We just came back from our most recent trip to Japan and we had a fantastic time, probably one of our best holidays so far.  The country, the people, the culture, the cleanliness and the delicious food.

When we were booking our trip to Japan, it was very overwhelming and there were so many things we didn’t know, like what area do we stay in, how does that train network work, do we take cash or cards and what is there to do and see?  We joined a few Facebook groups on Japan to help us plan our perfect itinerary and we are so thankful that we did as it really helped our planning. 

If you have any further recommendations that we could visit next time, please leave them in the comments box below.  Thank you.


Japan is an island country in East Asia. It is in the northwest Pacific Ocean and is bordered on the west by the Sea of Japan, extending from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north toward the East China Sea, Philippine Sea, and Taiwan in the south.  We flew with Qantas Airways from Melbourne, Australia and we had a direct flight with took about 10 hours.



Sheraton Grande Tokyo Bay

The Sheraton Grande Tokyo Bay Hotel offers unbeatable access via monorail to both Tokyo DisneySea and Tokyo Disneyland.  They are about 10 minutes from Ikspiari, which is the shopping, entertainment and dining area located just outside Tokyo Disneyland.

The Sheraton Grande Tokyo Bay offers a free shuttle to and from the monorail, a full fitness centre, four beautiful restaurants and an exceptional Japanese-style bath. The hotel has 1016 spacious hotel rooms and suites with magical views of Tokyo Disney Resort or the bay.

Hot Tips: This hotel has a laundry room and only costs a couple of dollars per load.

The taxi from Narita Airport to Sheraton Grande Tokyo Bay was AUD $300.00, which is very expensive as its only approximately an hours drive, but we were there late at night and this was the most convenient way for our family.

Mecure Tokyo Ginza

The Mecure Tokyo Ginza Hotel is convenient located in the shopping district of Ginza, where visitors can discover the latest trends in fashion, culture and lifestyle.  The hotel is situated in close proximity to popular sites such as the Imperial Palace, The Kabuki Theater and the Tokyo International Forum.  The Mecure Ginza also offers direct access to the subway station and is the perfect spot to explore the city of Tokyo.

Hot Tips: The only downside to this hotel is that the rooms are abit on the small side.  If you have more then one large suitcase, you may struggle to store them.  We placed most of our luggage in storage at reception.


Teamlab Planets

Teamlab Planets is an international art collective.  Their collaborative practice seeks to navigate the confluence of art, science, technology and the natural world.  The immersive museum has several different rooms which are highly creative and just mind-blowing.  You will walk through water, be dazzled by the bright lights in a maze and become one with the flowers. This place is needs to be on your itinerary. Entry Ticket is AUD $35.00 per Adult.


Tokyo Disneyland is located in Urayasu, Chiba Prefecture, Japan near Tokyo.  Its main gate is directly adjacent to both Maihama Station and Tokyo Disneyland Station.

It was the first Disney Park to be built outside the United States and it opened on April 15, 1983. The park was constructed by WED Enterprises in the same style as Disneyland in California and Magic Kingdom in Florida.

Disneyland has seven themed areas including The World Bazar, Adventureland, Westernland, Fantasyland, Tomorrowland, Critter Country and Toontoon.  Many of these areas mirror those in the original Disneyland as they are based on American Disney films and fantasies. Fantasyland includes Peter Pans Flight, Snow Whites Scary Adventures, and Dumbo the Flying Elephant, based on Disney films and characters.

In 2022, Tokyo Disneyland hosted 12 million visitors, making it the fourth-most visited theme park in the world and the second-most visited theme park in Asia.


Tokyo DisneySea is a theme park at the Tokyo Disney Resort located in Urayasu, Chiba Prefecture, Japan, just next to Tokyo. It opened on 4 September 2001, at a cost of 335 billion yen. Tokyo DisneySea is unlike the Disney theme parks in the U.S. The only Disney park themed to the myths and legends of the seas. Each of the eight themed ports features attractions, restaurants, shops, and more.

