Kyoto is a fantastic place to visit with your children: it’s safe, clean and easy to get around. But, needless to say, it takes a bit of planning to keep your children happy – after all, not every child is a fan of Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines.
I have two young children, so I’m well versed in the art of keeping children happy in Kyoto. For starters, I can assure you that Kyoto is a great place to travel with children. You don’t have to worry about safety; the food and drinks are safe (and tasty); the Japanese like children; and getting around the city is a breeze with Kyoto’s excellent public transport system and myriad taxis.
There are lots of child-friendly attractions in Kyoto, as well as plenty of green spaces where you can take the kids to play. Here, I’ll discuss the main issues that concern parents traveling with children in Kyoto and then I’ll introduce my favorite child-friendly attractions, restaurants and accommodations in the city.
Tips For Visiting Kyoto With Infants And Toddlers
Here are some things to keep in mind:
- Japanese mothers don’t usually breastfeed in public. But, you can find special breastfeeding and diaper changing rooms in department stores like Takashimaya and Daimaru.
- You’ll also find nappy changing facilities in large train stations, airports and some public offices.
- Most hotels can provide a cot if you book one in advance. Ryokan don’t have cots, but since you’re sleeping on the floor, this isn’t a big issue.
- Many Western-style restaurants and some Japanese ones have highchairs available for children.
- If necessary, you can buy a stroller in Japan (and some stores and attractions have them available to borrow or rent), but it’s probably best to bring your own stroller from home.
- Diapers are widely available in supermarkets, convenience stores and drug stores. Sizes are usually indicated by weight range (in kilograms).
- Yasaka Taxi can provide a taxi with a child seat if you reserve in advance. Note, however, that the number of these taxis is limited.
- Car rental companies can provide child seats if you reserve one in advance.
- Baby food is available in supermarkets and some convenience stores. You might have to ask someone to help you find it and to translate the label to determine the flavor or ingredients.
- If your child has any food allergies, get someone at your hotel or ryokan to write this in Japanese so you can show it to restaurant staff.
Eating with Children in Kyoto
Food tends to be the biggest issue for families traveling to Japan. Sure, the food and drinks are hygienic and safe, but you’ll probably find that children are “challenged” by some of the unfamiliar items of the menu. I mean, have your children ever begged for sea urchin or, better yet, sea cucumber?
Luckily, there are plenty of restaurants in Kyoto that serve familiar items that kids will eat, and there are even some where you can indulge your own desire for great Japanese cuisine while keeping the kids happy as well. And, of course, if all else fails, there are the usual fast-food chains, both international ones and some excellent domestic ones.
Kyoto’s Best Child-Friendly Restaurants and Food Courts
- Ganko Sushi
- Eat Paradise Food Court
- The Cube Food Court
- Warai (okonomiyaki)
- Kyoto Ramen Koji
- Ippudo Ramen
- Porta Food Court
Kyoto’s Best Child-Friendly Attractions
- Fushimi-Inari-Taisha Shrine
- Kiyomizu-dera Temple
- Maruyama-koen Park
- Nanzen-gi Temple
- Kyoto Gyoen (Kyoto Imperial Palace Park)
- Kamo-gawa Riverside
- Teramachi and Shinkyogoku Arcades
- Kyoto Botanical Gardens
- Kyoto Steam Locomotive Museum
Best Kyoto Hotels and Ryokan for Children
Here’s a summary list of child-friendly places to stay in Kyoto. There’s more suggestions on our Best Kyoto Hotels For Families page.
- Hyatt Regency Kyoto
- Westin Miyako Kyoto
- Citadines Kyoto Karasuma Gojo
- Budget Inn
- Tour Club
- Aoi Machiya Stay (best for older children)
- Seikoro Ryokan (best for older children)
- Palace Side Hotel
- Sakara Kyoto
Itinerary for Travelers with Children
For a great one-day itinerary for travelers with children, be sure to check my Kyoto 1 Day Itinerary For Those With Young Children.
Kyoto Vacation Checklist
- See my comprehensive Packing List For Japan
- Compare Japan flight prices and timings on Skyscanner
- If you're visiting more than one city, get your Japan Rail Pass
- Check Kyoto accommodation availability and pricing on Booking.com
- Get travel insurance for your Japan trip - book online with World Nomads