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Japan 2022 Family Trip 2021/10/6 16:58
Dear all,
We are a family of 4 (very travelled children 10 & 8 year old). We got already the flight tickets to Japan for July 2022. We are fully vaccinated.
Could you give me please feedback about our itinerary?
Day 1: Very early arrival in Tokyo. (14.7)
Day 1-2-3: Tokyo (14.7 -> 16.7)
Day 4: Trip to Hakone or Kamakura. (17.7)
Day 5: Tokyo -> Nikko (18.7)
Day 6: Nikko -> Kanazawa (19.7)
Day 7: Kanazawa (20.7)
Day 8: Kanazawa -> Hiroshima (21.7)
Day 9: Hiroshima (Trip to Miyajima) (22.7)
Day 10: Hiroshima -> Kosayan (23.7)
Day 11: Kosayan -> Kyoto (24.7)
Day 12: Kyoto (25.7)
Day 13: Kyoto (26.7)
Day 14: Kyoto (Trip to Nara) (27.7)
Day 15: Kyoto -> Tokyo (28.7)
Day 16: Tokyo (29.7)
Day 17: Flying back (30.7)
Also I am not sure if we should get the Rail travel card...
Any suggestions are very appreciated and welcome.
Thank you.

by M.D (guest)  

Re: Japan 2022 Family Trip 2021/10/6 17:17
Time wise - it looks ok. I don't know your kids - but a lot of the locations you are visiting potentially don't look that kid friendly. You seem to be visiting a lot of traditional areas (which I love). Smaller kids - not so much.

Looking at stuff for the kids to do which will give them something to look forward to will make dragging them to temple after temple (Nikko, Kamakura, Kyoto) more bearable.
by mfedley rate this post as useful

Re: Japan 2022 Family Trip 2021/10/6 18:18
Thank you for taking the time to answering me.
I was thinking to do kids-friendly stuff in the big cities (Tokyo, Kyoto).
Do you have any recommendations of things to do and places to go for children that I could add?
by M.D (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Japan 2022 Family Trip 2021/10/6 19:38
I just had another look at your schedule and noticed that it's actually around 5 hours by train between Nikko and Kanazawa. Kanazawa to Hiroshima is another 4.5 hours which is a long day of travel.

Before I and others make suggestions - why do you want to visit Kanazawa?

Kanazawa is nice and all - but it's awfully out of the way with where you want to travel. You also seem to be spending a lot of time in temple/shrine locations.

Some are more fun for kids such as Miyajima. Others seem like a whole lot of temple/shrine hopping which will not be so fun with kids.

What are your interests? Do you like traditional places? Anime stuff?

I do like Koyasan - but will your kids be ok with eating vegan Buddhist food (mainly soy/mushroom based) with no real easy options for alternatives unless you bring it with you?

Moving around less with kids and doing more day trips would also possible be a good idea. Here is a good possible basic plan

Day 1 - 6 (Tokyo)

Potential long day trip to Nikko

Day 7-8 (Hiroshima)

Make the Tokyo to Hiroshima day an early one. Drop off your bags around lunch in Hiroshima and spend the afternoon at Miyajima.

Spend a day in Hiroshima and then go back to Kyoto

Day 9-15 - Kyoto

There are lots of great day trips in the Kyoto area. Some of my favourites include:

Hikone (nice castle - a good compact day which is not too far from Kyoto)
Himeji (another option of a castle and other stuff to do)
Nara. If I had kids, I'd probably stick to Todaiji Temple, Nara Park + Kasuga Taisha. I also personally liked the Nara National Museum which is a good option for wet days. Do note that you will get sick at looking at really old statues here!
Nagahama: A nice traditional town (with castle) which is less than an hour train ride from Kyoto. It's biggest selling point (when I visited) was the Nagahama Roman Passport - which gave you access to 5 location of your choice for 1000 yen. There was a lot of choices so you could visit a residence, garden, museum, castle, temple or figurine exhibition (which I would suggest for the kids). There was like 15+ places to choose from.


I've heard that some kids like Toei Edomura (others call it a tourist trap so I can't confirm). Some people also say good things about the train museum in Kyoto as well. I've visited Disney Sea in Tokyo but expect long lines. In Tokyo - I also like things such as the Edo Tokyo Open Aire Architecture Museum or the Nihon Minkaen in Kawasaki (traditional building museum outside)
by mfedley rate this post as useful

Re: Japan 2022 Family Trip 2021/10/6 20:57
@Mfedley makes a lot of good points as always, specially about your proposed visit to Kanazawa. I like it but there are other options which involve much less travel. An important question is what sort of things do you and your kids want to see/do?

