fun things to do with kids in japan - family travel   Travel for Kids



Kids already know a little about Japan if they like Japanese anime, learn martial arts, or eat sushi. Japan is very modern, but it's a unique island culture, with a long history of tradition, deeply embedded in everyday life. One tradition is an appreciation of nature – as your family travels around, when kids shop for sweets, look for confections created in colors and shapes in tune with the seasons.



  Kanto Izu Peninsula and Kamakura
  Kinki (Kansai)
    Chugoko – Hiroshima
    Tip: Riding the bullet train is a must. You can buy day passes in Japan, which saves money as well as the hassle of figuring out ticket prices between points.

If you're planning on riding the train a lot, before you leave home, get a Japan Rail Pass (not available once you are in Japan).

family tours japan

Take a guided trip through Japan – explore castles and temples in Kyoto, hike through ancient mountain routes, learn secrets of martial arts or how to wear a kimono, cooking classes to make sushi, soak in relaxing hot springs, this family tour company will arrange an unforgettable trip:

    Quivertree Family Expeditions
kids books japan
childrens books japan fiction One Leaf Rides the Wind  
One Leaf Rides the Wind
Celeste Davidson Mannis, Susan Hartung

Luminous illustrations and haiku descriptions reveal the elements of a Japanese garden – pagodas, carved temple dogs, birds and bonsai, lotus flowers and koi, stone lanterns to light the way. (Picture book)


Japanese Children's Favorite Stories
Florence Sakade, Yoshisuke Kurosaki

Delightful collection of Japanese tales – Momotaro the peach boy, long-nosed goblins, the magic teakettle, Mr. Lucky Straw, toothpick warriors, Little One-Inch and the green devil. Twenty enchanting stories illustrated in a charming folk art style. (Chapter book)

Also, More Japanese Children's Favorite Stories


japanese childrens favorite stories

The classic that inspired beloved Miyazaki animated film, Kiki, a 13 year old witch, flies off to a seaside town to help the townspeople. "Get ready, as Kiki is prepared to fly from Japan and deliver her story to you." In a new translation, story is absolutely magical! (Chapter book)


Night of the Ninjas
Mary Pope Osborne

The magic tree house drops Jack and Annie into Japan centuries ago, where they meet up with a ninja master who shows them that the secret of the warrior isn't necessarily a sword. (Easy reader)


ninjas and samurai  
Ninjas and Samurai
Mary Pope Osborne, Natalie Pope Boyce

Read about ninja disguises, techniques for breaking into castles, weapons and equipment, samurai training, armor and battles, skills of fighting with swords, archery and riding on horseback, sword making, profiles of famous samurai (including a woman warrior). (Chapter book)


The Samurai's Tale
Erik Christian Haugaard

Taro's just a boy when his father, a samurai, is killed in battle. Taro's life is spared, but he works his way up from kitchen helper, stable boy, messenger, military aide to become a trusted retainer to Lord Akiyama. Wars and adventure in 16th century Japan. (Chapter book)


The Samurai's Tale japan fiction adventure kids
Japanese Celebrations
Betty Reynolds

A year of Japanese festivals – traditions, activities, and special foods for Japanese New Year, Hina Matsuri (Doll Festival), Cherry Blossom parties, Kodomo-no-hi (Children’s Day), Star Festival, O-Bon (Festival of Souls), and more. Colorful, fun illustrations. (Picture book)


Tea Ceremony
Shozo Sato

Follow each step of the Japanese tea ceremony, where tea is enjoyed in a simple, beautiful setting. Appreciating the waiting area and tea room, preparing the tea bowl and making tea, plus history of the tea ceremony. (Chapter book, illustrations)


Tea Ceremony japan kids books non-fiction
Grass Sandals basho haiku poetry kids japan  

Lovely introduction to the haiku poetry of Basho, interspersed with his walking trip around Japan. (Picture book)

After Grass Sandals, keep on going. Read out-loud the full version of Basho's poems and travels, The Narrow Road to the Deep North.


Hokusai: He Saw the World in a Wave
Susie Hodge, Kim Ekdal

Hokusai is one of Japan's most celebrated artists. He created paintings, woodblock prints and books about how to draw people and animals. Hokusai made over 100 ukiyo-e prints of Mount Fuji. His most famous print is an image of a great wave curling high in the air. (Picture book)


japan board book  
Japan (Our World)
Emily Satoko Seo, Aunyarat Watanabe

Spend the day in Japan. Ohayo - Good morning, for breakfast eat soup and rice. Walk through gardens, cherry blossoms on a spring day, go to market for fresh food, time for snacks with sweet red bean paste. At the end of the day, have a bath and get ready for bed, it's time to say good night – Oyasumi. Lots of fun details, charming illustrations. (Board book)

Also, easy reader: Welcome to Japan



Travel to Japan with Dan (a 5th grader) to stay with a Japanese family. A delightful story of salad, pickles and soup for breakfast, visiting a ninja village, learning different ways to bow, micro sushi, martial arts, Glico Man, playing karuta, pounding mochi, and plans to come back soon. (Illustrated chapter book)


my awesome japan adventure
All About Japan
Willamarie Moore, Kazumi Wilds

Find out about the people and culture of Japan – history, food, life in a Japanese home, yearly festivals and holidays, religion, school, sports and martial arts. (Picture book)


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