Japan with kids

Travelling in Japan with kids

What does Responsible Travel recommend?

Itís not the first place that comes to mind when travelling with kids but, in fact, this is a big growth area for family travel. Itís the four Sís that seal the deal. It is Safe, Straightforward, Speedy and Stunning. And because rail travel is so easy in Japan (and most kids love a cool train journey) nothing is too hard to access either. Japan is a great place for travel with teenagers. Its history appeals to an enquiring mind, and its fashions satisfy the search for cool. And of course, if your kids are into Anime, the massive trend for Japanese animations, try keeping them away.

Health & safety in Japan

Travel safely in Japan with kids


  • It is much hotter than you might think in Japan in summer, so do protect yourself with suncream and keep hydrated, especially in the mountains.
  • As a culture, cleanliness and hygiene is key, and so there are rarely any issues. Tap water is drinkable everywhere.
  • Carry tissues as most public toilets donít have loo roll.
  • Japanese people do not appreciate you spreading your germs, and many wear masks in public. So cover your nose and mouth if you sneeze and use hand sanitizer if you can. At least to show willing.
  • Smoking in public places still hasnít been banned in Japan, but attitudes have changed rapidly, and most places are anti-smoking these days.
  • Of course, The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advises against all travel to the exclusion zones around the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear facility.
  • Check with the Japanese embassy before you travel that your prescription drugs are legal in Japan. You might need to buy a local alternative if not.
  • In an emergency, dial 119 for fire or ambulance services. Police are on 110.


The emergency number for police is 110.
Crime rates are negligible in Japan, and it is well known to be one of the safest countries to travel in the world. You can travel easily as a woman alone in Japan although common sense prevails of course.
Always check in with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) for any recent updates.
During typhoon season, you will be given good warning. Top tips include staying inside, and making sure any loose objects such as your bike, are secured. Draw your curtains in case the window glass cracks and, if severe, move into a room with no windows. And stay clear of the sea, as typhoons usually lead to high tides.
Drugs are neither hard nor soft in Japan, and possession of both can result in a prison sentence

As we know, earthquakes do happen. There are a few basics to follow, such as stay inside the building. You are generally safer in than out. Keep the door ajar with a heavy object. And stay away from brick walls, windows or heavy objects. The US Federal Emergency Management Agency is a good source of safety advice when it comes to earthquakes. If you are near the sea during a big shake, head to higher ground as quickly as possible.

Activities for families in Japan

What to do with little ones

Little monkeys
As if the fabulous hiking, biking and hot springs arenít enough, Matsumoto is home to snow monkeys, a breed of macaque that escape the icy mountains by coming down to bathe in the Yudanaka Onsen hot springs.
Sumo wrestling
Not always easy to time, as they donít happen regularly, it is worth trying to find a tournament on your travels as this is a top thing to do in Japan with kids.
Many ancient traditions have been preserved in sumo, such as having to grow their hair long enough to go in a knot, similar to the samurai warriors of the past.
Room at the inn
When you travel in Japan with kids, you will not only be given a royal welcome at their traditional inns, called ryokans, but children will also love the rituals of staying in one. Such as having to take off their shoes, sleeping in sparse rooms on futons, taking communal baths and taking tea. Itís like being given a mini Japan in a box.
If you'd like to chat about Japan or need help finding a holiday to suit you we're very happy to help.
Rosy & team.
01273 823 700

Travelling in Japan with kids

responsible travel asks the experts

Andrew Straw, founder of our cycling holiday supplier, Saddle Skedaddle: "For families, the tatami bedded rooms are great because you can all hunk down together, which works really well. In terms of food, the children might need to be ready to try new things, as there is plenty of that in Japan. Itís a country to change your perceptions about what looks bad also tastes bad, as this is not always the case here. And it really is the best food in the world."
Ruth Hubbard, Product Manager of one of our suppliers, Inside Japan Tours highly recommends visiting Japan with kids
"Families will love it because Japanese people love children, will treat them like celebrities and probably want to take lots of photos of them."
Photo credits: [Silhouette at railway museum: ajari] [Little monkeys: Marc Veraart] [Sumo wrestling: Simon Q] [Room at the Inn: Jana K] [Children's parade at Hana-Matsuri in Asakusa: Maarten Heerlien]
Written by Catherine Mack
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