Japan Family Holiday

12 Days from $4,535

START: Tokyo

FINISH: Kyoto

AGES: 5 - 99

THEME: Family

Overviewicon readmoreicon minus

Description

Gather up the brood and embark on an adventure through the Land of the Rising Sun on this 12-day family tour of Japan. From the houses of ancient emperors to technological gizmos, this tour packs in the best stuff to see and do as a family, plus plenty of time to kick back and soak it up in the onsen. Learn the art of calligraphy in Tokyo, feast on sushi at the famous Tsukiji Fish Market, ride the Hakone ropeway for views of Mt Fuji and immerse yourself in Japanese culture in Kyoto. With the local expertise of your leader to draw on at every step of the way, this is a family holiday that’s sure to yield lifelong memories.

Start: Tokyo

Finish: Kyoto

Ages: 5 - 99

Theme: Family

Accommodation: Hotels (7 nights), Ryokan (4 nights)

Destination: Kyoto

Highlights

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Japan is an exhilarating and unique destination that also happens to be incredible safe, which makes it a great fit for families travelling with kids of any age.
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Let Tokyo dazzle the whole family. Feast on market-fresh sushi, try your hand at calligraphy and cook your own okonomiyaki on a cruise around Tokyo Bay.
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Ride the Hakone ropeway then relax in the soothing waters of an onsen. These hot-spring baths are the perfect antidote to a couple of days of walking around Tokyo.
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From the tiny stalls in the back streets of Tokyo to the Nishiki-Koji Market, your leader will help you and your family navigate Japan’s dizzying cuisine and find something for everyone.
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Learn about an important chapter of Japan’s history at the Hiroshima Peace Park, followed by a visit to the relaxing island of Miyajima where deer roam the streets.

Itineraryicon readmoreicon minus

icon check Day 1 : Tokyo

Konnichiwa! Welcome to Tokyo, Japan's dynamic capital. Make your way to your first night's accommodation and check in. Your adventure begins with an important welcome meeting at 5pm in the hotel lobby, where you'll meet your leader and be introduced to the other families. Afterwards, consider joining the group for an optional dinner at a local restaurant.

icon check Day 2 : Tokyo

Kick things off with a visit to Sensoji in Asakusa, Tokyo's oldest Buddhist temple (some 1300 years old!) set on the banks of the Sumida River. Nearby you will discover a great shopping street, where you can find a quirky Japanese souvenir or sample some traditional snacks. Later, you and your family will be treated to a traditional calligraphy lesson. Learn to write your name in Japanese (and maybe learn to say a few words!) with the help of a local teacher. There might also be the chance to visit a manga (Japanese comic and cartoon) market, located in Akihabara. You'll have some free time this afternoon so you might like to head across town to Shinjuku, central Tokyo's most vibrant district. Here you'll find the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building which offers panoramic city views from its 202m high observation deck, as well as the giant Godzilla statue. Afterwards you could try a classic Tokyo meal of sushi or yakitori (grilled skewered chicken) and, for that quintessential Japan experience, perhaps even some karaoke!

icon check Day 3 : Tokyo

This morning your tour leader will take you for a walk around the famous Tsukiji Outer Market, where fresh seafood from Tokyo's largest wholesale fish market (recently moved from Tsukiji to a new site at Toyosu) is delivered daily. Wander the narrow aisles of this atmospheric marketplace to find all sorts of delicious and uniquely Japanese food – from fish and shellfish to barrels of green tea, dried seaweed and all manner of pickles and other tasty morsels. Afterwards, pop into one of the many sushi restaurants nearby for the freshest lunch you could hope for! Then head to expansive Yoyogi Park, and wander down Takeshita Dori and Omotesando to people watch your way through Harajuku, a neighbourhood simultaneously known for its eccentric tribes and teen pop culture. Sample one of Harajuku’s famous crepes or try some of its 3D latte art, said to be the best in Tokyo! Tonight head out for a fun meal of okonomiyaki (a non-sweet pancake with cabbage, seafood or meat) cooked on a sizzling hot plate while aboard a boat on Tokyo Bay, surrounded by the sparkling lights of the city.

