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Japan Family Holiday
14 Days

ITINERARY

14 Days: Tokyo, Yokohama, Kanazawa, Hiroshima, Miyajima, Kyoto, Osaka

Tour overview:
See many different sides of Japan during this 2-week adventure…metropolitan glamour, inspiring spiritual beauty, and natural grandeur. From bustling, sophisticated Tokyo, to the foot of Mount Fuji, to Japan’s cultural and fascinating heart, the imperial Kyoto, you will have the opportunity to savor the essence of Japan’s enduring allure. And enjoy very special activities we have included for the family.

 

Day 1: Arrival in Tokyo

Upon arrival to Tokyo’s airport, one of our representatives will be waiting to assist the family with transport into the city (either boarding the right train or finding the appropriate shuttle). After reaching the hotel and checking in, the remainder of the day is free at leisure. Overnight in Tokyo

Distance and journey time (approximation):
Narita International Airport (NRT) to Central Tokyo: 1.5 h
Haneda International Airport (HND) to Central Tokyo: 50 min


Day 2: Tokyo

This morning, depart alongside the guide to Asakusa, one of Tokyo’s shitamachi (old towns) where a traditional atmosphere still lingers in the air. The first stop isSenso-ji, the most famous temple in Tokyo. The guide will explain some basic temple customs, from purifying the hands to praying and paying respect to ancestors. In the small stalls nearby, get a chance to try some Japanese snacks before moving onto the next destination.

A short walk from the temple is Kappabashi, the so-called Kitchenware Town lined with dozens of specialized stores for knives, Japanese tableware, and even food replicas. Try the art of crafting plastic replica food in one of the specialty shops, an interesting souvenir to take home!

Around noon, stop by one of the local restaurants for lunch. Although there’s a variety of food to choose from, Asakusa is particularly known for its delicious tempura. Continue on alongside the guide to one of the city’s many pet establishments. These unique shops have quickly become a hit for many reasons, one being they’re a good place to relax and relieve stress. In the afternoon, embark on a river cruise to Odaiba, a man-made island with a stunning view of the city and its futuristic buildings. Conclude the tour with a ride on a giant Ferris wheel, enjoying the view of Tokyo from up high. Overnight in Tokyo. (BL)

Time:
Start (guided tour): 09:00
Duration: 8 h


Day 3: Tokyo, Day at Leisure

Today is a self-guided day. Overnight in Tokyo. (B)
Suggested Self-Guided Itinerary:
There are plenty of kid-friendly venues in Tokyo, such as Ghibli Museum, Miraikan (National Museum of Science and Innovation) and Edo-Tokyo Museum. Other suggestions for families include Tokyo Disneylandand Disneysea. Note: Tickets to Ghibli Museum and Tokyo Disney Resort need to be arranged in advance (subject to availability).
Optional Activity (1): Samurai Sword Lesson
Learn how to fight with a samurai sword from some of Japan’s most famous sword choreographers at TetsuroShimaguchi’sKamui Sword Artists. Shimaguchi is the leading member of Kamui, a Japanese sword performance troupe whose unique fighting style and technique are breathtaking to watch. They often collaborate with artists from different backgrounds and genres, always offering impressive performances. The day’s lesson will cover the basic movements of sword fighting, including drawing, posing and swinging. Then, visitors will have the chance to try out their new found skills by pairing off for some practice swordplay.

Time:
Duration: 90 min

Optional Activity (2): Cool Tokyo Cycling Tour
Today’s tour starts at 13:45. Meet the guide, who is sometimes accompanied by his adorable dog “Jack-san,” at Sasazuka Station, and head together to the cycling studio for a bicycle and helmet fitting. On the way, listen to some fascinating insights and entertaining anecdotes about the local neighborhood, and get some useful explanations from the guide about Tokyo’s cycling etiquette and today’s itinerary.

When everything is ready, depart for today’s cycling tour. Leave Sasazuka with the guide, and cycle to the first location, enjoying the best of Tokyo’s urban design and natural environment on the way. Depending on the season, enjoy the surrounding foliage, which is especially beautiful in the spring when the plum and cherry blossoms bloom, and in the autumn, when the trees are a blaze of color. There will be several cultural and architectural design stops along the way, where the guide will share interesting information and allow some time for photos. Bike through Tokyo’s backstreets, local shotengai (small commercial streets) in hip neighborhoods such as Shimo-Kitazawa, and some little-known parks, seeing the guide’s favorite areas and shops, and stopping for a break at a charming café. Next, head back to Sasazuka where bicycles will be returned to the guide, and either freely keep exploring Tokyo independently, head back to the accommodation to freshen up, or join the guide and the rest of the group for a local meal such as gyoza (pan-fried dumplings).

