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School Holiday Ideas

Japan With Kids - Forums: Traveling to/from and in Japan: School Holiday Ideas
By Gaijinmom on Wednesday, March 9, 2005 - 1:02 pm:

My kids (ages 14 & 10) will be on a 2 week Spring Break in Tokyo at the end of March to beginnng of April and I have made NO PLANS! (I did try but things had to be cancelled due to the inability of my husband to commit to any firm travel dates). We've done Disney a zilliong time, been to Hakone and Nikko so we need new ideas. We were thinking of going skiing up in Hokkaido but I am now getting cold (no pun intended) feet because I read that the snow may not be all that great by that time. So, I am now stuck... and getting into panic mold at the thought of having to live with 2 whiny bored kids for 2 weeks. Any ideas??
Also, will we have to contend with crowds because the Japanese schools will also be having their Spring vacation around the same time?

By Jellund on Wednesday, March 9, 2005 - 1:33 pm:

I recently bought a magazine in a bookshop called お出かけ, (odekake/outings) 2005-2006.
It is all in Japanese but has plenty of photos of things to do in Tokyo and also short excursions, 1-3nights. Every item is clearly labelled to show what age group it would suit,what the facilities are like, prices, how to get there and if it is a rainy day or sunny day activity. There are a lot of URLs on the pages too so it is possible to just go to them and then run them through a translator to get the gist.
Hope this helps, I have also seen individual books of outings for each area of Japan.

By Yuko Kubota on Wednesday, March 9, 2005 - 2:57 pm:

Hi Gaijinmom,

Local kids enjoy a day on their own at places like Odaiba, Harajuku or Daikanyama in Tokyo or MM21 in Yokohama where you have places to window shop, have soda and burgers, and (not really the best thing to do but) play in game archades.

You can also let them go to the movies, ice-skating (popular rinks are near Shinagawa or Yokohama Stns.) or bowling.

There is always Shibuya, but parents don't prefer to send kids there due to recent juvenile-related crime increase. If they're with the parent, it would be okay. An excursion at NHK might be fun.

As for skiing, if you're concerned about wasting your flight ticket to Hokkaido, you can make reasonable day trips to the many skii resorts in the Kanto area. Yuzawa is particularly popular, and you can usually rent everything, so if there isn't enough snow once you get there, you can just do some sightseeing and come back.

Actually, being in Tokyo area, there are lots of shopping districts and tiny museums and (sort of) grassy parks to kill time. Me and my 13 year old son would often just ride trains to nowhere, and see how far or what fun we can get. You don't have to spend time and money for your young ones :)

Also, to answer your question, yes, Japanese school years end March 25-ish and start April 5-ish.

By Kit on Wednesday, March 9, 2005 - 6:52 pm:

I have a resource I should have posted here long ago -- sorry -- which might give you some inspiration for the coming holiday, Gaijin Mom.
It's a book titled GENERATION TOKYO: A Young Guide to the City, by Matt Wilce. This former Metropolis editor wrote and targeted the book for teen and 'tween youth, and it's funny, well-organized, and full of ideas that might appeal to your children. Matt packs in a lot of info, with easily read maps at the back and tips throughout on making the most of your time. Contact Matt by email if you want a copy: matt[at]
The book costs 1500 yen, and he will mail it to you COD if you wish, which runs about 500 yen.

By Bethan Hutton on Wednesday, March 23, 2005 - 2:16 pm:

Does anyone have any suggestions for places to take a boy who is absolutely fascinated by snakes? I've lost track of the number of times we have been to the vivarium at Ueno Zoo recently, so if anyone knows of any other zoos, aquariums, or even large petshops with snakes in the greater Tokyo area (or even further afield), I would love to hear about them.

We tried Zoorasia (Yokohama) at the weekend, and it was a great zoo, particularly the animal-themed adventure playground sections, but sadly no snakes...

By Yumi Tachibana on Thursday, March 24, 2005 - 11:22 pm:

Hi Bethan,
There is Japan Snake Center in the Gunma prefecture (north of Tokyo). Unfortunately I'm scared of snakes, that's why I've never been there. They said it has over 100,000 snakes (300 kinds) and lots of fascinating activities for the persons who love snakes as your son. It's not new so I'm not sure i'ts clean or not, but if you are interested in it, please contact this number (0277-78-5739). (unfortunately in Japanese)
Have a nice holiday!

By Jack Bayles on Friday, March 25, 2005 - 4:05 pm:

The Alishan Organic Center near Koma Station on the Seibu Ikebukuro Line will have a Hemp Matsuri this weekend 3/25 to 3/28. The plans include:

Himalayan Material Hemp and Fair Trade exhibition and sale of hemp bags, hemp wallets, silks, papers. Also hemp soap and yogi soap from Nepal -- Friday-Sunday

Special Organic Vegan Hemp dishes at the Alishan Cafe -- Friday-Sunday

Hemp Dinner Party on Saturday night 18:00-20:00 2,000 yen, reservations please

Hemp Oil Hand Massage -- Sunday, 30 minutes 1,500 yen

Gourd Musical Instrument Making class 13:00-15:00 -- Sunday only

Live Music 16:00-18:00 -- Sunday only 1,800 yen includes one drink

for more info call Alishan Cafe at 042-982-4823. Alishan is a 7 minute walk from Koma Station, located on a beautiful mountain stream with hiking, nature and clean air in abundance. Travel time from Ikebukuro is around 65 minutes by train or car. Parking is free.

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