The capital of Japan is very popular. There are a lot of attractions at Toyko that are great for families, from giant video game arcades to the animation focused Ghibli Museum.

Tokyo is a great place to travel because it is clean, safe and convenient. Some of the city's top attractions may not appeal to younger kids, but there are plenty of things to do for the whole family.

From Disneyland to the gaming arcades of Akihabara, here's our guide to the top things to do in Tokyo with children.

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Is Tokyo a good place to visit for kids?

The challenges of visiting Tokyo with kids include navigating one of the world's most complex railway systems and trying to promote the virtues of raw fish. Tokyo has a lot of things to do and it makes up for it.

There are a lot of things to keep the little ones entertained.

Best things to do in Tokyo with kids

Kids will get a kick out of Tokyo's obsession with toys, comic books, and everything else related to pop culture. The starter pack is designed for kids.

Firework display at Odaiba Rainbow Bridge in Tokyo, Japan
The Odaiba district has plenty of entertaining stops for kids © Shingo Tamura / Getty Images

Discover a real-life toy town in Odaiba

Odaiba is Tokyo's vision of a utopian future and it is made up of imposing landmarks such as the Statue of Liberty and the rainbow bridge. There is a lot of kid-friendly diversions in this high-tech district in Tokyo Bay.

The Legoland Discovery Center has the potential to provide hours of brick-building fun for kids with an engineering mindset. You can't skip out on Joypolis, an indoor amusement park that features fairground games, Sonic the Hedgehog, roller coasters, virtual reality experiences and arcade machines.

There are a lot of free things to do in Tokyo.

Find favorite anime heroes on Character Street

The Asian version of Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium can be found in the depths of Tokyo Station. If your kids aren't familiar with all the characters, the colorful chaos of animation soundtracks, action-figure heroes, daikaij, cartoon character teddy bears and gachapon are sure to be a hit.

The Pokemon Center and the Studio Ghibli store are two of the most recognizable shops in the world. Hello Kitty, Doraemon and Ultraman are some of the Japanese favorites that you should look for merchandise related to.

Minnie Mouse and women dance in red flowered dresses
Tokyo has two Disney parks offering a Japanese-flavored version of the world-famous Disney formula © Yoshikazu Tsuno / Getty Images

Get the full theme park experience at Disneyland and DisneySea

Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea are the two most popular theme parks in Japan.

Disneyland in California was the first Disney resort to be built outside of the US in 1983, and Tokyo Disneyland was the first Disney resort to be built outside of the US in 1983. Roger Rabbit's Car Toon Spin is one of the more family-friendly attractions at the Disney parks in Tokyo.

DisneySea is more suitable for older children. Seven themed areas, known as "ports of call," are located within sight of the Pacific Ocean. Smaller children should like Sinbad's Storybook Voyage. Indiana Jones Adventure: Temple of the Crystal Skull or the Tower of Terror are likely to be favored by older children.

Gallery-goers are visible in silhouette in a large room which is strung with neon-pink lamps, which are reflected prettily in the mirrored floor
Resplendent displays and visual trickery at teamLab's Borderless art exhibition in Tokyo © Charly Triballeau / Getty Images

Dive into a vision of the future on Tokyo Bay

The National Museum of Emerging Science & Innovation is located on the edge of Tokyo Bay and is close to the world depicted in robot-themed comic books. While exploring with a video game-themed app, kids with a scientific bent can view the latest in robot tech, as well as regular demonstrations by the human-like ASIMO.

The digital art installations at teamLab Borderless bring to life a vision of the future that draws on Japanese sci-fi, but will also look familiar to fans of Ghost in the Shell. At Tokyo Dome City, TeNQ takes the interactive journey into space, with exhibits that aim to create a sense of wonder, rather than just static displays of space equipment.

Tourists on the observation deck at the Tokyo Skytree
The views from the observation decks at Tokyo Skytree are stupendous © Benny Marty / Shutterstock

Take in all of Tokyo from the top of Tokyo Skytree

Tokyo Skytree is the second tallest free-standing tower on the planet, so you can get a great view from the top. Kids can enjoy a floating in the sky experience from the observation decks. If you look at the suburbs racing towards the horizon, you'll see how large Tokyo is.

You can see Mt Fuji if the skies are clear. The higher of the two decks has art exhibits based on popular video game and animation titles. The Pokemon Center on the 4th floor is a good option as a backup.

These are the top day trips from Tokyo.

Exterior of the Ghibli Museum in Tokyo, Japan
The quirky Ghibli Museum, Mitaka holds the work of famous anime-makers, Studio Ghibli © cowardlion / Shutterstock

Find anime heaven at the Ghibli Museum, Mitaka

A visit to the Ghibli Museum in Mitaka-Shi is an enchanting experience for adults and small cartoon fans. The museum is filled with objects related to movies such as My Neighbor Totoro and Spirited Away and is covered in vines.

It's worth visiting the museum for those who don't know anything about Studio Ghibli's work. Everything at the museum is in tune with the studio's method of telling stories, from the interior design to the creaking study full of Miyazaki's original concept art.

Buildings in the Akihabara district of Tokyo, Japan
It's all bright lights and arcade games in Tokyo's Akihabara neighborhood © F11 Photo / Getty Images

Best neighborhoods for kids in Tokyo

The city of Tokyo has a lot of different neighborhoods. The district of Akihabara is filled with video game iconography and can feel like rolling the dice. They don't call it "Electric Town" for nothing, as the rainbow-splashed main street is sure to impress, and the flashing hordes of arcade machines and mechanical claw games are also sure to do the trick.

If you take a wrong turn, you could end up in the lascivious maid café, a room full of middle-aged men hypnotized by screens and smoking cigarettes. Follow English-language signs if you want to avoid such accidents.

Older kids who have an interest in Japanese pop culture can be found in the Nakano district. At the end of a traditional shotengai arcade is where the Nakano Broadway shopping complex is located.

The Takeshita-dori is a popular spot for tourists and Tokyo's bohemian youth. When the main street is so packed it is almost impenetrable, it is a good idea to stay away on weekends.

The entrance to Yoyogi-ken park is a great place for kids to go and see cosplayers in fancy-dress. You can find the best costumes on Sundays.

A Yamanote Line train at Shinjuku Station in Tokyo, Japan
Public transport goes everywhere in Tokyo, and train stations now have English-language signage © B.S.P.I. / Getty Images

How to get around Tokyo with kids

Shinjuku is a station that can take years of experience to master. Rail is the most efficient way to get around the city. All Tokyo stations now have English-language signs, and station officials will always try to help regardless of the language barrier. You can expect a lot of "are we there yet" from the kids, and the crowds can be tiring, so try to avoid traveling at peak times.

The article was first published in 2020.