My Tokyo Guide
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Updated: May 17, 2019
Travel not only expands your child's horizons, it provides a valuable opportunity for learning. Fun, fascinating and stimulating, Tokyo is a city that excites the senses. Take this one-day trip around Tokyo to experience museums, history, and toy shopping. If time permits, make a short detour to Ueno Park after visiting the National Museum of Nature and Science.
A major transport hub for western Tokyo, Shinjuku Station sees over 3.6 million visitors per day but the world-class efficiency of Japan's railway system sees traffic—rail and pedestrian—moving at a constant pace. Reach the station via the JR lines, the Odakyu Electric Railway, Keio Line, and the Toei Shinjuku, Toei Oedo and Marunouchi subway lines. Seibu-Shinjuku Station on the Seibu-Shinjuku Line, Shinjuku Nishi-guchi Station on the Toei Oedo Line, and Shinjuku-sanchome Station on the Marunouchi, Fukutoshin and Toei Shinjuku subway lines are all within relatively easy walking distance.
The underground passageway from Shinjuku Station's West Exit is the easiest way to reach the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Office Building. Pass the West Exit ticket gate and follow signs for "Nishi-Shinjuku," "Skyscraper District," and "Metropolitan Government Office" to reach your destination. Visit the Tourist Information Center on the first floor before taking the elevator to the 45th floor for free, panoramic views of Tokyo. A great way to take stock of the city, hope for clear skies for unbeaten views of Chiba, Yokohama and magnificent Mt. Fuji.
History buffs in the making will enjoy the interactive nature of the Samurai Museum, where you can learn all about Japan's ancient warriors and even dress up in replica armor. Over 70 items of armors and weapons are on display, and English signage is plentiful. Book ahead for calligraphy lessons or live swordplay demonstrations.
From Higashi-Shinjuku Station take the Tokyo Metro Fukutoshin Line bound for Motomachi-Chukagai and get off at the next stop, Shinjuku-sanchome Station. Transfer for an Ikebukuro-bound train on the Tokyo Metro Marunouchi Line and travel seven stops to Ginza Station.
Japan is famous for its "depachika" or department store basement food halls, and the depachika at Ginza Mitsukoshi—you'll find everything from salads to sandwiches and sushi—is one of Tokyo's finest. Grab yourself a bento lunchbox and then head up to the 9th floor terrace to enjoy your meal in garden surroundings.
Stocking over 200,000 kinds of toys, this multi-story store sells everything from character goods to Japan-themed souvenir goods. Signage is multilingual and each floor features products relating to a certain theme. Be sure to check out the Japan-only limited edition toys and the slot car racetrack on the 4th floor. Otherwise, head to the 8th floor for a performance at the Ginza Hakuhinkan Theatre; several shows are scheduled each month.
Ueno Station is a major transport hub for JR East lines and is also served by the Tokyo Metro Ginza and Hibiya subway lines. Arriving at Ueno on the Ginza Line, take one of the exits for Ueno Park, and the National Museum of Nature and Science located within.
Budding scientists will find much to explore at this museum located in a quiet corner of Ueno Park. Divided into two galleries—the Japan Gallery and Global Gallery—wander the premises to learn about the latest developments in natural history as well as the history of science and technology. Highlights include exhibitions on the Japanese islands, a history of Japanese inventions and the chance to track real-time environmental change using a Global Environment Detector.