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



Kids already know a little about Japan if they like Japanese comics, learn martial arts, or eat sushi. Japan may seem 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). For more information, click here.

family tours japan

Take a family friendly trip through Japan, each itinerary offers a custom tour or travel with other families. Explore castles and temples in Kyoto and Tokyo, experience life on a traditional farm, take a ninja workshop, cooking classes to make candy or sushi, try painting laquerware, visit a monkey park, soak in relaxing hot springs, these family tour companies will arrange an unforgettable trip:

    Quivertree Family Expeditions
    Journeys International
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

A mystery-adventure series, set in 18th century Japan, teenage Seikei unravels a jewel theft on the road to Edo, solves the disappearance of geishas in a teahouse, finds who killed a lord in his own castle, and uncovers a smuggling ring in a puppet theater. In the last mystery, seven men are tattooed with a treasure map, a puzzle that leads to a secret plot. Each mystery is filled with Japanese history and lore. (Chapter book)


Real Samurai
Real Ninja
Stephen Turnbull, James Field

Exciting true stories about the finest samurai and the greatest ninjas (secret warriors) of Japan. Read about ninja and samurai training, special tools to break into castles, secrets of sword making, with full page illustrations. (Picture books)


Real Samurai non-fiction kids books ancient japan
japan childrens books The Perfect Sword  
The Perfect Sword
Scott Goto

"A sword is the soul of the samurai." A master swordsmith makes a perfect sword, but who is worthy to be its owner? (Picture book)


The Master Puppeteer
Katherine Paterson

A multi-layered tale of feudal Japan, Jiro leaves his family to work for a famous puppeteer, but behind the scenes, Jiro is caught up in peasant riots and a secret group, led by the legendary Saburo, master of disguise who steals from the rich to help the poor. (Chapter book)


The Master Puppeteer ancient japan kids adventure
The Samurai's Tale japan fiction adventure kids  
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. The story continues in The Boy and the Samurai. (Chapter book)


Three Samurai Cats: A Story from Japan
Eric A. Kimmel, Mordicai Gerstein

Humorous, witty tale of a crafty rat who likes rice balls, and a broken-down old samurai cat who defeats the rat bully without force. (Picture book)


Three Samurai Cats toddlers books japan 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.



Two children spend the day with their grandfather, the artist Hokusai, famous for his wood-cuts. The story is beautifully mixed with Hokusai drawings and prints. (Picture book)


A Day in Japan with Hokusai artist kids books art
kids Japanese Celebrations non-fiction  
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
Yuki and the One Thousand Carriers japan kids tokaido road  
Yuki and the One Thousand Carriers
Gloria Whelan, Yan Nascimbene

Take a journey 300 miles down the Tokaido Road from Kyoto to Edo, riding in a hand-carried palanquin, climbing up narrow mountain paths as spring snowflakes fall, until journey’s end at the Nihonbashi Bridge. Luminous paintings capture the adventure of this historic road. (Picture book)


Spirits of the Noh
Thomas Randall

When a member of the Noh theater club goes missing, Kara and her friends go on an adventure, using bells and Noh masks to defeat an ancient serpent demon. Japanese legend and culture are beautifully interwoven in this contemporary story. (Chapter book)


childrens books fiction legends myths japan Spirits of the Noh
Tokyo Heist japan mystery fiction kids
Tokyo Heist
Diana Renn

A contemporary mystery adventure set in Tokyo and Kyoto, after priceless drawings are stolen by the yakusa, Violet Rossi must find a long-lost Van Gogh painting, inspired by Japanese woodcuts.The most important clue – sketchbook with hidden drawings of tiny ayu fish. Wonderful local color. (Chapter book)



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 childrens books non-fiction  
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)


(More children's books on other Japan pages)