Tokyo lights at night Tokyo with kids

Tokyo with Kids: The Ultimate Kid-Friendly Travel Guide

Traveling in Tokyo with kids is easy and fun. The seamless public transportation system allows you to efficiently get from Point A to Point B with little to no hassle. The locals are friendly and readily willing to provide advice and help whenever needed. There are all kinds of food, and don’t get us started on the lights. Kids love bright, shiny, and colorful things, and all of Tokyo’s lights are definitely bright, shiny, and colorful. All this coupled with the countless things to do in Tokyo with kids makes it one of our favorite places to travel with little ones. Below, you’ll find the ultimate guide to Tokyo. We’ll tell you the best places to stay, where to eat, and the top things to do in Tokyo with kids. So strap on your seatbelts because we’re taking off, baby.

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When’s the Best Time to Visit Tokyo with your Family?

Tokyo is an awesome place to visit, no matter the time of year. Each season has its perks and offers something different and spectacular. So when trying to figure out the best time to visit Tokyo, it all depends on your preferences and what you’re hoping to see and do during your time there.

The cherry blossoms are in full bloom during the spring. Days of sunshine and little rain make it a great time for sightseeing and exploring the city. During the fall, there is a slight chill in the air, but many people find this enjoyable. Plus, colorful autumn foliage is incredibly beautiful. This season is characterized by little rainfall, clear skies, and mild temperatures. If you find hot and humid temperatures uncomfortable, you might want to avoid visiting Tokyo during the summer. July and August tend to be the hottest months. There is also an influx of tourism during the summer, so you’ll likely be bumping elbows with sweaty strangers when finding things to do in Tokyo with kids.

lady standing beneath Japanese cherry blossoms in Japan

Any time is a great time to visit Tokyo, but if we had to pick a few months, we’d say plan your trip in March, April, October, or November. During these months, temperatures are mild and comfortable, there aren’t huge swarms of tourists, and the landscape is gorgeous. However, no matter when you visit, be prepared to dish out a pretty penny as Tokyo tends to be pricey, no matter when you visit.

Where Should My Family and I Stay when Visiting Tokyo?

Like many large cities, Tokyo is divided into distinct districts. Each neighborhood has its own vibe and culture. Choosing where to stay in Tokyo depends largely on your interests and preferences. Do you want a vibrant nightlife? Do you prefer an area with lots of things to do in Tokyo with kids? Is being surrounded by historically significant sites your thing? Below are a few of Tokyo’s most popular neighborhoods along with a short description to help you decide if it’s somewhere you want to stay with your family. When we travel, we usually prefer to stay in Airbnbs. However, in Tokyo, the unique hotels are part of the experience, so be sure to check out our article on some of Tokyo’s most kid-friendly hotels.

Asakusa — The cultural center of Tokyo

tokyo - sensoji-ji, temple in asakusa, japan Tokyo with kids

Old Tokyo comes alive in Asakusa. The main attraction here is Senso-ji, a popular Buddhist temple built in the seventh century. Approach the historic temple via the Nakamise, a shopping district that sells local snacks and tourist souvenirs. Once Tokyo’s leading entertainment district, large parts of the neighborhood were destroyed in air raids during World War II. Today, Asakusa is an area with an old-town vibe and rich culture.

Roppongi — The center of Tokyo’s nightlife

If you’re in Tokyo with kids, chances are you aren’t looking for a place with all the hottest nightclubs. But, hey, we could be wrong. Chic bars, swanky lounges, and towering buildings characterize this city within a city. If you’re looking to turn up while in Tokyo, staying in the Roppongi district is definitely your best bet. Just be sure to hire a reputable babysitter first.

tokyo cityscape at the roppongi district.

Shibuya — The youth capital of Tokyo

You’ve probably heard of Hachiko — the Akita dog who waited for his deceased owner every day at Shibuya Station for almost ten years. If you haven’t heard of this remarkably loyal dog, watch the movie. Either way, you can see the statue erected in the dog’s memory in Shibuya. Each day, throngs of young people hurry past the statue. At night, the same people crowd into local restaurants and Japanese bars.

