Things to do: Best places to go to with kids

1. Legoland discovery center

Legoland Discovery Centre is an indoor family attraction chain operated by Merlin Entertainments, a subsidiary of the Blackstone Group. Featuring models and attractions inspired by the Lego building toys, the Discovery Centres are smaller versions of the Legoland theme parks located around the world.

An indoor theme park filled with more than 3 million LEGO bricks has opened in Odaiba.
Square LEGO bricks in assorted sizes present unlimited building possibilities. The simple form stimulates infinite imagination. The LEGOLAND Discovery Center offers the experience of this LEGO worldview.
From a guided tour of the LEGO Factory to a diorama representing the cityscape of Tokyo, to a shooting game, to a dynamic 4D theater, the center is packed with attractions that inspire the imagination not only of children but also of adults.
It has a variety of user-friendly services to ensure the entire family enjoys their visit, like multipurpose restrooms, stroller parking, barrier-free facilities (elevator for strollers and wheelchairs), and a café.
One unique service worth checking out is the birthday party for children. Two packages are available that include a light meal, with or without a model builder workshop. A party surrounded by LEGO bricks is sure to be a memorable one.
The center expects to introduce new attractions this autumn. Go out and have fun at one of the world’s largest LEGO brick kingdoms!

Location Island Mall 6F, Decks Tokyo Beach, 1-6-1 Daiba, Minato-ku, Tokyo
Charges (Ages 3 and older) One visitor 2,000 yen including tax / Two or more visitors 1,600 yen/person including tax
Access 2-min. walk from Yurikamome Odaiba-kaihinkoen Station; 5-min. walk from Rinkai Line Tokyo Teleport Station
Inquiries 03-3599-5168
URL LEGOLAND Discovery Center( External link )

2. Disneykids summer adventure

The Disney kids summer adventure is a way for kids to explore different areas of the Disney Parks and finding special treasures and treats. As part of the summer special event, a character greeting show is held at Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea. For more information, click here

Details: Event oriented to children of elementary school and younger.
July 9-August 31, various price.

Venue: Disney Resort, Chiba. Nearest Station: Maihama.
3. Tokyo toy museum
Located in the former Shinjuku Kuritsu Yotsuya Elementary School, Tokyo Toy Museum exhibits not just Japanese toys, but those from all over the world and is a place for all ages to enjoy. In addition to rooms–former classrooms – dedicated to various categories of toys, from traditional Japanese toys to board games, the museum also houses a museum shop, a relaxation space, and more. The museum clearly welcomes those with smaller children, providing breastfeeding and nappy-changing facilities. Refer to the website for details on the changing round of events and exhibits. There is no on-site car parking, so those who come by car should do a bit of homework ahead of time; local parking spots vary in price, so you might want to hunt around a bit before deciding on a place.



4-20 Yotsuya, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo

Transport Yotsuya-Sanchome station (Marunouchi line), exit 2

Telephone 03 5367 9601

Open Fri-Wed 10am-4pm (last adm 4pm) / Closed Thu (except hols), New Year

Admission Adults ¥700, elementary school and under ¥500, under 2s free


4. Sumida river fireworks festival

The Sumidagawa Fireworks Festival (隅田川花火大会, Sumidagawa Hanabi Taikai) is an annual fireworks festival held on the last Saturday in July, over the Sumidagawa near Asakusa. Unlike fireworks displays in other parts of the world, the Sumidagawa Hanabi Taikai follows the Japanese tradition of being an intense competition between rival pyrotechnic groups. Each group tries to out-do the last, and the result is an incredible variety of fireworks, not just in different colors and patterns, but forming shapes as complicated as DoraemonPikachu, or kanji.

It is a revival of celebrations held in the Edo period, and annually attracts close to a million celebrants. Similar events are held at the same time of year at many other sites throughout Japan.

