questions & answers: itinerary check

japan family trip from dec 26, 2015 to jan 4, 2016

Japan Family Trip from Dec 26, 2015 to Jan 4, 2016

Good day to you!

I am really glad to see this kind of forum that helps the tourist ease their travel plans in Japan.

We are a family of 4, 3 adults and 1 child (9 yrs this year) and we will be travelling to Japan on Dec 26, 2015 to January 4, 2016. (Air ticket is already confirmed). I know it may sound too early to ask but I think this is important for us so that we can plan our travel smoothly before the actual time comes. Early reservation on the accomodation could also save us a lot financially I think.

Here it goes, we will be arriving to Osaka airport (Kansai) on Dec 26, 2015 evening and Depart early in the morning from Tokyo/Haneda on January 4, 2016.

Universal Studio - Osaka, Tokyo Disneyland, and Mt Fuji (for sightseeing) is the "must go" places we plan. But we also want to experience playing with snow, onsen, and see some of the cultural and traditional places around Japan...

I appreciate your topic about 14-day itinerary from Tokyo to Osaka) and I thought of doing that backward BUT, since we only stay merely 8 full days to tour, what is the best itinerary you could suggest? By the way, since I also have a teenager daughter and like Japan cosplay and animation, what place in Tokyo could I bring her?

I also want to ask about the accomodation, since our trip is from Osaka to Tokyo without having to go back to the origin, is it advisable to check in or stay overnight near the places we are touring? Can you suggest any hotel or rental apartment we can stay in? A friend of mine suggested to check on where you can use private rooms from host or owner with affordable prices for a group or family. Do you have better or other suggestion aside from that?

And lastly, of course we want to use 7-day JR pass, when is the best day we should start using our JR pass so we can maximize it? Is riding shinkasen possible to our trip? Pardon me for asking, bt it's also one of my kids dream to ride in the bullet train ^_^

I think that's it for now, I hope to hear from you soon!

Thank you very much.


Well, regarding your plans - you are going to Japan during one one very busiest seasons in the country, when prices are very high. Plus, New Year's Day is the biggest holiday in Japan with many popular places and stores closed Jan 1-3, and those that are not are often jammed with people. Jan. 1st though is one of the best days to go visit a shrine, which is really something to see on the first day of the year. Since you are not making a round trip and departing from Osaka, a 7 day JR Pass would not be economical, unless you modify your itinerary, such as adding a day trip down to Hiroshima/Miyajima (which are excellent destinations) in addition to going up to Tokyo.
Aside from that, since you are limited in time I'd suggest you spend part of your time seeing the Kansai area (Kyoto/Nara/Osaka) and the rest in the Tokyo area. Perhaps 2 days to see Kyoto, 1 to see Nara, 1 for USJ, 1 for Disneyland, 2 days for Tokyo, and day trips to NIkko and Hakone. Both Nikko and Hakone have hot springs you can also enjoy, and Hakone has excellent views of Mt. Fuji - but the mountain is often covered in clouds, so if you have bad luck, there are still other activities to do there and enjoy.

Since you are going to see Tokyo, you can largely skip Osaka in the daytime, but at night there are some great places you can enjoy after the temples/shrines of Kyoto close around 5PM. Dotonbori is a great place to eat and see the Osaka atmosphere. And the views from the Umeda Sky Bldg and Abeno Harukas Bldg are spectacular.

Reservations for places to stay may be very hard or expensive - try and book as early as possible.
And if you have never stayed in one before, I recommend you spend at least a night in a Japanese Inn or ryokan. There are some inexpensive ones in Tokyo, like the Kimi, the Tama, the Taito and the Tokyo Ryokan. See:

In Osaka, try the Kaneyoshi:

Or try:

However, a room for 4 people may be tough to find.

Look also at various regional passes that may save you money:

For your daughter, the best place to see the cosplay in Tokyo is on a Sunday, go down to Harajuku (next to Meiji Shrine, which is also worth a visit).

For anime, you could try Akihabara, or:

Good luck.


Thank you very much! I appreciate your tip.
I will check the website and link that you share carefully.
Thanks for your time!


By the way, where is the best Fireworks display during New Year Eve? Will it be at Tokyo Disneyland?
How about if we want to play snow ball fight? Where should we go?
Thank you very much in advance!


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