Shibuya in Tokyo with kids

Kichijoji — A taste of rural life in the middle of the city

Kichijoji is a popular place to live in Tokyo. As such, you’ll find a broad spectrum of folk here. You’ll also discover a nice blend of modern, city conveniences and traits of a more laid-back, residential community. Popular attractions like Inokashira Park, the Ghibli Museum, and the Inokashira Park Zoo are all located in Kichijoji.

cherry blossoms in Kichijoji at night in Tokyo

Akihabara — Tokyo’s Anime and Gadget Town

This vibrant town on Tokyo’s east side is filled with nerds and technology enthusiasts. Local electric stores, maid cafes, and Animate, a huge anime and comic store, are all waiting to take your money.

Things to do in Tokyo with Kids

Now you know when to visit Tokyo and where to stay, but what should you do while you visit? With a city so huge, narrowing down your options can be difficult. Here are some of our picks, just to get you started.

Take a rickshaw tour

A rickshaw tour? What the heck is a rickshaw? According to Dictionary.com, a rickshaw is “a light two-wheeled hooded vehicle drawn by one or more people, used chiefly in Asian countries.” According to us, a rickshaw is a lot of fun, and one of the best things to do in Tokyo with kids. When we visited, we used Ebisuya Asakusa. The tour was super informative and gave us a chance to experience Tokyo like a local. Our guide was knowledgeable and friendly and gave us insight and information that you typically won’t find on websites or guidebooks.

Rickshaw driver during Tokyo walking tour
Our rickshaw friend and driver who gave us an incredible rickshaw tour

Why do we recommend this?: A rickshaw tour is flexible. It’s just your family and the rickshaw operator, so if you need to pull over or stop the tour for whatever reason, you can. Plus, what kid doesn’t like being pulled around in an open-air carriage?

How much time will it take?: It depends on what you want – they have different options that last from 30 minutes all the way to 2 hours.

Website: Ebisuya Asakusa

Free walking tour of Tokyo hotspots

There are multiple tour companies in Tokyo that offer free walking tours. When we visited, we took the Shinjuku free walking tour offered by Tokyo Localized. The night tour started at 7 PM and ran until 9 PM. Though it was super informative, we wouldn’t necessarily recommend it if you’re with a toddler in Tokyo just because the start time is so late.

The same company offers different tours during the day. The Flagship tour is one of the most popular tours and lasts three hours. The tour gives visitors the chance to experience New and Old Tokyo as well as its food, religion, culture, and history. Another favorite tour by Tokyo Localized is the Asakusa tour. Tours last approximately two hours and guide visitors through the must-visit tourist areas in Tokyo.

Why do we recommend this?: For starters, a free walking tour is, well, free. It also gives you a ton of flexibility. If your child decides to act out and won’t calm down, you can just wander off and do your own thing. Walking tours are also great exercise, and since we tend to eat a little too much on vacation, extra exercise is always an added benefit.

How much time will it take?: It depends on the tour and the tour company. Generally speaking, though, we’d reserve about two hours for a free walking tour.

Website: Tokyo Localized

Imperial Palace

The Imperial Palace is located in the center of Tokyo and just a short walk from Tokyo Station. The palace is the residence of Japan’s Imperial Family. Though the inner grounds are not generally open to the public, members of the Imperial Family make public appearances on the palace balcony on the emperor’s birthday (February 23) and New Year’s Greeting (January 2). During other times of the year, visitors can access Kokyo Gaien, the large plaza in front of the palace, and check out the two bridges that lead to the inner palace grounds. Though you can’t go inside buildings on the palace grounds, the Imperial Palace East Gardens are open to the public year-round.

tokyo imperial palace view during sunset hours with seimonishi bridge. Tokyo with kids

Why do we recommend this?: Children and the outdoors go together like lamb and tuna fish (ever seen the movie Big Daddy?). Since you can’t generally go inside the palace, this is a good option for kids. It’s also an important part of Japanese history, so it’s a must-visit when you visit Tokyo.

How much time will it take?: You can tour the Imperial Palace East Garden in about an hour or less.

