Tokyo is a big city, and with so many wonderful family-friendly Tokyo attractions, planning a holiday in Tokyo with kids can become a little overwhelming. If you’re planning a family trip to Tokyo and wondering what the best things to do in Tokyo with kids are, then you’re going to love this Tokyo for families guide.
In this Tokyo with children guide, I cover off on not only what to do in Tokyo with kids but have grouped them into locations within Tokyo to make planning your Tokyo with kids itinerary easier. The guide also includes essential information such as location, open hours, and ticket prices – even tips on where to get discounted tickets.
As well as listing all the things to do in Tokyo with children, this guide will cover getting to Tokyo from the airport, getting around the city, and tips on where to stay in Tokyo with kids.
This post may contain compensated links. Please refer to my disclaimer here for more information.
- 1 The Districts of Tokyo
- 2 Best Things to do in Tokyo with Kids
- 3 Where to stay in Tokyo with Kids
- 4 Getting to Tokyo
- 5 Getting Around Tokyo
- 6 Stay Connected with Pocket Wifi
- 7 Tokyo with Kids – Our Verdict
The Districts of Tokyo
Before we get started on all the best family things to do in Tokyo, let’s talk about the layout of the city.
Tokyo is HUGE! It’s massive, and so it’s probably best to think of it as lots of little cities joined together. So to understand where all the Tokyo must-see attractions are, I’ve split this article into the following sections:
- Central Tokyo: Marunouchi, Chiyoda and Chuo
- Western Tokyo – Shinjuku and Shibuya (including Harajuku)
- Northern Tokyo: Sumida, Taito (including Asakusa and Uneo) and Bunkyo
- Southern Tokyo: Roppongi and Odaiba
- Outer Tokyo
Having the Tokyo tourist spots split by the above areas will also make it easier when planning your Tokyo holidays. I’ve also included a map that shows the exact location of all the fun things to do in Tokyo with family covered in this guide.
If you need a suggested Tokyo itinerary – click here to see how we spent each day in Tokyo.
Best Things to do in Tokyo with Kids
Throughout this section, I have provided a comprehensive guide to all the best places to visit in Tokyo with kids. I’ve information to make your planning easier, including locations, opening hours and ticket prices.
You will note that for many of the Tokyo tourist attractions, I often recommend that you purchase your tickets in advance from Klook. Yes, I will receive a small commission if you do purchase from these sites – but as you will see in most cases, you will save yourself a bit of cash in doing so. Other times the price may be the same, but you will save time by not having to line up for tickets. Plus you earn points with Klook that you can trade-in for money off – so you can save even more money. I use these sites myself to book tickets for our travels around the world.
Please note that all prices mentioned were correct at the time of writing and may fluctuate depending upon changes to currency conversion and rate increases.
To check the rate in your local currency, click here.
Western Tokyo – Shinjuku, Harajuku and Shibuya
Below are the best things to do in Tokyo with family in Shinjuku, Harajuku and Shibuya
Metropolitan Government Building Observatory
The Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building Observatory is one of the Tokyo top attractions for tourists. You can view the sights of Tokyo from two observation decks, the building is 243m tall and was the tallest building in Tokyo until the Midtown Tower was built in 2007.
There are several towers within Tokyo, but this is the only one that is completely free of charge to visit. Given it is free, it is very popular, so I’d recommend getting there before opening time. Although when we visited, there was a long line up, but surprisingly it went pretty quickly.
Allow an hour or two (depending on what the line up is like) to explore here.
Location: 2 Chome-8-1Nishishinjuku, Shinjuku City, Tokyo
Opening Hours: 9:30 am to 11:00 pm (South Observatory closes at 5:30 pm)
Price: Free Admission
One of the most craziest, spectacular experience’s on your Tokyo trip has to be the Robot Restaurant, where your senses will be on overdrive. With the spectacular laser show, unique dancing and incredible robots putting on a show for you in one of Tokyo’s famous themed restaurant hubs, this is an experience you and your family will have never had before!
This crazy restaurant is undoubtedly one of the cool things to do in Tokyo and one you probably can’t experience in any other city in the world.
Many people ask if it’s child-friendly and the answer is a big yes!!! We had a few kids with us when we visited ranging in ages from 8 to 10 and they all really loved it. They hand out headphones for the kids to dull the noise a little.
A visit to Robot Restaurant isn’t cheap but in my view, it’s something you got to do at least once when you visit Tokyo. Certainly one of the more fun and weird things to do in Tokyo.
Location: 1-7-1 Kabukicho Shinjuku-ku Tokyo, Japan
Opening Hours: From 1 pm until 9:30 pm (evening session)
Price: ¥8,500 per person (A$117.80)|Children under 2 are free. Or to save money, book with Klook where tickets are ¥5,247 per person (A$72.72). Click here to book your discounted tickets.
Golden Gai and Piss Alley (Memory Lane)
When putting together your Tokyo itinerary, do yourself a favour and include dinner one evening in either Golden Gai or Piss Alley. These two areas are lovely little dining and drinking areas in Shinjuku which date back to the post-war. Here you will find a maze of quaint narrow little alleyways filled with super tiny bars and yakitori grills. The alleyways have full of lovely colourful lanterns and it’s just a lovely area to stroll around.
