Explore family-friendly Japan, a modern land with ancient traditions

Grab the family and embark of an intriguing exploration of Japan. From ancient emperors to technological gizmos, Japan is a flurry of contradiction and excitement. Partake in a calligraphy lesson, hold a tune at a karaoke bar, swim in hot springs, visit a volcanic valley and explore the old temples of an imperial family. Allow Intrepid to take care of the finer details while you and your family enjoy a world of sushi, geishas, high-speed trains and sumo wrestling, alongside a local expert.

Tokyo, Japan
Kyoto, Japan
Physical rating
Cultural rating
Min 5
Group size
Min 2 Max 17
Carbon offset
226kg pp per trip


  • Discover Tokyo, where dazzling neon lights are only the beginning. Feast on market-fresh sushi, try your hand at calligraphy, and cook your own okonomiyaki on a Tokyo Bay boat cruise
  • Fast, fun and futuristic, a bullet train ride (Tokyo to Hakone) is an essential Japanese experience, sure to be a thrill for the whole family
  • Bask in the soothing waters of an onsen in Hakone. These Japanese hot-spring baths are the perfect antidote to a couple of days of walking around the big city
  • Epicureans will find themselves in heaven. From the depachika of Tokyo to the shotengai of Kyoto, your leader will help you navigate Japan's dizzying food options
  • There's no better way to get around Kyoto than on a bicycle. A two-wheeled tour takes you to the best of Japan's most beautiful city


This itinerary is valid for departures from 01 January 2016 to 31 December 2016. View the itinerary for departures between 01 January 2017 - 31 December 2017

Konnichiwa! Welcome to Tokyo, Japan's dynamic capital where the ultra-modern meets the ancient. Make your way to your first night's accommodation and check in. Your adventure begins with an important welcome meeting at 7 pm in the hotel lobby. You'll meet your leader and group at this meeting. Check the hotel reception or noticeboards for the location of the meeting. If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader.
Kick things off with a visit to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building. The free observation decks of this 243-metre-tall building offer beautiful panoramas of the city and beyond. On a clear day, you can see Mount Fuji, the Tokyo Skytree, Tokyo Tower, Meiji Shrine and Tokyo Dome from up here. You will also visit Sensoji in Asakusa, one of the most popular Buddhist temples in Tokyo. Located on the banks of the Sumida River, it features a shopping street in its approach – a good place for a quirky Japanese souvenir. While you're in Tokyo, you'll be treated to a calligraphy lesson for a chance to try your hand at this age-old art form. There also might be the chance to visit a manga (Japanese comic and cartoon) market, located out in Akihabara.
Visit the Tsukiji Fish Market for an eye-opening experience. This is the biggest wholesale seafood market in the world, with more than 400 seafood varieties on offer. Wander through the narrow aisles, witness the heated negotiations between merchants and buyers, and watch out for speeding market trolleys piled high with crates of fresh stock. If you're game for a super-early start, you can attend the 5 am tuna auction (you'll need to take a taxi at 3.30 am). Your market visit concludes with a delicious sushi breakfast – this is as fresh as it gets! Later, take a walk through a Tokyo depachika, a food-specific department store with a mind-boggling array of traditional and non-traditional Japanese foods. Take a look inside the impressive Sony showroom too. For lunch, head to Yoyogi park and join the locals. Dinner (on one of your nights here) will be a fun self-cooked 'okonomiyaki' (hotplate pancake) on a boat on Tokyo Bay, surrounded by the city lights.

