Tokyo, where the 2020 Olympics will be held, is the city which represents Japan. Visiting Tokyo is like visiting the future—flashing neon lights, incredible technology – yet there’s still a rich sense of culture and history. Kyoto and Tokyo as they have totally different things to offer, so if you visit Japan with your family, I hope you will have the chance to see both.
Transportation from Kyoto to Tokyo with kids
By the Nozomi train of the shinkansen (bullet train), the travel time from Kyoto to Tokyo is just 2 hours and 10 minutes. The shinkansen stops at Kyoto Station so it is easy to travel by train to Tokyo with kids.
Plan for One Night Trip to Tokyo with Kids
If you go to Tokyo with kids, you will want to spend the night
If you are traveling with kids you will want to be aware that Tokyo is quite a large city. It only takes a little over 2 hours to get there, but if you really want to enjoy Tokyo, you will want to spend the night. Below I will share my experience taking my kids, 8 and 4 year old boys, to Tokyo for a one night trip.
Imperial Palace in Tokyo – Parks for kids to play
The first place I recommend in Tokyo for both kids and parents to enjoy is the Imperial Palace. Just a short walk from Tokyo Station, you can head there right away after your shinkansen ride. At Wadakura Fountain Park, near the station, you can enjoy the fountains and the greenery of the Imperial Palace grounds. There is space to run around too, so for kids that have just spent over 2 hours on a train, it is perfect!
If you walk through the Imperial Palace grounds you will find Hibiya Park. With playground equipment, it is a popular spot among local families. Your kids may be able to make friends with local kids while playing!
Once they have burned off some of their energy, take a break with your kids at Marunouchi. The Marunouchi area has many offices, but there are also several restaurants, even some with terrace seating, which you can enjoy with kids. You can see local families shopping with their kids in the area.
Tokyo Tower – Kids Love It!
After spending some time with your kids at the Imperial Palace area, head to Tokyo Tower. There is also Tokyo Sky Tree, but I personally prefer Tokyo Tower when traveling with kids because of its convenient location and I like the shape and color. Tokyo Tower often has some events for kids, too!
Near Tokyo Tower is Zojo-ji Temple which has spacious grounds. Kids can enjoy running around there. You can see Tokyo Tower from the temple, so it’s a great spot to get pictures of your kids and to feel the juxtaposition of the old and the new.
Time to Relax with your Kids at the Hotel
Although Tokyo has excellent public transportation, including a subway, it is easy to get tired of walking around the city. To ensure your family has the best time possible and can really relax, choosing a good hotel is key. A hotel where you can see Tokyo Tower and enjoy the view of Tokyo at night is great and for summer travel, a hotel with a pool is best!
When traveling with kids, of course, a 5-star hotel is comfortable for your family, but there are now family-friendly apartment-style hotels which are great too.
For information on one such hotel, see Kyoto travel with kids MIMARU Kyoto STATION Hotel experience report.
Go to Odaiba for Places Kids Enjoy
Start day two off by visiting the Odaiba area. For somewhere which both parents and kids can enjoy, Odaiba is your place! You can get there by riding on the “Yurikamome” monorail. There are various shops and museums of sorts, but I will tell you about two in particular.
Kids can enjoy art at Mori Building Digital Art Museum
Chosen by Time Magazine as one of the World’s Greatest Places in 2019, at Mori Building Digital Art Museum kids and adults can both enjoy fantastic art displays.
A Kid Favorite, Lego Discovery Center
If your child is a fan of Legos then I recommend stopping by the Lego Discovery Center in Odaiba. While kids play parents can sit and watch and take a little break or even decide where to go next. There is a Lego Discovery Center in Osaka as well. For information on the Lego Discovery Center Osaka, see One night trip from Kyoto to Osaka with Kids.
Make your way back to the Shinkansen
After you and your family are all played out, it’s time to head back to Tokyo Station. In the underground floors of Tokyo Station’s Daimaru Department Store you can find many shops selling different foods and snacks so be sure to drop by there to buy some yummy souvenirs and bento (prepared lunch boxes) for the train ride.
You don’t want to miss a one night trip to Tokyo with your family
In Tokyo, where the 2020 Olympics will be held, you can have a totally different experience than you can in Kyoto. When visiting Japan with your family, I really hope you have the opportunity to experience both cities. While traveling with your family in Japan, you can learn about the cultural differences and feel both the old and the new, and I am sure it will be an experience you and your children will never forget.
Detailed Information on Spots for Families
- about a 5-minute walk from Tokyo Station
- Check the website for details. https://sankan.kunaicho.go.jp/english/guide/koukyo.html
- about a 10-minute taxi ride from Tokyo Station
- a 15-minute walk from JR Hamamatsucho Station
- a 7-minute walk from Kamiya-cho Station on the Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line.
- For more information, check https://www.tokyotower.co.jp/en.html.
Mori Building Digital Art Museum
- A 3-minute walk from Aomi Station on the Yurikamome Line
- A 5-minute walk from Tokyo Teleport Station on the Rinkai Line
Odaiba Palette Town 2F
- Weekdays 10 am – 7 pm
- Weekends & Public Holidays 10 am – 9 pm
- Closed: 2nd & 4th Tuesdays
Check the website for details. https://borderless.teamlab.art/
Lego Discovery Center Tokyo
- On the Yurikamome Line, a 2-minute walk from “Odaiba Kaihin Koen (Odaiba Marine Park)” Station
- On the Rinkai Line, 5-minute walk from “Tokyo Teleport” station
- Weekdays 10 am – 8 pm (Last admission 6 pm)
- Weekends & Public holidays 10 am- 9 pm (Last admission 7 pm)
For more information, check https://tokyo.legolanddiscoverycenter.jp/en/.