Tokyo with kids - 1 day itinerary


I just got back from a whirlwind trip to Tokyo to show some family around. We were travelling with 2 kids, one 8 year old and one 4 year old. My family had never been to Japan before so I really wanted to give them a good taste of what Tokyo has to offer in the one day we had to do it (the second day was Tokyo Disneyland). It took me a long time to decide on what I thought they needed to see to get a great Tokyo experience, and in the end, based on their feedback, I think I nailed it! We got to see some traditional Japan, some cherry blossoms and street food, as well as the bright neon lights of busy Tokyo.

So basically I thought I would share with you our one day Tokyo itinerary to give you an idea on what you can realistically achieve with 2 kids in tow. Of course if there were no kids involved, we would have been able to fit in a couple more sights. For reference, we started our day, leaving the apartment around 9am, and returned for the night at around 7:30pm.

Traditional Japanese Breakfast
"Typical" Japanese breakfast

Start your day with a good breakfast

We were staying in a great Airbnb apartment in Ueno, walking distance from Asakusa, so I knew about a cheap, family friendly chain restaurant called Royal Host and saw that there was one located on the way between our apartment and our first sight of the day, Sensoji Temple in Asakusa. Their morning menu has everything from scrambled eggs and bacon, to pancakes, french toast and traditional Japanese breakfast sets. After we had filled up, we were ready to start our sightseeing!

Tokyo Skytree
Tokyo Skytree

Sensoji Temple Asakusa
Sensoji Temple in Asakusa
Sensoji Temple, Asakusa

Sensoji Temple in Asakusa is the oldest temple in Tokyo, founded in 648. It is also one of the most popular tourist sights in Tokyo. The grounds are beautifully preserved and not only is there the main temple halls, but there is also a nice little Japanese garden with cherry blossom trees and a koi carp pond! My family loved exploring the grounds and getting some beautiful photos.

Sensoji temple is a short 5 minute walk from Asakusa Station.

Souvenir shops on Nakamise Street
Nakamise Street, Asakusa
Souvenir shopping on Nakamise Street

After visiting the temple, we walked down Nakamise Street, which is full of souvenir shops and food stalls. We stopped and got some deep fried manju (we got custard, sakura and red bean paste fillings), then continued down the street buying souvenirs. You could easily spend a couple of hours here, but I think we managed to keep it to just one.

Yamashiroya Toy store
Inside the toy store

Toy shopping at Yamashiroya in Ueno

After all the souvenir shopping for the adults, we headed back to Ueno on the subway for lunch and stopped in at Yamashiroya, a HUGE 6 floor toy shop right across from the main entrance to JR Ueno station. The kids had a great time exploring the different levels and playing with the various toys before deciding on one thing each.

Cherry blossoms shinobazu pond
Shinobazu pond, Ueno Park

Food stalls ueno park
Ueno Park food stalls
Ueno Park

After getting some lunch (giving us a much needed sit down and relax), we headed to Ueno Park to see if there were any cherry blossoms in bloom and wandered by the pond and over to Bentendo, a buddhist temple in the middle of the pond. The path leading to the temple is lined with street food stalls, so we got some waffle sticks and some drinks to snack on as we walked through the park. There is so much you can choose to do in Ueno Park, from visiting one of the numerous museums, to paddling a swan boat on Shinobazu pond (which we did last time we were in Tokyo).

Izakaya shibuya
Izakaya for dinner
Eat dinner at an Izakaya

After a little rest back at our apartment to drop off our shopping, we caught the Yamanote line train in to Shibuya to have dinner at one of the many izakayas there. Even though izakayas are more "drinking" extablishments, they are very family/child friendly and it gave my family a good introduction to Japanese food. We were seated at a sunken table and had to take our shoes off before entering the seating area. I ordered a bunch of food off a touch screen for everyone to share. You can get anything from sashimi, yakitori, edamame, salads, onion rings and chips (good for fussy kids). You can usually pick an izakaya based on the menus they will display out the front, that shows you a huge variety of food available. They are also often located on the higher floors of buildings, so it definitely pays to look up when you're wandering around Tokyo!

Shibuya intersection
Shibuya bright lights
Check out the neon lights of Shibuya

The final thing I wanted to do to round off the day in Tokyo, was to show everyone the bright neon lights and bustling intersection in Shibuya. You know the one. It was fantastic because when we went in to the izakaya for dinner, the sun hadn't yet set, but by the time we came out, we got to wander the streets, look at all the crazy lights and get some photos before taking the kids back to the apartment for bed.

If you're interested in more of my past Tokyo posts, you can find them here.

The airbnb we stayed in was this one.  If you want to get $46 credit to book your Airbnb, use this link!

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  1. Looks like you are really giving your family a taste of Tokyo, I'll have to steal some of these when our friends come this summer.

  2. You did so much in only one day... especially with your little one!

    1. Yeah! I was impressed. It's so much easier now tat G doesn't need to nap though.... And those little legs move faster :)