A family take on Japanese cities…
If there’s one thing Hong Kong and Japan have in common, it’s the combo of old meets new. From untouched nature to modern skyscrapers. From shinto shrines (which take you a step back in time), to the world’s fastest bullet trains. It’s clear Japan is brimming with colourful contrasts. With plenty of indoor and outdoor activities, phenomenal food, low crime rates, AND quick flights, it’s no surprise Japanese cities have become regular holiday destinations for parents from Hong Kong.
Say hello to Tokyo and Hakuba, two of our favourite family friendly cities for their distinct personalities. We chatted to Sharmaine, a travel expert from The Luxe Nomad, who’s here to highlight deluxe stays that are sure to keep the whole family happy. From how to get there, to surrounding attractions for kids. First, immerse yourselves in the fast-paced, adrenaline-inducing environment of Tokyo, then get back to stunning nature as you take in the alpine surroundings of Hakuba, the host of the 1998 Winter Olympics.
How to get there: Fly from Hong Kong International Airport to either Narita or Haneda International Airport (Tokyo International Airport).
Attractions to keep in mind: The country’s capital is home to dozens of anime-inspired attractions, science museums, river cruises, and picturesque parks (where festivals frequently occur). And oh, did we mention Disneyland and DisneySea too? Yes, not one, but two of the happiest places on earth reside at this address. DisneySea is actually said to be the most unique of the 12 beloved theme parks across the globe. If Disney doesn’t impress anymore, try Studio Ghibli, the beloved Japanese animation studio. Don’t forget to stock up on fresh sashimi at Tsukiji market!
Whether you’re heading on a mama-daughter city break or a ski adventure with a fellow family, these mama-approved hotels and apartments have plenty in store…
Larger than the average accommodations in town, Central Tokyo Abode can sleep up to 12 guests with its spacious 3 bedrooms. Whether you’re a family full of musicians or foodies ready to whip up a great meal, every minute spent in this well-appointed home is bound to make picture perfect memories.
Kids will love: The Yamaha C3 Grand Piano sits in the bright living room, where the musically-inclined kids (or adults) can unwind on the keys after a long day or maybe even impress the elders with an impromptu performance.
Parents will love: The rooftop sauna and steam room are great to ease tensions at the day’s end. Plus, there’s an outdoor barbecue to experiment with Japan’s bountiful ingredients.
Children under the age of 2 stay for free, and you have complimentary use of the sauna and steam room.
Nearby activities and attractions: Get a view like no other at Tokyo’s Skytree, the tallest structure in Japan, followed by a 10-minute train ride to high-end shopping district Ginza.
Nearest Station: Take the train from the airport bound for Asakasa Station. From there the apartment is an 8-minute walk away.
Harajuku Abode may not be a space large enough to fit a big family, but it is intimate (and appealing) enough for a parent-kiddo bonding trip or families of three. Other than the enviable location, this 2-storey loft has a bright and modern design, a well-equipped kitchen and all the mod-cons for the seasoned traveller.
Kids will love: Take music everywhere with a portable JBL bluetooth speaker or stream their favourite shows on the Apple TV.
Parents will love: The abode is located in a quiet street, making it a great escape from the bustling city. A well-equipped kitchen along with a Japanese tea set and Nespresso machine are just some of the many features included, and we especially love the thoughtful bath salts which nudge you to use the deep-soaking bathtub.
Extras: Pocket wifi, basic toiletries and a balcony with a view. This property is catered for older kids, and isn’t suitable for children under 12.
Nearby activities and attractions: The focal point of teenage culture, visit the Takeshita Street at Harajuku District on a Sunday where the young and young-at-heart engage in cosplay and dress up in eccentric costumes. Just a little further lies Omotesando, a tree-lined avenue referred to as Tokyo’s Champs-Elysees. There are also other attractions such as Meiji Jingu, a major shrine, and the spacious Yoyogi Park.
Nearest Station: Harajuku Station and Meiji Jingu Mae Station are just a 7-minute walk away.
Another small abode in the city is the Daikanyama Escape, perfect for couples carrying an infant or for a single parent-child trip. The stylish 1-bedroom apartment is located in one of the most fashionable and upscale residential neighborhoods in Tokyo. And there are plenty of quirky shops and worthwhile restaurants nearby.
Kids will love: Got a tech savvy little one on your hands? A stay here comes with Bluetooth speakers and an Apple TV where you and your child can enjoy a good movie together.
Parents will love: Mamas are in for a treat as the small apartment features a large shoe closet and a sleek modern kitchen with a full set of cookware and glassware.
Extras: Rain shower and pocket wifi with ultra fast internet are available.
Nearby activities and attractions: 3 of the best neighborhoods in town are within close proximity – namely Daikanyama, Shibuya and Nakameguro. From Daikanyama, take a 15-minute stroll to Nakameguro where you will see a river lined with sakura trees. A sweet spot for cherry blossom season!
Nearest Station: Shinsen subway station is a 7-minute walk away.
Situated in the Wadano Forest and just up the road from Happo village, the luxurious Phoenix Cocoon offers 3-bedroom, 3-storey chalets. Featuring g an eco-smart fireplace, underfloor heating, and even a family vehicle to drive around, the chalet is furnished to the same standards as all Phoenix hotels. In other words, it’s a fool-proof snow retreat for the family.
Kids will love: Kids have their own room with bunk beds designed to keep the tots in one place. For a tour outdoors, Phoenix Cocoon’s guest services can take the family to see snow monkeys and ice castles.
Parents will love: A sophisticated, modern stainless steel kitchen with a Miele oven is bound to impress. The chalet also comes with a 7-seater vehicle for your trips around the village.
Extras: Portacots and highchairs are available (for an additional charge!). Complimentary daily shuttles to local lifts and supermarkets are also included when booking.
Nearby activities and attractions: Families have access to the Phoenix Hotel’s amenities, while a popular dining option is Mimi’s Restaurant nearby. The chalet is a 10-minute walk to Kokusai Ski Lift.
Nearest ski shuttle bus: Hakuba 47/Goyru
For larger families or group trips to the Japanese Alps, the 2-storey Solar Chalet in Upper Wadano can sleep up to 8 in its 3-bedrooms. Like most chalets here, the third bedroom consists of bunk beds for the kids, while the first two offer ensuite facilities with a private deck and floor-to-ceiling glass doors. Just a few metres away, you’ll find Sakka Ski Slope, giving your stay a convenient ski-in ski-out experience.
Kids will love: An LCD TV is available with Apple TV, Netflix and a sound dock in the spacious living room. Hopefully, they won’t be glued to the screen be making the most of the snow and fresh (though chilly) air instead.
Parents will love: The Azekura Sanso is an onsen nearby that can be rented privately.
Children under 3 stay for free, plus, there are complimentary afternoon shuttle trips to the local supermarket. Concierge services provided by Luna Hotel, so quality is ensured!
Nearby activities and attractions: Upper Wadano is home to gentle beginner slopes and a kids snow park, plus an easy access to Evergreen International Ski School.
Nearest ski shuttle bus: Koharu is the closest one to note, but the concierge is on hand to help with any other location questions.
All images via The Luxe Nomad and respective hotel websites.