Tokyo Family Vacations : 5 Days Itinerary featuring Changi Recommends



We headed to Japan during the last holiday.


It was a whirlwind 2 weeks trip to 5 different cities and numerous attractions in between. Our first stop was to Tokyo, our familiar spot in Japan. Having been to Tokyo a couple of time, we decided to change things up a little and explore attractions we had yet explore.

This itinerary would probably be 'alien' for 1st timers to Tokyo. You might want to check out our  'Snippets of Tokyo '  for a more mainstream itinerary for Tokyo.  If you are heading there for a longer vacation, have the best of both worlds and combine both itineraries to explore what Tokyo has to offer for families.


Day 1 : Arrival
Destination : Grand Nikko Hotel , Odaiba
Changi Wifi
Before we left for the trip, we picked up our reserve Changi Wifi from the airport. Having used them in our previous trip, this nifty gadget is a must have for travelers. You get to enjoy unlimited wifi with 4G coverage for up to 6 devices. For our trip, it was essential in helping us plan our way around Tokyo attractions. For only $5 a day, it was the most useful thing we pack for the trip.

You can get yours here

Haneda Airport
We took the ANA flight instead of SQ and landed at Haneda Airport. It proved to be the right choice as our Hotel - Grand Nikko , Odaiba is less than 30 minutes away.
Grand Nikko

Given that it was winter, night falls pretty early. It was already dark by the time we reached.

We took a stroll to the nearby Divercity and enjoyed the night lights along the way.
Rainbow Bridge

It is almost a must to  take a picture of the Giant Gundam guarding the entrance of Diver City Plaza if you are in Odaiba.
Gundam @ Diver City
Our first stop was a quick dinner at the food court . Ramen was our choice for dinner that night. Simply Oishii!
Ramen
One of our agenda was to catch some toys from the UFO catchers. If you had been to Tokyo, you would know that you probably could find an amusement center in every major malls and even corners of the streets. Having a good haul 2 years ago, we decided to have another go at it at Round 1 . During this whole trip, we had probably been to 10 different arcade centers around Tokyo and Osaka, so it will be safe to say we had a good haul.

Round 1 Diver City
Day 2 : Disneysea
Disney Seas
The next day we headed to DisneySea. Though we were there 30 minutes before opening, there was already a long queue at the ticket counter. Thankfully, we got our Disneysea Tickets from Changi Recommend and managed to skip the queue.
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It is highly recommended you get the tickets online as you probably have to dash to Toy Story Mania to get your fast pass tickets. As a result, we managed to sit on the best ride in Disneysea twice!

Long Queues at Toy Story Mania

Having been to Disneysea for the third time, we obviously love the place. After, all it is the happiest place on earth.

Fast passes are essential for a trip to Disneysea. Queues can get very long 90 mins, so having fast passes will allow you to save time on queuing.


You probably would have to allocate a day for your Disney adventure regardless if it is to Disneysea or Disneyland.
Go Round and round
Heading to Disneysea during Christmas season always promises to be a little more special with the lights around the park. Highly recommended if you are planning for a year end trip to Tokyo.
Disneysea


Day 3 : Meiji Shrine, Harajuku, Akihabara,  Shinjuku , Robot Restaurant

It was a busy day for Day three. We are targeting to visit 3 places today.

Harajuku and Meiji Shrine


First off, we headed to Harajuku  to catch a glimpse of the famous Takeshita Street .

As we were not in a shopping mood, we decided to visit the nearby Meiji Shrine instead.

Meiji Shrine is one of the more popular shrine in Tokyo. The shrine is dedicated to Emperor Meiji,  the first Emperor of modern Japan

The contrast between the busy Takeshita Street and Meiji Shrine made a stark comparison. Instead of buildings on each side of the road, we were greeted with lush greenery on the way to the shrine.

Along the way , you would see the numerous Sake barrels lining up on one side of the road. These are decorative displays and do not contain Sake.They had been donated by Sake brewers all over Japan with the sake used for ceremonies.


It was about 15 minutes easy walk before we reach the entrance.

As part of visiting the temples, visitors are supposed to purify oneself before entering. There is a water point with ladles. You  are supposed to take water from the ladle to your cup hands, rinse your mouth and spit it at the side.

We also witness a traditional wedding ceremony while at Meiji Shrine. It is not something you would see everyday.

Occasionally, you can spot kimonos at the temple too.
Kimono

For worshipers, you can offer your prayers on these small wooden plaques known as Ema.


