If you’ve followed my blog for a while, you know I’m always planning my dream holidays. I live permanently with my head in the clouds as travel is one of my biggest passions (in fact I used to be a travel agent and cabin crew, back in the day!) Our travel plans are just on a slight hold while our family is so young, but we will be back to it very soon and there is no harm in dreaming! Japan has got to be the absolute TOP of my bucket list if I could choose anywhere in the world to travel to. I always thought we’d visit without children – but I guess I missed the boat with that one 😂. Luckily, I was recently able to ask Japan travel experts Inside Japan to answer some questions about travel to Japan as a family (which you can read in my post here), which successfully put my mind at rest that my dream holiday to Japan would be possible with children, with a little planning from the experts, of course!
Of course our starting place would have to be magical TOKYO! With its bright neon lights, 24/7 buzz and giant skyscrapers, Tokyo is the perfect playground for the entire family as there is so much to see and do. From high tech innovations to old fashioned culture, there is something different around every corner, leaving little ones in awe. I’d love to take Violet and Pearl shopping to stores like the Pokemon Mega Centre or the Hello Kitty Store. I think we might need an extra suitcase to bring it all home (and that’s just my shopping!)
Tokyo is also home to Studio Ghibli (the animation studio of my favourite movies) They have created a fantastic and whimsical museum that takes you on a journey into each movie and behind the scenes too. It looks just magical! Violet has been watching a few Studio Ghibli movies recently – I think she’s a fan and would absolutely love it too.
Visiting old temples may not seem like the most exciting activity for children, but there are thousands of unique temples and shrines in Japan that even the youngest members of the family can appreciate. I’d love to bring Violet and Pearl up to appreciate other cultures so I think it’s important to take in some of the cultural sites as well as those designed for children too. A good mix could be somewhere like the Gotoku-ji in Tokyo which is covered in “Maneki Neko” or lucky cat statues – It must be quite a sight!
Mount Fuji by Bullet Train
I’m sure I wouldn’t be alone in thinking the idea of climbing a mountain with two little ones in two would be near on impossible! I can barely do the nursery run without Violet stopping to look at every leaf, so we wouldn’t get very far. A great way of seeing the majestic Mount Fuji with a family is via bullet train.
This magnificent feat of engineering reaches speeds that are unheard of anywhere else in the world. The bullet train, or the Shinkansen to the Japanese, is a thrilling and futuristic way to travel around Japan, bound to fascinate little ones to the max!
Some of the best views of Mount Fuji can be seen from the bullet train a little under and hour from Tokyo. Plus, there is also a Hello Kitty bullet train for the Sanrio fan in the family too!
Visit Snow Monkeys
The spa town of Yudanaka in the Japanese Alps is around three hours by train from Tokyo and is known for its natural hot springs and its snow monkeys. As big animal lovers, I just know Violet and Pearl would love to meet these gorgeous creatures! The snow monkeys have got it right as they spend most of their time in and around the hot springs. They are even more amusing in the winter, sitting in the hot springs with snow piling up on top of their heads. Oh to be a snow monkey!
Talking about hot springs, an Onsen experience is high on my wishlist of things I would love to do whilst in Japan. An onsen is a Japanese a traditional bath house where locals bath in the gloriously warm hot springs – due to the amount of volcanic activity, these are scattered across the whole of Japan.
There is one place I’d LOVE to visit to do this that is family friendly too, Yunessun Water Park. It’s got to be the most unique water parks I’ve ever heard of – with a coffee and a wine bath, there is certainly something for the adults, but for children there are slides and a mysterious jellyfish bath to name a few of the attractions too. This would be a unique experience you’d never see anywhere in world and a must on our dream holiday bucket list!
So, these were my top five sights to see on our dream holiday in Japan! Back in the day when it was just us and we’d be travelling alone without children, I’d have probably organised the trip myself, whacked on a backpack and just gone with little thought. But travelling to Japan with a family takes a bit more planning to make sure the trip is perfect – family holidays can be expensive and time limited so it’s got to be just right! I’d recommend speaking to the travel experts at Inside Japan to ensure you get the best advice and plan a trip that takes in everything you’d want to see and above all is safe and designed for children too.
Where would you like to visit on your dream holiday to Japan?