Best Places In Japan To Visit With Kids

Two kids swinging on an artwork at the Hakone Open Air Museum, one of the best places to visit in Japan with kids.

If you’re planning a family vacation, these best places in Japan to visit with kids should be on your radar! With its unique blend of ancient traditions and futuristic technology, Japan offers a variety of exciting experiences that will leave kids and adults alike in awe. From the bustling metropolis of Tokyo to the serene landscapes surrounding Kyoto, there’s something special waiting at every turn. Not to mention the cultural experiences that await little ones, including samurai shows in Kyoto’s historic districts or participation in traditional tea ceremonies. In this article, we’ll take you through some of the best places in Japan to visit with kids, each presenting unique ways to create incredible memories together. Get ready for an epic adventure as we uncover the very best places in Japan to visit with kids!

Why Visit Japan With Kids?

Before jumping into the best places to go in Japan with children, let’s cover why you should visit Japan with kids. From theme parks such as Tokyo Disneyland and Universal Studios Japan to amazing attractions like Kyoto’s Arashiyama Bamboo Grove or Osaka Castle Park, there is no shortage of excitement for little adventurers. The country also embraces a kid-friendly culture, where respect and safety are paramount. Families will feel welcomed wherever they go, and many attractions cater specifically to young visitors. Additionally, children are bound to be captivated by uniquely themed merchandise prevalent throughout the country – from adorable character goods to vibrant traditional toys. 

To top it all off, Japan boasts an impressive transportation system including fast bullet trains, known as shinkansen, which allow families to explore various destinations without hassle or long travel times easily! 

Best Places To Visit In Japan With Kids

Now that we’ve covered why you should visit Japan with kids, let’s dive into some of the best family-friendly destinations in Japan. Between Okinawa, Nara, Tokyo, and Kyoto, you have lots of options for top kid-friendly attractions in Japan. Keep reading to learn more! 

Hakone

Hakone is a serene hot spring town with something for everyone! ​​Offering a delightful blend of natural beauty and exciting attractions, this scenic mountain getaway is a short drive or train ride away from Tokyo (less than 3 hours). 

One must-visit attraction is the Hakone Open-Air Museum, showcasing an impressive collection of sculptures. Young kids will love playing inside the wooden dome to learn about the effect of color and light on structural art. Plus, there’s plenty of space to run around and enjoy jumping. Then, take a scenic boat ride across Lake Ashi on an actual pirate ship, surrounded by breathtaking views of Mount Fuji. Kids will also be thrilled to hop on the Hakone Ropeway, an aerial cableway providing amazing vistas of the volcanic landscape. Families who want to relax while appreciating the gorgeous scenery can also enjoy a hot spring bath in one of Hakone’s many famous onsens. Don’t forget to sample some Kuro-Tamago – black eggs boiled in hot spring water! 

If you need somewhere to stay with kids in Hakone, consider Gora Kadan, a kid-friendly traditional ryokan located on the grounds of a former summer villa. 

Save on your hotel stay in Japan using the Families Love Travel booking site here! Sign-up is complimentary.

Tokyo

As the capital and most populous city in Japan, Tokyo is a metropolis full of culture and entertainment. From the Imperial Palace to the Meiji Shrine and Tsukiji Fish Market, there are countless historical and modern landmarks to explore. Plus, the food here is fantastic, from ramen to cremia, a unique soft-serve ice cream! 

A visit to the Edo-Tokyo Museum will transport children back in time. For animal enthusiasts, Ueno Zoo showcases wildlife from all over the world, including popular Japanese animals like giant pandas. (During the spring, check out the Cherry Blossom Festival at Ueno Park!) Then, at The National Museum of Nature and Science, kids can check out the life-sized dinosaur skeletons and hands-on experiments. Tokyo is also home to Tokyo Disneyland! Children can meet their favorite Disney characters, enjoy thrilling rides, and immerse themselves in a world of wonder. Families can also experience traditional Japanese theater at Kabuki-za, explore the temples of the old Yanaka neighborhood, or take a day trip from Tokyo on the Shinkansen, Japan’s bullet train. 

Teens will also love exploring Instagram hot spots like the Harajuku District, TeamLab Planets, and the Ghibli Museum! TeamLab Borderless, a digital art museum, also provides an immersive wonderland with mesmerizing light installations. Or, take teens to Akihabara to browse the various shops for electronics and anime. Tech-loving kids will especially be impressed by a visit to DAWN, a cafe with robot servers!

Kyoto

Visiting Kyoto with kids offers a fantastic opportunity to immerse them in the rich cultural heritage of Japan! As one of the best places to visit in Japan with kids, it offers a unique experience for families of all ages, whether you love Studio Ghibli or conveyor-belt sushi! 