Just keep in mind that the places to eat are super tiny – seating only like 6-10 or so people – so if you are in a big group, you may well not find anywhere to eat. But still, come and check the area out as it’s just lovely.
One of the best places in Tokyo for those interested in learning more about the Japanese Samurai culture is the Samurai Museum! Here you can see a great collection of Samurai artifacts such as armours, swords, war helmets and more. You can even dress up as a Samurai and see sword performances.
I didn’t personally visit the Museum but a few in our group did and they really enjoyed it.
Allow a few hours to experience all the museum has to offer.
Location: 160-0021 Tokyo, Shinjuku
Open: Daily 10.30 am to 9 pm
Price: 1900 yen ($A25.55) per adult and 800 yen (A$10.76) for children 3-12 or for slight discounted tickets book through Get Your Guide where tickets are 1800 yen ($A24.31) per adult and 800 yen (A$10.76) for children 3-12. Click here to book your discounted tickets.
See the Godzilla Statue
A Tokyo must visit for lovers of Godzilla is to see the gigantic 40 feet tall Godzilla head that towers over the Toho Building in Shinjuku. Every few minutes he lets out a loud roar and has lit up eyes and glowing claws
Location: Toho Building, 19-1 Kabukicho, Shinjuku
If you want to experience a wonderful, authentic and historic part of Japan, then the Meiji shrine is a must do in Tokyo. The Meiji Shrine is very grand and is set amongst a beautiful, big, lush park. The Shrine was actually destroyed in World War II and rebuilt in 1958
A large part of the southern section is taken up by the Inner garden, for which you need to pay an entrance fee. The garden is especially popular when the cherry blossoms are in full bloom.
The Meiji Shrine is located close to the famous Takeshita Street in Harajuku (another must on your Tokyo holiday with kids) – so combine a visit to the shrine before or after you visit here.
Location: 1-1 Yoyogikamizonocho, Shibuya City.
Opening Hours: Shrine is Sunrise to sunset|Inner garden 9:00-4:30 pm
Price: Shrine is Free admission|Inner garden ¥500 (A$6.72)
Animal Cafés: Hedgehog Café, Rabbit, Owls, Cat cafes
If you are looking for things for kids to do in Tokyo that is a little bit unique and unusual, then take them to one of the many animal cafés. Tokyo has received worldwide attention and fame for these gorgeous and cuddly cafés. There are various themed animal cafés such as hedgehogs, rabbits, owls, cats and many more.
While we were in Japan, we visited the Hedgehog Café – which in my view was pretty overrated, but the kids seemed to absolutely love it. While they call it a “café” it really isn’t – it’s just a place to play with hedgehogs and you can order a drink. Unlike a “café,” everyone must pay an entrance fee and you only have a set amount of time you can stay.
The Hedgehog Cafe is located just around the corner from the famous Takeshita Street in Harajuku – so combine a visit to the cafe before or after you visit here.
Location: 150-0001 Tokyo, Shibuya City
Opening Hours: Daily from 11 am to 7 pm.
Price: For 30 minutes at the cafe, the cost is 1400 yen ($19.40 AUD) per person or 1630 yen ($22.60 AUD) per person which includes a snack of worms for the hedgehogs! You can pre-purchase tickets via Klook – but they are not any cheaper and are for one hour so cost 2500 yen ($34.65 AUD) per person. Click here if you wish to pre-book via Klook.
Kawaii Monster Café
One of the fun things to do in Tokyo with the kids is to visit the Kawaii Monster Café. Some people liken it to a kind of Alice in Wonderland experience – on steroids! It is crazy, the décor is incredible and it also has a stage with performances while you eat. Even the bathrooms are decked out in an amazing array of colours. It is the brainchild of designer Sebastian Masuda who continues to fascinate the world of kawaii (cuteness).
In the café, there are four unique areas – the Mushroom Disco which is a mushroom themed room, the Milk Stand which is decorated with unicorns, sheep, rabbits and baby bottles, and the Bar Experiment which is surrounded by glow in the dark jellyfish monuments glowing in the dark and the Mel-Tea Room which is decorated in pastel coloured desserts.
The food on the menu is pretty crazy too – everything is super colourful and sweet and the waitresses here are off the chart too! You’ll find lots of colourful Japanese desserts and cakes here.
We really wanted to do this, but we just couldn’t make it work – so if you go tell us what it’s like!!
The Kawaii Monster Cafe is located just around the corner from the famous Takeshita Street in Harajuku – so combine a visit to the cafe before or after you visit here.
Location: YM Square 150-0001 Tokyo, Shibuya City
Opening Hours: 11.30 am to 4.30 pm and 6 to 1030pm daily. Showtimes vary each day.
Price: Admission only from ¥550 (A$7.40)
When it comes to the best places to go in Tokyo for all things “kawaii” (Japanese for cute) – then Takeshita Street is the place to be! This is a 400m long-lined street with restaurants, crepe stands, fashion boutiques selling loads of super cute stuff!
Make sure while you’re here, you take the kids to Rainbow Sweets store to get a giant colourful fairy floss, colourful ice cream – or even a colourful toasted cheese sandwich!
If you’re into shopping – you could easily spend a good part of the day here – plus as mentioned above, there are a few other fun things to do in Tokyo with family in the area too.
