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Trip to Japan with Kids 2007/9/7 09:43
Tokyo 23-ku
Looking for help to structure a trip that would fit a family with 2 kids (6 and 11 years old). We're flying to Tokyo, Nov 1, spending there 3.5 days. The plan so far includes a full day at Disney. Aside from that I wanted to focus on historical/cultural sights. Edo-Tokyo Musuem, Asakusa area, Impereial palace, general sightseeing around town.
Then we take a train to Kyoto. Spending 4 days there. A one day trip to Nara, also a one day trip to Himeji. The two remaining days we will spend in Kyoto. However, i would like the kids to enjoy it as well. The problem is, how to combine fun and serious/adult type sightseeing. We could take a Sagano Romantic train and then a boat ride down the Hozy river. The goal is not to have them overwhelmed with multiple temple visits.
Sat, Nov 10 we take a train back to Tokyo to fly back home.
Note, JR rail pass will be activated as we leave Tokyo for Kyoto.

any advice would be greatly appreciated.
thank you.
by ny941932  

Toei 2007/9/7 13:14
How about a day trip to Toei Uzumasa Eiga Mura - the Toei film studio in the suburb of Uzumasa. Easy train connection from Kyoto station and a brief walk. Ninja shows, possibly samurai movies being made, and the chance to get dressed up in Edo period garb. Took our 12 y/o granddaughter there and she loved it.
by Tay rate this post as useful

Great Idea! 2007/9/7 22:09
have to get on top of this.
sounds very interesting.
thank you.
by ny941932 rate this post as useful

Japan with kids would be challenging? 2007/9/8 03:51
As much as I love Disney World, I'd hate to spend time in Japan at DW. But I understand your concern about the kids enjoying it.

Our kids (currently 10 and 12) have been to Thailand, England, Mexico, and Costa Rica. They're seasoned travellers -- and yet I'd hesitate to take them to Japan. I'm not sure they'd enjoy it. From my 1 week experience there, I found Japan to be much more ''challenging'' than other countries. It's not the language -- I read and speak a bit of Japanese, and I didn't have this feeling AT ALL in Thailand. I just find the Japanese culture to be a bit, well, unwelcoming. I never felt like a welcome guest, but more like a tolerated gaijin.

You can make it more fun for the kids by doing DW, but (assuming you're from the US or Europe) you can do that closer to home. That feels like eating at MacDonald's instead of having sushi -- why go to Japan if you're doing that? The Toei suggestion is fabulous -- someplace fun and interesting for the kids that still gives them a flavor of where they're at instead of trying to duplicate the home experience. I may have to check that out myself when I'm there in October. :-)

Gary
by Gary rate this post as useful

Japan w/ kids 2007/9/8 04:48
I must respectfully disagree with Gary. I am from Europe and live in North America and had a bigger culture shock adjusting to North American life, especially in Quebec where I was for a few months
( I speak French very fluently) than in Japan. There is a lot in common between Europe and Japan. they look very different but there are similarities: narrow residential streets with houses right by the sidewalk, small cars, lots of bikes. Trains and subways used by the majority of people to go to work, shop. Railways stations as a hub of activities (lots of small hotels, lots of restaurants), very old houses of wordship in every neighbourhod etc. I never felt stared at either.
Back to your trip: you don't have to see lots of temples . it seems to me that looking at "normal" things may give them a great quick: for example how the Japanese park cars in very tight spaces (check residential streets) , the automatic parkings that put a car in a craddle and lift it in a tower, huge parkings for bikes, tiny gardens with several dozen flower pots outside homes and small stores, strangely shaped buildings, the number and variety of vending machines, the amazing colours and graphics of all the signs, the giant video screens etc. etc. take them to Ueno park zoo, to Odaiba for the ride in an automated light rail system--try to have them sitting by the front-- and for the Toyota car showroom-truly interesting- go to Odaiba from Asakusa by boat. When in Kyoto go to the Fushimi-Inari shrine in the morning: a walk in the forest under thousands of torii, with statues of foxes in all sizes, then go to Nara in the afternoon (same rail line from Kyoto) for the great Buddha and the park- with all the tame and hungy deer- the Kyoto rail station is another fascinating building. Friends of mine, one a single lady, the others a couple, who all love history, museums, temples etc. went there (on different trips) on my say-so and spent hours in there (there is a walkway right up under the roof, don't miss it) . you could also go to Himeji the morning and in the afternoon stop at Shin-Kobe (you will take the Shinkansen both ways I imagine) and take the ropeway just behind the big white hotel near the station and go up to a beautiful garden with great views of Kobe. As for the food, there is a lot of foreign cuisine besides Japanese food (the Japanese don't eat shushi as often as we think!).
You will have a great time if you don't pay attention to stereotypes and especially if you turn little annoying things that may happen into a joke. One last thing: unless you have tickets to go inside the imperial palace grounds in Tokyo, you can't see anything from the outside and its a long walk from the nearest subway station. The Kyoto imperial palace isn't that fascinating either. Better to visit Nijo-jo.
by Plantagenesta rate this post as useful

