe-inspiring heritage sites in the city. I think it’s one of the best things to do in Tokyo for kids who would enjoy seeing the old and new of Japan in one afternoon. 

Book Now: The Harajuku Kawaii Tour 

Omotesando: Tokyo with Kids

Omotesando Tokyo for Kids - Things to Do in Tokyo for Kids -Tokyo Travel tips

Omotesando is one of the swankiest areas of the capital and a great place for families to wander around. That said, it’s insanely crowded on weekend afternoons. Like Ginza, it’s one of the places luxury brands set up headquarters and flagship stores, but there are also lots of funky boutiques, trendy eateries and modern design studios in the area. Also some of the coolest buildings in Tokyo. 

Shibuya: Tokyo for Kids

shibuya tokyo for kids

Shibuya is a great place for nightlife, and when we lived in Tokyo I met friends here to eat, drink and go to concerts all the time. Having said that, if you’re in Tokyo with kids, the main appeal is probably Shibuya Crossing (aka “Shibuya Scramble”). This is the famous intersection often used as an example of the bustle of Japan’s urban life. Visit the Hachiko statue, and get your selfie in the intersection. If you have more time to spare, the Hikarie Building on the other side of the station often has some interesting shops and exhibits. I also like the new(ish) Shibuya Stream complex for restaurants.

Roppongi: Tokyo for Kids

roppongi what to do in tokyo for kids

The Roppongi area is known best for its bar district, but a daytime visit is what to do in Tokyo for kids interested in art and design. There are three fantastic museums that kids will love. There are also several stylish shopping and lifestyle centers that are ideal for wandering, people-watching and getting a bite to eat. Also, my favorite view of Tokyo is from the 35th floor of the Mori Building here. A great place in Tokyo for kids interested in the city’s modern side.

Shinagawa: Tokyo with Kids

I mention Shinagawa with kids here simply because it’s where a lot of people book hotels. Shinagawa has great access to the city’s main train lines and to the Shinkansen. Lots of people using JR Rail Passes choose to stay here since it’s one of two stations in the city where the bullet trains stop. Shinagawa isn’t necessarily worth days of exploration, but there are several places worth visiting with kids. For example, some people might enjoy the Shinagawa Aquarium, but even better is the Hara Museum of Contemporary Art, which is close to Shinagawa Station.

Nakano: Tokyo for Kids

This neighborhood just west of Shinjuku has a great restaurant district. There’s also a nice Shotengai (covered shopping street) as well, which can be fun to wander on a rainy day. At the end of that shopping street is Mandarake, which is a mecca for anime, manga and figurine fans. Warning: this is comic and anime culture, so expect some of it to be on the racy side.

Sanrio Puro Land

Hello Kitty Tokyo with Kids - Things to Do in Japan with Kids -Tokyo Travel tips

Do you love Hello Kitty? Do you hate Hello Kitty? Either way, you should consider going here. Personally, I’m not a fan of Hello Kitty. At all. However, I went here twice with my daughter and I would go back tomorrow if I could. I’m not a Kitty fan by any stretch of the imagination, but this place is so bizarre and over-the-top that I was fascinated. What to do in Tokyo for kids (or adults) who find over-the-top cuteness fun and or fascinating.

Mitaka & Kichijoji: Tokyo for Kids

Man-o-man I love this neighborhood. And afternoon in Inokashira Park is what to do in Tokyo with kids on weekends, with flea markets and buskers providing lots to see and hear. Then there are the swan-shaped paddle boats, which kids love. There’s a zoo here, too, but I won’t recommend it. Instead, walk through the park to the Ghibli Museum, which should be on anyone’s agenda looking for what to do in Tokyo for kids. Adults too. The Ghibli Museum was designed by Japan’s most famous and respected animation artist, Hayao Miyazaki. A few of his most famous films include:

Ghibli Museum Tickets

The Ghibli Museum is where Miyazaki’s life and creative process are enshrined. But most of the exhibits deal with the art and science of old-school animation, and it will keep both kids and adults occupied for hours. Just remember that you must buy your tickets in advance and they are for entering the museum at a specific time only. A must for anyone in Tokyo with kids or an interest in animation.

Book Now: Get Your Studio Ghibli Museum Tickets While They Last!

Showa Kinen Koen

This place is a considerable ride away from the city, but for those who love creatively designed open spaces, it may be worth it. Out of all the big open spaces to go to in Tokyo for kids, this is one of my favorites. Showa Kinen Koen is a massive park. So large, in fact, that there are 2-lane bike paths crisscrossing its territory.

Futako Tamagawa (aka “Nikotama”)

This stylish neighborhood near the Tamagawa River has great restaurants and shopping centers near the water, but the real reason to go here during the summer is to cool off at the river and wading pools for families. What to do in Tokyo with kids on a summer afternoon. An amazing fireworks festival in August, as well, but very crowded.

