Travel is life intensified and no place is this truer than in India, where the senses are aroused by the colors, smells, cultural contrasts, and majestic beauty. India will challenge you with its size, clamor and diversity, but if you enjoy diving in and thrive on sensual overload, then it is one of the world's most rewarding destinations. Vibrant drama and subtle charms unfolds all around you, impacting on every moment. And on a luxury India tour you quickly develop an abiding passion for everything that makes it so unique.
Nothing in this country is ever quite predictable; the only thing to expect is the unexpected, which comes in many forms and will always want to sit next to you. India is seen as a litmus test for many travelers — but with the right guides, you can always accentuate the beautiful idiosyncrasies and step clear of the baffling challenges. After years of experience, India is not a challenge to us. Let us plan your trip in this remarkably diverse country, tailoring an adventure that celebrates why everyone who visits, falls in love.
When to come? The coolest weather is during October to February and it is a pleasure to visit India during these months, with the whole country ripe for exploration. At other times of year we'll suggest regions and destinations that have agreeable weather.
Art Encounter JapanIncluding Tokyo, Naoshima, Hakine and Kyoto. Kyoto's renowned ancient crafts are experiencing a renaissance.
Japan Family TourWith few exceptions, Japan is the most fascinating of all destinations for children.
HONEYMOON IN JAPANFewer places are as ideal as Japan for a honeymoon. Enjoy famous Japanese hospitality, ancient temples, sublime ryokan and hot springs, divine cuisine, scenic mountain villages, and endless romantic settings.
ZEN & JAPANDelve into Zen Buddhism and Shintoism which lie at the heart of Japanese history and culture and how it influences Japanese society and art.
Japanese Cooking & CuisineDuring this delightful yet vigorous half-day cooking lesson with a master chef, learn the ingredients and preparation of sushi, or enjoy another class focused on other Japanese favorites.
Visit to a Sumo StableSumo is the national sport of Japan. During this visit to a "stable" or training facility where the wrestlers live, watch and interact these gentle giants as they start their day a workout. Children may also join in the workout, which leads to some unforgettable photos and is always a highlight of our Japan family tours.
Tea Ceremony with a MasterThe Tea Ceremony is an important and revered aspect of Japanese culture, a traditional ritual influenced by Zen Buddhism that developed with other Zen-related arts such as flower arrangement, ink painting, calligraphy and gardening. During this sublime ceremony, prepare green tea, or matcha, with a skilled practitioner in the tranquil setting of an ancient tea house. We can also arrange for a special tea ceremony in a temple.
SEVEN STARS LUXURY TRAINThe Seven Stars is the first luxury sleeper train or "cruise train" in Japan.
GORA KADANA superlative ryokan (inn) experience. The property was once an imperial summer retreat, that now gracefully blends Japanese tradition and Western modernity. Upon arrival, a dramatic Zen rock garden entrance leads to a glass-enclosed lobby.
BENESSE HOUSEBenesse House on the islands of Naoshima is consists of several buildings that are part of a broader project "Benesse Art Site Naoshima".
"We were pleased that Indochina Travel was small enough to provide the things larger companies cannot, yet with all the benefits of using a larger one. In Saigon, we were honored to visit our guide's family. The BEST parts of our trip were the PEOPLE we met, especially the real, local people, not just the famous ones (though they were fascinating as well). Cuong made this possible throughout our time with him."
—Ric Haas, Menlo Park
"Chris and I had a wonderful journey. Thanks to you, everything was flawless. All of the guides were superb (especially Thiha in Burma). The accommodations were top-rate in most cases, the special activities and personal service much appreciated!"
—Ann & Chris McMurray, Alexandria, VA
"Overall, we had an excellent trip! Don and I both loved Bhutan and Myanmar. Both countries are beautiful, each in their own way. Our main comment would be to say how wonderful our guides were. As we've discussed in the past, it's really the difference between a good trip and great one. It was really nice to have the same guide for the entire itinerary, you really get to establish a rapport and they get to know us. We thought both guides were very professional, knowledgeable and personable, and we learned a lot from both."
—Irene Ing and Don Ershig, Rancho Palos Verdes, CA
Boating - "Thank you for an amazing adventure, we were delighted at every turn and the activities and people we met were thoroughly fascinating. We really the appreciated the authentic experiences we shared. Our girls are still talking about the trip, please give Linh and Duc our best!"
—The Anderson Family
Halong Bay Kayaking - "This was our fourth trip with you guys and it couldn't have possibly been any better. Your crew is outstanding in every way-well prepared, attentive, and professional. Again, you planned some very special things for us which we really enjoyed. Thank you for another amazing experience."