Location: Shibuya City
Opening Hours: Hours vary from shop to shop
Among the top things to do in Tokyo is to see the Shibuya Crossing. The crossing is one of the iconic sights of Tokyo; it literally has thousands of people that cross at any one time, witnessing the “scramble” as it is known, is a must for first time visitors to Tokyo and recommended on any Tokyo travel blog.
This is an intersection of 7 crossroads; it is quite incredible to think that thousands of pedestrians cross at the one time with almost no collisions or injuries! There is a range of restaurants and cafes around the area where you can get a great view – but for a quick free view, go to the rooftop of the Magnet Shopping Mall – next to Starbucks and Hello Kitty – 7th floor of the building.
Opening Hours: 24 hours
Hachiko Memorial Statue
Right outside the Shibuya Subway Station and before you cross the Shibuya Crossing you will see the Hachiko Memorial Statue – you can’t miss it – it will most likely have a billion tourists around it taking pictures!
So what’s so amazing about a statue of a dog? Well, this is actually Hachiko and the story goes that back in the 1920s, this pup came to the Shibuya Station every day to meet its owner. Even when the owner died apparently the dog still came for almost 10 years until its own death.
The story became legendary and so a statue was erected in its memory and now it’s one of the top Tokyo places to visit. Check it out as you leave the station on your way to the crossing. PS the kitty is not part of the statue – it just happened to be there when I took the photo 🙂
Location: Shibuya Station
Opening Hours: 24 hours
Shopping in Shibuya
If you want to know where to go in Tokyo to shop with the kids – then I recommend taking the kids to Shibuya. This is a shopper’s paradise with huge shopping malls on every corner! It’s seriously crazy the number of shops that are here – you’ll find all your favourite brands from back home plus many more no doubt you’ve never heard of.
If you’ve got a few hours to pass or want to escape hot or rainy weather – one of the best things to do in Shibuya with kids is to spend the afternoon doing karaoke!!
Karaoke is one of the super cool family activities Tokyo offers. Just turn up, ask for a room and pay for however long you wish to stay for. Prices are fairly similar with most places around 300 yen per hour during off-peak or around 1000 yen during peak times. Some places also include a drink or even unlimited drinks in their price.
Inside the booth, you’ll find super comfy chairs, a big screen, microphones, and your karaoke machine where you can choose what you wish to sing. Most rooms also have a phone system where you can order drinks (including alcoholic) and food, which are delivered to your booth.
We had so much doing karaoke – the kids especially had an absolute blast. There are all of your favourite songs to choose from and you can even get food delivered to your booth!
Some of the more popular karaoke chains in Tokyo are Shidax Karaoke, Karaoke Kan, Uta Hiroba and Big Echo Karaoke to name a few. Most places open around mid-morning and stay open until the early hours of the morning.
What to do in Northern Tokyo: Sumida, Taito and Bunkyo
Below are the best things to do in Tokyo for kids in Sumida, Taito and Bunkyo
Fukagawa Edo Museum
If you want to add some museums to your Tokyo sightseeing – I highly recommend taking the kids to the Fukagawa Edo Museum. This museum recreates a working-class neighbourhood in the Edo era – an era that was highlighted by economic growth, strict social order and rich arts and crafts.
You explore the museum with a guide who tells you all about the different buildings and what life was like during the Edo period. It is highly interactive, and the kids are encouraged to pick up and touch the objects as they walk through. This is such an authentic way to learn about some of the history of Japan, which the kids will love.
Allow an hour or so to explore the museum.
Location: 1-3-28 Shirakawa, Kōtō, Tōkyō
Opening Hours: 9:30 am-5 pm
Price: Adults ¥400 (A$4.99)|Children ¥50 (A$0.62)
Edo Tokyo Museum
Another museum that takes you through what life was like during the Edo period is the Edo Tokyo Museum. Here you can learn about the Edo period architecture, the way of life, politics, and much more through the many exhibitions and models like the amazing Edo Castle. As well as the permanent exhibitions, there are also a variety of temporary exhibitions throughout the year.
Location: 1-4-1 Yokoami, Sumida-ku, Tokyo 130-0015
Opening Hours: 9:30am to 5:30pm (until 7:30pm on Saturdays)
Price: ¥600 (A $7.47) per adult, ¥300 ($A4.00) per high school student and free for younger children.
One of the top places to visit in Tokyo is the iconic Tokyo Skytree, where you can view the city from it’s highest point. The Skytree is one of the best attractions in Tokyo and is the tallest freestanding broadcasting tower in the world – with the main viewing deck a massive 350m high – certainly not for the faint of heart. For those who love heights, you can even go up a further 100m!
If you can get there in time for the sunset, then it makes the view even more spectacular. And on a clear day, you can also see Mt Fuji.
Location: 1-2 Oshiage, Sumida
Opening Hours: 8:00 am to 10 pm daily
Price: Adults ¥3100 (A $42)|12-17 ¥2350 (A $32)|6-11 ¥1450 (A$19.50) or if you book with Klook, prices are Adults ¥2700 (A $36)|12-17 ¥2150 (A $29)|6-11 ¥1300 (A$17.50) Click here to get your discounted tickets.
One of the must-see places in Tokyo is Senso-ji Temple, Tokyo’s oldest Buddhist temple, said to be built in 628. It contains a sacred statue of Kannon, the goddess of mercy.
Around the central building, you will see the five-story pagoda as well as various smaller sub-temples and beautiful little gardens, which is home to Tokyo’s oldest stone bridge and wooden structure, Rokkakudo.