Time:
Start: 13:45 (may vary depending the season)
Duration: 3h
Journey: 10 km (mostly cycling, a bit of walking and light sightseeing also involved).

Optional Activity (3): Manga Drawing in Tokyo
Manga has been an integral part of Japanese arts and culture with roots dating as far back as the 12th century. Today, manga can be found in different types of publication, with varying genres ranging from comedy to action. Get to know some basics of manga drawing with the guidance of a Japanese teacher. The class will take place in a Japanese school in Central Nakano, the district in Tokyo famous for anime and otaku (die-hard fans). During the 2-hour class, learn the history of manga and how to create this uniquely Japanese art form.

Time:
Duration: 2 h


Day 4: Tokyo, Day Trip to Yokohama

Travel to the international port city of Yokohama, a popular out-of-town destination from Tokyo for its proximity and laidback atmosphere. Visit Hara Model Railway Museum, home of the largest model train collection in the world. Model trains are fascinating to kids of all ages, and a visit to this museum is like a miniature trip around the world. Next on the list is the Cup Noodle Museum, revealing the unique history behind this Japanese invention known around the world. There are fun and interactive workshops, including the Cup Noodle Factory where kids can create their own cup noodle. For lunch, head to the Noodles Bazaar and try the noodles from eight different countries.

Within walking distance from the museum is Yamashita Park, the first seaside park in Japan that opened in 1930. Take a stroll to nearby Osanbashi Pier, a beautiful open space where the kids can run freely surrounded by views of Yokohama. End today’s tour on a short boat ride from the park to Yokohama Station, taking the train back to Tokyo. Overnight in Tokyo (BL)

Distance and journey time (approximation):
JR Tokyo Station to JR Yokohama Station: 30 min

Time:
Start (guided tour): 09:30
Duration: 8 h


Day 5: Tokyo – Kanazawa

Today is a self-guided day. Today is free at leisure to explore Tokyo until the included afternoon train journey to Kanazawa via shinkansen (bullet train). Overnight in Kanazawa (B)

Distance and journey time (approximation):
JR Tokyo Station to JR Kanazawa Station: 3 h


Day 6: Kanazawa

Alongside our local guide, explore Kanazawa, the castle town that thrived as the center for culture and the arts in the 17th century. Start with the pristine Kenroku-en Garden, which is ranked as one of Japan’s top three gardens. The garden is home to the oldest water fountain in the country, a couple of teahouses, and a large villa that used to be the retirement home of one of the richest clans in Kanazawa. Adjacent to the garden is Kanazawa Castle, easily accessed through the Ishikawa-mon Gate. Lunch will be inside Omicho Market, known throughout Japan for its fresh seafood and fine sushi. The guide will introduce a local restaurant where some fine local cuisine can be sampled.

After lunch, the children might be craving for something sweet, so head to Morihachi, an artisan sweets shop that has been around for almost four centuries. Learn how to use wooden molds in making traditional Japanese sweets that are usually served in tea ceremonies.

Finally, head across town to the old Samurai district of Kanazawa and visit Nomura House, a restored residence of a high ranked samurai family. Freshly made green tea can be enjoyed on the second floor while viewing the small Japanese garden below. Overnight in Kanazawa (BL)

Time:
Start (guided tour): 09:00
Duration: 8 h


Day 6: Kanazawa

Today is a self-guided day. Overnight in Kanazawa (B)

Suggested Self-Guided Itinerary:

The rest of the day is free at leisure. Enjoy shopping for some souvenirs or visit a couple more places in Kanazawa, such as:

21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art
The museum known for its progressive architecture and ever-changing exhibits. One of the permanent artworks in the museum is Leandro Erlich’s “Swimming Pool,” a pool wherein people can enter and appear as if they are underwater.

