fun things to do with kids in tokyo japan - family travel   Travel for Kids


tokyo skytree cherry blossoms

Edo, ancient capital Japan, was founded in 1603 by Ieyasu, the first Tokugawa Shogun. In the late 1700's, Edo was one of largest cities in the world, populated with daimyos (feudal lords) and their families, samurai, merchants, craftsmen, and artists. After 1868, Edo was renamed Tokyo, and it's an ultra modern city today. Traveling around Tokyo, kids will be impressed by contrasts – glass skyscrapers next to centuries-old temples and shrines, crowded underground shopping streets and peaceful landscaped gardens.

Tokyo Photo Album
    Ueno Park
    Imperial Palace
    Tokyo Station - Nihonbashi
    Shiba Park - Tokyo Tower
    Tokyo Bay - Odaiba
    Tokyo day trips
  Old City - Edo
  Shogun & Samurai
    Kimono & Costume
Tips for Tokyo – ordering in restaurants, taking the subway, restrooms, and more.
Inari shrine Tokyo
  Inari shrines – Throughout different areas of Tokyo, are numerous Inari shrines, identifiable by stone fox sculptures decorated with red bibs (symbol of good luck). In the Shinto religion, the fox (kitsune) is a guardian spirit of Inari, god of rice. The fox figures protect the shrine and also assist people who make offerings. Look for Inari shrines everywhere you go, in residential neighborhoods, and also in Buddhist temples, such as the Sensoji, and Fudo-do.
Ride the subway – The subway is Tokyo is modern, very speedy, and goes everywhere. Subway stations have kiosks where you can purchase tickets, use the "English" option so you can read the menus. The ticket with most flexibility is the One Day Ticket, with unlimited rides on the two major subway lines (Tokyo Metro and Toei). Additionally, the Tokyo Round Tour ticket includes unlimited rides on these subway lines, plus the JR train line (convenient if your hotel is located near a JR station e.g. Shinagawa or Tokyo Station).

Fun food

Desserts in Tokyo

At the big department stores (e.g Mitsukoshi, Daimaru, Matsuya, Takashimaya), go to the food halls, usually on the basement floor (B1), and check out an amazing variety of sweets, chocolates, baked goods, and desserts, just let kids try what looks appealing to them. In Asakusa, try the traditional freshly made ningyo yaki (in the shape or birds or lanterns), and okoshi (popped rice bars) and freshly made senbei crackers.



      Hakuhinkan Toy Park (near Shimbashi station) is our favorite toy store, with lots of Japanese toys, including the tortoros and the cat bus from the movie My Neighbor Totoro. Also for toys, visit Tokyo Character Street at Tokyo Station, and the shops at Tokyo Skytree.

In Asakusa, kids can shop for kokeshi dolls, cotton yukata in kids' sizes, miniature samurai and ninja figures, drums and more at the Nakamise shopping street.

family hotels tokyo japan
Travel for Kids has plenty of fun things to do with kids in Tokyo, but you'll need a fun place to stay.

Here's our own Travel for Kids hand-picked list of family hotels in Tokyo, all styles and price ranges, in neighborhoods comfortable for families, and near to places you'll want to explore:

    Tokyo family hotels
kids books tokyo
Tokyo City Trails
Lonely Planet Kids

Nineteen different themed trails through Tokyo – up in the air, spooky stories, yummy food, busy and noisy, royal residences, fishy city, kawaii cute stuff, techno Tokyo, unusual buildings, and more. (Illustrated chapter book)


Yayoi Kusama
May Nakamura, Alexandra Badiu

Meet the artist Yayoi Kusama, one of Japan's most famous artists. She designs, paints, creates outdoor art with trees covered with painted red polka dots, colorful pumpkins at the edge of the ocean, indoor Infinity Mirror rooms in museums all over the world. (Easy reader)

Tip: If you have time, visit Yayoi Kusama Museum in Shinjuku-ku.


