Traveling together as a family is such a special experience and this 14-day action-packed adventure is specifically designed with families in mind. With a mix of city, countryside and island time, it's the perfect way to take in all that Japan has to offer and create treasured family memories.

Highlights

  • Interact with digital art in a way you've never done before
  • Visit a ninja-themed park for children at the base of Mount Fuji
  • Travel back in time to Edo-era Japan at Edo Wonderland
  • Explore Nara's historic temples and shrines
  • Discover Japan's historic tea ceremony and sweets-making traditions

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Welcome to Tokyo! Tokyo
Day 2 Futuristic Odaiba and a Cooking Lesson Tokyo
Day 3 Travel to Nikko Tokyo
Day 4 Manga, Anime and Kawaii Character Cafes Tokyo
Day 5 Free Day in Tokyo Tokyo
Day 6 In the Shadow of Mount Fuji Fujikawaguchiko
Day 7 Exploring Mount Fuji and Lake Kawaguchi Fujikawaguchiko
Day 8 Tea and Sweets in Kyoto Kyoto
Day 9 Bamboo Groves and Temples at Arashiyama Kyoto
Day 10 Day Trip to Nara Kyoto
Day 11 A Trip to Universal Studios Kyoto
Day 12 Reborn Hiroshima Hiroshima
Day 13 Miyajima Island Hiroshima
Day 14 Farewell, Japan!  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Welcome to Tokyo!

Tokyo Skyline and Sensoji Temple
Tokyo Skyline and Sensoji Temple

After settling into your accommodation, get your Tokyo bearings with a visit to the world’s tallest tower. At 2,080 feet (634 m), the Tokyo Skytree offers amazing views, sometimes as far as Mount Fuji, from its 360-degree observation deck. If you would prefer to connect with Japan's Buddhist and Shinto faith traditions, take a walk through the grounds of Sensoji,  the city's oldest, most historically significant Buddhist temple. The neighboring Asakusa Shrine offers an opportunity to compare and contrast Japan's Shinto and Buddhist worship traditions. 

As the sun goes down on your first night in Tokyo, head to the Shibuya district for dinner.

Day 2: Futuristic Odaiba and a Cooking Lesson

Lanterns at Odaiba's  Mori Building Digital Art Museum; Photo Courtesy of Abdul Mannan Yousfani/Shutterstock
Lanterns at Odaiba's Mori Building Digital Art Museum; Photo Courtesy of Abdul Mannan Yousfani/Shutterstock

Today you'll explore Odaiba, Tokyo's futuristic artificial island. Start your day at teamLab, a permanent digital art exhibition that will change your perception of modern art and dazzle your eyes. The nearby National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation, popularly known as the Miraikan museum, is a fantastic place to learn about everything future-tech in a fun and interactive way.

Next, make your way to a Japanese cooking lesson, where you will roll up your sleeves and learn how to make some of the country's most famous dishes. You can learn to make soba noodles, ramen, gyoza, and sushi, to name just a few. Your skilled teacher will show you how to create a delicious meal, step by step.

Day 3: Travel to Nikko

Toshogu Shrine, Nikko, Japan
Toshogu Shrine, Nikko

Today you’ll head north to Nikko to visit Toshogu Shrine, mausoleum of Tokukgawa Ieyasu, Japan’s last shogun. This ornate shrine is considered to be one of the most beautiful in Japan, and it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

A short walk will take you to Rinnoji, Nikko's most famous Buddhist temple. On the grounds, you'll find a delightful Japanese garden, a shrine that is said to be home to Nikko's three mountain gods, and a treasure house. 

Next, enjoy some family fun time at Edo Wonderland, a cultural theme park that lets you go back in time to the 15th century. Enjoy a traditional magic show, or try your hand at Hariko doll painting, samurai sword fighting, and traditional makeup arts. At the end of the day, head back to the 21st century and your Tokyo accommodation.

Day 4: Manga, Anime and Kawaii Character Cafes

Akihabara, Tokyo; Photo Courtesy of EleS91/Shutterstock
Akihabara, Tokyo; Photo Courtesy of EleS91/Shutterstock

Today, get ready to explore Akihabara, Tokyo's anime, manga, and electronics mecca, with a tour guide. Akihabara is jam-packed with arcades, comic and anime stores, and virtual reality experiences.  You'll see dozens of otaku (die-hard anime fans) exploring the district. A visit to Akihabara offers insights into a rather quirky side of Japanese culture. Akihabara is also a great place to stock up on any electronics you might need, as almost every corner boasts some kind of electronics store. Have lunch at a maid-café, where kawaii (cute) waitresses wearing cat ears serve kawaii food for an experience you will not soon forget.

