Now that we have talked about the reasons why Japan is great for family vacations, here is some important information that every family should know before visiting Japan, touching upon etiquette, safety, and best time to visit.
Japan is very warm and welcoming to visitors, though the difference in culture can be a little daunting. In general, Japanese people expect foreigners to make mistakes in etiquette, but here are some tips to help you avoid some of the most obvious.
When entering some businesses and private homes, you will be expected to remove your shoes at the entrance. After your shoes are removed, house slippers will be provided to wear indoors.
Bowing is common practice in Japan and is often used, including when you meet someone, thank someone, or say goodbye. Bowing can also be used in place of a handshake in Japan. If a Japanese person bows to you, a simple bowing of the head in return is usually okay.
In Japan, the eating utensils of choice are chopsticks. One important rule here is never to leave your chopsticks standing upright in your bowl. Doing so is thought to be very unlucky.
Japan has a relatively low crime rate and overall is a very safe country for traveling. There is a small risk of petty crime such as theft, especially in busy tourist areas, so it is best to keep track of your belongings.
One important thing to bear in mind about safety in Japan is the possibility of danger from earthquakes, tropical storms, or volcanic activity.
The country is extremely active geothermally and often experiences small earthquakes and some volcanic activity. Natural disasters such as typhoons and tsunamis have hit the island-nation in the past.
Before traveling to Japan, it is important to be aware of any likely geothermal activity. Although unlikely, if a natural disaster does occur during your time there, it is important to follow the safety directions of police and other officials.
Best Time to Visit
The best times to visit Japan are typically late spring and late autumn because these times are when the country experiences the best weather, with low rainfall and mild temperatures. It is possible, however, to visit Japan during other seasons, though the month of June and early July should be avoided, due to the rainy season.
If you visit Japan in spring, from March to May, you can expect excellent weather, and you can get to see the famous blooming of the cherry blossoms known as sakura.
The cherry blossoms, however, are only in bloom for about one week per year. Spring is high season in Japan so hotel prices and flight prices are likely to be more expensive than at other times.
Winter is also a popular time to visit Japan if you are interested in winter sports. During the months of December to March, many people head to Japan to ski and snowboard in the northern mountains. This is also a good time of year to bathe in Japan’s abundant hot springs or onsens.
One of the most convenient times to visit Japan for families is often during the summer, due to school summer vacations. Although the months of June and July should be avoided, it is possible to visit Japan in August.
The weather will be quite humid and hot, but this is a good time for hiking, festivals, and seeing some of Japan"s top attractions with fewer tourists.