Family adventures in Japan
Japan's cities are a flashing, whirring paradise for kids of all ages. In Tokyo alone, your family can enjoy anime masters at Studio Ghibli, take a masterclass in manga drawing, meet Hello Kitty at Sanrio Puroland and get lost in the amusement arcades of Akihabara "electric town".
In the countryside, your family can cycle through rural villages, kayak across to Miyajima Island or feed the friendly deer in Nara Park. There are also endless hands-on activities to try, from martial arts to origami or taiko drumming - inspiring, educational experiences for any age.
One of the safest and cleanest countries in the world, Japan boasts superb amenities and excellent family accommodation, making travelling with children wonderfully stress-free. What's more, dining options encompass everything from all-you-can-eat ice cream parlours to fishing restaurants where you can reel in your own meal - so if your child doesn't take to kaiseki, you needn't worry.
Recommended Family Experiences
A deluxe family holiday taking you to the must-see cities of Tokyo and Kyoto, via the beautiful Hakone National Park.
Discover Japan's traditional arts, crafts, cuisine, nature and much more with this action-packed tour – filled with exciting, immersive experiences.
Family accommodation across Japan
InterContinental Yokohama Grand Hotel (Yokohama)
Shaped like a billowing sail, InterContinental Yokohama Grand is one of the most recognisable landmark buildings in Yokohama.
The hotel stands proudly overlooking the bay on the edge of the ultra-modern Minato Mirai development, which is colourfully lit up at night.
Undoubtedly one of the best hotels in Yokohama, the hotel has a very classic feel and the service is everything you would expect from an Intercontinental hotel.The classically designed guest rooms start at 38 sqm and, due to its unique sail design, the vast majority of have excellent bay views.
The hotel's spa and various restaurants and bars are all of the highest quality in terms of design and the services they offer.
Another great benefit of staying at InterContinental Yokohama Grand is the location. Being just a short walk away from Rinko Park or the harbour side, there are plenty of opportunities for walks or runs in the surrounding area. It is also just a fifteen-minute walk from the downtown area of Yokohama (Sakuragicho) and a short taxi ride from Yokohama Station.
The Capitol Hotel Tokyu (Tokyo)
The Capitol Tokyu hotel, located in the Akasaka district of downtown Tokyo, is a luxury hotel with a unique history and makes for a fabulous place to stay.
The hotel opened for business in autumn 2010, in a brand new building overlooking the National Diet building and the Imperial Palace grounds as well as the serene Hie Shrine, which is just a one-minute walk from the lobby.
The original Capitol Tokyu (licensed to Hilton until 1986), located on the same site, had over the years played host to some of the world's biggest names including the Three Tenors, Michael Jackson and perhaps most famously, The Beatles, when in 1966 they made their only visit to Japan as a band. You can still take a picture in front of the same wall where their press conference was held; a unique memento of your stay and the only piece of the original hotel that remains today.
The hotel incorporates beautiful Japanese design by renowned architect Kengo Kuma and the lobby with its stunning wooden structures is undoubtedly true to his aim to "recover the tradition of Japanese buildings" and to reinterpret it for the 21st century. The spacious rooms continue this theme with sliding shoji paper screens which contribute to making a stay here a uniquely Japanese experience. The views are spectacular, especially as night falls, and can be enjoyed from the six-metre-wide panoramic windows of the guest rooms. The bathrooms include a "rain shower" and separate bath and the bamboo, green tea and cherry blossom bath products help bring the aromas of Japan to your morning shower!
Guest rooms feature wired internet (free of charge) but if you require wireless access this can be supplied on request by the extremely accommodating hotel staff. And for music lovers, if you bring your iPod, a docking station links directly to stereo speakers in the ceiling of the room. English-language satellite television channels are also available free of charge. Other hotel facilities include a 20-metre pool and fitness room, a spa, lounge bar and the usual business services.
The hotel boasts several superb restaurants including their flagship Japanese establishment offering a sushi counter along with kaiseki and teppan dining with private rooms available. If you prefer to explore the local dining options, Akasaka offers everything from cosy izakaya (Japanese pubs) and yakitoriya (chargrilled chicken on sticks) to some of the finest dining in Tokyo.
Cross Hotel Osaka (Osaka)
The Cross Hotel is a smart hotel located on Dotonbori, one of the liveliest and most famous streets in all of Japan.
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 Namba subway station is only three minutes' walk away, and Shinsaibashi is just five minutes' walk.
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.
Dating back to 1883, The Mikawaya is a traditional Japanese style inn with a proud heritage. There are 40 guest rooms spread across the main building, new building and 2 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 which can be reserved for private use. The ryokan is well known for its excellent cuisine; dozens of intricate kaiseki dishes for dinner while for breakfast there is a choice of Japanese or Western food. The ryokan is located in the centre of Hakone National Park, near a road which does make it a little noisy at times. However the ryokan also has great access to the outdoor sculpture museum, the cable car to Owakudani volcano and the boat cruise across Lake Ashi. Best of all, Yunessun water park is just a few minutes away on foot.
Kerama Beach Hotel (Zamami)
The Kerama Beach hotel is a simple but comfortable western style hotel in a quiet location with beaches to the east and west.
Guest rooms are a bit on the bland side, but comfortable with good beds and en-suite bathrooms. All have sea views. The hotel staff are exceptionally friendly, will pick you up from the main port and can arrange diving and snorkelling trips around the Kerama Islands. The hotel has a good restaurant serving simple food including steak and chips! There's also a nice bar and lovely terrace area.
Machiya Residence (Kyoto)
InsideJapan are delighted to offer self-catering stays in a range of Kyoto machiya or traditional townhouse.
These machiya, all located in the city centre, have been lovingly restored as comfortable holiday rental cottages that sleep 2 to 8 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 small kitchen, 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. Facilities include a Skype phone and plasma TV, washing machine and dryer, kitchenware & tableware, a microwave, fridge and air conditioning in all rooms. The houses are usually 2 storey traditional buildings with a lovely Japanese garden.