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Explore family-friendly Japan, a place where the ancient and the ultra-modern stand side by side
Gather up the family and embark on an adventure through Japan, surely one of the world’s most intriguing countries. From ancient emperors to technological gizmos, it’s a flurry of excitement. Learn an age-old style of calligraphy, feast on sushi and Japanese pancakes, gaze across Tokyo from the heights of the city, soak your bones in steaming onsens, sleep on a traditional tatami, and explore some of the most amazing temples and forestlands in the country. With local expertise to draw on at every step of the way, this is a family holiday that’s sure to yield lifelong memories.
From $4,828*per adult twin share
From $4,260*per child twin share
Please note that these trips are for adults and children travelling together and there must be at least one child under 18 with you. Minimum age for children on this trip is 5 years old.
31 July 2019
Day 1: Tokyo
Konnichiwa! Welcome to Tokyo, Japan’s dynamic capital. Make your way to your first night’s accommodation and check in. Your adventure begins with an important welcome meeting at 5pm in the hotel lobby, where you’ll meet your leader and be introduced to the other families. Afterwards, consider joining the group for an optional dinner at a local restaurant.
There are no meals included on this day.
Check the hotel reception or noticeboards for the location of the welcome meeting. If you can’t arrange a flight that will arrive in time, you may wish to arrive a day early so you’re able to attend. If you’re going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We’ll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader.
Day 2: Tokyo
Kick things off with a visit to Sensoji in Asakusa, Tokyo’s oldest Buddhist temple (some 1300 years old!) set on the banks of the Sumida River. Nearby you will discover a great shopping street, where you can find a quirky Japanese souvenir or sample some traditional snacks. Later, you and your family will be treated to a traditional calligraphy lesson. Learn to write your name in Japanese (and maybe learn to say a few words!) with the help of a local teacher. There might also be the chance to visit a manga (Japanese comic and cartoon) market, located in Akihabara.
You’ll have some free time this afternoon so you might like to head across town to Shinjuku, central Tokyo’s most vibrant district. Here you’ll find the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building which offers panoramic city views from its 202m high observation deck, as well as the giant Godzilla statue. Afterwards you could try a classic Tokyo meal of sushi or yakitori (grilled skewered chicken) and, for that quintessential Japan experience, perhaps even some karaoke!
Day 3: Tokyo
This morning your tour leader will take you for a walk around the famous Tsukiji Outer Market, where fresh seafood from Tokyo’s largest wholesale fish market (recently moved from Tsukiji to a new site at Toyosu) is delivered daily. Wander the narrow aisles of this atmospheric marketplace to find all sorts of delicious and uniquely Japanese food – from fish and shellfish to barrels of green tea, dried seaweed and all manner of pickles and other tasty morsels. Afterwards, pop into one of the many sushi restaurants nearby for the freshest lunch you could hope for! Then head to expansive Yoyogi Park, and wander down Takeshita Dori and Omotesando to people watch your way through Harajuku, a neighbourhood simultaneously known for its eccentric tribes and teen pop culture. Sample one of Harajuku’s famous crepes or try some of its 3D latte art, said to be the best in Tokyo! Tonight head out for a fun meal of okonomiyaki (a non-sweet pancake with cabbage, seafood or meat) cooked on a sizzling hot plate while aboard a boat on Tokyo Bay, surrounded by the sparkling lights of the city.
Day 4: Hakone
Bid farewell to Tokyo and catch your first shinkansen bullet-train, which travels at speeds up to 285 km/hour, to Hakone. You will see that it’s astonishingly easy to travel by train in Japan. Trains operate with amazing precision, and the sight of a white-gloved guard bowing to a carriage full of travellers is something the kids are sure to remember! Part of the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park, Hakone is a place of staggering natural beauty. It’s also a veritable playground with a long list of holiday activities on offer – soaking in hot spring onsens, going on bush walks, chilling out by peaceful lakes, taking in beautiful views of Mt Fuji (if you’re blessed with good weather!), or even exploring an open-air modern art museum. Tonight you’ll experience Japanese ryokan (traditional inn) hospitality – sleeping on futon in a tatami mat room, wearing yukata (a light kimono-style robe) and enjoying Japan’s amazing onsen culture.
You will have the option to send your bags on to Hiroshima. This is an optional service for all families that your leader will discuss with you on the trip. The cost is JPY 1,500-2,000 per bag paid locally.