I always want to stay at least two nights in a location as otherwise a lot of your days are taken up with travelling & checking in/out so I would day trip to Nikko from Tokyo to avoid the hassle of changing hotels.

I would add another day in Hiroshima in case of bad weather (dont forget to check the tide times for Miyajima) Besides I love the place.

If I were to drop Kanazawa then there are many options between Tokyo & Hiroshima Osaka, Kobe, Okayama, Kurashiki, Onomichi etc.

If you have a wet day while in Kyoto then Osaka Aquarium is a great option.
I'll try to think of some more kid friendly places.
by Stan Norrell rate this post as useful

Re: Japan 2022 Family Trip 2021/10/7 00:58

I have an almost 11 year old who went to Japan once a year between the ages of 5-9 and will be going back to Japan as soon as travel is open again.

I don't know where you are from, but it looks like you are traveling in July. Depending on where you are from many people find July incredibly hot and humid. I personally deal well with that, but just be aware of the heat and humidity in case you are from somewhere that doesn't experience those sorts of temperatures on a regular basis *cough* most of Europe *cough* because I know the heat and humidity sometimes gets my kid to be crankier than she would be otherwise.

I found giving my child her own camera helped to make visits to temples and shrines a lot more fun. It gives her more freedom to decide what she finds interesting. She also really likes collecting Goshuin (temple stamps.) I'm hoping next trip to convince her to seek out some Sangaku art with me.

One thing my child does not like is super long train trips. I try to limit how many 3+ hours train trips we do and try to keep them further apart. She also doesn't like changing hotels super often. Our last trip we did: 3 nights in Tokyo, 1 night in Nagano, 1 night in Kanabayashi onsen, 1 night in Tokyo Disney and 2 nights in Tokyo. That was about as much as my child wants to switch hotels. I think it also helped that Nagano and Kanabayashi onsen are near one another and there was same day baggage delivery between the two if you dropped off bags early enough. And again from Tokyo Disney to Tokyo was an easy move. We stayed at Tokyo Disney to get all the benefits of staying on property.

Kyoto is really hot and humid in the Summer. I think it's worse than Tokyo. I am not sure I would spend as much time there, despite the fact we miss it.

I can confirm the Disney parks are crowded in the Summer unless the weather is bad, the same holds true for USJ. Rainy weather==perfect theme park day if you don't mind getting wet because the lines are much shorter and if there is no lightning, most rides still run. Despite liking Miyazaki movies, I find the current Ghibli Museum underwhelming, though at some point a new park is going to open in Nagoya.

I keep planning to visit Edo Wonderland in Nikko. It keeps getting cut from my itinerary, but it looks like it would be a lot of fun with kids.

My daughter loved Miyajima. She particularly loved it at low tide because you can walk out to the torii and she found that particularly fascinating.

I've been to Toei Eigamura in Kyoto, but it was back in 2002? At the time we were the only obvious foreigners there and it was a nice break from just seeing more traditional parts of Japan.

We collect fashion dolls, so we really enjoy going on a tour of the factory where the ones we collect are produced. But I also in general find factory tours interesting, because I like seeing how things are made.

Mine liked Nara because there are deer. She also liked the monkey park in Kyoto and the monkey park in Nagano.

I liked Kanazawa more than my daughter, but I really liked Kanazawa lol

And whether a rail pass makes sense sort of depends on what you in the end decide to do as an itinerary. But again, while we like Kyoto and my daughter loved Miyajima, I think it's important to be aware of your family's humidity tolerance and go with an itinerary from there. It might make sense to try to sightsee in the Tohoku region or Hokkaido instead. My daughter enjoyed Matsushima.

Good luck!

by rkold rate this post as useful

Re: Japan 2022 Family Trip 2021/10/8 15:20
We got already the flight tickets to Japan for July 2022. We are fully vaccinated

I am surprised that you were able to buy flight tickets. As of current entry into Japan for non residents is virtually impossible. Even people who apply now for visas (eg work visa) while they can apply for the COE , no visa will be issued and they cannot travel to Japan to start their job. The good news is that recently the state of emergency which was in place for many months in Tokyo and Osaka has finally be lifted and there is a new prime minister. But Japan is moving INCREDIBLY slow on any kind of decisions, and much slower on anything that involves foreigners.
So while there might be hope that borders will be opened as vaccination rates in Japan and in your departure country are rising, I would think that initially only visa holders for spouse/work/student will be permitted to enter and probably in low numbers. Until that backlog is cleared up and if the situation of Covid doesnft get worse I would not expect for touristic travel to resume.
I know that where Covid started s sometimes read here comments of gboarders will remain closed foreverh. I still donft believe that at all. But the reopening has yet to start.
So I hope that your flight tickets are reimbursable or rebookable to an other destination and that you start making alternative plans for 2022.
You can still continue making travel itineraries for Japan, I just wouldnft put a date on them.
by LikeBike rate this post as useful

