Family holiday in Japan advice/questions.

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yo yo ma

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We have recently got back from Japan with 3 kids in tow (aged 7 - 13). Some tips we found:

  • Try okonomyaki in Hiroshima
  • Hiroshima museum was great for the kids
  • Trains were fast, easy to navigate and efficient
  • If you are getting JR rail passes, buy them in Australia
  • If in Kyoto the Samurai sword show and dress-up was the highlight of the kids trip - cost Y380,000 for 5 but worth every cent
Samurai Kembu Kyoto Reviews - Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture Attractions - TripAdvisor

  • Disneyland was good but absolutely packed (long lines) and most things in Japanese - better to go in the US
  • The maid cafes in Akihabara are weird but hilarious
  • Shibuya scramble crossing is a must see from Starbucks second floor
  • Harajuku is interesting
 
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LadyC

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I have been to Japan twice in the last 18 months - April 2013 and September 2014. The second trip was with our 6 month old son.

Japan is great for families - so many people were so lovely and interested in our son. If your kids speak Japanese, even a little, it will be an amazing trip. They will definitely garner a lot of attention (in a good way).

A few comments/suggestions
- the Osaka aquarium is quite good
Both Kyoto and Osaka have good food markets to visit and try different food (from fugu to tofu donuts)
- Kyoto is great if you are looking for a more active holiday. You can hire bikes and ride around - electric bikes too if you don't ride too often like me, and the traffic is very safe.
- we went to a kaiseki restaurant in kyoto that was run by a chef who won the pike eel battle on iron chef. can give you more details if you would like.
- the studio ghibli castle in tokyo is great if your kids have seen any of the movies.
 

cosi

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I'd second going in September ...it will still be oppressively hot so keep cool with streetside snowcones

Have a great time I think Japan is one of the most welcoming and friendly countries I've ever visited and should a breeze for a family holiday whether or not you speak any Japanese

+ 1 for September - don't go in June/July as it can bloody hot and extremely humid.

Enjoy visiting the food halls located in the basement of department store.
 

Himeno

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+ 1 for September - don't go in June/July as it can bloody hot and extremely humid.
So can August. I was in Tokyo for a few days in August 2013 and 2014. It was in the mid-high 30's and 70-85%...
 

Timtammi

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Not wanting to hijack this thread but thank you to everyone who has contributed as we are planning a business/family holiday to Japan next year during Cherry Blossom season and the suggestions are really helping us too. We are frequent Japan visitors but its always for business, sometimes with a weekend tacked on for some sightseeing so we have only seen the big centres - Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto etc. Looking for some must do's off the main tourist tracks where we have not been for next time. We will still need to go to Tokyo for work but the rest of the trip will be leisure.
 

QF WP

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They're small ones :). A local Japanese restaurant often has a promotion for Okonomiyaki....yummo.

Holiday in Japan, wonder if I can sell that to my wife??
 

drron

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They're small ones :). A local Japanese restaurant often has a promotion for Okonomiyaki....yummo.

Holiday in Japan, wonder if I can sell that to my wife??

I recommend that you try!
 

Atleastonce

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Participated in the Shibuya scramble today, a few times. Organized chaos. Everyone crosses, disappears, then like a dam being closed, the sidewalks fill up again ready for the next change of lights. Absolutely amazing to see and do.
 

Himeno

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Participated in the Shibuya scramble today, a few times. Organized chaos. Everyone crosses, disappears, then like a dam being closed, the sidewalks fill up again ready for the next change of lights. Absolutely amazing to see and do.
Which one? There are a number of scramble crossings in Shibuya.
 

Cool Cat Phil

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Howdy people,
I am heading to Japan for the second occassion in Early March for just 10 days, this time amongst visiting Tokyo & Kyoto , also thinking of managing to stay a night or two in Hiroshima.

I was wondering if any members can shead some light onto the attractiveness of Hiroshima, having read a few earlier comments a few people have commented that the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum is well worth a visit, so i was wondering about any other hints or tips for Hiroshima in general.

Is Itsukushima/Miyajima also worth visiting (The Famous Red Torii Gate in the water).

I would love to hear any advice on Hiroshima in particular as it appears many members here on AFF love Japan & no doubt have a better knowledge of Japan than what i do.:)
 
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Hvr

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Hiroshima is definitely worth visiting and the Peace Park and museum have some interesting sites. All the hotels will have information on what tram to take to the Peace Park.

Also as a Melbournian you may be interested in all of the various trams that run on the streets.

As for Miyajima/Itsukushima_Shrine and the Torii gate in the water it is best to allow awhile there because when the tide goes out you can actually walk up to the gate and take photos from the 'other' side as it were. Also the sunset photos are awesome.

Finally, there is a ferry you can travel on if you have a JR pass.
 

Cool Cat Phil

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Hiroshima is definitely worth visiting and the Peace Park and museum have some interesting sites. All the hotels will have information on what tram to take to the Peace Park.

Also as a Melbournian you may be interested in all of the various trams that run on the streets.

As for Miyajima/Itsukushima_Shrine and the Torii gate in the water it is best to allow awhile there because when the tide goes out you can actually walk up to the gate and take photos from the 'other' side as it were. Also the sunset photos are awesome.

Finally, there is a ferry you can travel on if you have a JR pass.

Wow, thanks for the heads up HVR on The Japan Rail pass!

Your impeccable knowledge of Japan shines through again.
 

deka2

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You can also stop your journey for a few hours between Kyoto and Hiroshima at Himeji Castle.
Leave your bags stored at the train station, walk to the castle and then when finished continue your journey to Hiroshima.
They have free English speaking tours of the Castle.
 

Himeno

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Wow, thanks for the heads up HVR on The Japan Rail pass!
If you're going to look at a JR pass, make sure you get the right one. There are 6 different JR companies each covering different geographical regions of Japan and each have their own versions of JR passes in addition to the national version (eg, a JR East pass is only valid on JR East trains - Honshu North and East of Nagano and Tokyo). The passes also don't cover some services you might expect (eg, most JR buses or the fastest version of Shinkansen).
You can only buy JR passes outside Japan (online or travel agent), and have to exchange the voucher for the actual pass at a JR booth once you get to Japan.

I've found that JR passes generally aren't worth it, unless you are planning to make several intercity train trips, as they are somewhat limiting if you are sticking to the cities (eg, stuck on JR lines only unless you want to pay 'extra' to travel on the subway or "private" rail lines). Unless you're planning on the equivalent of 3 one way trips between Tokyo and Osaka, stick to an IC card. (IC cards are like Victoria's Myki and are now fully interchangeable with other IC cards - which would be like being able to use a Myki in place of an Opal card in Sydney)
 

moa999

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IC card is "Mostly" interchangeable (eg. Hiroshima trams, Osaka buses).

On some routes you are actually quite restricted on the services you can take versus walkup cash fares
 

Fifa

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I can recommend an overnight trip to Mount Koya near Kyoto.
Koyasan is a temple village and a must-do is to experience and overnight stay in a temple lodging (shukubo) where monks look after you - vegetarian dinner and breakfast is included in your lodging rate. There are around 50 temples that offer accommodation and you can join the monks for early morning prayers.

It was an experience we will remember forever.
 
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