Japan is a fascinating place for kids to explore with its mix of peaceful temples and bright colored pop culture. It is a safe place where families will feel welcomed and where a two week vacation will never seem like enough time. There are plenty of interesting kid-friendly places to see and things to do in Japan but with a two week itinerary, we suggest focusing on just a few of the top spots.
The heartbeat of Japan, Tokyo is a city that can be a bit overwhelming at first. Take your time here, give your family at least a day to adjust, and be sure you spend some time just wandering, taking it all in.
The city has a number of interesting museums, best for older kids, that explain some of Japan’s traditions and where you can learn a bit of the country’s history. Top rated with families are the Edo-Tokyo Museum and the Fukagawa Edo Museum, which even younger kids will enjoy. Another great option to keep younger kids entertained is the huge National Children’s Castle, where activities range from art rooms to a rooftop playground. Sunday’s in Harajuku are a must for teens with any interest in fashion. The whole area fills up with Japanese teens and even adults dressed up in the craziest new Japanese styles.
After a few days in Tokyo, head to the more peaceful city of Kyoto. Famous for its temples and shrines, Kyoto was even once nicknamed the City of Ten Thousand Shrines. One of the city’s most famous temples, Kiyomizu Temple, is also usually the best one for kids. It has a lot of steps so strollers aren’t a great option but it is surrounded by great little shops and food stalls where kids can try mochi ice cream and other Japanese snacks.
If you have teenagers with an interest in manga, a stop at the Kyoto International Manga Museum is probably mandatory while parents with younger kids will probably enjoy just pushing the stroller along the beautiful Philosopher’s Walk, a flat mile long path along the canal. Before leaving, take a day trip out of Kyoto to nearby Nara, famous for its deer park, where children can feed and pet the tame deer.
If there was a city in Japan made for a family vacation, it would be Osaka. The city is packed with great kid-friendly attractions and you will want to be sure to schedule out a few extra days of your two week itinerary to spend here.
Osaka Castle is the city’s main site and though it has been reconstructed over the years, the castle has been kept in the original Japanese design. Inside, kids will love all the artifacts, weapons, and armor that tell the story of ancient Japan. Kaiyukan, the city’s aquarium, is one of the largest public aquariums in the world and definitely worth a stop. Finally, for a taste of home with a Japanese twist, grab the kids and head over to Universal Studios Japan.