Japan: Kyoto with Kids

Jan 23rd, 2011, 08:54 AM
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Japan: Kyoto with Kids

We are going to visit relatives outside of Tokyo in April and want to take a side trip to Kyoto. We have 7 year old twins. Last time we went to Japan, we stayed at a great Ryokan with a large enough room for all of us and my mother in law in Hakone. We would love to find a great Ryokan with a good location for us that is friendly towards children. Must be well located because my mother in law is in her 80s and my kids are 7 so they cannot walk forever. Any suggestions? Any tips, greatly appreciated. Is two nights enough? We would take the bullet train there.
emmagus is offline  
Jan 24th, 2011, 01:59 PM
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Hoping someone will reply because the Ryokans listed here were pretty pricey and we will need to pay for 5 people!
Also, anyone think going to Mt. Fuji is worth it? I have a volcano obsessed son and we did go to Hakone last time but are wondering about Mt. Fuji in April
emmagus is offline  
Jan 24th, 2011, 03:17 PM
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emmagus:...a more moderate priced lodging, sort of a quasi-ryokan..Three Sisters Annex ...easy wlaks and bus rides all over town...very nice, quiet location, several restaurants on the street. Neat as a pin, good sized rooms and private bathrooms. Lovely owner...see pic.

tower is offline  
Jan 24th, 2011, 03:44 PM
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Thanks Tower. I will check it out. We stayed at a gorgeous luxurious Ryokan in Hakone last time we went and had hoped to treat my mother in law again but whoa, the prices in Kyoto are much more it seems.
emmagus is offline  
Feb 19th, 2011, 12:45 AM
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This is out-of-the-box, but the hotel at Osaka Airport is extremely convenient -- IIRC, it's only 30 minutes (maybe 20?) to Kyoto, and the train fare is very reasonable. You'll have all the comforts of elevators, etc., which many ryokans don't have.

We stayed at a really quaint little place, but the stairs were hard on my aunt and we had to share a bath. So, I won't even recommend it.

I think there still must be day passes for the bus, which will take you everywhere. Kinkakuji was the highlight for my kids. They HATED Kiyomizu-dera (my favorite, sob) because of all the walking uphill they had to do. (I even bribed them with snow-cones. No dice.) There happened to be anime playing at the Kyoto Station, and that was a nice break from the sightseeing. There's also the "culture" show at Gion Corner. Yeah, it's touristy. But why not?
TokachiM is offline  
Feb 21st, 2011, 06:27 PM
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Here's what we did in Kyoto with a 4, 9, and 12 YO.

- went to Imperial Palace (not really a hit) before Jidai Masuri parade (not really a hit)
- took trains to Ninja Museum (really cool, everyone loved this)
- went to Nara on the same day as Ninja Museum (too much for one day, Nara - so-so for kids)
- went to Kiyomizu-dera using bus BY MYSELF
- walked through Gion at night, lots of candy stores
- day trip to Hiroshima, tour of Mazda factory (loved this trip)
- rented bikes with older kids (very fun)
- Nishiki market for fresh donuts (yummy)
- conveyor belt sushi with bullet trains delivering sushi (kids loved this)
- crepes (kids loved)

We rented an apartment listed on VRBO. We also went to a fantastic amusement park outside of Tokyo. If you're interested, I can fish out the name.

I'll see if I can think of anything else.
sdfamily is offline  
Feb 25th, 2011, 10:40 AM
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thanks everyone. I should have thought of renting a house earlier...most are booked. But I am going to try.
Kids love touristy!
emmagus is offline  
Feb 28th, 2011, 09:17 AM
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Just paid for a lovely house in Gion through VBRO. That was a great idea. Now I am wondering if anyone has gone to Arashiyama Monkey Park Iwatayama? Sounds like it could be a good kid friendly think to do after they are dragged around from temple to temple.

