Kyoto is regarded as the most traditional city in Japan.
It’s true, with many historical temples, shrines and monuments attracting many tourists coming from both inside and outside Japan.
However, visiting traditional places one after another might not be an ideal plan when traveling with kids, who tend not to be interested in that kind of thing. When that time comes, try changing the atmosphere by visiting one or more of the following places.
1. Kyoto Zoo
This is probably the easiest solution. Although it is not a huge zoo, there are a plenty of animal exhibits including tigers, lions, monkeys, penguins, giraffes, elephants, zebras, flamingos, snakes and so on. Additionally, there is a petting zoo with goats, sheep, and scheduled petting sessions with guinea pigs and rabbits, which should make any child smile with joy. The good thing about this zoo is the location. Its location is easy to access, next to Heian Jingu Shrine and two big art museums. For more information, read “Local Hot Spot: Kyoto Zoo.”
Price: 600 yen/Adult Free/Middle school student and younger.
Open Hours: 9:00 – 17:00 (March to November) 9:00 – 16:30 (December to February).
Closed on: Mondays and December 28th to January 1st.
2. Kyoto Botanical Garden
The biggest benefit of this spot is the size. Most sightseeing spots in Kyoto are usually busy, which means it’s not possible to let children wander. At Kyoto Botanical Garden, kids can enjoy running around while viewing many kinds of plants throughout the garden. In addition, there are several bakery restaurants near the botanical garden, which should be a good alternative to Japanese food. The restaurants and the nearest station (Kitayama/Subway Karasuma) are both located on Kitayama Street.
Price: 200 yen/Adult 150 yen/High school student Free/Middle school student and younger
Open Hours: 9:00 – 16:00
Closed on: December 28th – January 4th
3. Kyoto Aquarium
Although it is more pricy than the two options above, Kyoto Aquarium is an excellent option that kids can definitely enjoy. There are dozens of giant salamanders welcoming visitors near the entrance and the dolphin show, which focuses on music, should wow everyone. Also, aquarium (sea creature) themed snacks and foods are fun to try. It is advisable to visit this aquarium on weekdays, since the weekends can be quite crowded.
Price: 2050 yen/Adult, 1550 yen/College & high school student, 1000 yen/Middle school student, 600 yen/child older than 3 years old
Open Hours: 10：00 – 18:00
4. Kyoto Toei Studio Park
This is a theme park where visitors can enjoy Japanese traditional culture including Ninja and Samurai. There are many enjoyable attractions and events throughout the park. It’s a delightful way for kids to immerse themselves in Japanese traditional culture.
Price: 2200 yen/Adult, 1300 yen/High & middle school student, 1100 yen/child older than 3 years old.
Open Hours: 9:00 – 17:00.
Closed on: January 16th to January 20th 2017.
5. Kyoto Railway Museum (Opening April 27th 2016)
Kyoto Railway Museum is the newest kids friendly spot in Kyoto. This railway museum defines itself as a museum where you can see, touch and experience. There are many displays of actual railway vehicles here including retired Shinkansen, express trains, steam locomotives and luxurious overnight trains. In addition to the kids section, there is a SL (steam locomotive) that anyone can get on (300 yen/adult 100 yen/child).
Price: 1200 yen/Adult, 1000 yen/College & high school student, 500 yen/Middle & elementary school student, 200 yen/child older than 3 years old.
Open Hours: 10:00 – 17:30.
Closed on: Wednesdays and the end/beginning of the year holidays.
Or if you rather want to read the guidebook on your Kindle e-book reader or application, then get our Kyoto e-Guidebook on Amazon instead.