8 Unique Things to do in Japan for Families

Looking for unique things to do in Japan with kids? While Japan is best known for its vibrant and bustling urban centers, you will discover a whole new world if you venture outside of its cities. Here you’ll find tons of striking scenery, diverse landscapes and remarkable natural wonders. Come along and get some amazing family vacation ideas!

Unique things to do in Japan Kimitsu

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Japan

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Best weather, October-November // Cherry Blossoms, March-May

JANINE'S JAPAN HIGHLIGHTS...

Adventure, nature, beautiful scenery, rich cultural opportunities

1. ARAKAWA RIVER

This photo was taken in a spot that’s less than a 90-minute drive from central Tokyo. There are so many beautiful hidden spots and unique things to do in Japan because 70 percent of the country is covered by dense forests and complex terrain (the world’s 3rd highest forest-cover rate as a nation). Japan also has the world’s 7th longest coastline. You wouldn’t think so, but the coastline is so complex, and made of almost 7,000 islands.”

Unique things to do in japan with kids Arakawa River

2. CHIIBISHI ATOLL

This was taken from a chartered parasailing flight over Nagannu Island of the Chiibishi Atoll. This is a deserted island of the Kerama Island chain, an island group of the Okinawa prefecture, which is the most southwest prefecture of Japan. Okinawa consists of 160 tropical and subtropical islands (49 inhabited) all fringed by coral reefs and clear turquoise waters, which is home to a number of coral species and marine life, as large as those in the Great Barrier Reef.”

Unique things to do in Japan Chiibishi Atoll

3. MT. TANIGAWA

Mt. Tanigawa holds the Guinness World Record for having the highest climbing fatalities for any mountain in the world (over 3 times more than Mt. Everest). However, these fatalities have happened just on one specific route and there is a ropeway to go up to the top from another side of the mountain, which is a great activity with small children. We spotted many wild Japanese monkeys jumping from tree to tree!

Unique things to do in japan Mt Tanigawa

4. KUME ISLAND

This photo was taken at the idyllic coral sand cay just off Kume Island. Kume Island is fringed by coral reefs, sheltering the beaches from waves and making clear calm waters, ideal for children to snorkel with colorful tropical fish and sea turtles right in front of the beaches. The campsites of Kume Island are also beautiful and great for children!”

Unique things to do in japan kume island

5. IRIOMOTE-ISHIGAKI NATIONAL PARK

This photo was taken en route to a set of limestone caves inside the jungle. The leaves of the tropical plants are so huge that you really get quite lost in this amazing wilderness. 90 percent of Iriomote Island is covered by jungle, with many calm mangrove rivers ideal for kayaking with children. Iriomote-Ishigaki National Park is our favorite part of the Yaeyama Islands, and definitely in our top 5 favorite national parks of Japan.

Unique things to do in japan iriomote

6. NIIJIMA ISLAND

This vast beach with a sheer cliff face was absolutely dramatic when the dark squall clouds were approaching. People outside Japan usually don’t know that Tokyo prefecture has many beautiful islands including the remote tropical islands of Ogasawara, which are listed as a UNESCO Natural World Heritage island site. Tokyo’s Izu Islands are close and easily accessible by ferry from the city, and they are a great getaway for those who want to escape the bustling life of the metropolis for the weekend.”

unique things to do in japan niijima island

7. SHIRAITO FALLS

“Shiraito Falls is one of these touristy UNESCO places that is still worth a visit if you get there early enough to beat the crowds (a nice activity for those with early-rising children!). There’s no wonder it’s been a sacred waterfall for the worship of Mt. Fuji. There are several waterfalls with the same name in Japan, but this one tops the others!”

Unique things to do in japan shiraito falls

8. SHODO ISLAND RICE TERRACES

Shodo Island is a great one-stop island to have a first-hand experience of a rural Japanese lifestyle. You can enjoy the beautiful rugged mountains, rice terraces, beaches and traditional fisherman villages with the typical laid-back Japanese island lifestyle. Also, Shodo Island is famous for a beautiful dynamic gorge. Japan has literally hundreds of lush gorges…and the gorge on Shodo Island is ranked in one of the top 3 scenic gorges of Japan.”

unique things to do in japan shodo island