In a bustling city like Tokyo, it can be quite a challenge to find restaurants that accommodate families. Venues are usually either small in size or packed with people making it hard for those with children to dine out. Fortunately, I have successfully found and compiled a list of the top 5 family-friendly restaurants in Tokyo. All 5 of the restaurants I’ve listed below are chain restaurants meaning their branches are located all over Tokyo, making it easily accessible.
Family restaurants (called fami-resu in Japanese) were restaurants originally known for being casual eating establishments suitable for families. Over time, these establishments attracted other customers as well. They are usually spacious and have a variety of different meal options to cater to those with different tastes. Below are my Top 5 fami-resu in Tokyo.
1. Saizeriya (Shirokane Takanawa)
You shouldn’t have trouble finding a nearby Saizeriya since there are many locations all across Japan. In fact, after a recent trip to Shanghai, I discovered they even have branches in parts of China and Singapore.
For families bringing children along, Saizeriya offers a kid’s menu for kids who are in elementary school or younger. Although the kid’s menu has a limited amount of options, parents can choose to order from the main menu and use the small plates available to share meals with their kids instead. Most branches also provide booster chairs for families with younger kids, so don’t hesitate to ask for one if needed.
Since it is an Italian restaurant chain, you’ll notice that regardless of which branch you walk into, each has European art plastered all over its walls and ceilings. The music they play here is very subtle, and the warm yellow lighting enhances the dining experience for a family.
Saizeriya is personally one of my favorite family restaurants to visit because of its affordable Italian food and wine. On weekdays they offer an even better deal where you can get one main dish of your choice, soup, and salad all for a total of 500 yen ($4.5 USD). The Grand Menu includes a variety of Italian dishes and appetizers such as pasta and prosciutto, but for those who want to try something different, I recommend trying the escargot.
2. Jonathan’s (Meguro)
I love that from the moment you enter – you are immediately welcomed by friendly staff and soothing music. Much like Saizeriya, Jonathan’s many locations make it conveniently easier to find and access. Though the majority of their locations are found in Tokyo, they also have branches in other parts of Japan. (Fun fact: Jonathan’s has a total of 294 different locations all over Japan!)
Although Jonathan’s does not have a separate English menu, almost everything on the menu includes English and Chinese explanations describing the dish in the picture.
I recommend Jonathan’s to families who value a peaceful environment with lots of options on the menu to choose from. You’ll notice most branches have a spacious interior making it easy for strollers to be pushed around. They also have booster chairs, child-friendly utensils, and spacious booths for those who bring their little ones along.
On the Grand Menu, you’ll find a wide range of Western and Japanese dishes, appetizers, and desserts. Jonathan’s is excellent when it comes to finding deals since main dishes can cost as low as 700 yen ($6.4 USD), while appetizers are 250 yen ($2.3 USD), each excluding tax.
On the back of the menu, you’ll find there is a kid’s menu with a few options, such as udon soup or pancakes. Each main dish ordered from the kid’s menu comes with a toy that can occupy the kids while they wait for their meal.
This acai yogurt bowl shown in the picture above (found on the Morning and Lunch Menu) came with a drink bar, and soup bar and only totaled to about 550 yen ($5.00 USD)
This vegetable doria (shown in the picture above) I had for lunch cost about 880 yen ($8.00 USD)
3. Sushizanmai (Roppongi)
Sushizanmai is a popular Japanese sushi chain that serves good quality sushi and is family-friendly.
Sushi has been one of the most popular Japanese dishes for centuries, making it one of the first things visitors want to try when arriving in Japan. Though most visitors opt to dine at conveyor belt sushi restaurants, Sushizanmai is your safest bet if traveling with a bigger group or family.
You’ll notice the menu on the tables are in Japanese, but they also have English menus with explanations in four other languages such as Chinese and Korean. I’ve noticed that the branches in popular areas such as Roppongi or Shibuya have staff who understand a basic level of English and will gladly do their best to help answer any questions you may have.
Unlike most other sushi restaurants in Tokyo, Sushizanmai is usually spacious and holds enough room for strollers to be brought inside. There are also little baskets under each chair for customers to place their personal belongings, allowing a small extra room on the table.
