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Help me plan a few days in and around Tokoyo with kids??

(22 Posts)
Cathpot Sun 27-Dec-15 15:38:03

Hi, we are off to Japan mid February. Booked reasonably recently and then there was Christmas and I am in a gentle panic about finding hotels and sorting out what to do as I need to get started and I know NOTHING about it. I have a lonely planet, and someone who has very kindly said she will help as she has lived in Japan- but she doesn't have kids and I would really appreciate advice as well from some one who has taken kids there.

For instance, I was trying to book a room in a ryokan and couldn't find one that did a family room for 4 or two interconnecting rooms. They must exist but most seemed sold out, or helpful and not sold out but not with the right rooms. Any advice on where to look? We have booked a hotel in Habuka to go skiing but I have a night in Tokyo before that, and then 5 days/ 4 nights at the end to plan for. Kids are 8 and 11 and reasonably amenable and easy to please although I would rather not do huge distance with them. They like science-y stuff and animals etc so I was thinking the monkeys in the hot springs and a science museum in Toyko but that's as far as I've got. Any must do things? Restaurants to go to? Things I need to think about? I feel strangely out of my depth with this one!

AttilaTheMeerkat Sun 27-Dec-15 21:34:44
The above may prove useful to you.

Some places we visited:-

A day trip from Tokyo to Nikko. We used JTP tours and they were very good.

A visit to the Tokyo Skytree would be worth considering (however, foreign visitors cannot buy tickets online).

Tokyo Disney and Disney Sea (which has some unique rides as well) A day in each park would be good.

Nakimase (lots of small shops leading to the shrine).

Ueno Zoo (a good zoo but would use insect repellent).

The department stores in Shinjuku and the Ginza are also worth a look around. Their restaurants are located usually on the top floors.

If your children want to eat western foods there is also a Hard Rock Café and a Tony Romas located in Roppongi (these are next to each other).

VocationalGoat Sun 27-Dec-15 21:38:19

Meiji park/shrine is just glorious.

Scotinoz Mon 28-Dec-15 02:25:48

Keeping an eye on this since we're planning Japan with a toddler&baby....

I read this blog recently which has some good stuff. Not sure how to do links, but it's a blog called Tot Hot Or Not - Australian site reviewing stuff around Melbourne, but they went to Japan earlier in the year and the girl gave some great recommendations

Cathpot Mon 28-Dec-15 05:43:11

Thank you! Will start poking about. the ryokan I failed to book was in Ueno. Is that a good area to stay in? Would rather based ourselves in one place . We will be taking the train to and from Hakuba - do we need to be based near the station the first night or is the city easy to negotiate?

Cathpot Mon 28-Dec-15 05:46:42

Just looked at the blog- answers lots of those questions!

AttilaTheMeerkat Mon 28-Dec-15 09:06:17

If you are flying into Narita to go to Tokyo for the first night I would use the orange Happy Limousine coach service. These are very reliable. We used this purely because one of its stops was the hotel we stayed at.

Do not use a taxi as this will cost you a small fortune!.

This site may be useful to you:-

Some info on Hakuba as well.

I hope you have a great time!.

Cathpot Mon 28-Dec-15 10:43:28

Thank you!

Notsoskinnyminny Sat 02-Jan-16 11:23:14

We were really disappointed with Ueno Zoo, very rundown and the enclosures weren't clean, we saw the pandas and left shortly after. We spent 2 days at the disney parks and there's plenty for everyone at Odaiba. We stay in Shibuya so DD can shop, shop and shop but Tokyo Bay, especially the Hilton, gets good reviews from families.

This was on our to do list but a heatwave in August zapped even the locals - we didn't have a day under 40c which when you factor in the humidity was bloody uncomfortable.

