Family accommodation in Japan
Find the perfect hotels and traditional Japanese inns for you and your family.
Whether you are travelling with young children, with teenagers or as a large family group with adults and kids, finding the right places to stay is always a challenge. Our team of expert travel consultants can help find the right accommodation for you. If it is connecting rooms you need then we will have a range of options at different budgets for you to choose from. Perhaps you would like to stay in a Japanese town house in Kyoto or maybe you are looking for the perfect beach resort to round off your trip.
Below you can find just a handful of our suggestions for family friendly accommodation. But we have many more so just ask your travel consultant and they will be happy to advise.
If you're looking for a friendly, traditional inn where your family will be made to feel part of your host's family, look no further than the Yamaichi Bekkan. A firm favourite with the InsideJapan team, many of whom have stayed here with their families in the past, the inn's delightful proprietress has a reputation for bending over backwards to fulfil the every need of her guests. The inn also offers tatami-mat rooms for up to eight people, separated by sliding doors across the middle.
Simon and Alastair, our company directors, first visited the Yamaichi Bekkan in the early 2000s, when InsideJapan Tours was only just beginning. Ever since then, its warm hospitality, friendly atmosphere and outstanding food have made it a firm favourite!
The ryokan has just four guest rooms (three traditional Japanese-style and one Western twin), all with en suite bathrooms. Downstairs, the ryokan acts as a restaurant as well, and serves superb food: sashimi, tempura, and the island speciality conger eel. The baked oysters, another local delicacy, are a real treat.
The ryokan is a family affair, and the English-speaking proprietress, Shinko-san, is an absolute delight. She and her family will ensure that you feel welcome, and will do everything they can to fulfil your every need and request. The ryokan lacks its own onsen bathhouse but if you fancy a soak, Shinko-san will arrange for you to visit the baths at the hotel a few doors down. Located on the top floor of the building, they boast great views across the bay.
An excellent choice for those on a tighter budget, the Shiba Park Hotel is a simple yet reliable family option in Tokyo. In terms of family accommodation, the hotel offers quad rooms and twin-to-twin connecting rooms, and can add extra beds to the existing rooms to achieve a variety of different configurations. There are cots available for younger children, and the hotel stocks kids' toothbrushes and nappies.
With Tokyo Tower and Zojo-ji Temple a short walk to the west and Hamarikyu Gardens a pleasant stroll away to the east, this is a great location right in the heart of the city.
The lobby has plenty of space and seating, and the guest rooms are of a reasonable size for Tokyo. The hotel also has its own restaurants, including a Chinese restaurant, a Japanese restaurant, a bar and café. If you would prefer to eat out, there are plenty of great options within easy walking distance of the hotel - just ask one of the hotel staff for recommendations or to make a reservation.
There are several underground and overground stations in the area - the closest being Onarimon, Daimon and Hamamatsucho. A short walk will also bring you to Shibakoen, Akabanebashi, Kamiyacho or Shiodome - so you will be very well connected during your stay.
Keio Plaza Tokyo
The Keio Plaza has ten excellent family rooms, each 46 square metres in size, with four small double beds (or large singles, depending on your point of view!) and two en suite bathrooms. Cots are available for small children, and (unlike at many Japanese hotels) children are welcome to use the swimming pool. For older children, the hotel has two Hello Kitty! themed rooms, and all the rooms have a range of English channels – including Cartoon Network and the MTV Movie Channel.
This 170-metre (560 ft) skyscraper has fantastic views of the city, especially at night from the hotel's sky bar – the perfect place for a cocktail after a hard day of sightseeing! There are also no less than 22 restaurants, serving everything from teppanyaki to tempura, kaiseki, sushi, soba, French, Italian, Chinese and Korean. Phew!
What's more, the Keio Plaza frequently hosts special exhibitions of art, photography and traditional crafts. The hotel also offers various Japanese cultural experiences such as tea ceremony, trying on kimono, and ikebana flower arranging. If you fancy a little Japanese-style late entertainment, there are four karaoke rooms on the 47th floor, with spectacular panoramic views of the city, while the seventh floor hosts a gym and open-air swimming pool during the summer months for those who want to keep active.
As you would expect from a hotel of this calibre, the staff speak excellent English and the service is impeccable. All guest rooms have free Wi-Fi, in-room dining is available, and there are complimentary shuttle buses to Disneyland and DisneySea – amongst a whole roster of other services.
Cross Hotel Osaka
For families trying to keep costs down on their holiday, the Osaka Cross Hotel is one of our favourite budget-friendly options. One of its main selling points is its excellent location – slap-bang in the middle of Osaka's exciting Nanba shopping district, and a short train journey to some of the city's best child-orientated sights, including Spa World, Osaka Aquarium, and Universal Studios. The hotel also offers connecting rooms for families, although unfortunately only twin rooms are available.
