Travel Guide for Japan

Travel Guide for Japan

Personalized for these inputs:

  • Destination: Japan
  • Trip length: 12 days
  • Trip dates: September 28 - October 11
  • Travel style: family friendly
  • Budget: $$$
  • Accommodation: resort
  • Activities: family activities
Picture of Japan

Key Facts

  • location: East Asia
  • currency: Japanese Yen (JPY)
  • religion: Shintoism
  • population: 126,500,000
  • language: Japanese
  • electricity: 100V, 50Hz, Type A and B plugs?
  • time zone: JST (UTC+9)
  • country code: +81
  • internet access: High-speed internet widely available
  • climate: Temperate climate

Useful Phrases

Language: Japanese
    hello
    こんにちは (kon-nee-chee-wah)
    goodbye
    さようなら (sa-yo-na-ra)
    yes
    はい (hai)
    no
    いいえ (ee-eh)
    how much
    これはいくらですか? (ko-re wa i-ku-ra des ka)
    please
    お願いします (oh-neh-gai-shee-mahs)
    thank you
    ありがとうございます (ah-ree-gah-toh goh-zai-mahs)
    excuse me
    すみません (su-mi-mah-sen)

Introduction

Welcome to Japan, a vibrant island nation in East Asia! With a rich history dating back centuries and a unique blend of traditional and modern culture, Japan offers an unforgettable travel experience. During September 28 to October 11, you can expect pleasant weather with the start of autumn, ideal for exploring the country's stunning landscapes and colorful foliage.

For a family-friendly high-budget trip, consider visiting Tokyo Disneyland or Tokyo DisneySea for a magical experience, or explore Kyoto's historic temples and traditional tea houses. Don't miss the chance to immerse yourself in Japanese cuisine, from sushi to hearty ramen bowls. Japan's exceptional hospitality, efficient transportation, and fascinating mix of ancient traditions and cutting-edge technology make it a top destination for all ages.

Getting There

For visitors traveling to Japan, the most common and convenient way to reach the country is by flying. Japan has multiple international airports, such as Haneda and Narita in Tokyo, and Kansai in Osaka. Direct flights from major cities around the world are available, making air travel the preferred choice for many.

Once in Japan, efficient and extensive train networks, like the Shinkansen bullet trains, offer quick and reliable transportation between cities. For scenic travel experiences, consider taking a ferry to explore Japan's islands or using buses for shorter distances. Traveling between September 28 and October 11 may involve typhoon season precautions, so stay updated on weather forecasts. If budget permits, families can opt for luxury train rides or private guided tours to make the trip memorable.

Climate and Best Time to Visit

Japan experiences four distinct seasons: spring (March to May), summer (June to August), autumn (September to November), and winter (December to February). The weather varies across the country, from the cherry blossoms in spring to the vibrant foliage in autumn.

During your visit from September 28 to October 11, you can expect mild temperatures and colorful fall foliage in many parts of Japan. It's a great time to enjoy traditional activities like Momijigari (autumn leaf viewing) and seasonal cuisines like chestnuts and sweet potatoes. However, do note that typhoons are possible during this time, especially in southern Japan, so it's essential to stay updated on weather forecasts.

Itinerary

Day 1

Embark on a cultural journey exploring the vibrant city of Tokyo, experiencing the blend of tradition and modernity that defines the Japanese capital.

  • Tokyo Disneyland

    Enjoy a magical day at Tokyo Disneyland, filled with thrilling rides, live shows, and beloved Disney characters that will delight visitors of all ages. Don't miss the iconic Cinderella Castle and parades throughout the day!
  • Robot Restaurant Shinjuku

    Experience a unique dinner show at the Robot Restaurant in Shinjuku, filled with neon lights, futuristic robots, and energetic performances that will leave your family mesmerized. Book tickets in advance for this unforgettable entertainment experience!
  • Ueno Zoo

    Spend a fun-filled day at Ueno Zoo, one of Japan's oldest and most popular zoos, home to a diverse range of animals from around the world. Engage in educational activities, explore the beautifully landscaped gardens, and discover endangered species like giant pandas!













Day 2

Immerse yourselves in the enchanting world of Disney at Tokyo Disneyland, creating magical memories with your family.

  • Senso-ji Temple in Asakusa

    Visit the iconic Senso-ji Temple in Asakusa, one of Tokyo's oldest and most significant Buddhist temples. Explore the bustling Nakamise Shopping Street leading to the temple, where you can find traditional snacks and souvenirs.
  • TeamLab Borderless Digital Art Museum

    Step into a world of digital art at TeamLab Borderless, where interactive exhibits and stunning projections create mesmerizing visual experiences for visitors of all ages. Lose yourself in the immersive art installations that blend technology and creativity seamlessly.
  • Shibuya Crossing and Hachiko Statue

    Experience the energy of Shibuya Crossing, one of the busiest intersections in the world, known for its chaotic yet organized pedestrian crossings. Don't forget to pay homage to Hachiko, the loyal dog statue located near the station, symbolizing loyalty and friendship.