The studio ghibli museum is worth a visit if your kids are into the films, you have to prebook and tickets go on sale 3 months in advance ticket sales

PeachFuzzzz Sat 02-Jan-16 11:43:24

If you are interested thats a great time of year to see mount fuji - you can travel out to izu from tokyo easily, hit up the hot springs and see Fuji-san. Definitely go to Disneyland and sea , jan-feb is Frozen Fantasy - anna and elsa take over Cinderella castle for the parades /shows, I believe.

Nikko is good.

I live an hour from Tokyo on the bullet train. I will think about this and get back to you. Ueno is good but tbh the metro is fab and as long as you are near a station it will be fine. If I can help with language pm me?

Cathpot Mon 04-Jan-16 19:32:14

Hi just popped back on this thread- thankyou for the replies. After much panic about cost and ever finding a room I managed to book the first night in Tokyo in Ueno and then we take the train to Hakuba the next day and back to Tokyo for 3 nights at the end- to the same place in Ueno. It's a ryokan , nothing special but looks ok and by the park. That's a shame about the zoo- I presumed they would be ahead of the curve with enclosures etc. We are getting into Narita and then as there is apparently a direct train to Ueno , planning to get a railcard and then head there by train. Does that sound reasonable or insane? (will be about 5pm trailing two kids.....). I have planned one day trip from Hakuba to see the snow monkeys and a couple of other bits but no firm plans in Tokyo so these ideas are great, thanks.

echt Thu 07-Jan-16 04:03:13

You may not be too late to get a Japan Rail Pass which will save you a lot of money. You can only buy it outside Japan.

Cathpot Thu 07-Jan-16 04:03:54

Thanks- will look at that today

wannabestressfree Thu 07-Jan-16 04:18:53

I would love to do this with my boys smile please keep us posted. Why did you pick Japan?

echt Thu 07-Jan-16 04:25:42

Posted in a hurry. Japan is utterly spiffy. DH and I did not travel with children, so hard to comment on what would suit. Comfortable walking shoes essential as, even with the excellent public transport, there is a lot of walking to be done.

Cathpot Thu 07-Jan-16 04:46:46

Hi- we are in the Middle East so are tending to holiday further East ,, this is our last bi hurrah before we go back to UK. Also my DH is desperate for us all to go on a skiing holiday and friends have been skiing there and raved about it. Apparently it's very forgiving for beginners which is pleasing as I'm mid 40s and have never skied. I'm actually more excited about the being in Japan part and we've had to negotiate time on slopes versus time mooching in Tokyo. Thinking about the walking issues- DH thinks we will be fine with wheelie suitcases whereas I want to take hold-alls we can carry on our backs as we will be on and off trains. Thoughts??

Cathpot Thu 07-Jan-16 04:49:54

The rail pass thing looks great thanks

BobbyGentry Thu 07-Jan-16 04:53:52

Osaka (Universal Studios), visit Kyoto & Tokyo (Disneyland.)

I did hire a car from the airport to the accommodation beforehand and it was amazing, highly recommend the extra costs.

We used airbnb and hired an entire apartment in Ginza as it saved us hiring two hotel rooms or a family room.

We spent two days at Disneyland. One day at Disneyland and the second at Disneysea. We loved Disneysea as it had lots of cool rides like Indiana Jones, Tower of Terror, Toy Story and leagues under the sea (?)

We went to the EDO museum - it was great!

We planned our day trips using Viator, also great!

Universal Studios (plus Harry Potter World) Osaka

Incidentally, I read this blog page by page

It recommends all the best things in Disneyland & you can familiarise yourself with the layout.
Disneyland top attractions

Dreamlights (10/10) -­‐ Nighttime light parade

Happiness is Here Parade (10/10) -­‐ Tokyo Disneyland’s 30th anniversary parade

Minnie Oh! Minnie! (9/10) -­‐ Live show

Monster’s Inc. Ride & Go Seek (10/10) -­‐ Interactive dark ride in which guests use flashlights to trigger effects and reveal monsters.

Pooh’s Hunny Hunt (10/10) – Trackless dark ride through the world of Winnie the Pooh.

