Family-friendly Japan

Tokyo, Nikko, Mount Fuji, Kyoto -- from samurai to anime
Overview

overview

JOURNEYS offers you a creative, affordable, dependable, hands-on experience of Japan. Celebrate the best of Japan’s past, present, and future on this family trip to the land of the rising sun. Your adventure begins in vibrant Tokyo, where you visit Senso-ji Temple, the oldest Buddhist temple in Tokyo. From the Tokyo Skytree, you'll have panoramic views over Tokyo. You'll spend time exploring Tokyo by public transportation to the famous Meiji Jingu Shrine and Harajuku - a popular hangout spot for local Japanese teens. You'll also have time to explore Tokyo on your own. Next, travel south to Mt. Fuji and visit the observation center where hopefully you'll have the rare chance to view this shy mountain. At Lake Kawaguchi, visit a wind cave and folk village.  Your adventure ends at historic Kyoto an interesting city that mixes traditional with modern Japan. Explore the city’s old streets, open-air museum, and many other delightful attractions. This exciting family tour of Japan satisfies all of your senses as it brings your family together through history, exotic culture and, above all, fun!

If your schedule permits, consider an extension to Hiroshima to view and learn more about events, past and present, at this historic site and then enjoy a short excursion to the nearby park island of Miyajima and its fascinating wild population of deer and monkeys.

itinerary

itinerary

  • Day 1: Arrive Tokyo

    Welcome to Tokyo! Arriving late in the day on your flight from the U.S., you will be met at the Narita or Haneda Airport and transferred to your comfortable, centrally-located hotel in Tokyo (approx. 1.5 hr drive), your base for the next five nights.

    Meals
    None
    Lodging
    Niwa Hotel or similar
    Show on a map
  • Day 2: Toyko's Temples and Panoramas
    Senso-ji Temple in Asakusa

    Your family will learn the ins and outs of this vibrant city as you spend spend the morning exploring cosmopolitan, yet historic Tokyo and its many diverse neighborhoods by vehicle*.  After a hearty Japanese or Western style breakfast, head out to the Asakusa district, an interesting and compact neighborhood filled with shrines and temples. Visit Senso-ji, Tokyo's oldest and most significant Buddhist temple complex. Afterwards, visit the Tokyo Skytree, the tallest building in Japan, for panoramic views over Tokyo. Before returning to your hotel, you'll take a walk through "Sumo Town" and pass by the stadium. When you return to your hotel, you'll have the rest of the day free to relax or do some of your own exploring.

    Meals
    Breakfast
    Lodging
    Niwa Hotel or similar
    Show on a map
  • Day 3: Tokyo
    Japanese school children on a field trip

    This morning's Tokyo exploration includes the neighborhoods of Shibuya and Harajuku. You'll explore by public transportation in oder to learn how to get around the city on your own. First stop is Meiji Jingu, a famous Shinto shrine set in a large forested area. You then walk over to Harajuku, a cosmopolitan area of the city known for shopping, sightseeing and street entertainment. This is the place experience the local teen culture. On Sunday, many young people gather here and engage in cosplay (costume play) and you will see them dressed as anime characters and punk rock. Afterwards, your guide will assist with getting you back to your hotel, or spend more time exploring the Harajuku area on your own.

    Meals
    Breakfast
    Lodging
    Niwa Hotel or similar
  • Day 4: Tokyo Free Day
    Shinjuku Gyoen Park is a nice place to take a stroll

    You'll have the day free to explore Tokyo as you like. Your guide will offer suggestions that will maximize your Tokyo experience, or you can hire services for the day at an additional cost ($50-$300, depending on size of the group and activity chosen.) Some of our own suggestions include:

