If you want to make sure your kids stay in a good mood while traveling in Kyoto, these are the places you must go! If kids are happy, then parents are happy, right? These are some local places you normally wouldn’t go if you were traveling without kids, so if you can, we hope you will find the time to visit at least one of these spots!
Kyoto’s “Central Park,” there’s a Japanese garden, an area with playground equipment, restaurants, a grassy field, and even a wooded area with a stream where you can feel close to nature. In summer you can see kids playing in the water. Also, from this park you can see many trains, so if your kids like vehicles like trains, then this place is perfect!
Kyoto Railway Museum
With 53 real trains, Kyoto Railway Museum is fun for kids and even an interesting place for parents to visit, too. There are different experiences as well as a play area with, you guessed it, toy trains! If you are there for lunch or snack time, there’s a restaurant on the second floor with a view of the tracks going in and out of Kyoto below. This place is a given if your child loves trains, but even if they aren’t crazy about trains, they will probably still enjoy a visit to the Kyoto Railway Museum.
Kyoto Aquarium is small enough that you can enjoy it at a relaxed pace. As you enter you are greeted by many giant salamanders, a local species. Throughout the building, there are some fun spots for pictures such as in the seal area where you can step inside a sort of cave which lets you see inside the tank of seals swimming around. The dolphin show is always fun to watch and from the Dolphin Stadium, you can see the Shinkansens (bullet trains) arriving to and leaving from Kyoto Station!
Kyoto City Zoo
For the kids that love animals, Kyoto City Zoo is the place you want to go. Located near Heian Shrine, you can get in some other sightseeing before or after your trip to the zoo. The Kyoto City Zoo is very friendly to your wallet as kids up to age 15 are free and adults are only 600 yen. As the zoo isn’t so large, it’s great for going with small kids and there is even a small amusement park within the zoo where you can ride some kids rides for a separate fee.
Toei Kyoto Studio Park
At Toei Kyoto Studio Park you can go back to a Japan of the past. The park is set up to look like Japan of the Edo Period (1603-1807). You can rent costumes like ninja costumes for kids or kimonos or samurai costumes for adults. There are events throughout the year where you can meet different Japanese animation characters and heroes. If you want to do something you definitely can’t do anywhere else, then this is the place for you!
Arashiyama Monkey Park Iwatayama
Near the popular tourist spot Arashiyama, the Arashiyama Monkey Park Iwatayama is at the top of a low mountain and you get some good exercising hiking up to the area where the monkeys are. You will be surprised at how close you can see monkeys. You can purchase food which you can feed to the monkeys, but please be careful and pay attention to the warning signs posted around the area. This might not be the best place to go with kids who are afraid of animals.
AEON Mall KYOTO
If shopping is on your agenda, this is where you want to go. There is a huge selection of stores including the famous Japanese brands UNIQLO and Muji. There are also spots where you can take a break with your kids and of course many restrooms and even nursing/changing areas. If you or your kids get hungry you are sure to find something good at the food court and if you still have time to kill your kids will be thrilled with the choices at the game center (arcade) or the “gachapon” (toy machines).
From checking out the view of Kyoto from the rooftop garden to relaxing on the big staircase, you could even buy some food in the underground floor of Isetan and have a picnic outside if the weather is nice. The staircase has a really neat seasonal light show that changes a few times a year.
Happy Memories for Kids
While you will likely want to visit shrines and temples when you visit Kyoto, you should definitely add one or two places, like the ones mentioned above, sure to make your kids happy into your itinerary. Chances are you wouldn’t visit these places if you were traveling without your kids, so take this chance to make happy memories with your kids on your trip to Kyoto!