Re: Japan 2022 Family Trip 2021/10/8 21:25
I visited japan 3 times, the first two alone (April, May) and the third in 2019 (end of June, beginning of July) with my two youngest children.
I visited Kanazawa alone, do you want to take your kids there for something special? like the "neighborhood" of the Samurai? or any relationship with Kenrokuen (he is beautiful)? but for children...... I don't know.
Would I stay another 2 days in Tokyo, is this including a visit to Disney? or Ghibli Museum? for my children one day in Akihabara was not enough, we had to go back.... and Nikko they will be delighted.
Tokyo to Hiroshima and two days there is a great option, as @mfedley said and then to Kyoto, where we stayed in a great hostel... go to Nara (only the kids can play and feed the fagots in Nara Park already we stayed for more than 1 hour, they didn't want to leave there) go to Osaka for the kids to visit the beautiful Aquarium and/or Universal Studios a park where the kids at least one day had a lot of fun.
Now the downside, I will NEVER go to japan in June/July, the heat was winter, for the children it was a sacrifice, the rains robbed us of visiting days, but we are also planning, after the borders open, a new visit in May if they are open.
by pirataurbano rate this post as useful

Re: Japan 2022 Family Trip 2021/10/8 23:29
If I were you, I would make Nikko visit as a day trip from Tokyo, like mentioned earlier by the other respondents. Or stay there for a couple of days for the Edo wonderland and Kimugawa boat ride, etc. for kids if it is available.

And, I see and hear many places in Japan require wearing a mask even if you are vaccined. So, if this rule still exist when you visit Japan and you are not happy with that, I think visiting later is better for your comfort especially since July is hot and humid.

As for border closure, you can check here on https://www.mofa.go.jp/ca/fna/page4e_001053.html
by mamoru (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Japan 2022 Family Trip 2021/10/9 14:02
If you want to visit Kanazawa for its garden, Okayama (Korakuen Garden) works much better into your itinerary and nearby Kurashiki has a nice historic area (if that's what interested you about Kanazawa). In Korakuen Garden, you can now buy bread to feed the fish, so that adds something fun for kids.

Like Kenrokuen in Kanazawa, Korakuen is another one of the designated "Top 3" gardens and is the oldest of the 3. It's one of my personal favorites. Also, you may be able to enjoy peach parfaits in Okayama in July. Okayama's peaches are the best!

Kyoto also has similar streets to Kanazawa's historic streets.
by Rabbityama rate this post as useful

Re: Japan 2022 Family Trip 2021/10/9 23:30
I agree with Rabityama, that Okayama works better into your Itinerary than Kanazawa. If you do get a train pass, think about staying in Okayama instead of Hiroshima, and just go to Hiroshima as day trips.

Maybe after Nikko, you could go to Mastuyama, and see the black castle, and from there, take a bus to Takayama for a day or two. You could then take another bus to either Kyoto or Osaka from Takayama.

If you donft know much about busses, visit the Nohi bus line web page. They are based out of Takayama, and have many suggestions for things to do, including a tour of Shirkawa-go, with an English speaking guide.

For the kids, south of Osaka is Shirahama, which a hot springs beach resort town. Atami is another hot springs beach resort town near Hakone, so that might also be good for the kids. Atami will have fireworks on several days, so you might look into that.

You should also look into some of the festivals to go to. Japanese schools go until mid July, and festival will abound. Two early July festivals that I enjoyed was Tanabata Star Festival in Hiratsuka (near Tokyo) on 7/7, and the Nachi Fire Festival on 7/14 (near Shirahama). You will find many images if you search the web.

As for the train pass, choose a 7 day one, and carefully cluster time away from Kyoto and Tokyo into those seven days. If you use the Nohi bus to get from Tokyo and Kyoto, you can avoid having an active train pass in those two cities. This means you will not be forced to spend only seven days away from Tokyo.

The final suggestion involves Miyajima Island. Try to time going there just after a full or new moon. The tides will be more extreme, and allow you to go to the floating shrine in the morning, and walk out to the beaches Tori Gate in the afternoon.

Good luck, in planning your trip.
by ebaychucky311 rate this post as useful

Re: Japan 2022 Family Trip 2021/10/11 11:29

I was in Japan almost the exact same time as @Pirataurbano in June 2019 to July 2019. It was a particularly dry time when we were in Kansai and my daughter spent a lot of time complaining about the heat. Again, I do pretty well with heat and humidity and if you are accustomed to visiting Florida in July, you're not going to be bothered, but for some people the heat and humidity can just be awful.