Akihabara
Taito Station
Next stop is at Akihabara as Dad will be picking up a camera lens from Bic Camera. We decided to stopover at the Taito Station and Sega to catch some toys.
Sega
Shinjuku , Robot Resturant

Our last stop was Robot Restaurant in Shinjuku. The Robot show had evolved throughout the years and is now a family friendly attraction. We were treated to a psychedelic performance and witness wacky battles between Robots and mythical creatures. It was a sensory overload performance and one that you should catch to see the weird side of Tokyo.

After the show, we explored Shinjuku. Shinjuku is also known for the Gozilla building. Can you spot it in the photo below?

Dinner was a Unagi bento from one of the small roadside restaurant. In Tokyo, most of the restaurants serve Japanese food. For this trip, 90% of our meals were Japanese food. No complains here as it was delicious.
Unagi
Travelling within Tokyo was a breeze. The trains connect to most major attractions. Changing trains might be challenging if there are no English sign. With the aid of Changi Wifi and Google map, this task is made much more easier.


Day 4 :Hakone


We had read alot about Hakone and had added this to our trip. Our main aim was to catch a glimpse of Fujisan. Armed with tickets from Changi Recommend, we set out on our mini adventure to Hakone.

The Hakone pass is a great way to explore Hakone. It is a 2 day pass that allows you free transportation within Hakone. In addition, you can opt for the a round trip transfer from Shinjuku to Hakone. The pass also allows you to experience the Hakone Cable Car, the Hakone Ropeway and Lake Ashi Crusie.



Getting to Hakone from Tokyo would take about 100 minutes by the Rapid Express and 85 minutes by the Romance car from Shinjuku. In addition, you need to allocate time for travelling within Hakone to your desired destination.The trip started promisingly as manged to spot Mount Fuji on our train ride to Hakone.
Fuji San
Upon reaching Odawara, we had to change another train , the Hakone Tozan train to Gora. Since we had the Hakone pass, we do not need to exit to get our train tickets as the pass brought us all the way to our destination.
Hakone Tozan Railway
Our first stop was the Hakone Open Air Museum. Having read rave reviews about this quirky museum, we just had to experience it for ourselves.

Hakone Open Air Museum is basically an open space filled with interest structures. The two most prominent structure we had seen are the wooden hut that house a playground and a tower that resembles a scene from Lord of the Rings.

Hakone Playground
The playground is unique in itself. The play area is basically a giant net that kids can climb into. Not your usual playground , we say.

As for the Tower, it looks normal on the outside, but once you step inside , you are transported to another world


Does this look like the eye of the Sauron?

You can choose to climb up the structure and get a bird's eye view of the surrounds around Hakone Open Air Museum.

Initially, we only allocated 45 minutes there. However, we ended up spending 2 hours at the Hakone Open Air Museum.

On hindsight, we should have spend more time there.

Robeway , Cruise and Bus are down!

Upon reaching the Hakone Cable Car, we were informed that the Ropeway and the Cruise together with the Bus rides were suspended!
Hakone Cable Car

It was a triple whammy for us as we probably missed the best part of the Hakone Pass. We decided to venture on and take the cable car up for a view of the mountains.

View from the Cable Car Summit
We might not experience the best of Hakone, but that does not mean we do not have fun as a family. This only mean that we will be back for another go at Hakone in the future.

Our next trip would probably be in the summer. The sun sets pretty early and soon we made our way back to Tokyo.

On the way back, we decided to upgrade and book the Romance car. It was a good choice as it had comfortable number seats compared to the normal railway where seats are not guaranteed. For this trip, we probably spend close to 6 hours just on travelling itself. It may be better to consider an overnight stay or to do this trip in the summer where there is more time to explore.

Day 5 : Joypolis

Our last day was spend in Odaiba. After a whole day of travelling, we decided to take it easy for today.

Morning was spend doing some shopping. It is almost a must to stop at Daiso to take a peek.

Our agenda for the day was to explore Joypolis. We had passed by this Indoor theme park several time but have yet visited it.

It was an afternoon well spend as we sat on the rides, enjoyed carnival games and UFO catching (yap... again!)

This place warrants a review on its own, so watch this space.


The problem with travelling in winter is that night falls pretty early. Soon it was dark and we headed back to Diver City to have our dinner . 5 days might be a tad short for a proper visit to Tokyo, but this is just a start. We will be heading to Osaka next so stay tune!

A shout out to Changi Recommends for providing the Changi Wifi. Without it, planning the trip (especially train rides ) would be a chore. In addition, it allowed us to update our Instagram and keep touch with our readers during the trip. A must have companion for travelling.

If you are planning for activities, you should check out the listings on their activities page too.
Changi Wifi
Want to see more?
Check out our video highlights of the Trip



Disclosure
Changi Recommend had provide the Changi Wifi for use and review. All opinions are of our own.

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