Upscale sushi restaurants in Japan are usually much quieter than the busy conveyor belt sushi places, so at Sushizanmai, you won’t have to worry about yelling over other customers to hold a conversation.
Although most things on the menu are sushi, they also have different salads, fried seafood, and desserts. One of my favorite things about Sushizanmai is that you can customize your meal by ordering sushi individually. This works well when eating with those with a specific taste since they can choose what they want and avoid sushi they prefer not to have. This is also great for kids who don’t eat much or don’t like certain types of fish.
4. Tsurutontan (Ginza)
Udon is one of the oldest noodle dishes in Japan and considered one of the staple foods. Of the many udon restaurants you’ll come across, Tsurutontan is one of the most popular and family ones yet.
Tsurutontan is a popular restaurant famous for its top-quality udon noodles. The meaning behind the name Tsurutontan comes from the sounds made when eating, slapping, and cutting the udon noodles. Tsuru is the sound made when slurping the noodles, Ton is the sound made when kneading and slapping the dough, and Tan is the sound made when cutting the dough.
Tsurutontan has both booths and counter seats and depending on how busy it is, customers have the option to be seated by the window with a view overlooking Ginza from the 10th floor. During my last visit, I noticed they had private rooms available at the far end of the restaurant for groups who wish for more seclusion.
Kids cups, bowls, and silverware are usually provided if requested to make it easier to share the food with children. They also offer baby chairs that can be directly hooked to the table, allowing kids to enjoy the experience of sitting at the table.
Their main menus come with Japanese, English, Chinese, and Korean explanations, and the staff has some knowledge of English, so there is no need to worry about how to order food.
Every Tsurutontan branch has a modern Japanese atmosphere, making it both an upscale and relaxing place to dine. At the Ginza branch, there are sometimes pianists who come to play on the grand piano placed in the corner of the restaurant.
One of the first things you’ll likely notice about this restaurant is its enormous noodle bowls. In these bowls, you can order up to 3 servings of noodles for the price of one serving. I highly recommend taking advantage of this service and sharing one bowl if you have young ones who don’t eat very much.
Though most of the items on the menu are different flavored udon noodles, there are also a variety of other appetizers such as salad, sushi, and desserts, giving customers various options to choose from.
Bills is a trendy spot among Japanese people, which is why there is usually a wait to be seated. Fortunately, they place menus in the waiting area so customers can look through the menus while they wait to be seated. Both their main menu and kids menu are printed in both English and Japanese, making it easy to understand for those who don’t read Japanese.
The first time I went to Bills, I was pleasantly surprised by how confident the staff was with speaking to me in English. Some waiters in restaurants you visit in Tokyo lack the confidence of speaking English and therefore respond with short phrases. However, at Bills, waiters are more likely to speak and ask a question to you in English, for example, if you have any food allergies, etc.
Bills is a relaxed, cafe-like, stroller-friendly restaurant located in several areas around Tokyo. The Futakotamagawa branch, in particular, is very spacious and is located right by Futakotamagawa station.
Although the restaurant is not very lit, the art, books, and decorations on the inside make the room feel very warm. When I visited, I noticed many families with kids and strollers eating by colorful plants and books. Bills is slightly more upscale than some of the other family restaurants listed above but still holds a family restaurant atmosphere.
They are famously known for their fluffy pancakes, so I recommend giving their ricotta pancakes with fresh bananas and honeycomb butter a try if you choose to visit.
On the kid’s menu, you can choose one main dish, dessert, and drink from a list of options for a total of 1500 yen ($13.70 USD) Unfortunately the options for the kids menu are limited, so some families choose to ask for small plates and share a dish from the main menu instead.
The Bottom Line
Every place on the list caters to kids, non-Japanese speakers, and big groups, making it the perfect place to bring your family to, so the next time you are in Tokyo, feel free to stop by one (or more) of these places!
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Patricia is a Chinese American freelance writer who grew up in central Tokyo. She works part-time as an English teacher and the remainder of her time taking classes, journaling, and looking for cool new cafes and restaurants around the city. If there is one thing she cannot resist, it's authentic Chinese food.