Day 5: Hakone
Renowned as an excellent resort area since the Meiji period, Hakone and its natural onsens make a great place to relax and unwind with the family. Today we take a ropeway and cable car up to the top of Owakudani (Geothermal Valley) and hopefully catch views of Mt Fuji, up close and personal. We then head on to Lake Ashinoko, a natural caldera formed after a major volcanic explosion some 3000 years ago, and take a cruise onboard a unique pirate boat. Back on land, we pay a visit to the Karakuri Secret Box Museum – try to open these beautifully hand-crafted boxes which originated in Hakone or purchase a unique Japanese gift to take home. We might stroll along Hakone’s ancient cedar avenue which in samurai times was part of the old Tokyo-Kyoto highway. In your free time in the afternoon, you might like to hike through the rare grasslands area of Sengokura or thoroughly pamper yourself at Hakone’s large hot spring theme park which has an amazing variety of baths ranging from the traditional to cave baths and water slides!
Day 6: Hiroshima
Back on the bullet-train, we make the journey down the east coast of the Japanese archipelago to the city of Hiroshima. A visit to Hiroshima is sobering, but the tragedy that happened here is an important part of history to confront. In the afternoon, we visit the Genbaku (A-Bomb) Dome and the Peace Memorial Park and Museum, both of which stand as an emotional testament to the fateful day in August 1945 when Hiroshima became the first target for nuclear attack. The dome was just metres from where the bomb detonated and managed to retain its shape, eerily standing exactly how it was prior to the attack. These days it stands as both a symbolic reminder and a monument to peace. In the evening you might like to seek out the savoury pancake okonomiyaki – also a signature Hiroshima dish with its own particular twist. There are lots of casual places to try it in this very friendly and welcoming Japanese city.
Day 7: Hiroshima
This morning we head for the beautiful island of Miyajima, just a short ferry ride across the Inland Sea. The island is home to the venerable Shinto shrine of Itsukushima, famous for its huge bright orange gate (torii) which is absolutely stunning when the tide is high. Maybe take a stroll through the lovely Momiji Park (known as Maple Valley), or consider a walk or the cable car up to the top of Mt Misen (keeping an eye out for the hungry deer that roam the island) for panoramic views of the expansive Inland Sea and its many islands.
If there’s time on your return to Hiroshima in the afternoon, you might like to visit five-storied Hiroshima Castle, which originally dates from the 1590s, though it was destroyed by the bomb and reconstructed in all its glory after the war. Or, in the season, you might like to watch an evening baseball match – one of Japan’s most popular sports and a fun experience shared with enthusiastic Japanese baseball fans and local families.
Day 8: Kyoto
We jump onboard the bullet train to Kyoto, arguably the most stunning city in Japan. On the way there, make a stop at Himeji Castle, Japan’s most impressive samurai castle. The building, which has survived earthquakes and war since the mid-16th century, was restored to its full glory in 2015 and is now UNESCO listed. The moats, towers and walled alleyways were ingeniously designed to trick attackers. We explore the castle that was once home to over 10,000 samurai families and look out over the city far below. We reach Kyoto after another hour’s journey on the bullet-train.
The charms of Kyoto, the former imperial capital, are subtle and profound. While you’re here, you’ll see some of the finest temples, shrines, palaces and gardens in the country, with a nice mix of included activities and free time. In the afternoon visit Nishiki-Koji Market in the heart of Kyoto’s downtown area to see what goes into Kyoto’s famed “Kyo-ryori” (or Kyoto cuisine). Then spend early evening wandering the Gion district with your leader, seeing if you can spot geiko (geisha) or maiko (apprentice geisha) dressed in elaborate kimonos and make-up on their way to events and functions.
Day 9: Kyoto
Kyoto was originally founded as Heian-kyo in 794 and enjoyed a golden age during the imperial court’s heyday up until 1185. The city’s current name literally means ‘Capital City’, even though the Emperor and the government now reside in Tokyo.