More Tokyo Tours

I love DIY travel. In fact, most of the Tokyo attractions and other recommendations in our Tokyo travel blog posts can be done on your own. However, whenever we have limited time in a new place, we like taking professional tours to cover more ground.

Getting around Tokyo can be quite confusing for beginners, especially when you don’t speak or read the language. That’s why we recommend that newbies try a Tokyo tour along the way just to have the insight of a local. We’ve recommended many Tokyo tours, but please don’t book every day full of organized activities. Don’t have a guide every day. Leave some time to simply wander around on your own. That said, here are a few Tokyo tours to consider.

Private Custom Tour: Tokyo in a Day

Tokyo Private Custom Walking Tour

Tokyo Small-Group Walking Tour: Ningyocho and Nihonbashi Districts

When to Go to Tokyo for Kids

Spring, Fall, and Winter in Tokyo with Kids

Looking at visiting Tokyo with kids and wondering when the best time to visit is? When many people search a Tokyo travel blog, they’re usually looking to visit Tokyo during a specific season. The truth is that you can visit Tokyo with children at any time of year, but we think some seasons are better than others.

Spring in Tokyo

Spring (March to early June) is when I usually recommend first. In the spring you get great walking temperatures, and of course, the hanami season when all the cherry blossoms bloom. I want to be in Japan with my kids for cherry blossom season every year. Almost every Tokyo travel blog will have pictures and tips on cherry blossom season, but few have been to as many hanami parties as I have! It is definitely what to do in Tokyo with kids in the spring,

Despite our love for Spring in Tokyo, we highly recommend that you don’t visit Japan with kids during the Golden Week holidays (April 29 to May 5). Why? Because that’s when many locals are off of work and naturally cause more traffic everywhere. Prices go up and many interesting things to do in Tokyo for kids will be mobbed with people.

Autumn in Tokyo

Tokyo travel blogs love to show the autumn colors of Japan, and with good reason. Tokyo in fall (late September to late November) has similar weather to spring in Tokyo. Instead of colorful flowers, however, you have blazing red maple leaves, yellow gingko trees, and other jaw-dropping colors on the mountainsides. And there are plenty of hikes in Japan that kids are capable of.

Winter in Tokyo

Winters in Tokyo are usually quite mild — there is little rain and even less snow. It’s still cold, but often clear and dry. In fact, you can have a lot of fun with kids in Japan during the wintertime. That goes double if you want to ski or snowboard in Japan.

Summer in Tokyo for Kids

Tokyo summer with Kids - Things to Do in Japan with Kids -Tokyo tips

Of course, you can visit Tokyo with kids during the summer, too. But I’ll warn you that summer is the high season, and Tokyo summers are extremely hot and humid. Average temperatures are around 30-35 °C / 86-95 °F. On its own isn’t too harsh, but you should expect over 70% humidity every day. If you and/or the kids aren’t used to it, it can hit you hard.

Walking Through Soup: Tokyo Summers

The combination of heat, humidity, and lots of concrete means that most of central Japan is sweltering in July and miserable in August. That includes Osaka and Kyoto, as well. We’ve spent years in Southeast Asia and I can tell you that Japan summers are worse. Partially due to all the walking. Few Tokyo travel blog posts really cover just how hot and humid it is. It doesn’t bother us as badly as it does others — we like that kind of weather. In contrast, some people wilt in weather like this.

Some places in Thailand and Malaysia have similar weather year-round, but there are also cheap taxis, motorbikes, and tuk-tuks all over. Not so in Japan. Sure, there are plenty of taxis, but the costs add up. Tokyo public transportation is the best in the world. However, the walking between stations and up and down on stairs can tire you out fast in this heat. Am I saying don’t go to Tokyo in summer? No. However, I want you to be ready.

School Holidays

Another aspect of Tokyo in summer is the school holiday, usually mid-July to around the end of August. Just like Golden Week mentioned in Spring, everywhere is even more crowded than usual. That means any amusement park or other kids’ Tokyo attractions will be swamped. When most people come to Tokyo for kids, they want to go to Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo Disney Sea, naturally. And Universal Studios Japan in Osaka.

These parks are great fun of course, but keep in mind that they are very crowded year-round (both school days and weekends). In the summer, they are absolutely mobbed. One summer, Keiko took our kids and their friends to Tokyo Disneyland and we had to wait over two hours in the heat to ride Splash Mountain. No shade, either. Disney in summer is the last place I want to be. Am I exaggerating a little? Perhaps. But I want you to be prepared for the worst.

Getting Around Tokyo with Kids – Tokyo Travel Blog

getting around Tokyo with Kids - Things to Do in Tokyo with Kids - Tokyo guide

This wouldn’t be a Tokyo travel blog if we didn’t talk about the trains. Here’s the good news: getting around Tokyo with kids can be fun and easy once you learn the basics. Sidewalks and street maps are plentiful. And unlike many parts of Asia, drivers follow the rules, and traffic is safe and predictable. On top of that, Japanese public transportation is some of the best in the world. It’s safe, clean, punctual, and just about as efficient as it gets. In Tokyo, there is the JR (Japan Rail), the subway trains, two monorails and a complex system of buses. We mostly use the subway, the JR lines, and our feet to get around.

