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Shibuya Crossing Toyko
11 Mar

The Big List of Top Activities For Teens Visiting Japan

Top Teen Activities in Japan Your Kids Will Just Love

Planning trips that keep your teenage kids entertained and interested can sometimes be a challenge, but Japan is one country that your teen kids will love visiting.  Not only is Japan visually interesting, but this country celebrates both its ancient culture and new kitschy trends introduced by younger generations.  Add to this the world’s most cutting edge technological advancements, and you have a mix of activities that will fascinate your teens while visiting Japan.  Let’s take a look at some of the top teen activities in Japan.

Tokyo Ginza District
Wikimedia Commons by:Yashiro

Your first step should be to find good centrally located hotels in Tokyo Japan that will cater to the needs of both parents and kids.  Then organize your sightseeing to meet the interest of everyone.  Let your kids do some of the planning and you’ll be surprised how interesting your day turns out.  Often on our family trips, we assigned one day to each family member to plan.  This guaranteed that they would all be engaged and learning what new experiences might be open to them.

Getting Yourself Oriented

Your first day in Japan will likely be spent in Tokyo, the capital city of Japan and the most popular international gateway.  You should take a tour on one of the hop-on-hop-off buses, or on a preplanned or guided walking tour.  Give some thought to using Tokyo Greeters, an organization that pairs locals with visitors for free guided tours that give you a personal experience with a Tokyo resident.

Wild and Wonderful Ginza

Visit Ginza, the city’s famous upscale shopping district that will remind you of Times Square in New York or Piccadilly Circus in London, but with even MORE people.  Here you will encounter the bright lights and big-city crowds you’ve heard so much about.  It’s time to take out the camera and experience the bustle that has made Tokyo so famous.  Visit on Saturday or Sunday between 12-5:00 pm when the district becomes a pedestrian-only zone.

Visit one of the impressive skyscraper Observation Decks

This will help you to get your bearings and marvel at the expanse of the city with views of Mount Fiji in the distance on a clear day.  Some of the most popular sky view decks include:

Tokyo Tower
Flickr by: Picdrops

– The Sky Tree in Sumda is primarily a broadcast tower and is the tallest Observation Tower in Japan.
– Tokyo Tower (aka the Red Tower) is another good option for an impressive view.   Open daily from 9am-11pm.
– Shibuya Sky is located on the top two floors of the Shibuya Scramble Square building with an expansive open-air sky deck.
– Mori Tower in Roppongi Hills, on the 52nd floor and opposite the Mori Art Museum, on the roof is a huge open-air sky deck open in good weather.  Here you’ll also find the MIT MediaLab Digital Arts Museum
Starbucks on the second floor at Shibuya Station is another fun spot that has great people-watching of the world’s busiest intersection below.

Dig Into Local Cuisine

There is such a wide variety of dining styles available in Japan that you may not know quite where to start.  We recommend that your hotel might be a good first Tokyo Japanese restaurant experience before heading out to discover Japan’s expansive culinary offerings on your own.

Tokyo Sushi in boxes
Wikimedia Commons

You might also experience some Japanese versions of foods you are familiar with.  A visit to McDonald’s will be an eye-opener with all types of food offerings you’ve never seen before.  Stop at a small grocer and you will be amazed at the different varieties of snack chips and candy that are available!  Shrimp chips and green tea KitKat bars anyone?  You’ll marvel at the variety of foods offered by hot and cold vending machines in malls and arcades.  And everyone will get a kick out of ordering Sushi by computer tablet and having it delivered by conveyer belt.  Anyone who enjoys Sushi will be in heaven in Japan.  You’ll also appreciate that pictures of prepared dishes are everywhere.

There are dozens of themed cafes from Pokemon to Saga and J-Pop; from Maid Cafes to outrageous Cos-Play themes (costumed servers).  Japan brings street food to new heights.  Just take it easy in the beginning and go for well-cooked choices while you get used to their cuisine.  Osaka’s street food is famous for being Japan’s open kitchen with a wide variety of foods served on a skewer.

And then there are the noodle shops!  Whether your choice is Ramen, Soba or Udon, the variety of ways they are prepared will seem endless.

Perhaps the most unique of all, are the animal cafes.  Here you can come for a cuddle with adorable animals of all description from hedgehogs to bunnies and cats, from squirrels to micro pigs, owls and goats.  Absolutely unique!

Meet a Robot, Endless Gaming Malls and New Technology

Perhaps nowhere else on earth celebrates technology like Japan.  From new trends in vehicles to mind-bending video games to robots who are so life-like that are actually adorable, Japan embraces technology at every age.  Here are just a few places where teens can hang out and experience the best of gaming in Japan:

Akihbara (aka Electric Town)

Electric City Akihabara Japan
Wikimedia Commons by: Tischbeinahe

This is the place to go for huge multi-story gaming arcades and is the go-to place to buy unique electronic gadgets and electroncis equipment as well.

