For this month’s family travel snap we journey to Tokyo with family travel blogger Bronwyn Leeks. Based in Melbourne, Bronwyn blogs about her family’s adventures at smithsholidayroad.com. She believes that exploring new places with three young children – including one who uses a wheelchair – presents challenges but most importantly opportunities: the chance to meet new people, discover new cultures and be immersed in new experiences.
WHAT’S THE STORY BEHIND THIS PHOTO?
It is our second day in Tokyo and we are ignoring the rain while we explore the Shinjuku area. Here, Andrew is showing Cooper and Pepper all the levels of the buildings while Woody is up ahead jumping the puddles and dancing to the music coming from the shops. We wanted our kids to understand the importance of looking up and down while in Tokyo: there are often eight levels up and three levels down.
Having looked up, we decide to explore the ‘down’ next and headed for a tiny Indian restaurant three levels below. We left Cooper’s wheelchair up at the top and helped him walk down the steps for the best Indian meal we’ve ever had.
This photo captures the reason we travel: to expose our kids to different cultures and experiences. It shows that we are willing to try anything once and that even on a wet day there is magic to be found. It shows that we travel a little differently to most as Cooper uses a wheelchair, which can be a challenge but it also opens up a whole new world to us and the people we meet. It depicts adventure and a willingness to get out there!
Pepper (7) liked dancing in the shops to all the music and Cooper (11) remembers the amazing Indian lunch and that, unlike at home, people smoked in the restaurant. But perhaps the best summary is from Woody (4) ‘I jumped in the puddles and saw lots of lights. I got wet and I learnt new Japanese words.’
Bronwyn’s tips for visiting Toyko with kids
1) Head to the basement level of a department store, grab some fresh sushi, yakatori and desserts, and enjoy a picnic in the park. The National Gardens in Shinjuku were beautiful in springtime.
2) Beware the subway with a wheelchair or buggy: we ended up carrying Cooper’s chair down seven levels!
3) If you are spending a week or more exploring the city, it’s worth staying in a couple of spots to get to know different areas.
Where’s next on your family travel bucket list?
We are travelling round Sri Lanka for three weeks. We plan to explore the cultural triangle area and the east coast, and we will be celebrating an important birthday as Pepper turns eight while we are there.
Lastly, complete the sentence:
When we shut the front door ready to go and travel as a family, we always…
…check we have five people, three bags, five passports and a huge sense of adventure.
Bronwyn is a Lonely Planet Pathfinder and blogs at