Also, Sdfamily, how long was the train ride to the Ninja museum? I know my kids would love it, but we are also travelling with an 82 year old obachan!
emmagus is offline  
Feb 28th, 2011, 02:54 PM
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We loved the Arashiyama area including the Monkey Park. The Monkey Park is a hike up the hill, so the 82YO might have to wait. It was really cool and I highly recommend. The monkeys are really cute and you can feed them from inside this building. We also walked through the bamboo forest. That was fun also. We wanted to rent bikes, a great place for it, but needed our passports. So if you're interested in that, remember the passports.

The train ride to the Ninja museum was about 90 minutes. We combined it with a trip to Nara and it was a loooong day for everyone. Here's the info: http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e4351.html

We were in Kyoto for 5 nights and also stayed at a house in Gion through VRBO. It was a great location.
sdfamily is offline  
Mar 8th, 2011, 01:29 PM
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sdfamily - Question about the ninja museum. We are considering going there while in Kyoto later this month. However, I have heard that the train ride is more like 2 hrs - did you go from Kyoto and was it only 90 minutes? How much time did you spend there? Did you get to see the NInja show? and do you think two 15 year old boys would like the museum and show? They are very interested in going - just wondering if it is well done and that 15 yo would enjoy. Also, trying to make sure it is worth the 90-120 min. train ride. Thanks so much!!
jgg is offline  
Mar 11th, 2011, 07:03 PM
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I am wondering if our trip is actually going to happen now with the horrific tsunami. We have family south of Tokyo which hasn't been hurt but not sure with state Department travel warning etc. The rail pass is offering to refund our money....I suppose we should until we find out what exactly is happening.
emmagus is offline  
Mar 11th, 2011, 07:18 PM
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It sounds like travel will be ok by time of your trip. The more volatile situation now is with the nuclear reactors that are over heating. That could be more catastrophic regarding travel that what has happened so far. That situationis what I would watch closely and be more concerned about if I was you.

See here:

There is current travel info here, at japan-guide.com, BUT it does not take into account the situation with the nuclear reactors:

emd3 is offline  
Mar 12th, 2011, 04:35 AM
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Thank you Emd3. Things look very grim. Even in my mother-in-law's neighborhood south of Tokyo a couple houses came down but hers is fine. We will have to monitor this closely as there was just an explosion at one of the reactors. What a disaster. How much more can they take?
emmagus is offline  
May 21st, 2014, 05:45 AM
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starrs is offline  
May 21st, 2014, 08:45 AM
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why are you topping a three year old thread?
hawaiiantraveler is offline  
May 21st, 2014, 03:49 PM
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For CounterClifton. He's considering a visit to Japan with kids.
starrs is offline  
May 21st, 2014, 04:31 PM
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Thanks for that starrs!
CounterClifton is offline  
May 21st, 2014, 10:05 PM
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Clifton, starrs sent you to the right place. There are many on the Asia forum who would enjoy helping you plan a visit to Japan or elsewhere in Asia. The photo in the cherry blossom link that you gave on your Lounge thread is Yoshinoyama and at least a couple of us can tell you about it. I don't recognize the location of the Kyoto beautiful fall colors foto, but, yeah, you will have moments like that photographer had.
mrwunrfl is offline  
May 21st, 2014, 10:29 PM
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mrwunrfl -

You're right. And I actually read the Asia board quite a bit. It's got tons of good information. But I do tend to lurk.

I used to interact on the Europe board much more (I've been using the forum since '98 but changed handles recently), before it got quite so overbearing and as it's been longer since we've been. It seemed a mix of travel levels and still having something to contribute.

The Asia board is on a whole other level of experience and are also very tightly knit as a group. I've only been on a half dozen trips through Asia. But if someone asks about a place I've been no one replies back to (say, a Battambang or Nawalapitiya), then I've been known to show up and slip a word in over there.
CounterClifton is offline  
May 21st, 2014, 10:33 PM
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Anyway, as the Japan trip develops into reality and questions evolve, if the books and those helpful websites don't answer them..., I'm sure I'll think of things to ask!
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