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Plan a Family Trip to Japan 2024/2025: Experiences and Itineraries

Plan a Family Trip to Japan 2024/2025: Experiences and Itineraries

By Vicky LengUpdated Feb. 21, 2024

Japan is renowned for its anime, authentic ninja experiences, world-class theme parks, mouthwatering Japanese cuisine, Japanese-style ryokans (traditional inns) with onsens (hot spring baths), and friendly deer in Nara. This makes it a perfect choice for an annual family vacation, a child's birthday, or a graduation gift.

For your first family trip to Japan, we suggest spending at least 8 days there to explore the best of Japan in Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka. If you want to cover a broader range of destinations and have a more enriching experience at a leisurely pace, consider extending your trip to 10–14 days.

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Top 6 Things to Do for Your Family Trip to Japan

Except for visiting the famous Mount Fuji, Asakusa street, and iconic shrines, Japan offers abundant family-friendly activities so that every family member can expect to have an unforgettable time together. Here, we've carefully selected the top six things to do in Japan for a family with teenagers.

1. Indulge in the World of Anime and Theme Parks

night view of Akihabara-anime corner Night View of Akihabara-Anime Mecca

Japan is the homeland of anime, manga comic books, and some of the world's best theme parks.

Tokyo provides the most anime venues of anywhere in Japan. Meet Pikachu and all his friends at Pokémon Center, immerse yourself in a creative fairytale world at the Ghibli Museum, enjoy food inspired by cartoons at an anime café that features your child's beloved anime characters, and explore Akihabara, the anime mecca of Japan.

Tokyo and Osaka have top-class theme parks. Even if you've been to a Disneyland before, you could still have fresh fun in Tokyo's, and soak up the atmosphere at the world's only DisneySea. Super Nintendo World at Universal Studios Japan in Osaka is a realistic replica of the large Mario world that would leave you and your kids feeling amazed at first glance.

If your kids want to explore LEGOLAND, Sanrio Puroland (Hello Kitty Land), or other theme parks, our Japan travel advisors could arrange it for your family.

2. Immerse Yourself in Handpicked Family-Friendly Experiences

Authentic ninja experience in JapanAuthentic ninja experience in Japan

Your whole family could suit up in classic ninja outfits and learn about ninja culture and techniques from a master. Try your hand at rolling sushi at a local home or Tsukiji Outer Market, and taste your skills as lunch. Wear kimonos to take memorable family photos at medieval shrines and temples, giving you the feeling of traveling back in time.

These three activities are the most popular among our family clients. If you have other preferences, just tell us and our Japan travel expert could customize more exclusive activities for your family.

3. Experience Japanese Accommodation at a Traditional Ryokan with an Onsen

 A traditional Japanese ryokan A traditional Japanese ryokan

Don't miss a stay at a quintessentially-Japanese ryokan with a family room (accommodating 3–5 people). Your whole family could sleep on tatamis and relax in an onsen. Some ryokans provide open-air hot springs, allowing you to unwind in an onsen while admiring nature's beauty.

A ryokan usually has 5–15 rooms and they're easily fully booked. To ensure that you have a wider range of options, we suggest you book at least 3 months in advance.

4. Feed Deer at Nara Park

Feeding deer in NaraFeeding deer in Nara

When entering the park, you're welcomed by the lovely deer. They bow their heads down as if they are saying hello to you.

Buy some crackers to feed them and they would nibble them right out of your hand. Your kids might love the experience of interacting with the cute deer in a temple atmosphere!

5. Meet Japan's High-Tech!

Japan is known to be a futuristic country, which is full of world-leading technologies.

Don't forget the digital art museums in Tokyo, such as teamLab Borderless and teamLab Planets. You and your kids could immerse your bodies in the artwork and interact with it!

If seeing a walking robot doesn't make your kids say "Wow", how about having your meals in a robot restaurant in Tokyo or seeing robots assembling cars in Nagoya?

For your teenage kids, the SCMaglev and Railway Park in Nagoya would be paradise. Taking a high-speed train allows you and your kids to appreciate lots of scenery smoothly and quickly.