How to Navigate the Subway in Tokyo – Tokyo Travel Blog

tokyo subway map

The Tokyo subway system is incredibly complex but is easier to navigate than it may appear at first. Each station is marked with a letter (for the train line) and a number (for the station). Look for these on the maps and on the walls of the platform. The subway is used mostly for downtown and the nearby suburbs. The JR Rail pass does not cover these lines.

There are two primary subway operators in Tokyo, covering 13 train lines in Tokyo. Some are owned by one company, and others are operated by a different company. Some maps of these train lines will emphasize certain train lines over others, depending on who made the map. One of the most important Subway lines to know when in Tokyo with kids is the Toei Oedo (大江戸) line. It makes a circle around central Tokyo. It’s a very deep line (8+ floors down at some points) but has elevators throughout and connects to many important spots.

Buy an IC Card

As you can tell by the map above, taking the subway in Tokyo can be a little confusing. One of the best things to do in Tokyo to make transport easier is to buy an IC card. This is a prepaid card that you add money to electronically. Then you can just touch it to the ticket gate and “beep!” you can enter. That means you don’t have to calculate how much each train trip costs, pull out your pocket change and then buy an individual ticket.

If you’re in Tokyo with kids even for a day, you’re probably going to take at least a few trains. Even more if you stay a few days and want to see a lot. You’d be surprised at just how much easier things are with an IC Card. Ic case you’re wondering, no, the subway is NOT covered by the JR Rail Pass, and it’s tough to only use JR trains in big cities like Tokyo and Osaka. The IC Card just lets you do a quick zap and you’re on your way. When it runs out of money, you just top it up at a machine and you’re good to go. You can use the card at convenience stores and other shops as well. A must-have item for Tokyo travel. In Tokyo, the most common form of IC Card is called “SUICA,” but there are several brands and they all basically do the same thing. 

The cards have a 500 yen deposit that you can get back when you’re finished with them. The rest is however much you put on them. If you think you’ll visit Japan again in the future, you can just hold onto the card and top it up net time you’re in the country. Otherwise, just get your deposit back before you leave. 

Buy a SUICA (IC Card) 

Taking JR (Japan Rail) in Tokyo with Kids

tokyo JR Rail map

Unlike the subway system, the JR train system covers the entire country, but there is a complex network of stations throughout greater Tokyo as well. If you’re buying JR Rail passes for your trip, then these are the lines to look to the most. You can hop on and off of these without extra charges. JR lines connect all major (and most minor) cities, including lots of great day trip spots from Tokyo, such as Yokohama, Kamakura, and Hakone (see below). One of the most important JR lines to know when in Tokyo with kids is the Yamanote (山の手) line. It makes a circle around the center of the city. You’ll likely take the Yamanote Line at least once during your time in Tokyo with kids.

Challenges to Trains in Tokyo with Kids

There are, however, a few challenges to getting around Tokyo with kids worth mentioning. The most obvious one is the language barrier, but all stations are written in English as well.

Size of Tokyo Train Stations

Another challenge to getting around Tokyo with kids is the sheer size and scale of the train and bus systems. Some underground stations can be confusing to navigate. Shinjuku station is one of the most confusing. Lots of  Tokyo travel blog posts talk about Shinjuku station, but it’s one thing to read about it, and another to actually get through it!

Tokyo Train Stations have Multiple Exits

This may seem obvious, but worth mentioning: Remember that many stations have multiple exits and entries. For example, let’s say you’re going to meet someone at Shibuya station. Decide exactly which exit and which side of the exit is best. Don’t just say “I’ll meet you at the entrance to Shibuya station.” Instead, make sure to specify which exit or entrance. Otherwise, you may not see each other through crowds of people or may wait at a completely different part of the station.

Stairs & Strollers in Tokyo Subway Stations

Another challenge for those navigating Tokyo with kids is strollers is stairs. When I first started this Tokyo travel blog, I needed to point out the many stations that were stairs only. However, wheeled accessibility has improved dramatically over the last 10-15 years, as more and more elevators and escalators are installed. That said, not every exit has them. Carrying a stroller up and down stairs can be challenging — especially during morning and evening rush hours. In fact, I’d suggest avoiding morning rush hours altogether if possible. I’d also consider carrying an umbrella stroller and a baby carrier option.

The Oedo line has long been the gold standard for stroller-toting families. Being one of the most recent lines (opened December 2000), every station has elevators from street level to the train platform, and the Oedo line loops all the way around the city. Keep in mind, however, that the Oedo line is deep underground. Up to 8 or 9 stories deep, actually.

Taxis in Tokyo with Kids

If you don’t want to bother with navigating public transportation, then you’ll have no problem finding a taxi. They’re everywhere in Tokyo, and most of them take credit cards. There should be signs in the window saying which cards they take.

