Family Seminar

Response to Covid-19

Stay in the know about Travel/Study’s response to evolving Covid-19 restrictions and policies. Read more >


Learn about manga, the Japanese art form of comics and graphic novels popular with all ages, at the Kyoto International Manga Museum

Visit a local school to converse with peers, feed the free-roaming deer on Miyajima Island and attend a baseball game

Feel like a hero wielding a katana (sword) while dressed in hakama (Japanese pants) at Tokyo Samurai Kenbu

Spend two nights at a traditional ryokan with tatami mat floors, shoji screens, low wooden tables for tea and an onsen (Japanese hot springs bath)

Faculty leader

Greg Watkins

Greg Watkins, ’85, PhD ’02, is the associate director of Stanford’s Structured Liberal Education (SLE) program, a freshman humanities program where students study the history of philosophy, literature and religion. His research is focused on religion and film. For the past 14 years he’s been a resident fellow at East Florence Moore Hall, living with the students who participate in the program. He loves the curiosity and inquisitiveness of students of all ages. He’s led trips for Stanford throughout Southeast Asia, South Asia and the Himalayan region and has traveled with his two daughters to Thailand and Bhutan. He notes, “As a student of religion myself, I see this trip as an opportunity to bring to life the wonderfully diverse and fascinating religious culture of Japan”.


July 6–17, 2022
Day 1

Osaka, Japan / Kyoto

Fly into Osaka’s Kansai International Airport, transfer by train to Kyoto, and check in to our hotel. The evening is free to relax and rest after our flight.

Hotel – The Westin Miyako

Day 2


This morning after breakfast, gather for a welcome orientation followed by our first faculty lecture and Young Explorer session. Then, head out to visit Ryoanji, a beautiful example of a Zen rock garden. Later this morning, visit one of Japan’s most enduring sites, Kyoto’s Kinkaku-ji, or Golden Pavilion. After a bento lunch, stroll through the stunning Arashiyama Bamboo Forest, then visit the Monkey Park Iwatayama for a chance to observe Japanese macaques up close. Return to our hotel for a welcome reception and dinner.

Hotel – The Westin Miyako

Meals – breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 3


Young Explorers visit a local school today to meet with peers. They'll also try their hand at tea-leaf picking, then join the adults at the Miho Museum, located in a nature preserve in the Shigaraki Mountains. The striking and unusual museum structure was designed by famed Chinese-American architect I.M. Pei to house the Shumei Foundation’s collection of Japanese teaware and rare art objects. After lunch, the two groups rendezvous to visit the Heian Shrine, built on the occasion of the 1,100th anniversary of Kyoto, then called Heian, becoming the capital of Japan.

Hotel – The Westin Miyako

Meals – breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 4


Today travel to the Miho Museum, located in a nature preserve in the Shigaraki Mountains. The striking and unusual museum structure was designed by famed Chinese-American architect I.M. Pei to house the Shumei Foundation’s collection of Japanese teaware and rare art objects that range from the Mediterranean to China. After lunch at the museum, head back to Kyoto and stop on the way to pick tea leaves at a plantation in Shiga Prefecture. Back in Kyoto, visit the Heian Shrine, built on the occasion of the 1,100th anniversary of Kyoto, then called Heian, becoming the capital of Japan.

Hotel – The Westin Miyako

Meals – breakfast, lunch

Day 5

Kyoto / Hiroshima

This morning transfer by bullet train to Hiroshima, arriving in time for lunch. Afterwards take a ferry to the sacred island of Miyajima to visit the Itsukushima Shrine, delight in the free-roaming deer, and view the massive vermillion torii gate standing in the sea just offshore. Enjoy time at leisure to explore the island and soak in the peaceful surroundings before returning to Hiroshima and checking in to our hotel. If our schedules coincide, enjoy a Hiroshima Carps baseball game at the Mazda Zoom-Zoom Stadium.

Hotel – Hotel Granvia Hiroshima

Meals – breakfast, lunch

Day 6

Kyoto / Miyajima / Hiroshima

The castle town of Hiroshima, for centuries the most important port city in this region, became a military base during World Wars I and II, thus becoming the primary target of the first atomic bomb attack in 1945. Today begins with a visit the Peace Memorial Park, Atom Bomb Dome and Peace Memorial Museum. Portions of the Peace Memorial Park were designed by renowned architect Kenzo Tange and sculptor Isamu Noguchi. After a cooking class and lunch of okonomiyaki, a savory pancake that’s a local specialty, Young Explorers participate in a school cultural exchange program with students from a local school, while adults enjoy free time in Hiroshima.

