I wrote before that the Kyoto Station Building is like a paradise for kids (The Secrets of Kyoto Station from a Local Mother). However, there is another heaven for families with children within walking distance from Kyoto Station! AEON Mall Kyoto. AEON Mall is a shopping mall with 165 locations in Japan and 28 overseas. The shopping mall is made in a way that is easy for families to spend time there, the restrooms are always clean, and there are plenty of resting spaces for children. In addition, visiting an AEON Mall will give you a glimpse into the daily life of Japanese people, so I recommend going at least once during your stay. Here is a complete guide of how to enjoy AEON Mall Kyoto, which is fun for both children and adults.
AEON Mall Kyoto’s Toys R Us and Babies R Us
Unfortunately, Toys R Us in the United States has gone bankrupt, but the chain is still alive in Japan. You can find Toys R Us on the first floor on the east side of AEON Mall Kyoto, and there is a fountain where children can play in the summer. You can entertain your child at Toys R Us, which is full of children’s favorite toys. They also sell shopping bags that are limited to Kyoto and traditional Japanese kids wear such as yukata and jimbei for summer festivals. They also sell baby items such as diapers and baby food, which can sometimes be hard to find in other stores, so you can rest easy knowing where to go to buy some if you run out during the trip. If you plan to eat in the food court, you may want to purchase some baby food at Toys R Us to take with you to the food court or restaurant later for your baby.
If you visit AEON Mall Kyoto you must go to Daiso
If you go up to the 4th floor of the east building of AEON Mall Kyoto where Toys R Us is, you will find Daiso. Daiso is a 100 yen shop, and almost everything sold there is 100 yen. AEON Mall Kyoto’s Daiso has a lot of miscellaneous goods that make great souvenirs, such as Japanese fans and towels. There are also Japanese toys for children. You can buy almost anything in the store for just 100 yen, so be sure to check it out. Just be careful because you are bound to find lots of great things and before you know it you will have racked up a bill higher than you thought possible in a 100 yen store!
Fun Baby & Kids Friendly Dining at AEON Mall Kyoto
Move from the East Building to the West Building of AEON Mall Kyoto and go to the 4th floor to find the restaurant floor. AEON Mall, a place for families, offers everything from western or Japanese buffets and shabu-shabu to children’s favorites like McDonald’s or Kentucky Fried Chicken. There is also a food court with ramen, takoyaki, udon and more. There are high chairs for babies around the food court which you can use if needed.
At the food court, there is a room just for customers eating with kids, “Kodomo Dining” (kodomo is Japanese for children). You can enjoy your meal with your child along with some easy games and picture spots. There is also a restroom and diaper changing area very near the Kodomo Dining area which is convenient.
Experience a Japanese game center with your kids
Near the food court, you will find a spot that pretty much any kid will love, the game center. It is bright and a little loud and is fun for all ages. Please be careful if your child has any sensitivities to sound or bright lights though. Recently senior citizens visit game centers to help keep their brains sharp. There are games ranging from small children’s rides to taiko drums that can be enjoyed by adults to water gun games that can be enjoyed by small children. Elementary school students like crane games. A small crane game can start from 100 yen and if you are lucky you may get a toy.
Try “Gashapon” loved by Japanese kids
Also near the food court and game center, you can find many toy machines lined up. In Japanese, these are called “Gashapon.” Japanese “Gashapon” usually cost anywhere from 100 to 300 yen and sometimes as much as 500 yen. You may that is a bit high for a toy machine, but the quality of the toys is really good. You can find machines with various contents like cute animal figurines to more practical things like business card cases. Recently there are even machines with Japanese themed things like torii (seen at shrines) and Japanese sweets. The picture shows only 10 machines, but there are about 100 total in AEON Mall Kyoto! Getting a toy from the “Gashapon” machine will be fun and a great memory for your child. You can also enjoy “Gashapon” at Kyoto Station and Yodobashi Camera which is nearby, or even at Kansai Airport if you fly home from there!
At AEON Mall Kyoto get high-quality baby and kids clothes from Japanese stores
If you go down to the 3rd floor from the restaurant floor of AEON Mall Kyoto, you can find the Japanese store UNIQLO and if you go down to the 2nd floor, another Japanese store MUJI where you can find anything from everyday goods to clothes. Both of them have stores overseas, and many products with stylish designs. The quality is relatively and long-lasting, so Japanese people often buy from them. I especially recommend buying children’s clothing for next year because the prices are reasonable and the clothes cute.
To close out your time at AEON Mall Kyoto visit the grocery store
There is a large supermarket on the first floor of the AEON Mall Kyoto West Building. The best thing for families who have come here for sightseeing is fruit. Japanese fruits are known for their sweetness and are even exported to Hong Kong and Singapore where the strawberries are sold for over 1,000 yen for just one strawberry! In Japan, you can eat the same quality food at a little friendlier price, so we recommend that you purchase some fresh seasonal fruits to take back and enjoy in your room.
There is also a lottery counter on the first floor, so you can get a scratch-off lottery ticket for just 200 yen and another memory of your trip to Japan!
Make memories with your kids and baby at the winter illumination
Another nice thing about AEON Mall Kyoto is that you can enjoy the winter illuminations from around November to February. There is a large Christmas tree, the trees around the area are lit and you can enjoy cute illuminations such as snowflakes and butterflies. Local kids who have been visiting this illumination since they were babies look forward to it every year. It is the closest illumination from Kyoto Station. I hope you will enjoy it with your kids and babies.
Stop by AEON Mall Kyoto on your way back from Umekoji Park
AEON Mall Kyoto, a paradise for kids, is the perfect place to stop after you have spent the day at Umekoji Park, Kyoto Aquarium or the Kyoto Railway Museum. It is about a 15 minute walk, but if you have a baby or your kids are tired, a taxi will take only about 5 minutes. After a day out, I recommend getting to AEON Mall Kyoto around 17:00 and having dinner then shopping or browsing. The restaurants in AEON Mall Kyoto aren’t generally as crowded as those in the Kyoto Station Building and with the spacious food court where even babies can relax, it is the place I recommend for families traveling with babies or kids. With this sort of schedule, you can have dinner, shop, and observe daily Japanese life for two to three hours and head back to your hotel around 8 pm.
AEON Mall Kyoto – Paradise for babies and kids
When I lived near Kyoto Station, I went to AEON Mall Kyoto almost every weekend with infant children. You can shop, eat, use the restroom and change diapers with confidence. I recommend visiting AEON Mall Kyoto at least once during your stay because you can enjoy a glimpse of the daily life of Japanese people. At Kyoto with Kids, there are many staff members who are familiar with places where local children and families spend their time and have fun. Check out “Kyoto with Kids” for tips on how to have an even more fun trip for both kids and families.
AEON Mall Kyoto General Information
Access: 5 min. walk from Kyoto Station
(Shuttle bus is available from Kyoto station. Check the website)
Address: 1 Toriiguchi-cho Nishikujyo Minami-ku Kyoto-shi
(Japanese address) 京都府京都市南区西九条鳥居口町1
Hours: Open 365 days a year. The hours of some stores differ slightly. Check the website.