Japan is famous for its offbeat accommodation, including ryokans (traditional inns) and capsule hotels. While the latter aren’t really recommended with kids (they’re often full of snoring businessmen), those ryokans that cater to Westerners (many don’t) can be fun with kids, offering the novelty of tatami matting and futon bedding. The luxurious ones also offer a traditional Japanese dinner, served after you’ve taken a cypress bath, and in the morning a Japanese breakfast – an acquired taste – including rice, miso soup, cold fish, seaweed and a raw egg. For an in-depth explanation of the different styles of ryokan, plus booking throughout Japan, visit Japanese Guest Houses (japaneseguesthouses.com).
Among hotels worthy of recommendation for family holidays are the luxurious Okura chain, with two hotels in Tokyo (one with an indoor pool and a Little Mates crèche, among many other facilities – see below), plus several other hotels around the country.
The two Four Seasons hotels in Tokyo are also child-friendly, with good family amenities, including complimentary English-language story and colouring books at the Four Seasons Marunouchi.
Perhaps best of all, the ultra-classy Peninsula Tokyo offers children’s amenities plus its own Kids’ Academy where ages 4+ enjoy a chocolate-making program with the hotel pastry-chef, and a visit to Hakuhinkan Toy Shop with the concierge.
Tokyo Disney Resort has six official hotels to choose from. In Osaka, Universal Studios has the water-themed, all-blue Hotel Universal Port.