If you’ve travelled with kids, then you already know that they’re not captivated by the things that interest you. Children need action, and lots of it, and Japan’s cities offer a mind-boggling host of options for kids of all ages, keeping them amazed, excited and fascinated. So whether they’re frolicking in one of the numerous playgrounds or amusement parks, trying their hand at manga drawing, or exploring the digital dreamland at Akihabara, you can be sure that they won’t be dragging their feet.
Head out into the beautiful Japanese countryside with your family on bicycles, or picnic with the friendly deer at Nara Park. Try sea kayaking on Miyajima Lake and take in the beauty of the ‘floating’ torii gate, or explore origami and martial arts. There are numerous educational experiences that will enrich and enliven your time here.
Here are some exciting options for many hours of stress-free pleasure for you and your family.
LEGOLAND Discovery Centre
LEGO is a hot favourite with everyone, so dive into over 3 million LEGO bricks, and unleash your creativity! Don’t miss the interactive LEGO laser ride or the 4D cinema whilst you’re there!
Hello Kitty is every little girl’s friend, and Sanrio Puroland is where you’ll find her! A theme park in Tokyo that’s dedicated to this adorable cat, complete with Kitty rides, Kitty restaurants and Kitty shows, it’s the perfect place for kids, six years and under.
However, if you prefer playing with real cats, then walk into a cat café, where you’ll find all kinds of these delightful furballs, right from common alley cats to pedigrees. Maybe you could relax over a cup of tea and cake served behind a glass window, and watch your kids fuss over the cuddly creatures. Only kids aged 12 and above are allowed here.
While Disneyland is a hot favourite, DisneySea brings with it the flavours of the oceans, and enjoyable rides for all ages. Older kids can live out the Indiana Jones adventures while younger ones can enjoy The Little Mermaid and Aladdin rides. The Shinagawa Aquarium, also in Tokyo, offers a sensory experience of all things underwater, with the surreal experience of walking on the ocean floor surrounded by marine creatures. Care for a safe, yet close encounter with a shark? This is the place! Osaka’s Ring of Fire Aquarium is another fascinating water world showcasing exotic creatures from the volcanic belt around the Pacific Ocean. You definitely won’t forget this experience, but grab a cute souvenir for keepsake, anyway!
Get up close and personal with Japan’s wildlife, especially the friendly deer at Nara and the mountain monkeys in Kyoto. Both Kyoto and Nara store Japan’s historic and cultural treasures, but beyond this lies a world of natural curiosities. The sacred deer that roam the temple grounds are tame and child-friendly, and always looking for a tasty snack! Feed them crackers, pet them and play with them, to add an extra element of fun to your day in Nara!
The Iwatayama Monkey Park on the outskirts of Kyoto is home to over a hundred macaques that roam freely within its borders. It’s perfect to experience wildlife without having to travel too far from the city! Don’t miss the interesting experience of feeding them from the inside of a cage – a pleasant twist to being on the outside!
Zoos have always enchanted children, and the Ueno Zoo in Tokyo, with its spectacular collection of wildlife, provides hours of family fun too.
Chocolate and cookies are an indulgence for both adults and kids, so if you get a opportunity to visit the Shiroi Koibito Park in Sapporo, grab it with both hands! Enter the castle-like factory and be mesmerised by the experience of observing the entire cookie-making process, trying out your own cookie, decorating it, or simply indulging in ice creams and chocolate drinks at the shop. Shiroi Koibito chocolate cookies are world famous, especially as Japanese souvenirs, so don’t forget to take some home.
From sweet to savoury at the Cup Noodles Museum! Kids will enjoy a workshop where they can create their own noodle flavours at the “My Cup Noodles Factory”, or hang out at the “Cup Noodles Park” where they can view the production of noodles from the noodle’s point of view.
Shikoku Island is where you can actually try your hand at making udon noodles – thick wheat flour noodles that are served in a broth with various toppings. Get your kids involved in the cooking process through a special class for a delicious experience!
Museums and More
The National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation in Tokyo offers engaging fun for all ages, with robot demonstrations, special exhibitions and various exciting activities. The National Museum of Nature and Science, also in Tokyo, gives a glimpse into the prehistoric plant and animal worlds. Visit the Ghibli Museum if you’re an anime fan and discover everything related to the production process through interactive exhibits.
Kawasaki World, nestled inside Kobe Maritime Museum, is the ultimate destination for those who thrive on technology and automobiles. Sit on a race bike or rock the driver’s seat in a first generation Shinkansen and helicopter and let your imagination soar!
Bus tours can be a fun way to see a city, especially when you’re hard-pressed for time, or when your kids show signs of tiring. The Tokyo Water Bus is another relaxing means of taking in the sights and scenes.
Of Samurai Warriors and Geishas
If you’ve been fascinated by the samurai and ninja, then a visit to the Matsumoto Castle, also called the “Black Crow” Castle, is definitely on the cards for a peek into the life and times of these illustrious warriors. Or, you could transform into a graceful geisha with a professional makeover. So don that armour or those layers of white makeup and turn your dream into reality.
Japan offers world-class amenities, safe and comfortable accommodation, and easy dining with exciting choices for kids. Add to these the scintillating possibilities for entertainment, and it becomes the perfect place for families to let their hair down, and enjoy a stress-free holiday.