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Visiting Tokyo in 2 Weeks w/ 3-year-old

Japan With Kids - Forums: General Discussions: Visiting Tokyo in 2 Weeks w/ 3-year-old
By b greenstein on Wednesday, May 4, 2005 - 4:37 am:


So glad I stumbled across your website. I am going to be in Japan for 17 days in two weeks with my 3-year-old daughter (my husband has to go for work). We will be in tokyo for 10 days and then Nagoya for 7 days. I would love to get any recommendations--particularly, best things to do with her, and best places to take her to eat. We will need to eat dinner with my husband near Shinjuku-gyoen, so any family friendly/kid friendly restaurant recommendations in that area would be ideal. I would also like to know if Sesame Place is a waste of time (I do plan on taking her to Tokyo Disney) and if anyone takes their children to the Children's Castle or the like. I do plan on doing a lot of sightseeing and shopping, so I must include activities for her. Any thoughts on shopping? Any discounted places you recommend?

Thanks so much!! Bats from NYC

By Bethan Hutton on Tuesday, May 10, 2005 - 11:42 am:

Looks like everyone has been too busy with the Golden Week holidays to reply to your message.

Here are a few suggestions: if you're going to be around Shinjuku-Gyoen, there are literally hundreds of restaurants around within ten or 15 minutes walk, mainly at the Shinjuku end. A good place to start with might be the top three floors of Takashimaya department store (part of the Times Square complex next to the railway lines on the south side of Shinjuku Station). The restaurant floors have a couple of dozen different places to eat which cover the main types of Japanese food (sushi, tempura, various different kinds of noodles etc) as well as lots of foreign cuisines. They are all very family-friendly, and some even have English language menus. The basement floor of Takashimaya is a food hall, and this is a good place to pick up things for a picnic in Shinjuku Gyoen. There are also a couple of terraces with outside tables on the top floors where you can eat food you have brought with you or bought from the basement. All department stores have similar restaurant floors (Takashimaya has more than most) and while they are not the cheapest place to eat, and there are often queues at weekends, they are reliable quality and usually have good lunch deals.

Otherwise, if you stroll around the main Shinjuku shopping district you will find all sorts of other restaurants. Most restaurants in Japan welcome children, although you don't get highchairs/kids menus etc in most places. Another drawback is the smokiness, but a growing number of places are non-smoking or have non-smoking sections. "American-style" family restaurant chains (Denny's, Jonathan's, Saizeriya etc) are a good bet for this.

As for places to go - I presume you are going to explore Shinjuku-gyoen itself (one of the best green spaces in Tokyo). Yes, the children's castle is good - lots of activities to appeal to a 3-year-old, and convenient if you want to let her work off a bit of energy in the middle of a shopping trip around Omotesando or Shibuya. Another good place if you have an active child is the children's playground in Jingu Gaien, near Shinanomachi station. You pay to get in (Y200 for adults, Y50 for kids), and there are zones with all sorts of different climbing and play equipment for different age ranges, as well as a mini-mountain to climb with a slide down. This time of year the far end of the park gets fenced off and turned into a beer garden (children also welcome) with tabletop grills and a basic food menu.

If you get on the Yamanote Line and head round to Ueno, there is a whole park full of different museums (art, science - big dinosaur exhibition on at the moment), as well as a children's library and Ueno Zoo, which is always popular with the children.

Another area you might want to explore is Odaiba, the reclaimed dockside area which also has various shopping and restaurant complexes, museums, parks and amusement areas.

I've never tried Sesame Land, but Disneyland and/or DisneySea are definitely worth a visit. If your daughter is a Little Mermaid/Princess fan she might particularly like DisneySea, which has a big Ariel/underwater themed section.

Kasai Rinkai Koen is another big waterside park, a couple of stops before Disneyland on the Keiyo line, with a ferris wheel and an excellent aquarium.

You might find it worth trying to get a copy of a book called something like "Kids Trips in Tokyo", which has lots of good suggestions for days out, from well known spots to some more off-beat ones. It's a few years old now, but most of the information is still accurate. You can probably find a copy in the English-language book section on the 6th floor of Kinokuniya Bookshop, which is also part of the Takashimaya Times Square complex.

Hope you enjoy your stay!

By Sandya on Tuesday, May 20, 2008 - 11:10 am:


i am in tokyo - Kasai - Gyotoku area with a 3 year old boy. Need to find some places where i can take him so that he can enjoy and pass time. One place that he really loves is the kids plaza section in Saty mall, Moyden. It is rea wonderful place with some toy trains and engines for kids to enjoy. Looking for similar places in and around this place.


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