Answers from Our Experts (1)
Like most of Japan, Kyoto, with its blend of history, lovely natural spots and modern culture, is a great place for families. Here are Forbes Travel Guide editors’ top picks for those traveling with kids:
1. Iwatayama Monkey Park. Located inside Arashimaya is a commercial park where monkeys and kids can roam around free. Once you pass the bridge, it’s a short, albeit uphill, hike to get to the troop of wild but usually docile macaque monkeys. Kids can pet them and even feed them purchased fruit and nuts. Even without the monkey-business it’s worth the steep climb: the panoramic views of Kyoto are stunning.
2. Umekoji Steam Locomotive Museum. Opened in 1972, the 100th anniversary of rail travel in Japan, the Umekoji museum features 18 vintage steam locomotives, some dating back to 1914. You can even book a 10-minute ride on a steam locomotive.
3. Kyoto Municipal Science Center for Youth. An interactive museum designed to get the kids involved in carrying out experiments, the Science Center also features a dinosaur skeleton, planetarium and science movies.
4. Toei Uzumasa Movie Village. It’s like the Japanese equivalent to Universal Studios in California — except for the rides. Here, you can tour recreations of Edo-period street scenes, complete with samurai and ninjas. Maybe you’ll see a Power Ranger walking around, too.
5. Kyoto City Zoo. Though the second-largest zoo in Japan, Kyoto’s facility is small but picturesque with its cherry trees and various animals, birds, reptiles and amphibians, sure to keep kids interested. A must-see is the Japanese giant salamander, the biggest living amphibian in Japan.