Asia is huge. So big, in fact, that it may be hard to make a decision about where in the world to start! Should you go South and start in Thailand or perhaps, you should start big and begin in China? It can be overwhelming to decide. When weighing all the pros and cons, I think any global traveler’s first stop should be the land of the rising sun: Japan.
Why Japan? This super-respectful country is just the right size and has everything a family could be interested in seeing. Check out these five perfect adventures for the kid in all of us:
Take the challenge and do the climb!
During the months of July and August, it is possible to climb Mt. Fuji on very established paths. The hike takes about 10 hours to complete with stops along the way. If you are looking to introduce your young adventurers to mountain hiking this is the ultimate beginner climb. Hikers traditionally commemorate their climb with a Fuji Stick; a walking stick that gets a brand for each station you achieve.
Bundle up and enjoy the snow!
Japan’s northern island, Hokkaido, hosts the annual world famous Sapporo Snow Festival. Each year international competitors vie to create the most fantastical snow sculptures that simply astound the spectator! From 5 foot dragons to life sized pagodas that stand 3 stories tall. Fun is all around in this snowy wonderland with skating and ice slides await.
Make a new friend in Nara
Few towns can boast like Nara can. This relatively small town in central Japan is famous for just one thing: it’s unique residents. A population of deer! These sweet creatures roam the town freely and enjoy meeting all kinds of new friends especially those who bring snacks. Just a short distance from Kyoto, you won’t regret taking the time to visit!
Hanami in Kamakura
Just south of Tokyo lies the beach town of Kamakura. It’s a charming town that can be easily accessed with public transportation. With a great aquarium in Enoshima, and one of the most famous Big Buddhas in Japan, the area abounds with great sites and great food. Spring beckons travelers to this region as it is full of cherry blossoms. The action of enjoying cherry blossoms is a true activity in Japan and is called Hanami. So, Check out a local market and put a picnic together to go and enjoy hanami in a local park!
Take on Tokyo!
Tokyo is massive. It is the largest city in the world and it is filled with more sites than I can name. From traditional temples to modern electronic cafes, Tokyo has it all- including Disney. One of the best resources I’ve found for traveling families is the Lonely Planet Tokyo from their City Trails series. The book consists of over 15 walking trails that cover topics from manga to tech and sushi to architecture. It’s a must to have whether you are a kid or just a kid at heart!