Don’t worry. Taxi drivers in Japan use the meter and drive with integrity for the most part. Taxi scams are extremely rare. The base fare starts at around 500-700 yen for the first kilometer. If you travel less than that distance with four people, it might end up cheaper to use a taxi than public transport, so consider it a good option with four people for short distances in town when time is an issue. Be careful, however, after the first 1km, it’s 80-90 yen every 237m (778ft). This can add up fast. Also, it’d be much more expensive, even for short distances, if you get trapped in a traffic jam which could often be the case in Tokyo.

Taxi Doors

Warning: the back door of Japanese taxis open and close on their own. The driver operates it. Make sure the kids aren’t leaning against it when the car stops. And don’t slam the door yourself when you get out unless you want to see your driver curse. He’ll close the door himself.

More Tips for Getting Around Tokyo with Kids

Whether you’re in the city for a day or a month, the more you know about getting around Tokyo with children, the better. If you’re going to be looking for things to do in Tokyo with kids for more than a few days, then check out the below info.

Online help for navigating Tokyo with kids

There are a number of apps for getting around Tokyo. These are a great place to start.

Shoes Off on Seats

Sometimes, the little ones want to stand on their seats. If you do this in a taxi or on a train, then shoes off, please. Same as in a Japanese house.

Maps are Aligned to Your Perspective

There are street maps all over Tokyo, but on the first look, they can be confusing. That’s because they’re usually not set to the usual North-South-West-East perspective many of us are accustomed to. In other words, the north may not be at the top of the map.

Instead, the map is aligned with the perspective of the viewer standing in front of it. For example, if you’re facing south while looking at the map, then the south would be at the top. If you want to know which way is north, look in the corners of the map.

Grab Business Cards from Your Hotel

It’s best to keep a business card of your hotel in your pocket when you go out so that you have the name and address in Japanese. Many taxi drivers and other people who live in Tokyo don’t speak English. If you need a ride home or want to ask directions, it’s best to have a card handy.

Staying at a Tokyo AirBnB or accommodation without their own cards? Look for a restaurant or hair salon nearby and use theirs.

Where to Stay in Tokyo with Kids

Where to stay in Tokyo with kids may depend on what you want to see and do. For example, if Tokyo Disney Sea and old-school neighborhoods like Asakusa are your top priorities, then I’d recommend staying on the east side of Tokyo. If you’re more interested in Tokyo’s modern side and a visit to the Ghibli Museum, then Tokyo’s west side will do you better.

It doesn’t hurt to move around Tokyo with kids, either. Staying in different parts of Tokyo with your family gives you a different snapshot of the city. For example, staying in Odaiba is very different than staying in Asakusa, even though they’re not that far from each other.

Find the Best Family Hotels in Tokyo

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What & Where to Eat in Tokyo with Kids 

One of the main reasons to come to Tokyo with children is to experience Japanese cuisine at its origin. For us, Japanese food is the best in the world, and we miss it every day we’re away. Come to Tokyo with kids and you’ll find some of the best food you’ll ever eat. From sidewalk shacks to Michelin-starred bistros, Tokyo restaurants are incredible.

Not Seeking Publicity

Most of my favorite Tokyo restaurants are small, individual family-run businesses. They’re off the beaten track or places I learned about through friends or neighbors. And they don’t want to expand. They don’t want more business and they don’t want to be profiled in the newspaper or anywhere else.

In fact, my friend Robbie is the food critic for the Japan Times (his blog is great, too), and he’s often told by the owners themselves *not* to write about their restaurant. They have their system and regular customers. They’re not looking for new clientele. That shouldn’t stop you though. Check out his column and his blog for some great spots.

You’re certain to find great food in Tokyo, so instead of just listing a few individual Tokyo restaurants, I’m going to tell you about some chain restaurants that are good, reliable and relatively easy to try with children. That way you’ll always have a backup. And refer back to this piece in the coming months/years, as I’ll surely add more when I have time. Some of these Tokyo restaurant tips are family favorites. Others are just useful for families that are hungry, can’t read Japanese or have kids who aren’t as willing to try unfamiliar foods.

Sushi at Tsukiji

This was Japan’s most famous fish market and the nerve center of the Japanese seafood industry. If you’re coming to Tokyo with kids who love sushi, then this is the place. Tokyo sushi at Tsukiji: it doesn’t get any better. Thanks to the 2020 Olympics and other reasons, the Tsukiji market has moved to Toyosu, but many Tokyo sushi restaurants will remain in the area, and the outer market isn’t going anywhere, so I’d still recommend visiting Tsukiji regardless of the fish market itself.

In fact, Tsukiji is still a great place to experience old-school Japan AND to eat sushi. To be honest, the new fish market in Toyosu is fairly antiseptic and charmless, at least so far. In contrast, the Tsukiji neighborhood and food/shopping options still have a great Tokyo vibe. There’s a great tour of the area that includes some signature food in the area. 