icon check Day 4 : Hakone

Bid farewell to Tokyo and catch your first shinkansen bullet-train, which travels at speeds up to 285 km/hour, to Hakone. You will see that it's astonishingly easy to travel by train in Japan. Trains operate with amazing precision, and the sight of a white-gloved guard bowing to a carriage full of travellers is something the kids are sure to remember! Part of the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park, Hakone is a place of staggering natural beauty. It's also a veritable playground with a long list of holiday activities on offer – soaking in hot spring onsens, going on bush walks, chilling out by peaceful lakes, taking in beautiful views of Mt Fuji (if you’re blessed with good weather!), or even exploring an open-air modern art museum. Tonight you’ll experience Japanese ryokan (traditional inn) hospitality – sleeping on futon in a tatami mat room, wearing yukata (a light kimono-style robe) and enjoying Japan’s amazing onsen culture.

icon check Day 5 : Hakone

Renowned as an excellent resort area since the Meiji period, Hakone and its natural onsens make a great place to relax and unwind with the family. Today we take a ropeway and cable car up to the top of Owakudani (Geothermal Valley) and hopefully catch views of Mt Fuji, up close and personal. We then head on to Lake Ashinoko, a natural caldera formed after a major volcanic explosion some 3000 years ago, and take a cruise onboard a unique pirate boat. Back on land, we pay a visit to the Karakuri Secret Box Museum – try to open these beautifully hand-crafted boxes which originated in Hakone or purchase a unique Japanese gift to take home. We might stroll along Hakone’s ancient cedar avenue which in samurai times was part of the old Tokyo-Kyoto highway. In your free time in the afternoon, you might like to hike through the rare grasslands area of Sengokura or thoroughly pamper yourself at Hakone’s large hot spring theme park which has an amazing variety of baths ranging from the traditional to cave baths and water slides!

icon check Day 6 : Hiroshima

Back on the bullet-train, we make the journey down the east coast of the Japanese archipelago to the city of Hiroshima. A visit to Hiroshima is sobering, but the tragedy that happened here is an important part of history to confront. In the afternoon, we visit the Genbaku (A-Bomb) Dome and the Peace Memorial Park and Museum, both of which stand as an emotional testament to the fateful day in August 1945 when Hiroshima became the first target for nuclear attack. The dome was just metres from where the bomb detonated and managed to retain its shape, eerily standing exactly how it was prior to the attack. These days it stands as both a symbolic reminder and a monument to peace. In the evening you might like to seek out the savoury pancake okonomiyaki – also a signature Hiroshima dish with its own particular twist. There are lots of casual places to try it in this very friendly and welcoming Japanese city.

icon check Day 7 : Hiroshima

This morning we head for the beautiful island of Miyajima, just a short ferry ride across the Inland Sea. The island is home to the venerable Shinto shrine of Itsukushima, famous for its huge bright orange gate (torii) which is absolutely stunning when the tide is high. Maybe take a stroll through the lovely Momiji Park (known as Maple Valley), or consider a walk or the cable car up to the top of Mt Misen (keeping an eye out for the hungry deer that roam the island) for panoramic views of the expansive Inland Sea and its many islands. If there’s time on your return to Hiroshima in the afternoon, you might like to visit five-storied Hiroshima Castle, which originally dates from the 1590s, though it was destroyed by the bomb and reconstructed in all its glory after the war. Or, in the season, you might like to watch an evening baseball match – one of Japan’s most popular sports and a fun experience shared with enthusiastic Japanese baseball fans and local families.

icon check Day 8 : Kyoto

We jump onboard the bullet train to Kyoto, arguably the most stunning city in Japan. On the way there, make a stop at Himeji Castle, Japan's most impressive samurai castle. The building, which has survived earthquakes and war since the mid-16th century, was restored to its full glory in 2015 and is now UNESCO listed. The moats, towers and walled alleyways were ingeniously designed to trick attackers. We explore the castle that was once home to over 10,000 samurai families and look out over the city far below. We reach Kyoto after another hour’s journey on the bullet-train. The charms of Kyoto, the former imperial capital, are subtle and profound. While you're here, you'll see some of the finest temples, shrines, palaces and gardens in the country, with a nice mix of included activities and free time. In the afternoon visit Nishiki-Koji Market in the heart of Kyoto’s downtown area to see what goes into Kyoto’s famed “Kyo-ryori” (or Kyoto cuisine). Then spend early evening wandering the Gion district with your leader, seeing if you can spot geiko (geisha) or maiko (apprentice geisha) dressed in elaborate kimonos and make-up on their way to events and functions.