There are plenty of Shinto rituals that the kids can get involved in. The kids can randomly draw their fortune, participate in the cleanse from the purification trough, bow, clap and prayer at the altar, write their wishes on wooden plates and leave them at the shrine to come true or wave incense over themselves for good luck.
This is one of the most popular places of interest in Tokyo with apparently over 30 million people visiting the temple each year. It seriously felt like at least half of them were there when we visited! This place was seriously packed – however we did visit in the middle of the day, so my advice would be to visit first thing in the morning or late in the afternoon.
Location: 3-1, Asakusa, Taito
Opening Hours: Main hall 6 am to 5 pm |temple grounds always open
Price: Free admission
Hanayashiki Amusement Park
Right next to the temple is the Hanayashiki Amusement Park. The park opened in 1853, making it the oldest amusement park in Japan. The amusement park is fairly small with around 20 rides and attractions. Here you can find rides such as a merry go round, Ferris wheel, haunted house, small roller coaster and more.
Location: 28-1 Asakusa, Taito
Opening Hours: Daily 10 am to 6 pm
Price: Entry is 13+ ¥1000 (A $13.45)|7-12 ¥500 (A $6.72) – rides are ¥100 (A$1.35) each or there are ride passes and discounts available for multiple tickets.
Shopping in Asakusa
While you’re in Asakusa and feel like some shopping head on over to Nakamise Shopping Street. At 250m – the street is fairly small but it’s a good place to come for some souvenirs.
Denboin Street is another small shopping street close to Senso-ji Temple. Even if you’re not keen on shopping it’s a cool street to stroll down as it looks like a super old Edo street in Tokyo.
Ueno Park and Zoo
Ueno Park is a popular place to view cherry blossoms and many people also come to visit the zoo which is located within the park. The Ueno Zoological Park is the oldest zoo in Japan and now homes over 3,000 animals with over 400 species being represented. Some of the incredible animals include Giant Pandas, Sumatran Tigers, Monkeys and much more.
We were going to visit the zoo – I really wanted to see the Panda’s, but we had read some pretty poor reviews about the zoo, so decided to skip it.
Location: 9-８３ Uenokoen, Taito City
Opening Hours: The Zoo is open Tue-Sunday 9:30 am -5 pm
Price: Adults ¥600 (A $7.47)| Kids ¥200 (A $2.70)| Children U12 free
What to do in Central Tokyo: Marunouchi, Chiyoda and Chuo
Below are the top things to do in Tokyo with family in Marunouchi, Chiyoda and Chuo
Tsukiji Outer Markets
Once a upon a time, the Tsukiji Fish Markets, which was famous for its tuna auctions, was the place to go – but unfortunately, the markets closed in 2018 and moved to a new site in Toyosu where it reopened as Toyosu Market.
However the outer markets are still open to the public and are one of the best places to visit in Tokyo, Japan, for lovers of Japanese food – especially fresh seafood. The outer markets consist of retail shops and fantastic seafood restaurants. One of the most popular things to do is to combine your visit with a fresh sushi breakfast or lunch
Location: 16-2 Tsukiji, Chuo City
Opening Hours: Varies depending on shop, from 5 am to 2 pm
Price: Free admission
Street Go Karting
Sorry this one is not for the kids!!! But the kids can come along and watch. One of the most fun things in Tokyo to do is go Street Go Karting!! This is such a cool way to explore downtown Tokyo. Get dressed up in costumes and drive around the city up to 60km/h.
Keep in mind that you do need to be between 150cms and 185cms and no more than 120kgs in weight to drive. Make sure to bring your passport and International Driver’s License that is valid in Japan. Also there are no passengers, only one person per car – everyone must drive.
Location: 12-9 Sotokanda, Chiyoda
Opening Hours: Daily 10 am to 10 pm
Price: ¥3,100 (A $41.68) or to save book with Klook where the tickets are ¥3,090 (A$41.55). Click here to book your discounted tickets.
Southern Tokyo: Roppongi and Odaiba
Below are our recommendations for Tokyo things to do with kids in Roppongi and Odaiba
Tokyo has plenty of towers offering magnificent views across the city and Tokyo Tower is yet another one and is the second tallest structure in Japan. Tokyo Tower, looks quite similar to Paris’ Eiffel Tower and has two observation decks with the main observatory at 150m the most popular for families or you can go even higher to the 250m deck.
Once on the deck you will be able to take in 360-degree views of this incredible city, you will even be able to see as far as the Gulf of Tokyo, right up to Mt Fuji – it’s a photographers paradise! You can even enjoy the view while you shop and eat at the restaurant.
Location: 2-8 Shibakoen, Minato
Opening Hours: Daily 9 am to 11 pm
Price: The main deck is ¥1200 (A$16.14) for Adults|Children 7-15 ¥700 (A$9.41)|Children 4-6 ¥500 (A$6.72)|Under 4 free. Click here to book online.
Roppongi Hills Observation Deck
Another one of the popular Tokyo places to go for a view of the skyline is the Roppongi Hills Observation Deck, which is located on the 52nd story of the Mori Tower. Roppongi Hills is a perfect way to end a day of sightseeing with its panoramic views of Tokyo. It includes a fantastic indoor observation deck and outdoor sky deck and is most impressive at sunset, where you see the city in all its glory.
