Parents’ Travel Guide: What to Do in Tokyo

With two major amusement parks, bustling marketplaces and delicious restaurants, this guide has something for everyone in Tokyo.

Aug 8, 2014
Fireworks over Disneyland Tokyo in Japan
Spend a full day at each of two Tokyo Disney parks, only a 20-minute train ride from Tokyo Station.
Photography Tom Bricker

Tokyo is known for many things: its sushi bars, shopping spots, delicious restaurants and endless sight-seeing. While this busy city may not be the first in mind for a family vacation, Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo at Maranouchi makes it entirely possible. With a prime location, wonderful service and luxurious accommodations, the kids will enjoy their Tokyo experience just as much as you.

Why go

  • Prime location. The Hotel is situated above Tokyo Station and a quick walk to Ginza and the Imperial Palace.
  • Mod-traditional fusion. In the midst of neon lights and modern buildings lie temples, shrines, beautifully manicured gardens and glimpses of ancient heritage.
  • Concierge assistance. The staff is happy to help you map out an itinerary that’s a perfect fit for your family.
  • Beautiful sights. Tokyo is a completely different experience at night versus during day. Venture around the city with the family by day, and explore Tokyo in lights by reserving a babysitter through the Hotel for a date night.

What the kids will love

  • Amusement parks. Tokyo houses two big Disney parks—Disneyland and DisneySea. The location is convenient, too; Tokyo Disney Resort is only 20 minutes by train from Tokyo Station.
  • Toys galore. From the latest gadgets to comic books and eclectic finds, Tokyo has plenty of souvenir-worthy goodies for kids. Hello Kitty, Pokemon and Snoopy each have their own stores, so the kids can shop ‘til they drop.
  • Bustling marketplaces. Tsukiji Fish Market is a great site for early risers to visit. See fish of all sizes up for auction at the largest wholesale fish market in the world.
  • Hotel fun. With the option for a Play Station 2 or X-Box to be delivered to the room, the kids will be occupied for quite some time. The Hotel also provides you with a booklet outlining kid-friendly activities in Tokyo, so you’ll never miss a beat.
  • A glimpse into the future. What is better than acting all grown up? The whole family will love visiting Kidzania, where the kids can try out future careers at this edu-tainment center and amusement park. Reserve tickets in advance for one of the two daily sessions.

What you will love

  • A Hotel-provided escort to Tokyo Station. In such a busy area, you’ll feel a little more relaxed keeping up with the kids as you navigate the station with an escort. The Narita Express, JR East and Shinkansen trains pass through here.
  • Shopping in Ginza. Located a short distance from the Hotel, the Ginza district is filled with a mix of large department stores and local shops. Be sure to visit Ito-ya, a gorgeous paper shop, and Tokyu Hands for bento box supplies.
  • Relaxation at the Spa. Don’t miss out on the traditional onsen (hot spring) bath while visiting this quiet oasis.
  • Attentive and friendly service. There are just 57 luxury boutique rooms at the Hotel, which means that you receive highly personalized service, whenever you need it.
  • Staying healthy. Go jogging or biking (the Hotel has free bike rentals) around the Imperial Palace, or enjoy the view from the 7th floor gym, which is open around-the-clock daily.

Look for

  • The Shinkansen bullet train, recognized by its flat-nosed engine car, right from your Hotel window.

Eat this:

Dine in

  • The Hotel’s ekki BAR & GRILL boasts spectacular city views from its floor-to-ceiling windows.
  • Order a proper Japanese breakfast, afternoon tea or a glass of wine in the lobby’s Lounge and Bar right next door.
  • In-room dining has many of the same menu items as ekki BAR & GRILL if you’re looking for a delicious meal without the hassle of going out.

Dine out

  • Gonpachi in Ginza serves an assortment of Japanese favorites (sushi, ramen, katsu) in an upscale, family-friendly atmosphere.
  • For a more theatrical dinner experience, try robatayaki at Robataya in the Roppongi district. Food is cooked-to-order on a hot stone in front of you by chefs who provide excellent service.
  • You’ll also find many fast cafés all over Tokyo. Do try a Japanese dessert (wagashi) at TorayaMinamoto Kitchoan or Cha-no-ha in the food court at Matsuya.

5 Family To-Dos:

1. Tokyo Disney Resort. The resort has wonderful shopping and dining options, but the two places your kids are going to care about most are Disneyland and DisneySea. Disneyland has most of the popular rides that all kids love, a Cinderella castle and costumed Disney characters just waiting for a photo opp. DisneySea has seven elaborate ports of call where sea-themed Disney favorites such as Princess Ariel can be found. Because the parks are one monorail stop away from each other, you can visit them both in the same day.

2. Stunning views. Tokyo Skytree is more than a 634-metre high broadcasting tower with 360-degree panoramic views. The world’s tallest steel tower houses restaurants, shops and an aquarium.

3. Kamakura day trip. Named Japan’s capital from the 12th to 14th centuries, Kamakura today is a small town just an hour away from Tokyo by train. Home to ancient Zen temples, a famous Buddha statue, family restaurants, gorgeous landscapes and a nice beach, this sleepy village will give you a taste of Kyoto without travelling the distance.

4. An afternoon at Odaiba. A family could easily spend a full day or two on Odaiba, a man-made island with dining, shopping, museums, one of the world’s largest ferris wheels, futuristic buildings and too many theme parks to mention. For the sake of your schedule, try to carve out an afternoon to explore this exciting area.

5. Imperial Palace and East Gardens. Young kids may not enjoy the history lesson as much as you will, but they will enjoy running around the picturesque gardens between the bridges, stone walls, lily ponds and moats that make up the area. Learn about Japan’s monarchy through a guided tour or grab a bike to ride through the garden. Enjoy the scenic views with a picnic, which the Hotel’s chef can pack for you.


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