6. Experience Family Biking Outdoors in Nature

biking ride along Lake Kawaguchiko Biking ride along Lake Kawaguchiko

For families who like biking, there are two particularly recommended places: Lake Kawaguchi and Yokohama. This is because other cities have narrow roads that are unsuitable for biking.

Lake Kawaguchi is the best place get a view of Mount Fuji and it offers flat bike routes. You could ride a bike and enjoy the view of Mount Fuji as its reflection merges with the tranquil lake, and have a close interaction with nature.

Biking in Yokohama is extremely attractive during the cherry blossom season (March to April). You could admire the cherry blossoms lining the wide roads and experience the petals dropping on you with the spring breeze.

Japan Itineraries for a Family Vacation: from 8 to 14 Days

We recommend spending at least 8 days in Japan to experience the main highlights of Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka.

If you have a 10-day vacation, you could also visit some popular nearby places, such as Hakone or Nara.

If you have 12–14 days, you could visit some traditional rural villages, such as Takayama and Kanazawa, as well.

Below, we offer you four handpicked private Japan family itineraries. Each route has many family-friendly experiences and you won't have to switch hotels frequently. We would customize any itinerary you choose to work with based on your requirements.

8 Days: Essential Japan with Disneyland

Osaka-Kyoto-Nara-Tokyo
  • 2 nights in Osaka
  • 2 nights in Kyoto
  • 3 nights in Tokyo

This 8-day itinerary covers the "golden triangle" cities of Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka. You would be immersed in the highlight experiences as well as having a fun family day at Tokyo's Disneyland.

In Osaka, your whole family would learn about exciting ninja weapons and techniques while wearing ninja clothes, experience the unique ukiyo-e printmaking technique to gain insights into Japanese culture in an interesting way, and sample authentic Japanese street food in the Dotonbori district.

Kyoto is a culture-rich city. Wander through thousands of orange-red torii gates while wearing a kimono at Fushimi Inari Shrine, craft your own Kyoto pottery as a one-of-a-kind keepsake, and experience a night's stay at a traditional ryokan.

Lastly, take the Shinkansen to Tokyo, a capital city with a perfect blend of history and modernity. Stroll around the city's oldest temple, Senso-ji, to feel the charm of the Edo vibe, explore Japan-exclusive products at Pokémon Center, make a bowl of ramen at one of the best ramen shops, and have fun at Disneyland.

10 Days: Essential Japan with Yokohama and Nara

Tokyo- Yokohama - Hakone - Kyoto - Osaka
  • 5 nights in Tokyo (side trip to Yokohama)
  • 2 nights in Kyoto (side trip to Nara)
  • 2 nights in Osaka

This 10-day Japan itinerary includes visits to Yokohama and Nara, along with the destinations covered in the 8-day itinerary. Many families prefer the 10-day length as it allows you to explore the best of Japan without feeling rushed.

In Yokohama, you and your family could explore the city at your own pace by bike and make some cup noodles by choosing your favorite soup base and toppings at the CupNoodles Museum.

Nara is a popular place for families. You and your kids could have close interactions with the friendly deer and it could be a memorable experience to feed the deer in a temple atmosphere.

12 Days: Essence of Japan with an Onsen Experience in Hakone

Tokyo- Hakone - Kyoto - Osaka
  • 3 nights in Tokyo
  • 2 nights in Hakone
  • 3 nights in Kyoto (side trip to Nara)
  • 3 nights in Osaka

In this 12-day Japan itinerary, you could visit Japan's top cities of Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka, and add the charming town of Hakone.

Hakone is famous for its onsen, making it an ideal place to indulge in relaxation by spending some nights at a ryokan with hot springs. Take pleasure in the tranquil countryside scenery as you unwind in the onsen with your family. You also have a free day to discover this town on your own.

14 Days: Essence of Japan, Extending to Hiroshima and Rural Villages

tokyo-kanazawa-hiroshima-osaka
  • 3 nights in Tokyo
  • 1 night in Takayama (side trip to Shirakawa)
  • 1 night in Kanazawa
  • 2 nights in Kyoto (side trip to Nara)
  • 1 night in Hiroshima
  • 4 nights in Osaka

This 14-day itinerary provides you with the chance to visit modern Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka, as well as picturesque and off-the-beaten-path Takayama and Kanazawa.