Location: 10-1 Roppongi, Minato
Opening Hours: 10 am to 11 pm
Price: Adults ¥1,800 (A$24.20)|Youth 16-22 ¥1,500 (A$20)|Children 4-15 ¥600 (A$8)|Under 4 free admission or to save money book with Klook where tickets are Adults ¥1,500 (A$20)|Youth 16-22 ¥1,200 (A$16.15)|Children 4-15 ¥600 (A$8). Click here to book your discounted tickets
LEGOLAND Discovery Centre
If you’re after top Tokyo attractions for kids – take them to the LEGOLAND Discovery Centre. The centre is mainly aimed at kids 3-10years and there is plenty for them to explore. Included in the centre are rides, a cinema, loads of interactive activities and of course LEGO…it might even entertain the biggest kids of all.
Tickets at the door can be expensive, so it’s a good idea to book them online before going. Below are details and a link to book tickets at a discounted rate.
To get around all the attractions in Odaiba there is a free shuttle bus – click here to see the route.
Location: Island Mall 3F, Decks Tokyo Beach
Opening Hours: Daily 10 am-8 pm
Price: Adults & Children same price ¥2,500 (A$33.62)|Children 2 and under free admission| Or to save book with Klook where they tickets are ¥1,850 (A$24.88) each. Click here to book your discounted tickets.
Another great attraction to take kids if your down in Odaiba is Madam Tussauds Wax Museum. The whole family will love getting close to famous celebrities from all over the world. Since this is in Tokyo, you will get to know famous faces from Japan from sports stars to famous violinists such as Taro Hakase and many more. Everyone will love taking selfies with the rich and famous!
To get around all the attractions in Odaiba there is a free shuttle bus – click here to see the route.
Location: 6-1 Daiba, Minato, next to LEGOLAND
Opening Hours: 11 am-8 pm weekdays and 10 am to 8 pm on the weekend.
Price: Adults ¥2,300 (A$31)|Children 3-12 ¥1,800 (A$24)|Under 3 free admission, or to save book with Klook where single tickets are adults ¥1,700(A$23) and children ¥1,300 (A$17.50). Click here to book your discounted tickets.
Miraikan National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation
For families looking for interesting things to do in Tokyo, a visit to the Miraikan National Museum is an absolute must. This is a fantastic museum for families with loads of fun educational activities on offer for the kids.
Here you will find three floors full of exhibits with a 4th floor housing the Dome Theatre. Some of the permanent exhibitions allow kids to learn more about the human body, earth, space and technology. If you happen to go on the weekend, you can also join Science Workshops.
To get around all the attractions in Odaiba there is a free shuttle bus – click here to see the route.
Location: 3-6 Aomi, Koto
Opening Hours: Wednesday to Monday 10 am to 5 pm
Price: Adults ¥630 (A$8.50)|Children ¥210 (A$2.82), Dome Theatre| Adults ¥310 (A$4.15)|Children ¥100 (A$1.35)
TeamLab Borderless Mori Digital Art Museum
Without a doubt one of the most popular places to visit in Japan, Tokyo is TeamLab Borderless. This art museum uses 520 computers and 470 projectors to create the most incredible experience you’ve ever had. Basically you wander from room to room which has a different theme – from the room full of mirrors and LED’s to marvel at the lanterns and their incredible changing colours. The place is super interactive for the kids with things for them to climb on, jump on, crawl through, slide down as well as turning their art into moving creations on massive screens. In my view, this is one of the absolute must-do things in Tokyo with the kids.
Allow at least half a day to explore all that’s on offer at TeamLab Borderless.
Location: Palette Town, 1-3-8 Aomi, Koto
Opening Hours: Weekdays from 10 am to 7 pm, and on weekends from 10 am to 7 pm.
Price: Adults ¥3,200 (A$43)|Children 4-14 ¥1,000 (A$13.45)|Under 4 free – click here to book tickets via Klook.
Odaiba Marine Park and Statue of Liberty
Oddly enough, Tokyo even has its very own small replica of the Statue of Liberty which you can find in Odaiba Marine Park. From here you can also get a good picture of the Rainbow Bridge and the Tokyo Tower with the Statue of Liberty all in the same photo.
What to do in Outer Tokyo
And lastly here are our suggestions for Tokyo attractions for families which are just outside of the city centre.
Sanrio Puroland (Hello Kitty Land)
If you have any Hello Kitty fans in the family, they are no doubt going to want to visit Sanrio Puroland. Located 30 minutes out of Tokyo, Sanrio Puroland is kind of a Hello Kitty version of Disneyland! But on a much much smaller scale.
To be honest I didn’t really get it – it’s kind of like an indoor theme park, but with only a few rides, shops, a parade and Hello Kitty’s home that the kids can explore and play in. You can also pay a stack of money to get your photo taken with Hello Kitty. But the kids just loved it and it’s not overly expensive.
If you plan on visiting Hello Kitty Land – allow at least a few hours to half a day.
Location: 1-31 Ochiai, Tama
Opening Hours: Weekdays 10 am-6 pm |Weekends 9 am-6 pm
Price: ¥3,800 (A$51.10) per person, under 2 and under free. Or if you book with Klook you can save where tickets are ¥1,976 (A$26.57). Click here to book your discounted tickets.
