Best Things to do in Kyoto with Kids – a Family Friendly Kyoto Guide!

Best Things to do in Kyoto with Kids – a Family Friendly Kyoto Guide!

Kyoto is absolutely my favorite place that we visited in all of Japan! And it is a place that you must budget enough time for (we didn’t and we regret not extending our stay even longer) as it is a place full of amazing sites and Japanese hidden gems! It is the perfect place to learn about Japanese culture, history and food at a much less frantic place than Tokyo and for this reason Kyoto with kids should really be on any families’ Japan bucket list. To help you navigate this amazing city we round up the best things to do on Kyoto with kids, where to stay in Kyoto and our other top tips for visiting Kyoto with kids! 

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Updated: July 2019

Best Things to Do In Kyoto with Kids

Looking for what to do in Kyoto with kids? There are so many things kids in Kyoto will love so in this section we will run through our favourite things to do in Kyoto for kids including practical information about how to get there and what to take to help you make the most of your family vacation in Kyoto!

Golden pavilion aka Kikakuji with Kids

Golden pavilion aka Kikakuji one of the best things to do in Kyoto with Kids

Golden pavilion aka Kikakuji one of the best things to do in Kyoto with Kids

The Golden Pavilion is one of the most iconic sites in all of Kyoto! Unsurprisingly therefore it can get really busy! My top tip for visiting the golden pavilion with kids is to make sure you get there early especially if you are visiting in summer to beat the crowds and the heat!

There are lots of steps at the pavilion so it’s best not to take a stroller and use a carrier instead!

The golden pavilion is further out of town than most Kyoto attractions!! We decided to get a taxi rather than public transport and I think with the heat and our itinerary this was a great decision. But it can be done on public transport on s combination of train and bus!

If you are debating whether or not to visit all I can say is it is definitely worth the trip and it is even more beautiful in real life!

The Golden Pavilion one of the best things in kyoto for kids

The Golden Pavilion one of the best things in kyoto for kids

Temple and grounds entrance fee 400 Y/adult, 300 Y/child 6+.

Looking for a tour featuring this then we recommend booking this early bird tour! 

Fushimi Inari with Kids

Shrines may not on paper seem like the most family friendly of places but no visit to Kyoto is complete without a visit to Fushimi Inari Taisha shrine.

what to do in kyoto - Fushimi Inari with Kids

what to do in kyoto – Fushimi Inari with Kids

You need a couple of hours here depending on how quick you walk and how high up you want to walk! But be warned the shrine is full of steps – you are walking up a mountain after all! This is not a place for a stroller so make sure your little one is up to walking or bring a carrier!

Shrines in kyoto kids will love

Shrines in kyoto kids will love

How to get there

  • There are train and metro stations nearby. Fushimi Inari Shrine is located just outside JR Inari Station, the second station from Kyoto Station along the JR Nara Line (not served by rapid trains). The shrine can also be reached in a short walk from Fushimi Inari Station along the Keihan Main Line which was our chosen route.

Looking for a tour featuring this then consider booking this early bird tour! 

Entrance: Free!

You can read our full review of Fushimi Inari with kids here!

Nijo Castle – a great place in Kyoto for children

It doesn’t feature in many of the guidebooks top ten lists but in my opinion it really should and it is one thing that I would out on your itinerary for Kyoto with children! The castle was built in 1603 by the first Shogun of the Edo Era!

Nijo Castle - things to do with kids in kyoto

Nijo Castle – things to do with kids in kyoto

It is a vast complex built up of several open to the public buildings as well as extensive and spectacular grounds! Our favorite part of the day was having to take off our shoes and explore the main castle building!

We loved listening to the nightingale floors – which was apparently an early security measure! The Audio guide was definitely worth getting to cover more of the castle history!

Not to be missed are the castle grounds and gardens which were actually my favorite gardens that we visited in the whole of Japan!

Things to do in Kyoto with toddlers and baby

Things to do in Kyoto with toddlers and baby

Outside of the Castle is the Ninomaru Gardens, included in the entrance fee! These were my favorite Japanese gardens on our trip. We were lucky enough to visit when there were art installations in the grounds which added to the beauty!

600 Y/adult, 200 Y/children.  

If you would like to do a tour of Nijo Castle – we recommend booking this private tour! 

Gion and geishas, Kyoto with children 

Geishas are synonymous with Kyoto and one of the must do things in Kyoto with children! There are most frequently spotted in the Gion district which is also a great area to grab some foods. If you are lucky and there early evening you may catch sight of one! We did in the distance!

Even if you don’t see a geisha it is worth w visit to see the old wooden buildings and lanterns as you feel like you are being transported to a different time!

To get the most out of your visit to Gion we recommend doing this walking tour!

Free

Manga museum – one of the best things in Kyoto for Kids!

This museum dedicated to Japanese manga is one of the best Kyoto attractions for kids! One if the biggest draws for visiting is to get your portrait done by a manga artist! A great souvenir! It is definitely one of the best things to do in Kyoto for Kids, and is a must especially if you are visiting Kyoto with teenagers!