Book Now: Tsukiji Walking Tour and Gorgeous Seafood Lunch

Other Tokyo Sushi Restaurants

I mentioned Andy’s in Yurakucho, but for more sushi-centric restaurants, here are a few worth checking out that are near some of the Tokyo sushi restaurants I recommend here:

Yakiniku (Korean-style BBQ)

There’s more to Japan than sushi restaurants. Yakiniku (焼肉) is another incredibly popular dining experience and what to do in Tokyo with kids who love grilled meat. This Japanese food actually originated in Korea, and you’ll hear it also called “Korean BBQ.” It’s usually cook-it-yourself style, with a grill built into the table. There are lots of great mom-and-pop operations, but fere are a few Yakiniku chains worth seeking out for families who enjoy nice cuts of grilled meat.

  • Gyukaku (Shibuya, Shinjuku, Akasaka, and more)
  • Jojoen (Roppongi, Shinjuku, Shibuya, and more)
  • Toraji (Ginza 8 Chome, Marunouchi, Haneda and more)

Ramen

Another quintessential Japanese food to eat in Tokyo is ramen. Some of the best ramen in Tokyo is made in single, family-run stores, but there are several chains worth your time and money. Here are a few of our favorite Tokyo ramen chains to try when in Tokyo with children:

  • Ippudo (Asakusa, Marunouchi, Ginza, and more)
  • Komen (Harajuku, Ebisu, Shinjuku, and more)
  • Tenkaippin (Roppongi, Shibuya, Ueno, Shinjuku and more)

Tonkatsu

This fried pork cutlet is essentially a Japanese schnitzel, but the local style is a hit with many kids because of the condiments and additions. For example, you often grind your own sesame for the sauce, and rice, soup, and shaved cabbage salad are all-you-can-eat. Fried shrimp are also prominent on the menus.

Other Places to Eat in Tokyo with Kids

If Tokyo restaurants are a big part of your Tokyo itinerary, then here are a few more Japanese restaurant styles worth exploring.

Umenohana

Book a tatami room in any branch of this chain of Tokyo restaurants for one of the most reasonably priced kaiseki-style course menus in town. Umenohana’s specialty is tofu, but that doesn’t mean that these course menus are vegetarian. Meat, fish, and chicken are often part of many courses.

Goemon: Italian & Japanese-style pasta

This place is a big hit with our kids and many others. If you’re in Tokyo with kids who are less adventurous with food but you want to try something new, this might be the place. Sure, the menu has spaghetti, a nice carbonara and the like, but then there other Japanese-style pasta dishes using ingredients like cod roe, seaweed, and crab.

Otoya

This Japanese restaurant chain serves washoku (Japanese-style) comfort food and home-style dishes. Fish and other grilled or fried meats are usually the main, with rice and a few Japanese veggies. Super clean, and pictures on the menus. Seasonal items are available as well. One of the most reliable Tokyo restaurant chains in its very reasonable price range.

Ready-made meals in B1 / B2 of department stores

In most major fancy department stores like Isetan, Matsuya, and Mitsukoshi, you’ll find food and gourmet supermarkets on the basement floors (B1 / B2). A must for anyone in Tokyo with kids is to just roam these floors looking at the food and trying any samples. Much of what you’ll find here is of the same or similar quality to what you’d find in a Tokyo restaurant. There are always plenty of pre-made meals as well, so you can grab something to go and then head to a nearby park to eat.

Family Restaurants

So you’ve been walking through Tokyo with the family all day. You’re tired, your kids are hungry and you don’t want to guess what to order from a menu in Japanese. That’s when you look for Japan’s “family restaurant” chains. They have booth seating and laminated menus with pics of all the food. Often in English.

Are they the best restaurant in Tokyo? No. They’re, however, pretty good, filling and inexpensive. Besides, they’re used to kids. The closest equivalents in the United States would be like Denny’s or Sizzler (both in Japan as well). In fact, we’ve eaten at the Sizzler in Odaiba many times. Why? Two words: salad bar. When we’ve craved an American-style all-you-can-eat fresh fruit and veggies spread, this is where we’ve gone. They have a great patio overlooking Tokyo Bay, as well.

  • Jonathan’s
  • Royal Host
  • Sizzler

Japanese Fast Food Restaurants

When you’re in Tokyo with kids who are hungry, don’t discount Japanese fast-food chains. The food is cheap, delicious, and served with amazing speed. Our kids crave the stuff, and I do too. It’s one of the first meals we eat when we return, actually, just because it’s easy, cheap and ubiquitous. Gyudon and mild curries can be found all over the city in either of these chains:

  • Yoshinoya
  • Matsuya

Scratching the surface

So I could continue to add to this list of where to eat in Tokyo with kids, but for the sake of time, I’ll stop here for the moment. There’s no way to list every kid-friendly Tokyo sushi place or Tokyo restaurant, this Tokyo travel blog post can only be so long! But I hope you’ll find somewhere to start here.

