TRAVELLING WITH KIDS
In each of the town chapters in Japan – 100 Hidden Towns, where relevant, we include a Kids section. Some towns are more kid-friendly than others, with attractions unambiguously aimed at the young crowd, while certain destinations are strictly for the more mature. Below is some general advice for those travelling with kids.
In general, travelling with kids is extremely easy in Japan. Logistically, the amazing train service ensures that getting from A to B is smooth. Try to avoid the rush-hour trains of the bigger cities, as kids can get lost and squashed amongst the sullen salarymen. For the bullet trains, it’s a great, fun ride for the kids as much as for the adults. Children aged 5 or under travel free on buses and trains, and those aged 6-12 travel at half-price.
Food-wise, there is usually plenty to satisfy fussy youngsters, with a variety of restaurants, even in smaller towns. Be warned that staying at a ryokan may mean the food is very Japanese and, often, seafood-based, so perhaps not ideal for the toddler palate. Some ryokan, though, have a kids menu or a buffet meal option, so it really is a case of checking out websites in advance. Also, convenience stores help to ensure that kid-friendly dishes and snacks are never far away.
Japan places great emphasis on education, and museums are designed to engage curious young minds. There are plenty of hands-on displays even in the more rural museums. Cultural activities can often attract the kids even more than the adults, with opportunities to try their hand at pottery, sweet-making and various arts and crafts.