In the afternoon, you’ll head to Harajuku, Tokyo's fashion hub. Stop by rainbow cotton candy and crepe stands on Takeshita Street and peek into fascinating costume galleries and character cafés. Visit the famous Kawaii Monster Café for another view of Japan's kawaii culture. Brightly-colored food, waitresses dressed like cartoon characters who put on performances, and vibrant decor make a visit to this café a memorable experience. 

Optional activities:

Anime aficionados will enjoy a visit to the Studio Ghibli Museum, which offers an amazing insight into the world of the masterminds behind "Spirited Away," "Princess Mononoke," and many other famous films.

Zoom through the streets on a go-kart dressed as your favorite Mario character. You'll definitely be the center of attention (International Drivers License needed).

Day 5: Free Day in Tokyo

Tokyo Tower amidst a Sea of Buildings
Tokyo Tower amidst a Sea of Buildings

Today the city is your oyster. Tokyo is packed with both fast-paced and leisurely pursuits, and the day is yours to explore at our own pace.

Suggested activities include:

Disney Sea: Although there are Disney theme parks in several parts of the world, Tokyo is the only city with a Disney Sea. Spend the day exploring hidden volcanic islands, riding gondolas in Mediterranean harbors, and whirlpooling in mermaid lagoons as you enjoy the world of Disney. 

Picnic in Yoyogi Park: All you need is a few bento (lunch boxes) from a nearby store, a ball or frisbee, and some refreshing drinks to enjoy the vast lawns, ponds, and forests of Tokyo's largest park. Uniquely beautiful in autumn, when hundreds of trees spout golden leaves, it is equally enjoyable during the rest of the year.  

Shimokitazawa: Another super-trendy suburb of Tokyo, this district is popular with the younger demographic and filled to the brim with vintage clothing stores, live music venues, and dozens of izakaya (bars that serve snacks) offering food and drink from trendy to traditional.

Hike Mount Takao: This is one of the closest mountains to the city and offers numerous hiking trails for any outdoor enthusiasts. If the day is clear, you may also see the tell-tale snowcapped peak of Mount Fuji in the distance.

Attend a Festival: Matsuri (festivals) offer a fantastic opportunity to see a different side of local culture. Depending on the time of year, you can expect anything from parades and food stalls to dancing, music, and traditional arts. 

Animal Cafés: Tokyo is full of places to hang out with your favorite furry friends, including cats, hedgehogs, owls, and rabbits.

Day 6: In the Shadow of Mount Fuji

Sunset on Lake Kawaguchi
Sunset on Lake Kawaguchi

Mount Fuji can be quite elusive at times. On a clear day, you can see it from Tokyo, but on a cloudy day, it’s hard to see it from just a short distance away. The best place to see Mount Fuji is from Lake Kawaguchi. Right at the base of the iconic mountain, the town offers a great choice of ryokan inns for those looking for a traditional experience. There are also multiple onsens, which offer outdoor hot springs baths with a perfect view of Mount Fuji.

Today you will take a trip to a picturesque crafts village and open-air museum on the edge of Lake Saiko. The thatched-roof houses of this former farming village have been converted into workshops, restaurants, and small shops. Dress up in traditional kimono or yukata and choose from a variety of fun and creative activities, including ceramic pottery painting, glass kaleidoscope and metalwork, soba noodle making, fabric ornament crafting, and incense making.

Stroll around the northern border of the lake as you watch the sunset over the mountain before calling it a day with a mouth-watering traditional Japanese meal before bed.

Day 7: Exploring Mount Fuji and Lake Kawaguchi

Mount Fuji and Lake Kawaguchi
Mount Fuji and Lake Kawaguchi

There are so many things to do in the Lake Kawaguchi area. Here are some of your options:

Narusawa Ice Caves. These 501-foot-long (153 m) caves are fascinating to explore. They were formed from a lava tunnel that was created when Fuji erupted many centuries ago. The caves are filled with ice pillars all year long.

Chureito Pagoda. One of the most iconic views of Mount Fuji can be seen from here. The pagoda is especially stunning during spring and autumn, but it's worth visiting in any season.

Fujikyu Highland. This is one of Japan's most popular theme parks. It offers rollercoasters, including the world's steepest rollercoaster, as well as several anime-themed attractions.

Shinobi no Sato Ninja Village. This ninja-themed town is designed for children. You can watch ninja shows and your children will have the opportunity to perform stunts, throw ninja weapons, and dress as a stealthy ninja warrior.

Boat Rides. There are several companies offering boat rides on the lake, ranging from swan-shaped pedal boats to private party crafts with onboard barbecues.

