Japan family holiday

“Fabulous fortnight for families looking to explore Japan as part of a small group. Interactive workshops, free time and guided tours help to create an exciting and well-rounded trip.”


Kyoto | Arashiyama | Sagano Bamboo Forest | Samurai lesson at Kyoto's Kembu theatre | Bullet train to Hiroshima (2.5hrs) | Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park | Hakone near Mt Fuji | Owakudani | Taiko (drum) and calligraphy workshops |

Description of Japan family holiday

If you’ve got children older than nine years old you may already realise that the high tech, urban cool fusion of Japan is a meme they’ve already fallen in love with.

Step away from the bright lights of Kyoto and Tokyo, on a family holiday, and you’ll discover a more traditional, old-fashioned, side to Japan that might also resonate with more volume.

This two week small group tour is ideal for introducing your family to not only the cultural contrasts of Japan but also fellow travellers, and kids, of a similar age.

Travelling with a guide and newfound pals is a great way to get the most out of every experience with bullet trains, ancient temples and forests of bamboo combining with loads of optional excursions and activities to enjoy along the way.

From the shrines of Hiroshima and the Arashiyama monkey park to samurai lessons, Taiko drum classes, cookery and calligraphy workshops, this exciting and immersive itinerary invites your family to uncover the real Japan as well as a whole lot more besides.

Travel Team

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Holiday type

Small group holiday

Small group travel is not large group travel scaled down. It is modelled on independent travel – but with the advantage of a group leader to take care of the itinerary, accommodation and tickets, and dealing with the language. It’s easy to tick off the big sights independently – but finding those one-off experiences, local festivals, travelling markets and secret viewpoints is almost impossible for someone without the insider knowledge gained from years in the field. If you’re heading off on a gap year your, perhaps – but for those with a two-week holiday, a small group tour will save valuable planning time.

The leaders are not guides – they’re not there to shepherd you around. Instead, they’ll let you know which local restaurant serves great value food – without running the risk of travellers’ tummy. They’ll allow you to avoid hour-long queues at train stations and attractions.

We like to think of small group travel as the Goldilocks option. It is independent travel without the fuss, worry and bunk beds – and organised travel without the coaches. And it’s cheaper than a tailor made tour. It’s sits somewhere in the middle – and we think it’s just about right.

What are the main benefits?
Big experiences
Have big, life-enriching experiences that would be impossible to organise without lots of time and insider knowledge.

Make the most of your holiday time by letting someone else do the hard work and boring logistics!

Peace of mind
Small group tours take care of the security aspects – and provide a safety net should anything unexpected happen.
Who is it ideal for?
Travellers who are short of time
If you don’t have three months to spend exploring, small groups trips let you cover more ground in less time. Your days are not spent queuing for tickets or finding hotels – so you can squeeze more into your holiday.

Solo travellers who’d like company
Likeminded travel companions plus peace of mind for those travelling alone. Single supplements are usually available – providing privacy if you want it.

Less confident travellers
Stray from the tourist trail without worrying about getting lost, and meet local people without dealing with the language barrier.
“I won’t get any privacy!”
Couples and friends have private rooms, and you can choose to eat alone or not. Single supplements give solo travellers their own room.

“There won’t be any free time”
Free mornings or afternoons let you explore on your own, or just relax.

“The accommodation will be basic”
Trips are as high or low end as you like. Though off the beaten track destinations won’t have luxury hotels, this is all part of the adventure.

“I won’t like the other travellers!”
Tour operators try to create groups with a similar demographic – age, families, activity levels... Chances are, you’ll even make new friends.

“Will we be following an umbrella?”
Valerie Parkinson
Meet a group Leader
Name: Valerie Parkinson

Story: The first British woman to climb Manaslu, Valerie climbed Everest for her 50th birthday. She’s spent fourteen Christmas Days trekking to Everest Base Camp, and is involved insetting up Responsible Tourism initiatives in the Himalayas.
Roshan Fernando
Meet a local guide
Name: Roshan Fernando

Story: Roshan has led over 130 trips – he adores showing travellers around Sri Lanka. He won the company Leader Award in 2010, but his career highlight was working on their Tsunami Project – which earned him a responsible tourism award.

Responsible tourism

Japan family holiday

Carbon reduction

Your holiday will help support local people and conservation. We must also reduce CO2. Learn about the CO2 emissions of this holiday and how to reduce them.


Accommodation & meals:
On this trip we spend some nights in comfortable hotels and others in traditional style ‘ryokans’ (local inns) which gives the clients a chance to experience the unique and rich Japanese culture and heritage. Most of the accommodation used are family run and locally staffed, which means we are benefiting the smaller businesses instead of some of the huge, multi-national hotels you can find in Japan. Locally sourced ingredients will be used where meals are provided; where not provided clients will be eating at local shops and restaurants under the guidance of their tour leader who would normally recommend traditional family-run eateries rather than big restaurant chains.

We try to operate on a ‘leave no trace’ basis, which involves being vigilant with proper disposal of waste and being sure to leave any flora, fauna and historical sites undamaged. By using public transport throughout, especially utilising the bullet train between cities, we aim to minimise carbon dioxide emissions as much as possible.

Local Craft & Culture:
Having a largely cultural focus, this tour has many opportunities to learn about the culture, traditions and crafts of Japan. We have numerous hands-on activities to allow clients to foster cultural exchange with the locals. Activities include a cooking class with a local chef to learn how to prepare some of the best known Japanese dishes, a Samurai lesson at Kyoto’s Kembu theatre for the kids to learn the tradition of this sword dance. In Tokyo, clients can also engage themselves with Taiko (drum) lesson and a calligraphy class. During the trip, we will stroll through Kyoto’s Nishiki market which specialises in Japanese delicacies such as sweets, pickles, dried seafood and sushi, where clients can get a taste of local specialties.

Water is a really important issue with trips such as this and whilst we must stay hydrated, it is also vital that we have a system for providing clean water without causing lots of waste with plastic bottles. Wherever possible we provide safe alternative sources of water to buying single use plastic bottles. This may be through large water containers, or encourage our passengers to filter, sterilise or purify water. We encourage all our passengers to come prepared with a reusable water bottle for this purpose.

Group size:

This is a small group tour, meaning that we have a low impact on the environments and communities we visit and are able to ensure that we do not disrupt or lead to the displacement of local people. The small number also allows us to stay in unique, family-run hotels that cannot benefit from coach tours and other mass tourism due to their limited sizes.

UK office:
It all starts at home where we work towards reducing our carbon footprint in our offices through energy conservation measures, recycling policies and the promotion of cycling and walking as a means for our staff to commute. Our head office has become a plastic-free zone with the use of plastic bottles being banned in our head office and we distributed reusable water bottles and tote bags to every staff member. We also support a large number of community and environmental projects in different parts of the world and try to give something back to the places we visit.

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