icon check Day 9 : Kyoto

Kyoto was originally founded as Heian-kyo in 794 and enjoyed a golden age during the imperial court’s heyday up until 1185. The city’s current name literally means ‘Capital City’, even though the Emperor and the government now reside in Tokyo. Today we’ll head to Kyoto’s famed Fushimi Inari Shrine – known throughout the world as the ‘Path of the Red Gates.’ If we are feeling fit we’ll walk further than most visitors, allowing us to experience both the well-known part of the shrine, as well as taking time to appreciate the quieter corners and stunning city views from the shrine’s ‘half-way point.’ After that, your leader will take you to another one of Kyoto’s UNESCO-listed temples or shrines (there’s 17 at this point of time!) which will give you an insight into Kyoto’s history as the seat of imperial power for over 1,000 years and its equally long Buddhist heritage. In the afternoon you have time to do your own exploring – you might like to catch a maiko cultural performance, participate in a tea ceremony demonstration or do an obanzai (Kyoto-style) cooking class.

icon check Day 10 : Kyoto

Explore more of this delightful city. This morning you'll enjoy a boat cruise down the scenic Hozu River in the Arashiyama area in the hills west of Kyoto. Look along the banks for Japanese maples in autumn or plum or cherry blossoms at springtime. At the end of the ride you will visit Tenryu-ji Temple which is right near an incredible bamboo grove. This bamboo forest is one of the most photographed sights in the city, and you'll see why. It's like stepping into another dimension. In your free time, you might like to consider taking the family on a fun rickshaw ride (two-wheeled wagons pulled by fit young men in traditional garb) around the Arashiyama area. Or you may like to pay a visit to the nearby Toei Kyoto Studio Park – a theme park used for the shooting of period dramas (jidaigeki films) set in the Edo period. You can soak up the atmosphere of feudal Japan and perhaps enjoy a ninja show or visit one of the studios used for filming. Back in central Kyoto, you could also experience a performance of traditional swordplay.

icon check Day 11 : Kyoto

Today is yours to enjoy Kyoto however you please. There are plenty of optional activities to choose from. Perhaps head out with the family and explore on a bike. This is definitely one of the best ways to navigate the city, and one of the most popular routes is following the delightful Kamo River from the northern outskirts of Kyoto down through the city’s heart, stopping for a bento box lunch along the way. Kyoto is regularly voted one of the best bicycle cities in Asia, and for good reason. The city is largely flat and the roads are well maintained. Or if cycling is not your thing, you could check out Kyoto’s Manga Museum or visit the Kyoto Railway Museum, which even houses one of Japan’s first bullet trains, or try your hand at making your own bowl of ramen. Alternatively, consider a complete kimono makeover and transform yourself into a maiko, samurai lord or ninja for the day!

icon check Day 12 : Kyoto

Your family adventure comes to an end today. There are no further activities planned and check out is around 10am.

What's Included?icon readmoreicon minus

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Meals

11 Breakfasts, 3 Dinners
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Transport

Bullet Train, Train, Cable car, Taxi, Tram
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Accommodation

Hotels (7 nights), Ryokan (4 nights)
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Included Activities

  • Kyoto - Hozu River ride

Important Detailsicon readmoreicon minus

icon readmoreicon minusJoining Point

Hotel Sunroute Asakusa

1-8-5 Kaminarimon, Taito-ku, Tokyo 東京都台東区雷門1-8-5

Tokyo

Tokyo

111-0034

JAPAN

Phone: +81 3 3847 1511

icon readmoreicon minusFinishing Point

Karasuma Kyoto Hotel

Shijo-sagaru, Karasuma-dori, Shimogyo-ku 京都府 京都市下京区烏丸通り四条下ル

Kyoto

600-8412

JAPAN

Phone: +81 753710111

icon readmoreicon minusPhysical preparation

You will be expected to carry your own luggage, including while moving about busy public transport hubs to make tight connections, up stairs and escalators and on and off buses and trains. Although you won't be required to walk long distances with your luggage, you are expected to be able to walk and handle your own luggage for up to 30 minutes, sometimes at a fast pace and in crowds. Good general fitness and mobility will play a big part in making your trip more enjoyable. Japanese cities are best explored by foot and public transport, so be prepared for a lot of walking each day you are in a destination! Many travellers are surprised how much distance they end up covering each day just seeing the sights. Bring comfortable walking shoes and be prepared to spend most of the day on your feet.

These trips are setup to involve and include all the family so no real physical preparation is necessary. The trips all have some degree of physical activity but nothing that is too strenuous. Please check the physical rating on the trip notes and if you need further explanation please contact one of our sales consultants who will provide you with more detailed information.

icon readmoreicon minusAlternate Joining point

For trips departing on the following dates, use this joining point.

