Japan (City and Countryside)

This is an amazing trip with kids. This is the trip that made them fall in love with travel. Ever since- they've been asking, 'Where to Next!?'
— Carrie Kaufman
  • More about your oliver guide:
  • Trip type: Family, City, Mountains
  • Activity level: moderate
  • Ideal length of trip: Two weeks

to & from

SFO to NRT – American Airlines. We flew into Narita airport and took a car service to our hotel. The flight is not so terrible (even with kids) from California. If coming from East Coast I would fly to CA to break it up if possible.

Tokyo to Takayama – Train

Takayama to Kyoto – Train

Kyoto to Hiroshima – Train

Hiroshima to Miyajima – Ferry

Miyajima to Osaka – Train

Osaka back to Tokyo – Train

The rail system in Japan is clean, fast, reliable and easy to navigate. We used the Japan Rail system to get to most of our destinations. You should purchase a Japan Rail Pass to ride the trains at a discounted rate only available to foreign tourists. This web site provides detailed information on how to obtain a Rail Pass: http://www.japanrailpass.net/en/about_jrp.html

When we were in smaller towns and villages we walked, biked or took a taxi. Taking a taxi in Japan can get pricey, but you literally get “white glove” service.

stay

  • Tokyo - Four Seasons Hotel at Marunouchi - Centrally located- right near Tokyo Station- very friendly service - large rooms
  • Takayama - Ryokan Wanosoto- Experience traditional Japan tucked away in the mountains. When you step onto this property you feel like you stepped back in time. Kaiseki meals, Onsen, traditional Japanese fireplace.
  • Kyoto - Hyatt Regency - Modern hotel, great location, american breakfast
  • Miyajima - Ryokan Iwaso - Located on Miyajima Island (near Itsukushima Shrine, a UNESCO World Heritage Site) This Ryokan sits in a beautiful setting, but the rooms are very sparse. You stay here for the setting and experience

eat and drink

Japan has so many opportunities to try new foods. Be sure to check out Kaiten-zushi (conveyor belt sushi), traditional Kaiseki meal, tempura in Kyoto, yatai (Japanese Street Food), Ramen.

Be sure to visit the Park Hyatt’s New York Bar and Grill for an amazing 360 degree view of Tokyo, but skip the meal – just grab a drink. The price tag on that meal is practically equliavent to airfare!

do

  • (Tokyo) Ride the bullet train!
  • (Tokyo) If you are traveling with children take them to an arcade. They are everywhere around the city
  • (Tokyo) Miiji-Jingu Shrine, Museum of Engineering and Science
  • (Tokyo) Day trip to Mt. Fuji, Imperial Palace
  • (Tokyo) Stroll through the Harajuku neighborhood
  • (Tokyo) Visit one of the many animal cafes
  • (Tokyo) Tsukiji fish market (get there before the sun comes up to catch the live tuna auction)
  • (Tokyo) Akihabara (Electronics District)
  • (Takayama) Visit the Onsen at the Wanosoto, bike through the town (great place to shop for souvenirs), Hidda Folk Village
  • (Kyoto) Arashiyama Monkey Park, Bamboo Grove, Fushimi Inari Taisha (Red Tori Gates), Kiyomizu-dera Temple and Tenryu Temple
  • (Hiroshima) An amazing experience for the whole family
  • (Miyajima) At night this island is magical. Roam the streets after dark for a transformative experience. Take the tram then hike in Momijidani Park up Mt. Misen
  • (Osaka) St. Regis Bar, Kaiyukan (Osaka Aquarium)

inside scoop

  • If traveling with kids- bring snack foods. Sometimes the options can be a bit too exotic for young palates. The Japanese love seeing American tourists, particularly children- so be prepared to have your photo snapped by the locals This is an amazing trip with kids. This is the trip that made them fall in love with travel. Ever since- they've been asking, "Where to Next!?"
  • The Japanese love seeing American tourists, particularly children- so be prepared to have your photo snapped by the locals.
  • This is an amazing trip with kids. This is the trip that made them fall in love with travel. Ever since- they've been asking, "Where to Next!?"

skip it

  • Tokyo - Ueno Zoo

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