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Best location in Tokyo with 3 kids 2018/4/12 10:29
Hi all:

Casey here. My wife and 3 boys, 13, 10, 8 will be in Tokyo in Septmeber. I lived in Japan (Kyoto) 25 years ago for a couyp;le of years and this is a trip of a lifetime taking the enitre family after decades of talking about it!

Anyway, I don't know tokyo well. What part of Tokyo would make the most sense for restaurants, proximity to JR rail, restaurants? I guess.. where is the action? I'm not going to go clubbing with my kids LOL, but being in the most central area is my desire.

I travel a lot for business and I am a hiliton diamond member. Would the Conrad hotel location or the hilton tokyo (shinjuku) be better? I have a ton of points from endless business travel and I'm excited to go somewhere with my family . :)

by PlanetCasey  

Re: Best location in Tokyo with 3 kids 2018/4/12 15:50
Shinjuku would be good but it is expensive area of Tokyo.

To be honest, just about anywhere on the Yamanote line would suffice. But it depends on you. As your requirements would be different from others. I don't think you needs a happening area as with kids, bars and mightlife are out of the question.

I stay in a area out of Tokyo near Tamagawa with my 9,7 and 4yo last year. No western style food outlets, but did have plenty of normal Japanese food outlets.

So in saying that. Just about anywhere would work for you I think. I also stayed in the Chuo Ward last year. So close to Tokyo station but much cheaper than the well known Ikebukuoro, Shinjuku, Shibiya, Shinagawa, Tokyo, Akihabara, Ueno etc.
by hakata14 rate this post as useful

Re: Best location in Tokyo with 3 kids 2018/4/12 19:29
College boys (sadly, I must say) tend to be amused by Shinjuku, but your wife might prefer your young boys to stay in the Conrad area where it is slightly more quiet. To be precise, the Hilton Shinjuku area is quite far from central Shinjuku (they do have a shuttle bus) and peaceful, but the nearest attractions are pretty wild there.

Conrad is next door to Hamarikyu, very close to Sumida River, and more accessible to the shita-machi area where Kyoto lovers might prefer. You can even take a boat down the river from Hamarikyu to Asakusa.
The alleys surrounding Tsukiji Market is quite fascinating on weekdays, too.

Otherwise, it depends on your family's preferences. For example, people who are into fashion and modern music would prefer place more accessible from Shinjuku.

I'm a Japanese traveler who grew up in Tokyo, if that helps.
by Uco rate this post as useful

Re: Best location in Tokyo with 3 kids 2018/4/12 20:29
If on business, Conrad Tokyo might serve its purpose. I personally think that it is the most boring location & not user friendly. I went to Hamarikyu last year and deeply regretted wasting my time traveling there. Full of construction and lots of walking detours. Yes it overlooks the gardens but I think if on holidays youfd want more than that. Some may tell you itfs close to the fish market. Well, you can use the train/subway to get there. Lots of redevelopment taking place in that area.

Shinjuku Hilton location may not be perfect but at least youfre not in an area primarily housing business corporations.

Please note my comments are location related and not on the hotel properties.

by at (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Best location in Tokyo with 3 kids 2018/4/13 01:09
I was working in the building right besides the Conrad. It is a newly build nice office area of the town and quite central. But different from Shinjuku. It is an office area, but close to Ginza, with Hamarikyu garden right in front and connection to subway (from Shinbashi or Shiodome), Yurikamome line and JR (Shinbashi). Obviously in Shinjuku there are more trains, but over all Shinjuku is less central than Shiodome.
I think with kids, I would probably prefer the Conrad, Hamarikyu area, because it is quieter at night and you cannot get easily lost. While in Shinjuku I would think keeping track of 3 little ones might be more challenging.
If you want to go drinking / eating in the evening you can always do that in Shinbashi (just outside of the station on the opposite site from Shiodome, which is an area full of bars and restaurants and full of funny Japanese business men going out for too much drinks at night. I actually quite like the neighbourhood... but obviously might be biased due to knowing it better than Shinjuku.