Including Tokyo, Naoshima, Hakine and Kyoto. Kyoto's renowned ancient crafts are experiencing a renaissance, remerging on the world stage and adding another reason to linger in the pleasant city, This trip also include a stopover on Naoshima, the world's only "Art Island" staying at the exclusive Benesse House. In Kyoto revive at the Gora Kadan, Japan's most sumptuous ryokan. At trip's end exploring the vibrant contemporary art and design scene in Tokyo.
Explore Japan's rich history and dynamic contemporary culture. This insider's journey emphasizes the unique treasures and cultural traditions and lifestyles of each destination. Along the way, personal encounters will provide deeper insight into the country and poignant moments. During this journey, explore the world's most dynamic city, Tokyo, the sublime countryside around Hakone and Mount Fuji, and strolling past geisha in Gion Kyoto and enjoying the quintessential experience — Japanese tea ceremony.
There's no place quite like Japan for taking the children, a country of immense natural beauty and inspiringly unique experiences. Even in the humming cities, you can find immaculate, manicured Zen gardens, tranquil ryokan, and sublime ritual such as tea ceremonies. The country offers the most fascinating and thrilling of all Asia's experiences for children, with every day able to offer something completely new.
There are so many perspectives and our Japan family tours are customized to your interests. Discover the rich cultural highlights of Japan's capital city, enjoying an in-depth exploration of the dynamic sprawling metropolis that is Tokyo, everyone in the family able to find something new and exotic. Thrill on a ride aboard a famed bullet train to Kyoto, a city with an astonishing variety of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Children can marvel at ancient castles, enjoy delightful bicycle excursions along the Katsura and Kamogawa Rivers, and play ninja at the ancient home of ninjas.
Japan excites, each of its destinations home to a roll call of unique experiences. It's the country we most love to promote as every family gets to enjoy a completely different collections of activities. We organize your Japan luxury tour to include the finest the country has to offer. Here are just a few ideas to consider, amongst the most unique family travel in Asia.
Insider experiences emphasize the unique treasures and cultural traditions of every destination. They form the focus of all our Asia family tours and they're centered on personal encounters that provide a deeper insight into the country and its most poignant moments. Fun family activities add thrills to the journey, provide a perspective few other traveler's experience. Dining recommendations capture the exquisite aesthetics of Japanese food and its endlessly appealing diversity. The professional English-speaking guides we use are top-tier university graduates, amongst the most experienced and knowledgeable in guiding family tours. Accommodation is a mix of traditional ryokan and luxury hotels, chosen for their family appeal. As a starting point, there are two classic routes for families.
We can arrange a classic Japan itinerary that encompasses the country's breadth of experience, canvasing ultra-modern Tokyo, sublime Hakone, and the cultural capital, Kyoto. Exceptional experiences are included at each destination. You have the freedom to design your own day, choosing from our curated list of sightseeing, sports, shopping, local encounters and more. Travel in style through the country, exploring historic and vibrant cities, rustic villages, Zen gardens and ancient pagodas. Travel intimately through the big cities, exploring the nooks and crannies that make them so special. Visit theme parks that are completely different from those at home. And discover cultures and cuisines that create new perspectives for teenage children.
The rich natural and cultural highlights of central Japan are another popular option for families. Start with an in-depth exploration of the dynamic sprawling metropolis, Tokyo, tailored activities helping you uncover the astonishing contrast of the ancient and modern. Discover the prize of Japan and the city of a thousand temples, Kyoto. Continue in some of Japan's most sublime landscapes, like strolling the cedar forests and Zen temples of Mount Koya, where monks walks the small footpaths like something out of a dream.
Japan is the land of mythological names. It's where you distinguish ninja from samurai, anime from art, Harajuku from kaiseki from kung fu. We handcraft the tours from a vast wealth of possible destinations and experiences, stretching from ice sculptures in the far north to tropical beaches in the far south. Contact us and we'll provide you with a full and detailed itinerary, based on your preferences. To get you started on Japan family travel, here are three destinations that always receive great feedback.
Tokyo is the world's pop-culture capital and while also being the world's most populous metropolis, the experience doesn't need to be overwhelming. For us, this is a city of opportunity, whatever your age. Tokyo offers an astounding variety of unique, world-class shopping, trend-setting entertainment, and an unparalleled spectrum of cuisine. The city's history can be appreciated in districts such as Asakusa, and in many excellent museums, temples and gardens. If that doesn't appeal to your older children, there are so many options to discover the city's famed teen culture, experiences that often change perspectives.