Odaiba

Take the driverless Yurikamome train from Shimbashi to the unique futuristic man-made electronic entertainment island in Tokyo Bay.  This is a teen mecca!  The Dubai-like buildings are home to an indoor amusement park and elaborate playgrounds.  The popular Miraikan National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation is here as well.  Get to know a friendly robot up close and personal and explore new AI frontiers and digital worlds with lots of hands-on exhibits.  But all the activity is not indoors, at the Aqua City Mall you’ll find a seaside beach park, a huge Ferris-Wheel that is dramatically lit at night, a Venice-themed shopping mall and gigantic gaming arcades.  There’s even a replica of the Statue of Liberty as well as the (free) Panasonic Center for new high-tech developments.  It’s clear to see you could spend at least one day taking in everything on this amazing island of technology.

Round One Stadium, Driver City Tokyo Plaza

This is an amusement store that features bowling alleys, arcade games, karaoke, and billiards.  There’s also Round One SpoCha, abbreviated for Sports Challenge, that offers a variety of items and indoor/outdoor activities such as batting cages, basketball, volleyball, tennis, futsal, driving range, etc.

Shibuya Crossing Toyko
Wikimedia Commons by: chensiyuan

Shibuya or Shibuya Station

This is another busy commercial center with great nightlife that has achieved cult-like popularity with teens and young adults.  Come here for glow-in-the-dark bowling, fun photo booths, manga cafe’s, karaoke and huge gaming and gambling venues.  The Mag’s Park rooftop observatory deck with an elevator light show on the ride up.  Shibuya Center Gai is a teen shopping street dream with dozens of quirky boutiques.  The neon here never ends and it’s a wonderful place for photo taking.

Go See That’s Zentertainment

This is theater performance in Asakusa, this is a 30-minute show that is filled with unbelievable acrobatic performances, humor, action, suspense and imagery by the internationally acclaimed group Shiro A.

Fuerza Bruta Wa!

Is another unforgettable multimedia theater performance in Tokyo.  This show will stimulate all your senses with its eclectic mix of drama, acrobatics and live performance all lit in dazzling colors and special effects.  This is a show that no one in your family will forget!

Japanese Culture and Traditions

Asakusa

Has the feel and flavors of ancient Japanese culture.  Here you’ll find the famed Kaminarianmon Gate, traditional craft shops and street-food stalls along Nakamise Shopping Street that leads to the ancient Sensō-ji temple. There’s also the old-fashioned Hanayashiki amusement park with rides and cafes, and the riverside Kuritsu Sumida Park often features festivals and firework displays.

Gion Entertainment District

This is and has always been the traditional Geisha Entertainment District in Kyoto.  Visit here to learn more about Geisha traditions and walk among charming historic architecture.  This is the ultimate place to experience the traditional Japanese tea ceremony served by hostesses in full Geisha attire.  Enjoy a walk along the historic streets and canals.  Take a craft class, snap pictures and marvel at the historic temples and don’t miss the cherry blossoms in spring.

Fushimi Inari Shrine

Torri Gates Japan
Source:  Pxfuel

Also in Kyoto, you will want to visit this iconic site to see the thousands of dramatic red torii gates.  Follow the network of trails boarded by torii gates that lead into the wooded forest and ascend to the sacred Mount Inari shrine.

Sports

Japanese culture places great value on excellence in sporting activities.  From baseball to golf, and every major sport you can name, Japan has wonderful facilities and athletes.  The summer Olympics will take place in Tokyo from late July through August this year.

Hokkaido Island in the North

Hokkaido Ski Resort Japan
Source:  Rawpixel

You will want to visit this area as it is where the Samurai warriors made their last stand at Fort Goryokaki.  At the Hakodate Jomon Cultural Center, you can try on traditional Japanese clothing and learn about local traditions and heritage.  This is also one of Japan’s premier outdoor sports centers with major ski resorts, hot springs, and trails for hikers, cyclists, and campers.

Minakami – Japan’s Big Backyard

Located just a one hour train ride outside of Tokyo, you’ll find what is considered the outdoor capital of Japan.   Here’s you can go river rafting, canyoning, cliff climbing, bungee jumping, hiking, mountain biking or luxuriate in the deluxe hot spring baths.  On a quieter day you can take a variety of craft classes from cooking to ceramics, fruit picking to jewelry making.  No matter the season, there are plenty of indoor and outdoor activities to please your family.

Sumo Wrestling

Sumo Wrestling is Japan’s national sport and this is about the only place in the world to experience it.  Tournaments primarily take place in January, May and September in Tokyo and one each in Osaka in March, Nagoya in July and Fukuoka in November.  The Sumo Museum is located inside the Kokugikan Sumo Stadium and during tournament seasons is accessible to ticket holders.  At other times admission is free for its exhibits.

If your family members are motorsport fans, you might enjoy a tour of one of Japan’s major auto manufacturers.  You can go on a tour of vehicle plants by Toyota, Honda, Mazda, Nissan to name a few.

It’s clear that whatever your teen’s interests, there are stimulating and interesting sites in Japan to keep them engaged.  Two reliable sites to turn to for more research are Japan-Guide.com and BestLivingJapan.com.