Day 3

Explore the ancient temples and serene gardens of Kyoto, discovering the tranquility and beauty of Japan's historical heart.

  • Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine

    Discover the mesmerizing Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine, known for its thousands of vibrant torii gates that lead to the sacred Mount Inari. Take a peaceful hike through the lush forested pathways and enjoy panoramic views of Kyoto from the mountain top!
  • Arashiyama Bamboo Grove

    Stroll through the enchanting Arashiyama Bamboo Grove, a serene natural wonderland where towering bamboo stalks create a tranquil atmosphere. Listen to the rustling of the bamboo leaves and capture stunning photos in this picturesque setting.
  • Kinkaku-ji (Golden Pavilion)

    Marvel at the breathtaking Kinkaku-ji, also known as the Golden Pavilion, a stunning Zen temple covered in gold leaf that reflects on the placid waters of Kyokochi Pond. Experience the serenity of this UNESCO World Heritage Site and learn about its rich history.













Day 4

Engage in a traditional tea ceremony and wander through the charming streets of Gion, experiencing the elegance of Kyoto's geisha culture.

  • Nishiki Market Exploration

    Immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere of Nishiki Market, known as Kyoto's Kitchen, where a variety of fresh seafood, traditional snacks, and local specialties await. Stroll through the narrow alleys, sample street food delights, and shop for unique souvenirs to remember your Kyoto adventure.
  • Maiko Experience at Gion Corner

    Witness the grace and beauty of geisha culture with a Maiko experience at Gion Corner. Enjoy traditional performances of dance, tea ceremony, and music by Maiko and Geiko (geisha), providing an authentic glimpse into the refined arts of Kyoto's entertainment district.
  • Philosopher's Path Walk

    Embark on a serene walk along the Philosopher's Path, a picturesque stone pathway lined with cherry blossoms and small temples in the Higashiyama district. Experience the tranquility of nature while reflecting on the beauty of Kyoto's seasonal landscapes.













Day 5

Enjoy a day of relaxation in the hot springs of Hakone, surrounded by picturesque views of Mount Fuji and rejuvenating thermal waters.

  • Hakone Open-Air Museum Exploration

    Immerse yourself in art and nature at the Hakone Open-Air Museum, a unique outdoor art gallery nestled in the scenic surroundings of Hakone. Admire contemporary sculptures, installations, and exhibitions set against the backdrop of Mount Fuji, creating a harmonious blend of culture and natural beauty.
  • Hakone Ropeway Scenic Ride

    Embark on a breathtaking journey aboard the Hakone Ropeway, a scenic cable car ride that offers panoramic views of Hakone's volcanic valleys, Lake Ashi, and the majestic Mount Fuji. Capture stunning photos of the iconic peak and immerse yourself in the beauty of the surrounding landscape.
  • Owakudani Volcanic Valley Exploration

    Explore the otherworldly landscape of Owakudani, a volcanic valley known for its steaming vents, sulfuric hot springs, and dramatic views of Mount Fuji. Take a leisurely walk along the trails, sample local black eggs boiled in volcanic steam, and enjoy the unique geological wonders of the area.













Day 6

Discover the bustling markets and culinary delights of Osaka, savoring local street food and experiencing the vibrant food culture of Japan.

  • Kuromon Ichiba Market Exploration

    Immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere of Kuromon Ichiba Market, a bustling food market in Osaka known for its fresh seafood, local produce, and street food stalls. Indulge in Osaka's culinary delights such as takoyaki, sushi, and grilled skewers while experiencing the lively market ambiance.
  • Dotonbori Street Food Experience

    Stroll along the iconic Dotonbori Street, a vibrant food and entertainment district in Osaka filled with neon lights, giant billboards, and an array of street food vendors. Taste local specialties like okonomiyaki, kushikatsu, and takoyaki while soaking in the bustling atmosphere of Osaka's culinary scene.
  • Osaka Castle Park Picnic

    Enjoy a leisurely picnic in the scenic surroundings of Osaka Castle Park, a historic park with lush gardens and cherry blossoms. Relax by the castle moat, savoring delicious bento boxes filled with local delicacies while admiring the majestic views of Osaka Castle in the background.













Day 7

Visit the iconic Himeji Castle, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and delve into Japan's rich feudal history and architectural marvels.

