Japan’s capital, Tokyo, is a hustling, bustling metropolis that’s always at the forefront of business and technology, so it’s a pleasant surprise to find out that it can also be a perfect destination for a family holiday.
The Land of the Rising Sun is home to sushi, sumo wrestlers, geishas and breathtakingly beautiful cherry blossoms but did you also know that it’s home to myriad theme parks, games arcades, animal parks and zoos? Your kids will be bouncing off the walls with excitement… we just hope you have the energy to keep up with them!
Another eye-opener is that Tokyo’s five-star accommodation goes the extra mile to treat your kids like VIPs, and it starts from the word go with little extras at check-in.
The Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo at Chinzan-so is a stand-out – this beautiful hotel is a haven of luxury for adults – with divine interiors, exceptional restaurants and an amazing day spa – while also being a warm and welcoming environment for children. Not only do under eighteens share their parents’ room for free, but there is milk, cookies and a welcome gift on arrival.
You can also request items to childproof your room, with portacots and rollaway beds also available on request. One cute touch we absolutely love is the child-size bathrobe that will be waiting for your little one. Just provide the hotel with the names and ages of your children before you arrive.
There’s also complimentary baby shampoo, powder, lotion, teething rings, nappies and bibs and the complimentary use of teddy bears, thermometers, nail clippers, baby bathtubs, strollers, bottles and bottle warmers – is there anything the Four Seasons hasn’t thought of?
If you have a fussy eater on your hands who will probably decline any offerings of miso soup or teppanyaki, rest assured all the restaurants and the in-room dining menu have kids’ faves covered. There are plenty of healthy options but also lots of treats such as pancakes with maple syrup for breakfast, chicken or fish nuggets for lunch, spaghetti bolognese for dinner and ice-cream sundaes or banana splits for dessert.
The only thing we can see that the kids won’t be happy about is that the pool looks so amazing but is off-limits to children under four. Children between four and twelve years of age must be accompanied by an adult when in or around the pool.
Still, there will be plenty to distract your kids from the water – the Four Seasons Concierge is a veritable font of knowledge when it comes to surrounding restaurants that are perfect for a family dinner or they can even organise an English-speaking babysitter for when Mum and Dad want some time to themselves.
Probably the most helpful advice, though, will be helping you sort through the plethora of family outings on offer. There’s Tokyo Disneyland, which has so many rides as well as all the delights of Mickey and Minnie Mouse and their friends, a Hello Kitty fun park and an even more distinctively Japanese fun park called Namja Town, which is based around a Japanese character of a cat called Najavu. There are puppet and stage shows as well as rides and games.
There’s the Sunshine International Aquarium and Planetarium, the Ueno Zoo (home to some giant pandas), plus the Science Museum and the Tokyo Transport Museum, where the kids can “drive” a train through a simulated Tokyo. There’s also the Sega game centre, Tokyo Imax theatre (which shows movies in 3D) and two amazing toy shops, Hakuhinkan Toy Park and Kiddyland, to get lost in. Even many of the department stores will have play centres with rides for the kids.
Come to think of it, Tokyo doesn’t just have it all for the little kids, it sounds like a nirvana for the big kids too!