In Japan, diverse and exotic experiences make it a perfect family destination. Theme parks, anime, and sushi are Japanese icons for kids. You and your family could stroll in centuries-old temples but also watch a futuristic robot cabaret show.
For first-time visits, you could spend at least 7–10 days in the classic Japan destinations: Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka. If you'd like to explore an aspect of Japan deeper, extend it to 2 weeks … or longer.
Read on for more ideas covering sample itineraries, travel costs, tips for family hotels, and more...
The Top 6 Things to Do in Japan for Families with Kids
Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka form the main chunk of most Japan tour itineraries.
- As the capital, Tokyo is the showcase city of Japan. Tokyo touring mainly focuses on modern life, anime culture, and theme parks (Hello Kitty, Pokemon Center, Disneyland…).
- Kyoto has well-preserved traditions and historic temples. Your kids can fully indulge in the cultural experiences: ninjas, samurai, afternoon tea with Geisha...
- Osaka is a paradise for street foods. Universal Studios with its Super Nintendo World and Osaka Aquarium are usually the highlights for kids.
You could also have side trips to Nara for deer, Hakone for ryokans (traditional inns) and hot springs, Hiroshima for educational and sobering war history...
1. Fulfill Your Anime Dreams in Tokyo
Japan is the homeland of anime cartoons and manga comic books. You could visit hundreds of anime stores, anime museums, and anime cafes in Tokyo alone.
Explore Akihabara — the anime mecca, meet Pikachu and all his friends at the Pokemon Center, and have a look in the Ghibli Museum, themed around the creative process of Hayao Miyazaki's films...
2. Meet Japan's Tech!
Japan is considered a futuristic country, which is full of world-leading technologies.
If seeing a walking robot doesn't make your kids say "WOW", how about having meals in a robot restaurant in Tokyo or seeing robots assembling cars in Nagoya?
Don't miss the digital art museums in Tokyo, like TeamLab Borderless or TeamLab Planets. You and your kids can immerse your bodies into the artwork and interact with it!
For your teenage kids, 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.
3. Indulge in Popular Theme Parks in Tokyo and Osaka
Japan is home to some of the world's best theme parks. Even if you've been to a Disneyland before, you still can have fresh fun in Japan.
In Tokyo, you can visit the only Disney Sea in the world. Don't miss Sanrio Puroland (Hello Kitty Land) in Tokyo if you have interested toddlers and younger children. Teens might be more interested in Legoland, Universal Studios Japan, and playing games in Super Nintendo World in Osaka.
Get more ideas about Best (and Worst) Times to Visit Tokyo>>>
Sharon has been very helpful since the…
Sharon has been very helpful since the beginning coordinating our itinerary in order to accommodate everything we want to see, it been great working with herMore
May, Jul 2023
When I first book I was scared of what…
When I first book I was scared of what to expect, but oh my God! What an amazing experience this has been, from Sharon to all the guides Shawn and Mr. Ho, such amazing people! Their work is excellentMore
Saul Velez, Jul 2023
Albee was very helpful and responsive…
Albee was very helpful and responsive in helping me make plans for their 10 day Japanese tour.More
Bhavini Patel, Jul 2023
Alisa was a perfect tour consultant
Alisa responded to my numerous questions with efficiency and accuracy. She was constantly suggesting options to make the trip more enjoyableMore
Matha Goram, Jul 2023
I highly Recommend Asia Highlights
For our first guide Jun, he was amazing. Very accommodating. Kept in good communication & kept us on time for our activities. Reached out to me the night before to confirm meet times and locations. Our driver for this time was also so kind & driver was always on time. For our second Guide , Ho. He went above and beyond. He stayed in great communication. Stayed later with us on one of the days because we were worried about riding the train back alone but wanted to visit at the shopping center a littler longer, so he stayed with us and made sure we got off on the right stop! During our time with him he took pictures of us and sent them to us! He was very knowledgeable about every place we visited. He was kind and patient with our large group. He made our trip easy & memorable. The driver we had for this timeframe was also kind & always on time! We felt a bond with both guides given to us! If you want an easy going, stress free trip book with “Asia Highlights”!!!More
Jessalynn Flores, Jul 2023
Working to put together a custom trip…
Working to put together a custom trip with Alissa has been a great experienceMore
Marc, Jul 2023
Wonderful Service from Sharon!
