Delve deep into the art of Japan’s legendary, lethal assassins at the Ninja Trick House, where kids have the opportunity to wield katanas and fling shurikens – all under careful supervision, of course. The photo ops are endless and there are more than a few educational moments woven into all the fun.
1 / 11 Be a ninja for the dayLoad more
3 / 11 Learn about science the fun wayLoad more
Japan’s fascination with technology has resulted in not one, but three science museums spread across the metropolis. Although each has its plus points, the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation wins for its interactive, English-language exhibitions. Stay for a science workshop or watch one of the four daily live demonstrations of ASIMO, a walking automaton.
4 / 11 Dine at a candy-coloured cafeLoad more
It may be bizarre, but the luridly coloured Kawaii Monster Cafe is pure Harajuku and a whole lot of fun. Each of the four areas has its own trippy theme and serves an assortment of rainbow-hued dishes perfect for kids who love to play with their food.
7 / 11 Discover Japanese history – in miniatureLoad more
Pore over detailed scale models of the Edo, Meiji and Showa periods at the Edo-Tokyo Museum, as well as a life-size replica of Nihonbashi, an important bridge in Tokyo. It’s one of the best ways to make the country’s past come alive for a younger audience.
A version of this article first appeared on SilverKris.
8 / 11 Meet Hello Kitty and her friendsLoad more
Experience everything kawaii (Japanese for “cute”) at Sanrio Puroland, home of Hello Kitty, My Melody, Kiki and Lala, Gudetama and other iconic Sanrio characters.
This unique theme park offers several attractions, from a 10-minute boat ride through the Sanrio world; a ride around My Melody’s neighbourhood in the Eco Melody Car, with plenty of photo-taking opportunities along the way; and a visit to Dream Star Cloud, where the Little Twin Stars, Kiki and Lala were born.
Tickets start from 2,500 yen (S$31.30) per child and 3,300 yen per adult.
9 / 11 Learn to cook Japanese foodLoad more
If your little one enjoys cooking and baking, why not sign her up for a short cooking class at ABC Cooking Studio? The classes are conducted in English and suitable for children aged four years and older.
Learn simple Japanese dishes, like onigiri (rice balls), tamagoyaki (rolled omelette) and wagashi (traditional Japanese sweets); baked treats like Fruit Roll Cake; and decorative sushi rolls and pretty matcha (green tea) desserts.
A 90-minute lesson starts from 5,000 yen (S$62.60) per person.
10 / 11 Train like a ninja warriorLoad more
Receive full ninja training at the Ninja Trick House, located in Shinjuku.
The session includes a number of activities and experiences, from learning how to throw shurikens (small concealed weapons) to uncovering secrets in the ninja house, engaging in swordplay, and learning how to use a ninja sword (note: the swords are not real).
Your children will also get to take photographs with a ninja. As the space is small, tours are kept to a maximum of 12 people. Each tour lasts 30 to 45 minutes.
Tickets are 1,100 yen (S$13.80) per person. Admission is free for children aged three and younger.
11 / 11 Make food samplesLoad more
Japan is known for its fake food displays, and what better place to learn how to make them than at Ganso Sample, the country’s top food replica manufacturer?
At its Kappabashi store, visitors can learn how to make prawn tempura and a small head of lettuce using wax.
The food replica-making workshop is open to participants aged seven and up.
Children aged 10 and below must be accompanied by an adult (the adult must also participate in the workshop and pay a workshop fee).
Each workshop lasts from 60 to 75 minutes and reservations are recommended.
Although the workshops are conducted in Japanese, they are easy to follow because there are employees to guide you and demonstrate the techniques.
Workshop fees cost 2,300 yen (S$28.85) per participant.