Family Trip to Japan: Your Comprehensive Companion for Planning
Credits: Andrey Grushnikov

If you’re thinking about treating your family to an incredible trip to Japan but feeling a bit overwhelmed about where to begin, don’t worry, I’ve got you covered! Let’s dive into how to plan your family trip to Japan!

With its kid-friendly amenities, well-developed infrastructure, and a plethora of activities, Japan is the ideal destination for a family holiday. Not to mention, its efficient and clean public transport system ensures no complaints about long walks! Japan strikes a perfect balance between modern comforts, entertainment, delicious local cuisine, rich history, fascinating traditions, and unique cultural experiences.

You’ve probably heard your parents say, “Safety first, kids!” Well, luckily, Japan consistently ranks as one of the safest countries in the world. And the country is teeming with natural wonders, city adventures, cultural experiences, and charming spots for parents to unwind if they need a break!

Credit: Szymon Shields

Japan’s distinctive culture, centuries-old traditions, majestic shrines and temples, and breathtaking natural landscapes are just some of the highlights waiting to be explored. Here, your family can enjoy the best of both worlds: a serene countryside retreat with local farm stays for the little ones, or diving into the vibrant sights and attractions of major cities like Tokyo. The options are endless, catering to everyone’s interests and preferences.

Create cherished memories with your family by taking part in exclusive events and cultural festivals, exploring lively nightlife scenes, visiting historic sites, or immersing yourselves in nature’s wonders. From the snowy wonderland of Hokkaido with its inclusive ski resorts and stunning ice sculptures, to the sun-soaked beaches and aquatic adventures of Okinawa, there’s something for everyone in Japan.

Start planning your trip two to three months in advance to minimize stress and allow for any last-minute adjustments or cancellations. We recommend learning a few essential phrases in the local language and brushing up on social etiquette for the ultimate family adventure in Japan.

Preparing for a Family Trip to Japan: Japan 101 πŸ‘©πŸ»β€πŸ« πŸ“š

If you’re concerned about the language barrier, rest assured that while Japanese is the most widely used language, popular tourist attractions and landmarks will have English guides and instructions. Moreover, you can easily navigate places using the Google Translate app for live translation and assistance.

If you’re unsure about what’s written on a menu at a typical Japanese restaurant, simply point your phone camera at the page, and it will automatically translate it for you. The same goes for road signs, maps, or general directions. One amazing fact about Japan is that despite the language and cultural barriers, many Japanese people will make genuine efforts to help you and make you feel welcome in their home country. You can also find information online through well-known websites, such as Flip Japan Guide.

Our professional team has lived in Japan for several years, gaining extensive local knowledge and the necessary skills and expertise to advise you. If you have any queries or need assistance planning your family trip to Japan, connect with us via any of our social media outlets, and we’ll be happy to help!

Another key aspect to remember is that Japan is still primarily a cash-based society, with few places accepting credit cards. However, this is slowly changing, especially after the Tokyo Olympics, which brought about many reforms. You can find currency exchange services in popular areas such as Shinjuku or withdraw cash from convenience stores, especially 7-Elevens, which have ATMs that accept international credit cards. Just be sure to notify your bank and activate overseas usage!

πŸ“ All set? Let’s get to planning your family trip to Japan!

Preparing for a Family Trip to Japan Step 1: Know your purpose 🎯

One of the first things to consider is the purpose of your family trip to Japan or leisure holiday. This involves reflecting on your preferences and those of your travel companions, as well as the experiences you most want to prioritise during your visit. Perhaps you’re drawn to the Land of the Rising Sun for its mouth-watering local cuisine, awe-inspiring castles and historical monuments, traditional ceremonies, seasonal festivals, lively nightlife, or therapeutic “onsens” (hot springs), among other attractions.

Japan’s dining and beverage options are a compelling reason to visit the country. Did you know that Tokyo, Japan’s capital, boasts the highest number of Michelin-star restaurants in the world? This gives you an insight into the exquisite local cuisine and beverages available here. Not only can you savour authentic homemade Japanese dishes, but also international fare, ranging from French bistros and Middle-Eastern specialties to Brazilian “Churrasco” with extensive buffets, all conveniently located in the bustling city of Tokyo. Additionally, there are plenty of affordable yet equally delicious dining options, including all-you-can-eat/drink menus.

Pro tip: To save on food and beverage expenses, consider dining at or ordering takeout from local restaurants serving Japanese delicacies through apps such as “Uber Eats” or “Wolt.” Alternatively, for a quick and budget-friendly meal, explore your nearest convenience store for inexpensive dishes and unique snacks.

Another allure of travelling to Japan is its vibrant nightlife and pop culture scene. While you may already be aware that Japan is renowned for its video games, manga, and anime, it’s also a top destination for music, concerts, festivals, and film. Moreover, Japan boasts exclusive theme parks such as Disney Sea in Tokyo and Universal Studios in Osaka, which offer thrilling rides and attractions. Studio Ghibli fans will be delighted to know that a new themed park is set to open its doors in November 2022! Alternatively, for teenagers seeking an adrenaline rush, Fuji Q theme park in Tokyo is a must-visit with its exhilarating roller coaster rides and games, promising laughter and unforgettable memories for families or friends.