Website(s): Imperial Palace general information, Imperial Palace official website

Tokyo Dome City

Tokyo Dome City is hands down one of the best things to do in Tokyo with kids. There’s so much to do in a small area that you could spend hours there and not exhaust all your options. Check out the Tokyo Dome baseball stadium, unwind at the LaQua Spa, or do some shopping in one of the many shops. Enjoy a meal at one of the restaurants, and, if you’re in Tokyo with kids, Tokyo Dome City also has an amusement park. The park has roller coasters, a Ferris wheel, and a free-fall tower. A short walk from is Koishikawa Korakuen. A stunning landscape garden, it is enjoyable any time of the year. Like other traditional Japanese gardens, the Koishikawa Korakuen attempts to remake famous landscapes in miniature, using trees, man-made hills, stones, and ponds.

General view of Tokyo Dome City, an entertainment district with the Tokyo dome, a multi-purpose sports stadium.

Why do we recommend this?: There’s tons to do in a small area. Bring a stroller and you could spend the whole day here. Kids will enjoy the amusement park, restaurants, and the baseball stadium. Tokyo Dome City is also a short walk from stunning landscape gardens. In other words, this is a great place for people of all ages.

How much time will it take?: It totally depends on you. You could have lunch and spend an hour here, or you could catch a ball game, ride a few amusement rides, and eat dinner and spend the whole day. It’s all up to you.

Website: Tokyo Dome City

Visit temples and shrines

Tokyo’s shrines and temples attract thousands of visitors each year. While many have been rebuilt due to earthquakes, fire, or war, they still retain their original beauty and majesty. There are several magnificent temples and shrines to visit while in Tokyo. On our trip, we went to Asakusa Shrine, but there are many other popular ones, including Sensō-ji, Kanda Shrine, and Yasukuni Shrine.

At Asakusa Shrine

Why do we recommend this?: Many shrines are set within parks. Parks and kids go well together. It’s also an awesome way for kids to learn about the culture and local traditions. But note that shrines often have many stairs, so keep that in mind if you’re hauling your kid in a stroller.

How much time will it take?: It’s totally up to you. Spend a few minutes, or stay for the whole day.

Websites(s): It varies by shrine.

Tokyo Skytree

Tokyo Skytree is a TV broadcasting tower and one of Tokyo’s most prominent landmarks. The tower is 634 meters tall (2,080 feet) and is the tallest structure in Japan and the second tallest in the world at the time of its completion. You’ll find that there’s plenty of things to do with kids in Tokyo in and around the Skytree. At the base of the complex, there’s a large shopping area and an aquarium. There are multiple observation decks along the tower that provide awesome (and somewhat scary, if you’re afraid of heights) views of the city.

Tokyo with kids Toyko skytree

Why do we recommend this? The Skytree is an icon in Tokyo, and it’s a great place to visit with kids. A smooth and fast elevator ride takes you to the observation decks, so you don’t have to worry about hauling strollers up stairs. The aquarium is sure to be a hit among children of all ages and with all the shops in the shopping complex, they’re bound to find something (or many things) that catch their interest.

How much time will it take?: Expect to spend about 45 minutes soaking in the panoramic views and looking over the historical displays at the Tokyo Skytree. If you decide to visit the shopping complex and aquarium, you’ll need to factor in time for that as well.

Website: Tokyo Skytree

Tokyo Disneyland

Tokyo Disneyland is part of the Disney theme parks. It covers 115 acres and is made up of seven themed lands. The park has countless thrill rides and family-friendly attractions, shopping venues, and restaurants. There are also several hotels where guests can stay.

Tokyo Disneyland Tokyo with kids

Why do we recommend this?: It’s Disneyland. That’s self-explanatory.

How much time will it take? When you consider the wait lines, Disneyland is definitely an all-day trip. If anything, you may want to budget several days if you want to ride all the rides and see all the attractions.

Website: Tokyo Disneyland

Odaiba

Odaiba is a popular entertainment and shopping district on a man-made island in Tokyo Bay. The island started as a complex of forts meant to protect Tokyo against possible attacks from the sea. Today, the island is home to a futuristic residential and business district and is one of Japan’s most visited tourist attractions. Odaiba is home to some of Tokyo’s boldest architectural developments, including the Fuji TV building, Tokyo Big Sight, and Telecom Center. The island also provides plenty of green space as well as elevated walkways for pedestrian and motorized traffic.