05 Jan 2020 (CJFP200105), 28 Mar 2020 (CJFP200328), 30 Mar 2020 (CJFP200330), 11 Apr 2020 (CJFP200411), 27 Jun 2020 (CJFP200627), 29 Jun 2020 (CJFP200629), 19 Sep 2020 (CJFP200919), 21 Sep 2020 (CJFP200921), 26 Sep 2020 (CJFP200926), 28 Sep 2020 (CJFP200928), 03 Oct 2020 (CJFP201003)

Hotel Keihan Tsukiji Ginza Grande

3-5-4 Tsukiji, Chuo-ku, 東京都中央区築地3-5-4

Tokyo

104-0045

JAPAN

Phone: +81 355651001

icon readmoreicon minusAlternate Finish point

For trips departing on the following dates, use this finish point.

30 Mar 2020 (CJFP200330), 03 Apr 2020 (CJFP200403), 13 Apr 2020 (CJFP200413)

Hotel Wing International Kyoto-Shijo Karasuma

319 Honeya-cho, Shimogyo-ku, 京都府京都市下京区 烏丸西入骨屋町319 高辻通り

Kyoto

600-8425

JAPAN

Phone: +81 752840111

icon readmoreicon minusImportant information

FAMILY TRIP: Please note that these trips are for adults and children travelling together and there must be at least one child under 18 with you.

AGE: Minimum age for children on this trip is 5 years old.

DISCOUNT: A discount of 10% applies on this trip to children 17 years and under at time of travel.

SINGLE SUPPLEMENT: A single supplement is available on this trip with exception of Day 4 & 5 (Hakone) and Days 6 & 7 (Hiroshima)

LEADERS:

Due to the rapid increase in tourism in Japan and in the lead up to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics it has been necessary to go outside our traditional tour leader sources. As a result our passionate, professional and trained tour leaders may be local Japanese or long term foreign residents in Japan.

JR RAIL PASS:

A 7 day JR Rail Pass is included in the price of this trip. This pass is validated on Day 4 when travelling from Tokyo to Hakone and can be used until Day 10 of this tour. Please see the transport section of your Essential Trip Information for more details.

LUGGAGE ON TRAINS

It is essential you pack light and compact for rail travel in Japan. From May 2020 there will be size restrictions for luggage on Shinkansen trains. Luggage over 160-250cm may require an additional 1000 JPY fee per train journey. Luggage over 251cm will not be permitted on the Shinkansen trains at all. Please notify your tour leader at your Welcome Meeting if your luggage is over 160-250cm so they can make the necessary arrangements! Failure to notify your tour leader of luggage over 160-250cm will require the passenger to pay the oversize luggage fee.

ACCOMMODATION:

Accommodation in Japan can be difficult to secure at short notice. If you are travelling in Japan before or after your trip, we recommend booking accommodation at least 1 month in advance of travel, especially in high season (March to May, September to November).

For families wanting to book a triple room we can request these for all destinations except Tokyo and Kyoto where triple rooms are not available. In which case we will book you a twin share room + single room

HIGH SEASON:

From March to May and September to November it is high season for travellers in Japan. As such during these times some places of interest will get very crowed. You will find it will be extremely busy at major sites with lots more people than you would expect.

FOOD:

Most of our families find the diversity of Japanese food surprising. Trying different foods is great fun and an opportunity to understand a little about Japanese culture. Some of the different meals you can enjoy include: sushi, soba noodles, ramen noodles, monjaki and okonomiyaki (savoury pancakes), takoyaki (ball-shaped Japanese fried snack – a bit like the Japanese equivalent of fish fingers), yakitori (skewered chicken). There are also great treats to try including green tea kit kats and ice-creams, pounded-rice desserts such as mochi and dango, and lots of types of sweet red bean cakes. Yum! For anyone in search of food for a picnic the majority of department stores have food halls (depachika) with an eyepopping selection of different types of food. Also, convenience stores (combini) are around nearly every corner and have snacks to tempt the fussiest eater. If in doubt and needing a little taste from home the Japanese chain Moss Burgers have great hamburgers, and in the major cities there are more western options such as pasta and pizza as well as great bakeries.

Breakfast in Japan

Some of our families are surprised by the traditional Japanese breakfast foods and the western variations that our accommodation provides. Rice or noodles with fish or meat are common breakfast foods in Japan. Typical western foods available generally include toast, eggs, tea and coffee, and sometimes cereals.

icon readmoreicon minusGroup leader

All Intrepid Family trips are accompanied by one of our group leaders. The aim of the group leader is to assist your family take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. Your leader will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for fun things to do and see- for both kids and parents, recommend great local eating venues that will even get the kids trying new things, and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the countries visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects.