Today we’ll head to Kyoto’s famed Fushimi Inari Shrine – known throughout the world as the ‘Path of the Red Gates.’ If we are feeling fit we’ll walk further than most visitors, allowing us to experience both the well-known part of the shrine, as well as taking time to appreciate the quieter corners and stunning city views from the shrine’s ‘half-way point.’ After that, your leader will take you to another one of Kyoto’s UNESCO-listed temples or shrines (there’s 17 at this point of time!) which will give you an insight into Kyoto’s history as the seat of imperial power for over 1,000 years and its equally long Buddhist heritage. In the afternoon you have time to do your own exploring – you might like to catch a maiko cultural performance, participate in a tea ceremony demonstration or do an obanzai (Kyoto-style) cooking class.
Day 10: Kyoto
Explore more of this delightful city. This morning you’ll enjoy a boat cruise down the scenic Hozu River in the Arashiyama area in the hills west of Kyoto. Look along the banks for Japanese maples in autumn or plum or cherry blossoms at springtime. At the end of the ride you will visit Tenryu-ji Temple which is right near an incredible bamboo grove. This bamboo forest is one of the most photographed sights in the city, and you’ll see why. It’s like stepping into another dimension.
In your free time, you might like to consider taking the family on a fun rickshaw ride (two-wheeled wagons pulled by fit young men in traditional garb) around the Arashiyama area. Or you may like to pay a visit to the nearby Toei Kyoto Studio Park – a theme park used for the shooting of period dramas (jidaigeki films) set in the Edo period. You can soak up the atmosphere of feudal Japan and perhaps enjoy a ninja show or visit one of the studios used for filming. Back in central Kyoto, you could also experience a performance of traditional swordplay.
Day 11: Kyoto
Today is yours to enjoy Kyoto however you please. There are plenty of optional activities to choose from. Perhaps head out with the family and explore on a bike. This is definitely one of the best ways to navigate the city, and one of the most popular routes is following the delightful Kamo River from the northern outskirts of Kyoto down through the city’s heart, stopping for a bento box lunch along the way. Kyoto is regularly voted one of the best bicycle cities in Asia, and for good reason. The city is largely flat and the roads are well maintained. Or if cycling is not your thing, you could check out Kyoto’s Manga Museum or visit the Kyoto Railway Museum, which even houses one of Japan’s first bullet trains, or try your hand at making your own bowl of ramen. Alternatively, consider a complete kimono makeover and transform yourself into a maiko, samurai lord or ninja for the day!
Day 12: Kyoto
Your family adventure comes to an end today. There are no further activities planned and check out is around 10am.
Why you’ll love this trip
Select dates from 21 July 2019 – 30 April 2020
2019 TRAVEL DATES
2020 TRAVEL DATES
Select dates from 21 July 2019 – 30 April 2020
9 months interest free available from $267.18 per week for two people.
***Magazine subscription is from the available range of magazines offered by 7 Travel and fulfilled by Pacific Magazines Pty Limited. Once you’ve secured your booking you’ll be emailed a web link with a redemption code to order your preferred magazine for the six-monthly subscription. Upon redemption you will be notified by email of your subscription start date.
To add flights to your holiday, please call and speak with a 7travel agent today.
Please note that these trips are for adults and children travelling together and there must be at least one child under 18 with you. Price advertised is based on 2 adults & 2 children travelling together.
Minimum age for children on this trip is 5 years old.
A single supplement is available on this trip with exception of Day 4 & 5 (Hakone) and Days 6 & 7 (Hiroshima)
Due to the rapid increase in tourism in Japan and in the lead up to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics it has been necessary to go outside our traditional tour leader sources. As a result our passionate, professional and trained tour leaders may be local Japanese or long term foreign residents in Japan.
JR RAIL PASS:
A 7 day JR Rail Pass is included in the price of this trip. This pass is validated on Day 4 when travelling from Tokyo to Hakone and can be used until Day 10 of this tour. Please see the transport section of your Essential Trip Information for more details.
Accommodation in Japan can be difficult to secure at short notice. If you are travelling in Japan before or after your trip, we recommend booking accommodation at least 1 month in advance of travel, especially in high season (March to May, September to November).
