Tokyo, Kawagoe, Beijing, Xian
Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.
Travel between the ancient temples and the modern skyscrapers, futuristic ambiances, and fantastical clay armies during your personalized family-friendly tour of China and Japan. Wander the streets of historical castles that once housed samurai and traverse a great distance along the captivating, winding walkway of the Great Wall of China. The enchanting snowcapped peak of Mount Fuji creates an impressive backdrop and vendors create typical, eclectic dishes along narrow lanes at the terminus of...
Tokyo – The Fascinating Fast-Paced City of Tokyo, Capital of Japan
The grand capital city of Japan looks like a Science Fiction city aglow with neon lights, sure to dazzle you upon arrival. The skyline showcases the grandeur of one of the world’s densest capitals while the streets give-way to mega-malls, boutique shops, art galleries, and a warren of historical neighborhoods hiding in the shadows beneath the Tokyo Sky Tree. Your flight will arrive at Narita International Airport, where your private transfer greets you at customs. The fast pace of the city welcomes the family amid images of Hello Kitty and the fantastical pop culture for which much of modern Japanese art is known in the form of anime and manga.
After checking into the comforts of your hotel, the remainder of the day is at your family’s leisure to discover and explore the city. The Tsukiji Fish Market was once the largest wholesale fish market in the world before moving locations to the Toyosu Market, a mile and a half away, in 2018. The new market, called Toyosu Market, opened in October of 2018 on the human-made island in the Bay of Tokyo. The space combines commercial and tourist capabilities, allowing visitors to observe the bustling fish market in action while also hosting restaurants focused on fresh, quality seafood on the premises. A second building contains sections for fruits and vegetables separate from the powerful fragrance of the saltwater and displayed fish. The marketplace offers the family a distinctive perspective of Tokyo, Japanese cuisine, and the fish intertwined with island culture.
Day 2 - 3
Tokyo – A Full Day Walking Tour of the Tokyo’s Famous Prefectures
In the morning, the kids will enjoy the adventure of sampling new foods in a different setting by tasting a traditional Edokko breakfast, consisting of rice porridge known as okayu. Your guide will greet your family in the hotel lobby eager to introduce you to the depths of history and cultural significance of greater Tokyo beginning at the Meiji Shrine. The place of worship was dedicated to Emperor Meiji and his wife after its completion in 1926. During the bombing of Tokyo in World War II, the shrine was demolished but rebuilt to its original specifications in 1958 returning as one of the most important religious sites in the city amide the surrounding 175-acre evergreen forest.
The kids may be eager to visit the “wishing tree,” from which visitors write their deepest desires on a card and hang them from the branches. The irises in the garden bloom in June for an array of color and sweet perfume to the grounds. The main shrine was built in pristine cypress wood supporting the copper-plated roof, and the kids will want to participate after watching locals make an offer by adding five-yen to the coin box, bowing twice, and clapping their hands twice before bowing again. You will have a chance to stroll through the public gardens connected to the shrine, as the Meiji Emperor designed a portion of the grounds to impress his wife providing a serene piece of the countryside within the surrounding fast-pace of Tokyo.
Day 4 - 5
Tokyo – Visit the Preserved Edo-Period Town of Kawagoe
At breakfast, you can sample the traditional tamagoyaki as the kids watch eagerly. The dish arrives as a thin layer of egg sliced into small pieces and served with a side of steamed rice or rice porridge. As you are finished, you can venture out of your hotel with your guide bound for the small town of Kawagoe. The historical village retains a sense of charm from its 15th-century ambiance. The Warehouse District offers a view into the olden days with warehouses erected in the historical style with clay walls specific to Edo architectural aesthetic.
The thriving trade between merchants added wealth to the empire and warehouses to the skyline stretching more than 600 feet along Kurazukuri Street. Your family will marvel at the immersive ambiance of history when viewing the Bell Tower, the symbol of Kawagoe, and rebuilt in the late-19th century after a large fire. The kids become excited at the prospect of walking down Candy Alley, located adjacent to the Warehouse District. Stores offering traditional Japanese sweets and cakes including karinto, deep-fried cookies coated in sugar are theirs for the tasting. The nostalgic atmosphere adds to the sweet and traditional flavors of the candy while offering unique tastes to the kids, such as the red bean paste and sweet potato cakes.