Sharon at Asia Highlights has been a HUGE help in planning our trip to Japan later this year. From her initial contact to finalization of the plan, she has been very responsive, professional, patient, and knowledgeable. She was able to quickly propose an amazing itinerary and helped us customize it for our interests. She also made many great recommendations and gave us tips for the trip. I wasn’t familiar with Asia Highlights before I reached out, but after Sharon’s wonderful service, I have full confidence in them. I can’t wait for the trip and I hope it’s as awesome as Sharon’s service!!!More
Ali Tahir, Jul 2023
We had a wonderful time in Japan with guides Moni and Kazuko and with Jan in Singapore. Will always remember this trip!More
Happy Customer, Jun 2023
Just got to say
Just got to say, Monica was great in every way! So sweet and helpful with planning, itineraries, answering questions… would love to meet her in person! Thank you Monica!More
Teri, Jun 2023
Monica is fantastic
Monica is fantastic. She understood our needs, was very responsive and planned a perfect vacation for us. Highly recommend.More
Philip Sheldon, Jun 2023
Me and my son are traveling to Japan
Me and my son are traveling to Japan. Albee is magnificent. Extremely efficient, helpful, trustworthy. I am very happy she is helping us with my son's dreaming trip.More
Ana Letícia Urbanin, Jun 2023
A great way to plan a dream vacation
Due to circumstances, we had to delay our trip to Japan so this review is only about the process of designing the trip. Albee was always available, responsive to our goals, and competent. Based on how involved he was with our family trip, we know we will be back next year and resuming the plan he built. Really impressed with the quality and extent of resources we found through Albee and KimKim.More
KC, May 2023
Yeliz - Asia Highlights
Yeliz was extremely helpful and patient during our Japan trip planning and answered all my various questions. Really looking forward to our upcoming trip to Tokyo, Mt. Fuji, Kyoto and Osaka!More
Cyndie, May 2023
Sharon’s was very patient and helpful…
Sharon’s was very patient and helpful when navigating me through the trip planning process. She helped me plan a very exciting and extravagant trip.More
Jonny Abad, May 2023
Wonderful 10 day trip in Japan!!!
Well planned trip by Alisa . Everything was well scheduled, guides and drivers were excellent!! The cars were extremely comfortable and the hotel she chose for us was beautiful!! Enjoyed planning with her she was very professional and always offered other choices.More
Lianne Stone, May 2023
11 days trip to Japan
I am planning my trip to Japan in November with Sharon's help and she has provided amazing customer service.She is very responsive and put together very quickly an incredible plan for 11 days in Japan. She provided recommendations and made changes based on our interests and budget. She also provided information about visa restrictions and the best way to get tickets for transportation services. Thanks so much Sharon, looking forward to this trip!More
LE, May 2023
Hi Cathy! I just want to thank you for making our Japan trip so much fun & memorable! We loved everything that you had scheduled for us! All the guides and drivers were great & punctual! We love Japan so much that we’re planning to go back next year to different part of Japan! We’ll definitely contact Asia Highlights for our trip again! SereneMore
Serene Storslett, May 2023
Quick, easy and detailed service
Alisa was our advisor from Asia highlights and she prepared for us a wonderful 28 day trip to Japan, taking into consideration our needs and desire not to be traveling everyday and to have a mixture of slow and busy days. We've not yet taken our trip, but very much looking forward to it Thank you Alisa for the quick response and wonderful itineraryMore
Lynette Whittle, Apr 2023
Sharon Huang did an excellent job in planningour 15 day Cherry Blossom Japan tour. Shewas available during our trip to answer our questions and readily agreed to the itinerary changes.Everything was arranged - accommodation,breakfast, guide, car, entrance fees and train tickets. The guides were knowledgeable, and managed the tour very efficiently. The drivers were punctual and very patient. We visited must see places in and near Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka and Hiroshima. We also got to experience Japanese Tea ceremony, Sushi making, Sake tasting, shopping etc.We highly recommend Asia Highlights for your travel needs.More
Madhu, Apr 2023
I organized a trip to Japan for my
I organized a trip to Japan for my parents who don’t speak English and Alisa was so amazing helping make an itinerary for them. They needed a Spanish guide and she coordinated everything so they wouldn’t have any trouble when they got there. She was so patient changing and adjusting the itinerary to their needs and wants, it’s been a total pleasure working with her and she always responds promptly to any question I have. I definitely recommend this company and if you can ask to work with Alisa.More
Luisa, Apr 2023
4. Experience Ryokans, Wear Kimonos and Take a Family Photo in Kyoto
Wearing kimonos could be the icing on your Japan-trip cake. Kyoto is the best place to experience it.