Hotel – Hotel Granvia Hiroshima

Meals – breakfast, lunch

Day 7

Hiroshima / Kanazawa

Bid farewell to Hiroshima today and take a morning train to Kanazawa. Located on the shores of the Sea of Japan, Kanazawa boasts some of the best-preserved Edo-period districts. Have lunch on arrival, then visit the Kanazawa Castle and the neighboring Kenrokuen Garden, considered one of Japan’s most beautiful landscape gardens. This evening check in to our ryokan, a traditional Japanese hotel with tatami mat flooring and shoji screens. Tea is served at low wooden tables and guests sleep on futons placed on the tatami mats. A ryokan also features typical Japanese communal baths, called onsen, with separate men’s and women’s quarters.

Hotel – Kanazawa Chaya Ryokan

Meals – breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 8

Kanazawa / Komatsu

Today head to the city of Komatsu to experience hands on craft-making activities at Yunokuni no Mori, a traditional handicrafts village. Choose between a variety of options, such as noodle making, pottery, ceramic painting, cake making, and sculpting in bamboo, among many others. This afternoon return to Kanazawa, where adults visit the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art and Young Explorers can admire the majesty of samurai armor at the Kaga-Honda Samurai Museum.

Hotel – Kanazawa Chaya Ryokan

Meals – breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 9

Kanazawa / Tokyo

Continue our lesson on the life of samurai this morning at the Nomura Samurai House, a historic residence in the area where the samurai of Kanazawa lived with their families. Also visit the Higashi Chaya district, a well-preserved historic geisha district lined with wooden teahouses dating back to the 1820s. After lunch at a local restaurant, climb aboard a bullet train headed to Tokyo, arriving in the evening and check in to our hotel before enjoying dinner on our own.

Hotel – Imperial Hotel

Meals – breakfast, lunch

Day 10


Start our exploration of Tokyo with a visit to the Hamarikyu Garden, a traditionally styled garden that stands in stark contrast to the skyscrapers of Tokyo. Then travel by ferry to the Asakusa Kannon Temple, one of the city’s most dramatic Buddhist temples. After lunch at the pedestrian arcade near the temple, participate in a samurai experience; learn the basic techniques of kenbu, a traditional Japanese art that includes tying on a kimono, traditional walking and bowing, and handling a sword. If our schedules coincide, enjoy a Yomiuri Giants baseball game.

Hotel – Imperial Hotel

Meals – breakfast, lunch

Day 11


Start the day with a visit to the Edo Tokyo Museum, which features city models from the Edo period, between 1590 and 1964. Enjoy a free afternoon in Tokyo to explore the many attractions this city has to offer, perhaps strolling through the Ginza district and exploring the Imperial Palace surroundings. Gather this evening at our hotel for a farewell reception and dinner.

Hotel – Imperial Hotel

Meals – breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 12

Tokyo / Home

Transfer to the Tokyo airport for flights home.

Meals – breakfast

Day 13

Map of trip's locations
No items found.
Map of trip's ship

Our ship

Trip details

Group size / age

41 participants (ages 6+)


$9,795per adult, double occupancy
$9,295 per child (ages 6–18), double occupancy
$11,820 per adult or child, single occupancy
*Stanford Alumni Association nonmembers add $300 per person.


Educational program with lecture series and predeparture materials, including an education resource list and travel information · Young Explorer program and activities for kids · Services of our professional tour manager to assist you throughout the program · All tours and excursions as described in the itinerary · Gratuities to guides and drivers for all group activities · 11 nights of deluxe hotel accommodations · 11 breakfasts, 10 lunches and 5 dinners · Welcome and farewell receptions · Transfers and baggage handling on program arrival and departure days · On-tour quarantine-related trip-cancellation, -interruption and -delay insurance coverage · General medical, accident and evacuation insurance

Not included

Your personal flights to and from the program · Passport and visa fees · Immunization costs · Meals and beverages other than those specified as included · Independent and private transfers · Nonquarantine-related trip-cancellation, -interruption and -delay insurance coverage · Baggage insurance · Excess-baggage charges · Personal items such as internet access, telephone calls, laundry and gratuities for nongroup services

Air arrangements

You are responsible for booking and purchasing airfare to the start location and from the end location of the program. These air purchases are NOT included in the program cost. To assist you in making these independent arrangements, we will send you details with your confirmation materials on when to arrive and depart.

Room arrangements

Families stay in standard hotel rooms, typically with one king or queen bed (depending on the property), or two twin beds. Accommodations vary from property to property, and flexibility is a must. If you plan to have three people in one room, please indicate your bed preference for the first two people. We will request a rollaway for the third family member. For families in multiple rooms, Travel/Study always requests rooms that are next to each other or as close as the accommodations permit. If your family would like interconnecting rooms, please indicate as much when you register. Travel/Study can request interconnecting rooms on your behalf where available, but most accommodations will not guarantee them in advance.