Hot Tips: Make sure to download The Premier Access system. It is an invaluable feature of the app, especially if you are trying to get it all done in one day. It allows you to reserve access to certain attractions, entertainment, and character meet-and-greets in advance.

This means you can skip the regular lines and enjoy more rides during your visit. Once you’ve entered the park, open the app and select the attractions you’d like to reserve Standby Pass for first. You can only hold a certain number of Standby Passes at a time, so make sure you choose your rides and attractions wisely.

Shibuya Scramble

The name “Shibuya Scramble Square” comes from the infamous pedestrian crossing located just a few metres from the landmark, “The Scramble”.  This is the busiest pedestrian crossing in the world as people can walk in every direction, making it quick and accessible to reach every building near by Shibuya station.

Shibuya Sky

Shibuya Sky is a 229m tall, open-air observation deck that offers a great view of Tokyo.  Directly connected to Shibuya Station, a large-scale complex consisting of 47 floors above ground and an observation facility with a height of 229 meters, Shibuya Sky offers a 360 degrees view on the open air observation deck located on the roof.  Tickets were roughly AUD $25.00 per adult.

Art Aquarium Ginza

The Art Aquarium in Ginza is tricky to find, but once you find it, hands down it will be one of the best exhibitions you will go too.  Located in the iconic Ginza Mitsukoshi department store, the Art Aquarium Museum GINZA is a revolutionary new kind of art museum that combines living art, ultra-modern design, and a well-balanced blend of the old and new to show goldfish in a new light.  We absolutely loved this experience and would highly recommend it.  Tickets were roughly AUD $25.00 per adult.


Osaka is located about 515km from Tokyo City and takes about 2 hours and 20 minutes on the bullet train.  Known for its friendly locals, delicious street food, and lively nightlife, Osaka offers an affordable cost of living compared to Tokyo.  The bullet train from Tokyo to Osaka roughly cost us AUD $150 one way per Adult with reserved seating.


Swissotel Osaka

The Swissotel Osaka is a luxury hotel located in the heart of Namba.  The hotel sits above Nankai Railways Namba station offering direct train access.  The 36-storey tower has 546 well-appointed guestrooms, with 42 Executive floor rooms and 28 suites featuring upgraded amenities including Swiss Executive Lounge access offering all-day refreshments, exclusive breakfast and pre-dinner cocktails. The Pürovel Spa & Sport offers a selection of spa treatments, plus a fully equipped gym, hot tub, Japanese sauna and bath, and indoor swimming pool.

The Swissotel offers guests with six restaurants, bars or café. Their signature restaurant Table36 at the topmost floor features breath taking city views from your breakfast, up until you end your night with a cocktail at Bar36.


Universal Studios

Universal Studios Japan is a theme park located in Osaka, Japan. Opened on March 31, 2001, it is one of six Universal Studios theme parks worldwide and was the first to open outside the United States.

Our main reason for visiting Universal Studios was to experience Super Nintendo World.  When we purchased our tickets, the Super Nintendo World ticket was already sold out, so please book your tickets nice and early.  We were lucky enough to get a timed themed entry ticket by logging onto the app as soon as we walked into the park.

The experience was fantastic at both Super Nintendo World and Universal Studios.  We had a great time and make sure to add this onto your itinerary.


We travelled from Osaka to Hiroshima on the bullet train and it took us approximately 2 hours.  Our main reason for visiting Hiroshima was to visit the Atomic Bomb Dome and the Peace Museum.


Atomic Bomb Dome

The Hiroshima Peace Memorial (Genbaku Dome) was the only structure left standing in the area where the first atomic bomb exploded on 6 August 1945.  Through the efforts of many people, including those of the city of Hiroshima, it has been preserved in the same state as immediately after the bombing.

Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum

The Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum collects and displays belongings left by the victims, photos, and other materials that convey the horror of that event.  We visited the museum on a weekday and it was packed full of school kids and tourists.  We walked through the museum and as horrifying as it was to see the victims belongings and the stories of what happened, we were so impressed by the school kids and the absolute silence and respect they showed walking through the venue.