Yayoi Kusama
Jasmine Toguchi: Brave Explorer
Debbi Michiko Florence, Elizabet Vukovic

Jasmine and her family fly to Japan to visit her grandmother. First stop Tokyo, ordering and eating ramen is a new experience, taking subway to Asakusa station, visiting Sensoji Temple (look for dragon under red lantern), enjoying dorayaki pancakes with azuki filling, going to the top of Tokyo Tower, Mt. Fuji way in the distance. Plus tips for using chopsticks (hashi) and recipe. (Chapter book)

More Jasmine Toguchi adventures in Japan: Peace-maker and Bridge Builder


Tokyo Heist
Diana Renn

A mystery adventure set in Tokyo and Kyoto, after priceless drawings are stolen by the yakusa, Violet Rossi must find a long-lost Van Gogh painting, inspired by Japanese woodcuts. The most important clue – sketchbook with hidden drawings of tiny ayu fish. Wonderful local color. (Chapter book)


Tokyo Heist japan mystery fiction kids
Temple Alley Summer
Temple Alley Summer
Sachiko Kashiwaba, Miho Satake

On a rainy summer night, Kazu sees a girl in a white kimono step out of the altar room in his house. The next day she appears in his fifth grade class at school, her name is Akari, and she's familiar to everyone. But Kazu knows she's a ghost. Mystery, manga and ghost story. (Chapter book)


Yuki and the One Thousand Carriers
Gloria Whelan, Yan Nascimbene

Take a journey 300 miles down the Tokaido Road from Kyoto to Edo, riding in a hand-carried palanquin, climbing up narrow mountain paths as spring snowflakes fall, until journey’s end at the Nihonbashi Bridge. Luminous paintings capture the adventure of this historic road. (Picture book)


Yuki and the One Thousand Carriers japan kids tokaido road

Annie and Jack travel back in time to Edo, where they explore the Imperial Garden and the fish market, sample sushi at a teahouse, and learn why a great poet lives in a dinky house. (Easy reader)


Hokusai: He Saw the World in a Wave
Susie Hodge, Kim Ekdal

Hokusai, one of Japan's most famous artists, was born and lived all his life in Edo (Tokyo). He created paintings, woodblock prints and books about how to draw people and animals. Hokusai made over 100 ukiyo-e prints of Mount Fuji. (Picture book)


Grass Sandals basho kids tokyo  

When Basho wasn't traveling around Japan, he lived in Edo (Tokyo) on the east side of the Sumida River. Lovely introduction to the haiku poetry of Basho. (Picture book)

After Grass Sandals, keep on going. Read out-loud the full version of Basho's poems and travels, The Narrow Road to the Deep North.



Delightful adventures of Dodsworth and his friend the duck when they visit Tokyo. The duck eats sushi (but doesn't take off his shoes, as he never wears them), jumps into the moat at the Imperial Palace, tries Japanese brush painting, and swings over the crowd at the festival in Asakusa. (Picture book)


Hachiko kids books tokyo dog  
Pamela S. Turner, Yan Nascimbene

"There is a statue of my old friend at the entrance to the Shibuya Station …" Heart-warming story of the dog Hachiko, told through the eyes of a young child. Each day, Hachiko walks to the station with Dr. Ueno and waits all day for him return. Lovely illustrations. (Picture book)


I Live in Tokyo
Mari Takabayashi

Seven year old Mimiko lives in Tokyo with her five year old brother. Her story, daily life and events each month is told from a kid point-of-view. On wearing kimonos, "The kimono makes me feel like a princess, but after a while it's uncomfortable." (Picture book)


I Live in Tokyo childrens books
tokyo a book of senses  
Tokyo: A Book of Senses
Ashley Evanson

the cherry blossoms
in the beautiful gardens.
peaceful inside
the ancient Sensoji Temple

Lovely introduction to Tokyo. (Board book)

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