Family Guide to Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo was our entryway into Japan (after a 12 hour direct flight from Toronto).  I’m not going to lie, we weren’t too excited about exploring Tokyo in comparison to all of the other places that really intrigued us in Japan, however, we did carve out a good two days to explore the world’s biggest city.   I’m sure we could have spent a whole week in Tokyo and still not had enough time to see everything… not to mention if we had chosen to visit Disney Tokyo and LEGOLAND.  I’m definitely not anti-Disney, but our boys don’t really know what Disney World is and we’d rather not take them until they are old enough to really remember it.  It’s expensive and we feel that our boys can have just as much fun exploring a big city with us and learning about a new culture- and practice using their imaginations more in our travel experiences.  Exploring the city of Tokyo was so entertaining for the boys- the lights, traffic, sirens, big buildings, train rides and ice cream stops were enough to entertain them throughout the trip- we did, however, take them for a quick trip to the zoo, which was so much fun for them and super reasonably priced.

Here are our top five attractions for visiting Tokyo with Kids:
1. Odaiba Island: We spent our first night in Tokyo in Odaiba.  It’s close to the airport, not super busy, with numerous big comfortable hotels, more family entertainment options, and great views of the city.  Of course after traveling overnight, we were pretty exhausted and took it easy our first day, so Odaiba was perfect because I think if we were in any other area we would feel guilty missing something.  We did check out LEGOLAND for a short while, however we didn’t have time to actually go in and do everything, the boys loved playing with Legos at the entrance and seeing life-sized Lego characters.  
2. Shibuya: Shopping District: The Shibuya is known for the biggest crosswalk in the world and is definitely worth visiting.  All traffic stops at once for pedestrians to cross in any direction.  At one time 1,000 people cross this street and it was, in our opinion, the biggest attraction in Tokyo; fun for Instagram Boomerang, and plenty of high places to observe the madness of people swarming the street in all directions! 
3. Night Life District: We did spend one late night with the boys to experience the night life district.  Although we weren’t “going out” we enjoyed walking around to see the chaos of it all.  It reminded us of Times Square and it was fun to see all the lights and action. 
4. Akihabara, Video Game/Electronics District: Of course being the only girl in the family, I was suckered into experiencing the video game & electronics district.  It was actually fun for me to see my boys so enthralled with it all.  Matt took a walk down memory lane seeing all of his “favorite” video game characters advertised and the boys immediately took interest in the whole video gaming concept as well.  We walked into a store that was 7 floors high completely packed with electronics, video games and boy toys.  The boys were able to pick out one toy each in the toy section as a souvenir and Matt teased himself to buy the latest version of our cannon camera, which was $900 cheaper than what we would pay for it in the states! 
5. Tokyo Zoo: The Tokyo Zoo (Ueno Zological Gardens) intrigued us because it is one of the few zoos with a panda bear exhibit.  As an endangered species, we have seen panda bears only a couple times in our life time, so we decided to take the boys to experience it all.  The zoo was VERY reasonable, I can’t remember how much we paid but I feel like it was less than $5 per person.  I have to say the panda bear exhibit was quite the experience.  We waited in line for a good 40 minutes and by the time we got to them we were ushered by the exhibit by zoo workers to keep the line moving.  It was hilarious and I actually enjoyed videoing the zoo workers (yelling at us all to keep moving) instead of the panda bears.  LOL.  We were pretty impressed with the other animals that were on exhibit including hippos, rhino, flamingos, penguins, elephants, monkeys, etc. 

Tokyo is a great entryway into Japan and is definitely worth experiencing, but we would hope it isn’t your only stop in Japan because there are so many amazing places to experience.  Don’t forget to read about our fantastic stay in Nara, feeding wild deer and stay tuned for my blog post about Kyoto!!  J 


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