I adore Tokyo. Andy and I have been there 3 times and I’d go back again tomorrow if I could. Tokyo is incredible. It’s huge, a city on a scale I’ve never seen before. It is also clean, safe, easy to navigate and, as we now know, very child-friendly.
We stayed at a hotel in Shinjuku where Andy and I stayed on a previous visit. Shinjuku is a brilliant neighbourhood with tons of things to do, places to eat and drink, easy access to public transport and more shopping malls than you could ever visit.
Before we left Australia to head to Japan we put Georgia in a bit of “Japanese food training.” We didn’t want her to get to Japan and be unwilling to eat local food. I couldn’t stand the thought of my kid eating only plain pasta or crisps whilst surrounded by some of the best food in the world. So, for months before our trip Georgia and I would go out for sushi at least once a week where she’d order sashimi and salmon rolls (cost a bloody fortune, but worth every cent!) We’d go for Japanese noodles, we’d order her edamame, get her to try gyoza, she even at nato at a friend’s house (which makes her braver than I am, nato scares me to death.) So, after her training and 2 weeks in Osaka, Kyoto and Mt. Fuji, our girl was ready to take on the Tokyo food scene!
Tokyo really is terribly kid friendly. Every restaurant, from the smallest noodle counters to packed and busy izakayas, had children’s bowls, glasses and cutlery for G to use. We’d often order just 4 adult meals and everyone would scoop some of their food into G’s bowl and no one minded. She was welcome everywhere.
We spent our days seeing the sights. We went to the shrines at Asakusa, visited the National Museum of Natural History (which has an exceptional kids play area… highly recommended), wandered amongst the raw-fish extravaganza that is Tsukiji Market, visited a cat cafe and checked out the Tokyo Museum and the Tokyo Toy Museum (both also brilliant for kids!)
We spent our evenings eating and drinking and generally soaking up all Tokyo has to offer. After a few nights in Shinjuku we developed a few favourites… the izakaya with delectable gyozas, the stand-up place with no chairs and incredible tempura asparagus, Yakitori Alley where the whole street was filled with tiny bars serving skewers of meat and vegetables cooked over coals and our favourite place had a chef who always slipped us a free serving of scallops or clams. And in each of these places little Georgia was welcomed and well-catered for. It’s a remarkable city.
And, to make the trip even more magical, on several nights my parents brought G back to the hotel early for her bath and bedtime and Andy and I got to stay out for Date Nights! We don’t get out on our own much, so this was a huge treat. We ate, we drank, we laughed at Andy’s attempts to speak Japanese. It was like revisiting our first two trips to Tokyo. Dreamy.
In fact, by the end of almost a month in Japan we’d gotten so used to having grandparents around to help us with our luggage and our toddler that we were tempted to beg them to continue on our travels with us and book themselves flights to London! Instead, we all slurped a few more bowls of ramen, gobbled a few more gyozas, hugged for ages and hopped on flights going in opposite directions across the globe. Next up… England!