Tokyo: A Family Friendly Destination
It’s certainly true that Tokyo is a popular destination for business travellers but to believe that Tokyo is only for adults is a common misconception. Tokyo is an amazing destination for families, presenting travellers with an array of experiences that tap into a child’s curiosity and desire for fun. The city itself is meticulously clean and child friendly and locals are always ready to lend a hand when you’re in need of some directions. While most tourist landmarks are spread throughout the city, moving between them is quite simple. Tokyo’s trains and metro system are easy to navigate and very efficient, meaning you can zip around from one place to another with a minimum of fuss. Visitors to Japan will be aware that the country has an incredibly rich history and culture, and Tokyo provides a wonderful opportunity for children to experience something completely different to what they’re accustomed to. Families seeking cultural experiences can head to the majestic Meiji Shrine, rich in natural beauty and tradition. They can also head to Asakusa Temple, where the aroma of incense and the vibrant hustle and bustle of the locals provide an amazing sensory experience for the whole family. At Asakusa Temple, visitors can also browse the little stalls that line the path up to temple, picking up unique souvenirs such as ninja stars, Hello Kitty chopsticks or traditional Japanese Lucky Cats. Families may also take a leisurely stroll through the Imperial Palace and Gardens, the charming landmark offering a classic insight into Japanese history. For something more contemporary, families should wander through Tokyo’s city center where they may encounter the Shibuya Crossing, one of the busiest intersections in the world. Or Harajuku, the diverse and quirky shopping district where the sight of Harajuku girls dressed in their unique style is not uncommon. Tokyo is a shopping wonderland for kids, there are countless shopping areas and malls, many selling unusual items and toys that you just won’t see anywhere else in the world. A particular hit with both little and big kids, is Kiddy Land. This multi-leveled toyshop, located close to Meiji Shrine and the main shopping area in Harajuku, houses a seemingly endless display of toys, knick-knacks and stationery, ranging from the absolutely adorable to the truly bizarre! As a busy day of exploring Tokyo’s sights comes to an end, families can visit a range of unusual dining options including Maidreamin (where chefs will shape your food into teddy bears), Ninja Akasaka (where ninjas perform nifty tricks while serving up tasty tidbits of sushi) and the Robot Restaurant (where diners experience sensory overload as crazy robots and lasers entertain as you eat your meal). The Tsujiki Fish Market offers an excellent opportunity for exploration and wonderfully fresh sushi. There are also specific destinations geared towards children. The Studio Ghibli Museum houses the work of animation studio, Studio Ghibli. It is dedicated to the art of animation and has a theatre that shows short films. Legoland Discovery Center provides fun for kids of all ages, whether it’s inspecting the carefully constructed replica of the Shibuya Crossing (and other Tokyo landmarks) or building structures of their own. And of course, if you’re taking your kids to Tokyo, you simply can’t skip a trip to the Tokyo Disney Resort. The resort, split into Disneyland and Disneysea offers more fun than you can imagine, and you would need at least a day at each venue to explore it fully. At Disneyland there are plenty of rides to keep the whole family entertained, ample dining options to suit all budgets and tastes, and more than enough shops to pick up your souvenirs. The highlight of any trip to Disneyland is the parades, especially the electrical light parade that takes place after sundown, an incredible display of lit up Disney characters that you’re unlikely to see anywhere else. If visiting Tokyo with children, you should also head over to Odaiba, a man made entertainment precinct on Tokyo Bay. The area is home to a giant ferris wheel, a marine park, the Toyota Mega Web showroom where kids can drive hybrid electric cars on a course, and Diver City, a shopping mall that is home to the world’s only full size Gundam robot. An unusual and fun-filled destination, Tokyo caters to kids of all ages and is sure to delight.
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