Tokyo is Mecca to anime and manga fans, and lovers of technology can find anything they seek, somewhere in the metropolis. If you are seeking nightlife, you won’t find many places in the world better, from food to music, from excitement to beauty, Tokyo has it all. But alongside Tokyo’s glitter and frenetic pace you will find children and parents, and a wide variety of activities for the family. Tokyo is not just a metropolis, it is home for many.
If you are looking for a child friendly activity or two, we can’t come close to telling everything that is available to you and your children here, but we can give you some samples.
Sanrio Puroland is a theme park run by the Sanrio company, creators of the global phenomenon that is Hello Kitty as well as Cinnamorroll, My Melody, Jewelpet and others. Unlike Japan’s other character based fun parks such as Disneyland, Sanrio Puroland focuses less on rides and roller coasters and more on interactive events such as musicals and audience participation shows.
It is an all-weather park, meaning that in the chilly winter or stifling summer, families with young children can comfortably enjoy the uber-cuteness of the Sanrio world, including a near full-scale creation of Kitty chan’s home. Children whose birthday falls in the month of their visit are given a birthday card to be worn so they can be given special treatment from the Sanrio characters they meet, and take part in birthday party celebrations. Of course there are extensive shopping opportunities, with all manner of products and souvenirs bearing the various characters’ likenesses, as well as a family restaurant complete with branded cutlery and condiments.
Weekdays 2,500 JPY children, 3,300 JPY adults; holidays and weekends 2,700 JPY children, 3,800 JPY adults; under 2’s free entry. Discount ticket available at website http://en.puroland.jp/coupon_en/
Opening times vary. See schedule for details.
1-31, Ochiai, Tama-shi, Tokyo
The Ghibli Museum is an animation and art museum created for lovers of the world-renowned Studio Ghibli, the imaginative geniuses who brought us such animated classics as Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke and My Neighbor Totoro. The museum itself was designed by the studio’s most famous director, Hayao Miyazaki, and upon entering, as you are greeted by Totoro himself, you will feel like you have been whisked away into one of his worlds.
There are all kinds of Ghibli excitements on show in this museum dedicated to the history and science of animation, such as permanent exhibitions like the 3-D zoetrope of ‘Bouncing Totoro’ designed to explain the principals of animation and historical devices. There is also a Rooftop Garden featuring a life-size version of the robot from Castle in the Sky, and a Catbus playroom for the under 12s to play in. There are also seasonal exhibitions, but perhaps the most exciting aspect for fans of Ghibli is the showing of an animated short, exclusive to the museum. For those wanting to bring some of the magic home with them, the gift shop sells original animation cells.
100 JPY young children (4-6), 400 JPY children (7-12), 700 JPY teens (13-18) 1,000 JPY adults (19+); Tickets can only be purchased at Lawson convenience stores. For instructions, see here.
10:00-18:00; Closed Tuesday and year end holidays.
1 Chome-1-83 Shimorenjaku, Mitaka, Tokyo 181-0013
The Tokyo Toy Museum
The Tokyo Toy Museum in Shinjuku is three stories of toys. Toys to be touched and played with, toys to be created from recycled materials, toys to be enjoyed by you and your family. On top of three stories, you will find a playground outside with… more toys. You can also go for more formalized fun, in the form of classes and workshops ranging from building your own toys, to origami, and a lot of different kinds of events in between.
I could write on about this location, but if you are interested in learning more please follow this link to www.tokyocheapo.com, where they have a very excellent article on the museum.
Tokyo Toy Museum
500 JPY children, 700 JPY adults. Discount ticket available for a adult WITH child 1,000 JPY
10am to 4pm
160-0004, Tokyo, Yotsuya, Shinjuku-ku, 4-20 Yotsuya Square
Brochure in English http://goodtoy.org/ttm/pdf/ttm_pamphlet_e.pdf
Legoland Discovery Center Tokyo
LEGOLAND® is a theme park experience dedicated to families with children between the ages of 2 and 12 that features interactive rides, shows and attractions based on the LEGO® toy brand. The parks are marketed to families, and although they have a number of rides, they are not as numerous or as extreme as those in other parks, as there is a greater emphasis on rides suitable for younger children. The park is split into various areas, including a Lego miniland, model village featuring models of iconic landmarks made from millions of Legos. The description on their site sums it up very well, in my opinion; “Legoland Discovery Center Tokyo – it’s like you’ve just jumped into the biggest box of LEGO® bricks ever!”
“Kingdom Quest,” an interactive LEGO laser ride, looks like it may be the coolest thing ever.
Legoland Discovery Center Tokyo
Full prices are discounted in various ways, see the site for details
10am to 9pm
3F Decks Tokyo Beach Island Mall, Odaiba 1-6-1, Minato-ku, Tokyo
Tokyo and its surrounding areas have more aquariums than you might expect! There are at least 7 in Tokyo itself, and a few more in the surrounding areas.
- Sunshine Aquarium
- Sumida Aquarium
- Tokyo Sealife Aquarium
- Epson Aqua Stadium
- Tokyo Tower Aquarium
- Inokashira Shizen Bunkaen Aquarium
- Shin Enoshima Aquarium
At the Shinagawa Aquarium you can experience a real “walk under water” while sea bream, stingrays, and turtles swim overhead and around in their famous “sea tunnel!” Or visit the “Shark Hall” where sand tiger sharks, grey reef sharks, and other sharks from all over the world are displayed in an oval tank which puts you in the middle of a three-dimensional school of sharks!
If sharks are a bit too much for you, how about the Dolphin and Sealion Show, which includes all that has come to be expected from such shows, jumping, “humorous gestures,” etc.?
Adult (16+): ¥1,350 / Student or child (6 through 15): ¥600 / Child (under 5): ¥300
Shinagawa-kumin Park, 3-2-1, Katsushima, Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo
03-3762-3431 (Taped information), 03-3762-3433 (Office)
There is plenty of information out there about the remaining aquariums, take a quick surf through and see if anything looks like a day at the beach for you! Keep cool Tokyo!
- Japan Times – Aquariums Offer Summer Escapes A nice article comparing 4 aquariums in Tokyo.
- http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2425.html#sunshine Japan Guide has a more comprehensive list with pages of information about each.
- JNTO – Aquariums in Tokyo & Vicinity The official Japan Tourism page has directions and contact details, and I believe offers the most complete listing of aquariums in Tokyo.