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Japan Family Journey: From Ancient to Modern Times

11 days, Tokyo to Kyoto

Japan is a feast for the senses, from its electrifying neon-lit neighbourhoods to tranquil hilltop temples. Experience an intriguing mix of modernity and tradition as we explore dazzling Tokyo, imperial Kyoto, and the mountain city of Nagano. Wander Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines, practice sumo wrestling and samurai swordplay, and sample wasabi-infused culinary concoctions. In this fascinating land of anime, snow monkeys, and high-speed trains, there is something to delight every member of the family.

11 days

Tokyo to Kyoto

From$37839HKD
Valid on Jul 9 2022
Trip Code: AJTNF

Need a flight? We can help.

Call us to book your flights! We'll find you the best option!

Japan is a feast for the senses, from its electrifying neon-lit neighbourhoods to tranquil hilltop temples. Experience an intriguing mix of modernity and tradition as we explore dazzling Tokyo, imperial Kyoto, and the mountain city of Nagano. Wander Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines, practice sumo wrestling and samurai swordplay, and sample wasabi-infused culinary concoctions. In this fascinating land of anime, snow monkeys, and high-speed trains, there is something to delight every member of the family.

Is this tour for me?

Travel Style: National Geographic Family Journeys

Trips for adventure-loving families in search of a meaningful way to discover the world together.

Service Level: Upgraded

Quality accommodations and more inclusions than on other G Adventures tours, like meals, private transport, and activities.

Physical Rating: 3 - Average

Some tours may include light hiking, biking, rafting, or kayaking in addition to walking.

Trip Type: Small Group

Small group experience; 20

Age requirement: 7+

All travellers under age 18 must be accompanied by an adult.

Visa Requirements

11 days

Tokyo to Kyoto

From$37839HKD
Valid on Jul 9 2022
Trip Code: AJTNF

Need a flight? We can help.

Call us to book your flights! We'll find you the best option!

Creating ripples that change lives

The Ripple Score is an honest evaluation of how often we use local businesses and services to create each tour. With this score you can see the percentage of our local expenses that stay in the communities you visit. Learn more

Ripple Score

87

Map of the route for Japan Family Journey: From Ancient to Modern Times

Places visited

Itinerary Notes

Prices are based on double occupancy; all other room configurations are on request and cannot be guaranteed. We will accommodate triples/quads whenever possible. Please call for further details.

Family Journeys are designed for groups traveling with children between the ages of 7 and 17. Your group must include a child in order to book, and anyone under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult.

There are new Health & Safety Protocols for National Geographic Journeys tours. Please see here for full details and up-to-date requirements as they may change.

Itinerary

Day 1Tokyo

Arrive in time to meet your fellow travelers for a welcome gathering this evening. Your arrival transfer is included.

Day 2Tokyo

Today, we’ll see Tokyo from a local’s perspective, traveling by public transit. We start from a traditional Japanese taiko drumming class. Hear how these traditional wooden drums are made and learn three different playing techniques. Put your newly acquired skills to the test during a group performance together with a professional Wadaiko drummer. Later a visit to the serene Meiji Jingu shrine, dedicated to the spirit of Emperor Meiji. Then hit the streets of the buzzing Harajuku district, where kitschy-cute street fashion and candy-colored wigs are the order of the day.

Exclusive Inclusions:

Your Family Journeys Moment Traditional Taiko Drumming Class

Meals included:

Breakfast

Day 3Tokyo

Learn Japanese secrets to longevity in a cooking class on Okinawa cuisine, originating from the Japanese island reputed to have the highest life expectancy in the world. Prepare a selection of dishes using typical ingredients and learn about the beneficial qualities of each. Savour your creations for a nutritious lunch and spend the rest of the day discovering Tokyo at leisure.

Exclusive Inclusions:

Your Journeys Highlight Moment Okinawa Cooking Class

Meals included:

Breakfast | Lunch

Day 4Tokyo/Nagano (area)

This morning, take a crash course in Japan’s national sport: sumo wrestling! Get initiated into this explosive martial art, which originated as a religious ritual more than a thousand years ago. Learn about the wrestlers’ rigorous routine and mindboggling calorie intake, earn basic technique and watch Sumo wrestling. After the class, explore the traditional side of the city. Later, journey to Nagano, the beautiful mountain city that hosted the 1998 Winter Olympics. Settle into our historic ryokan — or traditional Japanese inn — located just outside the city, in the hot springs town of Shibu Onsen.

Exclusive Inclusions:

Your Family Journeys Moment Sumo Wrestling Class

Meals included:

Breakfast | Dinner

Day 5Nagano

Nagano is home to the Japanese macaque, or snow monkey — one of the only primate species that can survive below freezing temperatures. Venture to Jigokudani Yaen Koen (Snow Monkey Park) to watch these furry simians scampering about the rocks or taking a soak in one of the thermal pools, fed by natural hot springs. Then head into Nagano city to explore the 7th-century Buddhist temple of Zenkoji, home to the very first Buddha statue brought to Japan.

