Things to Do In Tokyo With Kids
Finding things to do in Tokyo with kids can seem overwhelming at first. There are so many amazing activities to choose from! Whether you want to enjoy a custom food tour, experience Tokyo Disneyland, or explore one of the many museums, the possibilities seem almost endless. Pick a few or pick them all during your family travel planning, these are the best things to do in Tokyo with children!
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Tokyo DisneySea and Disneyland
Two Disney Parks call Tokyo home. Located next to each other, Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea are connected through a central monorail that runs between both and to the Tokyo Disney Resort Hotels.
Tokyo Disneyland will feel very familiar to fans of the US-based parks, sharing many of the popular rides from both Disneyland in California and Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World. Character experiences are especially fun for kids at Tokyo Disneyland. Rather than waiting in line to meet Characters, they roam around the parks waiting to meet you! Another fun treat for kids is the popcorn. Tomorrowland boasts a Strawberry Milk flavor that you can smell from an entire land away. For younger kids, Tokyo Disneyland boasts several attractions aimed at toddlers in Toon Town.
Tokyo DisneySea, however, is a completely unique experience. Instead of a castle at the center, a giant volcano rises from the sea. You can explore areas like the American Waterfront or ride a double-decker carousel in Agrabah. The stage shows at Tokyo DisneySea, particularly Big Band Beat, are spectacular. They easily hold kids’ attention with their exciting songs. Tokyo DisneySea also has a show dedicated to Duffy (Mickey Mouse’s Teddy Bear) that is unique to these Disney Parks.
A visit to Tokyo Disneyland or Tokyo DisneySea is sure to be one of your cherished memories from your time visiting Tokyo with kids. You can purchase tickets directly, through a participating hotel, or even Tokyo Disneyland tickets or Tokyo Disneysea tickets through Voyagin to pick up at Maihama station.
Tokyo Food Tour with Kids
A Tokyo food tour is the perfect way to introduce kids to the city. Combining delicious treats with cultural experiences, Washoku Club’s tour through Asakusa even includes a kimono experience for kids! The tour starts with everyone picking out their own kimono and learning what it takes to dress in kimono. You can take pictures in a full photo-booth before heading out to start sampling amazing food.
The Asakusa food tour takes you through Sensoji Temple, the oldest temple in Tokyo. You get the chance to try some of the best street food, like Ningyoyaki, that Tokyo has to offer. The tour comes with a full lunch, and kids will love cooking their own beef over a charcoal fire in a traditional yakiniku restaurant. Throughout the tour, kids have the opportunity to ask questions about the different cultural sites and learn about different Japanese cooking techniques. Be careful though, they might develop a serious addiction to bubble tea after sampling some on this amazing food tour!
If you are looking to try out something different in Tokyo with kids, make sure you check out everything that a Tokyo food tour with kids has to offer.
Kawaii Monster Cafe with Kids
Fewer areas in Tokyo appeal to kids like Harajuku with its bright colors and fun style. To fully experience the “kawaii” (cute) culture, you can book a meal at the the Kawaii Monster Cafe. Everything in this restaurant is part of the theme. A giant spinning carousel cake greets you as you enter and one of the Monster Girls leads you to your table in one of their fun “lands”. We ended up in “Mushroom Disco”, seated in a psychedelic explosion of bright colors! There are four different rooms, each with their own personality : Mushroom Disco, Mike Stand, Bar Experiment, and Mel-tea.
The food options follow the theme as much as the decorations. You can order a “science experiment” drink that lets you mix it together or a monster-shaped burger. While you wait for your meal, you can walk around and explore the different areas. One of our favorite rooms, Mel-Tea, was filled with melting ice cream sculptures. The Monster Girls are the mascots for the Cafe, and they also roam around the restaurant posing for fun pictures.
If you book a meal at Kawaii Monster Cafe, you will want to pay attention to the day. There are several adult-only nights that are not suitable for kids. Voyagin does a great job labeling these to make it easy for scheduling.
If you are still craving something fun after the Kawaii Monster Cafe, don’t forget to stop by the Totti Candy Factory for a cotton candy as big as your kids!
Pokemon Cafe and Center
Pokemon overload is the only way to describe a visit to the Pokemon Center in Nihonbaski, Tokyo. From the walls of stuffed animals to the exclusive Japanese Pokemon cards, kids’ faces literally light up when they enter the store. You will find everything from socks, wedding photo albums, perfume, and pasta shaped like your favorite pokemon. Kids will love exploring the interactive exhibits that share knowledge and facts about their favorite characters.
If snagging your favorite new pokemon cards aren’t enough, then you can enjoy a meal at the Pokemon Cafe too! The food options are heavily themed and shaped like your favorite pokemon. For the adults, the hot or cold lattes are extremely popular with pokemon latte art. After your meal, Chef Pikachu even makes laps through the restaurant. Reservations are a must as it’s an extremely popular attraction in Tokyo. They can be made exactly 30 days in advance on the Pokemon Cafe website.
