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“Kids’ Trips in Tokyo” and “Japan for Kids”

japan for kidskids trips in tokyo

Kids’ Trips in Tokyo: A Family Guide to One-Day Outings and Japan for Kids: The Ultimate Guide for Parents and Their Children are two books we reference frequently while living in Tokyo. Both can be useful, but both are far from perfect.

Neither one is very good at telling you what you can do in a certain area. For instance, let’s say that you will be in Shibuya for the day. Without going through each book from cover to cover, you can’t figure out what the books offer on just the Shibuya area. The index in Kids’ Trips is a mere three and a half pages in length and is not organized by area. Japan for Kids has an index of seven pages, but it, too, is not organized by area AND it covers all of Japan so seven pages means the index is nearly worthless. If you look up a place like Takadanobaba (where we live) or Roppongi (a popular hang out in Tokyo) in the index of either book you will find absolutely nothing. Of the two, Kids’ Trips is more useful when trying to look up a place since you can use the map inside the front cover to sort of see if there is any coverage of the target area.

Both books are dated. Kids’ Trips has a copyright of 1998, meaning the information is at least 10 years old and usually more like 15 years old. The second edition of Japan for Kids was copyrighted in 2000, but much of the content goes back to the first edition which was written before 1992.

OK, so the books aren’t great, but they are sometimes still useful. For instance, we wouldn’t have known about NHK Studio Park without Kids’ Trips. A video from NHK Studio Park can be found at the end of this post. However, we followed Kids’ Trips‘ advice too much and went to Maisen, a tonkatsu restaurant, on the top of Tokyu’s Department Store. We had a great time there, thanks to the lively conversation we enjoyed with the couple next to us who were celebrating her 60th birthday. However, the food wasn’t that great, and certainly not Tokyo’s best tonkatsu as the guide suggests. I’ve had better tonkatsu at other places in Tokyo for less than half the price.

The maps in Kids’ Trips are pretty good, and the directions are generally easy to follow.

Both books are useful references and fairly essential if you are going to be in Tokyo for an extended period of time with kids. If you only choose one, I would make it Kids’ Trips. Even if you are only going to be in Tokyo with kids for a couple of weeks I recommend bringing Kids’ Trips along.

One Response to ““Kids’ Trips in Tokyo” and “Japan for Kids””

  1. 1

    Hi – I am Dane, just passing by. Saw all of your beautiful pictures – from Denmark to Japan. Wonderful;-) I hope you enjoy your stay in Japan – we are considering being expatriated to Tokyo with my husbands job and that´s why I found your blog. It´s tempting but having just returned to DK after 3 years of expatriation (Paris, France) I don´t know if we have the energy. It does look quite different from Copenhagen, I must say.

    Thanks for the look – Kind regards, Kristine