Japan often brings to mind the teeming but ordered masses on Tokyo’s Shibuya Crossing, the world’s busiest intersection, or Kyoto’s Golden Pavilion, a must-see — if you can peer through the throngs of tourists. But there’s a lot more to this nation stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk to the South China Sea. The natural and cultural landscape is one of the most varied you’ll find in one island nation, and it’s a great place to discover with kids.
The ancient rubs up against the modern almost everywhere, and a dedication to public safety means that you won’t feel like you’ve got to hold on so tightly to your children that you can’t all enjoy the sights, sounds, and flavors of this land of contradictions: traditional and futuristic, Western and Eastern, man-made and natural, congested and quiet. Here are some of our favorite places to experience with children. A Japan Rail pass will make your visit easy and allow access to the famous shinkansens.