Old Town of Higashi Chaya District
One of the three, well-preserved chaya districts in Kanazawa. A “chaya” (teahouse) was where Geishas used to entertain their guests with a song or a dance. Higashi Chaya has several artisan shops, including Hakuza, a specialized store that sells gold leaf products and features a tearoom covered in gold.

Optional Activity (1): Traditional Kanazawa: The Evening Food Scene
With a name which literally translates to “marsh of gold,”Kanazawa has long been considered the home of Japanese high culture and traditional handicrafts such as gold leaf crafts and kagayuzen silk dyeing. It is said that the prefecture is home to 36 different types of arts and crafts. Today’s tour will begin at 18:00.Head off into the quaint and historic streets and alleyways of the Higashi Chaya district, which are lined with teahouses where geisha traditionally entertain their clients. The knowledgeable and friendly guides tell historical anecdotes and offer riddles to solve along the way, making the experience a truly interactive one. After having exploredthe neighborhood, it is time for a delicious meal at a traditional Japanese restaurant – an izakaya– for a distinctly Japanese experience. Learn more about the food culture of the area while tasting a variety of seasonal dishes and washing them down with some drinks. At the end of this delightful evening in charming company, either continue to explore the city or head back to the hotel for some well-deserved rest. (D)

Time
Start: 18:00
Duration: 2.5 h


Day 8: Kanazawa – Hiroshima

Today is a self-guided day. This morning is at leisure until the departure for Hiroshima. After the long train journey, check into the hotel and rest or start exploring this amazing city. Overnight in Hiroshima (B)

Distance and journey time (approximation):
JR Kanazawa Station to JR Hiroshima Station: 4.5 h


Day 9: Hiroshima

Today is a self-guided day. Overnight in Hiroshima (B)

Suggested Self-Guided Itinerary:
We suggest heading to Genbaku Dome-mae, the nearest station to the heart-rending A-Bomb Dome, the ruins of the former Industrial Promotion Hall of Hiroshima. From the dome, crossover Motoyasu Bridge and stop by the Children’s Peace Monument that features a statue of a young girl and a number of booths filled with colorful paper cranes. Heading towards the museum, pass by the Cenotaph for the A-Bomb Victims, designed by the 1987 Pritzker Prize winner, KenzoTange. Below the arch-shaped stone is a chest that holds the registry of those who perished from the bombing.

Conclude the tour with a visit to the Peace Memorial Museum, which displays the history of Hiroshima before the bombing and exhibits a moving collection of articles, from the personal belongings left by the victims to the damages caused by the bombing. Near the park are some local restaurants where you can have lunch. We highly recommend okonomiyaki, or “Japanese pancake” with cabbage, pork, ginger, nori, and a special sauce. After lunch, head to Hiroshima Castle, a good example of hirajiro or a castle that was built on a plain rather than on top of a hill. Before heading back to the hotel, visit Shukkei-en, a garden with miniature representations of mountains, valleys and forests. Take a break at Sensuitei for some green tea and Japanese confectionery.


Day 10: Hiroshima, Day Trip to Miyajima

From mainland Hiroshima, a short ferry ride will head to Miyajima, a small sacred island located in the Seto Inland Sea. Together with the guide, visit a couple of shrines and temples and sample some local delicacies like oysters, saltwater eel, and maple leaf-shaped cakes. The port is also famous for its large number of tame deer wandering the area. Start with Itsukushima Shrine, designated as one of Japan’s three most beautiful views. The shrine is designed in a pier-like structure and dates back to 6th century. Its huge, red o-torii gate seems to be floating in the water during high tide. Walk towards the mountain to visit Daisho-in, the most visited Buddhist temple on the island located at the foot of Mt. Misen. Along the stairs, find a row of spinning sutras that lead up to the main hall. There will also be an option to hike up Mt. Misen to see spectacular views of the surrounding islands. After a nice day spent outdoors, the guide will provide an escort back to Hiroshima and to the hotel. Overnight in Hiroshima (BL)

Optional Activity: Kayaking in Miyajima
Another scenic option to travel from the mainland to Miyajima is via kayak. The instructor will provide a briefing on the day’s course, and there will be a chance to get comfortable in the kayaks on the beach before entering the sea. It is possible to kayak all the way out to the Floating Torii Gate- a fantastic photo opportunity. After snapping some photos, take a break on the shore of Miyajima. Wander through the local stores and pick up some souvenirs before paddling back across the Inland Sea.

