Things to Do in Japan with Kids

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Advisor - Ashley Besic
Curated By

Ashley Besic

  • Active Travel

  • Adventure Travel

  • Arts & Culture

  • Beaches

  • Japan

  • Tokyo

  • Kyoto

  • Osaka

  • Local Culture

  • Local Food

  • Shopping

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Curator’s statement

Get ready for an unforgettable family adventure in Japan! Explore the captivating wonders of this magical country, from the bustling cities and captivating castles to serene temples and delightful theme parks. Indulge in mouthwatering delicacies while immersing yourselves in Japan's rich culture of anime, samurai and cherry blossoms. Every moment will be a thrilling experience for the entire family, creating cherished memories that will last a lifetime. Pack your bags and embark on an incredible journey through the Land of the Rising Sun!

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Where to stay in Japan

Things to do in Japan

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Tokyo

There are many amazing things to do that cater to families with children (of all ages). If you are a Disney family, add a visit to Tokyo Disneyland and/or Tokyo DisneySea for a magical experience.

Dive into a world of scientific wonders at the National Museum of Nature and Science in Tokyo. Engage with interactive exhibits that showcase the fascinating realms of nature, evolution, technology and outer space. From life-sized dinosaur skeletons to cutting-edge robotics, this museum offers a captivating learning experience for curious minds of all ages, sparking a sense of wonder and discovery.

Ascend to the dizzying heights of the Tokyo Skytree and behold breathtaking panoramic views of the sprawling metropolis. From the observation decks, located at staggering heights, you and your family will be treated to a mesmerizing vista of Tokyo's iconic landmarks, glittering cityscape and the vast expanse of urban beauty below. Capture unforgettable family photos, soak in the awe-inspiring scenery, and create cherished memories high above the bustling streets of Tokyo.

Are you or your children fans of movies such as “Spirited Away” or “My Friend Totoro” then you must visit the Ghibli Museum for a unique and enchanting experience based on the works of Studio Ghibli.

Kyoto

Immerse yourselves in the rich history of Kyoto by taking a delightful rickshaw ride through its historic streets. Let the skilled rickshaw pullers guide you past ancient temples, traditional wooden houses and serene gardens as you soak in the enchanting atmosphere of this cultural treasure.

Step into the world of trains at the Kyoto Railway Museum, where you and your family can marvel at a captivating collection of locomotives, hop aboard vintage carriages and even try your hand at operating a train simulator. With interactive exhibits and immersive displays, this museum promises an engaging and educational experience for train enthusiasts of all ages.

Delve into the art of the tea ceremony, an integral part of Japanese culture, by participating in a traditional Japanese tea ceremony at one of Kyoto's charming tea houses. Learn the graceful rituals, sip on matcha tea and appreciate the tranquility of this ancient practice, leaving you with a deeper understanding of Japan's tea traditions.

Osaka

Spark your families curiosity and engage your senses at the Osaka Science Museum, a haven for young minds. Explore the interactive exhibits, conduct fascinating experiments and embark on a captivating journey through the wonders of science. Don't miss the awe-inspiring planetarium, where you can embark on a cosmic adventure under a canopy of stars.

Unleash the laughter and joy of your little ones at Kids Plaza Osaka, a dynamic children's museum filled with hands-on activities, play zones and educational exhibits. From creative workshops to interactive displays, this vibrant space encourages learning through play, fostering imagination and discovery in a lively and engaging environment.

Embark on a scenic cruise along the Tombori River and immerse yourselves in the lively atmosphere of Osaka's iconic Dotonbori Street. Marvel at the dazzling neon signs, sample local street food delicacies and soak in the vibrant energy of this bustling entertainment district. From iconic landmarks to street performances, Dotonbori promises an unforgettable family experience.

Hiroshima

Ignite your children's curiosity at the Hiroshima Children's Museum, a hands-on science and technology hub designed to inspire young minds. Engage in interactive exhibits, conduct experiments and dive into the world of robotics, physics and nature through captivating displays, making learning an exciting adventure for the whole family.

Immerse yourselves in the colorful world of manga at the Hiroshima City Manga Library, housing a vast collection of manga books from various genres. Explore the shelves, flip through the pages and discover captivating stories that have captivated readers for generations. Dive into the magical world of Japanese comics and foster a love for storytelling and imagination.

At the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park and Museum, learn about the history and lasting impact of the atomic bombing, while emphasizing the importance of peace and understanding. Explore thought-provoking exhibits, pay respects at the Peace Memorial and gain a deeper appreciation for the pursuit of harmony and unity in the world.

Okinawa

Dive into the crystal-clear waters and pristine beaches of Okinawa, offering endless opportunities for swimming, snorkeling and sun-soaked family fun. Let the little ones splash in the gentle waves, discover vibrant marine life through snorkeling adventures, and build sandcastles on the sandy shores. Create cherished memories along the stunning coastline.

Immerse yourselves in the mesmerizing marine world at the Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium, home to captivating displays of tropical fish, giant whale sharks and mesmerizing coral reefs. Witness the majesty of these underwater creatures up close, as you and your family explore the region's diverse ecosystems, providing an educational and awe-inspiring experience.

Unleash the spirit of adventure at the Okinawa Kodomo no Kuni (Children's Land), featuring various play areas, rides and attractions.

Places to eat & drink in Japan

A restaurant street

Tokyo

Harajuku Gyoza Lou: A popular spot in Harajuku known for its delicious gyoza (dumplings). The casual and lively atmosphere makes it a great place for families to enjoy a quick and tasty meal.

Kyoto

Arashiyama Yoshimura: Situated in the picturesque Arashiyama area, this traditional restaurant serves authentic Kyoto cuisine in a welcoming atmosphere. The menu includes a variety of seasonal dishes, showcasing the flavors of Kyoto's culinary heritage.

Nishiki Market: While not a specific restaurant, Nishiki Market in Kyoto offers a wide array of street food and local snacks. Families can wander through the market and sample various tasty treats, such as fresh seafood, grilled skewers and traditional sweets.

Osaka

Okonomiyaki Mizuno: Located in the vibrant Dotonbori area, Okonomiyaki Mizuno is renowned for its delicious Osaka-style okonomiyaki (savory pancakes). Families can enjoy watching the skilled chefs prepare the dish right at their table.

Hiroshima

Okonomimura: A multi-level building dedicated to okonomiyaki, Hiroshima's signature dish. With various stalls serving different styles of okonomiyaki, families can choose their favorite flavors and watch as the skilled chefs cook the dish on the grill.

Hiroshima-style Tsukemen Sora: This restaurant serves delicious tsukemen, a type of ramen where the noodles are served separately from the soup for dipping. The flavorful broth and hearty noodles make it a satisfying choice for families.

Okinawa

Blue Seal Ice Cream: Known for its creamy and flavorful ice cream, Blue Seal has multiple locations in Okinawa. Families can indulge in a variety of unique and delicious ice cream flavors, perfect for cooling down on a warm day.

Makishi Public Market: Similar to Nishiki Market in Kyoto, Makishi Public Market offers a wide selection of fresh seafood, local produce and street food. Families can explore the market and sample Okinawan delicacies such as sashimi, tempura and goya champuru (stir-fried bitter melon).

Need to Know

Remember to check for any age restrictions or specific requirements for certain attractions and plan accordingly. Japan offers a range of family-friendly activities that will provide memorable experiences for kids of all ages.

For more travel tips, check out my guide, Your Full Guide of Things to Do in New Orleans (With Kids).

This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to Japan.