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Things to do with kids in Kyoto

Brooklyn, New York
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Things to do with kids in Kyoto

We are heading to Japan to visit relatives in Tokyo and are taking a side trip to Kyoto with 8 year old twins. My boys are fairly patient but as I recall, there are just A LOT of temples so I figure one per morning is about it. We are there 3 days (maybe too long?) in April during the busy cherry blossom season. Any ideas for things to do in the afternoon with kids? Luckily we rented a house so we have a little yard where they can play.

We are interested in Arashiyama but worry the hike may be too much for my 83 year old MIL! Is it a tough hike up the mountain?? Or am I reading the guide book wrong. Thanks

Thanks

Illinois
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1. Re: Things to do with kids in Kyoto

Lots to do in Kyoto besides temples. Look around here for ideas - http://www.pref.kyoto.jp/visitkyoto/en/

Nara, Japan
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2. Re: Things to do with kids in Kyoto

It IS an easy walk if you start from inside Tenryuji Temple and get out to Bamboo Lane. If you like the comfy atmosphere to a Japanese-type garden, you may try dropping in at Ohkochi Sanso Villa, aside from Tenryuji's. The venue is a tad bit away from there on an uphill road, but I guess your family can all manage. From one corner in that villa commands a fine view of the river gorge way down below. Yes, the admission fee is about twice/thrice what you'd pay for other temples in Kyoto: 1000yens per adult, with a perk of complimentary matcha tea and small Japanese sweets. If it is all right with your MIL to extend her trip, Sagano is only an 8-10min walk away from here.

On the other side of the river is a monkey park...which may or may not be fun visiting. Have no further comment myself since I never been there. Instead, you may like to invest some hundred yens to enjoy rowing a boat in the river, sandwiched in part by sakura trees.

For your young ones, let me suggest hopping on a train to come over to Deer Park in Nara. Unlike wild monkeys dwelling in the park above, the deer in here are a whole lot more *gracious and fun to be with. Yes, I know some posters here on TA got bitten in their pants pockets for foods, but that won't deter your children from hand-feeding them. Hectares of the open grassy land/hill together with cherry blossoms and the *tame deer in here, sure affords your family with a helluva good time during your nice holidays.

Edited: 12:22 pm, March 04, 2012
Sydney, Australia
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3. Re: Things to do with kids in Kyoto

Arashiyama is a great day out for all ages and you can do a lot in and around the little town, including rowing on the lake. However the monkey park is a fairly steep hike up a hillside. Not sure how fit your MIL is, but I didn't see too many 83 year olds at the top.

Nara is fun too - the cheeky deer delight children.

My 6 year old loved Nishiki market in central Kyoto - so many sights, smells, tastes.

And if your kids are into anything Ninja then Nijo castle towards the north of the city is a must. Try getting them to walk silently on the Nightingale floor..

I know it's another temple, but... the Fushimi Inari shrine south of the city is a spectacular place for a visit.

Tokyo, Japan
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4. Re: Things to do with kids in Kyoto

The Monkey Park in Arashiyama is okay, if you and your children like up-hill walking, monkeys, and a hill-top view of Kyoto city.

www.youtube.com/watch…

Nara is also a nice destination. One of the top destinations, definitely (and it happens to be my home town).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XolrBbQMO1s

Edited: 10:07 am, April 03, 2012
Tokyo, Japan
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5. Re: Things to do with kids in Kyoto

Additional advice: most of Arashiyama town is on flat land. If you believe the Monkey Park is too much of a hike, perhaps you shouldn't do it, or trust the young lads to do it while others see a temple and relax at a cafe.

Edited: 10:12 am, April 03, 2012
United States
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6. Re: Things to do with kids in Kyoto

It rarely gets mentioned on these forums, but it's worth bringing up once in a while, especially when the deer in Nara (or other places) are discussed. Deer in Japan can carry Lyme disease, and there have been documented cases of tourists contracting it there from tick bites. The chances of getting it are small, but the implications can be totally miserable. It doesn't hurt to do a full body "tick check" any time you have been out and about in places that deer live, and if you have children, I think you owe it to them to do so. It only takes a few seconds. The thing is, it's the ticks that spread the disease, and you can pick up one of these nasty hitchhikers from brush, trees, or tall grass even if there are no deer in sight.

If I had a couple of 8-year-olds I would go out of my way to take them to Fushimi Inari shrine! Not all kids will like it, but many will be fascinated by all of the fox imagery, the countless torii gates, and the general mystical atmosphere. During the warmer months, it is also a reasonably good afternoon activity because the area is heavily forested and therefore cooler than most places in Kyoto. People with mobility limitations may not be able to go too far on the trails, but you don't have to walk far at all to enjoy it.

No point in dragging the kids to a bunch of temples if they don't show any interest.

Nara, Japan
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7. Re: Things to do with kids in Kyoto

<<Lyme disease, and there have been documented cases of tourists contracting it there from tick bites.>>

Thanks for the heads-up. As I did some google-search, I came to know the Lyme-Disease-stricken patients were usually found up north, particularly in Hokkaido. See the infection map in here:

idsc.nih.go.jp/iasr/32/378/graph/f3783.gif

In case you can't locate Nara Prefecture in the above, there's no case reported in there.

Also see its source: http: //idsc.nih.go.jp/iasr/32/378/tpc378.html

Compared to US, Japan is suffering from that disease a lot far less, or should I say, quite nominally. Regarding ticks or any other thing, maybe you should be more careful when stroking the head of someone's cute dog (if it's been running around the bush) than hand-feeding the deer while in Nara Deer Park.

Seems like people in some parts of US should be more cautious about the disease: http://www.anh-usa.org/lymedisease/

For your future references, see the very informative videos in this link:

http://www.answers.com/topic/lyme-disease

Edited: 2:15 pm, April 03, 2012
Nara, Japan
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8. Re: Things to do with kids in Kyoto

Sorry, let me paste the second link here again:

http://idsc.nih.go.jp/iasr/32/378/tpc378.html

United States
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9. Re: Things to do with kids in Kyoto

You may be more likely to be struck by lightning than to catch Lyme disease in Nara, but one problem with Lyme disease is lack of awareness. I am perhaps more conscious of it than many people because I personally know someone who has had it (acquired in the United States).

I didn't mean to throw this thread off target, and I have no interest in spreading disinformation. In fact, I would like to say that I may be mistaken about the documentation on this issue. I just looked on the web in English and a little bit in Japanese and all I can find now about Nara is some anecdotal reports. I see no point in questioning them, but I admit that I would not call them "documented." I did look into this matter a couple of years ago, but my memory may indeed be off about the level of proof.

I'm also not at all interested in attacking Nara or discouraging innocent children from feeding cute little deer. But if I had kids, I sure as heck would check them for ticks if they had been in any habitat where deer (and therefore deer ticks) exist. Ticks are insidious because their bites are painless, and you don't have to be around the deer to get the ticks on you. And Lyme Disease is not the only bacterial infection they carry.

Falls Church...
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10. Re: Things to do with kids in Kyoto

Nara and Arashiyama were hits with my kids. The liked Nijo castle, loved the really cheesy Ninja maze. the older one loved the manga museum.

Our travel blog is at:

…travelpod.com/travel-blog/izbit/1/tpod.html