Tokyo is full of attractions and educational activities for kids. From cheap to somewhat pricey, the capital of high-tech offers a variety of museums, playgrounds and interactive sites to spend a fun day.
#1. Ghibli Museum, Mitaka
Photo Credit:Lucius Kwok@flickr
Any fan of Hayao Miyazaki will know that the Ghibli museum welcomes the inspiration, artworks and stories of the world’s most renowned Japanese animated movies of all times. Located away from the center of Tokyo, Mitaka, this museum is on a reservation basis and the tickets are only available for sale at any Lawson convenience store. To purchase overseas, check the details on the website below. It is important to reserve seats the earliest as possible as it is often fully booked. The previous giant stuffed cat bus (ねこバス nekobasu) featured in the movie “Totoro”, is now accepting everyone on board (and not only children). Temporary events are always on the program.
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Ghibli Museum, Mitaka
Address: 1-1-83 Simorenjaku, Mitaka, Tokyo
Access: Mitaka Station and bus operated by the museum
Hours: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
*Closed on Tuesdays and New Year holidays
Website: Ghibli Museum, Mitaka
#2. Oedo Onsen Monogatari
Photo Credit:Dal Lu@flickr
Located in Odaiba, Oedo Onsen Monogatari is the only place that offers real hot spring baths in Tokyo. It is a theme park designed in the style of Edo period, with little shops selling all sorts of Japanese food and activities that are usually performed during summer festivals. At the entrance, customers will be handed a Yukata (a typical clothing in hot springs and festivals) that should be worn during the whole experience. The baths are separated between genders but the common area (with Yukata on) is an exterior foot bath that is gender-mixed. If one wants to try typical Japanese onsen in a traditional atmosphere while not having enough time to go away from Tokyo, this is the place to be!
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Oedo Onsen Monogatari
Address: 2-6-3 Aomi, Koto ward, Tokyo
Access: 2 minute walk from Telecom Center Station (Yurikamome Line)
Hours: 11:00 AM – 9:00 AM (next day)
Website: Oedo Onsen Monogatari
#3. Tokyo Disney Resort
Photo Credit: ume-y@flickr
It is not completely false to say that any young Japanese person would want to go to Tokyo Disney Resort at least once in their lifetime. Tokyo Disneyland is one of the prettiest, cleanest and most extravagant Disneylands of all times. With over 40 attractions in Disneyland and 27 in DisneySea, the theme park is a sensation to any Disney fan or non-fan who wants to experience a day in the world of dreams. Star Wars themed three-dimensional show was recently added to the list of attractions and is now open to the public.
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Tokyo Disney Resort
Address: 1-1 Maihama, Urayasu city, Chiba prefecture
Access: direct bus from Shinjuku Station to Disney Resort
Hours: 8:00 AM – 10:00 PM
Website: Tokyo Disney Resort
#4. Tokyo Dome City Attractions Korakuen
Tokyo Dome is the biggest gathering of attractions in the heart of Tokyo where the entrance is free. The parachute type “Sky flower”, the pirate boat that swings wildly “Super Viking Sorabune”, the world’s first center-less big wheel “Big O” and the roller coaster that goes through the “Big O”, the “Sander Dolphin”. Korakuen is a great place to spend a full day and free oneself from kids.
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Tokyo Dome City Attractions Korakuen
Address: 1-3 Koraku, Bunkyo ward, Tokyo
Access: 3 minute walk from Suidobashi Station
Hours: 10:00 AM – 9:00 PM
*Open from 9:30AM on weekends and holidays
Website: Tokyo Dome City Attractions Korakuen
Photo Credit:KCJ GROUP
Kidzania is one of the largest miniature city for kids: over a 100 role-play jobs and activities with real hands-on tools and uniforms. From dentist to pizza-maker, Kidzania offers quality material and experience for kids to live just like an adult would in society. There is a local currency called the “kidzos” that kids can withdraw from real-sized ATM machine and issue credit cards and driver’s licenses just for this unique occasion. While most of the activities are held in Japanese, there are special events in English such as “English Wednesday!” where half of the activities are conducted in English. The participation fee starts at 2,850 yen for three year-olds.
