One important thing we have learned through our family travels is that kids don’t stop being kids just because they are on vacation. Despite all the new and fun things they get to do every day, younger kids still need time to play. Being somewhere new can be a bit stressful for little kids and depending on where you are from, Japan may seem very strange & different to your child. Taking them to play at a playground gives them a much needed sense of normalcy and helps them blow off steam. And who knows, there’s a very good chance they will make a new Japanese friend along the way, even if they don’t speak the same language.
Thankfully many of Kyoto’s major attractions have playgrounds within easy walking distance, so you won’t need to go too far out of your way to make your kids happy.
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Fushimi Inari Shrine
Fushimi Inari Shrine is not only the most important shrine in Kyoto but it is also one of the top sites to visit in all of Japan. With thousands of brilliant orange and black torii gates lining the trail up the Inari mountain, this is an outing your kids will not forget!
After a tiring outing at the shrine, your kids will appreciate a few minutes of rejuvenating play at a simple playground close to the Fushimi-Inari Station. This playground consists of a single slide, one swing and a concrete lion to climb on. It’s not much, but it’s always amazing how kids make the most of any opportunity to play.
Heian Shrine / Kyoto Zoo
Your kids will enjoy walking through the giant torii gate on your way into the Heian Shrine, a recreation of the original Kyoto Imperial Palace. And the zoo is always a popular outing with the kids when they get tired of visiting temples.
Located in-between these two attractions is a large and popular playground. This playground features a sandbox, swings, a slide and several rocking animals. It even has an old trolley car, which is a tourist information center, but kids are welcome to go inside and play.
Monkey Park Iwatayama
Taking your kids to the Monkey Park Iwatayama involves a 20 minute hike to where you can see the monkeys. Near the top of this hike is a simple playground consisting of a few swings, some teeter-totters and a very long slide. Keep this playground in mind as you may need to use it as bait to get the kids to leave the monkeys!
Ginkakuji & The Philosopher’s Path
There are few temples in Kyoto which give a more zen-like feeling than Ginkakuji. Kids and parents alike will enjoy a leisurely stroll along the beautiful Philosopher’s Path. If your kids have been good and deserve a little break from sightseeing, there is a simple playground a few blocks west of the Philosopher’s Path. This playground has swings, a slide and a sandbox.
Famous for its 5-storied pagoda, the Daigoji Temple is certainly worth visiting while in Kyoto. But let’s face it, temples are not always exciting for small kids. If you’d like to reward them, there is a modest playground on the way back to the Daigo Station. This playground has swings and a bunch of monkey bars.
Kyoto Imperial Palace
Located just south of the sprawling grounds of Kyoto’s Imperial Palace, we found a real treasure. Kodomo Mirai Kan is a free indoor play place for kids 6 and under. This place was awesome!! When we arrived, they were playing music for the kids on a street organ. There are so many things to play with, it’s hard to describe; the pictures will tell the story. We were the only foreigners in there, but we were warmly welcomed into the facility. We loved that our kids had a chance to play with lots of Japanese kids.
That’s it! We hope your family has a wonderful trip to Kyoto. If you discover any playgrounds near tourist attractions that we have missed, please share with us!