My three teen boys have grown up in Tokyo and do not agree on much. However, they were able to agree on this Tokyo Teen Checklist on the must see and do. To make sure the list was not too male oriented the list was edited by a select group of members of the female persuasion. Share this list with your teen to have them vote on what they want and reduce the emotional rollercoaster of living or traveling with a teen(s) just a tad. All of the activities below can be conducted without parental supervision if desired or necessary.
Tokyo Teen Checklist – The Must See and Do
1. Karaoke in Shibuya is a popular night destination with groups of teens. Karaoke Kan in Shibuya is a safe bet to sing the night away.
2. Shopping and eating in Harajuku (especially Takeshita Dori). Cool places to eat including Guzman Y Gomez, Kawaii Monster Cafe, and the numerous crepe stores.
3. Walk the Main Street of Omotesando after shopping the teen trends in Harajuku. Teen girls and boys love popping into western top brand stores to feel the juxtaposition vs. the trendy items in Harajuku. For sports and outdoor brands head down Cat Alley which is a side street off Omotesando.
4. Yoshinoya – What teen boy does not like a restaurant that’s motto is “Tasty, low-priced, and quick. ” For under $10.00 your teen can buy a heaping bowl of beef on rice (Gyudon). Located throughout Japan.
5. Animal cafes – Cat cafe, Goat Cafe, Owl Cafe are said to be very popular with the teen girls group. Some are just cafes where you can grab a drink or lunch, and see or pet the animals briefly. Others are petting rooms where you pay 1,500-4,500 per hour to hold and pet the animals. My boys have no interest in animal cafes, so I can not speak from personal experience yet.
6. Shopping in Shibuya – Teen girls love the Shibuya Arcades, Loft and photo booths to take their Puricura photos. Adores Shibuya (google map) is one of the most popular spots for teen girls. Mom and Dad can walk around Meiji Jingu or visit the Japan Folk Craft Museum while the teens enjoy the latest Shibuya trends.
7. Glow in the dark bowling in Shibuya is a very quintessential Japanese experience. This is actually an activity that the entire family will enjoy. Our favourite is EST Bowling in Shibuya which is open from 10:00 a.m. 5:30 a.m. If you are up late or super early this is a fun option. EST website in Japanese. Shibuya 1-14-14, Shibuya Higashi Kaikan 3F.
8. The iconic “I love Tokyo” in Shibuya – This sign is actually a store shutter in Shibuya which has become quite a famous backdrop for teen photos. You need to visit at night since the store hours run until about 6:00pm and the shutter is not visible. Located near Yamashita Park.
9. Yoyogi Park festivals and food booths are very popular every Saturday and Sunday between April and November. Almost every weekend there is a themed festival from Thai to Ecology. Great place to try Japanese festival foods including Yaki Soba (fried noodles) and Tako Yaki (octopus balls).
10. Odaiba – Take a boat cross Tokyo bay or ride a bike to spend the day in Odaiba. Odaiba is a teen mecca on the weekends with the indoor amusement park Joypolis. Round One Indoor Sports Complex, Shopping at Venus Port, Decks and Aqua City, Miraikan Science and Technology Center, and if not shy Oedo Onsen which has baths, games and food!
11. Tokyo Tower is centrally located and an icon in Japan. Buy a ticket to the top to see the layout of the city. My boys prefer Tokyo Tower over the Sky Tree. The bottom floors of the tower have may gift and food shops.
12 . Kaiten Sushi is a must eat activity in Japan. My teens love ordering their own items and piling the plates. Beware if they start a eating competition it can add up quickly!
13. Akihabara (Electric Town) if your teen is in to technology or anime. Skip if they are not REALLY into computers, electronics and anime.
14. Convini everything – Yep, Tokyo teens love the ubiquitous Japanese convenience store. One stop shopping of the latest flavoured ships, drinks and iTune Cards. 24/7 indulgence.
15. Aoyama Cemetery walk is a cool walk through any time of the year to appreciate history. Thousands of cherry trees make the cemetery a popular destination in April. The graveyard, which is in central, Tokyo was the first public graveyard in Japan. The cemetery includes a gaikokujin bochi (foreign cemetery) where you can find the graves are of foreign experts who came to Japan at the end of the 19th century, as part of the Meiji Government’s drive for modernisation.
16. Tokyo Dome amusement and baseball game – Great place to spent an afternoon before catching a Giants baseball game! Giants baseball tickets can be purchased at this site in English.
17. Asakusa Shrine, Shopping and Food – Teens can only handle so many shrines. The Senso-ji Shrine gets the thumbs up from my teens since it is an impressive shrine in size and design but the approach to the shrine is fun due to large number of souvenir shops and food. Behind the shrine you can also find numerous food booths and a old, but uniquely Japanese, amusement park with a few rides.
18. McDonalds in Japan – My Tokyo teens recommend a visit to McDonalds to see the difference in menus vs. ones` home country. The french fries may taste the same but there are some fun difference at the same value points as home.
19. The Edo-Tokyo Museum – My teens love history, and have voted The Edo-Tokyo Musuem as the most comprehensive and engaging museum in Tokyo. Tween and Teens can get a good overview of Tokyo-Edo history from hundred of years ago until present day in one visit.
20. Korea town in Shin-Okuno for Korean-style barbecue, Korean Fried Chicken, Cosmetics, K shop stores and cafes. Very popular with teen girls.
21. Tsukiji Open Market – The early morning Tuna auction is great fun if you can get your teen up at 3:30 a.m. But don’t worry if you can’t wake your tribe since the day market starting about 9:00 is great fun. Walk the alleys and see a huge variety of fish, seaweeds, and other delicious items that Japanese eat on a daily basis.
OUTSIDE TOKYO TOKYO TEENS (Day Trips)
22. Kamakura is a great day trip from Tokyo. Spend the day visiting the largest metal Buddha in Japan, some great temples around town and many wonderful boutiques and restaurants. If warm stop by the beach and have a swim.
23. Mt. Takao Hiking is about a one hour train ride from central Tokyo. Hike from the train station to the top of the Mountain to see some great views of the greater Tokyo area. The spring cherry blossoms and fall foliage is beautiful. The hike is quite easy, however, if you don’t want to climb from the bottom you can take the monorail halfway up the mountain. Great outdoor adventure to take a break from Tokyo.
24. Yokohama China Town is definitely one of my Tokyo teens’ favourite places to eat. Wander around the streets eating dumpling and then enjoy a relaxing lunch or dinner. The Yokohama China Town is one 140 years old. I recommend you take a day trip to Yokohama and check out the Cup Noodles Museum and the Japan Overseas Migration Museum which my teens loved!
Tokyo Teen Checklist – The Must See and Do