Japan’s one-time imperial capital, Kyoto is a treasure trove of ancient shrines and temples, and your time here will give you a taste of old-world Japan. A local guide will take you on a bicycle tour of Kyoto’s backstreets, cycling through the ancient districts of Miyagowacho and Gion and past traditional homes of the iconic Geisha – who you will still catch a glimpse of as they dash between appointments.
If your children are interested in wildlife, consider visiting nearby Nara, another of Japan’s ancient capitals, which is similarly full to the brim with charm and character. Particularly famous for the deer which roam its parks, Nara is also home to no fewer than eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites, among them Daibutsu – the Great Buddha statue – one of Japan’s most impressive sites.
Back in Kyoto, stop at the Imperial Palace Park with its beautiful gardens, marvel at the fantastic display of food and trinkets at the Nishiki Market, try to creep along the squeaky floorboards like a ninja in Nijo Castle and watch manta rays, sharks and colourful fish float above your head in the Kyoto Aquarium – all ideal activities for active families.
Your home for three nights in Kyoto is the traditional Hiiragiya
, a luxurious base in the heart of the city with the atmosphere of a family-run inn.