Our leaders are not babysitters on this trip - we leave that to you (the experts), but they will make sure that group members of all ages are able to explore their destination safely and with as much fun as possible. Our group leaders are not responsible for looking after children at any time and children must be accompanied by a parent or guardian at all times throughout this itinerary.

icon readmoreicon minusSafety

Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure and ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all areas your itinerary covers. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trip.

We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, air tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of our hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage. Though obvious please don't allow your children to carry their own passports while on tour.

Your leader will accompany you on all included activities, however during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your leader will assist you with the available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your Intrepid itinerary, and Intrepid makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your Leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns.

For more details on the type of conditions and safety standards you can expect on your trip, please refer to Intrepid's operational safety policy on our website. We recommend that you take a moment to read through this information before travelling, and would appreciate any feedback on how well it's being implemented in the field:

http://www.intrepidtravel.com/contact-us/safety

FIRE PRECAUTIONS:

Please be aware that local laws governing tourism facilities in this region differ from those in your home country and not all the accommodation which we use has a fire exit, fire extinguishers or smoke alarms.

TRAFFIC AND DRIVING ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE ROAD:

Depending on where you come from please note that drivers in this part of the world may drive on the opposite side of the road from what you are used to. Look both ways before crossing any road. Traffic can be a little more chaotic than you might be used to at home. Be aware!

SEAT BELTS:

Please be aware that local laws governing transportation safety may differ from those in your home country and not all the transport which we use is able to provide seat belts. When travelling in private mini vans or trucks all children (and adults) must wear a seat belt. No children are allowed to sit in the front seat of a vehicle.

PETTY THEFT AND PERSONAL SAFETY:

While travelling there is always the risk of pick-pocketing and petty theft, particularly in the more touristy cities. We recommend that you exercise caution when walking alone at night and encourage you to walk together and only on main, well-lit thoroughfares. Be particularly vigilant on public transport. Simple measures like carrying your day pack on your front, not hanging your bag over the back of your chair or on the floor and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing.

LIFE JACKETS:

While life jackets are generally available on water craft, there may be occasions where they are not provided and child size life jackets are not always readily available. If travelling with children and this safety issue concerns you we will be able to advise alternative methods of transport (where available) for you to travel to the next destination. You can choose to travel independently for this leg of the journey. This would be at your own expense.

WATER SAFETY:

Please take care when taking part in any activities in the ocean, river or open water with your children, where waves and currents can be unpredictable. It's expected that anyone taking part in water activities is able to swim and have experience in open water. All swimmers should seek local advice before entering the water.

icon readmoreicon minusVisas

Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. The visa requirements for your trip vary depending on where you and your family are from and where you are going. As a general rule most countries expect that you and your family will have at least 6 months' validity on your passport. On arrival visitors may be asked to present return tickets and evidence of means to cover your intended stay. We keep the following information up to date as much as possible, but rules do change - it's important that you check for yourself. Residents from other countries must consult the relevant embassies or your travel agent.

JAPAN VISA

Most nationalities, including Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom, Canada, EU countries and United States, are able to get visitor visas on arrival. The length of the visa will vary depending on your nationality, but most will be for stays of 90 days or more - check with your local consulate for exact details.

icon readmoreicon minusWhy we love it

Discover Tokyo, where dazzling neon lights are only the beginning. Feast on market-fresh sushi, try your hand at calligraphy, and as a family cook your own okonomiyaki on a Tokyo Bay boat cruise

Bask in the soothing waters of an onsen in Hakone. These Japanese hot-spring baths are the perfect antidote to a couple of days of walking around the big city

Food lovers rejoice! From the tiny sushi stalls in the back streets of Tokyo to the shotengai of Kyoto, your leader will help you and your family navigate Japan's dizzying cuisine options

Visit Hiroshima to learn about an important, though confronting, chapter of Japan’s history

Kyoto is like stepping into another world. Walk through the amazing bamboo forest and gaze at some of Japan’s finest temples

icon readmoreicon minusIs this trip right for you

There is still quite a bit of walking involved, so you'll need a good level of fitness. Comfortable walking shoes are essential.

Sleeping on a futon on a tatami (mat floor) in a traditional ryokan is great fun, but keep in mind that in some places the facilities are shared. As part of this you'll get to experience a traditional Japanese onsen bath, such as the hot springs in Hakone!