Note: The Tsukiji Fish Markets are closed every national holiday and every Sunday. Tuna auctions may be closed to the public during busy times.
Enjoy free time to further explore Tokyo with your family. There are many optional activities available, and your leader can help you choose a suitable one if you like. You can visit Imperial parks and temples, unique museums, watch game of baseball, or even visiting Kodomo no Shiro, a children's play area consisting of seven floors of indoor fun (including art and crafts, music, movies, toys, games and playgrounds). In the evening, you might like to delve into Japan's famous karaoke culture – lose your inhibitions and sing the night away in a karaoke box (a great excuse for a late-night supper). 
Bid farewell to Tokyo as you board your direct train to Hakone. You will see that it's astonishingly easy to travel by train in Japan. Trains operate with metronomic precision, and the sight of a white-gloved guard bowing to a carriage full of travellers is something you'll never forget! Part of the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park, Hakone is a wonderland of natural beauty and offers a long list of holiday activities – hot springs, mountains, bush walks, lakes, breathtaking views of Mt Fuji and some interesting historic sites (including an open-air modern art museum).
Renowned as an excellent resort area since the Meiji period, Hakone and its onsens (hot spring baths) make a great place to relax and unwind with the family. Make a visit to the Karakuri secret box museum where the craft is in how to open the boxes. Touch and try to open the boxes yourself and find in there a unique Japanese gift to take home. You will also enjoy a walk around the scenic lake area. Your accommodation here is in a cosy, family-run guesthouse. You will be in a traditional Japanese room, sleeping on a tatami mat. There are private Japanese baths for you to enjoy while you're here.
Travel to Kyoto, arguably the most stunning city in Japan. The charms of the former Imperial capital are subtle and profound. While you're here, you'll see some of the finest temples, shrines, palaces and gardens in the country, with a nice mix of included activities and free time. Visit a food market and learn all about the ingredients on sale and how to use them – maybe even buy some supplies for a picnic lunch by the riverside. Stroll around the gorgeous Shosei-en Garden and visit the Fushimi Inari Taisha (the sacred shrine of the rice god). Wander the Gion disctrict in the evening with your leader in search of geikos (geishas) or maikos (apprentice geishas) with their elaborate dress and make up.
Embark on a leisurely bike ride along the pristine paths around some of Kyoto's key historic and cultural sites. This is definitely the best way to navigate the city. Visit the Nanzenji Temple, one of most incredible temples in the country. Its large site includes many smaller temples, and the huge San-mon is a sight to behold. You can take the stairs to the second level for superb views over the city. Make sure you check out Leaping Tiger Garden before you leave. In your spare time today, perhaps take an optional cooking class or visit the Gion Corner cultural centre.
Explore more of the delights that Kyoto has to offer. You will visit the Arashiyama area, a pleasant district on the outskirts of Kyoto. This was a popular place for nobles to relax in a serene natural setting during the Heian period (785–1185). You'll also visit the Tenryu-ji Temple which is right near an incredible bamboo grove. This bamboo forest is one of the most photographed sights in the city, and you'll see why. It's like stepping into another dimension. Later on you will enjoy a boat cruise down the Hozu River – look along the banks for Japanese maples or perhaps cherry trees in bloom (depending on the season).
Head to Hikone Castle, one of the four Japanese castles listed as national treasures. Witness the 17th-century grandeur of this original castle which, for the most part, survived the feudal era without having to be rebuilt. The majority of its inner moats, walls, guard houses and gates remain intact. The castle has an interesting history – it was moved to Hikone by the Ii clan, one of the most famous Samurai families in Japan. You will visit the impressive Samurai quarter here also.
Your adventure comes to an end today. There are no further activities planned and you are free to depart your accommodation at any time. See the 'Finishing Point Hotel' section for checkout times and luggage storage options.
View trip notes to read full itinerary


10 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 3 dinners
Cable car, Taxi, Train, Train (bullet), Tram
Hotel (8 nights), Ryokan (2 nights)
Included activities
  • Tokyo - Metropolitan Government Building
  • Tokyo - Japanese & Calligraphy lesson
  • Tokyo - Seafood Market & Sushi Breakfast
  • Tokyo - Okonomiyaki dinner
  • Tokyo - Sony Showroom
  • Tokyo - Depachika visit
  • Hakone - Cable car
  • Hakone - Onsen (hot spring bath)
  • Hakone - Scenic walk
  • Kyoto - Nishiki-Koji Market
  • Kyoto - Gion District Walk
  • Kyoto - Shosei Strolling Garden
  • Kyoto - Fushimi Inari 10,000 Gate Shrine
  • Kyoto - Guided bike ride
  • Kyoto - Nanzenji Temple
  • Kyoto - Arashiyama sightseeing
  • Kyoto - Tenryuji Temple
  • Hozu river ride
  • Kyoto - Hikone Castle


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Important notes

Please note that these trips are for adults and children travelling together and there must be at least one child under 18 with you
Minimum age for children on this trip is 5 years old

Trip notes

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Your trip notes provide a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what’s included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.

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Our Japan Family Holiday trips score an average of 4.63 out of 5 based on 19 reviews in the last year.

Japan Family Holiday , September 2016

Japan Family Holiday , September 2016