Day Trips From Tokyo – Places Near Tokyo for Kids

Day trips from Tokyo with Kids - Things to Do in Tokyo with Kids -Tokyo Travel Blog

There is so much to do in Tokyo for kids, but if you’re looking for more, there are dozens of fun activities within an hour or two by train. Tokyo day trips are plentiful, and it’s easy to find things to do near Tokyo. Here are just a few great day trips to consider during your visit to Tokyo with kids. Looking for places to go hiking?  I wrote about hiking near Tokyo in 2018 for the Japan Times.

Kamakura

Kamakura day trips from Tokyo for Kids - Things to Do in Tokyo for Kids -Tokyo Travel Blog

Once the home of the shogunate in the 11th century, Kamakura is a great place to show your kids the historical side of Japan. Temples and shrines are set up in a nice walkable circuit, and there are great hiking trails here as well Kamakura’s structures may not be as impressive If you’re coming from Kyoto, but if you’re staying in the Tokyo area and want a taste of shogun-era Japan, then make this day trip from Tokyo.

Hakone

Hakone Japan best daytrips from tokyo with kids

With beautiful trails, a pristine lake and hundreds of traditional hot spring hotels, Hakone is Tokyo’s main weekend getaway spot. Make sure to visit the open-air museum — it’s extremely photogenic and kid-friendly. You should also take the cable car to see spectacular views of Mount Fuji in the distance and the sulfurous pools below

Zushi, Hayama, Shonan, & Enoshima

enoshima Japan. Day trips from Tokyo for Kids - Things to Do in Tokyo for Kids -Tokyo Travel tips

These are the nice beaches near the city and what to do in Tokyo during the summer by weekenders because of their easy access by train and bus. There is a set “beach season” in Japan, and places open and close accordingly, so if you want the beach “scene,” then plan a visit to Tokyo with kids during the height of summer. Otherwise, the beaches may be empty.

Yokohama

yokohama

Considered by some to be a suburb of Tokyo, Yokohama is an amazing city. One of the best day trips from Tokyo and a destination all its own. There are great museums, parks, and public spaces to explore. Many people talk about Chinatown as a place to go, and I’d agree, but if you only have a day, then I make sure to walk the entire Minato Mirai area first.

Overnight Trips from Tokyo with Kids

Nikko Japan best day trips from tokyo things to do

First of all, any of the above day trips could easily be an overnight trip. In fact, it would be better. That gives you an extra few hours to explore instead of return to the city on a train. I guess it’s possible to try any of the below trips in a day, as well, but I wouldn’t advise it. There’s too much to see and do that spending all that transportation time isn’t worth it. You may only be in Tokyo with kids once, but you don’t want to spend it all on trains.

Minakami in Gunma Prefecture

This area in the Japanese Alps is a great place in every season. In the winter they have amazing skiing and snowboarding. In the summer they have great white water rafting and canyoning. Not enough Tokyo travel blogs talk about this area of the country.

Nikko National Park

These elaborate temples are one of my favorite places to visit in Japan with kids. The contrast of the decorative structures against the huge trees is jaw-dropping. There are many other day trips from Tokyo and overnight trips to write about, so I’ll keep adding them here.

Have You Been to Tokyo with Kids?

Tokyo with Kids - Things to Do in Tokyo Japan with Kids -Tokyo holiday guide

Have you been to Tokyo with children? What’s your experience with family travel in Tokyo? What did you see? Where did you stay? What did you eat? Tell us your tips and things to do in Tokyo for kids in the comments, or contact me directly. We want this Tokyo travel blog post to be the best on the web for families, so fill us in!

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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 a Tokyo hotel using those links. My opinions are my own and I only recommend places/services that I believe will genuinely help you find the most fun things to do in Tokyo with kids or on your own. This Tokyo travel blog post is all about helping you get the most out of family travel in Tokyo. Whether you in Tokyo with a baby, Tokyo with a toddler or Tokyo with a teen, I think you’ll find more than enough fun things to do in Tokyo here. If we’re missing something, let us know. We want this Tokyo travel blog post to be the best on the web for families!

Image credits: #5, #14, #15, #17, #22, #23, #24, #25, #26, #27, #30, #31

Comments

  1. Robin Critz says

    Hello, thanks for all this info its great! We are headed to Japan next week with our five daughters, ages 15-3, and I am very nervous about finding good restaurants. They are not picky eaters and really want to explore the authentic, homemade, “real” japanese food. We love sushi, ramen, and tempura. I am worried that hungry jet lagged children will make finding good food difficult. Advice?
    Thanks!

  2. Dominique Poldervaart says

    HI! Wow, you provide so much in depth information!

    We are a family of 3, traveling from Hong Kong to Japan in October. We have a 1,5 yr old curious little boy with us and we love Tokyo, but would love to see more of the country side.
    We’re playing with a combination of Fukuoka and Yakushima or Tokyo + country side.

    Which area and hotel would you recommend? Before we had our son we’ve stayed in Shibuya and Shinjuku. Ideally we’d stay 3 days in Tokyo, we’d wander around, eat and combine the day with activies for us and playtime for our son.