  • Day Trip to Himeji Castle

    Embark on a day trip to the iconic Himeji Castle, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of Japan's most well-preserved feudal castles. Explore the stunning architecture, intricate defense systems, and panoramic views from the castle keep, offering a glimpse into Japan's historical and architectural heritage.
  • Feudal History Tour

    Immerse yourself in Japan's rich feudal history with a guided tour that delves into the stories and legends of Himeji Castle. Learn about the castle's significance as a military stronghold, its intricate design principles, and the cultural importance of feudal architecture in Japan.
  • Architectural Marvels Exploration

    Discover the architectural marvels of Himeji Castle and its surrounding grounds, including the intricately designed keep, defensive walls, and unique features that showcase the craftsmanship of Japan's feudal period. Marvel at the precision and grandeur of this cultural masterpiece.













Day 8

Experience the tranquil beauty of Nara's deer park and the ancient Todai-ji Temple, home to the largest bronze Buddha statue in Japan.

  • Nara Deer Park Exploration

    Immerse yourself in the serene beauty of Nara Deer Park, where friendly Sika deer freely roam among visitors. Feed the deer special shika senbei (deer crackers), take peaceful walks along the park's paths, and capture memorable moments with these gentle creatures.
  • Todai-ji Temple Visit

    Step into the ancient wonders of Todai-ji Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to the Daibutsuden (Great Buddha Hall), housing Japan's largest bronze statue of Buddha. Marvel at the monumental architecture, intricate details, and spiritual ambiance of this historic temple.
  • Traditional Japanese Tea Ceremony

    Participate in a traditional Japanese tea ceremony near Nara Deer Park, where you can experience the art of matcha preparation and the serene rituals of tea serving. Learn about the cultural significance of tea in Japanese tradition while savoring the harmony of flavors in a tranquil setting.













Day 9

Delight in the futuristic attractions of Odaiba, from shopping malls to interactive museums, offering a blend of entertainment and technology.

  • TECHNOLOGY EXPLORATION AT MIRAISHI

    Immerse yourself in the cutting-edge world of technology at Miraishi, a futuristic interactive museum in Odaiba. Experience virtual reality simulations, holographic displays, and robotic innovations that showcase Japan's advancements in science and entertainment.
  • AQUA CITY SHOPPING EXPERIENCE

    Indulge in a unique shopping experience at Aqua City, a waterfront shopping mall in Odaiba offering a blend of upscale boutiques, trendy stores, and panoramic views of Tokyo Bay. Discover the latest fashion trends, exquisite souvenirs, and enjoy dining with a scenic backdrop.
  • TEAMLAB PLANETS IMMERSIVE ART

    Explore the mesmerizing digital art installations at TeamLab Planets in Odaiba, where immersive exhibits and innovative technology create surreal interactive experiences. Walk through water-filled spaces, luminous projections, and sensorial wonders that blur the lines between art and reality.













Day 10

Immerse yourselves in the traditional rural charm of Takayama, exploring its quaint streets and historic wooden houses.

  • Takayama Jinya Visit

    Experience the historical Takayama Jinya, a former government outpost showcasing Edo-period architecture and administrative buildings. Explore the preserved tatami rooms, courtyards, and witness the traditional governing system that reflects Takayama's rich heritage.
  • Sanmachi Suji Old Town Exploration

    Wander through the charming streets of Sanmachi Suji, Takayama's old town district lined with beautifully preserved merchant houses, sake breweries, and local craft shops. Immerse yourself in the nostalgic ambiance of traditional Japanese architecture and artisanal treasures.
  • Takayama Morning Market

    Explore the vibrant Takayama Morning Market, where local farmers and artisans showcase fresh produce, crafts, and unique souvenirs. Sample regional delicacies like mitarashi dango and Hida beef skewers while interacting with friendly vendors in this bustling market setting.













Day 11

Indulge in the natural wonders of Kamikochi, surrounded by the majestic peaks of the Japanese Alps and breathtaking alpine scenery.

  • Kamikochi Nature Walk

    Embark on a scenic nature walk in Kamikochi, surrounded by the majestic peaks of the Japanese Alps and stunning alpine landscapes. Explore the crystal-clear Azusa River, lush forests, and pristine trails that offer a glimpse into the untouched natural beauty of Japan.
  • Alpine Photography Expedition

    Capture the awe-inspiring beauty of the Japanese Alps with a photography expedition in Kamikochi. Frame the snow-capped peaks, vibrant alpine flora, and serene landscapes against the backdrop of clear blue skies for unforgettable snapshots of nature's grandeur.
  • Riverside Picnic Experience

    Enjoy a peaceful riverside picnic in Kamikochi, surrounded by the tranquility of nature and the soothing sounds of the river. Unwind amidst the breathtaking alpine scenery, savoring local snacks and refreshing drinks while appreciating the serenity of the Japanese Alps.













