5 Budget-Friendly Temples And Shrines In Japan

Last Updated: May 2024

Table of Contents

Are you planning a trip to Japan but worried about the costs of visiting temples and shrines? Don’t worry, there are plenty of budget-friendly options available to you. Japan is home to thousands of temples and shrines, each with their unique history and significance.

In this article, we will be highlighting five budget-friendly temples and shrines that you can visit during your trip to Japan.

First up on our list is the Golden Pavilion in Kyoto. This stunning temple is covered in gold leaf and reflects beautifully in the surrounding pond.

Next, we will take you to Fushimi Inari Shrine, also in Kyoto. This shrine is known for its thousands of red torii gates that create a mesmerizing tunnel-like path.

We will then head to Tokyo to visit the Sensoji Temple, one of the oldest and most famous temples in the city.

Our fourth stop will be the Toshogu Shrine in Nikko, a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its intricate carvings and beautiful architecture.

Finally, we will take you to the Itsukushima Shrine in Miyajima, known for its iconic floating torii gate.

So, let’s get started on our budget-friendly temple and shrine adventure in Japan!

Key Takeaways

  • Japan has thousands of temples and shrines, each with their unique history and significance, and there are many budget-friendly options to choose from.
  • Some of the recommended budget-friendly temples and shrines to visit include Golden Pavilion, Fushimi Inari Shrine, Sensoji Temple, Toshogu Shrine, and Itsukushima Shrine.
  • The Japanese tea ceremony is an intricate ritual that embodies harmony, respect, purity, and tranquility, and is a beautiful way to immerse yourself in Japanese culture and learn about its traditions.
  • Visiting smaller temples and shrines during off-peak times can be more budget-friendly and offer a more authentic and less crowded experience, with the potential to discover unique features or hidden gems.

The Golden Pavilion in Kyoto

You’ll feel awestruck by the stunning beauty of the Golden Pavilion in Kyoto, one of the most iconic and budget-friendly temples in Japan.

The temple, also known as Kinkaku-ji, is a UNESCO World Heritage site that dates back to the 14th century.

As you approach the temple, you’ll be greeted by a serene pond that reflects the golden temple and surrounding trees, creating a picturesque scene that’s straight out of a postcard.

The Golden Pavilion is a three-story building that’s covered in gold leaf, and each floor features a different architectural style.

The first floor is traditional Japanese, while the second floor is in the style of samurai residences, and the third floor is a Chinese-style Zen hall.

You can take a stroll through the temple’s beautiful gardens, which are meticulously landscaped and feature a variety of flora and fauna.

The Golden Pavilion is a must-visit for anyone traveling to Kyoto, and it’s a great way to experience Japan’s rich cultural heritage without breaking the bank.

Fushimi Inari Shrine in Kyoto

As you wander through the winding paths and vibrant torii gates of Fushimi Inari Shrine, the hustle and bustle of Kyoto’s city streets feel worlds away. This shrine is dedicated to Inari, the Shinto god of rice and prosperity. It is known for its iconic orange gates that lead up to the sacred Mount Inari.

Here are four things you should know about visiting Fushimi Inari Shrine:

  1. The shrine is open 24/7, so you can visit at any time of day or night. However, it’s best to go early in the morning or late in the afternoon to avoid the crowds.

  2. The hike to the top of Mount Inari takes about 2-3 hours round-trip, but you can turn back at any point if you get tired. Along the way, you’ll encounter smaller shrines and statues, as well as breathtaking views of Kyoto.

  3. The shrine grounds are free to enter, but donations are appreciated. You’ll often see visitors leaving small offerings of rice, sake, or money at the shrines.

  4. If you’re lucky, you might spot a fox statue or two during your visit. Inari is often depicted as a fox, and the shrine is home to many fox statues and decorations.

Overall, Fushimi Inari Shrine is a must-visit for anyone traveling to Kyoto. Its peaceful atmosphere and stunning scenery make it a perfect escape from the city’s hustle and bustle.

Sensoji Temple in Tokyo

If you’re looking for a budget-friendly temple experience in Tokyo, Sensoji Temple in Asakusa is a must-visit.

The bustling atmosphere of the Asakusa area adds to the excitement of exploring this historic temple.

Not only is admission free, but you can also find plenty of budget-friendly souvenir shopping in the surrounding area.

The best time to visit is either early morning or late evening to avoid the crowds and catch a glimpse of the temple illuminated at night.

Exploring the bustling Asakusa area

Visiting Asakusa is a must for those who want to experience the lively atmosphere of a traditional Japanese district. This bustling area is home to the famous Sensoji Temple, which is one of the oldest and most significant temples in Tokyo.

As you stroll through the streets, you’ll encounter a variety of souvenir shops, street food vendors, and traditional Japanese restaurants.

The highlight of Asakusa is undoubtedly the Sensoji Temple. This stunning temple is a must-visit for anyone interested in Japanese culture and history. The temple grounds are filled with beautiful architecture, including the iconic Kaminarimon Gate and the towering five-story pagoda.

You can also experience traditional Japanese customs, such as purifying yourself with smoke at the incense burner or purchasing an omikuji fortune from the temple grounds.

Visiting Asakusa is an unforgettable experience that will transport you back in time to the heart of traditional Japan.

