Fun Things to do When Visiting Tokyo with Family
Fun Things to do When Visiting Tokyo with Family
It's official: Foreign tourists can begin visiting Japan — after more than two years of restrictions on entry due to the COVID-19 pandemic — as of October 11! If you are one of the many families planning your long-delayed trip to Tokyo, you no doubt already have an itinerary of "must-see" places: Tokyo Tower, the Rainbow Bridge, Harajuku, the Imperial Palace. It's a massive city and there is no shortage of incredible sites to see!
But if you're traveling with kids you should always have additional family-friendly options in your back pocket. Weather, crowds, or lingering COVID restrictions could upend your daily schedule; having an array of choices ensures no time is lost while visiting.
To help you find family-friendly things to do in Tokyo, CareFinder has compiled a few of our favorites below!
If a rainy day means you won't be able to enjoy a visit to Senso-ji, there are plenty of options for enjoying Tokyo from inside. Sunshine City, a group of several tall buildings in Ikebukuro, is a must-visit. The Sunshine 60 building has an observatory and several amusements at the top of its 60 floors and there's a three-story aquarium in the World Import Mart building. If you're headed to Odaiba, Joypolis is an indoor amusement park with lots of VR and arcade attractions. Plus, it's close to lots of fun shopping destinations.
Tokyo is a massive city, filled with one-of-a-kind attractions and experiences that are absolutely worth their cost. However... there are also many things to do for free! Located not far from this fun landmark is Carrot Tower. A generally nondescript corporate building aside from its unique color, Carrot Tower hosts a free observation deck on its 26th floor. If the weather is clear, you can see Fuji!
Walking around Tokyo by yourself is, of course, free. But this city is bursting with unique shrines, stores, history, and sites you might miss if you don't know what to look for. Tokyo Free Walking Tours are, as the name implies, free English walking tours of some of Tokyo's biggest draws, including the Imperial Palace and Ueno Park.
As mentioned above, there are endless surprises off the beaten path in Tokyo. Finding fun for your family away from some of the biggest tourist attractions isn't hard. One of our favorite unexpected stops? Yanaka Cemetery in Nishi-Nippori! Cemeteries aren't usually associated with a good time, but this one is worth a visit. For one, the grounds are beautiful; if you visit in the spring, it's a wonderful spot for cherry trees. Secondly, it's cool! You'll find the grave of the last shogun (powerful military leader) in Japan here, as well as thousands of other beautiful, old markers. It's a great spot for enjoying the outdoors and getting a glimpse into less-commonly explored Japanese history.
Another surprising spot to explore with your family? Rinkai Disaster Prevention Park! It serves a dual purpose as disaster operations headquarters, and as a training ground for disaster preparedness. As you may know, Japan is particularly susceptible to earthquakes and tsunamis that often accompany them. Take part in a simulation to see how well your family may fare in the event of a magnitude 6 earthquake. As a bonus, the park is free!
Many neighborhoods in Tokyo have small parks, and there are of course large, well-known destinations such as Yoyogi or Shibakoen (where you can find Tokyo Tower). For being one of the largest metropolises in the world, the city has many green spaces to enjoy. One of our favorites — especially on a hot day — is Todoroki Ravine Park. It's not a large park, but it's lush with dense trees and gardens, as well as pockets of history and culture. Because it's in a ravine, it's also several degrees cooler than the quaint neighborhood surrounding it.
There's also the Institute for Nature Study, which can be found in one of Tokyo's swankier neighbors, Shirokanedai. There you'll find beautiful foliage, a pond, botanical gardens, ruins from an ancient villa, and more. And once you've finished enjoying this large park, there is a lot of great shopping nearby on Platinum Street.
Of course, you're not going to Japan without bringing something back for friends and family! Waiting to stock up on souvenirs at the duty-free shop can cost a pretty penny. To find a gift for everyone on your list without spending a lot, we recommend checking out Don Quijote while you're in town. Known locally as "Donki," these shops have it all — from groceries and clothing to appliances and lots of inexpensive traditional souvenir options. You'll find the usual keychains, small toys, and shot glasses, as well as all the unique Japanese candy options you could imagine. Pick up Hi-Chew to take home!
If your schedule allows for it, you should also check out one of Tokyo's many flea markets. They're held throughout the city and at all times of the month (usually weekends, though). Some are known as great places to score cool vintage clothing and others specialize in fresh local produce, but all of them are great opportunities to stock up on souvenirs and see another side of Tokyo.
No matter what your family chooses to do while visiting, you are sure to have an incredible time in Tokyo. And don't forget — if you want a grown-up night out or just some time to explore on your own, CareFinder's babysitters are here to help! We offer a 30-day pass for short-term tourists; be sure to get in touch if you need a sitter on your vacation!