From encounters with samurais to towering robots, hands-on cooking classes to walks amid beguiling landscapes, this two-week Japan family holiday packs a lot of punch. Be immersed in the local culture and discover Japan’s incredible history with guided excursions sure to please both kids and adults.

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STARTING: Tokyo, Japan
FINISHING: Kyoto, Japan

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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.

 

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.

 

DAY 7: KANAZAWA

Today is a self-guided day.

 

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.

 

Meet the guide in the hotel lobby and explore some of the most visited UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Kyoto via public transport.Start with a visit to Nijo Castle, an ornamental castle dating back to the 1600s, famous for its Momoyama-style architecture, decorated sliding doors and “chirping nightingale” floors.

Next on the list is the serene Ryoanji Temple, which is famous for its well-maintained rock garden and known to be the Myoshinji School of the Rinzai Buddhist sect. Within walking distance from Ryoan-ji is the stunning golden pavilion known as Kinkaku-ji Temple. The temple ground is relatively smaller than those in most temples and shrines in Kyoto but what is undoubtedly impressive is the pavilion that is completely covered in handmade goldleaf.

After the morning tour, enjoy lunch at a local restaurant before continuing onto the next destination. In the afternoon, head south to visit Fushimi Inari Shrine, also known as “10,000 Torii Gates,” which was featured in the movie Memoirs of a Geisha. From the classic approach, the torii gates lead all the way up to the mountain creating a scenic trail.

 

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