Tokyo Trips - Travel in Japan

Low Budget Kid-Friendly Adventures in Tokyo

Last Updated on 2024-07-08 by Teni

Living the single mom life in Tokyo means that I’ve got to be cautions and creative when it comes to entertainment. And, I really feel the pressure when school holidays come around! If you’ve ever found yourself in a similar predicament, then I’ve got your back with a list of 12 low budget kid-friendly adventures in Tokyo. Whether you’re a parent, aunt, uncle, or just a big kid at heart, let’s dive into the world of affordable adventures in the bustling heart of Japan!

Low Budget Kid-Friendly Adventures in Tokyo

1. Conveyor Belt Sushi

 

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Introduce your kids to the wonders of sushi on a budget. Places like Sushiro and Hamasushi and Kurasushi let colorful plates of sushi whiz by on a conveyor belt, allowing everyone to pick their favorites. It’s like a delicious sushi parade! With prices starting at just 100 yen per plate, it’s a fun and affordable dining experience. Watch their eyes light up as they try new flavors and maybe even master the art of using chopsticks. Read about why I love sushi and game nights at Kurasushi: Sushi and Game Night at Kura Sushi

Pro Tip: Conveyor belt sushi is a very popular family activity so download the app for your favorite chain so you can book a seat, even on weekends and holidays.

2. Capsule Toy Search

 

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Embark on a mini treasure hunt with capsule toys, or gashapon, scattered across Tokyo. Popular spots like Akihabara and Nakano Broadway are packed with machines offering a wide variety of collectible goodies, while chain stores like Gacha Gacha no Mori  have established their presence in major shopping malls. Each toy costs just a few hundred yen, making it an affordable and exciting adventure. Plus, it’s a great way to teach kids about budgeting and the joy of small surprises. Gotta catch ’em all, right?

Pro Tip: Set a budget before you step foot inside. Trust me on this one!

3. Pet Cafes

 

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Who doesn’t love spending time with cute animals? Pet cafes offer a unique and adorable experience. For a small fee, you can enjoy drinks while interacting with friendly animals. It’s a delightful way to teach kids about animals and responsibility, all while enjoying some furry (or feathery) companionship. Earlier this month Miss M and I visited Harajuku Cute Land, a pet cafe designed specifically from a child’s perspective so that animals and kids are on eye level!

Pro Tip: Be sure to check the age requirements for entry, as some cafes may have restrictions for younger children.

4. Trainspotting at Tokyo Station

 

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Choo-choo enthusiasts, this one’s for you! Tokyo Station is a hub of activity, with trains coming and going at all hours. Watching the Shinkansen (bullet trains) zip by is an exciting spectacle, and it’s completely free.99! (Just pay a small fee to enter the ticket gates.) While you’re there at Tokyo Station, grab some eki bento to eat as you marvel at one of Japan’s greatest technological advances. I prefer Shinagawa Station as it’s far less congested (and there’s a Starbucks upstairs), but if your little ones are as crazy about trains as my girl, then you might have to make concessions! Read: How to See Shinkansen at Tokyo Station and Ride The Shinkansen To The Railway Museum!

Pro Tip: Other Tokyo trainspotting points to consider are Oji Station/Asukayama Park and Hijiri Bashi Bridge near Ochanomizu Station.

5. Tokyo Water Bus or Tokyo Bay Cruise

 

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Embark on a scenic adventure with a trip on the Tokyo Water Bus or a cruise along Tokyo Bay. The Water Bus offers an affordable way to see Tokyo’s landmarks from the Sumida River, while cruises on Tokyo Bay provide stunning views of the city skyline and iconic Rainbow Bridge. It’s a relaxing and memorable experience for the whole family, combining sightseeing with a leisurely boat ride. Don’t forget your camera to capture the panoramic views! Read about our experience cruising along Tokyo Bay here. Tokyo Bay Night Cruise With Tokai Kisen.

Pro Tip: Be sure to check the daily perational status of Tokyo Water Bus before you make plans!

6. Anime Stamp Rallies

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Combine your love for anime and exploration with stamp rallies. These events, often hosted by train lines or shopping centers, invite participants to collect stamps at various locations. I think stamp rallies are a fantastic way to explore the different parts of Tokyo while engaging in a fun and rewarding activity. Collecting all the stamps unlocks a sense of achievement for your kiddos and maybe a few cool prizes along the way!

Pro Tip: Many stamp rallies are run in conjunction with a transportation company (i.e. Tokyo Metro or Toei Transportation). So,  consider purchasing a one day pass before your departure. Plus, kids under 6 travel free with an adult, and those aged 6-13 pay half fare on Tokyo’s efficient transportation system!

