Travel with Val: Kids can enjoy plenty of the cute, unusual in Japan
Unique, kid-friendly things to see and do in Japan go far beyond Hello Kitty. YNN's Valarie D'Elia filed the following report.
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Japan has a lot to interest young children who are on a family vacation. For example, the country’s fascination with cats goes well beyond Hello Kitty. In Tokyo, families can visit a "cat café," where locals who do not have the time or space for a furry friend can pay $13 an hour to play with a four-legged friend.
As I also discovered on a media visit, Japan has its own cat alley, in Onomichi, about an hour outside Hiroshima. A local artist, Shungi Sonoyana, is making his town famous by painting rocks as cats. There’s even a shrine to felines.
Another great place to include on a family itinerary is the Bizen-Osafune Sword Museum in Okayama Prefecture, which keeps the ancient art of Japanese swordmaking alive. Visitors are able to watch the process from forging to sharpening and engraving.
Kids whose palates aren’t quite ready for fresh sushi may still want to visit a wasabi paddy field in Shuzenji, on the Izu Peninsula in Shizuoka Prefecture, about an hour from Tokyo. Visitors can see how the watery root takes root, meet an actual farmer and taste a surprisingly delicious scoop of wasabi ice cream.
Perhaps the most family-friendly hotel in Japan is Hoshino’s Risonare Atami, also in Shizuoka. Perched on a coastal cliff, it offers an indoor rock climbing wall, indoor pools, kid-proof rooms, suites with a tatami mat sleeping area and traditional onsen hot springs.
Getting to and from these places can be a breeze with a Japan Rail Pass that includes rides on the Shinkansen Bullet Train, traveling at speeds of up to 186 mph.
For more information on traveling to Japan, visit www.japanforyou.com.