How to Plan an Incredible Family Trip to Japan in 2023/2024. Learn more.
How to Plan an Incredible Family Trip to Japan in 2023/2024

How to Plan an Incredible Family Trip to Japan in 2023/2024

By RitaUpdated Aug. 25, 2023

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...

Check out the summer bestseller for Japan

1. Fulfill Your Anime Dreams in Tokyo

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

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!

A boy immerses his body into the sunflowers in TeamLab Borderless. A boy immerses his body into the sunflowers in TeamLab Borderless.

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.

Click here to plan your tailor-made tour now. Your 1:1 travel consultant will reply within 1 working day.

3. Indulge in Popular Theme Parks in Tokyo and Osaka

Playing games in the Super Nintendo World Playing games in the Super Nintendo World

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.

98.8% Positive Customer reviews among 10,000+

4. Experience Ryokans, Wear Kimonos and Take a Family Photo in Kyoto

Wearing Kimonos like locals Wearing Kimonos like locals

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

Girls in yukata are watching fireworks Girls in yukata are watching fireworks

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

Feeding deer at Nara Deer Park Feeding 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!

Get your family to the heart of Japan's beauty:

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...

Recommended Itinerary

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

japan travel guide

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

japan travel guide

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)

Check out the details of our popular family tour of Japan >>>

3) Japan's Essential Highlights: 9-Day Japan Highlights Tour

japan travel guide

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.

For more details, see our Japan Highlights Tour >>>

Do you have other interests? You might be inspired by one-week itineraries and two-week ideas>>>

Want an exclusive itinerary for your family? Contact us to tailor-make one! Our Japan expert will contact you within 24 hours and customize an itinerary for you!

Recommended Itinerary

How Much Does It Cost for a Family Trip to Japan

How Much Does a Trip to Japan Cost

Unlike in other Asian countries, in Japan you can expect similar costs to those in Western countries. A private tour costs about US$350–400 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).

For these periods, book your hotels and tours half a year in advance! With us, you enjoy 100% refund of any payments made to Asia Highlights prior to 3 weeks before departure (detail⇒).

Cherry Blossom Tour to Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka at US$3,699 Per Person

How to Select a Family-Friendly Hotel in Japan

Ryokan-traditional inn Ryokan-traditional inn

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.

Recommended Itinerary

Best Times to Visit Japan

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

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>>>

Recommended Itinerary

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.

Recommended Itinerary

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.

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.

More Travel Ideas and Inspiration

We are here to help you...
Start planning your tailor-made tour with 1-1 help from our travel advisors. Create My Trip
4.9 ExcellentTrustPilot rating TrustPilot Logo

Sign up to Our Newsletter

Be the first to receive exciting updates, exclusive promotions, and valuable travel tips from our team of experts.

The Asia Highlights Experience

1-to-1 Expert Planning

1-to-1 Expert Planning

Your tour will be tailor-made to suit you by a destination expert. Your personal travel advisor will always reply within 24 hours.

Personal Journeys

Personal Journeys

Enjoy having your own personal local guide and ride. Explore destinations at your own pace. Have as much flexibility as possible.

Authentic Experiences

Authentic Experiences

Go beyond the sightseeing. Understand the destinations by practicing the local culture and interacting with local people.

One-Stop Service

One-Stop Service

Leave all the booking work to us, including international and internal transportation, visas, hotels, meals, and activities.

Where Can We Take You Today?

About Us
At Asia Highlights, we are committed to providing you a premium, quality private tour, whether it's a milestone trip, family trip, or bucketlist trip — your planning will be made easy with just one specialist throughout. Know more ...
Rated 4.9 out of 5 | Excellent
China Highlights International Travel Service Co., LTD
Corporate Number: 914503003486045699
Featured on