Everyone should visit Japan at least once in their lives. 

If you’re a mom, Japan is an experience you certainly want your kids to have. Not only is Japan exceedingly beautiful, it represents so much which can be considered the peak of human civilization and achievement. From its fine cuisine which is rated the best in the world, to its futuristic cities which are the pinnacle of science and technology, to its well-preserved ancient traditions, Japan is a place that all families need to explore together. 

Not to mention, Japan is one of the safest countries for kids and families to explore.

Which is why we’ve put together this guide to help you plan your Japan trip.

Japan: Where to Go

1. Tokyo

Tokyo is Japan’s capital and its most populous city. Tokyo is also where you’ll most likely land if you’re traveling from a North American or European city.

The Senso-Ji temple is one of the most popular sites in Tokyo for visitors. Dating back to the 10th century AD, it is one of the oldest temples in Japan. With some 30 million visitors annually, it is one of the most visited religious shrines in the world.

Harmonica Yokocho is an iconic Tokyo must-visit for great local food.

Also, make sure to take your kids to see the Shibuya Crossing. Tokyo is the most populous city in the world, and Shibuya Crossing is Tokyo’s busiest crossing. And yet, there is a remarkable order in the crowds that is so quintessentially Japanese.

2. Kyoto

Kyoto is the cultural capital of Japan. A city renowned for its beauty, and perhaps one of the best places in Japan to experience its famed cherry blossoms and fall foliage. 

A must-visit highlight in Kyoto is the Kinkaku-Ji temple dating back to 1397. It is also known as the Temple of the Golden Pavilion as it is extensively covered in gold leaf. 

Another must-visit Kyoto highlight is the Fushimi Inari shrine. It is one of the most phtogtaraphed sites in Japan, and you would no doubt have seen pictures of its thousands of red gates stretching out into the horizon. A truly magical sight indeed!

3. Shikoku

If Kyoto is the cultural capital of Japan, Shikoku is its religious capital. The smallest of major Japanese islands is sprinkled with thousands of beautiful temples and monasteries. It is most well-known for its 88 temple pilgrimage which attracts Japanese pilgrims from all over the country who pay homage to each of the 88 temples spread out over Shikoku.

Other Shikoku highlights are the Matsuyama castle and the city of Kochi, famous for its sake (Japanese rice wine) and its seared fish.

4.The Noto Peninsula

A little explored part of Japan, Noto is best known for its gold leaf work. When in Noto, make sure to try gold leaf ice cream, which is, well, ice cream with gold leaf on it. The kids will surely love it.

Noto is also home to the Japanese Alps, as well as a beautiful coastline with some lovely beaches.

5. Hokkaido

Hokkaido is the northernmost of Japanese islands and is quite unlike the rest of Japan. For one, it is cold and snowy. In fact, Hokkaido is famous for its fine powder snow which is much prized by winter sports enthusiasts all over the world.

Located close to Russia, most of Hokkaido has a Taiga type climate. Its northern Shiretoko peninsula is a great place for whale watching, especially some of the most endangered species of whales in the world.

Hokkaido is also famous for its lavender ice cream which the kids will absolutely relish. Made from the rich, high-quality Hokkaido milk along with fresh lavender that grows abundantly in Hokkaido, this is a definite must-try.

Japan: What to Eat

1. Sushi: Sushi, of course, is not to be missed when in Japan. There are unending varieties of sushi in Japan, and each island of Japan has its own twist on the famous dish.

2. Udon Noodles: There are three main varieties of Japanese noodles — Udon, Ramen, and Soba. Of the three, Udon is the thickest and the most chewy type. Ramen noodles are thin and usually served with egg, while Soba are buckwheat noodles. Udon is usually served in the form of a soup along with fried tofu.

3. Tempura: Tempura is battered seafood, most often prawn along with beans and other vegetables that are covered in batter and deep-fried till it becomes crispy. Tempura can be eaten by itself, or can be served on top of rice or noodle bowls.

Japan: Things to Do

  • Witness a Sumo Wrestling match in Tokyo
  • Watch the cherry blossoms and fall foliage in Kyoto
  • Relax in therapeutic hot springs called onsens found all over Japan
  • Visit the Yoshihara workshop in Tokyo which continues to make Japanese Samurai swords, also known as Katanas, the traditional way. If you have teenage boys with you, this is one place that they will absolutely love.
  • Stay in traditional Japanese hotels known as Ryokans
  • Buy yourself and your entire family colorful kimonos
  • Do a bike tour in Japan. You can ride a bicycle from Kyoto all the way to the famous Amanohashidate or on the world famous Shimanami Kaido, a 60-km spectacular highway in Shikoku with dedicated bike lanes for cyclists. You can even take the kids along for these rides as they are easy to do.

Japan: When to Go

Japan can get hot in summer, so it is best to avoid the months from June to September, unless you only plan to go to Hokkaido, which is pleasant during this time.

For the rest of the country, Spring (March to May) and Fall (September to November) is the best time.

If You Loved Japan, You Will Also Love


Taiwan has many similarities with Japan. Which is understandable because it was at one time colonized by Japan. Most people think of Taiwan as a semiconductor hub. However, most of the country is actually covered in forests and mountains. It is also very safe for traveling with kids and family, just like Japan. 

Taiwan is also known as the cycling capital of Asia due to its excellent cycling infrastructure. Which means when you’re traveling there, a Taiwan bike tour is a must-do.

Just like Japan, Taiwan also has numerous therapeutic hot springs where you can relax with your entire family. And just like Japan, it has delicious cuisine, and some lovely beaches along the pacific ocean.

So pack up your bag, and have a wonderful time in Japan and Taiwan.