Snowy Japan Winter with Kids 2017

It has been a wonderful holiday. Japan has been a great destination, eventhough this is our second visit. Kids loved it, we also had so much fun.

This year, we brought the kids (a 2 year old toddler girl and an 8 year old boy) out to experience X’mas with real winter, real cold, real X’mas tree, and the coolest of all, real snow. One of the nearest and most kid friendly place is Japan, Hokkaido especially, with its infamous powder-snow, ski resorts, nice food, warm hospitality, as well as great public transport system that does not require us to drive to enjoy.
Since it was their first time exposure to sub-zero environment (last year sudden snowing in Tokyo didn’t count), we made plan to travel around central Japan for a while before going North to Hokkaido.

Transport

Most of our transport was using JR train, shinkansen, subway, as well as bus. There are advantages and disadvantages of those vehicles, proper planning is a must. Especially when some of them are different from one city to another, e.g. the subway and the bus.

Plan the Itinerary properly to avoid spending too much on the transport

This is the post on how we manage them

The kids love the trains. It is no brainer for the elder boy to love shinkansen, the bullet train. As for the toddler girl, she had more freedom to walk back and forth the isle of the train, compared to seat-bound flight. Apart from that, when we take the shinkansen from central to north, we can see gradual change of season from the window, which we find quite cool. Fyi, shinkansen from Tokyo to Shin-Hakodate is already available since 2016. No train transfer required in between.

There was a time when my girl looked at the window and saw that the scenery had changed to a snowy landscape. Suddenly she shouted “Christmas day! Christmas day!”, smiled happily and started dancing and singing jingle bells. Alerted by her, the boy also looked at the window and asked “Are we there yet? Are we there yet?”, wishing to play with the snow.

It was one of the moment when we felt very glad to have brought them along. Probably the fun is no longer there if they are older. Still I remember the first time I saw snow, it felt like, “Wow pretty. Okay, it is just snow”.

Food

Japanese food have already spread to every part of the world. It is always tasty, salty, and sweet, which is not a problem for the kids. Combined with cold weather, it seems that everything tasted good at that kind of situation. As long as they have high-chair, any restaurant would do.

Of course, with kids, having odd time to have meal would be the better option. Not only it would be easier to find seats, but also made us feel less guilty to occupy the seat longer (as toddler takes time to eat their meal)

Clothings

Clothing are also one of the most important thing to prepare. Especially for kids, and with kids around. Being uncomfortable while nedding to take care of others is another thing to avoid. Be it breathable, water repellent/water proof, layering method, all those are available for learning in internet.

Do prepare well for the kids clothings, but make sure you can also survive in such extreme condition.

Note that cold weather is simple, the wind is the killer. This is the post on winter wear

Challenges

Apart from the fun stuff, there were also frustration stuff that we can’t avoid when travelling with kids. They were having so much fun, they wanted to play, but they were unable to realize their tireness. Then they got cranky and started to throw tantrum, especially for the toddler.
While the elder was old enough to move around by himself, he would run around ’til he vanished from our sight.

Know and understand own kid’s behavior is key. Things are a lot easier when we know what they actually want and handle it properly. For older kid, snow and ice education is important, e.g. some snowy place might be deep, or slippery, or it is on top of frozen river.

Overall, it was a great experience. It is a place that we definitely will return again for more.

Itinerary (

foodie

snacks)

Day 1 – Kyoto – Arrival

  • Kansai International Airport [More Info]
  • Kyoto Station
  • Ninenzaka
  • Kiyomizu-dera temple

Day 2 – Osaka – Day Trip

  • Ikeda Cup-Noodle Museum
  • Umeda Tomica/Pokemon Store
  • Dotonbori

Day 3 – Kyoto

  • Arashiyama – bamboo forest
  • Kinkakuji temple
  • Manryu Teppanyaki
  • Gion
  • Mikaku 2nd

Day 4 – Kyoto

  • Fushimi Inari Shrine
  • Fire Ramen

Day 5 – Tokyo

  • Ichiran Ramen
  • Akihabara
  • Ginza
  • Heijouen

Day 6 – Tokyo

  • Tsukiji Fish Market
  • Harajuku
  • Harry Zoo Cafe Harajuku
  • Tokyo Suzuki Tonkatsu

Day 7 – Hakodate

  • Ropeway
  • Genova Restaurant

Day 8 – Sapporo

  • Odori Park
  • Susukino
  • Sekai Yakiniku World Champion

Day 9 – Sapporo

  • Shiroi Koibito Cookie Factory
  • Sapporo Beer Museum
  • Ario mall

Day 10 – Sapporo

  • 六味庵
  • Otaru Music-box Museum
  • Hanasaki

Day 11 to 14 – Tomamu [More Info]

  • Ice Village & Bar
  • Mina Mina beach
  • Snow fun

Day 14 to 15 – Chitose – Fly Back

  • Chitose
  • New Chitose Airport

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