Family Travel Ideas in Japan

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There is so much to see and do in the country of Japan that Japan family travel can be a daunting subject to tackle. Tokyo is home to both Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea, two of the biggest family-friendly destinations in the world. However, there are countless slightly less famous destinations throughout the nation guaranteed to entertain the entire family.

Nara: Nara Koen (Nara Park)

If you visit the Nara Prefecture, about four hours west of Tokyo by train, take the kids and grandparents to Nara Koen, a famous city park in Nara City. Nara Koen is home to a number of culturally relevant places, such as the Kofukuji Temple, the Nara National Museum and the Kasuga Shrine. You can spend the day touring these spots, teaching your children about the history of the country and the small period of time in the 700s in which Nara was the capital of the country.

However, your family members of all ages may prefer just having a picnic on the grassy knolls under the vast cherry blossom trees. The park is also famous for its friendly deer, who will walk right up to visitors to be pet and fed. You can purchase deer feed ("deer crackers") from the park to feed the deer yourselves. The deer are protected by the government, especially for their historic sacred association with the Kasuga Shrine, but they are completely wild and are not trained or watched over by any professional feeders, so just be careful not to startle them when you interact with them.

Shizuoka: Toi Mine (A Gold Mine)

About 3 hours southwest of Tokyo by train is the Shizuoka area, where kids and adults alike can enjoy touring the Toi Mine, a gold mine that dates back to the year 1601. Once closed for decades due to flooding and poor conditions for the workers, the mine resumed operations during the early 20th century when gold was rediscovered there. Now, the location is primarily a tourist attraction where you and the family can explore 1148 feet of the almost 328,100-foot long cave. There's also a shrine to the dedicated to the mine gods inside and a nearby Toi Musuem, where the world's largest manufactured pure gold bar is on display.

Hokkaido: Dogsled Racing

Not many travelers are aware that Hokkaido, the northernmost prefecture of Japan about 4 and a half hours north of Tokyo by train, is a very cold region with harsh winters. If you travel to Hokkaido, you can take the kids dogsled racing at Rusutsu Resort, which offers beginner lessons in dogsled racing. You can also ski and snowboard in winter and golf in summer. Rusutsu Resort's hot springs also make for a relaxing vacation.

February 09, 2010 new by amymc
February 11, 2010 change by ctanios
February 19, 2010 change by schitti

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