Nearby, the head temple of the Tendai Sect is one of the few buildings remaining from the former Edo Castle. The complex was erected in the 9th century becoming the main temple by the 17th century during the reign of Tenkai. Approximately 540 stone Gohyaku Rakan statues decorate the courtyard with each figure representing a disciple of Buddha maintaining an individual facial expression.
Day 6 - 7
Tokyo – Scenic Hakone Ropeway and a Lake Ashi Cruise near Mt. Fuji
The quintessential view of the Japanese landscape rises into view with the family’s visit to Hakone in the form of the snowcapped peak of Mount Fuji rising above the serene lake at the center of a serene countryside escape. You will board the renowned Hakone Ropeway for the more than two-mile gondola ride taking your family from Soun-zan to Togendai. The Lakeside Panorama Pavilion offers a spectacular view of the mountain beside the former lakeside palace that fell during the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923.
Many Edokko visit the tranquil destination on weekends or during holidays. The Hakone Shrine is located at the foot of Mount Hakone, near the shores of Lake Ashi, with the main sections of the structure disguised by the dense forest and framed by the large traditional torri gates. Odawara Castle was built in the 15th century and reclaimed in the 16th century by Toyotomi Hideyoshi. A series of earthquakes required restructuring in the 1960s using ferroconcrete while keeping the integrity of the original design based on drawings from the Edo Period. You can walk through the three main gates leading to the castle to view the three-story keep hosting exhibits displaying armor, swords, and items connected to the history of the grounds.
Beijing – Travel to Beijing with the Remainder of the Day at Leisure
In the morning, the scent of miso soup fills the dining room of the hotel at breakfast. As you finish, your private transfer will greet your family in the lobby and escort you to the airport with plenty of time to check-in for your flight to Beijing, China. The marvelous city has acted as the political center of China for more than eight centuries and shaped the greater efforts of culture, sciences, and the economic life of the nation. The historical center remains preserved while surrounded by the enticing modern construction for a unique, alluring ambiance.
Your driver greets the family at Beijing Capital Airport quickly transferring you to the luxuries of your hotel near the fascinating streets of the old city. The remainder of the day is at your leisure for settling into the different pace of life in China’s capital. The city acts as a bridge between forward momentum and the indelible past with an endless focus on food, imperial beauty, and architectural ambition. For a great panoramic view of the city, you can take your family to the hilltop at Jingshan Park near the north gate of the Forbidden City. The Wanchun Pavillion stands at the peak of the knoll and offers a bird’s-eye view of the soaring city skyline in the distance with the classic architecture of the Forbidden City in the foreground.
Beijing – The Fascinating Highlights of China’s Capital City
In the morning, the kids may once again muster the courage to sample some of the traditional dishes of a new country, this time breakfasting on the soybean milk and deep-fried dough sticks with rice congee. Your guide will greet your family at your hotel and lead you into the bustling streets of Beijing for an introduction to the majestic Forbidden City. The scarlet citadel wraps around the complex with walls reaching over two miles in length guarding the largest collection of preserved ancient buildings in China. The palace acted as a respite for the imperial rule of two dynasties encompassing over 9,000 buildings and countless servants before the creation of the Republic in the early 20th century.
The Palace Museum was established on the grounds in 1925 after the last emperor was evicted from the Inner Court, opening the Ancient Palace to the citizens of China. The Three Great Halls are raised on a three-tier marble terrace and includes the restored Hall of Supreme Harmony. The edifice was constructed in the 15th century and restored for the first time in the 1600s. The design of the three halls imitates the Chinese character for a king with the main hall maintaining the lavishly adorned Dragon Throne. When in view of the emperor and the throne, the court would touch their foreheads to the floor nine times.
After visiting the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square, you can spend your evening at a Kung Fu performance. Your entire family will marvel at the balletic movements and synchronized choreography intertwined with the fighting style. The show tells the legend of Kung Fu through a series of acrobatic stunts and staged fights acting out the story of a boy who dreams of becoming a master in order to reach enlightenment. The music and the décor add to the illustrious show to draw the crowd deep into the world expressed on stage until the performance no longer feels like a simple story.