Wear an eye-catching kimono, visit the ancient temples and shrines, or have an afternoon tea with a geisha...
If you visit in the cherry blossom season, taking a family photo with nice kimonos among the cherry trees will create an unforgettable memory of your Japan trip!
If you're looking to celebrate parents' milestone birthdays or children's graduations, traditional Japanese inns (Ryokans) provide a perfect and unique backdrop. During a classic Ryokan stay, you are treated to special hot springs, a delectable Japanese dinner (Kaiseki), and traditional tatami flooring...
Contact us to customize more exclusive activities for your families...
5. Watch Summer Fireworks in Tokyo, Uji, and Kyoto
Firework shows are rarely seen in the USA or Australia, but you can indulge in this type of eye-feast in Japan throughout summer.
During one of the many firework festivals, have a seat at a traditional restaurant, meet the locals in yukata (Japanese clothing), and enjoy the spectacular fireworks.
6. Feed Deer at Nara Deer Park
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 will nibble them right out of your hand. Your kids might love the experience of interacting with the cute deer in a temple atmosphere!
How Long to Spend in Japan
For first-timers, 2+ weeks is ideal to gain a fuller view of Japan. Besides the top attractions, you could feed free-roaming deer in Nara, explore a traditional village in Takayama, or spend time understanding Japan's tragic war history in Hiroshima.
Considering a shorter visit, you're suggested to spend at least 7–10 days on Japan's top highlights in Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka.
Generally speaking, visiting two of the three cities is the best choice for a 7-day stay in Japan. Some travelers might squeeze these 3 cities in a week, but for a more comfortable pace, 10 days is better and more family-friendly, especially if you travel with little kids or aging parents.
For a quick layover trip, Tokyo is the best choice with its abundant convenient experiences: from anime museums to Disney theme parks, from robot restaurants to animal cafés...
The Top 3 Family-Friendly Japan Itineraries: Summer, 2-Week, and Essentials
As Japan is one of the most popular destinations for kids, many parents make a Japan trip as a birthday gift or graduation present.
Here, we've selected three itineraries for your inspiration. All schedules can be personalized for your family's travel goals, available travel days and dates, and other needs.
1) Best for School Children: 17-Day Summer-in-Japan Family Vacation
Summer is usually the best time for school-age children to have a family vacation. To avoid summer crowds, this 17-day summer trip expertly tours the iconic landmarks of Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, and Mt. Fuji, with kid-friendly fun in Nagoya and less-crowded experiences in Karuizawa.
Here's a sample itinerary for your consideration.
- Days 1–4: Tokyo sightseeing with anime, a ninja experience, and innovative digital art and robots
- Day 5: Tokyo to Mt. Fuji, with a side trip to Kamakura (a coastal summer retreat town with a giant Buddha)
- Days 6–7: Capture iconic and memorable pictures of Mt. Fuji.
- Days 8–9: Karuizawa outdoor activities: cool national parks and moderate hiking, bullet train experience to take you to Nagoya
- Days 10–12: Nagoya sightseeing — animated Ghibli Park and kid-friendly museums exhibiting cars/trains
- Days 13–14: Kyoto sightseeing — historic shrines and gardens, feed deer in Nara, traditional ryokan (Japanese inn) stay
- Days 15–17: Sightseeing in Osaka — Cup-Noodle Museum. Departure.
You'll have more details in 17-Day Japan Summer Family Vacation>>>
2) Popular 2-Week Japan Family Itinerary
If you have a flexible schedule, this classic 2-week family trip is best for you no matter the season. The world-class theme parks are some of its highlights.
Besides the "Golden Route" (Tokyo–Kyoto–Osaka), you could go somewhere off-beaten-the-track, like Takayama, and do something educational in Hiroshima.