When it comes to visiting Tokyo with kids, Disneyland would have to be one of the Tokyo top attractions and a great day trip from Tokyo. Disneyland Tokyo will not disappoint, especially for those smaller kids. From the incredible rides such as splash mountain, space mountain, buzz lightyear, Haunted mansion to the restaurants, shopping and much much more.
If you have been to Disneyland anywhere else in the world, you can pretty much expect the same sort of thing. If you want to try something a little different, check out Disneysea which is right next to Disneyland.
Location: 1-1 Maihama, Urayasu, Chiba
Opening Hours: 8 am to 10 pm daily
Price: Adults ¥7500 (A$101)|Youth 12-17 years ¥6,500 (A$87.40)|Children 4-11 years ¥4,900 (A$66)|Children 3 and under free admission. For slightly discounted tickets buy online via Get Your Guide where tickets are Adults ¥7422 (A$100)|Youth 12-17 years ¥6,474 (A$87)|Children 4-11 years ¥4,895 (A$66). Click here to book your tickets with Get Your Guide.
One of the best ways to get to Disneyland is via train or bus transfer. If you want to take the bus, click here to book your tickets.
If you’ve been to Disneyland before and are looking for something a little different and unique, then I recommend you visit Disneysea, particularly as this is the only Disneysea in the entire world! Disneysea is excellent for kids of all ages, and it is much better than Disneyland (in my view) for older kids as there are some pretty cool thrill kids here. But there are still plenty of rides for the younger kids too.
Like most theme parks, Disneysea is split into worlds such as Mediterranean Harbor, American Waterfront, Port Discovery, Lost River Delta, Arabian Coast, Mermaid Lagoon and Mysterious Island. One of our favourite rides was the Toy Story Mania ride and the 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea was pretty cool too. If you have little ones head straight to Mermaid Lagoon where there is a stack of tiny toddler rides – although our 8-10-year-olds also enjoyed the area too.
We made use of the free fast pass tickets on a few of the long line rides – but for some of the more popular rides – like the Toy Story ride – the Fast Pass line seemed just as long.
As we have visited a couple of Disneyland’s around the world – most recently, Disneyland Paris – we decide to go to Disneysea. Stay tuned for our full guide on visiting Disneysea.
Location: 1-1 3 Maihama, Urayasu, Chiba
Opening Hours: 8 am to 10 pm daily
Price: Adults ¥7500 (A$101)|Youth 12-17 years ¥6,500 (A$87.40)|Children 4-11 years ¥4,900 (A$66)|Children 3 and under free admission. For slightly discounted tickets buy online via Get Your Guide where tickets are Adults ¥7422 (A$100)|Youth 12-17 years ¥6,474 (A$87)|Children 4-11 years ¥4,895 (A$66). Click here to book with Get Your Guide.
One of the best ways to get to Disneysea is via train or bus transfer. If you want to take the bus, click here to book your tickets.
Another great place for the family to visit in Tokyo is the Ghibli Museum. This museum is in Tokyo’s western suburbs and it is a one of a kind museum dedicated to Studio Ghibli, which is known as Japan’s Disney. Studio Ghibli is behind some of the world’s favourite films such as Spirited Away and Ponyo. The museum is a multi-storied mansion, with winding staircases and a whimsical rooftop garden.
You need to purchase your tickets well in advance and they are not available at the door, see below for details on how to purchase them.
Location: 1-1-83 Simorenjaku, Mitaka-shi, Tokyo 181-0013
Opening Hours: 10:00am to 6:00pm
Price: Adults ¥1,000 (A$12.46)|Youth ages 13-18 ¥700 (A$8.72)|Children 7-12 ¥400 (A$4.98)|Children 4-6 ¥100 (A$1.25). To book tickets click here for information.
Where to stay in Tokyo with Kids
When it comes to the best place to stay in Tokyo, you should know that Tokyo is a huge place, so I recommend you choose an area that is convenient to most of the places you plan on visiting. But most importantly I recommend you stay somewhere within easy walking distance to a train station so you can easily get around. For ease of getting around the city, try and stay near a Yamanote Line station as this is a massive train loop around Tokyo saving you on changing stations to reach your destination.
Many people would say that the best location to stay in Tokyo for first-timers is in Shinjuku. Shinjuku is one of the city’s main transport hubs and is also on the very convenient Yamanote Line. In Shinjuku, you will also find plenty of shops and places to eat. However while it is convenient, it is also rather expensive. Other great convenient areas to stay in Tokyo include Shibuya, around Tokyo Station, or Asakusa. If you’re after the cheapest accommodation, definitely stay im Asakusa – although not as convenient as the other areas.
It’s really important to be realistic about your budget when it comes to Tokyo accommodation with kids – even the cheapest family hotel is likely to exceed $200 AUD per night. It’s also important to note that family size rooms are room, so expect rooms to be super tiny as well as beds. If your children are older, it’s often better to book two double rooms.
Below I have listed some suggestions for where to stay with kids in Tokyo based on the hotel’s ability to accommodate a family of 4 in the one room, have private bathroom facilities and be within walking distance to a train station.
For cheaper rooms than what I have suggested below, you may want to consider staying somewhere that has shared bathroom facilities. For accommodation closer to the main train stations, you will need to be prepared to increase your budget significantly.
