Japan in nine days
If you only have limited time, this short tour offers the highlights of Japan, combining the fast-paced and futuristic city of Tokyo with the traditional and historical city of Kyoto. You’ll also visit Hakone, renowned for its hot springs and the ideal place to escape the hustle and bustle and soak up the beautiful scenery.
Watch sunset from the SkyTree
Escape the crowds at Meiji Shrine
Visit the home of Japan’s pop culture
See the UNESCO Toshogu Shrine
Take a beautiful bike ride in Hakone
Experience the bullet train
See traditional geishas in Kyoto
9 days from £2,500 pp
Plus international flights from £850
A 9-day holiday to Japan for a family of four would usually cost a minimum of around £10,000 plus flights.
There’s no two ways about it, Japan is expensive. To give you a guideline, a two-week holiday for a family of four to Japan would usually cost start from around £14,000 (excluding international flights). This is based on mid-range accommodation which will be scrupulously clean but not luxurious, and a couple of nights in a ryokan. You will have a couple of guided tours but much of the trip will be self-guided using our comprehensive and detailed trip notes.
If you want to stay in more upscale hotels, or be escorted by guides more frequently, the price increases substantially and a two-week holiday would start at around £20,000 (excluding international flights).
All prices exclude international flights. These start from £850 per person. We will be very happy to provide a flight quote for you from your nearest airport. Please ask us for details.
There are no age limits on our tours and we will tailor the itinerary to the ages of your children.
Rest assured that you have 100% financial protection if you book with Stubborn Mule Travel. This is guaranteed through our membership of the Travel Trust Association (membership number Q0176) and our ATOL membership (number T7608). Further details can be found on our Financial Protection page.
All you need to do is let us know a few key details about you and your family and we will do the rest. After a chat to understand more about you, we can produce an itinerary as a starting point and you can review this as many times as you need to until we get it just right.
Japan in nine days – day-to-day itinerary
When you arrive in Tokyo you will be transferred to your hotel.
Day 2 Tokyo
After breakfast, set out to explore Tokyo with a private guide.
This really is a city of contrasts, with diverse neighbourhoods that range from futuristic neon to historic temples. It may seem daunting, but your guide will help you navigate the efficient metro system.
First visit Asakusa and the striking Sensoji Temple, before checking out Tsukiji Outer Market for lunch and a browse through the interesting stalls. Afterwards, visit Meiji Jingu Shrine, an antidote to hectic city life. If it’s the weekend you may see a wedding taking place, the bride (in a white kimono) and the groom (in a black one) walking together under a red umbrella.
You’ll also explore the famous Harajuku area, ‘spiritual home’ for Japan’s unique pop culture, frequented by teenagers dressed up as their favourite manga characters. Finally, head to Shibuya, known for one of the world’s busiest crossings, and check out the Shibuya Sky observation deck.
Day 3 Tokyo
This morning enjoy a mind-blowing experience at teamLab Planets on the island of Toyosu, an immersive digital art experience featuring incredible art and light installations. The children will absolutely love it.
Afterwards, you are free to explore further, either around Toyosu and nearby Odaiba, or elsewhere in the city. Check out shoppers’ paradise Ginza for the most amazing department stores, or explore Electronics Town Akihabara, famous for its otaku or nerds. Otaku take their hobby seriously and whatever line of video games, comics, anime, manga, cos-play they’re into, this is where they come to get their fix.
For something more relaxing, take the Sumida River water bus to the leafy tranquil area that is Hamarikyu Gardens – seemingly unchanged since Edo times, when it was used by the shoguns and aristocracy for tea ceremonies and horse-riding practice.
Day 4 Tokyo – Hakone
Leave the freneticism of Tokyo behind and travel to Hakone. Here there are endless vistas of tree-clad hills dotted with quaint villages, all in the shadow of Mt Fuji, Japan’s most sacred mountain.