Cruise down the Sumida River, watching local life along the banks. Cycle through the alleys in the oldest parts of the city, passing the odd Buddhist monk. Be baffled by the spectacle at Shibuya Crossing, as featured in many films set in Tokyo. Discover the inimitability of Tokyo Anime Center, full of events and exhibitions. In Akihabara – known locally as Electric Town – there are whole streets of camera, technology, interactive robots and game consoles, You can stop in one of the busy video game parlors, filled with all sorts of exotic machines never seen before, played with vigor by younger and even older Japanese. If any of your children fancy themselves as a Nintendo or Playstation expert then they can challenge the locals.
Contrary to common perception, Tokyo also offers a number of attractive green spaces in the city center. Visit one of Tokyo's most peaceful and sacred sites, the exquisite Meiji Shrine. Then walk over to explore Tokyo's stylish and trendiest shopping venues, including the meandering alleys of the Harajuku strip that were inspired by the popular teen fashion trend of the same name. Art can also play a role and we love including gallery 21_21 on Japan family tours. Famed Japanese designers Issey Miyake, Taku Satoh, and Naoto Fukasawa are behind this sleek, design-centric art space, which features fascinating hands-on art exhibits for young visitors. In addition, within relatively short drives of Tokyo you can also be enjoying the picturesque landscapes of Nikko, Kamakura, and Hakone.
Travel challenges your perspectives. And on the formative mind of a child, the experiences can be profound. Delve into Japan's deep Buddhist spirituality—the most formative influence on Japanese history and culture—traveling outside Kyoto to sacred Mount Kōya, a destination for almost all Japanese at some point in their life. The town is sublime to explore by foot, with temples set among forests and rustic pathways on lush landscapes. One highlight is the tranquil "cemetery walk" —a mile long cobbled path through the forest, ending at the shrine of Kūkai, who is credited with bringing Buddhism to Japan.
But the really impactful experience comes from the atmosphere. Spend the night in a temple, learning how to eat, live and sleep like the monks. Join them on their morning chanting ritual, so different to anything your family will have done before. We create opportunities for you to converse with the monks, discussing everything from the obvious – like spirituality – to the unusual, such a music and pop culture. Your children can meet with the younger monks, asking questions and sharing stories. It's very immersive and the sort of experience children remember for many years to come.
Home to more than 2000 temples and shrines, along with more than a dozen World Heritage Sites, Kyoto is one of the unmissable destinations on a private Japan tour. Kiyomizu-dera, a magnificent wooden temple supported by pillars on the slope of a mountainside; Kinkaku-ji, the Temple of the Golden Pavilion; Ryoan-ji, famous for its Zen dry garden of raked gravel; the ornate setting of Nijo Castle. The quality of the sights are unquestionable. The question is how to make all this culture accessible to children of different ages, particularly those who aren't too keen on touring temples all day.
Kyoto is set in a bowl of wooded hills. Consider the tranquil Philosopher's Path, an enchanting walkway that skirts the eastern foothills. Discover the ancient world-class crafts at the heart of Japan's creativity, exploring the five families who are shepherding the city's traditional crafts from past to future. Change the pace by visiting Monkey Park, the exotic primates jumping in the trees all above your head. Bicycle ride through the old districts, get lost in forests of bamboo, and enhance the atmosphere of the temples by meeting the monks who live there. We've found that mixed daily programs work well, combining one or two iconic cultural sights with something specific for the kids.
For example, enjoy a traditional tea ceremony in a classical machiya (wooden house with courtyard) sat on the floor in tatami tearooms, learning from your servers about this ancient Zen Buddhist practice so deeply rooted in Japanese culture. Stroll through the four-century-old Nishiki Market, crowded with stalls offering all manner of exotic Japanese edibles and staples; most children love sampling the amazing variety of sweets and other snacks here. Hike into the thick forests of Arashiyama monkey park, where the wild monkeys are calm and feeding can be done inside the ranger's hut. Then rest in the beloved gardens of Tenryuji Temple, before feasting your eyes on the shimmering gold facade of Kinkaku-ji.
Alesso traveled with his family to Japan in the summer of 2015. He kept a diary detailing his experiences. Like almost all 11 year olds would be, Alesso was both excited and apprehensive before the vacation. He had no idea what to expect. After writing the diary, he wanted to share it with other children, so they could get an idea of what it is like to vist Japan and the other countries he visited. You can read Alesso's complete article here – which gives both a child's perspective and an insight into the type of activities on a Japan family tour.
Everything you've heard is true — Japan is the ultimate culinary destination. Dining recommendations will capture the exquisite aesthetics of Japanese food and endlessly appealing diversity. Visit the famous Tsukiji Fish Market before it closes its doors forever in 2015, experience the world's finest sushi, tempura, and shabu shabu, but also explore Japan's other lesser known styles, including minimalist kaiseki, grilled delights of teppanyaki and regional specialties (kyodo-ryori). Visit Tokyo's sake bars, and informal noodle bars in Gion.