The hotel has recently been refurbished and boasts sleek, modern design both inside and out, giving it something of a boutique feel. Rooms are stylishly decorated and surprisingly generously sized for a city-centre hotel, and each bathroom offers a deep soaking tub, separate shower and a small "powder room".
The Cross has its own restaurant and bar, but its great location also means that there are a plethora of establishments to choose from on your doorstep, making this the perfect place to indulge in one of Osaka's main attractions: fabulous food and drink! A great many of Osaka's attractions are within easy walking distance of the hotel, but if you need to travel further afield, Nanba subway station is only three minutes' walk away, and Shinsaibashi is just five minutes away.
Despite its lively location, the hotel itself is a quiet and peaceful place, so should you be looking for an early night you will not be disturbed.
For families spending a few days in Kyoto, a stay at a machiya is our top recommendation. Machiya are traditional wooden townhouses, and they have a number of benefits for families. Parents have the comfort of Western-style beds while the children sleep on traditional futons in connecting rooms; you'll have your own kitchenette to store and prepare food; and there are free washing machines and dryers for a bit of mid-holiday laundry.
These machiya, all located in the city centre, have been lovingly restored as comfortable holiday rental cottages that sleep two to eight people. This is your chance to slide back a traditional screen door and live like a real Kyotoite in the comfort of your own space for a few days.
Each machiya has a kitchenette, dining area, bathroom, two washrooms and a discreet computer corner (laptop provided). Bedrooms may be Western-style with low beds or Japanese-style tatami rooms with futons, or a mixture of both. Facilities include a Skype phone and TV, washing machine and dryer, kitchenware & tableware, microwave, fridge and air conditioning in all rooms. The houses are usually two-storey traditional buildings with lovely Japanese gardens.
In super-traditional Hakone it can be difficult to find family-friendly accommodation, but the Mikawaya ryokan is one of our favourites. This high-end inn offers parents a chic and authentic ryokan experience as well as offering a “Mamas & papas” plan, including a range of child-friendly benefits such as child-size futons, kids' meals, nappies and a machine specifically designed for warming milk for babies.
The ryokan has 40 guest rooms spread across the main building, new building and two private guest residences. Most are classic Japanese style, meaning you'll be sleeping on futon mattresses placed directly on the tatami-mat floor, however some rooms do have Western-style beds. Some of the larger suite rooms have sliding doors so you can partition the space into two separate rooms; ideal for families.
The Mikawaya has lovely hot spring baths (indoor and outdoor) including one bath that can be reserved for private use. The ryokan is well known for its excellent cuisine; dozens of intricate kaiseki dishes for dinner and a choice of Japanese or Western food for breakfast.
The ryokan is located at the centre of Hakone National Park, near a road – which does make it a little noisy at times. However, this does mean you'll have great access to the outdoor sculpture museum, the cable car to Owakudani hot springs, and the boat cruise across Lake Ashi. Best of all, Yunessun water park is just a few minutes away on foot.
In terms of luxury accommodation in Tokyo, we can't think of a better choice for families than the Peninsula. This is quite simply the best family accommodation in the city, offering king-sized double bedrooms connecting to deluxe twin rooms – a set-up with a combined size of 123 square metres. Cots are available for babies, children are welcome to use the pool between 9am and 6pm, and you'll find that your every need has been thought of in advance.
Guest rooms are among the largest in Tokyo, and each suite blends traditional Peninsula standards of comfort and technology with elements of Japanese heritage and culture. The hotel offers a wide range of gourmet dining options, including authentic Cantonese cuisine, fine Japanese kaiseki and international dining. For relaxation the hotel features a fitness centre and indoor swimming pool overlooking the Imperial Gardens, while The Peninsula Spa by ESPA offers the ultimate in pure indulgence.
ANA Crowne Plaza
A great alternative to a machiya-style stay in Kyoto is the ANA Crowne Plaza, which offers lovely twin-to-twin and twin-to-triple bedrooms for families. Unfortunately, there are no connecting double rooms. Children of all ages are welcome to use the hotel pool (for which there is a fee), while children under five may swim for free – an unusual perk for a Kyoto hotel. There is also a handy nanny service for when you'd like a little time for yourself!
The hotel offers some lovely traditional touches, with ikebana flower arrangements and front desk staff dressed in kimono. The décor is a little dated, but rooms are clean, comfortable, and generously sized compared to many Japanese hotels. There is a complimentary shuttle service between the hotel and Kyoto Station, a subway stop just around the corner, and bus stops for all the main sites right outside the door.
In your room, you'll find a “sleep advantage” package including green tea, bath powder, eye pads and different types of pillows to help you get a good night's sleep, which is a thoughtful touch. The hotel offers a range of restaurants, and there's a fitness centre with an indoor swimming pool, gym and sauna – although guests must pay extra to use these facilities.
Nijo Castle, right opposite the hotel, is one of Kyoto's most well-known sights. Quite different in appearance to any other Japanese castle, it is famous for its “nightingale floors” – a feudal-era burglar alarm system that still works perfectly today!