    • Tokyo Museums:  Edo Tokyo Museum containing exhibits depicting the history of Tokyo, formerly known as Edo; the Sumo Museum (if open) to learn more about sumo or Tobu Train Museum to see some of Japan's historical trains; and Odaiba Trick Art Museum, a fun trick museum filled with optical illusions.
    • Ghibli Museum (approx. 1.5 hrs), one of Japan's most famous animation and film studios where you have the chance to learn all about anime and how it all began.
    • Excursion to Nikko, a sacred site with temples, lakes and beautiful scenery. Also stop at Edo Wonderland, a theme park with an Edo period theme that features samurai, a ninja maze, and more. The kids will enjoy learning about Edo's warrior traditions and past.
    • Ueno Park, a spacious urban park in the heart of the city and Ueno Zoo, Japan's oldest zoo.
    • Tokyo Disneyland with it's seven themed worlds within or Tokyo DisneySea.
    • Shinagawa Aquarium where you can walk through an underwater tunnel visit or Tokyo Sea Life Park where you will find one of the best penguin displays in Japan as well as many other sea creatures
    • National Museum of Nature for hands-on kid friendly exhibits.
    • Tokyo Bay Sunset Cruise for the opporunity to witness the beautiful sunset over the Tokyo Ba area.
    • Attend a sports match - Baseball (Mar 30-Oct 22) or Soccer (Mar 10-Dec 1)

    *Depending on the time of year, you may have the chance to witness a Sumo Wrestling match. If it's not tournament season, we may be able to arrange an early-morning training session at a beya, or sumo stable (pending authorization & not guaranteed)

    Meals
    Breakfast
    Lodging
    Niwa Hotel or similar
    Show on a map
  • Day 5: Mt. Fuji/Lake Kawaguchi
    If the weather is favorable, you'll get great views of Mt. Fuji

    Have breakfast at the hotel, then head out on the drive to the Mt. Fuji Visitor Center at Lake Kawaguchi for fantastic views of Mt. Fuji from the observation deck (weather permitting). Mt. Fuji, is perhaps Japan's best-known image, visible from Tokyo on a clear day, and towering over the area at close to 12,500 feet. Continue on to  Lake Kawaguchi where you have an opportunity to explore the Wind Cave and Sengen Shrine, and visit a folk village to learn about traditional life. Here, you can take part in old style Japanese post card making or dress up like a Samurai warrior (additional cost). Overnight will be at a traditional ryokan, a Japanese style inn furnished with tatami floor mats and futon beds. This is a great way to learn and experience Japanese culture.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Japanese Dinner
    Lodging
    Yamagishi Ryokan or similar
    Show on a map
  • Day 6: Lake Kawaguchi/Kyoto
    Kyoto is especially pretty during the Cherry Blossoms

    After a leisurely morning at your ryokan, transfer by bullet train around 11:00 am to Kyoto, an atmospheric ancient city, intriguing for exploration, and home to much of Japan's traditional culture and history.  It takes about two hours to get to Kyoto, a city rich with UNESCO World Heritage locations, about 1600 Buddhist temples, more than 400 Shinto shrines, and many other culturally-rich sights. Kyoto is a city everyone should see at least once, and it has something for everyone both old and young. Upon arrival, you will be taken to your ryokan, your base for the next four nights, to settle in. Afterwards, you'll have the chance to get some artistic experience at a Japanese Lacquer Handicraft shop and take home your own piece of artwork you created. At your option, consider an evening stroll to a nearby neighborhood temple or shrine to explore on your own.

    Meals
    Breakfast
    Lodging
    Century Hotel or similar
    Show on a map
  • Day 7: Kyoto

    Enjoy breakfast at your hotel before a morning of exploring Kyoto with your guide using public transportation. Today's sights include Nijo Castle, a flatland castle built in 1626 as the Kyoto residence for the Tokugawa Shoguns and Kiyomizu, an independent Buddhist Temple that dates back to 778 and now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  You then head over to the Kodaji Temple, an interesting temple established in 1606 in memory of Toyotomi Hideyoshi, a great historical figure in Japan.  Take a stroll through its Japanese Zen gardens and the bamboo grove. Before returning to your hotel, take a walk through the Gion District. Gion is a district of Kyoto, originally developed in the Middle Ages to accommodate the needs of travelers and visitors to the Yasaka Shrine. It went on to became one of the most well-known Geisha Districts in Japan. The Geishas here do not refer themselves as "geisha" - meaning "person of the arts" but as "geiko" -  "a woman of art". Return to your hotel where the afternoon is free to explore on your own.

