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).

family tours japan

Take a privately guided trip through Japan – explore castles and temples in Kyoto, hike through ancient mountain routes, learn secrets of martial arts, cooking classes to make candy or 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)

Also, Ninjas and Samurai, non-fiction Fact Tracker companion book.


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)


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)


japan childrens books The Perfect Sword
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
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.


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)


Yuki and the One Thousand Carriers japan kids tokaido road
Chirri & Chirra
Kaya Doi, Yuki Kaneko

On a spring day, Chirri & Chirra go for a bike ride in the forest. They visit a cafe, where honeybees are having violet tea, and a bakery with bread and jam in all different colors. When the sun begins to set, they arrive at a forest hotel, just in time for a forest concert with all the animals. Enchanting illustrations, this is a gem! (Picture book)

And more Chirri & Chirra adventures: The Snowy Day and The Rainy Day


Temple Alley Summer
Sachiko Kashiwaba, Miho Satake

On a rainy summer night, Kazu sees a girl in a white kimono step out of the altar room in his house. The next day she appears in his fifth grade class at school, her name is Akari, and she's familiar to everyone. But Kazu knows she's a ghost. Mystery, manga and ghost story in contemporary Japan. (Chapter book)


Temple Alley Summer
Tokyo Heist japan mystery fiction kids
Tokyo Heist
Diana Renn

A 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
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)
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