Pirates of the Caribbean (10/10) – Pirates of the Caribbean is a boat-­‐ride back in time to the days when pirates ruled the Caribbean.

Space Mountain (9/10) – Space Mountain is a dark roller coaster through outer space.

Haunted Mansion (10/10) – The Haunted Mansion is a slow-­‐moving dark ride that is home to 999 happy haunts that are dying to meet you.

Splash Mountain (10/10) – Splash Mountain is a log flume ride that features a story from Disney’s Song of the South film, and climaxes with a big drop into the briar patch.

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad (8.5/10) – Big Thunder Mountain a rollercoaster themed as a runaway mine train on a ride through the barren landscape of the Old West.

Country Bear Jamboree (9.5/10) – A stage show featuring Audio Animatronics singing bears from the South.

‘it’s a small world’ (9/10) – ‘it’s a small world’ is the iconic attraction featuring the children of the world and that song…in Japanese!

Star Tours: The Adventures Continue (9.5/10) -­‐ Star Tours is a flight-­‐motion simulator into the Star Wars world with digital 3-­‐D video, Audio Animatronics characters, and in-­‐vehicle effects.

Mickey’s PhilharMagic (9/10) -­ A 3D montage film of Disney

animation cleverly tied together with Donald Duck. Children of the 90s are sure to love this film, but really, anyone should enjoy it.


Fantasmic! (9.5/10) -­‐ Fantasmic! is a musical battle between the forces of good and evil set in Mickey’s dreams with stunning effects, including pyrotechnics, water, lasers, fire, and a huge dragon.

Journey to the Center of the Earth (10/10) – A hybrid dark ride and thrill ride, Journey to the Center of the Earth is Tokyo DisneySea’s flagship attraction.

Fortress Explorations (10/10) – A Tom Sawyer Island-­‐like play area featuring 10 very memorable exhibits. It is EPCOT Center caliber “edutainment,” that not only showcased some still-­‐impressive technologies from centuries ago, but also the revolutionary thinkers who devised the devices.

Tower of Terror (10/10) -­‐A free-­‐fall thrill ride with an elaborate lead-­‐in and excellent story. While Journey to the Center of the Earth is widely viewed as Tokyo DisneySea’s best attraction, we’d give Tower of Terror the nod over it.

Sindbad’s Storybook Voyage (10/10) – Slow moving boat ride featuring vignettes of Sindbad the Sailor’s adventures, featuring a cast of over 100 Audio Animatronics.

Indiana Jones Adventure: Temple of the Crystal Skull (10/10) – Hybrid thrill ride and dark ride aboard a transport vehicle through the Temple of the Crystal

Skull .

Toy Story Mania (7.5/10) -­‐ A 3D screen-­‐based shooter game with Toy Story characters. This is the best version of Toy Story Mania, with a really cool queue and load area. It’s also the most popular version, with insane lines for FastPass first thing in the morning that make the old Disney’s Hollywood Studios race look tame.

Turtle Talk (9.5/10) -­‐ Kids interact with Crush from Finding Nemo in a screen-­‐based attraction that mimics portholes out of the SS Columbia.

BobbyGentry Thu 07-Jan-16 04:59:31

Also apply to visit the Imperial Palace tour (Japan's Buckingham Palace)

It's free but a ticketed lottery!

(we were lucky to get two tickets.)

Cathpot Fri 08-Jan-16 16:03:56

Bobbygentry- thanks for taking the time- loads of useful stuff

Notsoskinnyminny Sat 09-Jan-16 15:42:19

Thanks for the palace link Bobby DDs there until August so she's going to try and get tickets.

OP even if you don't get tickets the grounds are beautiful and I second the recommendation for the Edo Museum I'd completely forgot about that one.

AttilaTheMeerkat Sat 09-Jan-16 17:29:34

I would second a visit to the Edo museum.

Re the Imperial Palace, the guided tour is conducted solely in Japanese but they do have a limited number of headsets in English. You will need to apply asap.

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