For families wanting to book a triple room we can request these for all destinations except Tokyo and Kyoto where triple rooms are not available. In which case we will book you a twin share room + single room
Most of our families find the diversity of Japanese food surprising. Trying different foods is great fun and an opportunity to understand a little about Japanese culture. Some of the different meals you can enjoy include: sushi, soba noodles, ramen noodles, monjaki and okonomiyaki (savoury pancakes), takoyaki (ball-shaped Japanese fried snack – a bit like the Japanese equivalent of fish fingers), yakitori (skewered chicken). There are also great treats to try including green tea kit kats and ice-creams, pounded-rice desserts such as mochi and dango, and lots of types of sweet red bean cakes. Yum! For anyone in search of food for a picnic the majority of department stores have food halls (depachika) with an eyepopping selection of different types of food. Also, convenience stores (combini) are around nearly every corner and have snacks to tempt the fussiest eater. If in doubt and needing a little taste from home the Japanese chain Moss Burgers have great hamburgers, and in the major cities there are more western options such as pasta and pizza as well as great bakeries.
Breakfast in Japan
Some of our families are surprised by the traditional Japanese breakfast foods and the western variations that our accommodation provides. Rice or noodles with fish or meat are common breakfast foods in Japan. Typical western foods available generally include toast, eggs, tea and coffee, and sometimes cereals.
For Child prices, please call and speak with a 7travel agent
Discount applies to new bookings only for departures between 1st July 2019 – 30th April 2020. Bookings must be made and deposited between 1st July – 7th August 2019. The discount applies to the tour price only and cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer (except the Qantas Points offer if applicable) and are not combinable. Discount does not apply to local payments, permits, additional travel arrangements, international and local airfares. Deposit of $400 per person per trip is required upon booking. If booking within 56 days of departure, full payment is due immediately. All tours are subject to availability. *Prices are per person, twin share, low season, tour only. Prices, itineraries and inclusions are subject to change without notice. Standard booking conditions apply.
Is this trip right for you?
There is still quite a bit of walking involved, so you’ll need a good level of fitness. Comfortable walking shoes are essential.
Sleeping on a futon on a tatami (mat floor) in a traditional ryokan is great fun, but keep in mind that in some places the facilities are shared. As part of this you’ll get to experience a traditional Japanese onsen bath, such as the hot springs in Hakone!
Hotel Sunroute Asakusa
1-8-5 Kaminarimon, Taito-ku, Tokyo 東京都台東区雷門1-8-5
Phone: +81 3 3847 1511
Joining point description
Asakusa Sunroute Hotel is conveniently located in the heart of Tokyo. The hotel is within a 1-minute walk from Tokyo Metro Tawaramachi Station and Ueno Park is within 30 minutes walk. Rooms are equipped with an ensuite bathroom, air conditioning/heating, a refrigerator and a flat-screen TV. The hotel also offers internet access and laundry service. Although Tokyo is a big city it is not too difficult to get around, quite safe, and people are friendly and helpful. Be sure to take a business card from reception before heading out into the streets, just in case.
Joining point instructions
The Hotel Asakusa is conveniently located five minutes’ walk from the Tsukuba Express’s “Asakusa Station” and a one-minute walk from Ginza’s “Tawaramachi Station”.
Narita airport is approximately 60km from Tokyo and a taxi would cost you about $US250. Therefore, we recommend you take the train. It is not too complicated and there are plenty of people around to help you out if you need it. If you walk towards immigration when you arrive you will see signs to the train station located underground, here you can go to the ticket office and ask for a ticket on the Keisei line to Tawaramachi. Ask for “kaisoku no densha” or “tokyu no densha” which are the express local trains costing approximately 1000Yen, it takes about 1 and a quarter hours to Ueno station.
When you arrive at Ueno you will need to change to another train from the JR Ueno station across the road from Keisei station. Get off the train and follow the exit signs to JR Ueno go up the escalators on your left side towards the main road, Shinobazu pond will be on the right exit. Once you’re outside you will see the JR station across the road so walk left and cross at the traffic lights.
Follow the sign to the Ginza line with a yellow circle. Here you will need to buy another ticket for 170 yen, the machines have an English option but all you need to do is insert the money and press the 170 yen button and your ticket will come out. Enter the gates using your ticket and hold onto it until you exit the next station.
From Ueno station it is a 3 minute train ride to Tawaramachi station, go to track 2 in the direction of Asakusa. Tawaramachi will be the second stop after Ueno, get off here and go to Exit 3. Sunroute Asakusa is a 1 minute walk from here, the post office will be on your right with a sign that looks like a “T” walk left away from the post office and you will see Sunroute Asakusa on your right hand side of the road. Walk to the traffic lights and cross the road to the same side as your accommodation.
Option 2 is catch the train to Asakusa station which is a 5 minute walk.