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Address: 2-4-9 Toyosu, Koto ward, Tokyo
Access: 8 minute walk from Toyosu Station (Exit2) (Yurakucho Line)
Hours: 9:00 AM – 3:00 PM & 4:00 PM – 9:00 PM
#6. Tokyo Fire Museum
Awarded the Certificate of Excellence by Trip Advisor, Tokyo Fire Museum is free and strongly recommended if one’s kids are dreaming of becoming firefighters one day. It is located right next to Yotsuya Sanchome Station and is entirely free. There is a helicopter on the top-level of the museum so it is advised to check at the front desk to see if it is available that day. The other floors accommodate a collection of old firefighting equipment and one should not miss the fire engines located on the lowest floor.
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Tokyo Fire Museum
Address: 3-10 Yotsuya, Shinjuku ward, Tokyo
Access: Connected to Yotsuya Sanchome Station
Hours: 9:30 AM – 5:00 PM
Website: Tokyo Fire Museum (Japanese)
Trip Advisor: Tokyo Fire Museum
#7. Ueno Zoo Park
The Ueno Zoo is home to giant pandas: Lily and Shinshin. Little ones will stare at the extraordinary sight of pandas while others might focus on the massive elephants. This zoo accommodates a wide range of animals from Japanese animals to African animals living in habitats close to their native ones. This world-class zoo encompasses birdhouses, vivariums and even an animal petting area for children to get the full experience. Free entrance for elementary school kids, 200 yen for middle school kids and 600 yen for adults.
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Ueno Zoo Park
Address: 9-83 Ueno Park, Taito ward, Tokyo
Access: 1 minute walk from Ueno Station (Yamanote Line)
Hours: 9:30 AM – 5:00 PM
*Closed on Mondays, unless holiday closed on Tuesdays
Website: Ueno Zoo Park (Japanese)
Trip Advisor: Ueno Zoo Park
#8. Mount Takao
Photo Credit:Dick Thomas Johnson
Hiking the Mount Takao is certainly a nice way to occupy a whole day and tire active kids. It is one of the closest hiking area near Tokyo where it is possible to visit some temples on the way while enjoying beautiful landscapes of Tokyo. With a monkey park, a hot spring bath house and a nature museum about Mount Takao will give customers the opportunity to enjoy a variety of activities in the same area. In mid to late April, the hike is worth the detour to explore the beauty of cherry blossoms from a large variety.
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Address: Takaocho, Hachiyoji, Tokyo
Access: Takaosanguchi Station at the foot of the mountain (Keio Railways)
Cable Car Hours: 8:00 AM – 9:15 PM
Website: Mount Takao
#9. Epson Aqua Park Shinagawa
Located within a short distance from Shinagawa Station, Epson Aqua Park is one of the most high-tech aquarium in the world: it goes beyond the concept of aquarium and brings a cocktail of sensations with a LED lighted merry-go-round, colorful aquariums full of jellyfishes and mirrors or simply, enjoy a drink while viewing luminescent corals. Prices range from 700 yen to 2,200 yen and there is a discount for customers staying at sponsored hotels.
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Epson Aqua Park Shinagawa
Address: 4-10-30 Takanawa, Minato ward, Tokyo
Access: 2 minute walk from Shinagawa Station
Hours: 10:00 AM – 10:00 PM
*Special hours on certain dates
Website: Epson Aqua Park Shinagawa
Miraikan literally means “the building of the future” in Japanese and exhibits the latest innovations and high-tech inventions by Japanese scientists. The main hall showcases an enormous “Geo-cosmos” suspended from the ceiling, with impressive images projected on it. There are daily demonstrations of the Japanese humanoid ASIMO and science workshops at professional installations are available. This interactive exhibition will not cease to impress customers and kids even at the cafeteria where Earth-themed drinks and food are served for affordable prices.
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Address: 2-3-6 Aomi, Koto ward, Tokyo
Access: 5 minute walk from Fune-no Kagakukan Station
Hours: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
*Closed on Tuesdays and New Year holidays
#11. Panasonic Center Tokyo
Photo Credit:Ippei Ogiwara@flickr
Odaiba houses the infamous Panasonic Center which provides a hands-on exhibition on the correlation of science, nature and mathematics called “RiSuPia” on the second floor. On the third floor, a selection of discovery type activities awaits customers with a laboratory and a magical performance theatre where kids can experience three-dimensional images concerning arithmetics.
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Panasonic Center Tokyo
Address: 3-5-1 Ariake, Koto ward, Tokyo
Access: 3 minute walk from Ariake Station
Hours: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
*Closed on Mondays and New Year holidays
Website: Panasonic Center Tokyo