Meals included:

Breakfast

Day 6Nagano

Travel to Matsumoto for a visit to one of Japan’s most treasured castles. Known as the “crow castle” for its imposing black exterior, the Matsumoto fortress dates to the 16th century and was once a stronghold of the samurai, Japan’s elite military class. Later, we make our way to a wasabi farm to learn all about this fiery Japanese condiment and its laborious cultivation. Opt to taste a variety of wasabi products, including wasabi-flavored pickles, crackers, noodles, juice — even wasabi ice cream and chocolate. If you’re brave enough, take a nibble of wasabi in its purest form: fresh!

Exclusive Inclusions:

Your Foodie Moment Wasabi Farm Visit

Meals included:

Breakfast

Day 7Nagano/Kyoto

Hop on the bullet train to Kyoto, which served as Japan’s imperial capital for more than a millennium. Delve into the aromatic alleys of Nishiki Market, one of the most popular food markets in the city. Opt to sample local specialties like barbecued quail, soy milk donuts, sesame ice cream, and more, taking your taste buds on a culinary roller coaster. This evening, venture to Gion, Kyoto’s renowned geisha district. As you wander its lantern-lit streets, you might catch a glimpse of a geisha — traditional female entertainers recognizable by their distinctive makeup.

Meals included:

Breakfast

Day 8Kyoto

This morning, pay a visit to the Fushimi Inari shrine, located just outside of Kyoto. Dedicated to the Shinto god of rice, this beautiful temple is known for its Senbon Torii — a stunning walkaway of vermilion-colored gates. Later, dive into another fun-filled cooking class, rolling up your sleeves to make a steaming bowl of ramen noodles.

Exclusive Inclusions:

Your Family Journeys Moment Ramen Making Class

Meals included:

Breakfast | Lunch

Day 9Nara

Spend the day discovering ancient Nara, where Japan’s first capital was established in the early 8th century. Immerse yourself in the ornate halls of the Todaiji temple, and gaze upon the largest bronze Buddha statue in the world, standing nearly 50 feet tall. At Kasuga Taisha, Nara’s most celebrated shrine, stroll romantic walkways lined with hundreds of bronze and stone lanterns, and wander amid the gardens of Nara Park, where herds of semi-domesticated deer roam free. Check out the shops and galleries of the Naramachi district before returning to Kyoto.

Meals included:

Breakfast

Day 10Kyoto

Unleash your inner warrior this morning with a lesson on samurai swordplay. Learn how to wield a Japanese sword and witness an unforgettable performance by masters of kembu, or sword dance. In the afternoon, explore the picturesque Kiyomizudera temple, perched on a hilltop near a sacred waterfall. There is much to keep you busy here: ring giant prayer bowls, sip holy water — said to have wish-fulfilling qualities — or muster the courage to walk through the Tainai Meguri, a lightless underground tunnel that symbolizes the visitor’s journey to enlightenment. This evening, celebrate your Japan adventure at a farewell dinner.

Exclusive Inclusions:

Your Journeys Highlight Moment Kembu Masters

Meals included:

Breakfast | Dinner

Day 11Kyoto

Depart any time.

Meals included:

Breakfast
View full itinerary

What's Included

  • Your Journeys Highlight Moment: Okinawa Cooking Class, Tokyo
  • Your Journeys Highlight Moment: Kembu Masters, Kyoto
  • Your Family Journeys Moment: Traditional Taiko Drumming Class, Tokyo
  • Your Family Journeys Moment: Sumo Wrestling Class, Tokyo
  • Your Foodie Moment: Wasabi Farm Visit, Matsumoto
  • Your Family Journeys Moment: Ramen Making Class, Kyoto
  • Tour of Tokyo including Meiji Jingu Shrine, Asakusa and Harajuku districts
  • Traditional taiko Japanese drumming class
  • Sumo class led by a former wrestler
  • Sleep in a ryokan (traditional Japanese inn) and enjoy a kaiseki dinner
  • See wild snow monkeys at the Jigokudani Monkey Park
  • Visit the Buddhist temple of Zenkō-ji
  • Visit Matsumoto castle
  • Visit a local wasabi farm
  • Walk through the Nishiki Market and Gion Geisha District with your CEOs
  • Visit the iconic Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine
  • Take part in a ramen making class
  • Tour Nara including visits to the Tōdaiji Temple, Kasuga Grand Shrine and the Naramachi district
  • Visit the famous Kiyomizu-dera Temple
  • Japan Rail (JR) pass (7 days)
  • All transport between destinations and to/from included activities

Accommodations

Hotels (9 nts), traditional Inn (1 nt)

Meals

10 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 2 dinners
Allow USD390-510 for meals not included.

Transportation

Bullet train, express train, local train, ferry, metro, taxi, public bus, walking

Staff & experts

2 CEOs (Chief Experience Officers) throughout

Price Options

  • From$37839HKD Per Adult
  • From$36439HKD Per Child

Make it a private tour

Interested in a private departure with your own CEO and all the benefits of a National Geographic Family Journeys group tour? Our Private Travel team can make this happen for you. Click above to start your private journey.

Japan Family Journey: From Ancient to Modern Times

| 11 days - Tokyo to Kyoto - from $37839 HKD