Costco Hiroshima

Costco Hiroshima is located roughly a 20 minute walk from Hiroshima Station.  We are Costco members and we really wanted to have a look inside and see what they had to offer. It was very similar set up to Melbourne but the prices were dramatically cheaper. This is a great place to do some shopping tax free.


We travelled to Kyoto from Osaka on the local train and took us about 50 minutes.  We wanted to visit Kyoto to see the Arashiyama Bamboo forest.


Mercure Hotel Kyoto

Kyoto Station is the first Mercure brand hotel in the Kansai region. The main lobby features an installation of an origami kemari (Heian era football) made from handmade Japanese paper and a colorful design wall composed of blown glass spheres that is sure to provide an elegant start to your trip.

The hotel is located off the main road on a quiet street and is about a 10 minute easy walk from the JR Kyoto Station and offers two types of rooms: the modern Superior Rooms and the elegant Privilege Rooms.  All rooms are designated as non-smoking.  This hotel was beautiful and the rooms were quite spacious.  We enjoyed our time here.

Hot Tips: We choose this hotel as it was close walking distance to Kyoto Station.  There is also a laundry mat about 5 minutes’ walk from the hotel which is very convenient.


Arashiyama Bamboo Grove

The Arashiyama Bamboo Grove is one of Kyoto’s top sights and most photographed sights in the city.  Standing amid these soaring stalks of bamboo is like being in another world.  When we visited, it was really crowded and over whelming.  If you are trying to take a photo with no one else in your background, forget it, unless you arrive there at 5am.

We did however find another secret spot not to far away that we were able to take our photos at.  The location is at Adashino Nenbutsuji Temple which was about a 40 min walk from Arashiyama Bamboo Grove.  It has a bamboo walk as well where you can take beautiful photos and its very quiet as not too many tourists go there.

Nishiki Market

Nishiki Market has an astonishing 130 vendors packed into a narrow passageway that is approximately 400 meters long and 3.9 meters wide. It continues to thrive, attracting not only visitors, but Kyoto locals too.

Nishiki Market offers an array of both fresh and preserved foods, including duck specialties, Japanese sweets, and all manner of pickles. You can also find excellent cookware and elegant ceramic wares, condiments and paper goods.  This is the place to snap up a bargain with the endless amount of stores for shopping.  We also loved trying all the delicious foods that were on offer.

Fushimi Inari Shrine

Fushimi Inari is an important Shinto shrine in southern Kyoto. It is famous for its thousands of vermilion torii gates, which straddle a network of trails behind its main buildings.


Japan is absolutely an “Instagramable Photo Heaven” and we did our best to find a few spots that were really “Instagramable”. 

Statue of Hachiko (Dog) – One of Japan’s unofficial landmarks, the Hachiko statue in Shibuya is a homage to the faithful Akita dog waited at Shibuya Station every day for his master, even after his death. Today, it’s one of the most popular meeting places in Tokyo. Check out the movie on Netflix before you go.

Jordan World of Flight – Nike has opened the second worldwide location of its Jordan brand in the heart of Tokyo along Meiji-dori street between Shibuya and Harajuku. World of Flight Tokyo Shibuya is Japan’s flagship store for the brand and a must-visit for basketball fans with its basketball court-style decor.

Omoide Yokocho – Tucked away near the bustling West Exit of Shinjuku Station, Omoide Yokocho is a warren of narrow alleys that transports visitors to a different era.

Last Minute Tips:

Download Suica Transit Card on your phone to make travel on the train network easier.  Its like a tap and go system.

We used Klook travel app to book our bullet trains, tours and attractions.

Google Translate was very helpful in many situations where the language barrier was impossible.


** All prices are correct at time of post**

I would like to Thank the following sponsors for making this holiday special and memorable.

Swissotel Nankai Osaka

Mecure Kyoto Station

Note: These are suggestions only and the team at Christine King has personally visited all the above-mentioned places.


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