While Tokyo might not be the first city that comes to mind when you think of family-centric escapes, there are a 1,001 reasons why it ought to be. A massive playground at heart, Japan’s fun-loving capital is a sure bet for children of all ages, owing to a dizzying array of kid-friendly attractions open throughout the year.
As well as a plethora of exceptional temples, shrines, museums and the Imperial Palace that unfold Tokyo’s rich history, the city also offers an array of activities, such as state-of-the-art theme parks, cosplay or a thrilling baseball game, which will delight and surprise. Obliging locals and a highly efficient subway system make getting around a breeze, so even with the little ones in tow, there’s hardly an excuse not to explore this flash metropolis.
Most families in town make a beeline for Tokyo Disneyland on arrival, and with good reason. Situated at the Tokyo Disney Resort in Chiba and open seven days a week, this world-famous theme park brings the best of all that the original Disneyland and Magic Kingdom in Los Angeles have to offer and then some, boasting iconic attractions with unique twists like Pirates of the Caribbean, Cinderella’s Castle and the Haunted Mansion. Pal around with Mickey and the gang in one of the park’s seven fantastically themed areas, and after a magical day, start the evening proper with an unforgettable fireworks display. For families with thrill-seeking teens, Tokyo DisneySea is just next door and promises more adrenalin-pumping attractions.
If you want to engage the creative spirit of your kids, don’t miss out on the LEGOLAND Discovery Centre – it’s guaranteed to send the imaginations of your young assemblage artists into orbit. This indoor theme park on the man-made island of Odaiba scores serious points for its 4D cinema, assortment of hands-on model-building activities and stunning diorama of Tokyo’s cityscape. Got a birthday coming up? A special party service offered by the centre will set you up with the block party of your dreams amid more than three million LEGO bricks.
The birthplace of anime, Japan has a reputation – long set in stone – as one of Asia’s most creative countries. Pay tribute to its most significant pop culture export by spending an afternoon at the Ghibli Museum. Described as a ‘portal to a storybook world’, this quirkily designed museum showcases the works of Studio Ghibli, a Japanese animation studio renowned for heart-rending gems such as 2002’s Spirited Away. Built for anime-lovers of all ages, this one-of-a-kind venue features regular film screenings in addition to exhibits that celebrate the art of animation. Impassioned fans will be especially excited to come face-to-face with several life-sized figures of lovable characters from the studio’s iconic films dotted throughout the cartoon-inspired space, which was designed by Studio Ghibli director Hayao Miyazaki himself.
To cap off all the on-foot, hands-on fun and exploration, sit back and enjoy a quintessentially Tokyo experience: a good ol’ ball game. It might seem curious at first to learn that this all-American sport has a huge following in Japan, but baseball is truly a phenomenon here and has been since a Maine-born expatriate, Horace Wilson, first popularised the sport in 1872. Find out what the fuss is about by treating the family to field-level seats at a Yomiuri Giants game at Tokyo Dome. Packed to the gills throughout the season (regular season games run from March to October), the impressive stadium hosts more than 60 professional baseball games a year. And what better way to remember Tokyo than by joining in the fandemonium and cheering alongside the gleeful roar of 42,000 Tokyoites?
Jakarta to Tokyo (Haneda)
Flight Time 7 hours
Frequency 7 ﬂights per week
Denpasar to Tokyo (Narita)
Flight Time 6 hours 55 minutes
Frequency 7 ﬂights per week
From Colours May 2016
5 Senses – Sound
HANAYASHIKI NINJA CHALLENGE
Entering this hidden dojo next to the Hanayashiki theme park in Asakusa, you’re likely to be greeted by the sound of wooden swords clashing as ninjas-in-training hone their Katana-wielding chops. Feel like channelling your inner Shinobi? Then this 60-minute class focusing on swordplay, stealth movement, concealment methods and dart-throwing (with real shuriken) should rock your boat. After a session, do some real damage at the adjoining ninja shop. Bonus: your challenge certificate gets you 10% off merchandise.