DisneyKids Summer Adventure
Disneyland and DisneySea are ready for Japan’s school vacation with plenty of special summer attractions. Among them are the Naminamina dance program, in which kids get to jump on stage and dance alongside Mickey, Minnie and all their friends.
Tokyo Disney Resort, Jul 9-Aug 31. Nearest stn: Maihama. www.tokyodisneyresort.co.jp
Tokyo Toy Museum
More than a museum, the Tokyo Toy Museum is a giant, indoor-outdoor fun palace for the three-to-seven set. Stay all day for ¥1,000 and enjoy hands-on toy-making lessons from “teachers” in a three-floor building that used to be an elementary school.
Nearest stn: Yotsuya Sanchome. www.goodtoy.org/ttm
Fireman, burger chef… banker? Kids get to try their hand at 90 different occupations at this brainchild of Mexican entrepreneur Xavier López Ancona. Entry times are divided into daytime and evening sessions—get there early as spaces fill up fast.
Nearest stn: Toyosu. www.kidzania.jp
For 50 years a pilgrimage spot attracting the likes of Michael Jackson, this temple of toys reopens its Harajuku flagship in summer 2012 after two years of rebuilding. The new structure is taking shape and looks to be glitzy enough to suit the razzle-dazzle that Omotesando has become in the last decade.
Nearest stn: Omotesando. www.kiddyland.co.jp
Kodomo no Shiro
Yes it’s crowded (if possible avoid rainy days) and a bit fusty, but in terms of sheer convenience and variety of activities, Children’s Castle remains a top draw. For a mere ¥400, kids can enjoy a wide range of arts and music workshops, not to mention a rooftop pool, giant jungle gym and ever-changing program of performances and demonstrations.
Nearest stn: Omotesando. www.kodomono-shiro.com
Hot ‘n’ cranky? Get cool and happy at Tokyo’s largest water park. A spacious pool complete with sand beach and giant splash bucket inside a covered “Adventure Dome,” and a circulating outdoors “Adventure Lagoon” are just a few of the lures.
Nearest stn: Haijima. www.summerland.co.jp
Sumida River Fireworks Festival
Tokyo’s oldest and largest hanabi resumes where it left off after last year’s cancelation in the wake of 3/11. The fireworks started in 1733 following an official Shogun-sponsored event to pray for the victims of disease and famine.
Sumida River, July 28. Nearest stn: Asakusa. www.sumidagawa-hanabi.com
Tokyo Opera City Arts Shower
The music and arts spaces of Shinjuku’s Opera City complex boast a pretty rich kids’ program in the form of its annual Arts Shower. Kids can try their hand at playing a variety of classical music instruments and enjoy a concert by Japan’s popular Zoorasian Brass ensemble.
Tokyo Opera City, Jul 20-Aug 4. Nearest stn: Hatsudai. www.operacity.jp
Ultraman Festival 2012
Good old-fashioned live action figures are the big pull at the annual Urufesu. The 2012 edition celebrates the 45th birthday of Ultra Seven, the follow up to Ultraman that pits Ultra Seven against an unending stream of evilly inclined extraterrestrials.
Ikebukuro Sunshine City, July 27-Sep 2. Nearest stn: Ikebukuro. www.ulfes.com/2012
Legoland Discovery Center
A 4D interactive cinema and classes with Lego master builders will be among the attractions when Legoland opens its 4,000m2 site at the Decks Tokyo Beach mall next month in Odaiba. If that weren’t enough, Legoland developer Merlin Entertainments is to launch a Madame Tussauds waxworks museum in the same building in spring 2013.
Nearest stn: Odaiba-Kaihin Kouenin. www.legolanddiscoverycenter.jp
Along with the Sumida River Fireworks, Koenji’s Awaodori—based on the original Tokushima event—is one of Tokyo’s largest traditional festivals. Thousands of dancers test their funky awa moves (think lots of hand waving and jumping about) over nine routes set up along the shotengai, while a million visitors gawk and gape.
Nearest stn: Koenji. Aug 25-26. www.koenji-awaodori.com