Re: Trip with kids 2007/9/8 05:44
I have taken my kids to both Tokyo and to Kyoto, and for Tokyo, they really enjoyed their day at Disney Sea (they liked Mickey mouse talking in Japanese), a visit to Tsukiji fish market, and also Ueno zoo. In Kyoto, the highlight was definitely Arashiyama. We spent time at the monkey park then wandered around Tenryuji and bamboo forest. Have a great trip.
by Mike rate this post as useful

Thank you 2007/9/8 10:00
I got more than I bargained for:)

thanks everyone for such valuable info.
by ny941932 rate this post as useful

Family Holiday 2007/9/10 21:34
Hi, my family with children aged 12, 10 and 7 went to Japan for 3 weeks this summer. We had a fantastic time and did not find it overly challenging. The children actually coped better than my husband who had the worst jetlag and was frustrated with difficulty eating as he is mostly vegetarian. I found it best to keep things simple and not aim initially to do too much each day but then we often found we managed lots of extras. We did not use taxis until 8 days into the holiday and wished we had started sooner - it was often similar cost to public transport and made things SO much quicker.
In Tokyo we really enjoyed Disney Sea. It was different to any Disney parks we had been to before. Dont miss the Indiana Jones ride if you go it was great.
Edo tokyo Museum was good we also enjoyed the Science Museum at Ueno and the Museum of emerging science at Odaiba. The temple and shopping street in Asakusa were good. We also enjoyed the Meji shrine / Takeshita / Ometasando shopping. We were glad to have seen the cosplay at Harajuku bridge(but there wasnt as much to see as we expected).
There is little to see of the Imperial palce but there is an open top double decker bus tour which takes about an hour to go around the outside of the Palace and past various Landmarks.
In Kyoto I am sure you will enjoy the hozu river trip. We took the romantic train which was good BUT you will save a good hour or so and a little money if you continue on the JR train. We enjoyed seeing the Bamboo forest and bridge in Arashiyama but wished we had taken the Rickshaw in that area. The Toei eiga mura is worth a visit (about 3 hours is fine). The station is on the way back or to Arashiyama.
Nara did combine well with the fushimi inari shrine. If you were full of energy you could stop at Uji on the way back (we weren't!).
We also visited a temple flea marked / golden pavillion / ro-anji in a morning by using taxis. We also enjoyed the shopping and Kiyomizu area and temple. Gion is worth a short walk round - we just did it in the evening.
We found we kept things child friendly by shopping regularly (100 yen shops / department stores childrens areas / toy shops / sovenier shops). We went to the Cinema twice - no diffuculty with availabilty of English fims. Arcades were also good fun for distraction. The children were always excited by the bullet trains. We kept food simple most of the time and probably ate too much pizza / mcdonalds / convenience store food but it was quick and cheap and didnt slow us down too much.
Himeji was good but a half day is OK.
Think about your childrens interests. We visited a music shop and bought some plectrums for our 12 year old, We also managed to find him some great T shirts and some Vans (shoes). Our 10 year old was really excited by a trip to the Pokemon centre Tokyo, Ghibli Museum Tokyo and the Manga Museum Kyoto and our 7 year old really enjoyed buying some dressing up clothes in Asakusa, Plastic rhinocerous beetles (and some cuddly toys at regular Intervals). To keep the 7 year old interested when walking around gardens / temples / shrines we were minibeast hunting...
Hope this helps.....
by Julia rate this post as useful

is Nov too cold for Disney Sea? 2007/9/11 02:29
not sure if it involves getting into the water.

if weather is not an issue, would you recommend Disney Sea over the Disneyland?
I have a 6 year-old who hasn't been to any Disney parks and an 11 year-old who has experienced all of Orlando's Disney/Universal parks.
by ny941932 rate this post as useful

... 2007/9/11 10:05
You don't actually get wet at disney sea. It is a seaside themed park rather than a water park.

I've been in November and it wasn't too cold. Just remember to pack a jacket and you should be fine.
by yllwsmrf rate this post as useful

i blogged most of my trip with kids 2007/9/15 15:12
only main things i left out were the movie theme park in kyoto mentioned here, the bandai museum in tokyo which was fantastic with decades of history, and the monkey park in kyoto where you mingle with the monkeys. oh, and we did the bullet train from tokyo to kyoto which was also fun.

my blog about the trip is here, it's short, the blog is just about the trip:
www.jivekimono.blogstpot.com
by xuxE rate this post as useful

oops, there's a typo 2007/9/15 15:14
it should be:

www.jivekimono.blogspot.com
by xuxE rate this post as useful

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