Japan is not a budget destination to many regards, and even a local like me easily agrees with that. When traveling with your family, spendings in Tokyo can add up quickly. Let me introduce to you 5 great parks in Tokyo for a lovely family time!
Ueno Park is one of the oldest parks in Japan, and it was established in 1873. Ueno Park is called “Ueno Forest ” among Japanese people because of its abundant greenery. You will find a variety of historical and cultural facilities in the park. So this is the perfect park for all traditional Japanese culture lovers!
Ueno Toshogu is a shrine that was built in 1627 to worship “Ieyasu Tokugawa” who established the Edo Era in the 16th century. Although nearly 400 years of time has gone passed, the building still stands strong and attracts visitors from all around the globe. This golden building is truly amazing.
Museums & Zoo
There are a number of museums in and around Ueno Park. I personally love the Tokyo National Museum that showcases Japanese traditional arts, antiques, and Samurai’s arms. I always love to visit museums when I am on holiday because museums get me to see the great inventions of the places. If you are after authentic Japanese history, this is the place for you.
If you are more into animals, Ueno Zoo is the place for you. Three adorable pandas are waiting for your visit! You may find it strange to see a traditional five-story pagoda in the zoo, but it has been there since 1631 and is registered as an important cultural property of Japan.
Cherry Blossoms & Autumn leaves
Ueno Park is famous as one of the best spots for Cherry Blossoms in Tokyo. It is so famous that in peak season, millions of Japanese tourists visit this beautiful park for ‘hanami’, or cherry blossom viewing. Ueno shows another face during Autumn with vibrant red, yellow and oranges leaves. I just enjoy a cup of coffee while looking at this beautifully colored park. It is worth stopping for a while if you are around
Ueno Toshogu: Free
Tokyo National Museum
Adults: 620 yen
University Students: 410 (310) yen
High/Junior High/Elementary School Students and persons under 18 and over 70: Free
600 yen (adults 15-64 years old),
200 yen (children 12-14 years old).
Showa Kinen Park
If your idea letting you kids burn off some energy, Showa Kinen Park is the perfect spot you are looking for! This park is located near Tachikawa Station which is 35 mins away from Shinjuku Station by JR Chuo line. It is well-known as the largest park in Tokyo so that it may be difficult to see everything within one day. Let me show you what fun is there for you!
Play with the kids!
Why don’t you hop on a massive trampoline and jump on the largest hammock in Japan with your kids? In Showa Kinen Park, you can! The playground is so much fun and even adults can enjoy it.
Also, cycling is the easier and nicest way to see this very large park. Many bicycles are available for rental at the park entrance at a very reasonable price. This is one of the most enjoyable activities for young kids in Tokyo!
Cherry Blossom & Autumn Leaves
Showa Kinen Park is not as famous as Ueno Park or Sumida River for Cherry Blossom and Autumn Leaves, but 1500 cherry blossom trees make the park brightly pink in the spring, and thousands of trees like maple and Ginko trees colour the park with vibrant red, orange and yellow in Autumn! You will experience the beauty of nature during these seasons. There is so much more space than in any other parks of Tokyo CBD. So grab a bento (lunchbox) from a convenience store nearby and enjoy a picnic!
Once you get tired of cycling or hopping on the trampoline, have a rest in the Japanese garden where you will find true peace of mind. In this well-maintained garden, you will enjoy the silence of Japanese culture. Each of the four-season greets you with different plants and colours, curated for you by the Japanese gardeners. There is a Bonsai Exhibition right next to the door as well. It is worth spending some time there to explore over 100 years of vegetal arts.
adults: 410 yen,
Elementary and Junior High student fees at 80 yen
Shinjuku Gyoen Park
Shinjuku Gyoen Park is called the oasis of Metropolitan Tokyo because it is located in the middle of the concrete jungle “Shinjuku”. This park has a stunning traditional garden with a cute tea house. The park used to be a Samurai family’s mansion that was turned into the National park after WWII. It is only 10 min walking distance from Shinjuku station, so why not visiting when you are nearby Shinjuku.
There are two Japanese gardens; one of them was established as the mansion of the Samurai family in 1591. You will feel the tradition and history behind this garden. Surprisingly, this park does not only have Japanese gardens but also a French formal garden and an English landscape garden. It has plenty of large open spaces to escape the massive crowds in Tokyo. Grab a cup of green tea and refresh yourself on the lawns!