    Would love to hear your recommendations if possible

    • Hi Dominique,

      Not sure what you saw in Tokyo before kiddos came along, but I can tell you that Tokyo has much to offer kids of all ages. Enjoy! If you’d like to see the countryside, you can get to Hakone, Takao, or even Nikko from Tokyo as a day trip. Depending on your timing in October, you may get to see the fall leaves, as well. It’s hard to pick a specific area of Tokyo to stay, as people’s goals and tastes vary, but I’ve written a big post on Tokyo hotels for families, which may be of use to you. Hope it helps!

  3. Loving all the practical info on this blog. Thank you and keep it up!
    Heading to Japan in June and planning to spend the first week of July in Tokyo with whole family (2 kids, 4 and 6yo). Will be meeting up with my sister and husband coming from Taiwan.
    Wanted to go to see Mt Fuji area. Been to Hakone before, heard it is super busy now. Was hoping to do Lake Kawaguchi instead. Would you recommend that or Hakone instead?
    Thanks!

    • Happy to hear you’re enjoying the site! Hakone has been busy over many years since it’s one of the closest onsen (hot springs) spots from Tokyo. If you want to go to Hakone again, I wouldn’t worry too much about the crowd. Lake Kawaguchi is certainly a great spot for viewing Mt. Fuji, and also has lots to see. Since you haven’t been to Lake Kawaguchi, it would be a great experience. You may be able to enjoy Kawaguchiko Herb Festival, as well. Either way, hope you enjoy Japan!

  4. Jason, Great post!

    My family and I lived in Iwakuni (near Hiroshima) for about 3 years around 2010. We’re heading back for about 10 days in December to explore now that the kids are grown. Good info, keep up the great posts.

  5. Hi Jason,

    Great that I’ve chanced upon your blog.

    Going to Tokyo next week with 2 girls 4&9. Planning to go to Sanrio Puroland, Disneyland since we’ve been to DisneySea 2 years ago although we didn’t really get to explore much of it back then because younger daughter was just 2. Then a chill day at Odaiba to see team lab (is this something kids would love?) saw the video pf the digital art stuff and think it’s cool. What I need HUGE help with is figuring out how to get to Snow Town Yeti from Asakusa. I know there’s this tour that is bus/ski combo but since kids don’t ski was looking at a transport package and just go there to sled/snow play (even if it’s still artificial by Dec1) would you happen to have any info?

    Thanks so much in advance.

    • Hi Angelica,

      With my search, I found that there’s a bus operator providing bus transport without ski combo. However, the tour is mainly marketed towards Japanese so that they operate that service only on weekends until Dec 22 when Japanese public school holiday begin. If you are comfortable communicating in Japanese, it’s possible to chat directly ([email protected]) with the bus operator to seek your option.

      Another option would be totally DIY. Take trains (with transfer involved) to JR Gotenba station from Tokyo and take a bus provided by Yeti. If you happened to have JR Passes, this option may work out better for you, but it would require navigating the train system in Japanese.

      Overall, I’d think it’s easier (mentally and physically) to take a tour of bus/ski combo. Your call. If you choose this, then I’d appreciate it if you use our affiliate link 🙂

      Good luck with your search and enjoy Japan!

  6. Just wanted to say a big thanks for this brilliant blog. I’m visiting Tokyo for three weeks next April with my twin daughters (aged 9) and husband, who is guest lecturing at Waseda University. We really want to make the most of our amazing opportunity but it’s been hard to know where to start. Your blog has given me so many ideas, thank you!

  7. This guide is amazing. We are heading over in November for 2 weeks and don’t know where to start with accommodation. We are travelling with a group of 8 adults and my son who will be 1.5 years old. We will be attending the drift Matsuri at Ebisu aswell as doing the touristy sight seeing. Do you think it would pay for our group to look into renting a whole house for our entire stay? Is that something that is offered in Japan/ Osaka? Lost with where to start but this guide has been super helpful

    • Hi Ashlee

      Two weeks in Tokyo! Fantastic! You can easily fill that time and never do anything twice (unless you wanted to!). Home rentals are possible, yes, but the rules just changed in Japan regarding Airbnb and so there is significantly less on the market at the moment. It could change again, but right now many places were taken off because they didn’t fit the new rules.

      I’d look at what sites like Airbnb and Booking.com have to offer. You could save a significant amount of money if you could find a house for all of you. That said, houses that sleep 8 and a toddler are even fewer, so start looking as soon as you can.

      If you could, you’re welcome to use my Airbnb and Booking affiliate links. Thanks!

  8. Hi Jason, this is a great resource to start to plan my upcoming Japan holiday. Glad to find your articles. We bought our tickets 6 months ago and will be going to Tokyo next month in mid-June, but have no single thing planned yet other than our roundtrind air to Tokyo that arrives and departs 2 weeks apart. We’re a family of 4, traveling with a 6 yo and 9 yo who are extremely picky eaters. With 2 weeks, we feel that we have plenty of time and want to go at a moderate to relaxing pace. Will there be enough for us to see and do in Tokyo for 2 weeks, or would you recommend us going to to other cities like Osaka maybe. Your input is appreciated. Thanks!