Japan is known for its bullet trains, but the Seven Stars is a new and exclusive train service crawls past towering volcanoes, hills shrouded in cypress trees and bamboo, emerald green rice fields, and a crisp shorelines dotted with fishing boats and seaweed farms — all from the window of the most luxurious train coaches in the world. Suites feature the finest in Japanese craftsmanship with walls of rosewood and maple, floors of walnut, Shoji paper screens over windows, and hand-etched glass of flowers and birds. We combine this three-day & night luxurious train journey with our unique itineraries in Tokyo and Kyoto.
During this adventurous journey, explore Japan's bucolic landscapes, traveling along rural coastlines, through remote islands, volcanic peaks, bamboo forests, river valleys, hot springs, and rural villages. Explore by bicycle, foot, boat, and train through some Japan's most beautiful settings while enjoying comfort and high aesthetic of the country's most luxurious hotels and renowned ryokan (inns). Featured destinations include Kamakura, Mount Koya, Hakone, the islands of Shikoku, Naoshima, and Kyushu, and the remote and tranquil northern shores where few travelers venture.
In the style of traditional Japanese homes with 21st-century architecture, this sublime 25-room ryokan sits high on the banks above the dreamy Hozugawa River, transporting you back in time. Located in the Arashiyama district, an area abundant with temples, the hotel is reached only by a slow cruise in a hinoki, a traditional cedar boat. The rooms are richly finished in cedar, hand-blocked wallpaper, modern floor-to-ceiling glass shoji screens and chic dark slate bathrooms, with wide picture windows, and lofty duvets, not tatami mats, to relax on. All guest rooms feature views of the tranquil river surrounded by a tree-covered landscape that changes with the seasons.
From the iron lanterns that light the moss-traced stone walkways to the lashed bamboo fences, every detail has been well considered. The hotels lounge area, a library, is restocked throughout the day with snacks by the attentive staff who speak excellent English. After a day exploring Arashiyama, they rooms heated wooden floors and deep cedar soaking tubs provide comfort and vantage point to take in views of lush green gardens and mountains.
As in a traditional ryokan, Hoshinoya is a retreat not only from busy Kyoto but from modernity. Elegant restaurant serving authentic Kyoto cuisine with a modern take. In the evening, after you've eaten an excellent Japanese or French meal and changed into provided silk robes, relax in the Zen rock garden and watch the river flow by. In the morning, observe the foxes, deer, and even monkeys pass through the forest. Arashiyama is renowned for its temples which are well worth visiting. During your stay, experience morning worship rituals and meditation techniques from Zen monks on a temple visit, take a class in Japanese flower arranging and during summer, or go onto the river in the evening to watch 'ukai' or men fishing with the aid of cormorants, by firelight.
Our take: A truly sublime setting around a bend on the river beneath the lush forests of Arashiyama. One of the two top ryokan in Kyoto.
The Seven Stars is the first luxury sleeper train or "cruise train" in Japan, making its inaugural run in Oct 2013. The result of a collaboration between Japanese designer Eiji Mitooka and local artisans is majestically furnished train with their masterpieces.
Seven Stars is decorated with various types of wood and fabric. The style is a fusion of Western and Japanese design. There is a bar in the lounge car, as well as couches and rotating chairs for passengers to sit in while enjoying live musical performances. The rear of the lounge car also features a large bay window for enjoying the scenery as it flows by. The spacious rooms include the Deluxe Suites, where one carriage is split into two rooms, and the suite rooms, which are one carriage split into three rooms. This train provides a totally new travel experience.
Making its run through verdant island Kyushu, the train offers journeys of two and four days, as well as special annual departures. On the Seven Stars, passengers can enjoy the beautiful Kyushu scenery as it passes by. At certain points passengers will alight from the train to participate in excursions, with scenery and experiences that could only possibly be encountered on the Seven Stars. Note: Very limited cabins are available by advanced reservations only.
Tokyo's most interesting new addition and a unique one for Aman. Opening its doors in 2015, the property is Aman's first "urban sanctuary." Situated on the top six floors of the 38-story Otemachi Tower, the Aman enjoys a prime location near the Imperial Palace Gardens with superlative city views.
The seven-suite hotel features blonde-wood furniture, spacious balconies, up to date room technology, capturing a serene, minimalist mood with the Aonagi maisonette suite and its 25 foot high ceiling, offering spectacular views of the Setouchi Inland Sea. Other features include the outdoor lap pool with views over the sea, and the restaurant, Minagi, serves meticulously-prepared but casual kaiseki dinners with local seafood.