When we are traveling, we are almost a travel group. Six people - three kids, two parents, one grandma. As I think I told you, we have triplets, so can not ask the kids to babysit each other. Intergenerational travel has its challenges too. Grandma does not use a wheelchair (yet), but she does not have the stamina that a three-year-old does. And she is too big to carry, which I sometimes have to do with our youngest daughter (by a few minutes).
It is not automatically easy to travel wirh such a large family. There are hurdles everywhere. Not only that we need space for everyone, we need space everywhere. We have to hire a big rental car, we need family tables in restaurants, and we need a big place to stay. A hotel room is not nearly enough. Two hotel rooms are a challenge. You need a suite, and not a junior one. An apartment is better.
But with an apartment you have to do everything yourself. Except maybe cleaning, if you got a serviced apartment. And even so, the cleaner does not come in every day.
Luckily, Japan is different. While hotels are designed for business people traveling alone (or in pairs), that is not how most people in Japan do vacation trips. While there are plenty of business hotels aimed at the traveler on a business trip (and plenty of hotels aimed at single travelers who found a different kind of business partner), the places which focus on family travel are focused on big families. And multigenerational big families, at that. This is what happens in a society with an abundance of seniors and scarcity of children.
So if you travel for pleasure, finding places which can accomodate your family is easy. And the hotels, inns and guesthouses are really happy to get some use for the family rooms they already have. Since they also have set everything up for families, things like breakfast get really easy to handle. If it is a resort or ryokan (a traditional guesthouse) they will be used to accomodating children, both at breakfast and dinner (which is served in your room in traditional inns, and which is the culinary highlight of the day).
Japan may be expensive, there is a language barrier, things can be hard to access, but if you have children who are reasonably well-behaved, they will be very appreciated. And so will you as a guest. "Omotenashi", the Japanese service spirit, is real.
I am Wisterian Watertree, recently moved from Bangkok to Tokyo, with a brief visit to Honolulu on the way. I write about travel, especially with our three beautiful kids (two girls and one boy, soon turning six - yes. they are triplets). Travel is education and fun rolled into one, and if you are like me, that is something you want to give to your kids. If you want more tips and want to find out when I will publish something, get it from my email list. If you want to be personal, drop me a note on firstname.lastname@example.org, or if you want general tips, follow me on Twitter @wisterianw.