Category Archives: Tokyo

Disaster Prevention Day and free training centres in Tokyo

Today, the 1st of September, is Disaster Prevention Day, on the anniversary of the Great Kanto Earthquake. This year marks the 90th anniversary of that fatal day in 1923.

This morning the Public Address (PA) System wailed its sirens at 6.30am. These sirens sound like the sirens you hear in World War II movies to signal people to get to bomb shelters. I will never forget the first time I heard the siren, I got the fright of my life as I thought North Korea had invaded. I didn’t realise they use these sirens to signal any sort of disaster or threat or for training. Half an hour after the sirens there were a number of announcements, including a reminder that we could practise evacuating to our nearest safety point today. We didn’t go, but we do know where it is.

By complete co-incidence I had brought the kids to a Disaster Training Centre on Friday. I did not know today was Disaster Prevention Day until this morning when all the Sunday Morning programmes (the only day of the week I watch morning or daytime TV) had a feature on safety and/or how to deal with a natural or manmade disaster. One snippet I watched showed Honjo Disaster Prevention Centre, 本所防災館, in Tokyo. This place looks a lot more interactive than the centre we went to on Friday in Konosu. It has an “urban flooding experiental section” where you can try opening a house door and a car door that has flood water blocking it. You choose how many centimetres of water to try out. They have a smoke maze section, fire fighting room and first aid room just like the one in Konosu has. On the third floor they have a rainstorm simulation section, where they deck you out with full-on rain gear before experiencing torrential rain of the kind you can not move your body and some experimenters said it’s hard to breath. Konosu has basic earthquake and typhoon simulators, but the ones at Honjo 本所防災館 are a lot more life-like. Rinkai 臨海広域防災公園 has an excellent earthquake simulator, where you get to experience an earthquake in an elevator and then escape from a damage-stricken urban area.

The great news is all of these centres are free in and free to use their simulators. For more information on the centre in Konosu, Saitama, please see my blog post An earthquake, a typhoon and a fire all in one day.

Things to do and places to see during the Tokyo Olympics in 2020

A day out in Tokyo with toddlers: Moomin Cafe and Asobono



It took us two hours to reach our final destination, Tokyo Dome City, but it was completely worth the wait. First, we went to the Moomin Bakery and Cafe and we escaped having to queue to be seated by opting to have a light snack rather than lunch. Then, we went to Asobono fun centre. We took a break to go across the corridor to the food court and then back for even more play, a free event and a free gift…

It was the kids first time to Tokyo Dome City. I have been a few times, but given the length of the journey I have waited to bring the kids until now. Three year old was well able for the journey, but two-year old was irritable for most of the travelling. I’m glad I left the baby with Baba, because some parts of Kourakuen (aka Tokyo Dome City aka TDC) and the train stations are not buggy friendly. At least with 2 year old I could get her to walk the steps while I carried the buggy down or up them. In spite of a few hitches and tiredness from the travel, they both indubitably and without doubt had a blast!

First stop, Moomin Bakery and Cafe on the first floor of the LaQua building. It was just before 11am and people were already queuing for the lunch menu. I had only planned elevenses and that worked out nicely, because we could be seated straightaway. We chose bread from the bakery and ordered a drink with it as a set. The bread you get yourself, the drink is delivered. It was quite costly given what it was, but it was worth it to have a life-size Moomin character teddy sit with us and for the fun character bread we could choose. The kids were also impressed with my character Latte.

The character that sat with us was Sniff. The kids don’t even watch Moomin, but they are familiar with the characters. They were just happy to have a visitor at our table! They also enjoyed reading the books that you can borrow while dining.

Sniff joins us for lunch Moomin books

After the cafe we went to Asobono, a mega play centre in the heart of TDC. As luck had it, they had a special discount available if you signed up for a TDC member card. So I did! We got an all day “free pass” for 1,200 yen per child instead of the usual 1,500 yen. The adult flat rate of 900 was also discounted by a 100 yen. For children older than two the free pass is probably better value than the hourly rate. An hourly rate is 900 yen regardless of age and 400 yen for every half hour you stay over. You have to be aware of the time you are supposed to leave with an hourly rate too, they don’t tell you when your time is up, but will charge you for any additional time you spend. My kids played for 4 hours and would have played for longer if we didn’t have a train to catch.1 Map of play areas in Asobono

When you pay for a daily “free pass” you can come and go with your children as you please, so long as you let the front desk know. We took a small break for lunch. I had intended to bring the kids to the Baseball cafe, but I knew they just wanted something quick to eat and go back to play asap. So we just slipped across to the food court, very conveniently located to the play centre. We were back in time for a mini-event, when the staff did some exercises and songs with the kids. At the end of it, they gave each child a kyoryu poster, much to the delight of my kids who are big fans of the TV programme. It was a struggle to get the kids leave before it was dark and before the trains were too packed. I think I bribed them, I actually can’t remember; I was fairly beat from all the play myself!