What to expect

We consider this program moderately strenuous program--at times physically demanding and busy. Some days require early-morning starts; and we often have a full schedule of excursions, lectures and special events. Limited internal flight schedules may necessitate early-morning or late-evening travel. Daily excursions involve one to three miles of walking with tours as long as three hours on city streets, which are, in some cases, uneven or cobblestoned. Significant walking and climbing of stairs may also be required at many hotels and airports. In some instances, such as at temples, steps are a necessary part of the tour and may not have handrails.

Though all of our accommodations feature Western amenities and are quite comfortable, hotels in Japan tend to be less luxurious than in many other parts of the world. In Kanazawa, we stay at a traditional Japanese ryokan, which requires sleeping on traditional tatami mats and futons. Although all of the hotels and motor coaches used in this program are air-conditioned, other traditional means of conveyance and some of the museums and temples we visit are not air-conditioned.

With travel requirements and local Covid-19 conditions in constant flux, travel protocols for our destination will be shared with confirmed travelers closer to departure. (To read more about Travel/Study’s approach to ensuring traveler health and safety, visit our Covid-19 Travel page.) Participants must be physically fit, active and in good health. We welcome travelers 6 years of age and older on this program.

Request information

This program is still in development. Dates are subject to change and details on trip costs are not yet available. Submit your request to be among the first to receive notification when final details are available. At that time, you will have the opportunity to place a deposit, ahead of our general audience.


Get started

If you’re ready to reserve your space, click on the “reserve” button below to place a deposit. Please note: you’ll need to log into your Stanford Alumni Association account to complete the transaction. You do not need to be a Stanford Alumni Association member or an alum to create an account.

Questions? Call the Travel/Study office at (650) 725-1093.


Contact us

For all other inquiries, complete the form below or email us at family-adventures@alumni.stanford.edu and a Travel/Study associate will contact you within one to two business days.

Thank you for submitting your information. A Travel/Study representative will reach out shortly.
Please enter all required fields before submitting.

Stanford Travel/Study Terms and Conditions

We encourage membership in the Stanford Alumni Association as the program cost for nonmembers is $300 more than the members' price. The nonmember fee is waived for anyone traveling as a paid guest of a current member, as well as for emerita or emeritus faculty and staff. To purchase a membership, call (650) 725-0692 or click here for more information.

Deposits, Payments and Cancellations
A $1,000-per-person deposit is required to reserve space. Final payment is due 120 days prior to program start. Deposits and any payments are refundable, less a $500-per-person cancellation fee, until 120 days prior to program start. After that date, refunds can be made only if the program is sold out and we resell your place(s), in which case a $1,000-per-person cancellation fee will apply.

Stanford Travel/Study provides all travelers who are U.S. or Canadian residents with minimal medical, accident and evacuation coverage, as well as on-tour quarantine-related trip-cancellation, -interruption and -delay insurance coverage, under our group-travel insurance policy. Our group policy is intended to provide minimal levels of protection while you are traveling on this program. You may choose to subscribe to optional nonquarantine-related trip-cancellation, -interruption and -delay insurance coverage and/or baggage insurance. Information offering such insurance will be included in your confirmation materials. The product offered includes special benefits if you purchase your insurance within 14 days of receiving your welcome email.

The Stanford Alumni Association, Stanford University and our operators act only as agents for the passenger with respect to transportation and ship arrangements and exercise every care possible in doing so. However, we can assume no liability for injury, damage, loss, accident, delay or irregularity in connection with the service of any automobile, motor coach, launch or any other conveyance used in carrying out this program or for the acts or defaults of any company or person engaged in conveying the passenger or in carrying out the arrangements of the program. We cannot accept any responsibility for losses or additional expenses due to delay or changes in air or other services, sickness, weather, strike, war, quarantine, force majeure or other causes beyond our control. All such losses or expenses will have to be borne by the passenger as tour rates include arrangements only for the time stated. We reserve the right to make such alterations to this published itinerary as may be deemed necessary. The right is reserved to cancel any program prior to departure in which case the entire payment will be refunded without further obligation on our part. The right is also reserved to decline to accept or retain any person as a member of the program. No refund will be made for an unused portion of any tour unless arrangements are made in sufficient time to avoid penalties. Baggage is carried at the owner's risk entirely. It is understood that the ship's ticket, when issued, shall constitute the sole contract between the passenger and the cruise company. The airlines concerned are not to be held responsible for any act, omission or event during the time passengers are not on board their plane or conveyance. Neither the Stanford Alumni Association, Stanford University nor our operators accept liability for any carrier's cancellation penalty incurred by the purchase of a nonrefundable ticket in connection with the tour. Program price is based on rates in effect at the time the brochure is published and is subject to change without notice to reflect fluctuations in exchange rates, tariffs or fuel charges. As a condition of participation, all confirmed participants are required to sign an Assumption of Risk.

California Seller of Travel Program Registration #2048 523-50

Other family adventures

back to top of page arrow