The Top Things to Do in Shinjuku for Families with Kids

Photo by Tatsuo Yamashita/Flickr

The Top Things to Do in Shinjuku for Families with Kids

Tokyo’s vibrant city within a city is home to some of Japan's best nightlife, an electric district that’s seemingly always alive, it might not seem like the appropriate place to take your children. However there’s much more than its red light district and notorious drinking alleys and plenty of things to do in Shinjuku with kids to fill up an itinerary. If you're trying to navigate the Shinjuku area with kids in toe, here are some great ideas for things to do as a family.

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The Top Things to Do in Shinjuku for Families with Kids

Fire Museum

Photo by 江戸村のとくぞう/Wikipedia

Ask a kid and usually museums are way down on the list of places they'd want to see while on holiday. However Tokyo's Fire Museum is not your average museum, full of miniature displays and captivating exhibits aimed at pleasing both children and adults. The museum does a great job of detailing Japan's history of fire fighting while making it interesting. Best of all, it's completely free.

Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden

Photo by Patryk Kosmider/Shutterstock

A short walk from the Fire Museum, one of Tokyo's most beloved parks might not be free entry, but it's well worth the small fee for a chance to see some of the city's most beautiful Japanese gardens. Well maintained and beautifully designed, if you're planning to head to one park in the city to tire the little tykes out, make it this one. This former imperial garden is also beautiful during both the cherry blossom and autumn foliage season, it's all the more worth visiting if you'll be in the city during these seasons.

Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building

Photo by Sean Pavone/Shutterstock

One of the best observation decks in Tokyo also happens to be free of charge. Head up the elevators to the 45th floor for some incredible views across Tokyo and its surroundings. You can visit the observation deck on either tower of the building, however the south tower has a cafe and souvenir shop which are worth checking out. For those with small children, you'll also find changing tables at the toilets here.

Tokyo Toy Museum

Don't be fooled by the 'museum' in the name, this former school building is basically a huge playground full of thousands of toys from both Japan and around the world. While it might be more centered on pleasing children, there's enough to keep adults interested too, even featuring a toy workshop where families can work together to create their own toys.

Godzilla Head

Photo by Daniel Ramirez/Flickr

Most visitors to Tokyo will probably have seen the giant looming Godzilla head that resides in Shinjuku's Kabukicho district. However most don't realize you can actually get to the top of the building to see the huge Godzilla up close and personal. The towering figure is mounted in the lobby of the Gracery Hotel, on the eight floor, but if you're not staying at the hotel, you can get access by visiting Cafe Bonjour located on the same level. However be aware that prices here are a little higher than normal (850 yen for a coffee). Godzilla also lights up and roars at every hour from 12 til 8 PM.

Samurai Museum

Always a popular hit among kids, the samurai are immortalized in Japanese culture, Shinjuku's Samurai Museum displays a wealth of colorful samurai armor used throughout the island's history, along with weapons and other historical artifacts. Apart from wandering around the fascinating displays, the museum even lets you try on some samurai gear and take a photo free of charge, a great hit for most kids.

Animal Cafes

Photo by Roxanne Ready/Flickr

Animal or pet cafes are well loved in Tokyo, with most major areas in the city having at least one or two and Shinjuku is no exception. While some of the animal cafes in Tokyo were once prioritizing money first and animal welfare second, most of these places have been shut down with authorities always on the lookout for those that don't meet standards. Most of the cafes here now prioritize health and well-being for the animals. Cat Cafe MOCHA and Cat Cafe Nyankoto in the north of Shinjuku are both recommended and care highly for their cats. Be aware that most animal cafes will have an age limit for children however, so make sure to check before making your way over there, especially if your kids are under ten years old.

Taito Station

Photo by IQRemix/Flickr

For those traveling with slightly older children that are getting withdrawals from gaming, dumping them at Taito Station for a few hours while you go shopping is a safe bet. Tokyo is full of arcades and gaming centers that can be a paradise for some teenagers and Taito Station is one of the largest, with several floors devoted to entertaining visitors.


On the surface, Shinjuku might seem like an adult focused nightlife hotspot in Tokyo, but during the day it's nothing of the sort. Shinjuku is full of activities for all ages offering a range of activities to please any families making the journey here, and offers some of the most interesting things to do for children in the city.