Day 12

Reflect on your journey through Japan as you partake in a farewell cultural activity, cherishing the memories created with your family.

  • Taiko Drumming Experience

    Immerse yourself in the rhythmic beats of traditional taiko drumming, a cultural art form that embodies energy, harmony, and unity. Participate in a hands-on taiko drumming session where you can learn basic techniques and feel the exhilaration of creating music with powerful drumming movements.
  • Kimono Tea Ceremony

    Experience the elegance of a Kimono tea ceremony, where you can participate in the intricate rituals of preparing and serving matcha (green tea) in a traditional Japanese tea ceremony. Learn about the cultural significance of tea and the gracefulness of wearing a kimono, embracing the refinement of Japanese customs.
  • Kabuki Theater Performance

    Witness the artistry of Kabuki theater, a classical Japanese dance-drama that combines elaborate costumes, dynamic performances, and storytelling. Attend a Kabuki performance at a renowned theater, immersing yourself in the rich traditions and captivating narratives of Japanese performing arts.













Accommodations

For a luxurious family-friendly stay in Japan, consider renowned resorts like Hoshinoya Tokyo, Okinawa's Ritz-Carlton, and the Sheraton Grand Hiroshima Hotel. These properties offer top-tier amenities and excellent service.

Booking websites like Booking. com and Expedia are great for finding deals on high-end accommodations.

For a family trip around late September to early October, consider booking in advance due to popular travel season during Japan's beautiful autumn foliage. Enjoy top-notch service, stunning views, and memorable experiences during your stay in Japan!

Food and Drink

In Japan, don't miss trying sushi, ramen, tempura, and matcha tea. For family-friendly dining, consider sushi conveyor belt restaurants or teppanyaki grills for entertainment. Tokyo's Tsukiji Fish Market offers fresh seafood, while Kyoto's traditional tea houses provide a serene setting for tea ceremonies. Tipping is not expected in Japan; instead, exceptional service is the norm.

For a high budget experience, indulge in Michelin-starred restaurants like Sukiyabashi Jiro in Tokyo or Ryugin in Hong Kong. Visit Kobe for the famous Kobe beef or Hokkaido for fresh seafood. Be mindful of dining etiquette, such as slurping noodles being seen as a compliment to the chef. Enjoy the seasonal delights like cherry blossoms in spring or snow crab in winter.

Sushi

Sushi

Sushi is a famous Japanese dish consisting of vinegared rice topped with various ingredients, such as fresh fish, seafood, and vegetables. It is often served with soy sauce, wasabi, and pickled ginger, and is celebrated for its delicate flavors and artistic presentation.

Ramen

Ramen

Ramen is a beloved noodle soup dish in Japan, featuring Chinese-style wheat noodles served in a flavorful broth, often accompanied by various toppings such as sliced pork, soft-boiled eggs, nori, and green onions. Each region in Japan has its own unique ramen style, making it a diverse and cherished culinary experience.

Tempura

Tempura

Tempura is a delicious Japanese dish consisting of lightly battered and deep-fried seafood and vegetables. The batter is made from flour, water, and sometimes egg, resulting in a crispy and light texture. Tempura is often served with dipping sauce and grated daikon radish, offering a delightful blend of flavors and textures.

Gyoza

Gyoza

Gyoza are savory Japanese dumplings filled with a mixture of ground meat, vegetables, and seasonings. They are typically pan-fried to achieve a crispy texture on the bottom, then steamed to cook the filling. Gyoza are commonly served with a dipping sauce made from soy sauce, rice vinegar, and chili oil, making them a popular and satisfying snack or appetizer.

Yakitori

Yakitori

Yakitori refers to skewered and grilled chicken, popularly enjoyed as a casual and flavorful food. The bite-sized pieces of chicken are seasoned with a savory-sweet sauce and grilled to perfection, resulting in juicy, tender, and aromatic skewers. Yakitori is often served with a side of pickles, making it a delicious and popular choice for izakaya dining.

Attractions and Activities

Japan offers a perfect mix of traditional culture and modern attractions for families. Visit Tokyo Disneyland and Universal Studios Japan for exciting theme park adventures. Explore Kyoto's historic temples like Kinkaku-ji and Fushimi Inari Shrine. Enjoy the scenic beauty of Hakone with a cruise on Lake Ashi and views of Mt. Fuji. Don't miss the interactive museums in Osaka like the Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan.

Off-the-Beaten-Path Experiences

Discover the eerie Aokigahara Forest, known as the 'Sea of Trees,' near Mt. Fuji for a haunting adventure. Immerse in traditional ramen-making workshops in Kyoto's hidden local shops for a taste of authentic Japanese cuisine. Experience the unique art island of Naoshima, blending contemporary art with stunning seaside landscapes.