In addition to being one of the safest countries globally, with Tokyo recognised as both a food paradise and fashion capital, Japan’s rich culture and traditions span thousands of years and are truly unique. In addition to majestic temples, shrines, and futuristic museums, visitors can engage in various traditional cultural activities such as seasonal festivals, participating in a tea ceremony wearing a kimono, learning to make sushi, attending a sumo match or baseball game, and more. These experiences offer valuable insights into Japan’s rich history and ancient philosophies.

Clarifying your purpose will help you align your trip’s direction and focus without feeling overwhelmed.

Preparing for a Family Trip to Japan Step 2: Clarify Your Budget πŸ’°

This is a significant step that will shape your entire family trip to Japan. Whether you choose Microsoft Excel, Google Sheets, or a simple notepad with a pen, organising your expenses will become your new best friend. It’s essential to break down all your costs, including flight tickets, accommodation, food and drinks, tours, shopping, events you want to attend, and transportation expenses.

If you’re travelling with a group, it’s a good idea to brainstorm and discuss all projected expenses with your friends to ensure everyone is comfortable and on the same page. At Flip, we can help alleviate the stress of organising your family trip to Japan through our travel planning service. Additionally, we offer a customizable Japan starter pack that includes essentials such as a SIM card, tour guide booklets, and a transportation card. In other words, you can sit back and relax knowing that everything is being taken care of for you πŸ™Œ

Preparing for a Family Trip to Japan Step 3: Determine the Length of Your Stay in Japan πŸ€”

The next step is to decide the duration of your family trip to Japan, taking into account your budget and purpose. You’ll need to check your schedule and the availability of your travel companions, as some may only be able to join during long weekends or public holidays. The length of your stay in Japan will depend on your desired activities, the number of cities you want to visit, and, of course, your budget and availability.

If you’re limited to a weekend, we recommend exploring one of Japan’s major cities, such as Tokyo, and indulging in sightseeing, traditional activities, delicious food, and vibrant nightlife. However, if you have the luxury of a week-long trip, you can explore a more comprehensive itinerary here. Travelling to Japan for the first time can be overwhelming and stressful to organise, as everything will be new and unfamiliar. That’s why we suggest focusing on one city, uncovering all its wonders and hidden gems.

Then, on your next visit to the country, you can broaden your horizons and explore other nearby destinations. For instance, you can start with Tokyo on your first family trip to Japan and, on subsequent visits or when you have more time, venture to Osaka and Kyoto, which boast famous landmarks, culinary delights, and unexplored treasures to discover.

Preparing for a Family Trip to Japan Step 4: Figure out the Best Locales for You πŸ™οΈ πŸ—Ό

Another factor to consider is which prefecture and cities/city best fit your preferences and bucket-list activities for your family trip to Japan. More prominent cities like Tokyo and Osaka will be the best fit if you want a place with many entertainment options and nightlife. On the other hand, if you wish to have a peaceful retreat away from the hustle and bustle of big cities with lots of cultural activities, you might want to explore cities in Japan’s countryside or places like Kyoto.

However, as you might have already guessed, the options don’t stop there. If you travel to the north of Japan in Hokkaido, you will be in a winter wonderland, perfect for winter sports and ski resorts, not to mention a grand snow festival held every year in wintertime.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, if you want to get some Vitamin D and catch a tan, head to one of Japan’s southern islands, such as Okinawa. Imagine soaking in warm, clear blue waters on coastal beaches, sipping on a pina colada; what more could you ask for? There are also plenty of marine adventures to experiment with, such as scuba diving or white water rafting.

Credits: Hakan Nural

Likewise, Yokohama is a train ride away from Tokyo if you want to enjoy port cities. It offers scenic views with its lush green park, a giant cup-noodle museum offering you the chance to create your own noodle product, a world-famous Chinatown with mouth-watering street food, and restaurants, not to mention cute shopping districts with artsy photo spots. As the sun goes down, the city is illuminated by fairy lights. Its giant Ferris wheel is surrounded by a lively and colourful theme park, promising you a cheerful moonlit adventure.

If you want a combination of big cities and countryside retreats, getting a JR pass might be worthwhile, allowing you to save on your travels from city to city. If you need further information and are interested in purchasing this pass, Flip can have it all organised for you, ensuring you a stress-free journey.

Preparing for a Family Trip to Japan Step 5: Add in Activities and Places to be Visited πŸ—ΊοΈ

One of the most crucial aspects of planning a family trip to Japan is establishing what you will do and where you will visit. Keep in mind that your plans may change once you reach Japan, depending on weather conditions and jet lag, among other factors. For example, you might want to postpone your family adventures in Tokyo Disneyland if heavy rain is forecasted all day β˜”πŸ€§

In addition to visiting the city’s most popular tourist spots, you might wish to indulge in fun local activities such as karaoke or explore hidden gems in the city’s back alleyways. While temples and shrines are often associated with Japan, the country offers much more. For instance, Japan’s natural beauty is a wonder in itself. Various cultural traditions are linked to celebrating the different seasons, such as “hanami,” where people gather around cherry blossom trees for a picnic.