Renovation works on Miyajima's famous floating torii gate started in June 2019. During the renovation works, the torii gate is covered up under a partially transparent scaffolding. Furthermore, a bridge is being built on the left side of the gate (when viewed from the shrine) to aid the renovation works. A date for the completion of the renovation works has not been set yet, but the works are expected to take at least one year.

icon readmoreicon minusHealth

All travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip for your family please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess you and your entire families ability to cope with our style of travel. Please note that if, in the opinion of our group leader or local guide, any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, we reserve the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without refund.

You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information or for any necessary vaccinations and anti-malarial requirements before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements (including a spare pair of glasses) as they may not easily be obtained at the locations on this trip. Please also consider any medication you may require for your children.

DRINKING WATER:

As a rule we recommend you and your family don't drink tap water, even in hotels, as it may contain much higher levels of different minerals than the water you are used to at home. For local people this is not a problem as their bodies are used to this and can cope, but for visitors drinking the tap water can result in illness. Generally this isn't serious, an upset stomach being the only symptom, but it's enough to spoil a day or two of your holiday. Many hotels and lodges provide safe drinking water, while bottled water is another alternative. Water consumption should be about two litres a day. Rehydration salts, motion sickness tablets, and diarrhoea blockers are available from many pharmacies.

YELLOW FEVER:

A valid international certificate of vaccination against Yellow Fever is required in many countries if you are arriving from a country with risk of yellow fever. You may need to present this on arrival at the airport or border crossing. Some countries will refuse entry if you are unable to present your certificate. It's also quite common for your home country to request a Yellow Fever certificate on your arrival back home.

It is your responsibility to check with your doctor well in advance of leaving home about the Yellow Fever requirements for the countries you'll be visiting.

TSETSE FLY:

It is best to avoid dark coloured clothes such as blue and black while on safari. These colours can attract the biting tsetse fly.

icon readmoreicon minusFood and dietary requirements

While travelling with us you and your family experience the vast array of wonderful food available in the world. Your group leader will be able to suggest restaurants to try during your trip. Please ensure you tell them of any dietary requirements you and your family may have. We know children can be fussy eaters at times so we do recommend you bring any snacks from home to have throughout the trip.

To give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat, generally not all meals are included in the trip price. This also gives you more budgeting flexibility. As a rule our groups tend to eat together to enable you and your family to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company. There's no obligation to do this though.

Most of our families find the diversity of Japanese food surprising. Trying different foods is great fun and an opportunity to understand a little about Japanese culture. Some of the different meals you can enjoy include: sushi, soba noodles, ramen noodles, monjaki and okonomiyaki (savoury pancakes), takoyaki (ball-shaped Japanese fried snack – a bit like the Japanese equivalent of fish fingers), yakitori (skewered chicken). There are also great treats to try including green tea kit kats and ice-creams, pounded-rice desserts such as mochi and dango, and lots of types of sweet red bean cakes. Yum! For anyone in search of food for a picnic the majority of department stores have food halls (depachika) with an eyepopping selection of different types of food. Also, convenience stores (combini) are around nearly every corner and have snacks to tempt the fussiest eater. If in doubt and needing a little taste from home the Japanese chain Moss Burgers have great hamburgers, and in the major cities there are more western options such as pasta and pizza as well as great bakeries.

Breakfast in Japan

Some of our families are surprised by the traditional Japanese breakfast foods and the western variations that our accommodation provides. Rice or noodles with fish or meat are common breakfast foods in Japan. Typical western foods available generally include toast, eggs, tea and coffee, and sometimes cereals.

icon readmoreicon minusMoney matters

EGYPT

The official currency of Egypt is Egyptian Pounds (EGP).

It's easy to get money when you arrive at the airport through money exchange or from the ATM. The most convenient and cheapest way to acquire money is via an Automated Teller Machine (ATM) which are plentiful throughout all the main cities. Check with your bank for information on international ATM fees.

When leaving home don't forget your PIN and make sure you know the telephone number for cancelling your card if it's stolen. Keep this in a safe place. When using your debit card, check your receipts and keep them to compare against your statement when you get home.

We recommend that you carry some foreign currency cash for when ATMs can not be accessed, have broken down or run out of cash. There are few problems changing money at the many banks and currency exchange facilities. Cash in USD, EUR and GBP are the easiest to exchange.

Occasionally banks will allow cash advances on your credit card, but it's not recommended to rely on this.

While some banks and five-star hotels will change travellers cheques, the process is time consuming, commissions can be high (up to 10%) and it can be difficult to change on weekends and public holidays. The easiest cheques to change are Thomas Cook or American Express in USD, EUR or GBP. Traveller's cheques are not recommended in the Middle East.

