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Q What are some things for teenagers to do in Tokyo? It is so hard to keep them away from Roppongi!

AIt is, in fact, sometimes challenging for families with teenagers to provide alternatives to “going out” at night, besides spending time in each other’s homes. There are several great activities, depending on your son/daughter’s age and interests.

1. Karaoke

This is a favorite way for kids to get together. There are thousands of Karaoke places in Tokyo; you should have them go to one in your general neighborhood. Many are clean and well supervised.

2. Practice Studios

If your son/daughter is a musician, wants to start a band, or just wants to practice with a group of people, there are practice studios all over Tokyo. Popular locations are Kichijoji (if you’re an ASIJ or St. Mary’s family) and Shibuya. One studio, called Musashi, is owned by Penta, which has many facilities throughout the city. (Check the English website: for more information). The Shibuya Children’s Hall also has practice studios for younger teens.

The studios provide amplifiers, drums and microphones. You can bring your own instruments or you can rent a guitar and cables too. The cost for the studios varies, but averages about 4000 Yen an hour; divided by 4-6 people, that is relatively reasonable. And the volume can be as high as they want!!

3. Yoyogi Park

There are several entrances to the park, but one main one is around the corner from the entrance to the Meiji Shrine in Harajuku. It is a spacious park where a group of teenagers can take a Frisbee, soccer ball, football and a picnic and have a great time. For those who come from less urban locations in their home countries, this can feel more like “home.” There aremore large parks all across Tokyo, including Shinjuku Central Park, Komazawa Olympic Park and Ueno Park, just to name a few.

4. Explore Tokyo!

I think we should also encourage our children to explore the city. It is a relatively safe city, and besides visiting the famous sights, it is also fun to randomly get off at a new train stop and walk around, look in shops, try out a new ramen noodle restaurant. With a group of friends, you can have a great time and discover hidden treasures.

5. Billiards (Pool) and Darts

There are many locations that offer these two activities, and some of them are reasonable in cost and not smoke-filled or drinking dives. One is in Shibuya, in the building behind the Koban (Police Branch) on the way to Tokyu Hands from Shibuya station. It is above the popular Moo-Moo Paradise restaurant, which is an all-you-can eat shabu-shabu/sukiyaki place. However, there are many all over the city and you should be able to find one near your neighborhood.

6. Odaiba

Take the train to Shimbashi (on the Yamanote Line) and change to the Yurikamome Line to go out to Odaiba. They have wide streets for bike riding and skate boarding, as well as a huge Joypolis/Sega arcade, a beach and an indoor mall. Kids can take their bikes on the trains or have a parent drive all of them out to Odaiba.

7. Rock climbing

This is a popular sport, with many facilities around, and can be quite reasonable in price. You can start as a beginner in several places and/or join a club. To check out the various climbing gyms, check the English website:

Elizabeth Minahan has lived in Japan for over 20 years. Throughout her time in Japan, she has donned many hats including youchien student, expat wife and mother of 3, manager of a relocation company, and most recently as director of an International preschool.

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