A Traveling Family's Guide to Tokyo

Penguins at the Sumida Aquarium | © Jun OHWADA/Flickr
Penguins at the Sumida Aquarium | © Jun OHWADA/Flickr
Photo of Alicia Joy
Tokyo Writer27 April 2017

Planning a family vacation can be a daunting task, especially one in a place like Tokyo. Luckily, the city is full of kid friendly options to make your trip enjoyable. Check out our traveling family’s guide to Tokyo.

Eating Out

Finding child friendly places to eat can be a challenge. The types of places where children are welcome are generally casual, or chains like Ootoya and Mos Burger. Kaiten sushi is another popular choice for families since you can keep food waste to a minimum and find something to suit everyone’s taste. Keep an eye out for shokudo (casual restaurants) with the plastic food models out front, since it’s easy to see what you’re ordering. When making reservations online, the child policy – meaning either a lower price or no kids allowed at all – is usually included on the page.

A meal at Ootoya | © Nelo Hotsuma/Flickr


For large families or groups, ryokan are a great option because you can sleep many people in a single room. Kimi Ryokan, for example, can sleep up to five in one large room. While Sadachiyo, with its spacious rooms with included living areas, can sleep up to six. If you’re a small family, check the hotel’s policies on children. Business hotels may not allow extra persons at all, while other establishments won’t charge extra for a small cot.

A typical ryokan room setup | © Banalities/Fllickr


Check for seasonal events happening around the dates of your trip. Most events have special child friendly activities planned and they’re often free of charge. Theme parks are another thing to consider. Tokyo is home not only to Tokyo Disneyland, but Disneysea and Puroland as well.

There are a lot of places in Tokyo that children would enjoy, so it’s possible to plan a kid friendly activity at least once a day. For example, if you want to check out the Skytree and spend the afternoon shopping, promise to take the family to the Skytree Town’s Sumida Aquarium after lunch. Tokyo’s many science museums and parks are another option.

A red panda living in Ueno Zoo | © Bob Young/Flickr


Shopping in Tokyo is also not just for adults. Be sure to check out the multi-level Kiddy Land while you’re in Harajuku and Omotesando. The huge toy store is full of beloved local brands like Sanrio as well as popular overseas characters like Winnie the Pooh. Pop over to Hakuhinkan Toy Park while in Ginza, where you’ll find a huge racetrack to test out the model cars. And Character Street in the underground mall of Tokyo Station, where dozens of different toy shops are clustered together, is a stop not to be missed.

Miffy plushies found at Kiddy Land | © DocChewbacca/Flickr

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