Day 8: Tea and Sweets in Kyoto

The 10,000 Red Gates of Fushimi Inari
The 10,000 Red Gates of Fushimi Inari

Japan's former capital, Kyoto, is famous for its temples, shrines, and historic neighborhoods. Kyoto offers a more traditional, laid-back pace than Tokyo. Your first stop will be the famous Fushimi Inari Shrine. Featured in the movie "Memoirs of a Geisha," this shrine has over 10,000 red torii gates donated by people and businesses from all over Japan.

This perfectly prepares the way for your next activity, a traditional Japanese tea ceremony and wagashi sweets-making lesson. Learn the art of preparing and serving matcha tea, as well as the meaning of the tea ceremony ritual. This centuries-old tradition is more than an art form; it is also a spiritual discipline.  You'll notice this discipline during your sweets-making lesson as you emulate your teacher's meticulous attention to detail. We warn you, though, you may find the sweets you have made too pretty to eat!

In the evening, take a walk through the bustling streets of Pontocho, a popular area along the Kamogawa River that is packed with bars and restaurants.

Day 9: Bamboo Groves and Temples at Arashiyama

Arashiyama's Dense Bamboo Groves.
Arashiyama's Dense Bamboo Groves

Just outside Kyoto is the tranquil area of Arashiyama, where you'll start your day with a ride on an open-air train, surrounded by amazing views of the river and surrounding forest. Next, you'll travel down the Hozugawa River on a traditional Japanese boat. Depending on the season, you could be floating past banks lined with cherry blossoms, deep green leaves, or the brilliant colors of autumn trees.

The district’s centerpiece is the sprawling Tenryuji Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that includes ancient landscape gardens. Arashiyama's star attraction is its otherworldly bamboo grove, and it's easy to devote hours to exploring the winding trails. Nearby, you'll find Nonomiya Shrine and the Iwatayama Monkey Park, where you can watch macaques roam and climb.

If you'd like a bit more exercise and enjoy whimsical sights, head to Otagi Nenbutsuji, a unique temple that features hundreds of statues, all carved by different people. Look closely, and you'll find some of these Buddhist statues wearing sunglasses and carrying modern items.

Day 10: Day Trip to Nara

Deer and a Torii in a Nara Park
Deer and a Torii in a Nara Park

Today you'll travel to Japan's first permanent capital, Nara, famous for its resident herds of tame deer. Explore Nara's gardens, parks, shrines, and temples at your own pace. Don't miss the Todaiji Temple, home to the giant Daibutsu Buddha statue. In the evening, you'll head back to Kyoto.

Day 11: A Trip to Universal Studios

A Diner at Universal Studios
A Diner at Universal Studios

Immerse yourself in the world of Universal Studios at one of the world's most popular theme parks. Spend the entire day enjoying thrilling rides, amazing shows, and wonderful restaurants, all based on your favorite Universal films!

Day 12: Reborn Hiroshima

Hiroshima skyline and the monument of the Atomic Dome Museum.
Hiroshima skyline and the monument of the Atomic Dome Museum

Day nine takes you to Hiroshima, a place of sobering history, inspiring regeneration, and important learning opportunities for future generations. Start at the Atomic Dome Museum and Hiroshima Peace Park, where you'll learn about the events of World War II and the city's slow process of rebirth and rebuilding. 

Next, head to Hiroshima Castle, a  magnificent landmark overlooking the Otawaga River. A principal seat of power in the 16th century, the original castle was destroyed during the war. An excellent recreation now stands in its place, offering panoramic views of the city from its top floor.

Finish your evening with a meal of okonomiyaki, a regional savory pancake topped with shredded cabbage, noodles, and pork belly.

Day 13: Miyajima Island

Miyajima Island's Great Torii
Miyajima Island's Great Torii

Today you'll visit the magical island of Miyajima via a short ferry ride. Be sure to stand outside on the deck to get a good view of Miyajima's famous giant red torii gate, which, at high tide, looks like it is rising out of the sea.

Miyajima holds the rare distinction in Japan of never having experienced an earthquake. Many of the island's centuries-old temples are entirely original. Be sure to visit Daisho Temple and Itsukushima Shrine. For a superb view of the Seto Inland Sea, ascend Mount Misen via its scenic ropeway or a picturesque hike. The island is home to herds of friendly deer, which adds to Miyajima's fairytale-like setting.

Day 14: Farewell, Japan!

Saying Goodbye to Japan
Saying Goodbye to Japan

Today you'll say goodbye to Japan and reflect on all the memories you've made during your trip.

Map

Map of Family Adventure in Japan:  Tokyo, Kyoto, Hiroshima, Mount Fuji - 14 Days
Map of Family Adventure in Japan: Tokyo, Kyoto, Hiroshima, Mount Fuji - 14 Days