Visit a Tokyo Toy Store
Visiting a toy store might not originally make a list of “best things to do in Tokyo with kids”. After exploring all six stories of toys, it will quickly jump to the top of the list! Less than a one minute walk from Ueno Station, Yamashiroya Toys has everything from legos to slime to high-end collectibles.
Kids will love exploring the aisles and finding new favorites from the popular Japanese toys. Each floor is themed and even more impressive than the next. The basement floor is filled with Studio Ghibli toys. Level 2 has everything you can think of related to Star Wars, DC, and Marvel. Level 3 is particularly impressive for puzzle fans! If you are making a trip to Tokyo Disneyland or DisneySea, Yamashiroya Toys has amazing Disney puzzles that mimic stained glass windows.
No matter what toys kids enjoy, they are sure to find it and more at Yamashiroya Toy store!
Collecting Stamps in Japan
From Talia at Hulwithkids.com
One of my kids’ favorite parts of Japan were the stamps! You can find them at every train station and every attraction. Any time we arrived, the kids first looked for the local stamp. I bought each of them a booklet at Daiso (the 100 Yen store) and had the booklets in my bag at all times. This came in particularly handy at train stations when we needed to purchase new tickets. While we were checking how much our ride should cost and purchasing tickets, they searched for the stamp station and would come back running to get the booklets from us. We spent a month in Japan, and now the kids have this amazing booklet full of stamps from all around Japan! It’s a great souvenir to help them remember their time in Japan, and one of our best recommendations for planning a Tokyo trip!
Edo-Tokyo Museum with Kids
From Wendy at TheNomadicVegan.com
Kids and adults alike will love exploring Tokyo’s past at the Edo-Tokyo Museum. While it’s mostly modern skyscrapers today, Tokyo has a rich history dating back to the early 1600s when it was called Edo. The museum’s name, Edo-Tokyo Museum, refers to the fact that it covers the earlier Edo period as well as the city’s more recent history.
When you step inside the museum, you’ll feel like you’ve been transported back in time to stroll the streets of Edo when it was ruled by the shogun. The exhibit begins with a life-sized replica of a kabuki theater. In addition to full-sized homes, shopfronts and workshops, there are several smaller models that recreate entire streets populated with toy-soldier-sized citizens of Edo.
Kids will be fascinated by the hands-on exhibits of firefighters’ equipment and tools used by merchants. Entry costs 600 yen for adults and is free for children. There’s an audioguide available free of charge, but I recommend catching one of the free tours led by volunteers instead. These run throughout the day from 10 am to 3 pm, or you can call in advance to reserve one at a specific time. There’s also a restaurant with great views on the seventh floor, although vegetarians and vegans visiting Japan will find better options elsewhere.
Primary and preschool students are free while it costs non-Tokyo high school students 300 yen to visit. Adults currently cost 600 yen.
National Museum of Nature and Science
Located in Ueno Park, the National Museum of Nature and Science has two sections for kids to enjoy :
- Japan Gallery – Explore the nature, history, and different organisms of the Japan islands.
- Global Gallery – The animals of Earth, evolution of life, science and technology, and many other exhibits from around the world.
The quality of the museum rivals the Smithsonian exhibits in Washington, D.C.. You will find sections with fully catalogued animal exhibits either of taxidermic or preserved animals. Kids can play a game that teaches how to identify the epicenter of earthquakes. The Minerals of Japan features walls of labeled minerals and where they are found throughout the islands. The attention to detail in the exhibits was amazing with everything fully catalogued down to the different pine cones of Japan!
Special exhibits occupy another floor of the museum. Be sure to check out the Tokyo National Museum of Nature and Science’s website before your visit to see what special exhibits are on display. When we visited, it was a special dinosaur exhibit which the kids loved! These are an extra fee. High school students and younger are free while adults currently cost 630 yen to visit the normal exhibits.
From Tanja at Ryoukugirl.com
Since the TeamLab Borderless digital art museum opened in Odaiba in 2018, it has become a must-do attraction for families traveling to Tokyo. This year TeamLab Borderless officially became the most visited art museum in the world. Both adults and children are sure to have fun exploring all the different installations and rooms. When I visited shortly after the museum first opened, I spent hours wandering around, taking photos, getting lost, and feeling the same kind of excitement that all the kids felt too!
My top tips for visiting include booking your tickets online in advance. This is a must-do as it is usually sold out every day. If you want to avoid the crowds, don’t go on a weekend or public holiday. Choose first thing on a weekday morning or late afternoon (before people finish work). Another tip to consider for ladies is to not wear a skirt as many of the rooms have mirrored floors! Finally, if you need a break or a sit-down whilst inside, then they have a little hidden café on the top floor where you can order green tea and take a rest.