You will be provided with a ‘Hakone Pass’ that covers entrance to the main sights in the area. These include the famous open-air museum which uses the surrounding natural beauty as a backdrop for its exhibits. Popular with children is the Hakone Ropeway, a long cable car that offers panoramic views over the countryside.
In the evening, after settling in at your hotel, you can enjoy the local hot springs.
Day 5 Hakone
You have a full day to explore Hakone. Those with older children might enjoy escaping the crowds on a guided cycling tour, following a peaceful series of back roads through the beautiful scenery and stopping en route for a picnic lunch.
Read More Day 6 Hakone – Kyoto Day 7 Kyoto Later visit Kinkakaju, an exquisite gold-covered pavilion in a beautiful lakeside location. The afternoon is free. As the centre of traditional Japanese culture, Kyoto offers a wide range of activities to suit children of all ages. These include dressing up in a kimono, learning to cook ‘Bento box’ style, an origami or taiko drumming class or perhaps watching a ninja show. Also popular with families is a bike tour around the streets of the old town, hoping to catch a glimpse of a geisha strolling along the streets of Gion. Day 8 Kyoto You can also visit Fushimi Inari, one of Kyoto’s most photographed shrines. Here you can enjoy the iconic spectacle of thousands of orange torii gates lining the temple’s sacred mountain trails. Day 9 Kyoto – Osaka
This morning, travel by train to Kyoto. This is Japan’s ancient capital, a city firmly rooted in the past where deeply held traditions linger on. It is a city of ancient shrines, Zen gardens and geisha. With 17 UNESCO World Heritage sites (more than any other city), this is where you learn about Old Japan. Follow geisha along narrow lamp lit streets, attend a tea ceremony in a traditional tea house or enjoy the serenity of an exquisitely manicured garden.
This morning you will have a private guided tour of the city. First stop is the grand Nijo castle, dating back to the early 17th century. This sprawling and impressive building was the Kyoto home of the Tokugawa Shogun. Your next stop will be Ryoanji, famous for its UNESCO protected world heritage Zen gardens. You may recognise certain parts of the gardens as they have been featured in a wide range of films.
You have a free day today. Highly recommended is a day trip to Nara, Japan’s picturesque first capital. Top of the attractions here is the Giant Buddha Todai-ji Temple. Just behind the Buddha statue is a small hole, said to be the same size as Buddha’s nostril. Apparently if you can squeeze through the hole you will achieve enlightenment in your next life! Also make sure you visit Kasuga-Taisha, an ancient Shinto shrine set in a forest with semi-wild deer wandering around.
Make your way by train to the airport for your flight home.
Day 6 Hakone – Kyoto
Day 7 Kyoto
Later visit Kinkakaju, an exquisite gold-covered pavilion in a beautiful lakeside location.
The afternoon is free. As the centre of traditional Japanese culture, Kyoto offers a wide range of activities to suit children of all ages. These include dressing up in a kimono, learning to cook ‘Bento box’ style, an origami or taiko drumming class or perhaps watching a ninja show. Also popular with families is a bike tour around the streets of the old town, hoping to catch a glimpse of a geisha strolling along the streets of Gion.
Day 8 Kyoto
You can also visit Fushimi Inari, one of Kyoto’s most photographed shrines. Here you can enjoy the iconic spectacle of thousands of orange torii gates lining the temple’s sacred mountain trails.
Day 9 Kyoto – Osaka
Call us and we will be happy to provide you with a free-of-charge no obligation itinerary and quotation designed for you.
Japan in pictures
Why choose us?
- Unparalleled family travel experience
- Specialist knowledge across three continents
- Hand-picked local partners
- Every holiday is tailor-made for you
- 100% financial protection
- 24hr emergency contact number
We are members of the Travel Trust Association, a trade association of Travel Agents, Tour Operators and Travel Organisers that operate trust accounts in order to provide financial protection for the consumer. Membership number Q0176.
Our ATOL number is T7608.