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.
The whole family can get stuck in to Japanese culture with this hands-on activity holiday.
Family accommodation across Japan
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.
Shiba Park Hotel (Tokyo)
The Shiba Park hotel is located in the centre of Tokyo and has friendly, English-speaking staff who are well used to looking after foreign guests.
With Tokyo Tower and Zozo-ji Temple a short walk 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.
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.
Yamaichi Bekkan (Miyajima)
Hands down, this is one of the most-loved ryokan among the InsideJapan Tours team! Welcome to the Yamaichi Bekkan, a family-run inn just a short walk from both the pier and Miyajima's famous shrine gate.
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 has a great reputation for its high quality food: sashimi, tempura and the island speciality conger eel. The owner Shinko-san is an absolute delight - with her you can be sure of a warm welcome to Miyajima Island.
Keio Plaza Tokyo (Tokyo)
You will be staying at the Keio Plaza Hotel located in the very heart of Tokyo's bustling Shinjuku district and just a couple of minute's walk from the station.
This 170m skyscraper has great views of the city, especially at night from the hotel's sky bar - perfect for a cocktail after a hard day of sightseeing! This 5 star hotel has no less than 29 restaurants and English speaking staff on hand.
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.