Enjoy your trip to Japan!
by LikeBike rate this post as useful

Re: Best location in Tokyo with 3 kids 2018/4/13 13:01
I did not like Shinjuku area myself, having just traveled with a 15 year old. The station (actually like 5 in 1) is a massive maze and getting from a location on one side to the other required a good 30 minutes and Google maps. Not to mention there is a massive red light and bar district on one side.

Shinjuku park area and toward southeast side of station with shopping streets was nice.

I preferred asakusa myself. If you stay near ginza line, it is easy to get to Shibuya, ginza, asakusa, skytree, and easy transfers anywhere else at ueno or Kanda. Plus the area is a lot more laid back.

I'd recommend sensoji, skytree, Tokyo tower, ueno park, Shinjuku park, imperial palace, Meiji jingu, harajuku with kids. As side trips, a castle (odawara?), Enoshima and Yokohama would get my votes.
by Jb25 (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Best location in Tokyo with 3 kids 2018/4/16 05:41
Thank you everyone! What great information. Really appreciate it.

One more question. I'm still not sure which location we will be, but I know we will have JR rail passes, and the first few days I want to do some side trips. There is an animated museum I heard about :)

To get to JR trains would either spot be good? Also, I just got a huge gift certificate from my brother in law for the four seasons, who works for them.. Is the four seasons hotel tokyo in one of those areas mentioned previously?
by PlanetCasey rate this post as useful

Re: Best location in Tokyo with 3 kids 2018/4/16 06:35
I donft know about the four seasons, but regarding JR trains you can get JR lines in Shinjuku and in Shinbashi. From The Conrad to Shinbashi you need about 10 min on foot, but Shinbashi station itself is not that big so easier to navigate, but obviously also less train lines. Just try with Google Maps or hyperdia your destination and you can see if direct jr trains are available. (I donft know the hotel in Shinjuku but Google Maps will tell you how long it takes to walk. Note that Google Maps walking times are for a very fast paced person who knows his way and is not hindered by obstacles, be that men or traffick lights. )

Shinjuku on the other hand is the busiest train station of the world. I havenft counted but including non JR lines probably more than 20 different lines pass through it. So from a transport perspective it is generally better, SPECIALLY if you want to go to placesWest or North of Tokyo. But thatfs not the main tourist attractions.

One PP said that the area around Conrad is full of construction sites. I donft know when he/ she visited, but I am here now on business trip and there are no construction sites. As a pedestrian however you should not walk on the street floor. There is a B1 floor from Shinbashi to Conrad (for rainy or cold days) and an elevated pedestrian path that takes you from Shinbashi through Shiodome all the way to either Ginza or Hamamatsucho. Great for sightseeing.
by LikeBike (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Best location in Tokyo with 3 kids 2018/4/16 07:42
If you have a voucher for your family to stay at the Four Seasons Tokyo, not Four Seasons Chinsan-so (which is far out in Bunkyo-ku) I would jump at it. This is an expensive hotel adjacent to Tokyo Station, and therefore you would be able to get on the Yamanote Line, the Marunouchi Line, the Keihin Tohoku Line and all the numerous other lines that take you far and wide. Some of the rooms look down onto the station, and I'm sure the kids would spend time just being fascinated at the constant flow of people and trains. A short walk into the Ginza one way, and through the station out the other side to the Imperial Gardens, Hibiya Park, the moats, and The Palace. I'm sure your 13 year old will like Shibuya for a day, modern clothing, young people, music., and their eyes will be opened in a place like Harajuku. I am not a Shinjuku fan, don't usually go there unless I absolutely have to, but I do like the Takashimaya, and Tokyu Hands there. I'm sure your wife will appreciate some retail therapy!!
by LoveJapan (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Best location in Tokyo with 3 kids 2018/4/16 07:56
Good to hear the street construction is finished. I was there in March - April 2017.

Anyway, personally when Ifm on holidays or business, Ifd want access to a choice of restaurants in a lively area, access to trains, walk ability on pavements, people watching, etc.
Ifm aware each traveller has different needs, interests.

Regarding Four Seasons. If you have a look at their website under directions and maps
Youfll see the options available on how to get there.
Most hotels in Japan provide this helpful information.

