Japan inside and out, Tokyo: Family Edition

Japan inside and out, Tokyo: Family Edition

by Olivia Dupuis & Gabrielle Lugo-Velez
Andersen Elementary School

Japan is an excellent place to visit. It has amazing views and attractions. Japan is clean and filled with people that speak both English and Japanese, making it easy for you and your family to get around to see the exciting world of Japan.

To begin, this place is a hidden treat, full of treats. It's Harajuku! Harajuku is one of the most kawaii, or cute, places someone can think of. This place is pretty interesting and has many things to do during your trip. For example, some things are looking at contemporary art, you can check out many of the clothes that they show in store windows. For all the adults out there you can get fresh coffee and doughnuts from one of the many cafes or bakeries, while your children can also enjoy some of the more sweet treats.

There are many classic desserts in Harajuku, you can go out and find yourself some crepes and of course a giant cotton candy! This attraction can take up to 30 or more minutes depending on where you would like to shop. Here are some words from Kellen Dupuis in Mrs. Perez’s third-grade class about the cotton candy in Harajuku, “It had multiple flavors, including watermelon, strawberry, and coke. It was savory and looked like a fluffy triangle.” Grabbing a fresh street snack from shops and cafes that are located all over Harajuku is sure to be exciting for the entire family. 

If you want to see an animal cafe, you will need a reservation far in advance. Some of the animal cafes don’t treat the animals with the love, respect, and care that they need. It is recommended that you do your research so you know what to expect. Animal cafes tend to have one specific animal and have a lot of them as well as being decorated with them. For example, cat cafes, dog cafes, pig cafes, owl cafes, and more. Here, you can relax while petting the cute animals and enjoy your drink. 

The marts in Japan are easy enough to find but some people might just pass right by without a care in the world. But, if you go inside a mart like 7-Eleven or Family Mart, even a Lawsons, the food there may be underestimated, but it's amazing! They have bento boxes (a box with a variety of small sample foods), snacks, and candy. There are also curry packets and ramen that you ask the worker to microwave or add hot water and take it with you! There are also many more delicious Japanese-style food items in these marts as well as normal snacks such as chips and drinks.

Next up fluffy little pom poms, or otherwise known as snow monkeys. Wyatt Sadler, a third grader in Mrs. Perez’s class said, “They look funny because they are jumping onto each other and are going onto the rocks in the water. I really enjoyed watching them.” These monkeys are amazingly cute, run around a lot, and like to sit in the water. You are not supposed to pet them because they are wild animals in their natural habitat. Snow Monkey Park is in Yamanouchi, Nagano. If you go in the winter and have trouble walking far distances then it may not be recommended for you because it is a far walk and has very slippery surfaces. If you go in the fall, spring, or summer then there is no ice, but the walk is still the same.

It’s icy, it’s snowy, and it’s out of this world…it’s skiing and snowboarding! This amazing attraction has brought 2.7 million people to Japan per year! If you want to hit the slopes then you might need to rent gear if you don’t have any. Ryuoo Ski and Snowboard Park is a recommended ski place in Nagano but the biggest ski park in Japan is Shiga Kogen. Every snow park has many different size and level slopes from, Pee Wee slopes all the way to a Black Diamond! For the people who don’t know how to ski or snowboard you should start with Pee Wee and then slowly move up the ranks. Some people are just not cold weather people, that's why it's so exciting that the snow parks are full of hotels and lodges. The hotels on the slopes can be very pricey at times but others not as much. And as for the lodges, if you are using their slopes, they are usually free! The lodges offer food and drinks along with a place to watch the skiers and snowboarders pass by, while keeping you nice and cozy indoors. 

Last but never least, there are amazing temples. These Japanese temples are extraordinary and there are many of them located all around Japan. The temples are covered in many different oriental decorations and patterns, featuring Japan's finest and some of the oldest art. These temples are very traditional, which means they weren't made in this modern world. This makes them very old and fragile, meaning they need to be well preserved so please if you go be careful and mindful of what you do while enjoying the sights.

It’s never too late to plan your once-in-a-lifetime trip to Japan. Carefully consider everything that you want to do on this trip and start planning! Get excited for Japan and what it has to offer!

Aruba, A. (Feb 2023). Number of skiers in Japan 2011-2020. Statista. Retrieved from https://www.statista.com/statistics/1288894/japan-skiing-population/

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