Museum entry is 800 Y/adults, 100 Y/children.

Imperial palace

The Imperial Palace should be on your kyoto itinerary with kids

The Imperial Palace should be on your kyoto itinerary with kids

Further out of town but well worth a visit in my opinion! It could be coupled with a visit to Nijo Castle as it is only a twenty minute walk between the two!

You can do an audio guide of the grounds and buildings and also enjoy more beautiful Japanese grounds!

If you would like to do a tour of we recommend booking this private tour! 

Higashiyama District 

Home to the highest density of shrines and temples in all of Kyoto! Filled with beautiful alleys lined with wooden buildings! Depending on who you are traveling with – we were with our toddler and we were there in September at midday when the weather was very hot so we didn’t spend as long there as we would have liked but we could have certainly on a different occasion spent a whole day there!

Markets

Kyoto has some awesome markets! Nishiki Market is perhaps the most well known and was definitely my favourite! This narrow covered market is a great place to try a variety of Japanese street eats!

Best Day trips from Kyoto with kids

Nara

Home to temples but most famously deer who come up right to you! A regret that we didn’t get to go there! The deer are protected and many people feed the deer on their visit!

We recommend doing this Nara Day trip from Kyoto! 

Entrance: free

Arashiyama bamboo forest

Another one that it is essential to get there early for! It gets so busy and you have the best light for photos here in the morning!

To make the most out of a trip to Arashiyama and to save hassle with kids we recommend you taking this day trip tour! 

Entrance: free

Where to stay in Kyoto with kids aka the most family friendly hotels in Kyoto

Whenever you travel with kids, one of the biggest concerns is finding the right accommodation! You need the holy trinity of perfect location, enough space and family friendly amenities! In this guide we round up the most family friendly hotels in Kyoto to help you create the perfect family vacation in Kyoto! 

Luxury – Four Seasons Kyoto – the perfect hotel for family friendly holidays to Kyoto

Westin Kyoto

Mid range – Hotel Brighton – brilliant sized rooms perfect for Kyoto family trips! Located close to the imperial palace and nijo castle!

We stayed at Hotel Brighton! Famed as being ba Princess Diana stayed during her visit to Kyoto! Although not ultra luxurious as I am sure it once was the hotel is great for families as the rooms are on the larger side and it offers better value than some other luxury hotels in Kyoto!

Some might find the location a little far out of town, as it is closer to the Imperial Palace and Nijo Castle rather than the Gion District but we found it to be very convenient and we didn’t mind travelling slightly further (a short bus to the centre) in order to get a bit more space! 

For an authentic experience: Stay in a Ryokan but check they allow kids!

If you would prefer to stay in an AirBNB we recommend staying with a super host which means they have received previously very high reviews! Always check with host for details and up to date information when travelling with kids! 

Some ryokan and unique stay accommodation in Kyoto includes:

Getting around Kyoto with kids

kyoto is an Easy place to explore with kids! As is my recommendation anywhere walking is a great way to get to know a city! But you will need transport to get around the major sites! We usedThe tourist taxi

Prices are the same but drivers have done English! We had some conversations about Theresa May and the ever popular mr bean on some of our journeys!

Trains

From Tokyo – take the shinkansen (bullet train).  It may be expensive, but it is one of those once in a lifetime bucket list experiences you must do while inJapan.  It only takes 2.5 hours to get from Tokyo to Kyoto! If you are lucky you may catch a glimpse of Mount Fuji on the ride!

Local trains

The local trains can be used to visit sites such as Fushimi Inari and are easy to navigate with English maps!

When to Visit Kyoto with kids!

In the summer, Kyoto like the rest of Japan can get really hot and humid. I would say that this doesn’t necessarily have to put you off visiting at this time of year so long as you plan your dasy around the heat to make sure your little ones are as comfortable as possible. Also remember to take plenty of snacks and more importantly water.

Obviously Spring is a great time to visit Kyoto because of all the beautiful cherry blossoms that will be in bloom but be warned that this will mean that the hotel prices will soar and the tourist attractions will be a lot busier!

How long do you need in Kyoto with kids? What is a good Kyoto itinerary with kids 

This is a case of do as I say not as I did! We only had three nights in Kyoto and it wasn’t enough! I would budget a minimum of 4 nights on Kyoto on any trip!

A good sample itinerary would be 

Day One of the best Kyoto itinerary with kids 

AM – Arashiyama Bamboo Foreset

PM – Golden Pavilion 

Dinner – Gion and Geisha Spotting 

Day Two of the best Kyoto itinerary with kids 

AM – Fushimi Ianari 

PM – Imperial Palace 

Niji Castle

Day Three of the best Kyoto itinerary with kids 

Explore the Higashiyama District 

Kodaiji Shrine 

Maruyama Park 

PM – Manga Museum 

Day Four of the best four day Kyoto itinerary with kids 

Day Trip to Nara 

What to eat on Kyoto for families 

Traveling with toddler we were worried about what she would eat but we found the cuisine really diverse and toddler friendly and there are loads of great choices for restaurants in Kyoto for Families 

Some of the best places to eat in Kyoto with kids included:

Department stores: a great place for reasonable priced food with good selection for kids!