It is also possible to ask for the next Skyliner (1 or 2 per hour) which is 2,000 yen and takes an hour. There are many trains that leave from the same platform so be sure to ask someone getting on the train that it’s the right one.
Alternate Joining points
For trips departing on the following dates, use this joining point.
29 Sep 2019 (CJFP190929)
Hotel Park Side Ueno
2-11-18 Ueno, Taito-ku, Tokyo 東京都台東区上野2-11-18
Phone: +81 338365711
Located right across from Shinobazu Pond, and conveniently close to Tokyo’s vibrant Ameyoko-cho district and the museums and galleries of Ueno Park.
Karasuma Kyoto Hotel
Shijo-sagaru, Karasuma-dori, Shimogyo-ku 京都府 京都市下京区烏丸通り四条下ル
Phone: +81 753710111
Finishing point description
Karasuma Kyoto Hotel is located in the downtown area of central Kyoto, approx. 400m from the main shopping street of Shijo Street and the Nishiki Market. There are subway stations and bus stops nearby so it’s easy to get to Kyoto’s main sites. There are plenty of cafes, restaurants, supermarkets and department stores in the immediate neighbourhood. The Gion district (including Ponto-cho), the Kamogawa River and the Higashiyama temple precinct are also accessible by foot, within 1.5km away.
Finishing point instructions
Japan has a very efficient public transport service and there are many ways to get from your hotel to the two airports in the Kansai region (Kansai Airport (KIX) or Itami Airport). Both airports are located a long way from Kyoto so we advise you use the efficient public transport options available rather than considering a taxi. We can also book a shared airport shuttle bus service that will take you from your hotel to either airport, which needs to be arranged in advance through your booking agent before you leave your home country for Japan. The shared shuttle bus service we use for both airports in Kyoto is MK Shuttle Bus (for more info: http://mk-group.co.jp/english/shuttle_kyoto.html). Please wait at your hotel and MK will pick you up. Please note that as this is a shared shuttle bus service, your bus will stop at different hotels on the way to the airport to pick up other passengers. If there are any issues with your airport transfer, please contact your tour leader.
If you are making your own way to the airport by public transport, please talk with your leader or consult with the hotel’s reception desk.
Alternate Finishing points
For trips departing on the following dates, use this finish point.
07 Jul 2019 (CJFP190707), 29 Sep 2019 (CJFP190929)
Ai Matsubara Kyogoku House
349 Tenjinmae-cho, Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto-shi 京都府京都市下京区天神前町349
Phone: +81 755855470
Ai Matsubara Kyogoku House is conveniently located in the center of Kyoto, about 2km from Kyoto station, 10-minute walk from Subway Shijo station (exit 4). 1-minute walk from Matsubara bus stop.
Our itineraries are updated regularly throughout the year based on customer feedback and to reflect the current situation in each destination. The information included in this Essential Trip Information may therefore differ from when you first booked your trip. It is important that you print and review a final copy prior to travel so that you have the latest updates. Due to weather, local conditions, transport schedules, public holidays or other factors, further changes may be necessary to your itinerary once in country. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary seasonally to ensure our travellers have the best experience. Your tour leader will keep you up to date with any changes once on tour.
A selection of optional activities that have been popular with past travellers are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn’t an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only for some of what might be available. Prices are approximate, are for entrance only, and don’t include transport to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. All activities are subject to availability. It may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination, so some pre-planning for what you are most interested in is advised. When it’s recommended that travellers pre-book these activities, look for a note in the Special Information section of the day-to-day itinerary. For most, they can either be organised independently on the day, or let your leader know you are interested and they can assist.
Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. Although it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Medium and high risk activities not listed above have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and leaders are unable to assist you with organising these activities. Activities that contravene our Responsible Travel policies are also not listed. Please remember that the decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk.
*From price. All prices below are in Australian Dollars and are based on per person Twin share occupancy unless stated otherwise.
Savings % is calculated on the maximum discount across all ex points.
Valued at price is based on the maximum price across all ex points.
All accommodation is subject to availability at time of booking.
^Guaranteed availability on selected travel dates only. Restrictions & conditions apply. See website for full terms, conditions & travel dates. Please ask us for further details or visit our website at www.7travel.com.au. 7travel provides holiday packages offered by Ignite Holidays Pty Ltd & is a subsidiary of Ignite Travel Group. ATAS Accreditation No. A10345.
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