If you’re thinking about taking your nearest and dearest on a holiday to Japan but are worried about keeping everyone entertained, we’ve compiled this handy guide to some of Japan’s best family-friendly activities. All of the outings included can be experienced on our Japan Family Adventure – our itinerary created specifically with family groups in mind.
Famous for its wacky street style and elaborate crepes and as the birthplace of kawaii, the neighbourhood of Harajuku in Shibuya is a pop culture paradise not to be missed while you’re in Tokyo. The long and narrow Takeshita-dori shopping street is undoubtedly the area’s beating heart. Wander down to discover trendy Japanese fashion and cosmetics, as well as cat cafés, cutesy street food and purikura photo booths. It’s the ideal shopping area for teenagers to pick up some affordable clothing and other souvenirs. The buzzy atmosphere and eccentrically dressed locals should keep the rest of the family entertained too.
The mazes of streets on each side of the area’s central thoroughfare Meiji-dori are also great places to explore – full of cute cafes, vintage clothing stores and independent shops. And if your family needs a break from all the shopping, the Meiji-jingu shrine and the lovely Yoyogi Park are just a stone’s throw away.
Our Family Adventure includes the unmissable opportunity to learn how to make sushi from a master chef! If you don’t know your maki from your nigiri – fear not, you will be guided carefully through the process, using high-quality ingredients. These classes are suitable for children and our groups usually end up with surprisingly professional looking results! If you’re vegetarian or have any other dietary requirements, let our team know in advance and the class will be tailored accordingly.
After spending four days getting to know Tokyo, you will head off to the nearby hot spring resort of Hakone. As well as being a place of religious and historical significance, on clear days you’ll be able to see incredible views of the magnificent Mount Fuji from Hakone. On our trip you can opt to take a pirate ship cruise across the beautiful Lake Ashi – one of the best vantage points for views of the mountain. Even on a cloudy day, Hakone’s volcanic landscape, dotted with picturesque shrines and wooded trails is a magical place to explore with your family.
While staying in Kyoto, your family will have the chance to encounter a breed of monkey called the Japanese Macaque. These adorable creatures, also known as snow monkeys, live in close-knit groups and enjoy bathing in Japan’s natural hot springs. The Iwatayama Monkey Park located in the majestic bamboo forests of Arashiyama on the outskirts of Kyoto, is the ideal place to see them going about their daily business. The monkeys are used to being observed by large groups, but visitors are advised not to touch them or make prolonged eye contact with them. It’s an incredible experience – particularly for children – to see wild animals interacting with one another at such close proximity.
Just off the city of Hiroshima is the island of Itsukushima – more commonly known as Miyajima (‘shrine island’). On day 10 of our Family Adventure, you’ll take a short ferry ride to the island, where along with the breath-taking view of the Itsukushima Shrine, you’ll come across the tame Sika deer that inhabit it. Similarly, to Japan’s ancient capital Nara, the deer on Miyajima are left to roam freely and will happily approach humans (particularly if they come bearing deer-friendly snacks). This is another amazing chance for you and your family to interact with some distinctively Japanese wild animals.
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Published 21st December 2018
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