Sunday, April 22, 2018


 What a long hiatus ... 2 months with no blog post! Life has been extremely busy, between work, a death in the family, and a big overseas trip, and I have been finding it easier to do briefer Facebook updates than to try to bend my mind to compose coherent blog posts.

Now, however, I am going to try to make up for lost time (somewhat) with a 5-part series of posts on our holiday in Japan, from which we returned yesterday. It was an amazing 21 days, and I think I have a few specific things to share for both family and food-allergy travellers that might be useful to others.

We stayed in central and southern Japan on our trip, so I have no insights to offer about the northern part of the country (which I understand to be gorgeous - on the list for a future trip!) Our itinerary was:

- 6 days in Tokyo (Air BnB)
- 2 days in Yudanaka (near Nagano) at a ryokan (traditional Japanese hotel)
- 2 days in Nagoya visiting friends (Air BnB)
- 6 days in Kyoto (Air BnB)
- 2 days in Osaka (for Universal Studios Japan) (Air BnB)
- 2 days in Hiroshima (Air BnB)
- 1 final day in Tokyo (Hotel)

We were lucky enough to be in Japan in time for sakura - cherry blossoms - which was an experience not to be missed. I am told Japan is gorgeous in autumn, and majestic in winter (summer is apparently best avoided!) but I am very glad our first visit was in beautiful, mild, fragrant spring.

I am going to organise my posts thusly:

- Monday 23rd: Eating in Japan - How Do You Do It with Kids and Coeliac Disease?

- Wednesday 25th: Accommodation in Japan for Family Travel: Options and Reflections

- Friday 27th: Experiences and Attractions in Central and Southern Japan - Family Themed

- Sunday 29th: Travelling Around: Planes, Trains, Buses, Streetcars and Taxis

- Tuesday 1st: Language, Communication, Health and Behavioural Tips for Family Travellers

We were only there three weeks, which by no means makes me an expert on Japan, Japanese culture or Japanese life, but we did do enough eating, staying, touristing, and travelling in a family group to give me some insight into what worked well and what didn't for a family with teenage and younger children and a person with food issues.

We were also fortunate enough to spend time with our exchange student from last year and her family in Nagoya, which deepened our experience of Japanese life considerably. My two elder daughters are learning Japanese at school and were very useful in reading signage and basic communications, which helped and also gave us more points of contact to the country we were in.

With the exception of a one-day organised bus tour to Mt Fuji and surrounds, we did not do any package tours - we planned, decided and travelled to and from our own self-guided experiences. This does, I think, mean you get to understand some things (such as local transportation options) much more intimately than if someone else is doing all the organising for you!

So I hope the posts will be of interest to some, and if not, they will at least be a good record for me and my family of the things we learned in our magnificent Japan adventure.

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