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.
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Family accommodation across Japan
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.
ANA Crowne Plaza (Kyoto)
The ANA Crowne Plaza is a superior grade hotel in a fantastic central location opposite Nijo Castle, one of Kyoto's top attractions.
attractions. The hotel offers some lovely touches of the traditional side of Japan, with front desk staff dressed in kimono and ikebana flower arrangements decorating the lobby. 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 1,545yen per person to use these facilities. A great place for your stay in this historic city.
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.
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.
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.
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.