What to do on a Family Trip to Japan

What to do on a Family Trip to Japan

What to do on a Family Trip to Japan

Why Japan is a great choice.  After our 1st family trip to Japan (for three weeks) – I asked my boys (then 11 & 12 years) for their top five reasons why they rated it as one of the best places for family holidays

The Proximity

For Australian families, Japan is only a ten-hour flight away from a completely different culture.  Depending on your time of departure, after a few hours of shut-eye, you could be enjoying breakfast in Tokyo.  A big thumbs up from the boys…

What to do on a Family Trip to Japan


What to do on a Family Trip to Japan

The people

You would expect a country of 127 million to have a diverse mix of people (we certainly saw some sights…) – however, the boys loved the polite and welcoming nature of everyone we encountered, without exception.  Whilst language was a barrier (even armed with our lovely new Lonely Planet, Japanese ‘phrase guide’ – our efforts were rudimentary at best…); everyone was patient with our requests for directions and questions.  “The Japanese are so polite”, the youngest wanted me to mention, and I agree…

What to do on a Family Trip to Japan

What to do on a Family Trip to Japan

The Snow

Our end of year holidays generally involves some skiing.  I will be honest and say that when The Husband suggested the Japanese Alps, I wasn’t a fan. To visit the country, yes I couldn’t wait, however, I had heard that the Apres Ski scene was virtually non-existant…call me a lush, but a skiing holiday requires a hot toddy and cosy fire at the end of a  cold day on the slopes.  I am pleased to report we found both, and fabulous powder, scenery, culture in Hakuba (near Nagano). Pre-trip I had difficulty finding detailed information on Hakuba Tourism for families – I will detail everything you should know in future posts…

What to do on a Family Trip to Japan

What to do on a Family Trip to Japan

The Food

I had assumed we were in for a culinary treat in Japan. We all enjoyed regular Japanese meals in Australia. Every traditional meal we sampled was superb (and fresh and beautifully presented…) – we also found truly the largest selection of magnificent pastries and cakes and other goodies we have ever encountered. The highlight for the boys was a cooking class in Kyoto at the home of lovely Taro, Yoshiko and their two sweet girls…

What to do on a Family Trip to Japan

Haru Cooking Classes-http://www.kyoto-cooking-class.com

What to do on a Family Trip to Japan

What to do on a Family Trip to Japan

The Culture

The perfect blend of old and new, tech and traditional kept the boys enthralled and educated. A ‘not to be missed’ experience was the walking tour we did with Samurai Joe Okada (85 years young, a wealth of fabulous snippets -so interesting the boys happily followed his stories and tour for hours, not so much of a whimper of being tired or cold…) – and the sword training!!!!!  Another day we visited a ‘cat cafe’ – yes really – cute cats, but probably a one-off excursion…

What to do on a Family Trip to Japan


What to do on a Family Trip to Japan

So much more to see and experience – we will visit again…

The Urban Mum’s Favourite Part…

Spending time with the family – relaxing and just having fun in one of the best family holiday destinations in Asia.

What to do on a Family Trip to Japan

I hope this post helps you in planning – What to do on a Family Trip to Japan.


  • I’ve always thought Japan would be good for families. They seem to really make things fun for kids, especially really little ones! Plus there is so much for adults to do too! 😀

    • The Japanese do everything better, of course the food. The there is the gorgeous wrappings, paper, cards, knick knacks I never even dreamed I needed – but then can’t seem to now live without (the best oil dispenser with a rubber brush for oiling frying pans or basting things…bliss)…xxx

  • We did Japan last year and I am itching to return! Misses (then) 6 and 8 loved it and picked up the language waaaay better than me! The food! The food! Take me back….

    • I know, it is an amazing experience for families…I just cannot believe it took us so long to get there…the food was amazing and all the gorgeous paper and cards, and wrapping – if I had girls I would have gone mad for the clothes too!xx

  • Hotly Spiced says:

    I’ve never been to Japan but I did learn Japanese at school. It sure looks like you had the most amazing holiday and how wonderful that there was excellent snow. I love how relatively close Japan is and how you can be in a completely different culture within less than a day xx

    • Oh I wish I had focused more in my school Japanese classes (or visited the country earlier when I could still remember more than the basics) – even though communication didn’t exactly flow we never felt bewildered, everyone was so patient and kind!xx

  • Hi there, ours was all beach and surf and very Aussie… we’ve never ever been to Japan and would love to go one day and ski. Please do write lots of posts as I’d be quite intimidated to plan a Japanese holiday but following in your footsteps would be much easier. Look forward to more.

    • Loving hearing and seeing your swimming (major) efforts…feel so unadventurous in comparison! Posts coming, it truly is a really easy family holiday – possibly the best skiing experience we have had…xx

  • OK totally sold. When do we go? My oldest has just started learning Japanese at school so he is keen as and hello… business class. I AM SO IN!!!!! 🙂 xx

    • Konichiwa! Okay so now you have your own translator in the mix, book a trip…the Business Class was a very big extravagance to use up old FF points, problem is we now only have enough left to upgrade one person next time. Oh I tell you it is so very tempting to make that person me……it was an extremely pleasant flight!!!!xx

  • Looks like you really had a lovely time and the kids enjoyed too which is fantastic!
    I have not been to Japan in almost 13 years (my first time was for an exchange program in Uni , and even then it was a very remote part of Japan) so I would love to see Tokyo and the other main cities.
    I’m with you as well re: snow. Thrilled about the country but not the snow 😉

    • Time for you to return! My biggest regret is not doing an exchange program when I was younger; what a wonderful experience for you…I hope that is something my boys want to try later. x

  • Your boys will grow up to be so culturally aware. Such a gift you’re bestowing on them. We took my five to France when they were little and wonderful as the experience was; welcoming and friendly isn’t how I’d describe it. But perhaps that was because there were so many of them! What a lovely family you have 🙂

    • Culturally aware or setting them up for doom when they actually have to pay for their own holidays…only time will tell…Meanwhile we will keep enjoying! No I wouldn’t call the French warm and welcoming (thin and chic yes…nice no). Absolutely nothing to do with your tribe of five – last time I was in Paris (attempting French in what my sister calls my Marcel Marceau version, lots of arm movements and not a lot of actual speech); I approached a woman for directions – she sharply inhaled and took off muttering what I think was, “stoopid uneducated Bourgeois, let her eat cake…”, or something to that effect. x

  • Caroline says:

    I have always wanted to visit Japan, this is so wonderful!!! When I was young and traveling with my parents we would call up a real estate agent (this was before airbnb) and rent an apartment somewhere so we were really able to live in the culture. Best memories ever!

    • What wonderful forward thinking parents…how fabulous…you must have so many travel stories to tell, would love to hear some of them – feel free to come and do a post sometime…x

  • Super comprehensive post Monique! I am really glad to hear the Apres ski vibes are good! I am more of a skip-the-skiing-head-to-the-spa-then-apres kinda girl and had felt tentative about Japan for that reason. So glad you had such a great break! x

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