    Meals
    Breakfast
    Lodging
    Century Hotel or similar
    Show on a map
  • Day 8: Kyoto
    Visit the fabled macaque monkeys at Arashiyama, or Monkey Mountain

    Today you board a local trolley with your guide and head out to Arashiyama, a designated Historical Site and a place of scenic beauty. You'll see some of Arashiyama's most important sites including Togetsukyo Bridge, the famous bamboo groves, and Tenryuji Temple, Arashiyama's most important temple. There are many small, charming shops you can wander in. But perhaps the highlight of your visit here is  Iwatayama Monkey Park where your family can observe Japanese macaque monkeys roaming free in a lovely hilltop park setting. Return to your ryokan around 6:00 pm.

    Meals
    Breakfast
    Lodging
    Century Hotel or similar
    Show on a map
  • Day 9: Kyoto
    Enjoy a traditional Japanese meal while exploring Kyoto

    Today you'll have the day free to choose from a variety of optional sights and activities in Kyoto. Your guide will be available to make recommendations tailored to your interests and will be on hand for those who would wish for the assistance. These options, for additional costs, may include:

    • Mt. Hiei and Lake Biwa day trip - Mt. Hiei is the location of the Enrayku Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the current home to many monks. Lake Biwa is the largest lake in Japan with an interesting history. You can take a cable car to the top of Mt. Hiei.
    • A scenic River Raft ride on the Hozu River.
    • Nara Day Trip - Nara is Japan's oldest capital where you will find the oldest wooden temple and Big Buddha statue and deer that roam free.
    • Experience a traditional tea ceremony and sample local Japanese sweets.
    • Cormorant fishing, in which your family learns about and and experiences this ancient Japanese fishing discipline.
    Meals
    Breakfast
    Lodging
    Century Hotel or similar
    Show on a map
  • Day 10: Kyoto/Osaka/Onward (or Hiroshima)

    After breakfast, you'll be transferred to Osaka's airport for your flight home.

    Or, if your schedule permits, consider extending for an additional day and night to visit historic Hiroshima and the nearby park-like and beautiful island of Miyajima. If you choose this option, you'll travel to Hiroshima today instead of Osaka.

    Meals
    Breakfast
    Lodging
    None
    Show on a map
Price and Date Details

Price and Date Details

Jun 15-24, 2015
Aug 3-12, 2015
Or Privately on Request
Land Cost:
$3,700
- $5,900
Group size 6-9: $4,200 per adult $3,900 per child under 16 $3,700 per child under 12 Group size 3-5: $4,950 per adult $4,700 per child under 16 $4,500 per child under 12 Group size 2: $5,900 per adult $5,600 per child under 16 $5,400 per
Single Supplement:
$650
The single supplement is applicable if a roommate is not available or if single accommodation is specifically requested. While single accommodation is not available on all trips, we will try and honor this request whenever possible.
Need to Know

Need to Know

Duration:
10 days
The number of days, or duration, in a destination corresponds with the itinerary as published. This is the time period covered by the land cost. The total number of days includes the time required to travel between the USA and the destination country.
Comfort Level:
3
Standard Western style hotels & traditional Japanese style inns
Group Size:
2-9
The stated range indicates minimum required for guaranteed departure and maximum accepted on the scheduled dates. Exceptions can often be made for private departures.
Activity Level:
2
Standard Western style hotels & traditional Japanese style inns

Resources

Trip Extensions

Trip Extensions

Kyoto-Nara Extension

Duration: 4 days

Join this post trip extension to Kyoto and Nara.  Dates are from Novmeber 20-23.  Accommodations in Japanes style Ryokans.

Hiroshima and Miyajima

Duration: 3 days

If your schedule permits, consider spending an additional three days and two nights in Japan, easily reached from Osaka, so you can visit historic Hiroshima and the nearby lovely park island of Miyajima.

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