Observed by Sumida RiverTokyoJapan
Type local
Date Fourth Saturday in July
2013 date July 27
2014 date July 26
Celebrations fireworks displays

5. Kiddyland Harajuku

KIDDY LAND Harajuku Store, a popular destination in the Harajuku-Omotesando area,is pure heaven for kids. Featuring various characters loved by everyone from children to adults to even foreign celebrities on one floor below ground and four floors above, the store is virtually a theme park of character goods.
The biggest attraction of the revamped KIDDY LAND is specialty shops and corners dedicated to different characters. On top of an already vast lineup, each carries limited-edition products and items only available at the Harajuku store.
There are four specialty shops: SNOOPY TOWN Shop Harajuku, carrying all the familiar faces from the cartoon Peanuts; PrismStone, a rendition of the shop in the anime Pretty Rhythm: Dear My Future; Rilakkuma Store Harajuku, whose cuddly bear boasts enduring popularity; and Hello Kitty Store Harajuku, featuring one of Japan’s iconic characters. Not only do these shops sell cute products, they also offer figures and plastic models that adults can enjoy as a hobby.
The spot transcends age and nationality and immerses all visitors in the joy of Japan’s kawaii culture.

Location Harajuku Omotesando, 6-1-9 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
Access 3-min. walk from Tokyo Metro Chiyoda Line / Fukutoshin Line Meiji-jingumae (Harajuku) Station; 10-min. walk from Tokyo Metro Ginza Line / Chiyoda Line / Hanzomon Line Omotesando Station; 7-min. walk from JR Yamanote Line Harajuku Station
Inquiries 03-3409-3431
URL KIDDY LAND( External link )

6. Kodomo no shiro

Conceived by the Ministry of Health and Welfare to commemorate the International Year of the Child in 1979, the Children’s Castle holds various activity rooms for children of all ages (though most are geared to elementary-age kids and younger). The third floor, designed for spontaneous and unstructured play, features a large climbing gym, building blocks, a playhouse, dolls, books, and a preteen corner with billiards, foosball, and other age-appropriate games; there’s also an art room staffed with instructors to help children with projects suitable for their ages. On the fourth floor is a music room with instruments the kids are invited to play, as well as a video room with private cubicles where visitors can make selections from a library of English-language and Japanese videos, including Disney films. On the roof is an outdoor playground complete with a wading pool (summer only; ¥200 extra admission) and tricycles, while in the basement is the family pool open to the public weekends only (¥300 for adults, ¥200 for children). Various programs are offered throughout the week, including puppet shows, fairy tales, live music performances, and origami presentations.

The National Children’s Castle is closed on Mondays except if Monday happens to be a national holiday, in which case it will be closed the following day.

The cost is 500 yen for adults, 400 yen for children aged 3 – 17 and free for younger children. The ticket is for the entire day so if you decide to go out for lunch and return later, just make sure to keep it. If you live in the area or plan to visit a lot, it is recommended you buy a Weekday Pass which costs 3,000 yen and entitles you to visit on weekdays for period of one year from the date of ticket purchase. Unfortunately it is only available for adults. There is also a good value Summer Pass for children and adults. If you sign up for the Tomo no Kai membership you’ll receive 10 free admission tickets and monthly newsletters (Japanese). Generally the National Children’s Castle is open from 10:00am – 5:00pm on weekends, national holidays, and during summer, and 12:30pm – 5:00pm otherwise. You can check the schedule on the site.

The National Children’s Castle can be accessed from either Shibuya station or Omotesando station. There is parking in the building but spaces are limited and the cost is quite steep at 300 yen for 30 minutes.
Tel: 03-3797-5666
Address: 5-53-1 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150-0001


7. Summerland

At Tokyo Summerland you can experience the warmth of summer whenever you want regardless of the season. The indoor swimming pool receives plenty of sunshine and is surrounded by green trees year round. They also have outdoor attractions that include a 40-meter free fall, an adventure course and many attractions and rides. During summer 2010, the outdoor adventure lagoon will be open from July 1st-September 30. Keep in mind that Tokyo Summerland will deny admission to people wearing tattoos.