Tokyo with kids Odaiba Island

Why do we recommend this?: There’s so much to do in the area. The DiverCity Tokyo Plaza is a huge shopping, entertainment, and dining complex. Aquacity Odaiba has a 13-screen theatre, a food theme park, and awesome views of the Rainbow Bridge. Plus, with all its green spaces, Odaiba screams “kid-friendly.”

How much time will it take?: It depends on you. You can spend a few hours or make it a full day trip.

Website: Odaiba

Practical tips for traveling in Tokyo with kids

1. Get a reliable stroller. A lot of walking is required in Tokyo. Unless you plan on carrying your little one or making them walk the entire time (and good luck with that), get a reliable stroller. Even if your kid wants to walk, a stroller is a great way to easily transport all your shopping bags.

natasha pushing stroller during Tokyo walking tour
In Piss Alley (Omoide Yokocho) during the free walking tour of Tokyo

2. Don’t overbook yourself. It can be tempting to fill your schedule to capacity when traveling to a new city. But this can be stressful and have you running around like a loony person. Instead, pick a few things you really want to see and focus on those.

3. Wear comfortable shoes. Because, as we said in the first tip, you’ll be walking a lot.

4. Be aware at all times. Tokyo is a huge city. There are a lot of people, and places are often crowded. If you’re traveling with kids, it’s imperative that you keep your eye on them at all times. We love strollers because you can just plop your little one in there and keep them safe. But if they’re not in the stroller, make sure you’re holding their hand. Safety first, guys.

5. Pack kid-friendly snacks when you go out. If your child is a picky eater, you might have a hard time getting them to eat local food. Be sure you pack plenty of snacks that travel well. Think apples, bananas, crackers, raisins, nuts, and other healthy yet easy-to-travel-with items.

6. Carry an umbrella. It rains pretty often in Tokyo. You don’t want to get caught in the rain when walking around town without an umbrella.

What to Eat When in Tokyo

Tokyoites have a love affair with food. It’s ingrained in the culture, and you can find restaurants, cafes, and street vendors all around town. Here are a few culinary staples to check out when you visit Tokyo. Also, be sure to read our article on the best kid-friendly restaurants in Tokyo.

Kaitenzushi

Japan restaurant sushi conveyor or belt buffet

Kaitenzushi is also known as conveyor belt sushi. Restaurants that serve kaitenzushi are affordable and feature a conveyor belt that winds through the restaurant. The belt carries plates of sushi around the restaurant, and diners can choose what they wish. The menu typically includes items like shrimp, salmon, maguro (tuna), and kappamaki (cucumber roll). Cooked foods like miso soup and steamed egg custard are sometimes found in these type of restaurants as well. Generally speaking, kaitenzushi is more affordable than conventional sushi-ya.

Ramen-ya

Ramen at kid friendly Tokyo restaurant

Who doesn’t love ramen? Ramen-ya specializes in ramen dishes. Ramen is basically Chinese-style noodles served in a soup with a range of toppings, including mung bean sprouts, seaweed, chashu, eggs, steamed fish cakes, and more. Ramen restaurants in Tokyo usually offer other hot plates such as fried rice and gyoza (dumplings with ground meat and veggies).

Tempura-ya

Japanese Cuisine - Tempura Shrimps (Deep Fried Shrimps) with sauce

Tempura is pieces of lightly battered and deep-fried vegetables and seafood. This style of cooking was introduced to Japan during the 16th century by the Portuguese. Tempura can be found throughout many kinds of restaurants in Tokyo. It’s sometimes served as a main dish, a side dish, or a topping for rice bowls and/or noodle dishes.

Teppanyaki-ya

roasting teppanyaki

Teppanyaki is similar to hibachi-style cooking. These types of restaurants involve a chef preparing meat, vegetables, and seafood on a large iron griddle. Teppanyaki restaurants tend to be pretty pricey and are often found at high-end restaurants.

So there you have it. Our ultimate guide to Tokyo. When we visited this incredible city with our family, we fell in love, and we know you will too. We hope that you found this guide both useful and informative. You can also check out our book to learn more practical tips for traveling with children. Bon voyage!

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