Family Friendly Tokyo Tips for Your Japan Tour
Do you think Japan is mainly a destination for older people who have already seen much of the world and mainly want to see cultural treasures and great art museums? Think again! Japan is also an amazing destination for people with kids from 6 years and up, and coming on a tour to Japan will certainly create many unforgettable and beautiful memories for the whole family.
Free Days After a Japan Package Tour
A great way to make the most of your trip to Japan is to book a beautiful package tour to make sure you see all the cultural treasures, get a feel for local life in off the beaten path destinations, and hear all the interesting stories attached to the places you visit. You don’t have to worry about anything because the travel agency and the guide will take care of everything you need.
Adding a few days to the beginning or end of your vacation to spend by yourself in Tokyo or Kyoto is strongly recommended, so you can discover places or do activities that may not be covered in the itinerary of the package tour but have your special interest. If you book a tour with us, we are more than happy to assist you with advice for your free days according to your family’s interests. Let us give you a few great examples of places to go to on your free days as a family, as given by long-time locals with kids. What is there to do for kids besides the usual suspects like Disneyland and seeing the view from the Skytree?
Tokyo For Kids 0-6
While a long-haul holiday with kids under 7 might seem daunting, if you do have the courage to do so, Japan is certainly a good destination for intrepid parents of preschoolers. Here are some great activities to do with young children that they will enjoy as much as you will:
- Fruit picking: no matter what season you are coming to Japan, there will always be some type of fruit that is ready to be harvested. And what better way than to enjoy some high-quality Japanese fruits than to pluck it and eat it right away! Sayama Berryland is one of the largest farms near Tokyo and it is open year-round to pick strawberries, blueberries, or mushrooms (depending on the season).
- Kodomo no Kuni: literally meaning ‘Children’s Country’, it is clear that Kodomo no Kuni is a very child-friendly place. It is a huge park where the locals go to enjoy themselves with their kids. There are not only many beautiful trees and flowers to admire, but there is also a farm including a petting zoo, a bbq site, a swimming pool/skating rink, a craft center, and many small rides that are great for younger kids.
- Sanrio Puroland: this indoor amusement park is the closest thing to doing an activity that is related to Japanese culture that kids under the age of 7 will also enjoy. The Japanese kawaii style is everywhere, and also adults will enjoy being submerged in a world of cuteness for a little while.
Tokyo for Kids 7-12
A holiday to the Far East will be an amazing memory for kids of elementary school age, filled with tasty new flavors, a new and exciting culture, and fun activities. They will enjoy a guided package tour with new experiences every day, and to make it that much easier to also get through the parts that are mainly interesting to adults it is a very good idea to stay a few extra days in Tokyo after the tour to enjoy all the great adventures this metropolis has to offer for kids. Which activities should be on your family’s bucket list for Tokyo?
- Indoor arcade park: if you really want to be a part of the games you play, Joypolis is the place to go. Everything is compactly packed inside one building so it is also good on a rainy day, and this game wonderland is like a trip to another dimension. Don’t skip on the super-fun halfpipe game and the scary (and typically Japanese) ghost house.
- Tokyo Dome: watching a baseball game in Japan is a different experience than it would be in the US or elsewhere. The way the audience cheers is just a bit distinct, and of course, there are different kinds of snacks to be enjoyed. But the stadium of the Giants is not only for watching baseball, there are a lot of other things to do. Try your own hand at batting or pitching in the batting cage, or take some rides in the amusement park. The rollercoaster passes right next to the tall buildings which makes the ride extra exhilarating!
- Skateboarding Park: artificial island Odaiba is quite a paradise for families, and HLNA Raizin Skygarden is a great place for young daredevils. For a small fee you can rent a board and use the course, or you can just watch the Japanese kids do their trick.
- Unlimited sweets: granted, this is not a place you would take them to at home, but you are on a holiday after all so for this one time it is OK. Cafe Ronron offers unlimited plans for delicious sweets. In a cute and pink, typical Harajuku atmosphere you can have as many delectable sweets as you can have. If this isn’t a kids’ paradise, then we also don’t know it anymore.
- Cruelty-free cat cafe: with many Japanese city dwellers not having enough space and time to take care of a pet, animal cafes have sprung up all over the city in the last 15 years. Unfortunately, many of these animal cafes don’t have the animals’ welfare as a top priority. Luckily, there are animal cafes that do care and let you enjoy petting their animals that are treated well. Neco Republic is such a chain of cat cafes that understands how to take care of their animals well. They have shops in Ikebukuro and Ochanomizu (near Akihabara).