Conveyer belt sushi: no trip to japan is complete without this experience!

If you want to splash out then visit the beautiful Pontocho alley for dinner

Don’t worry about ordering as many places have English menus and those that don’t have plastic replicas for you to choose from

Not many places we ate in had high chairs so if you need you may want to take a portable high chair with you!

Travelling to Kyoto with toddler or baby – helpful hints and tips

  • If you are travelling to Kyoto with toddler or baby in tow you might be wondering whether or not you should take a stroller to Kyoto! I would say if you have room and you have an umbrella stroller (the only type of stroller I would take to Kyoto) then by all means use it! While some places are stroller friendly however I would recommend leaving the stroller behind at places like Fushimi Inari and other temples where the surface is more likely too be uneven and where there are many steps
  • Places in Kyoto get busy, especially when traveling in peak season and the summer gets pretty hot. We advise setting off early to make the most of your day and try and plan an indoor activity during the worst of the heat!
  • It can be hot traveling around Kyoto with baby! Carriers can be useful in Kyoto but we recommend getting a baby carrier specifically designed for hot weather – you can check out our recommendations here! 

If you are planning to travel to other parts of Japan with a toddler such as Tokyo then you should check out our guide! 

Where to buy supplies in Kyoto with baby

If you are concerned with where to buy supplies when travelling to Kyoto with baby you shouldn’t! There are plenty of department stores and supermarkets where you can pick up ample baby supplies! We didn’t struggle in Kyoto buying nappies, milk and other baby essentials and would definitely recommend visit Kyoto with a baby!

Overall opinion of Kyoto with kids

We absolutely loved Kyoto with kids! It was our favourite stop on our japan trip and one of our favourite ever family travel spots! Just make sure you budget enough time to experience everything this great city has on offer!

Guide to Kyoto with kids, things to do in Kyoto with kids, child friendly Kyoto #kyoto #japan #familytravel

Guide to Kyoto with kids, things to do in Kyoto with kids, child friendly Kyoto #kyoto #japan #familytravel

This most contains affiliate links - this means that if you click on a link and buy something I get a small commission at no extra cost to you
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15 Comments

  1. December 10, 2018 / 9:44 pm

    My husband really wants to visit Japan but I’d never thought it would be somewhere to take our children. It looks far more child friendly than I imagined. #MondayEscapes

  2. December 13, 2018 / 1:48 pm

    We would love to visit Kyoto one day! It’s so beautiful! So for us, there’s no debating about whether or not to go! #FarawayFiles

  3. December 14, 2018 / 1:02 am

    What a great guide, your pictures are stunning. It’s been about 15 years since I went to Kyoto, I need to return with my two daughters
    #farawayfiles

  4. December 19, 2018 / 9:01 pm

    I am dying to go to Japan, especially Kyoto! Sounds so family-friendly too. Hoping to make it there some day soon, but it is definitely a hike from New York. Thanks for linking up with #farawayfiles

  5. January 7, 2019 / 11:20 am

    Looks stunning. Would love to take my kids to have a Japanses adventure. Wonder if we could get there by bike and train and ferry?!!! #fearlessfamtrav

    • January 7, 2019 / 11:26 am

      You probably could – it would be quite the adventure!

  6. January 7, 2019 / 10:08 pm

    It sounds amazing. Japan is definitely on our bucket list although I’m not sure when we’ll get there. #fearlessfamtrav

  7. January 8, 2019 / 3:44 am

    It looks stunning! Of all the cities in Japan, Kyoto is the one I’m most looking forward to visiting. #fearlessfamtrav

  8. January 8, 2019 / 9:32 am

    This is a place that’s definitely on my list after following you adventures here. I love how vibrant your photos are too! #fearlessfamtrav

  9. January 8, 2019 / 12:20 pm

    Japan is bucket list dreams for me. It’s looks amazing and now I want to go even more. One day… #fearlessfamtrav

  10. January 9, 2019 / 7:18 am

    I lived in Japan with my husband before we had kids and reading this post has me wishing to take them there! You certainly look at things differently when you travel with kids, I went to many of these places but I have no memory of whether or not the ground was stroller friendly, lol. Thanks for all of your great tips. #fearlessfamtrav

  11. January 9, 2019 / 2:10 pm

    Japan is definitely on our bucket list! Really interesting to read all that there is to do in Kyoto. One day, hopefully soon…. #fearlessfamtrav

  12. January 10, 2019 / 1:06 pm

    We just got back from Kyoto, and everyone loved it! We saw lots of things on your list but we missed out on Nijo-jo – just wasn’t enough time to get there although we went past it on the bus every day! My kids liked Fushimi-Inari best. #fearlessfamtrav

    • January 10, 2019 / 1:28 pm

      That was my daughters fave too! Whereabouts did you guys

  13. January 27, 2019 / 8:21 pm

    Wow looks absolutely wonderful. Love this guide and Leona your pictures are so beautiful. Thanks for linking up to Monday Escapes

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