Tokyo Station is also another busy station - one which I avoid personally if I can because Ifm too lazy to acquaint myself with the layout. But this is Tokyo. So expect it to be busy, crowded but orderly. Now that the station construction /refurbishment is completed, it might be easier to navigate. I didnft get the chance to revisit recently in April 2018, but last year it was full of detours inside.
However, it has excellent signage (like in most Tokyo / Jp stations) to guide you.

Ifve seen online some travellers recommending quieter areas like Ueno or other suburbs but there are no international corporate hotels there.

Both Shinjuku & Tokyo Stations have excellent links to JR trains.
Not sure where you are going, but do yr maths to see if the JR pass is warranted as they are not cheap.
Use to calculate yr total fare for each destination. It generally only pays off if you do long trips . Japan guide has a section covering this topic.

Within Tokyo (and several parts of the country) I use an IC card for local trains, buses and subways and top it up as and when required. Itfs easy and convenient and I donft have to work out how to buy tickets, or queue thus holding up the line.
You can use the IC in some shops and even restaurants.

Hope the above helps.

by at (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Best location in Tokyo with 3 kids 2018/4/16 09:43
You folks are amazing! I do know that the JR passes are expensive. We will be going to Kyoto and hiroshima. It may (2 week pass) or may not be worth it, but my thought is even if it comes close it is worth it for me because if I do decide to do some other long trip I wont worry about costs. I am going to go for the four seasons. Have a gift card, and will splurge for the rest.

Warmest thanks!

by PlanetCasey rate this post as useful

Re: Best location in Tokyo with 3 kids 2018/4/16 13:58
Four Seasons - good choice. Lots of dining places around (Apple map) Always busy at lunchtime.

Looks like you may be able to avoid navigating Tokyo Stn by using the subway to other parts f the city. Infor Copied from hotel web site.
The Hotel is also walking distance from the following subway lines:
Ginza Line at Kyobashi Station, Exit 5; three minutes
Yurakucho Line at Ginza 1-chome Station, Exit 1; four minutes
Yurakucho Line at Yurakucho Station, Exit D9; four minutes
Marunouchi Line at Tokyo Station, from Marunouchi South Exit direction; seven minutes.

If interested therefs a walking tour that departs from Tokyo Stn.
Tokyo Free walking tours is run by passionate volunteers. A few more groups with similar names have sprouted since but this group is worth considering. I did the Imperial Garden walk 2-3 yrs ago and last Sun I joined them on the Meiji Shrine walk. I hope I can add the link. Otherwise therefs a TA review too.

Enjoy your travels

by at (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Best location in Tokyo with 3 kids 2018/4/16 22:38
For access, you can take a look at the official websites of each hotel, but while Shinjuku is convenient, it's a very busy staion, and that means it can be very stressful walking through it. At least for us locals it is. The hotel website says it's a 10 minutes walk (or a 5 min. free shuttle ride) to the station, but I feel that you need an extra 10 minutes or more to walk from the entrance to the train. On the other hand, Shinbashi (near Conrad) is more concise.

As for Four Seasons, do you mean Four Seasons Chinzanso which is a 10 min. walk from JR Mejiro, or Four Seasons Marunouchi which is 7 min. from JR Tokyo? The former is a vast hotel near a small station in a relatively peaceful area. The latter is near a station as vast and busy as Shinjuku, and is located in a sophisticated area where the best offices are. Both are luxurious hotels. In fact, I personally love the former area, because it's closer to tiny galleries and lots of residential alleys you can stroll along. A Kyoto person might enjoy it, although Marunouchi and its surroundings are probably what tourists expect Tokyo to be.

But the Hilton is good enough for the most famous celebrities in the world to stay in. Also I'm just wondering why you haven't mentioned Hilton Odaiba (which is not close to JR stations but is connected to a non-JR station).
by Uco rate this post as useful

Re: Best location in Tokyo with 3 kids 2018/4/17 07:21
Hotel Chinzanso is no longer operated by Four Seasons. Rebadged in 2013 or thereabouts.

The only Four Seasons in Tokyo is near Tokyo Stn. (at Marunouchi).
OP has option of subways thus minimising navigation thru Tokyo Stn.
by at (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Best location in Tokyo with 3 kids 2018/4/17 12:10
Sorry about Chinzanso. I thought I double-checked, but I must've gotten it mixed up with a dated Google information. My apologies.
by Uco rate this post as useful

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