In Takayama and Kanazawa, you would find many well-preserved buildings. Takayama is particularly known for its traditional farmhouses with steep, thatched roofs that resemble and are called 'praying hands'. In Kanazawa, your whole family could apply gold leaf to chopsticks or plates, transforming them into golden masterpieces.

Hiroshima is a significant location to visit as it was the first city to be attacked by an atomic bomb during World War II. By visiting the site of the bombing and exploring the museum's exhibits, you could help to educate your children about the importance of peace.

How Much Does It Cost for a Family Trip to Japan

cost of Japan

US$350–500 per person per day is the typical cost for a private tour with 4-star hotels, based on a family of 3–5 people. This includes a private guide, private car, full-day itinerary, tickets for attractions, all intercity transport within Japan, and handpicked 4-star hotels.

Travel costs in Japan during peak times might be higher or even twice as expensive as usual, such as the cherry blossom season (March to April), summer vacation (June to August), and Christmas and New Year. We suggest planning your family trip at least 3 months in advance, especially for these times, as booking earlier would give you more options and savings.

Get more ideas about How Much Is a Trip to Japan>>>

Best Times to Visit Japan

Visiting the traditional temple in cherry blossom season Visiting the traditional temple in cherry blossom season

Japan is a year-round destination and has four distinct seasons. The best times to visit Japan are in spring (March to May) for the cherry blossoms and in autumn (September to November) for the autumn foliage. Both periods have pleasant weather and clearer days.

Most family groups choose to travel during the school vacations, such as June, July, August, December, and January. Among these months, June is a better time to travel for families compared with July and August as it offers cooler weather and smaller crowds (the official Japanese summer vacation begins in July).

The average climate of Tokyo in Japan:

Month Ave. Max. Temp Ave. Min. Temp
January 11°C (52°F) 2°C (36°F)
February 12°C (54°F) 3°C (37°F)
March 15°C (59°F) 5°C (41°F)
April 19°C (66°F) 9°C (48°F)
May 23°C (73°F) 13°C (55°F)
June 26°C (79°F) 18°C (64°F)
July 30°C (86°F) 22°C (72°F)
August 32°C (90°F) 24°C (75°F)
September 28°C (82°F) 20°C (68°F)
October 23°C (73°F) 15°C (59°F)
November 17°C (63°F) 9°C (48°F)
December 12°C (54°F) 4°C (39°F)

How to Select a Family-Friendly Hotel in Japan

Hotel rooms are as small as 18–22 square meters (190–240 square feet) in 3/4-star hotels in Japan. Although the rooms are small, hotels in Japan are famous for their cleanliness, efficient design, and excellent staff service.

The extra-bed option might not be available in some hotels and family rooms are rare as well. So, if you need a family room, you might need to pay more at higher-end hotels.

What's more, you'd need two rooms if you're traveling as a family of four or five, etc. A ryokan is a nice local-style choice to solve this problem.

Ryokans have similar prices to 4-star+ hotels, but they allow you to fully immerse yourself in the unique Japanese culture. Have the amazing experience of sleeping on tatami mat floors as a family and eating fresh kaiseki-style dinners! The only challenging part is that you might feel that a tatami mat floor is a bit harder than you are used to.

How to Get Around in Japan

Shinkansen in JapanShinkansen in Japan

As a popular air hub in Asia, Tokyo receives most international flights to Japan, followed by Osaka. You could easily get nonstop flights from the USA, Canada, Europe, and Australia.

The famous Shinkansen (Japanese bullet train) provides an efficient and comfortable way to travel across Japan without worrying about delays or spending a lot of time at the airport. Most cities in Japan are conveniently connected by the Shinkansen. For example, it takes 2½ hours to travel from Tokyo to Kyoto and only 15 minutes from Kyoto to Osaka.

Most hotels and supermarkets in Japan offer luggage delivery services, which could help you transport your luggage to your next destination or airport, saving you the trouble of dragging your luggage around.

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