Day 10 - 11
Beijing – The Mutianyu Section of the Great Wall with a Cable Car Ride
The excitement of your entire family may feel palpable in the morning before you travel to the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall of China. This particular section of the wall dates back to the 6th century AD but was rebuilt and expanded over the subsequent centuries. As one of the best-preserved areas of the Great Wall’s more than 5,000 miles, Mutianyu maintains watchtowers seldom visible along other sections of the wall, such as the Zheng Guan Terrace consisting of three hollow towers. The cable car takes you to the wall in less than eight minutes circumventing the near hour-long hike up more than 4,000 steps to reach the upper levels of the hills at 2,100 feet above sea level.
The Mutianyu section was erected with granite reaching 28 feet tall and up to 16 feet wide and spans 7,380 feet before reaching the next portion of the wall. The kids can peek their heads through the crenelated parapets. When walking along the wall, your family is not only traversing a sense of China’s remarkable history but also has sensational views of the surrounding natural scenery. The scent of stone blends with the aroma of blossoming flowers from the mountains and verdant grass dressing the hillsides. Trees sustain sweet fruits along the lower portions of the bastion as you notice the winding configuration of the wall reaching across the mountain peaks into the distance.
Xian – A Sightseeing Tour of the City Wall and City Museum
After breakfast, your private transfer will escort your family to the airport for a brief flight to Xian. The former standing as the terminus of the Silk Road created a melting pot of cultures and religions spurred by traveling merchants and local vendors supporting warriors, monks, poets, courtesans, and emperors leading into the 10th century. The past hides behind the modern developments within the preserved historical walls maintaining the warren of streets winding around the Muslim Quarter. The walls remain a symbol of the Ming Dynasty from the 14th century reaching 40 feet tall surrounded by a dried moat perimeter spanning nearly nine miles.
The Muslim Quarter remains the home of the city’s Hui community, one of 56 government-recognized ethnic groups pertaining specifically to the historically non-Uyghur Muslim community. The scent of sesame oil fills the air along the narrow lanes drifting out of the factories producing the fragrant cooking oil. Large wooden doors conceal small mosques where men in white skullcaps and women in colorful scarves pray. The Great Mosque holds a marvelous mixture of Chinese and Islamic architecture on foundations established in the 8th century and blossoming during the Ming Dynasty. The Islamic food market contains intense aromas emanating from spiced meats and delectable sweets. In the evening, the market comes to life with vendors offering stunning local cuisine from stalls lining the bazaar and visitors both local and tourists eager to sample the historic mixture of flavors.
Xian – The Big Wild Goose Pagoda and View the Terra Cotta Army
The sweet aroma of pomegranate juice fills the room of the hotel in the morning at breakfast. Once you have all found something wonderful to eat, your guide will greet your family in the lobby eager to introduce you to the magnificent architecture of the Big Goose Pagoda. The landmark was established in the 7th century AD to house Buddhist scriptures brought from India. The architectural style of the Tang dynasty overtakes the city wall and dominates the buildings of the temple complex. The Dà Cíen Temple was one of the largest temples in the dynasty and crafted from brick. After stepping into the historic complex, you will follow your guide deeper into the elaborate history of Xian and the Qing Dynasty with a visit to the Army of the Terracotta Warriors.
The subterranean collection of thousands of soldiers was discovered in 1974 as one of the most famous modern archeological finds in the world. The former emperor Qin Shi Huang established the army of clay warriors for his tomb over two millennia ago with each soldier depicted with individual characteristics from their height and weight to their facial features. The kids marvel at the largest pit housed inside a building the size of an aircraft hangar and possessing upwards of 6,000 warriors, as well as 35 chariots. The soldiers are positioned in different stations carrying a variety of weapons including spears, swords, and dagger-axes.
Xian – Depart for Home
Wake to the streets full of the aroma of a thin, quickly-cooked pancake filled with savory ingredients like scallions and chopped mustard pickles. The sunlight washes over the Famen Temple and the foundations dating back to the 2nd century AD to house the finger bone of Buddha. Pilgrims shuffle into the main hall to view the relic and pay homage to Buddha, as well as visit the remarkable collection of Tang-dynasty treasures. After breakfast and one last morning to enjoy your surroundings, your private transfer will greet your family in the hotel lobby and escort you to Xian Xianyang International Airport to board your flight.