You may get some ideas from our well-liked itinerary:
- Days 1–3: Tokyo (samurai, sushi, anime center, and Disneyland)
- Days 4–5: Takayama (old villages, ryokan with hot springs baths)
- Days 5–6: Hiroshima (Peace Memorial Park)
- Days 7–8: Osaka (Universal Studios, a culinary center)
- Days 9–13: Kyoto (geisha, ryokans, deer in Nara)
3) Japan's Essential Highlights: 9-Day Japan Highlights Tour
With time limited, you could shorten your family tour to 9 days and focus on the top highlights of Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, and Mt. Fuji (Hakone).
- Days 1 to 3: Tokyo sightseeing
- Days 4 to 5: Take a bullet train from Tokyo to Hakone for a ryokan and onsen (hot spring) experience. If the weather permits, you could have a perfectly-distanced view of Mt. Fuji.
- Days 6 to 7: Kyoto sightseeing
- Days 8 to 9: Osaka sightseeing. Departure.
How Much Does It Cost for a Family Trip to Japan
Unlike in other Asian countries, in Japan you can expect similar costs to those in Western countries. A private tour costs about US$350–500 per person per day for a family of 3–5 people. You'll have a private car with an English-speaking guide and stay at local 4-star hotels. For higher-end hotels, the price will go up by US$100–200 per person per day.
Japan is an all-year-round destination, and with that comes price fluctuations. The highest prices in Japan occur during the spring (March to May, which is cherry blossom season), rocketing to US$600–800 per person per day. To save some costs, you could join one of our mini-group tours (4–7 people only) in the cherry blossom season.
Travelling during national holidays means similar costs at Christmas and New Year, the Golden Week (April 29 to May 5) and school summer holidays (July and August).
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 room is small, Japanese hotels are famous for 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 travelling with a family of 4 or 5, etc. A ryokan is a nice local-style choice to solve this problem.
They have similar prices to 4-star+ hotels, but they allow you to fully immerse yourself in 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.
Family rooms and ryokans are always in shortage and their prices fluctuate frequently. Contact us at least 6 months in advance to have the best chance of room availability and choice.
Best Times to Visit Japan
Along with cool and pleasant weather, you could fly to Japan in spring (March to May: top choice) for the iconic cherry blossoms, or admire the colorful leaves in autumn (September to November: No. 2 choice).
Summer (June to August) is the peak time for family trips and also the festival season in Japan. Although you might encounter the rainy season (June to July), June is still the best month for the least crowds and the coolest temperature during the summer months.
You could enjoy a feast of fireworks and festival parades with drier weather if you come from late July to mid-August. For a summer trip, keeping your itinerary flexible is helpful to make the best of potential disruptions.
Winter (December to February) is the best time to enjoy hot springs and skiing. Because of the cool-to-cold weather, you would have better deals and meet fewer crowds when travelling in Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka.
For more weather info, you could read Best (& Worst) Times to Visit Japan>>>
How to Get Around in Japan
As a popular air hub in Asia, Tokyo receives most international flights to Japan, followed by Osaka. You can easily get nonstop flights from America, Canada, Europe, and Australia.
After landing in Japan, most travelers consider taking bullet trains and metros as a convenient and economic way between major cities (Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka).
But trains and metros are not always friendly to young kids and aging parents. Because you might have to walk a lot and spend time on transfers, especially in large stations. For a family trip, a private transfer is more suggested to relieve the stress of route planning and navigating.
Domestic flights are more advisable for long-distance journeys, such as from Osaka to Sapporo.
Touring Japan with Us
Contact us for a 1:1 travel consultant to customize a tour for you and your interests. He/she could email or call you at your convenience. We would provide you with a well-organized but flexible itinerary with a comfortable pace. Your local guide would save you from communication troubles, keep you safe, and deal with any issues or emergencies.
You could get inspiration from the following sample tours:
Why Travel with Asia Highlights (98.8% positive customer reviews among 10,000+)
- Unique experiences tailored to your interests: Enjoy a premium trip that goes beyond the typical tourist attractions.
- Hassle-free travel and peace of mind: Every aspect of your trip will be carefully planned and organized by your 1:1 travel consultant.
- Experienced and knowledgeable guides: Your guides will be local and love to work for travelers' smiles.
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Get Inspired with Some Popular Itineraries
At Asia Highlights, we create your kind of journey — your dates, your destinations, at your pace. You can have any trip tailor made for your travel.