If you enjoy trekking and the great outdoors, Japan will not disappoint you with its vast mountains, nature trails, and wilderness escapades. Staying at traditional Japanese hotels, or “ryokans,” is a perfect way to experience the local culture. Some properties have on-site hot spring baths and usually serve authentic Japanese meals with rich and flavourful ingredients.

But the fun doesn’t end there. Introducing the world’s first personalised chatbot tour guide, Flip offers an innovative and entertaining way for you to explore Tokyo city in a game-like format. Within 2 minutes, you can get your ticket directly inside Facebook Messenger. After acquiring your ticket, chat with your virtual tour guide, choose your path, let your chatbot know what you want throughout the tour, and enjoy your adventure!

Preparing for a Family Trip to Japan Step 6: Finalize the Logistics βš™οΈ

Now, as the final step, it’s time to wrap everything up and focus on the logistics ✨

There are countless activities you can enjoy during your family trip to Japan, as discussed earlier. It all depends on the purpose of your trip and your preferences.

When it comes to accommodation, Japan offers several options for you to choose from. For a traditional and authentic experience, consider staying at a “ryokan.” Each city has its unique Japanese hotels waiting for you, and we can assist you in making reservations, as most will only speak the local language.

If you’re looking to save on accommodation costs, explore the hostel or capsule hotel options in your chosen destination. Booking an Airbnb is also an excellent choice, catering to all budgets and tastes. You can find some intriguing BnBs with original atmospheres or architecture. Lastly, if you’re in the mood to treat yourself, big cities like Tokyo boast fabulous luxury hotels offering world-class service and incredible dining options.

Now that accommodation is sorted, you might be wondering, what should I pack? Where do I even begin? The short answer is: it depends on the season you plan to visit and the region you’ll explore. If you’re planning a summer visit, despite the scorching heat, monsoon rains, and constant humidity, there are perks to enjoy, including traditional festivals with fun games and street food, as well as gorgeous nature and scenic views throughout the country. The key is to pack light and wear flowy, airy, and comfortable clothes.

In autumn, you’ll be mesmerised by the stunning weather, with a cool breeze and sunlight illuminating the changing leaves in red, orange, and yellow tones. For this season, pack both short and long sleeve shirts and blouses, sneakers, pants, and light jackets. As winter approaches, you’ll need much warmer clothes and layers, including heavy coats and scarves, especially if you plan to visit northern Japan or stay at a ski resort.

Lastly, springtime in Japan offers fantastic weather, not too cold or warm. You’ll get by with long-sleeved shirts, sweaters, or T-shirts with a jacket or cardigan over them. For a more detailed clothing itinerary, feel free to reach out to us at Flip; we consider all these details in our travel services.

One of the essential items to have when you arrive in Japan for your family trip is a transportation card. This will allow you to travel easily from place to place, just like a local. Visitors typically opt for either a Pasmo card or a Suica card, which you can purchase at any major station in Tokyo or upon arrival at the airport. For certain countries, topped-up transportation cards can be delivered to your home before travelling for an extra fee.

Similarly, like transportation cards, you can order your SIM card from companies such as Mobil before arriving in Japan and collect it at the airport upon arrival. Alternatively, you can have it delivered to your home before your trip. Rates and expenses vary from company to company, so it’s wise to do a little research before choosing your commuter pass.

Keep in mind that while big cities like Tokyo have efficient transportation services, some walking will generally be involved in exploring different areas properly. With that in mind, plan your day according to your family’s routine, abilities, and walking preferences. Additionally, some restaurants, hotels, and other facilities may not accommodate toddlers, so be sure to do your research before making reservations.

Lastly, there’s often confusion about the JR Pass. Is it worth getting one? The answer depends on your plans; if you intend to explore different cities over a couple of weeks, the JR pass might be worthwhile. However, if you’re staying in one town for the entire trip, it may not be the best option.

Travelling around Japan on a bullet train is a thrilling and unique experience for both adults and children. Imagine riding in a futuristic vessel reaching rapid speeds unheard of anywhere else on earth. Even lunch boxes are available for kids to enjoy during their journey; some stations even offer themed meals, such as a Hello Kitty set.

Preparing for a Family Trip to Japan: Final Notes

Now that we’ve covered all the essentials, if you have any further questions or would like to book one of our services or tours, try out our games, or get a Japan starter pack, feel free to reach out to us on any of our social media platforms, and we’ll be happy to help!

See you soon in Japan! πŸ‡―πŸ‡΅ πŸ‘¨β€πŸ‘©β€πŸ‘§β€πŸ‘¦ πŸ‘©β€πŸ‘©β€πŸ‘§β€πŸ‘¦ πŸ‘¨β€πŸ‘¨β€πŸ‘§β€πŸ‘§