- Family athletic course: in the Heiwa no Mori park in the south of Tokyo parents and kids alike can climb, slide, run, and show off their athletic skills in a gigantic athletic course. There are two courses, one for smaller kids and one for larger kids and adults. The second one is definitely challenging, even for quite athletic adults. Everyone older than 6 years and at least 120 cm tall will have a great time at this park. And while you are at it, why not take a canoe tour nearby? It is a different way to experience the city!
- Onsen theme park: if your kids are not shy about nudity with the same sex, onsen theme park Monogatari Ooedo Onsen is amazing and relaxing. There are fun activities for kids, a beautiful outdoor large footbath where everyone can be at the same time wearing kimono that are provided by the onsen, a large selection of mainly Japanese restaurants, and sex-separated baths that moms and dads will enjoy separately. It is a nice evening out when you combine it with dinner and head back to the hotel to sleep right after.
Tokyo for Teens
Many of the activities that are great for kids of elementary school age will also make teens very happy campers. But some activities are extra nice for big kids with a need for excitement. Let us give you some ideas that will make your teenagers remember their trip to Japan very fondly!
- A day of shopping: many teenagers are into some kind of fashion, and what is nicer than to bring home a few very special pieces that can only be bought in Japan to show off to their friends at home? Japanese-style fashion is known to be a bit different from what we see in the West, which makes it extra attractive for fashion-conscious teens. Of course, there is your run-of-the-mill usual H&M, Forever21, and Zara fashion in Japan as well, but we recommend your kids to try Laforet in Harajuku or 109 in Shibuya for some slightly more off-beat stuff. Not into clothing but more into subcultures? Then you should head to Akihabara, the Radiokaikan is there for fans of all kinds of anime and manga, and Super Potato is for those who love games.
- Karaoke: a quintessential Japanese activity that anyone should try once while in Japan, karaoke is great fun whether you are a good singer or not. There are karaoke venues that have a special family room, or rooms with nice amenities like a whole drum kit. There is a nearly endless selection of English songs as well, ranging from old classics to songs that are popular today. Karaoke in Japan is usually a private affair, which means it will be just your family in the room. Be sure to go in the daytime, because prices are much lower and kids aren’t always allowed after 8 pm. Rainbow Karaoke in Shibuya is an awesome stop when you are in the area anyway for a musical intermezzo.
- An exhilarating water activity: you may have never heard of riverboarding before, it is not a sport that is practiced by many but it is very exciting to do if you are not afraid of water! Kids aged 14 and up who can swim are welcome to participate. You will be holding a lightweight foam board in front of you while going down rapid streams and some white water in the river. Okutama near Tokyo is a great area for riverboarding, and for example this company offers riverboarding and other water-activity tours.
- Feed that Instagram: an important part of many people’s holidays is to take beautiful pictures to share with people at home through social media. Especially teens will love to take a tour of the city in order to take the most interesting, beautiful, and strange pictures. But where should you go to take these Insta-worthy pics? Luckily, Tokyo is a paradise for (hobby) photographers with plenty of cool spots. In Harajuku, we recommend the Tokyo Plaza building entrance, the graffiti walls behind the Sakura Tei, and the coffee art at Reissue. Because there are simply too many great spots to mention, please check this website for more ideas.
- Ninja dining: to be honest, I thought it was going to be a tourist trap when I first went there with my visitors from abroad. How can a gimmicky restaurant also serve good food? I was mistaken, and I was impressed with both the decor, the service, and the delicious food. Ninja Akasaka would be a worthy spot to dine on your last evening in Tokyo. Be sure to make a reservation, as they have to buy the food before you come.
- K-town: with pop music from Korea being more popular than ever all over the world (BTS anyone?), many teens from other countries than Japan and Korea are K-pop fans nowadays. If your teen is one of them, be sure not to skip out on Tokyo’s K-town in Shin-Okubo. In Shin-Okubo they can find k-pop paraphernalia, Korean fashion items, make-up from Korea that is supposedly superior to make-up from many other countries, street performers, and the latest snack crazes from Korea. There are also some great authentic Korean restaurants that cater to Korean Japanese people and are therefore definitely good.
As you can see, there is so much to do and see in Tokyo with kids that it easily warrants an extra 3 or 4 days to spend after your Japan tour! It is easy to extend your stay after you finish a tour, we can help you find the best hotel within your budget. Please ask us anytime if you want personalized tips for the free days during your holiday in Japan.
Your Japan Tour
As seasoned Japan experts, we can help you create your perfect Japan tour, also if you come with young kids or teens. Japan is truly a destination for a family-friendly trip. Contact us to start planning your unforgettable holiday to this fascinating country full of once-in-a-lifetime experiences, culture, history, nature, and delicious food!