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5 First-Time Family Trips in 5 Prefectures

| Itinerary , Family
5 First-Time Family Trips in 5 Prefectures

Japan has many hidden treasures scattered across all 47 prefectures. With a little planning, you and your loved ones could come across a few enjoyable surprises while exploring sites outside Tokyo. If you're a first-time traveler to the five prefectures listed, this list may just give you an idea of fun things to try with your whole family.

5. Chiba: Explore Furusato Square

5. Chiba: Explore Furusato Square

Furusato Square is the symbol of goodwill between Japan and the Netherlands, so expect a touch of Europe when you visit this place in Chiba, which is about 1.5 hours from Tokyo. If 600,000 tulips of 70 varieties are not enough to excite your family, then rent a bike and explore the area, catch a performance of the Dutch street organ, meet up with Miffy, or check out nearby Lake Inba.

4. Ibaraki: Hitachi Seaside Park

4. Ibaraki: Hitachi Seaside Park

Hitachi Seaside Park shows a different color depending on the time of the year you visit. The most popular times to go are during early spring when about 4.5 million "baby blue eyes," or nemophila flowers, carpet the area, and during early autumn when the green kochia turn to spiky red balls scattered all around the park. Apart from the majestic natural wonder, the park also has a giant Ferris wheel, a seaside train and a cycling course to enjoy.

3. Kanagawa: Head to Enoshima

3. Kanagawa: Head to Enoshima

Kanagawa is the nearest fun-filled prefecture to Tokyo. While Kanagawa is usually identified with Yokohama Bayside shopping and fun or the Big Buddha and beaches, Kanagawa also has Enoshima. A trip to Enoshima will bring you to the interesting Iwaya Caves, which face the sea and can lead you to the Enoshima Sea Candle, the Ryukoji Temple, and the Samuel Cocking Garden. To make your family trip cost-efficient, get an Enoshima Day Pass from Shinjuku Station.

2. Gunma: Go Trekking at Oze National Park

2. Gunma: Go Trekking at Oze National Park

This may not be a family trip for those with toddlers, but this is a great bonding time for families with older kids. A trek to Oze National Park is ideal for families who love nature. When in Oze, families might have their very first encounter with bear trails. Asiatic black bears call this park their home, and hikers are given a bell or whistle to alert the bears. Bears would prefer to avoid humans as well, so these are just a precaution. Also, your party might get to experience staying in a log cabin! Try relaxing in an ofuro bath before enjoying a nihonshoku meal, and playing traditional games by a coal fireplace after dinner. This is an easy hike that even grannies can do, so don't be intimidated!

1. Osaka: Shop-Hop & Binge in Dotonbori

1. Osaka: Shop-Hop & Binge in Dotonbori

Dotonbori is perhaps one of the most frequented areas for tourists in Osaka. There, you can find the best of Osaka food specialties, from Pablo Cheesecake to takoyaki (octopus balls), okonomiyaki (Japanese savory pancakes), and most every kind of yakitori (grilled chicken skewers)! If you're lucky, you just may chance upon some giant floating sushi along the Dotonbori Canal, where all the bright lights of Osaka can be found. If you're still full from eating, then "shop 'til you drop" in the same area. It's possible to score great bargains here too!

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