SPENDING MONEY:

When it comes to spending money on the trip, every family is a little different. You know your spending habits better than we do, so please budget a sensible amount for things like meals not included, drinks, shopping, optional activities and laundry. It's always better to bring a little more than you think your family will need. Also make sure you've read your trip details thoroughly so you know what's included in the trip price and what isn't. This should make budgeting a little easier. You'll find this info in the Inclusions section of your Essential Trip Information (that's this document).

Known as 'baksheesh' in the Middle East, tipping is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry. If you are satisfied with the services provided, a tip - though not compulsory - is appropriate and always appreciated. While it may not be customary to you, it's of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels.

We recommend that any group tips are collected in a envelope and handed directly to the intended recipient as a collective 'thank you' by the group. The below amounts are suggested figures in USD for ease of calculating budgets, but should always be offered in local currency.

Restaurants: Local markets and basic restaurants - leave the loose change. More up-market restaurants, we suggest 5% to 10% of your bill.

Local guides: Throughout your trip you may at times have a local guide in addition to your leader. We suggest US$1-2 per person per day for local guides.

Drivers: You may have a range of private drivers on your trip. Some may be with you for a short journey while others may be with you for several days. We would suggest a higher tip for those more involved with the group however US$1-2 per person per day is generally appropriate.

Public toilet attendants: When using public toilets there will most likely be an attendant that will expect a tip. 20-50 cents is appropriate.

Felucca captains: If you are travelling in Upper Egypt many of our itineraries spend a night on a felucca. US$1-2 per person per day for felucca captains is appropriate.

Desert Camp hosts: If you have a night camping included on your itinerary, US$2-3 is appropriate for the camp hosts.

Your Group Leader: You may also consider tipping your leader for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline US$3-4 per person, per day can be used. Of course you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length of your trip. Remember, a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service.

DEPARTURE TAX

All departure taxes should be included in your international flight ticket.

Budget for meals not included: 180.00

CONTINGENCY FUNDS:

We try to plan for every eventuality, but there are still some things beyond our control. Please make sure you have access to an extra US$500 per family member for emergencies (e.g. severe weather, natural disasters, civil unrest) or other events that result in unavoidable changes to the itinerary (e.g. transport strikes or cancellations, airport closures). Sometimes these things necessitate last minute changes to enable our trips to continue to run, and as a result there may be some extra costs involved.

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WATER BOTTLE Cold tap water in Japan is generally safe and good to drink so you can avoid the purchase of bottled water by bringing your own bottle and refilling from the tap or public water fountains. OTHER USEFUL THINGS TO TAKE - reusable shopping bag for buying supplies for long journeys - travel mug, cutlery, plate/bowl for preparing any self catered meals - plastic lunch box for storing food & snacks - slippers or flip flops - torch/flashlight - travel wipes - small towel - ear plugs & eye mask OTHER THINGS TO CONSIDER - check weather in destinations you are travelling to online a few days before you go to make sure you pack appropriate clothing - laundry facilities may not be available in all destinations, so make sure you have a few cycles of clothes to tide you over until your next chance to wash

TECHNOLOGY With the modern world you may want to bring along tablets of smartphones for the children to document their adventure - there are a wide variety of apps out there which we suggest downloading before you depart. There will be opportunities to charge ( just make sure you bring the correct adapter) and there will be wi-fi available on your trip, although it will probably not be at the speeds you are used to at home and it won't be available everywhere.

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PEAK TRAVEL TIMES

Please be aware that while travelling during major national holidays (late Apr to early May) and peak seasons in Japan (Apr-May/Sep–Oct) are fascinating and exciting times to travel, there are also some downsides. There will be huge crowds at most tourist attractions and on all public transport. It's common for there to be difficulties in securing train tickets at our usual preferred times, hotels become overbooked, traffic jams and changes to the itinerary without prior notice can be necessary. If you decide to travel during peak periods come with a sense of adventure and flexibility and we are sure that your experience will still be rewarding and memorable.

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After your travels, we want to hear from you! We rely on your feedback. We read it carefully. Feedback helps us understand what we are doing well and what we could be doing better. It allows us to make improvements for future travellers.

http://www.intrepidtravel.com/feedback/

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For general contact details please use the following page: http://www.intrepidtravel.com/ourtrips/contact/

GENERAL ISSUES ON YOUR TRIP

While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip.

We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager.

You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. But we do ask you to be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is complete.