Time:
Start: 09:30 or 13:00
Duration: 3 h


Day 11: Hiroshima – Kyoto

Today is a self-guided day. Today’s destination is Kyoto, the reigning cultural capital of Japan, home to around 2,000 shrines and temples and 17 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Overnight in Kyoto (B)

Suggested Self-Guided Itinerary:
There are plenty of family-friendly activities in Kyoto. Some afternoon recommendations include the Kyoto International Manga Museum and Toei Kyoto Studio Park.

Distance and journey time (approximation):
JR Hiroshima Station to JR Kyoto Station: 2 h


Day 12: Kyoto

Today’s tour starts with a visit to Nijo Castle, an ornamental castle that was originally built to serve as the private villa of a powerful feudal lord. The main building was completed in early 1600s and has since then been known for its Momoyama-style architecture, decorated sliding doors, and “chirping nightingale” floors. Next on the list is the serene Ryoan-ji Temple, which is famous for its well-maintained rock garden and known to be the home of the Myoshinji School of the Rinzai Buddhist sect.

Just a short distance from Ryoan-jiis the stunning golden pavilion collectively known as Kinkaku-ji Temple. The temple grounds are relatively smaller than that of most temples and shrines in Kyoto, but what is undoubtedly impressive is the pavilion that is completely covered in handmade gold-leaf.

A visit to Kiyomizu-deraTemple follows later in the day. The view from the 13-meter high building is indeed breathtaking and the fact that this veranda was built without using any nails or joiners is quite unbelievable.

The tour ends with a stroll along the busy streets of Higashiyama district, a collection of narrow alleyways lined with local stores, souvenir shops, small eateries, and even pottery centers. Overnight in Kyoto (B)

Time:
Start (guided tour): 09:00
Duration: 8 h
*including pick-up/drop-off and transit times


Day 13: Kyoto, Character Bento Cooking Class, Optional Afternoon Trip to Osaka

Start the day with an interactive class teaching how to prepare a traditional Japanese bento box with a twist. Chara-ben (“kyaraben”) is the short term for character bento, a style of preparing lunch boxes with the food decorated to look like a famous cartoon character or cute animal.

Go to the designated machiya, a traditional Japanese wooden townhouse, to meet an English-speaking local food instructor. After a brief introduction, begin the three-hour session of learning the basics in cooking and preparing an artistic yet delicious Japanese bento. Finish today’s activity with a lively conversation over a hearty meal. The rest of the day is at leisure. Overnight in Kyoto (BL)

Time:
Start: 10:00
Duration: 3 h


Day 14: Departure from Kyoto

The rest of the day is free at leisure until the scheduled transfer by shared shuttle van to Kansai International Airport.

Distance and journey time (approximation):
Central Kyoto to Kansai International Airport (KIX): 2 h


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DATES/PRICING/ACCOMMODATIONS

2021
Superior (Per Person)
Dates (Apr 01 - Oct 31)
2 Adults + 1 Child 6570
2 Adults + 2 Children $6,240
2021
Deluxe (Per Person)
Dates (Apr 01 - Oct 31)
2 Adults + 1 Child $7,660
2 Adults + 2 Children $7,715
* The accommodation will be provided in the below hotel or similar in case the priority hotel is unable to accommodate the booking.
Accommodation:
Tokyo
Park Hotel (S)
Palace Hotel (D)
Kanazawa
Tokyu Hotel (S)
Hotel Sainoniwa (D)
Hiroshima
Sheraton Grand Hiroshima Hotel (S/D)
Kyoto
Hotel Granvia (S)
Hyatt Regency (D)

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INCLUSIONS

Inclusions & Highlights

  • Hotel accommodation with daily breakfast
  • Meals as mentioned in the itinerary (B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner)
  • Meet and greet at the airport and return transfers to the airport
  • 14-Day Japan Rail Pass for Ordinary Class (valid from Day 1)
  • PASMO Card for local transportation in Tokyo with 1,500 JPY worth of credits
  • English-speaking guides for tours on Days 2, 4, 6, 10, and 12 (supplementary charges apply for other languages)
  • All entrance fees and transportation fees as mentioned in the itinerary on Days 2, 4, 6, 10, and 12
  • Character bento-making class in Kyoto on Day 13
  • Self-guide app and customized travel documentation

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