Nearest Station Akigawa
Address 600 Kamiyochugi, Akiruno-city, Tokyo
Telephone 042-558-6511
Home Page (Available in English)
Business Hours 9:00am-6:00pm; Closed Thu; Check the website for details
Price Admission: Summer Price (July 1st-Sep 30): Ages 13-60: 3,500 yen (4,500 yen including rides, Ages 7-12: 2,500 yen (3,000 yen including rides), ages 2-6 and over 61: 1,800 yen (2,000 yen including rides. Rest of the year: 13-60: 2,000/3,500 yen; 6-12: 1,000/2,200 yen; 2-6 & 61~: 1,000/1,500 yen

8. Kidszania Tokyo

KidZania might just be the best thing to come out of Mexico since chocolate and tequila. Currently in 10 countries and more in the process, KidZania is a chain of family entertainment centers where children can ‘work’ in adult jobs and earn currency in a child-sized replication of a real city with real-life brands to boot.

Aimed at kids aged 3 to 15, they earn KidZos currency performing work and their earnings are kept in the KidZania bank which they can later blow at the gift shop or on fee-based KidZania activities, or save for the next time they visit KidZania. Kidzania Tokyo is located in the LaLaport complex in Toyosu, and provides over 90 occupations for kids to try out. There are two shifts a day and visitors are required to leave at the end of their shift, regardless of what time they entered. Shift 1 runs from 9:00am – 3:00pm and shift 2 from 4:00pm – 9:00pm. Children select a job, change into the uniform, and then after some on-the-job training, they start working, which takes about half an hour. Parents can watch from special viewing areas and they can also relax in the Parent’s Lounge on the 2nd floor where there is also free internet access.

This is how it works. Children (and parents) read details about the various occupations in front of the pavilions, and after deciding what activity to do they will need to join the line for that activity. Children of all ages can try any activity, but there are height restrictions on a couple. There’s sure to be an occupation or 50 that your child wants to try including such gems as dentist, delivery person, chef, catwalk model, firefighter, daycare worker, doctor, pilot, train driver, TV cameraman, and more. Since popular activities can have long waiting times, it would be a good idea to help children decide on a few activities, locate them on the map, and then plan the day accordingly. Additionally, weekends, holidays and Shift 1 during weekdays gets very busy, so to avoid the crowds, coming for Shift 2 on a weekday is highly recommended.

For security purposes visitors are allocated bracelets on entry. While adults can exit and re-enter during the shift, children are not allowed to leave and return. In fact, the security bracelets are scanned so that children can only exit the park with the adults they entered with, so you need not be concerned about your child leaving without you. If children are aged below 6, then at least one adult must remain in KidZania at all times. If the children are elementary school age or more, then they can remain at the park by themselves but you will be required to fill out a Letter of Consent (available on the website) and you will need to provide proof of ID and a cell phone so that you may be contacted if required.

Food or drink is not allowed to be brought into KidZania so do come cashed up. For infants though, you can bring bottles and baby food, and children with special dietary requirements may be able to bring food in, but will need to speak to a staff member before entering.

KidZania is open year-round though it is occasionally closed for maintenance. You should call and check before you go to avoid disappointment. Admission is cheaper on weekdays and cheaper during Shift 2 which only lasts 5 hours. On weekdays kids age 3-15 pay 3,800 yen for Shift 1 and 3,200 yen for Shift 2, and on weekends and holidays, the fee is 4,400 yen and 3,500 yen respectively. There is a flat fee of 1,900 for adults. Parents may also bring younger children (0-2) for free but they cannot participate in activities. There is however a play area for children aged 2 and under called Urbano’s House  which parents can take them to, and there is a nursing room on the 2nd floor. There is also half price admission rates for children with disabilities and for one adult per child.

Ticket reservations are available one day prior to entry beginning at midnight. As availability is limited it is highly recommended you call as early as possible. Reservations can be made 24 hours a day by calling 03-3536-8405 (English instructions follow the Japanese). You will be given a confirmation number and you are required to pay for your tickets when you arrive. You can also purchase tickets at the ticket booth located on the first floor of Urban Dock LaLaport Toyosu Center Port, from 7:40am. They go early but if there are any remaining after 10:00am, then you can purchase them at the Airport Counter locatd at the entrance of KidZania Tokyo.