I would recommend Asobono in a heartbeat and Moomin Cafe if you aren’t on a budget or a time frame. There is too much to say about Asobono, so hopefully a few photos will suffice…


Market area   Wooden food toysMore wooden food toys

Kitchen areaPlay houseDolls

Sylvanian familyBouncing CastleBuilding area

Two player games


Slide into ball pool Climbing in ball pool

Moomin Bakery and Cafe opens from 8 am to 10.30 pm.


Asobono opens from 10 am on weekdays, 9.30 am on weekends and closes at 6 pm on weekdays, 7 pm on weekends.


If you are looking for some other things to do in Tokyo with children:

Places to bring children to visit animals in Tokyo | GREATER TOKYO AREA

2017 version. This is a master list of the zoos, farms, aquariums and other places with animals in the Tokyo area that are suited to children. You will also find a handful of locations that are act…


Theme cafes, restaurants and buffets for kids in Tokyo


Odaiba is a popular sightseeing spot and shopping area in Tokyo. There are numerous restaurants to cater to most tastes, below is a small selection of child friendly eateries.

Fuji TV chocolate fountain and buffet menuFuji TV Kids Cafe “Mamatoko”

This cafe is popular with all ages from small babies to 6th grade. There is a play area for each group too, but its the buffet that attracts the crowds. There are over 60 variety of foods and 3 chocolate fondue fountains.

Special Information:

♥Strollers / Prams / Buggies Ok
♥They have a feeding area, changing room and baby room
♥Child’s toilet
♥Child seats and children’s cutlery
♥Private room
♥You can order a birthday cake in advance
♥There are “service” hours; check their website
♥Discounts available on their website

Location:  On the 6th floor of Aqua City Odaiba

Hours:  11am to 8pm weekdays, till 9pm weekends


5 different menus with prices ranging from 180 yen for babies to 1,780 for adults.  Please look at their website for details.


Ramen kokugikan matsuri odaibaRamen Kokugikan Gotoramen Matsuri

This is like a ramen theme park where there are a number of ramen shops, with a variety of noodles, clustered together.

Special Information:

♥Strollers / Prams / Buggies Ok
♥Child seats

Location: On the 5th floor of Aqua City Odaiba

Hours: 11.00 to 23.00, LO 22.30


odaiba decksOdaiba Takoyaki Museum

This is another themed type collection of restaurants in the one area.  This time its takoyaki or Octopus dumplings.  Not ideal for smaller children, but popular among primary school children.

Location: Odaiba Decks

Hours: 11.00 to 21.00


Access to Odaiba Restaurants

  • All are on the Yurikamome line
  • Accessible from Shuto Expressway number 11’s Daiba Interchange

Tokyo Dome City

There are a huge selection of eateries in Tokyo Dome City, Tokyo Dome Hotel and the general Tokyo Dome area. You can find a list of the restaurants in English here.  I have chosen some of the more unique or popular places for young children.

Moomin cafe and bakery in tokyo dome cityMoomin Bakery and Cafe

Location: In LaQua, one of Tokyo’s largest hot spring resorts, Tokyo Dome City

Access:  Approximately 3 minute walk from Kourakuen Station on the Tokyo Metro Marunouchi Line

Hours: 8.00 to 22.30 (LO 22.00) on weekdays, 8.00 to 22.oo (LO 21.00) on weekends and holidays


Baseball cafeBaseball Cafe

This American style restaurant themed on the major league, has a kids menu that comes with a hero figure.  Currently (May 2013), there are discount coupons available on their page on Tokyo Dome City’s website.

Special Information:

♥Strollers / Prams / Buggies Ok
♥They have changing facilities
♥Child seats
♥They will mark a birthday or special celebration
♥They have performances between 18.45 and 21.15
♥Discounts available on the Tokyo Dome City website

Bikkuri Donkey menu at tokyo dome cityBikkuri Donkey

Bikkuri Donkey is a chain restaurant that is popular among children. It has a 43 year history. It serves mainly burgers.  There are a number of branches in Tokyo.   You can find details of the opening hours in the Tokyo Dome City branch here.

Rilasse in Tokyo Dome HotelRilassa

Usually when I go to Kourakuen or as its most commonly called Tokyo Dome, I eat in the city and as yet I have not had the pleasure of dining in the Tokyo Dome Hotel. I first read of this Buffet in Rilassa, in Tokyo Dome Hotel, in a popular Japanese magazine.  I have since seen it mentioned in many (Japanese) “guides” to Tokyo with children.  You can get full information in English on their website here.

Coming up

Teddy Bear Tea time at the Ritz Carlton Tokyo
Princess Heart Restaurant in Ginza
Alice in Wonderland themed restaurants

and more…

Things to do and places to see during the Tokyo Olympics in 2020