Tokyo is one of the few places on the planet where you can have as much fun at the kid-friendly spots as they do. Feast your eyes on my favorite places to go if you’ve got Young Things to entertain – I guarantee they won’t be begging you to take them to a boring old playground instead.
If you only have one day in Tokyo, this is where you should go.
There’s always a lot going on at the giant Buddhist temple (Senso-ji) and the Asakusa Shrine (Shinto) • Rice crackers and taiyaki made while you wait • Great shopping street with excellent inexpensive souvenirs
The lucky cat temple!
Thousands of lucky maneki neko cat figures • Stunning natural cedar pagoda • Excellent plum blossoms and fall leaves
KANDA MYŌJIN SHRINE
This is the Anime Shrine – where anime and manga artists come to pray for success
Amazing art drawn on prayer plaques by visitors • Beautiful red and gold shrine buildings • You can buy a charm to protect your electronics • Weddings and ceremonies galore
Don’t miss the street where they sell plastic food!
Plastic food model stores • Make your own plastic food • Dinosaur heads
Beat the heat at a playground misted with fog, go to a Japanese baseball game, and ride a roller coaster right through a Tokyo skyscraper!
Tokyo Dome City has: Amusement park rides for all ages • A free playground that is misted with cooling fog in the summer • A dancing water fountain that’s alight show at night • Tokyo Dome stadium, home to the Yomiuri Giants baseball team
KOSHINZUKA STREET MARKET
Be grossed out by weird foods from old Japan (and take home the pictures to prove it!)
See old-fashioned squicky foods like squid guts, poisonous snake tea & snacks made from bugs • There’s a whole store devoted to selling red underwear • Excellent shopping for small Japanese gifts like coinpurses, sweets, etc.
Get a dose of nature, with monkeys!
At the top: small but excellent monkey park, snack bar, café and beer garden (May-Oct), short walk to nice shrine, great view of Tokyo • You can either hike up the mountain or be whisked up (and down) by cable car or chair lift • Takao’s branch of the Trick Art Museum is next to Takaosan Station
NINJA AKASAKA RESTAURANT
A restaurant that looks like a ninja castle, with magical food!
Ninjas lead you through secret passageways into their castle, then perform amazing illusions with the food • Incredible setting really looks like a ninja castle • Menu is both adult and kid-friendly • Private booths
This island in Tokyo Bay is home to some of the wackiest things to do in Tokyo.
Trick Art Museum • Miraikan Science Museum • Legoland • Giant Gundam
Every kind of paper and origami kit under the sun!
Exhibitions of amazing origami artwork • Incredible selection of papers for sale, including washi paper that is beautiful enough to frame • Sometimes origami masters are give demonstrations
Truth is stranger than fiction – see the actual burial place of the legendary 47 ronin
You can light incense at the actual graves of the 47 ronin • You can see their signed confession and the well where they washed Lord Kira’s severed head • There are little statue portaits of the real 47 ronin, some of them only 16
SHOWA KINEN PARK
Two words: BOUNCY MOUNTAIN. This giant park has it all for families: gorgeous gardens for you, lots of excellent places to play for the kids
Multiple playgrounds (one with a giant bouncy mountain) • Miles of bike paths • A lake with boat rentals • An ultimate frisbee golf course • Large dedicated BBQ area • An enormous lawn for picknicking and playing • Plentiful food stands and bathrooms • A gorgeous Japanese garden • Spectacular spring flowers and autumn leaves
TOKYO STATION UNDERGROUND SHOPS
Uniquely Japanese theme “streets” are a great place to go with kids on a rainy day • 21 shop selling Japanese character goods • Ramen street • Confectionary Land has potato chip sundaes & weird flavors of sweets • Curry Street • Gundam Café
TRICK ART MUSEUM
Take your picture in forty-five life-size illusions that make it look like you’re being swallowed by a shark, battling ninjas, and performing other death-defying feats!
I usually wouldn’t suggest wasting precious time in Japan going to a zoo, but this one has PANDAS!
The best free entertainment in Tokyo, every Sunday afternoon!
Free entertainment of all kinds every Sunday afternoon • Skateboarding dog • Kite flying • Rockabillies • Slackline • Occasional costumed dogs
ZENIARAI BENTEN SHRINE
This is the shrine where you can wash your money so it will double within the year
Enter through a tunnel cut through the rock • Shrine is in the middle of a grotto with beautiful waterfalls • Wash your money in the stream running through the shrine’s cave, and it will double within the year
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