For Shift 2, you can also get an Order Ticket which will determine in what order you enter KidZania. The tickets are available at the airport counters from 10:15am – 3:00pm, but can only be issued after you have already completed the admission procedures. If you require further information about KidZania you can call 03-3536-2100 during office hours (10:00am – 6:00pm).

KidZania is located at Urban Dock LaLaport Toyosu, North Port 3rd floor, 2-4-9 Toyosu, Koto-ku, Tokyo. It is an 8 minutes walk from Toyosu station (Yurakucho and Yurikamome lines). You may also come by car and park at LaLaport. LaLaport itself is a great destination for shopping, dining and movie-going, and outside there’s a sprawling courtyard, lovely ocean side boardwalk, grassy lawn area, fountain, and lots of places to just sit and relax.

9. Tokyo opera city arts shower

The music and arts spaces of Shinjuku’s Opera City complex boast a pretty rich kids’ program in the form of its annual Arts Shower. Kids can try their hand at playing a variety of classical music instruments and enjoy a concert by Japan’s popular Zoorasian Brass ensemble.
Tokyo Opera City, Somewhere around Jul 20-Aug 4. Nearest stn: Hatsudai.

10. Ultraman festival 2013

On April 12, 1963, Tsuburaya Special Effects Productions, now known as Tsuburaya Productions, was created in Kinuta, Setagaya, Tokyo. This year marks Tsuburaya Productions’ 50th anniversary.

Many people know of Tsuburaya Productions because of the sci-fi series Ultraman, but Tsuburaya Productions has also created various other works over its 50 year history. In addition to unique special effect heroes and monster films, Tsuburaya Productions also created many horror and occult films. These works shared the same filming and special effects standards. At the time Tsuburaya Productions was founded, you could only see such special effects in theaters. However, founder Eiji Tsuburaya’s zeal helped make viewing such special effects on TV a reality. Thereafter, Tsuburaya Productions consistently created new expressions and provided entertainment to viewers.
Regarding hitting their 50 year milestone, Shinichi Ooka, president of Tsuburaya Productions had this to say: “We will show our gratitude for hitting 50 years in our future strength.” These words express Tsuburaya Productions’ sentiments that haven’t changed since its creation. Furthermore, holding onto the gratitude the company feels toward its fans who have supported it thus far, the company wants to put forth its efforts to create even more work.
Many events will be held this July for the company. The HD remastered 2.0 Ultraman Blu-ray Box 1 will release on July 10. Ultraman is considered a Tsuburaya Productions masterpiece. Box 2 and 3 will release on Oct. 25, 2013 and Jan. 29, 2014, respectively. Additionally, the “Ultraman Festival 2013” will be held In Ikebukuro, Tokyo from July 26 to Sept. 1. It will be the 23rd time the event is held. Every year, 100,000 people visit this popular event. Furthermore, from July 24 to Aug. 5, the 45th “Ultra Seven Exhibition” will be held at Mitsukoshi Nihonbashi in Tokyo.
Ikebukuro Sunshine City, July 27-Sep 2. Nearest stn: Ikebukuro
11. Koenji Awaodori

Tokyo Koenji Awaodori Dance Festival is held annually on the last Saturday and Sunday of August.About 188 groups(ren), 12,000 dancers perform Awa dance to lively music and parade through the nine routes set up along the shotengai(shopping promenades), located on both north and south side of JR Koenji Station, and Konan Street of the south. Koenji Awaodori is the second largest of all the Awaodori festivals held throughout Japan, following the one in Tokushima.

It also highlights the summer of Tokyo as one of the three largest summer festivals of the area, together with Sumida River Fireworks Festival and Asakusa Samba Carnival.

Nearest stn: Koenji. Last Saturday and Sunday of August.

Categories: Daytrips, Must see, Things to do | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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