Unless you are staying overnight or you have kids that are SUPER into train travel, I would not go to Shirahama as a day trip. Honestly, unless you plan to spend more than a few days down there I would not go to Shirahama. It's not really near anywhere else you want to go and while the beach I am told is pleasant (I've just been to the beach in next door Tanabe which was pleasant.) It's a long trip for a beach. My child would mutiny if we had several long train trips planned in a row and she even has a Switch with plenty of games. She just doesn't want to sit.

My daughter has been to Kenrokuen and Kairakuen. I've been to all 3. I like Korakuen but it's really sunny and I would imagine in heat and humidity is miserable. Honestly, if you want to see a garden and your kids aren't excited about gardens, I would just visit the one attached to Himeji or the one attached to Hikone since either has a castle too, which might be more appealing.

I'm going to assume @ebaychucky311, meant Matsumoto not Matsuyama because Matsuyama is on Shikoku almost across from Hiroshima and no where close to Nikko.

I really liked Matsumoto. My daughter thought it was OK. It's a really long trip though and not close to Nikko at all. You have to backtrack all the way to Omiya and then transfer to Nagano and then transfer from Nagano to Matsumoto. Now if you were cutting some of your Kansai trip, you might enjoy visiting the mountains around Nagano and Matsumoto, but I am unsure you want to add them to your trip and have more single night stays and more long trips.

If you go to Kansai, my daughter loved the Kyoto Handicraft Center. It was inside and air conditioned and had lots of fun crafts for decent prices that are traditional.

But again, unless there are things you need to do in Kansai, it might make sense to actually just do a trip in Kanto and Tohoku and maybe Hokkaido.
by rkold rate this post as useful

Re: Japan 2022 Family Trip 2021/10/19 11:21
Would suggest to spend a day/overnight in Miyajima as there are just so many things to see and explore. We spent a day and a half there when we went in 2017 and that was just about enough.
I'm sure your kids will love the deer on the island!
For ideas of what to do there, can check out this article:
by lilz (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Japan 2022 Family Trip 2021/11/13 18:35
Dear ALL,
Finally I got the time to sit down and read carefully all your suggestions and start map-planning our trip.
Things I got:
. It is correct. I should increase more day trips and focus more nights in a location. I can not forget that we will have 3 medium size suitcases to drag around.
. July weather does not bother us. My kids spend every year 1 month in Spain with +40 degrees. They are used to heat. Also as Swiss they are very used to travel by train.
I reducing my trip to spending the nights in:
- Tokyo (trips to Nikko + Hakone)
2 hours train
- Kyoto (trip to Nara)
(Osaka - not sure if we should sleep here or go as a day trip from Kyoto)
1.5 hours train
- Hiroshima (day trip in Miyajima or maybe sleep there one night)

Return what about flying from Hiroshima back to Tokyo?
Any suggestions?
by Japan2022 rate this post as useful

Re: Japan 2022 Family Trip 2021/11/13 18:43
And yes! I bought the flight tickets with Swiss Airlines beginning of August. 4 of us 3,500$... Before the pandemic you could not find flights to Japan for less than 7,000$ even checking a year in advance...
Worse scenario we can get a voucher if the trip is called off.
We are vaccinated (kids will be by then) and we are all used to wear masks (last 2 summers in Spain my kids had to wear masks everywhere...) But of course I am really hoping that by summer 2022 things will get better ...
by Japan2022 rate this post as useful

Re: Japan 2022 Family Trip 2021/11/13 19:32
Sorry to bother again. What do you think as base lcoations?
Day 1: Very early arrival in Tokyo. (14.7-19.7)
Day 2: Tokyo (15.7)
Day 3: Tokyo (16.7)
Day 4: Tokyo (17.7) -> Day trip to Nikko
Day 5: Tokyo (18.7)
Day 6: Tokyo (19.7) -> Night in Hakone
Day 7: Hakone -> Kyoto (20.7)
Day 8: Kyoto (21.7)
Day 9: Kyoto (22.7)
Day 10: Kyoto (23.7) -> Day trip to Nara
Day 11: Kyoto -> Day trip to Osaka
Day 12: Kyoto -> Hiroshima (25.7)
Day 13: Hiroshima (26.7)
Day 14: Hiroshima (27.7) -> Day trip To Miyajima
Day 15: Hiroshima (28.7)
Day 16: Hirshima flying to Tokyo (29.7)
Day 17: Flying back (30.7)
by Japan2022 rate this post as useful

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