Japan is one of those places that has been on the top of our bucket lists for a while. Today, we chat with Jason Jenkins from An Epic Education podcast. Since he used to live there, he has some insider knowledge and info that will make it easy to plan your trip.
ON THE PODCAST
:35 Tamara is recovering from the flu
1:43 Why you need travel insurance
2:55 New York Times Travel Show
3:53 Family Travel Association at the New York Times Travel Show
5:07 River cruises for families
7:21 Adventure Canada does small ship cruises in the Arctic
8:10 Kim and Mia are headed to Disneyland
9:25 Meet Jason Jenkins from An Epic Education
12:10 How to plan a two week itinerary
13:45 How long to spend in Tokyo
14:52 Getting from Tokyo to Kyoto via bullet train
17:11 When is the best time to go to Japan
20:10 Japan in summer
23:50 Top sights in Tokyo
37:30 What to see in Kyoto
41:27 How hard is it to get around on your own?
45:05 How hard is it if you have a picky eater?
50:11 Jason’s favorite travel gear
53:40 App of the week – Tokyo with Children
53:56 Wanderlist giveaway!
54:44 Next week: traveling with points!
ABOUT JASON JENKINS
After over a decade living in Tokyo, Jason and his family began slow traveling across Asia in 2013, living in places like Taiwan, Thailand and Malaysia. Now based in Spain, they return to Japan regularly to visit family and friends and search for new things to do. You can find their tips, advice and podcast at www.AnEpicEducation.com. Follow Jason on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.
TIPS FOR VISITING JAPAN WITH KIDS
- Plan on at least 10 days to two weeks
- Try to get a mix of modern Japan, natural beauty and Japanese traditional culture
- Tokyo is a great place to start — especially for modern Japan
- Kyoto would be a great second destination
- Spend about a week in Tokyo, along with a few day trips
- Take the bullet train from Tokyo to Kyoto
- Buy a bento boxed lunch before you get on the train
- Reserve the train in advance if you are traveling during school holidays but you can potentially get tickets the day before or day of
- Non-reserve seats on the train are cheaper, but you need to be on the platform early to try to get a seat
- The best time to go to Japan would be spring or fall
- Cherry blossom season is usually in late March to early April but it is unpredictable and different locations bloom at different times.
- Fall foliage is spectacular in Northern Japan
- If you go in summer, June would be the best month
- Top sights for kids in Tokyo:
- Meiji Shrine
- Yoyogi Park
- Crayon House (great buffet lunch in the basement)
- Louis Vuitton — 4th floor art gallery
- Design Festa Gallery
- East side of Tokyo
- Sensoji Red Temple
- Sumo stadium
- Edo-Tokyo Museum
- Japanese Garden
- Fukagawa Edo Museum – recreations of village life
- Odaiba area with open space, museums and shopping on the water
- Sony ExploraScience
- Top sights in Kyoto
- Kyoto temples and shrines
- Kiyomizu-dera is on a hill and great for kids
- Fushimi Inari Shrine with orange gates
- Arashiyama — bamboo forest just outside of Kyoto
- Philosopher’s Walk — watch with young kids
- You can explore on your own without a guide but people are very helpful if you get lost
- If you are looking at maps on the street, they aren’t aligned with North, it faces the way you are facing
- Keep business cards of your hotel and other locations to show your taxi driver
- Tough country if you have shellfish or fish allergies
- Kyoto is good for vegetarians or vegans
- There are bakeries and Italian, Chinese and family restaurants like Royal Host, Jonathan’s and Skylark (laminated menus with pictures of food and lots of recognizable food)
- There is also plenty of fast food and good burgers
- Try ramen, Japanese curry (mild), dumplings (gyoza), and fried pork cutlets
BEST PLACE TO TAKE FAMILY PHOTO
In the Fushimi Inari Shrine orange gates would be a great spot for a family photo.
FAVORITE TRAVEL GEAR
Jason likes a Joseph Abboud jacket with zippable pockets, slip on shoes by Børn, Bison belt with a plastic buckle and Kuhl pants and shirts. Jason also like Uniglow linen shirts.
APP OF THE WEEK
Tokyo with Children, created by Jason, is a great guide for exploring Tokyo.
MENTIONED ON THE PODCAST
Raising good travelers (Tamara on the Epic Education Podcast)
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