    • Hi Nani. Sure, I think you could easily stay in the Tokyo area for two weeks and not run out of things to do. Especially if you take a few day trips/overnight trips to places like Kamakura, Yokohama, Hakone, Okutama and many more. That said, 2 weeks is enough time for you to pop down to Osaka or Kyoto if you wanted to. Just don’t get too ambitious and try to go to do everything and go everywhere. It also depends on what you want. Some people want to break up their city time with hikes, temples, and onsen. Others are energized by 2 weeks exploring the metropolis. You can do all of this in Tokyo (and the surrounding area) alone.

      As for the picky eaters, I’ve written about Japanese food for kids. Hope it helps.

  9. Hello Jason! We are planning a trip to Tokyo then Osaka( for next month )and came across your blog. I am now referencing your ideas. Is it worth it to do a day trip to Mt. Fuji? We are told we will be seeing it during our bullet train ride to Osaka from Tokyo.

    • If you just want to have a view of Mt. Fuji, you maybe able to see it from bullet train depending on the weather. I’d think Hakone would be the best place (easy to get to from Tokyo) to view the mountain. There’s also Shibazakura Festival (http://www.shibazakura.jp/eng/) by Lake Kawaguchiko.

      If you want to climb Mt. Fuji, it’s probably best to take a tour, but it might be faster-paced than you want. *note below are affiliate links.
      Mount Fuji Full-Day Scenic Bus Tour from Tokyo (https://goo.gl/m9uiBw)
      From Tokyo: Mt. Fuji and Hakone Day Trip by Shinkansen (https://goo.gl/bU2ABv)

      Yes, you’ll probably see Mt Fuji from the window of the Shinkansen, but only if weather permits. It’s often obscured by clouds.

      Spring is one of my favorite seasons to be in Japan. You’ll have a great time nonetheless. Enjoy!

  10. This is a fantastic resource! We’re hitting Tokyo for 2 full weeks in October with the kids, who will be 8 and 3. Thank you for the excellent information!

  11. We enjoy going to Japan! Looking forward to trying out some of these places you recommend.

  12. Awesome post Jason thanks. For some reason Tokyo feels a bit more overwhelming than other cities (to me) so this is tremendously helpful. We’ve navigated Bangkok, KL, Dubai and more so hopefully will be OK but this sure helps.

  13. cynthia wong says

    Hi Jason,
    i truly enjoy your blog. Its very informative!
    We are a family of 4 (2 Kids aged 5 and 10) and are planning to go Hokkaido, until i chanced upon your blog and decided to stopover Tokyo for 3 days before proceeding with Hokkaido. Am planning on 1D disneyland, 1D in Odaiba and 1D in Fuji Safari Park via shinkasen. Would really like to hear what you think :
    1) disneyland or disneysea? shd i stay in Toyko bay area or odaiba?
    2) is fuji safari worth the time?
    3) would staying Odaiba for 3D work best for me?
    4) will my kids miss much if we give Shibuya/Harajuku/Asakusa area (my husband and i had visited these before we had the kids).
    Really look forward to your advice. Lots thks!

    • Hi Cynthia! In response to your questions:
      1) If only one, I’d choose Disney Sea. It’s unique to Japan (other Disneyworlds/Disneylands in the world have similar attractions I think).
      2) That’s over 2 hours to Fuji Safari from Tokyo. Each way. I wouldn’t on a schedule like yours, but everyone is different. If we were passengers in a car, maybe, but otherwise that’s 4+ hours of trains.
      3) I think so. Some Odaiba hotels have Disney shuttle service. If not, you’ll be looking for the closest Rinkai line station in Odaiba (Rinkai Line to Keiyo line)
      4) Of course they’ll miss *something*, but with each choice we make as parents, they miss one thing and experience something else, right? Personally, I’d go into the city the day you were thinking safari, but I don’t know if cities would thrill your kids more than animals would. Your kids are young and will enjoy many of the options you’ve considered. Do things that you’ll prefer too — they’ll enjoy with you!

      Have a great trip!

  14. This is a tremendous guide Jason. I need to see Japan; quick Osaka layover a few years back. My wife taught in Hiroshima for a year. She loved Japan, and always said how the culture is wonderfully weird. Unlike anywhere else on earth.

  15. Wow..this article is really mind blowing! I plan to visit tokyo during march next year with hubby n 3 boys (8yrs,6yrs n 3yrs).mind u,its not gonna be an easy task:-)

  16. What a great resource. We are going to Japan in March and this will be so useful!

    • That’s great! Hope you have a great trip and that this site can help you in some way. It’ll still be a bit chilly in March but you may be there for hanami season in early April. No better time to be in Japan!

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