· 11 months ago

Tips for things to do in Japan with young teens?

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Founder, I Want That Flight

Hi Everyone,

It's my first time visiting Japan, with wife & kids (13 and 14) and I'd love some tips for things to do/visit during our short 11 days there. We land in Tokyo and plan to go to Osaka as well (and maybe Kyoto).

Some of the things we already plan to do:
● teamLab Planets
● Himeji Castle
● Ride the Shinkansen from Tokyo to Osaka
● Universal Studios
● Tokyo Tower or Skytree

I've heard some people rave about Akihabara & Odaiba, while other say they are skippable - whats your opinion?

Our kids (and me, tbh) favour experiences over temples/museums. We'd like to visit a themed cafe or two - recommendations?


11 months ago
Product Designer. UX/UI designer.

Hi, nice places to visit. Please check www.tokyocheapo.com for free plans there and more ideas.

11 months ago
Founder, I Want That Flight

Hi Susana - Thanks for that site. Lots of interesting posts & quite a useful one on Universal Studios.

11 months ago
Purchasing, Keepgo Ltd

Being in Kansai (Western Japan, meaning West to Nagoya and East to Hiroshima, in general terms) and not visiting Kyoto is a crime.
Kyoto Experiences:
1. Philosopher's Path - from Kypmizu-dera walk for 2-3 hours southwards, passing by at least 10 temples and shrines. Must enter: Kyomizu-dera, as said before, and the Silver Pavillion. At least half a day
2. Golden Pavillion Area. At least half a day. Cliche, but worth it.
3. Fushimi Inari Taisha. Half a day. Be ready to walk among hundreds of Torii gates. Combine with a few more shrines and temples in the area.
4. Relevant for any of Osaka-Kyoto-Kobe area: International Community Centers. www.kicc.jp/en/living_guide/living/facilities/other . There is seldom a day in which foreign visitors cannot experience some Japanese traditional activity.

Warning - Kyoto is not as easy as the other cities in Japan in terms of public transportation. Takes a bit of time getting to the locations.

Osaka: Shinsaibashi-Suji - at least 1-2 hour walk, shop till you drop for ANYTHING and then eat till you drop (this is actually how it is called in Osaka - Kuidaore Kui in street language is eat, Taoru is to fall) in Dotombori-gawa river side area and bridges (recommend actualy getting all the way to Nanba, pricing is more popular). Have Okonomiyaki, basically fish flour based pancake with toppings - meat, veggies. It is cooked at your table, ask to add fish flakes for the fun of it.

Himeji castle is at least a half day, you should try to look for a guide at i-guide.jpn.org
If you have a full day, take the cable car to the Engyo-ji temple complex (and the views are also nice from the cable car)

Other tours - Nara - full day
Off the beaten path for foreign tourists - Koya-san (but this is at least 2 days)

Not a Kanto (Tokyo Area) expert, I am sure there will be others to give you tips.

11 months ago
Founder, I Want That Flight

Wow - so many good tips! Ok, we will definitely go to Kyoto!

11 months ago
Product Designer. UX/UI designer.

Hi, you have Shima Spain Village. Spanish Park that is really nice in Tokyo. www.parque-net.com/foreign/english/

11 months ago (edited)
Founder, Our Tribe Travels & Family Home Swaps

Hey Garth, if you love discovering off-the-beaten-track family activities and destinations for your trip then ask this question in my adventurous family travel community. www.facebook.com/groups/OurTribeTravels

11 months ago
Family Travel Writer, Travel Babbo

We loved our food tour in Asakusa (Tokyo) with Arigato Travel. My daughter still talks about it years later. arigatojapan.co.jp/tours/asakusa-family-food-tour/

11 months ago
Founder, I Want That Flight

Hi Eric - Thanks for that one. The food looks great! I'll run it past the family.

11 months ago
Japan content creator

Hi Garth!
For sites, Timeout has some good options for up-to-date activities in Tokyo: www.timeout.com/tokyo

Akihabara is not what it used to be, but it's definitely an interesting experience for half a day if you make a bit of a plan of what to do (choose a game center to visit, a shop to visit, and a themed cafe, for example). It's also not far from Asakusa which can be a lot of fun for first timers.
Odaiba I don't find that interesting personally... There's a little Statue of Liberty and you can walk to teamLab from there but otherwise not too exciting.
There is a newer building than Skytree or Tokyo Tower, called Shibuya Scramble Square: www.shibuya-scramble-square.com.e.apy.hp.transer.com It gives you the view of the famous Shibuya crossing down below, and has more activities and shops than the other two. Highly dependent on weather though.
Themed cafes can be a bit iffy. I wouldn't recommend any of the animal ones other than cat or dog, there's a nice cat one in Harajuku. Takeshita Dori in Harajuku is also interesting for street food (but always packed).
I'm not sure when you're visiting but if you like experiences, search for "matsuri" (festivals). There's bound to be something going on somewhere in Tokyo, and matsuri are a very lively and interesting way to see a different part of Japanese culture

Hope some of this helps! Feel free to ask for more info

11 months ago
Digital Product Manager, TUI Group

If your kids are into videogames/manga then Akiharabara isn't really skippable as it's the home of Otaku culture in the city, it looks fantastic when lit up at night. I'd say it's worth at least a quick visit to browse through some of the electronic stores and experience that side of the culture. It's also home to the Square Enix cafe, themed around the popular videogame developer.

Shibuya Sky is a must visit though, some of the best views of the city but make sure you book in advance as it sells out quickly. Make sure you go to the Hotel Gracery in Shinjuku as well, they're got a Godzilla on roof which makes for a fun family photo op!

There's not much in Odaiba has one one the best views of the city, especially at night so I'd say it's worth it just for that and the giant, animated Gundam (robot) that towers next to the Diver City shopping centre which also has some good food and drink options.

In Osaka you have to visit the Umeda Sky Building, one of the most stunning buildings in the world (imho). It's also worth visiting Dotonbori but when I was there in March it was uncomfortably busy, I ducked in, took a few photos and got out of there!

9 months ago
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Tips for things to do in Japan with young teens?

Tips for things to do in Japan with young teens? was posted by Garth Adams in Discussion , Family Travel , Japan , Tokyo , Osaka , Kyoto . Updated on Jul 6, 2023 (11 months ago). Tips for things to do in Japan with young teens? is not rated yet.