Families can explore temples like Kiyomizu-Dera and Saihō-ji, as well as stroll through the Philosopher’s Walk or take part in a traditional tea ceremony while wearing kimonos. It’s also worth visiting Pontocho at night, Kyoto’s Geisha entertainment district, which is filled with old wooden teahouses and charming restaurants. Of course, don’t miss the iconic Kinkaku-ji, also known as the Golden Pavilion. This stunning temple covered in gold leaf is surrounded by beautifully landscaped gardens. Nearby, you can also visit Arashiyama Bamboo Grove, which feels like stepping into another world with its giant stalks. At Nijo Castle, children can dress up like samurais or geishas while learning about Japanese history. To taste traditional Japanese cuisine, head to Kyoto’s Nishiki Market and browse the various stalls selling street food like mitarashi dango, aka skewered dumplings topped with a soy sauce glaze!

For fans of Studio Ghibli, Kyoto is also home to two Donuguri, themed stores selling cute merchandise from the movies! Taking a boat ride along the Hozugawa River also offers a serene and relaxing escape from the bustling city, revealing lush landscapes and glimpses of wildlife along the way.

Save on your stay in Kyoto using Hotels.com or Expedia now!

Nara

A deer at Nara Park in Nara, Japan. Nara is one of the best places to visit in Japan with kids.
Photo Courtesy: Lucas Calloch

When it comes to the best places to visit in Japan with kids, Nara ranks high on the list! As Japan’s first capital in the 700s, this ancient city boasts a rich historical and cultural heritage that both adults and children can appreciate.

Nara is famous for its many deer that roam freely around Nara Park. Kids can feed these gentle creatures special crackers available for purchase or simply enjoy observing their fascinating behavior up close. Another must-see spot is the famous Todai-ji Temple, known for housing one of the largest bronze statues of Buddha in Japan. Kids will be amazed as they walk through the towering wooden gates leading them into this ancient temple complex. To see more of the park, you can also rent bicycles or rickshaws and explore its vast green spaces together. Yoshikien Garden, a hidden gem nestled within walking distance from Nara Park, lets little ones marvel at three distinct Japanese garden styles while learning about horticulture.

A flower river pond stream in Nara, one of the best places in Japan to visit with kids.
Photo Courtesy: Tanaka Juuyoh

Kids can also check out the ancient toys at the NARAMACHI-KARAKURI Toy Museum, which is a small, but free attraction. Or, take the Ikoma Cable Line (which has vintage passenger cars shaped like dogs and other cute animals) up to the Sanjo stop. Here, you’ll find Ikomasanjo Amusement Park on Mount Ikoma! 

Osaka

A temple in Osaka with blossoming cherry trees nearby. Osaka is one of the best places to visit in Japan with kids.
Photo Courtesy: Bagus Pangestu

If you are planning a family trip to Japan, then Osaka should be at the top of your itinerary. Known for its delicious food, lively atmosphere, and interesting neighborhoods, this surely makes it one of the best places to visit in Japan with kids! 

From meeting Minions from Despicable Me to experiencing the magical world of Harry Potter, Universal Studios Japan is a must when visiting Osaka. Then, kids will love the Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan, one of the largest aquariums in the world! Meanwhile, the Kids Plaza Osaka encourages hands-on learning through various exhibits on science, art, nature, and even careers. The TeamLab Botanical Garden, a stunning digital art installation inside Nagai Park, will truly leave you in awe. In Osaka Castle Park, families can stroll through beautiful gardens while learning about feudal Japan within the castle’s walls. Or, pay your respects at the Shitenno-ji Temple, one of the oldest temples in Japan. 

Photo Courtesy: Anne Nicolas

For a truly unique experience, stop by Osaka’s Owl Cafe, where kids can play with cute and quirky owls in a comfortable environment! Visiting Osaka during the spring, which is Cherry Blossom season, also adds an extra touch of beauty to the experience. Don’t forget about a traditional Japanese hot spring at SpaWorld

Use Booking.com to reserve your stay in Osaka here!

Yokohama

An aerial view of Yokohama CosmoWorld.
Photo Courtesy: Akonnchiroll via Wikimedia

Yokohama, one of Japan’s most family-friendly cities, definitely deserves a spot on our list of the best places in Japan to visit with kids! Located just south of Tokyo, this vibrant destination features numerous attractions and activities that will keep young ones entertained.

A must-visit is Yokohama Cosmo World, an amusement park located on the Minato Mirai waterfront. Or, at the Cup Noodles Museum, youngsters can design their own unique cup noodles or delve into interactive exhibits showcasing the history and manufacturing process of this beloved instant snack. At Yokohama Hakkeijima Sea Paradise, you can see diverse marine life including penguins, dolphins, sharks, and even beluga whales! Finally, the Yokohama Anpanman Children’s Museum & Mall allows little ones to meet their favorite anime superhero, Anpanman, through hands-on role-playing activities and fun toy shops. Landmark Tower Sky Garden Observatory, Japan’s tallest building, also offers incredible panoramic vistas over the city! 

