How to Have a Fun Family Adventure in Kyoto

Traveling to Japan can be the trip of a lifetime for you and your family. With a little planning, you and your family will enjoy a fun-filled adventure in Kyoto. Once the capital of Japan, Kyoto is a city on the island of Honshu. Over the centuries, while Kyoto was destroyed by wars and fires, it was spared destruction by the atomic bomb during World War II. Kyoto will amaze you with temples, shrines, gardens, palaces, and exquisite traditional foods.  

Plan Ahead With Paperwork/Identification

Keep in mind that for international travel, all children must have a valid U.S. passport. This rule applies to both infants and newborns. Check out this link to find out specific requirements by age. In order to enjoy the outside attractions, make sure to check the season and current weather conditions. Nothing like being unprepared to spoil your fun!

Plan Ahead For Medical Emergencies

While not a guarantee, having you and your children get a checkup well before traveling is a sure way to prevent any last minute sickness woes. Make sure you and your children are up to date on any and all immunizations.  

Travel Gear

Depending on the age(s) of your children, packing the right travel gear can make a good trip even better. Think about baby wraps, carriers, and strollers for infants. With toddlers, lightweight strollers, favorite stuffed animals, and simple books can provide added comfort and amusement. For the teen, think about travel magazines and apps to get them excited and keep them entertained.

The voltage in Japan is 100 volt, which is different from the United States of 120 Volts. While a Japanese electric adapter is the same adapter used in the United States, don't forget to bring one along for your teens' electronic gadgets. Since Japan's outlets do not undergo polarization like in the United States, an adapter plug changes your appliance plug to fit Japanese outlets.

Airplane Travel Advice

Depending on the age(s) of your children, be sure to check with the airlines about seating requirements.    

Some airlines require the purchase of an individual seat for children while others allow children to be seated on an adult's lap.

Flights from the United States to Japan can take approximately 14 hours, depending on your city of origin. Think of the discomfort of sitting in a cramped seat, and think of the added travel time if your flight has transferred.

Many international airlines offer nonstop flights, and a full meal instead of merely snacks.

While it's not a requirement for parents to provide a car seat for young children, both the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Federal Aviation Administration stipulate that a child restraint device approved by the FAA be used. That means either an approved car seat or a special harness.

Booster seats and harness vests are prohibited on planes because they do not provide adequate protection.

Be sure to check with your airline so you are not surprised by requirements.

Language Barriers

While becoming fluent in Japanese may not be on your agenda, learning a few key phrases can serve you well. Many residents speak English but will feel honored if you try to speak their native tongue. When in doubt, if you have access to a smartphone, there are language translation apps to help you get along.


You may be surprised to learn about all the outdoor family activities Kyoto has to offer. Outdoor activities can keep both you and your children entertained. The Fushimi Inari Shrine is not to be missed! You will be amazed at the beautiful black and orange "torii" gates that line the trail all the way up to the Inari Mountain. Given the popularity of this site, and the fact that it is open all day and night, plan ahead as much as possible to beat the crowds. If you still are in the mood for exercise, Kyoto offers many walking destinations.

Spending the day with a local Shoot My Travel photographer will definitely add to your Kyoto experience. You will explore the hidden gems of the city, learn from the culture and even end up speaking a word or two of Japanese. 

Stroll down the beautiful Shinbashi Dori, walk through Gion, a well-known geisha district in Kyoto via the Hanamikoiji Dori. Check out Kiyomizu-dera, one of Kyoto’s most popular temples. While there, Kiyomizu-dera's biggest attraction is its wooden stage. From this vantage point, you will be amazed at the seasonal views of cherry blossoms, maple trees, and Kyoto. Behind the main hall of the wooden stage, you can see Otowa Waterfall, while around the entrance, is the Sanjunoto Tower.

Depending on the season, Maruyama Park is one of the most beautiful and common spots in Kyoto for springtime cherry blossom viewing. Consider walking yet another family-friendly walk to the Shoren-in Temple: one part is indoors, the other through the garden.

Where to Stay in Kyoto

Planning your accommodations well in advance and carefully can enhance your family's fun and enjoyment.  Consider a central location and amenities for the best district to stay in Kyoto. Exploring Kyoto is easy when you pick a hotel that is within 5-10 minutes walking distance to a subway or train station. You can also explore nearby sights on foot.   

Paying for Your Fun

Nothing puts a damper on a family vacation than not having or not being able to access your cash. Look for signs posted at businesses that accept credit cards. Unlike in the United States, most places in Japan do not accept credit cards.

The unit of Japanese currency is yen. You can purchase yen at the currency exchange counters and banks located in international airports. The exchange rate changes on a daily basis depending on the money market and currency exchange counters are generally open during normal office hours.

Using an ATM card that doesn't charge a foreign transaction fee can provide with an alternate way to pay without carrying too much cash.  

A family vacation to Kyoto, Japan is an extraordinary experience. Children make wonderful travel companions! With a little planning, you can be on your way to a fun-filled family adventure in Kyoto.

Captured by Shoot My Traveler photographers, Javier, in Kyoto. 

Article by: Asia Travel Bug