Kids and Meiji Jingu Shrine
Located directly next to the train station in Harajuku, Meiji Shrine is a great escape into nature in the middle of Tokyo. You enter the shrine through a giant tori gate and follow a winding trail through the trees to the main shrine. This forest was specifically planted by hand for Emperor Meiji and Empress Shoken. The walk is not strenuous and is good for any activity level.
Once you arrive at the main shrine, there are several areas to check out with kids. There are daily, monthly, and annual ceremonies that you can find on their website. We visited during the festival to thank dolls. It was an excellent opportunity for the kids to learn about the Shinto values. Seeing so many dolls being thanked for their service and companionship was a great lesson in gratitude and thankfulness.
Another activity for the whole family is to write a family wish and hang it near the sacred camphor tree near the main shrine. You can purchase a wooden tablet, or ema, from the gift shop for around 500 yen. There are tables set up for your to write your wish on the ema. You can take it, as a family, and hang it near the tree. It is also a lot of fun to read the other wishes. It’s, again, a great opportunity to introduce kids to some of the Shinto values and traditions. If visiting Meiji Jingu resonates with your kids, you can find even more amazing shrines to visit in the best day trips from Tokyo.
Before you visit, make sure to check out the official Meiji Shrine website for tips. We learned how to pay respect when entering a tori gate (bow once when entering and once when leaving). Kids will love following the traditions at the fountain (temizuya) and main shrine buildings. It’s a great way to orient them to the culture in a respectful way. There is no charge for visiting, although you may choose to give an offering.
Visiting Sanrio Puroland with Kids
From Melissa at ThriftyFamilyTravels.com
For little ones, a day trip to Sanrio Puroland (aka Hello Kitty Land) is an absolute must! The little Hello Kitty fans in your family will love this place. Located 30 minutes out of Tokyo, Sanrio Puroland is a Hello Kitty version of Disneyland, although on a much much smaller scale.
All the attractions are in indoors across a few levels. Each level is themed around the character Hello Kitty as well as her friends My Melody, Cinnamoroll and more. There are a few gentle rides, such as a boat ride (think “It’s a Small World” from Disneyland), where you can see all the characters singing and dancing. The main attraction is the tour of Hello Kitty’s home where little ones will just be beside themselves exploring all the different rooms filled with fancy furniture. At the end of the house tour, you can also meet Hello Kitty herself!
There is also a parade where all the Hello Kitty characters come to life, as well as a Hello Kitty café where Hello Kitty themed snacks and dishes are served. Of course there are also plenty of shops where you can buy Hello Kitty merchandise too.
If you plan on visiting Hello Kitty Land – allow at least a few hours to half a day. It makes a perfect addition to a 3 week itinerary in Japan with kids. Puroland is easy to reach by train from the centre of Tokyo and is open during the week between 10 am-6 pm and on the weekend between 9 am-6 pm. Children 2 years and under are free, and you can book an advance e-ticket to Sanrio Puroland.
Tokyo Skytree with Kids
From Talia at Hulwithkids.com
One of the most iconic landmarks in Tokyo is the Skytree, the tallest building in Tokyo. It’s one of many must-do attractions in Tokyo with kids. We spent the better half of a day at the Skytree, because there are so many activities! There’s a great play area called Kodomo no Yu that looks like an onsen. It is great for kids up to age 6 or 7 with a huge ball pit, interactive games, slides, and an adorable pretend-play area where the kids pretend to work at a sushi shop, grocery store and more. Bonus points for the massage chair for parents at just 100 yen for 10 minutes! Kids 5 and under can visit for free, and all others can book an advance Tokyo Skytree ticket .
The Skytree also has the very cute Sumida Aquarium, tons of restaurants, and of course a wonderful observation deck. For families that do not plan on visiting Disneyland Tokyo, the Skytree also has a Disney store so you can get in a bit of magic. When we left the Skytree, we went for a walk through Ohyokogawa-shinsuipark, which was wonderful! It has several spots where kids can splash in the water, a fun slide and lots of nature. A really great break from the bustling city life!
Exploring Tokyo with Kids
Pick one or all of these amazing experiences, and you are sure to have a great time exploring Tokyo together!
- Take the kids to Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea
- Go on a Food Tour and Kimono Experience with Kids
- Visit the Kawaii Monster Cafe and learn all about the “cute culture”
- Dine with Chef Pokemon at the Pokemon Cafe
- Explore all 6 floors of a Tokyo Toy Store
- Collect Stamps for an awesome souvenir for kids
- Visit the Edo-Tokyo Museum and learn about Tokyo’s history
- Explore the Science at the National Museum of Nature and Science
- Be amazed at TeamLab Borderless
- Learn about Shinto Values and make a wish at Meiji Jingu Shrine
- Hang with Hello Kitty at Sanrio Puroland
- Enjoy an amazing view of the city at Tokyo Skytree