Japan

Tokyo with kids: too-cool technology and colourful kawaii in Japan's capital

Make no mistake, visiting Tokyo with kids is a treat for both young and old.

This dazzling city can send anyone into childish delight mode with its bright lights and awe-inspiring attractions – some of my favs include the futuristic Skytree building and the age-old Imperial Palace. Efficient public transport makes travelling easy, too, with high-tech trains and trams taking you from Tokyo Bay out to quieter districts like Jiyugaoka, a family-friendly area that’s home to the dessert mecca, Sweets Forest.

Having visited the city both alone and with my family in tow, I can personally vouch for Tokyo’s ability to enchant travellers of all ages. Start by immersing yourself in the magical mayhem of hypnotic Harajuku, the epicentre of Japanese pop culture full of playful boutiques and trendsetting fashion houses. The island of Odaiba is ripe for exploring, too, with its slick museums, shopping malls, restaurants and a huge indoor play centre. And if you’re visiting in spring, there’s nothing better than a family picnic beneath the cherry blossoms in Inokashira Park.

What to see in Tokyo: high-tech arcades and serene sakura sightings

Let your little ones try out their dream jobs in a purpose-built role-play complex, then bask in the works of the anime greats at dedicated museums. When your feet need a break, you can sit down to a barbecue feast in a sakura-studded park alongside the city’s locals.

Where to stay in Tokyo: traditional suites and digs in a Disney theme park

Staying in Tokyo with the fam can be as top-end or kooky as you like. Some of my favourite spots include a towering behemoth right next to the Tokyo Dome and a modern Shinjuku hotel packed with mouthwatering dining options.

Disney and decadence at Tokyo Disney resort

This is the official hotel of Tokyo Disney Resort, so you’ll find it right in the world-famous theme park – ideal if your Tokyo itinerary with kids includes a Disney day.

You can look forward to Japanese-style baths and a spa offering soothing treatments – great for indulging while your other half takes the kids to the pool. Book a Family Premium Room to get five plush beds, views over Tokyo Bay and access to the hotel’s Club Lounge with complimentary breakfast and snacks.

Sheraton Grande Tokyo Bay Hotel

Top rated
Urayasu
8.6 Excellent (6383 reviews)

Themed rooms and spa facilities

This slick hotel next to the Tokyo Dome stadium has a range of rooms to wow your troop. Introduce the kids to Japanese culture in a teahouse-style room filled with Japanese furnishings and lined with tatami mats. Or, you can go for luxury in the Palace Suite with a Jacuzzi, marble bathroom and soft leather lounge – topped off with a visit to the hotel spa.

Hotel Tokyo Dome

Top rated
Tokyo
8.6 Excellent (1187 reviews)

Well-connected family hotel in Tokyo

For families staying in the Koto district, I recommend this hotel’s Deluxe Family Room – it’s got oodles of space, comfy beds and free WiFi. A complimentary shuttle bus will zip you to and from Tokyo Disney Resort, while the SkyTree Shuttle connects you with the Odaiba district (you’ll have to pre-book tickets). There’s also plenty to keep you entertained onsite, from a glittering garden pool to eateries plating up international grub.

Hotel East 21 Tokyo

Top rated
Tokyo
8.5 Excellent (1700 reviews)

Baby-friendly amenities and ample eateries

Walk nine minutes from Shinjuku station and you’ll reach one of Tokyo’s most popular four-star hotels. I love this place for its family-friendly amenities like the nursing room, not to mention the lofty sky pool.

You can cosy up to tradition in the Japanese Tea Ceremony Room, or head to food boutique Poppins for sweet snacks. For dinner, I’d go for nasi goreng and hamburgers at Jurin, or you can make use of the hotel’s child care service and linger over a romantic meal for two at Aurora Sky Lounge.

Hotel Keio Plaza Tokyo

Top rated
Tokyo
8.5 Excellent (9056 reviews)

Where to eat and drink in Tokyo: kawaii cafés and ninja-themed lunch spots

Tokyo’s food scene is as vibrant as its neon-filled streets. With restaurant fare ranging from traditional sushi to crazy-coloured sundaes, there’s always something to wow the whole family.