My pick for the best family accommodation Tokyo offers is the Sakura Cross Hotel Shinjuku East. This Shinjuku family hotel is in a quieter part of Shinjuku, just one stop from the massive Shinjuku Station. Near the hotel, you will find convenience stores such as 7/11, a laundry mat and a bakery.
This is a small, self-service hotel that has a range of rooms on offer. Rooms can accommodate a small family of three up to a larger family of five. Rooms are small but include a fridge, tea and coffee making facilities, air conditioning and free Wi-Fi. Some of the larger rooms even have a separate sleeping area and living area as well as a small balcony.
The hotel is conveniently located between two subway stations. It is only 500 metres to Higashi Shinjuku station or 550 metres to Wakamatsu-Kawada station.
This is personally the hotel I’ve stayed with my family in Tokyo and I highly recommend it.
The Sophiearth Apartment is another great option for those after the best hotel to stay in Tokyo for family. This apartment-style accommodation is one of the cheaper lodging options that offers a quick walk to convenient stores, places to eat as well as transportation.
The Sophiearth Apartment features one and two-bedroom apartments complete with a kitchenette. This makes it a great option for families after a hotel in Tokyo for family of 4 or even Tokyo accommodation for family of 5. In fact, these rooms can accommodate a family of up to six people. Bedding configurations vary depending upon rooms but contain at least one or two double beds and the rest being single bed/s.
Each of the apartments features a kitchen, which is fantastic for families, letting them prepare some of their own meals. Apartments also include air conditioning, free wifi and flat-screen TV while some even include a washing machine as well.
Travelling around Tokyo is easy, with the closest subway stations being only 500m to Higashi Shinjuku Station or 700m to Shin-Okubo Station.
When it comes to where to stay in Tokyo with a family, Shinjuku City Hotel N.U.T.S Tokyo is a hidden gem — located just a short distance from Gyoenmae Subway Station and only an 8-minute walk to the main Shinjuku Station.
Rooms at this hotel can accommodate families of up to five people. These rooms come with five traditional Japanese futon beds. For families of four, rooms come with one double and two single beds. Rooms also include free wifi, TV, air conditioning and tea and coffee making facilities. Plus if you take them up on the offer of breakfast, they will bring it to your room at a time pre-arranged by you!
Shinjuku-Gyoemmae is the nearest subway station at only 290 metres away, but as mentioned above, the main Shinjuku station is just 1 kilometre away, making it super convenient for getting to all the attractions in Tokyo.shinjin
Getting to Tokyo
In most cases, you will either reach Tokyo by arriving at either Narita or Haneda Airports. Alternatively, you may come by fast train from another city in Tokyo – so I will cover both below.
From Narita Airport
Narita is about 60 km from the city and so transportation is fairly expensive. The two main ways people get to Tokyo from Narita Airport is either by the JR Narita Express Train or via the Limousine Bus. You can also take a taxi or arrange a private transfer but it tends to work out cheaper and more convenient to take the train or bus.
The Skyliner train stops at each terminal at Narita, arriving at Ueno Station in around 41 minutes. From Ueno station, you can link with the JR Yamonte Line or the Metro Ginza and Hibiya Lines. The Skyliner departs three times per hour.
The Skyliner costs 2470 ¥ ($33.30 AUD) per adult and 1250 ¥ ($17 AUD) per child or save by booking through Klook where tickets are 2150 ¥ ($29 AUD) per adult and 1107 ¥ ($15 AUD) per child. Click here to book your discounted tickets.
If you are visiting Tokyo with a JR pass (see more in the getting around section above), then the Narita Express train is a good option as the cost is included in the pass. If you are purchasing tickets, the cost is 3250 ¥ ($44 AUD – with children 6-11 being half price) into town. Tickets are to be purchased at the JR Narita Airport Station. The trip from Narita to town takes 65 minutes.
The Limousine Bus stops at each terminal at Narita, arriving at a range of hotels in Tokyo. Buses leave the airport regularly and the trip takes around 85-110 minutes depending upon the hotel. However please note that the bus doesn’t take you to your hotel, just a central point in the city, so from there we took an Uber to our hotel. So if you haven’t got it downloaded already be sure to download the Uber App. Uber is great for getting around if you don’t speak Japanese because your driver can see where you are going via the App.
The cost for the Limousine Bus is 3200 ¥ ($44.35 AUD) per person and 1600¥ ($22.20AUD) per child or save by booking through Klook where tickets are slightly cheaper at 3100 Yen ($43 AUD) per adult and 1550 Yen ($22 AUD) per child. Click here to book your discounted tickets.
From Haneda Airport
Haneda Airport is much closer to the city centre and the main ways people get to Tokyo from Haneda Airport are either by train, monorail or Limousine Bus. You can also take a taxi or arrange a private transfer but it tends to work out cheaper and more convenient to take the train or bus.
Keikyu Line Train
The Keikyu train stops goes from Haneda to Shinagawa where you can take the JR Yamanote Line to reach your hotel. The train takes 11 minutes and costs around 300¥ ($4.05 AUD).
If you are visiting Tokyo with a JR pass (see more in the getting around section), then the Monorail is a good option as the cost is included in the pass. The monorail runs directly to Hamamatsucho which is on the Yamanote line, only three stops from Tokyo Station. From here you can transfer to another line to reach your hotel.