Intrepid's Kyoto Office: +81 80 3801 5588

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Our Responsible Travel Policy outlines our commitment to preserving the environment, supporting local communities, protecting the vulnerable and giving back to the places we travel. All our trip leaders, suppliers and staff are trained on these principles, and are core to us delivering sustainable, experience-rich travel.

Explore the different parts of our Responsible Travel Policy by visiting:

https://www.intrepidtravel.com/responsible-travel

http://www.intrepidtravel.com/ourtrips/rt/responsibletraveller

Intrepid and Playground Ideas.

Playground ideas was started in response for a worldwide need for more playgrounds. Using largely locally found materials means these playgrounds are cheap and can be put together by local people. Children provided with the opportunity for stimulating play in early childhood have improved ability and desire to learn leading to long term outcomes such as higher rates of employment and increased wages. Research has proven play interventions to be powerful, cost effective poverty reduction tools with sustained impact.

We are also proud to have Playground Ideas as a partner of The Intrepid Foundation, where our financial support will go directly towards building playgrounds. Every donation to The Intrepid Foundation from our travellers is matched by us dollar for dollar. To find out more or to make a donation, visit The Intrepid Foundation website https://www.theintrepidfoundation.org/playground-ideas

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GENERAL ROOMING CONFIGURATIONS:

Family of two - All family groupings of two will be put into a twin room.

Family of three - Wherever possible we will put you in a triple room. Please be aware that in a handful of places triple rooms are in short supply. This means that, in practice, a triple room will often simply be a twin room with a mattress on the floor or a further bed squashed in. Where it is impossible to provide a triple room, you will have to decide which of your party takes the single room.

Family of four or more - You will most likely stay in two twin rooms. If and wherever possible we will aim put you in a quadruple room. Whilst we will do our very best to ensure that families are roomed close together (in some cases, we can arrange adjoining rooms), we can’t guarantee this. Most family holidays occur during peak season and we sometimes have little to no control over where you will be put. You need to come prepared for this.

RYOKANS

Japanese-style inns (ryokans) involve sleeping on futons or matresses on tatami mat floors, with bedding often packed away during the day. Attached bathrooms/toilets will usually be very small and many ryokans will only have shared bathing facilities with certain hours, or times available for booking at reception. Your leader will explain etiquette involved in using the shared facilities. As this style of accommodation will often not have furniture (ie. chairs or beds) in the rooms, please consider choosing a different trip style in Japan if you have difficulty getting up from the floor or have knee, hip or back issues. Some ryokans may have a curfew when travellers need to be back in the accommodation - this is usually around midnight. Please also be aware that you would normally be required to change to slippers when entering into your room in a ryokan. Hotels and ryokans will charge extra fees if dirty marks are left on their beddings or towels that require professional cleaning.

Read more about ryokans here: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/traditional-japanese-ryokan/

icon readmoreicon minusTravel insurance

Travel insurance is compulsory for all our trips. We require that, at a minimum, you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects.

When travelling on a trip, you won't be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24 hour emergency contact number has been seen by your leader.

If you have credit card insurance your group leader will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number and emergency contact number rather than the bank's name and credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country.

http://www.intrepidtravel.com/insurance.php

icon readmoreicon minusYour fellow travellers

As you and your family travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow families will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too (for both parents and children). We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow  families is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you and your family have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part. Due to privacy reasons we are unable to provide you with contact details and any personal information about your fellow families booked on your trip prior to departure.

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ITINERARY CHANGES:

Our itineraries are updated regularly throughout the year based on customer feedback and to reflect the current situation in each destination. The information included in this Essential Trip Information may therefore differ from when you first booked your trip. It is important that you print and review a final copy prior to travel so that you have the latest updates. Due to weather, local conditions, transport schedules, public holidays or other factors, further changes may be necessary to your itinerary once in country. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary seasonally to ensure our travellers have the best experience. Your tour leader will keep you up to date with any changes once on tour.

OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES:

A selection of optional activities that have been popular with past travellers are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only for some of what might be available. Prices are approximate, are for entrance only, and don’t include transport to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. All activities are subject to availability, and may be on a join-in basis. It may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination, so some pre-planning for what you are most interested in is advised. When it's recommended that travellers pre-book these activities, look for a note in the Special Information section of the day-to-day itinerary. For most, they can either be organised independently on the day, or let your leader know you are interested and they can assist.

Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. Although it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Medium and high risk activities not listed above have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and leaders are unable to assist you with organising these activities. Activities that contravene our Responsible Travel policies are also not listed. Please remember that the decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk.

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Hotels (7 nights),Ryokan (4 nights)

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