7. Karaoke Singing

Escape the summer heat and humidity and unleash your inner idol (or Disney princess) at affordable karaoke joints. Chains like Karaoke Kan and Big Echo offer family-friendly rooms where you can belt out your favorite tunes without worrying about disturbing others. It’s not about hitting the high notes; it’s about having a blast with your kids. Plus, many karaoke places offer all-you-can-drink soft drinks and snacks, making it a fun and budget-friendly outing.

Pro Tip: Become LINE friends with a branch of a karaoke joint before visiting in order to get 20-30% coupons (and earn stamps/points)! Maximize your discount by going to karaoke during the off peak hours such as weekday mornings.

8. Swimming & Ice Skating at Public Sports Gyms

Make a splash or glide gracefully on a budget at public sports gyms. Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium and Minato Sports Center offer affordable rates for swimming and ice skating. It’s a fantastic way for kids to burn off energy while trying out new activities. Most facilities provide rental gear, so you don’t need to worry about bringing your own. 

Pro Tip: Most public pools require use of swimming caps. Instead of a solid color one, consider getting a colorful one so that your child will stand out! 

9. Library Dates

 

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Speaking of public facilities, quiet adventures can be just as thrilling. Start with the central branch of your city’s library network. Central libraries (中央図書館// chuu ou to sho kan) often have special sections for children with books in multiple languages, making it a perfect setting for young bookworms. Storytime sessions and interactive reading areas provide a cozy environment where the only noise you’ll hear is the turning of pages. Plus, it’s a great way to instill a love of reading in your little ones.

Pro Tip: Turn a visit to the library into a Tokyo day trip! Check out the National Diet Library International Library of Children’s Literature. If you’re in East Tokyo, stop by Kiki’s Museum of Literature, inspired by the works and life of Eiko Kadono, the author of Kiki’s Delivery Service. Kiki’s Musuem of Literature has around 10,000 kids’ books by Japanese and international authors!

10. Attend Matsuri

 

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Celebrate the vibrant festivals of Tokyo with your family. Matsuris, such as the Asakusa Sanja Matsuri and the Sumida River Fireworks Festival, are not just visually stunning; they offer an immersive cultural experience. Kids can enjoy traditional games, delicious street food, and captivating performances. It’s a lively atmosphere where everyone can participate in the festivities, dance to the music, and create lasting memories together.

Pro Tip: Skip the large-scale productions and attend your neighborhood festival or one hosted at the local elementary school. Food, drinks, and toys tend to be more wallet friendly! If you’re looking for a unique “only in Japan” experience, definitely check out the Edogawa Goldfish Festival!

11. Flea Market Treasure Hunting

Turn “I’m bored” into “I found treasure!” by exploring Tokyo’s flea markets. Spots like the Oedo Antique Market and Yoyogi Park Flea Market are treasure troves of unique items and quirky finds. From vintage toys to one-of-a-kind trinkets, there’s something for everyone. It’s a wonderful way to spend a Saturday morning, hunting for bargains and discovering new interests. Who knows, you might stumble upon a hidden gem that sparks a new hobby for your little one! Personally, my girl and I love spending the first Sunday of the month getting to know the sellers at Kinshi Park Flea Market in Sumida City.

Pro Tip: Bring cash, though some sellers may accept payment via PayPay. It never hurts to ask, and don’t be afraid to haggle!  

12. Sento Baths

 

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Take a dip into traditional Japanese culture without making your wallet sweat. Sento baths, like the Tokyo Toyosu Manyo Club or Yudokoro Kasai, offer a relaxing and entertaining escape for both young and old. Kids will love the novelty of communal bathing, and parents will appreciate the rejuvenating experience.

Pro Tip: Bring coins for the storage lockers and vending machines, especially when visiting older, local facilities.

Recap: Low Budget Kid-Friendly Adventures in Tokyo

Here are my favorite ways to have some low budget kid-friendly adventures in Tokyo:

  1. Conveyor Belt Sushi
  2. Capsule Toy Search
  3. Pet Cafes
  4. Trainspotting at Tokyo Station
  5. Tokyo Water Bus or Tokyo Bay Cruise
  6. Anime Stamp Rallies
  7. Karaoke Singing
  8. Swimming & Ice Skating at Public Sports Gyms
  9. Library Dates
  10. Attend Matsuri
  11. Flea Market Treasure Hunting
  12. Sento Baths

Have you tried any of these? Share your experiences or let me know your favorite wallet-friendly, kid-approved activities to keep the fun rolling without breaking the bank.

 

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