For nature enthusiasts, Sankeien Garden provides a tranquil escape from bustling city life while allowing children to marvel at its traditional Japanese architecture and serene ponds filled with vibrant carp. 

Nagoya

Nagoya, a dynamic city located in central Japan, showcases a range of fun attractions for families with children. With its rich cultural heritage and modern amenities, it’s certainly one of the best family-friendly destinations in Japan! 

Visit the Nagoya Castle, an iconic symbol of the city’s history with gardens kids can explore. Then, head to the Osu Shopping District to browse unique shops offering traditional Japanese toys or indulge in tasty street food. Families can also visit the Osu Kannon Temple, a famous Buddhist temple. The Port of Nagoya Public Aquarium also provides an interactive experience for all ages. Of course, kids will love a visit to LEGOLAND Japan Resort, which is filled with exciting rides, LEGO-themed attractions, informative workshops, and magical 4D movies. Don’t forget to explore SCMAGLEV Railway Park, which features full-scale Shinkansen train models. Aspiring railway engineers can learn about train technology firsthand while having an absolute blast! 

Higashiyama Zoo & Botanical Gardens, one of Japan’s oldest zoos, has elephants, giraffes, lions, and lots of other creatures kids can marvel at while exploring the zoo grounds. Or, check out Odaka Greens, one of the city’s most popular public parks. The changing leaves are truly gorgeous in autumn! 

Use Vrbo to book your homestay in Nagoya here!

Okinawa

A young child snorkels underwater with proper flippers in Okinawa, Japan.
Photo Courtesy: Bethany Britton

Okinawa, situated in the southernmost part of Japan, is one of the best places to visit in Japan with kids! Renowned for its stunning natural beauty and rich cultural heritage, this beautiful island will captivate both children and adults alike.

Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium is home to marine life like whale sharks and manta rays that kids will love. Or, check out the Okinawa Zoo & Museum, which showcases over 1,000 animals including elephants and lions. You can also step back in time and explore ancient ruins at Shurijo Castle Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that showcases traditional Ryukyuan architecture. Okinawa also has stunning snorkeling spots along beaches such as Maeda Point or Furuzamami Beach. Plus, don’t miss the chance to see Cape Manzamo, a unique rock formation with panoramic sea views. There’s also Okinawa World, a unique theme park built around the Gyokusendo Caves. Exploring this five-kilometer-long limestone cave system that formed hundreds of thousands of years ago is a great way to learn about Okinawan history! 

Looking for more top kid-friendly attractions in Japan? Go shopping at The Mihama American Village, which resembles a huge shopping mall, explore the tranquil Southeast Botanical Gardens, or learn more about Okinawan culture at Ryukyu Mura. 

Where To Go Skiing In Japan With Kids

A family of four wearing ski gear in Japan smile together after a day of skiing.
Photo Courtesy: Mike Humphrey

Families who love hitting the slopes can also plan a family ski vacation to Japan! Hakuba Valley, nestled in the heart of Japan’s Northern Alps in Nagano, comprises a collection of 10 resorts. Some of the most popular ones include Happo-one, Hakuba Goryu, and Iwatake Snow Park. There’s also Niseko United in Hokkaido, known for its snowy conditions and deep, powdery slopes. Plus, there are four resorts here and an impressive network of ski lifts, including Niseko Grand Hirafu Ski Resort, Niseko Village Ski Resort, Niseko Annupuri International Ski Area, and Niseko Hanazono Ski Resort – which are all interconnected by a free shuttle bus service. For more suggestions, read our article on the Best Ski Resorts In Japan For Families! 

Happy Travels!

A family of three poses together at the entrance to Ueno Zoo.
Photo Courtesy: Jenn Lee Morse

We hope you liked this list of the Best Places In Japan To Visit With Kids! Whether it’s exploring the vibrant cityscapes of Tokyo or immersing yourselves in the rich history of Kyoto, there is something here to captivate children of all ages. Enjoy traveling to Japan with kids! 

*This post may contain affiliate links that may earn us a small commission, at no additional cost to you. Affiliate links in no way inform the hotels, sights, products, or other recommendations included in our articles. All opinions and recommendations expressed here are compiled from submissions submitted by the generous members of our Families Who Love To Travel community.

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The Families Love Travel Team has a zest for life and an even bigger passion for globetrotting! Comprised of real-life travel professionals, we work hard behind the scenes to provide dynamic solutions for adventuring with children. Our enthusiastic team understands the challenges that often accompany traveling with kids and is committed to making Families Love Travel an inclusive space to convey these experiences.