With its vibrant cities, natural habitats, high-octane winter sports and rich history, Japan offers something for everyone.
What’s more, families can combine a number of different holidays in one, making sure that everyone will go home happy. Here are some of the highlights.
THEME PARKS & MUSEUMS
Japan is home to more than 100 amusement parks and museums, varying from the world famous to the hyper-niche.
Tokyo Disney Resort
The ultimate fun day out for children and parents alike, Tokyo Disney Resort houses both Disneyland and DisneySea.
Divided into seven main themed areas, Tokyo Disneyland is famed for its landscaped open spaces, while Tokyo DisneySea is the only Disney park in the world themed to the myths and legends of the sea.
Universal Studios Japan, Osaka
For film buffs of all ages, Universal Studios Japan features a wide range of attractions divided between eight sections: Hollywood, New York, San Francisco, Jurassic Park, Waterworld, Amity Village, Universal Wonderland and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
Sanrio Puroland, Tama, Tokyo
This theme park features a boat ride with Hello Kitty, My Melody, Cinnamoroll, Gudetama and many other Sanrio characters. Stay overnight at the nearby Keio Plaza Hotel Tama’s Hello Kitty themed rooms for an extra dose of cuteness.
Cup Noodles Museum, Osaka
At this off-the-wall museum, visitors can learn everything they’ve ever wanted to know (and more) about the history of cup noodles. Visitors are invited to design their own cup noodles packaging and even make their own customised flavour!
Miraikan – National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation, Koto, Tokyo
For fans of technology, this museum is unmissable. Here children are often mesmerised by Japan’s innovative technologies and can get up close to all manner of robots and androids.
Ghibli Museum, Mitaka, Tokyo
A truly unique and magical place in the city’s western suburbs, this is a museum dedicated to one of Japan’s best-loved art forms: animated movies. You don’t have to be a fan of the films to appreciate the artistry of the exhibits, or to get lost in the stories displayed throughout.
Japan’s diverse landscape varies from tropical beaches, cedar forests, tea plantations and snowy mountains. This, coupled with the distinct seasons, means visitors can expect to find year-round natural beauty all over the country.
The perfect picture-postcard time to visit Japan is during spring when the cherry blossom trees are in full bloom.
Typically, late March to early April, this is the ideal time to bring the whole family, when the weather is milder, and the country celebrates with hanami (flower-viewing parties and picnics).
Look out for the delicious cherry blossom-themed desserts on offer during this period.
Jigokudani Monkey Park, Yamanouchi, Nagano
The Japanese Alps is home to native snow monkeys, who are partial to warming themselves during the winter months in the region’s natural hot springs.
This gives rise to the sight of monkeys lazing in the heated pools while the snow falls, often acquiring soft hats of fresh snow in the process – a scene your family is not likely to forget!
Skiing, Hokkaido, Nagano and Niigata and Tohoku
Also during winter, the powdery snowfields in places like Hokkaido, Nagano, Niigata and Tohoku are ideal for skiing and snowboarding.
Most ski resorts cater to visiting families and have a wide variety of ski runs and off-piste activities to suit every age.
In Japan, tradition is fused with modern living. The country’s heritage is unlike anywhere else and there are plenty of opportunities to explore Japan’s rich history and customs as a family.
Harajuku is the city’s trendiest and quirkiest district, renowned for its street art and youth fashion culture. Its streets are filled with Japan’s most eye-catching examples of teenage fashion, something the country’s youngsters spend time, effort and money to pursue to the extreme.
Unique clothing stores cater to all forms of niche styles, while up-market boutiques are nestled between small bars and cafes.
Shibuya Crossing, Tokyo
The world-famous Shibuya Crossing in the nation’s capital is the ultimate place to take in the magnitude of this busy city and get an insight into modern Japan. Choose a nearby cafe to watch from a distance and take it all in.
Train travel, countrywide
Japan is a veritable paradise for train lovers. From state-of-the-art shinkansen (bullet train) rides, to steam locomotive rides through the picturesque Japanese countryside, children young and old will be
enthralled with the different types of train journeys on offer.
There are also character-themed trains and railway museums throughout the country.
Edo Wonderland, Nikko
Here, families can be transported to another time in Japan’s unique history and experience life in the Edo period.
Children can dress up as and learn more about the geishas, royalty, samurais and ninjas that dominated Japanese society in the 17th century.
Temple stay, Koyasan
A short stay in one of Koyasan’s temples gives guests a deeper appreciation of the peace and tranquillity that is central to Japanese spiritual life, offering a true respite from the stresses of the modern world.
For families, the experience can offer a time to reflect and re-energise before the trip back home to resume the daily routine.
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