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Japan is known for it's beautiful temples, modern buildings and its sometimes quirky culture. Check out these fun and unique things to do in Japan with kids!
Visit a photo booth for
one of the best photo shoots around. These are not your typical-sit on a stool
and snap four photos with a friend type booths. No-these are a whole
production! Many places even offer
rental outfits such as flashy kimonos, anime or character outfits, mirrors and
hair curlers and straightners. Stand in
front of a green screen in the booth (we fit the four of us no problem). Choose your themes, look at the pose
suggestions and snap away, Watch your
eyes transform in to big anime style eyes. Now it is time to edit your photos
with cute graphics, layouts and sayings and then tada your photos are printed! You can find these at most arcades.
Visit an arcade or two or three. My kids could not get enough of these places (although my bank account definitely could). They were lured in with the hopes of winning giant stuffed fluffy pieces of fish, huge cans of pringles, google playbooks and manga figurines galore. Most of the games were the claw type ones where you have to grip the prize and drop it down the chute. Alas my children did not win but they were soooo close so many time..they just needed a few more tokens to win...every single time. There are lots of other games to play top such as Taiko drumming. This is very cool to watch the “pros” aka 10 year olds play it!
Test out a Japanese toilet. There is nothing better then sitting on a toasty warm toilet seat on a chilly day. And what kid won’t like pressing all those buttons for the water spray, toilet music (flushing sounds) and the bidet option. Some bathrooms even have toilet seats that automatically rise as you enter the bathroom!
Check out the plastic food! Most restaurants display a plastic version of
their menu out front. If your kids are like mine they won’t be too
thrilled at first with the thought of eating Japanese food. Checking out the plastic menu in front became
a must do for us and helped with exploring the local cuisine! There
is an area in Tokyo that supplies these plastic foods-they make great
souvenirs for children!
Try Japanese Fast Food. There is of course McDonalds, KFC, Burger King and more found in all the major cities but why not check out some of the local fast food options. Mos Burger, Freshness Burger, Matsuya and more to choose from. We loved Freshness Burger-the teriyaki burger is delicious. Some of these restaurants have vending machines for ordering! Select your meal, deposit your cash and bring your receipt up front to pick up your food! My kids thought this was the coolest!
Visit a cat café. After all that sightseeing, your feet will
need a rest. Stop by one of Japan’s famous cat cafes for something to drink and
some cute kitties to hang out with. And hey if cats aren't your thing there are even rabbit, owl and goat cafes too!
Watch a sumo match. There are 4 sumo tournaments held each year around Japan. Check this site to see if there is a tournament on while you are visiting. We had so much fun at the sumo tournament trying to predict who would be victorious after sizing up each of the wrestlers as they entered the ring. Head there around 3pm otherwise it might be a bit too long of a day for the kids and watch the masters battle it out. The crowds get more and more lively as the day goes on. There was even seat cushion tossing at the end of the last match which my children found hilarious.
Sing karaoke. Don’t worry you can get your own private room where you can sing to your heart's content Most places have English options available and you can usually order food and drinks to be delivered to your room. Head out in the daytime to avoid the party crowds and get a much cheaper rate too.
Visit a Japanese department store. We had so much fun exploring the stores together. The products offered are completely different to what we were used too. We especially loved the Don Quiyote stores for an eclectic mix of toys, groceries, clothes, costumes and more. Tokyu Hands was also a favourite for its toy section, massage chair section (we loved testing those out) and the endless choices of stationary.
Visit the Robot Restaurant in
Tokyo for all the quirkiness you can handle. This is one interesting show-a parade of bizarre passes by right in front of your eyes. A flying gorilla, a
panda riding a cow, LED twin headed robots
and much more! This is Japan at its craziest.
Take the shinkansen. Your little train enthusiasts are going to LOVE riding on some of the fastest trains on earth. Watch Japan fly by and maybe even catch a glimpse of Mt Fuji as you explore Japan together.
Go to a Japanese candy store and stock up! My kids loved picking out lots of different new treats to try. Some were hits and others, well, not so much. KitKats are very popular and come in some very interesting flavours such as green tea, red bean and hot chili!
Visit a Japanese pet store. This is just cuteness overload as you get a glimpse of the adorable breeds available in Japan from tiny chihuhuas to adorable weiner dogs and even wide eyed kitty cats. Your kids will soon be saying kawaii (cute in Japanese!). I apologize in advance for having to decline their desperate pleas to bring one home with you!
Sign up for a cultural class. Kids love hands on activities and there are plenty of options to choose from. Taiko drumming or samurai sword lessons were a hit with my kids. You can also take origami lessons, calligraphy, or even pottery classes. Dress up in a kimono or learn to cook a Japanese meal. Or spend a few hours making some tasty Japanese treats!
Check out the latest fashions in Japan! Amerikamura in Osaka or Harajuku in Tokyo are some of the best spots to soak up the fashionable teens in Japan. Head to Yoyogi Park in Tokyo on Sundays to catch the anime and manga cosplayers as well as plenty of street performers.