- Witness the remarkable individual features of the impressive Terracotta Warriors inside the tomb of Emperor Qin Shi Huang
- Enjoy the breathtaking view of Mount Fuji’s iconic snowcapped cone from along the scenic shores of Lake Ashi in the town of Hakone
- Relish a scenic cable car ride to the Great Wall of China in the Mutianyu Section to walk along a section of the historical defenses and unique towers
- Stroll through the lively and distinctive ambiance of Tokyo’s new Toyosu Market to experience the vibrant fish, fruit, and vegetable stalls
- Discover the heritage and history of Kawagoe town deriving from the classic Edo Era architecture including Candy Alley and remnants of Edo Castle
- Explore the captivating grounds of the Forbidden City, once the home of two separate dynasties and 24 emperors at the heart of historic Beijing
- Traverse the meandering narrow lanes of Xian’s Muslim Quarter for a different perspective on the blending of cultures from the historic Silk Road
- Place a wish on the “Wishing Tree” inside the tranquil garden of the Meiji Shrine, encompassing 175 acres of forest, manicured greenery, and irises
- Relish an evening viewing a Kung Fu performance in Beijing to witness the fluid, captivating movements resembling a mixture of ballet and combat
Blend tradition and modernity, artisan works and contemporary arts during your 10-day family-oriented tour of China and Japan. Embark on a fascinating adventure into distinctive cultures spanning thousands of years of history. Travel from Tokyo, to Kawagoe, Hakone to Beijing, and Mutianyu to Xian for a discovery bound to intrigue the entire family. The eclectic architecture, array of folklore, and sensational preserved traditions create an unforgettable air carried beneath lavish skyscrapers and quiet restaurants decorated with customary wood beams for an electrifying contrast of cityscapes and countryside, elegant gardens and imposing tombs.
Your adventure begins with four nights in Tokyo, vivacious capital of Japan. The city embraces your family with an overload of sensory details with impressive heights and bright neon lights. Learn to navigate the transportation system with your guide as you explore the famous new fish market, shopping districts, and sacred temples, such as the Meiji Shrine. Use Tokyo as a base for venturing into the past at Kawagoe and the preserve Edo Era buildings. Learn the ways of the samurai and the former Japanese aristocracy, as well as viewing the architecture and sampling traditional, celebrated candies. Taking the Hakone Ropeway offers the family scenic views of the pristine slopes along Mount Fuji, as well as a spectacular panorama of the famous mountain peak. Enjoy a serene cruise on Lake Ashi for the complete bucolic experience.
Your time in China begins with your arrival in Beijing, the captivating capital city. Visiting the historic complex of the Forbidden City brings the prestige of the former dynasties to the forefront exemplified in the architecture, décor, and preserved grandeur of the masterful halls. On the outskirts of Beijing, the family can bask in the fantastic ambiance of the Great Wall of China at the Mutianyu section. A cable car ride offers a sensational view and easy access to the pathway while the terraces and shifting peaks showcase the intricate design, power, and length of the wall.
The city of Xian encompasses over two millennia of history along the famous Silk Road. The marvelous walls of the old city conjure images of warriors and monks, while the narrow lanes bring to light the persistent life maintained inside the ancient complex. Crown your trip with a guided tour of the Terracotta Army where the entire family will be swept into the grandeur of Emperor Qin Shi Huang’s tomb featuring the breathtaking collection of renowned Terracotta Warriors. Interested in learning more by seeing some of our travelers’ China and Japan vacation tour reviews? Click here for more.
$4,363 per person (excluding international flights)
Your Zicasso trip is fully customizable, and this sample itinerary is a starting place for your travel plans. Actual costs are dynamic, and your selection of accommodations and activities, your season of travel, and other such variables will bring this budget guideline up or down. Throughout your planning experience with your Zicasso specialist, your itinerary is designed around your budget. You can book your trip when you are satisfied with every detail. Planning your trip with a Zicasso travel specialist is a free service.
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Your final trip cost will vary based on your selected accommodations, activities, meals, and other trip elements that you opt to include.
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