If you are purchasing tickets the cost is 500¥ ($6.75 AUD) per adult and 250 ¥ ($3.40 AUD) per child. The trip from Haneda to town takes 13 minutes.
The Limousine Bus stops at each terminal at Haneda, arriving at a range of hotels in Tokyo. Buses leave the airport regularly and the trip takes around 60 minutes depending upon the hotel. Note that the bus doesn’t stop at all hotels and so you may need to take additional transportation from drop off to reach your hotel.
The cost for the Limousine Bus is 1250¥ day or 2000¥ ($17 to $27 AUD) per adult and 1000¥ day or 630¥ ($13.50 to $8.50 AUD) per child or save by booking through Klook where tickets are all 1250 Yen ($17 AUD) per adult and 630 Yen ($13.50 AUD) per child. Click here to book your discounted tickets.
Fast Train to Tokyo
If you have not started your Japan trip in Tokyo, then the best way to reach Tokyo is via the Shinkansen – Japan’s fast bullet trains.
A ticket on the Shinkansen trains must be booked in Japan at one of the JR offices – lookout for the green signs or online using the SmartEX App. We used this App to book all our Shinkansen trains. The APP is great because you can see exactly how much each train is and what seats are available. For the most part, we just booked trains the day before or sometimes the same day – but just keen an eye on how busy the trains are to avoid not getting tickets on the train of your choice. You will still need to pick up your tickets at the train station – either from the ticket machines or by going inside a ticket office. You can of course just book tickets when you arrive at the station, but we have heard of trains getting full and so we didn’t want to risk this.
Alternatively, many people travel around Japan with a JR pass. These passes provide unlimited travel on JR operated buses and trains as well as the Miyajima Ferry. There is a range of JR travel pass options with the most popular option being the 7 day pass. However while the pass is designed to save you money – this may not always be the case. Its recommended that you sit down and plan out your itinerary and compare the cost of the individual trips to the cost of the pass and see what provides you better value. You can check the price of individual trips here.
Getting Around Tokyo
The best way to get around Tokyo is by making use of the subway system and JR trains. The subway system is operated by two companies – the Tokyo Metro and the Toei Subways – however they are both interlinked so you don’t really need to understand the difference. Whereas the JR Trains are run by Japan Railways and are operated separately to the metro.
It’s important to note that one train station may have both a metro train and a JR train. So when arriving at a station, be aware of whether you are looking for the JR or Metro part of the station. Also note that if you are changing from a metro train to a JR train at the one station, you will need to exit the ticket gates before getting on your next train.
To use both the JR trains and subway system, you will need a prepaid Suica or Pasmo card that you can add money. These cards can be used on either the metro or JR. Suica or Pasmo cards can be purchased from vending machines at the station. Find the button that says English and follow the prompts to purchase your cards. I understand that since we went in June 2019, there is now a tourist Welcome Suica Card which is a bit easier then what we had to do. For our cards, we had to pay a deposit and then return them before we left to get a refund. Apparently these new cards come with a pre-loaded amount on them and expire within 28 days. The only downside is you can’t get any of the money back that is left on the card – so make sure you use it all up before you leave.
If you are on a family trip to Japan, you will need to have your children’s passports handy to be able to purchase the kid’s Suica cards. It’s quite funny actually as you push a button to say you’re buying kids’ cards and almost immediately a little man pops his head out just above the ticket machine to see the passports.
Once you have your cards and loaded some cash on them you are ready to get on the train!
The trains may seem a little daunting at first – but once you get the hang of them, they are really easy. Google Maps is your best friend here as it will tell you with what entrance to use and platform number. Everything is super organised in Japan – I just loved it! Plus there are heaps of signs at the stations and they are in English. If all else fails just ask someone – everyone is super friendly and helpful in Japan.
If you prefer to organise your card before you go, you can prepurchase on Klook – this is not the new Welcome Card I mentioned above, though – just the standard Suica IC card. Click here to purchase from Klook.
If you have a JR pass (see above Getting to Tokyo section) you can travel for free on the JR trains just by showing your pass.
Another alternative is to use subway passes which allow unlimited travel during a certain period of time, such as 24, 48 or 72 hours. Before purchasing these tickets, make sure you compare the prices of individual tickets compared to the passes to work out whether they offer good value. You can check the price of individual trips here. Also note that they cannot be used on JR trains – so in my view the Suica or Pasmo cards are much better options. Click here to purchase subway passes.
Stay Connected with Pocket Wifi
I recommend you ensure you are connected to the internet at all times in Tokyo and the best way to do this is by arranging pocket Wi-Fi. We pretty much lived on Google Maps to get around the city as well as navigate the trains. Pocket Wi-Fi is also great of course for things like using social media, and if you travel Japan with kids, it’s great to let the little ones play games and stream Netflix when you’re on the long train rides between cities.
With the pocket Wi-Fi you just pick it up from the airport when you arrive and then pop it in the post when you arrive at the airport for your return flight home – easy! You can purchase pocket Wi-Fi from Klook here.
Tokyo with Kids – Our Verdict
Tokyo is absolutely brilliant!!! There is so much to see and do here you could stay for a month and still not see it all.
For families, I just love how there is an excellent mix of cultural activities, great museums as well as super cool theme parks.
If you’re considering taking the kids to Tokyo – don’t – it’s a brilliant place for families and I highly recommend it.