Cherry Blossom and Autumn Leaves
Shinjuku Gyoen Park is the most famous spot for enjoying Cherry Blossom as even the Japanese Prime Minister holds a cherry blossom event there every Spring. When you see hundreds of pink trees with high-rises at the back, you will understand why Gyoen Park is so popular. It is a great instagrammable spot!
Autumn is another best season to visit when the leaves change. There are a number of different trees that change how the park looks with red, yellow and orange leaves. It is worth spending hours to take pictures of the Japanese gardens during this time because the garden is designed to look beautiful in Autumn.
Adults: 500 Yen
Students 250 Yen
Children (junior high school students /15 and under) Free
Did you know that you can do HIKING in the largest city in the world? Tokyo’s hiking spot is about 1 hour from the major areas of the city by train. Mt Takao is very popular for family hikers because it is only 599m high and walking track is easy for even kids! It will be a great get-away from the busy urban side for one or a half-day.
Hiking, Lift or Cable Car?
You choose how you want to get to the summit of the mountain! For bushwalking lovers, hiking is a great way to enjoy the beautiful nature of Mt Takao. The recommended course is called “Inari Course” which is 3.1km long and it takes about 70 minutes to get to the summit. If you are used to bushwalking, this will be easy-peasy for you!!
Don’t worry if you are not a confident walker because you can take either Lift or Cable Car to get to the top. Life is like a ski lift, so I am sure kids will love it. (Neither JR Pass nor SUICA is accepted for Lift and Cable Car).
Downhill requires so much less fitness level, so why not enjoying Tokyo’s best air when you go down!
Most of the Japanese visit Mt Takao for the Yakuo-In Temple. This temple was established in 744 on the orders of Emperor Shomu as a base for Buddhism in eastern Japan. Even in the recent era, monks are there to practice every day. I have taken my Aussie friends to Mt Takao. They loved hiking but more they loved was this temple because it offers a serene and calm surrounding and authentic atmosphere around it. Yakuo-In Temple is also famous as a temple that protects you from traffic accidents. So, it is great to buy the family amulets for a souvenir!
Takao Onsen (Hot Spring)
After hiking or walking around Yakuo-In Temple, soaking your body in the hot spring is a great way to finish the Mt Takao day trip! Takosan Onsen is located right next to “Takaosan Guchi Station”. There are six types of hot spring baths in the facility. Once you get soaked in the outdoor rock bath, your family has achieved a major Japan Experience bucket list item.
Lift & Cable Car (the same price applied)
One way Adult: 490 Yen
One way Child: 250 Yen
Return Adult: 950
Return Child: 470
Kasai Rinkai Park
Take the Keiyo Line for 15 minutes from Tokyo Station, then you will arrive at Kasai Rinkai Park which welcomes visitors with Tokyo Bay as a backdrop. You will see that this park is very popular among Japanese Families. This well-maintained park gives you a nice break from busy cityscapes and has some walking trails, large lawn areas, beaches, and a famous observation building.
Sea Life Park
I’m sure that you already know that the Japanese love Tuna! Yes, we really do, so this aquarium built a massive doughnut-shaped tank where many tuna swim around. Going there and see so many Japanese kids around the tank saying that “Looks Yummy!”. They are definitely Japanese!!
The other side of the aquarium offers educational experiences with touch tanks for kids. It’s fun for adults too!
Kasai Rinkai Park is famous for the aquarium, but 70% of the park is designated as a sea bird sanctuary to preserve the bay habitat. Osprey, Great Egret, Grey Herton, a total of 157 species of wild birds inhabit along the boardwalk. If your kids are active, they will love the boardwalk to explore the bird sanctuary. Tip: you may see more active birds when low tide, so it might be a good idea to check the tidal change before the visit if you are really chasing birds!
Diamond and Flowers Ferris Wheel
This Ferris wheel reaches 117m high which is the highest point you can get by Ferris wheel in Japan. It takes 17 minutes for one round so that you can enjoy the surrounding scenery. When it is clear, Mt Fuji shows its appearance in the west, and Tokyo Sky Tree is on the north side. If you are lucky, you might see fireworks and Cinderella Castle together from Disney Resort which is right next to this park!
Admission Fee: Free
Aquarium; Adult: 700 Yen, Under 12: Free
Ferris Wheel: 700 Yen (No Kid’s price applied)