Free admission and budget-friendly souvenir shopping

For those on a tight budget, there’s good news – admission to the Sensoji Temple is free, and there are plenty of opportunities for affordable souvenir shopping in the surrounding area.

As you walk through the temple grounds, take in the beauty of the towering pagoda and the colorful lanterns that adorn the streets. Stop by the Nakamise shopping street for a variety of budget-friendly souvenirs, such as traditional Japanese snacks, lucky charms, and even samurai swords.

If you’re looking for a unique souvenir to take home, consider purchasing a daruma doll. These charming red dolls are said to bring good luck and fortune, and can be found at various shops in the area.

Don’t forget to also try some of the local street food, such as freshly-made taiyaki (fish-shaped pancakes filled with sweet red bean paste) or crispy senbei crackers.

With so much to see and do in the Asakusa area, it’s easy to enjoy a budget-friendly day of exploring and souvenir shopping.

Best time to visit

When to go: The vibrant atmosphere of Sensoji Temple is at its peak during festivals like Sanja Matsuri, where you can experience the liveliness of traditional Japanese culture. However, if you’re looking for a quieter visit, it’s best to go early in the morning or on a weekday when the crowds are thinner and the serene beauty of the temple can be fully appreciated.

Here are some tips on the best times to visit other budget-friendly temples and shrines in Japan:

  1. Fushimi Inari Taisha in Kyoto is best visited early in the morning to avoid the crowds and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere of the shrine’s famous torii gates.

  2. Meiji Shrine in Tokyo is particularly stunning during autumn when the foliage turns brilliant shades of red and gold.

  3. The cherry blossom season in spring is the perfect time to visit Himeji Castle’s beautiful gardens and surrounding grounds.

  4. Kiyomizudera Temple in Kyoto is a must-visit during the autumn foliage season when the trees surrounding the temple turn vibrant shades of red and orange.

Toshogu Shrine in Nikko

You can’t miss the ornate and colorful architecture of Toshogu Shrine in Nikko. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is a popular destination for tourists and locals alike.

As you approach the shrine, you’ll be greeted by the magnificent Yomeimon Gate, adorned with intricate carvings and gold leaf.

Inside the shrine, you’ll find a treasure trove of historical and cultural artifacts, including the famous ‘Sleeping Cat’ carving and the Five-story Pagoda. The shrine is also home to the final resting place of Tokugawa Ieyasu, the founder of the Tokugawa shogunate that ruled Japan for over 200 years.

Whether you’re a history buff or simply appreciate beautiful architecture, Toshogu Shrine is a must-visit destination.

Itsukushima Shrine in Miyajima

Immerse yourself in the breathtaking beauty of Itsukushima Shrine in Miyajima, where the vibrant vermillion torii gate appears to float on water during high tide. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of the most photographed shrines in Japan, and for good reason.

The stunning architecture, coupled with the serene surroundings, make it a must-visit attraction for anyone traveling to Japan. The Itsukushima Shrine is located on the island of Miyajima, which is easily accessible from Hiroshima by ferry.

While the shrine itself is free to enter, there is a small fee to enter the inner shrine and to see the famous Noh stage. Take your time exploring the shrine’s many buildings and structures, and be sure to visit during high tide to witness the torii gate seemingly floating on the water.

Itsukushima Shrine is a true gem in Japan’s temple and shrine scene, and a budget-friendly option for those looking to experience its beauty.

Rural Shrines and Temples

Get ready to discover hidden gems off the beaten path with rural shrines and temples in Japan. These sacred sites are often tucked away in remote areas, providing a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. While they may not be as well-known as some of Japan’s popular tourist attractions, they offer a unique glimpse into the country’s rich cultural heritage.

One such example is the Takahashi-jinja Shrine in Okayama Prefecture. This ancient shrine is believed to have been founded over 1,300 years ago, and is known for its stunning red torii gate and quiet, serene atmosphere.

Another hidden gem is the Hasedera Temple in Nara Prefecture, which is home to a towering statue of Kannon, the Buddhist goddess of mercy. The temple’s expansive grounds also offer breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside.

Whether you’re interested in history, spirituality, or simply want to get off the beaten path, rural shrines and temples in Japan are well worth a visit.

Japanese Tea Ceremony

Experience the art and tradition of Japanese tea with the famous tea ceremony, which offers a unique insight into the country’s culture and hospitality. This centuries-old practice is still widely respected and practiced in Japan today.

The Japanese tea ceremony, also known as ‘Chado’ or ‘Sado,’ is more than just drinking tea; it’s an intricate ritual that embodies harmony, respect, purity, and tranquility. The tea ceremony is a peaceful and meditative experience that allows you to slow down and appreciate the present moment.

It involves preparing and serving matcha, a finely ground green tea, in a traditional tea room with a serene atmosphere and minimal decorations. The ceremony is led by a trained host who carefully follows a set of specific procedures while interacting with guests.

The tea ceremony is not only about the tea itself but also the utensils, the decor, and the etiquette that surrounds it. It’s a beautiful way to immerse yourself in Japanese culture and learn about its traditions.

Tips for Saving Money on Your Temple and Shrine Visits

Now that you know all about the Japanese tea ceremony, it’s time to talk about how you can save some money on your temple and shrine visits in Japan. While visiting these spiritual sites is a must-do activity when in Japan, it can also be quite expensive. But don’t worry, there are a few tips and tricks you can use to make these visits more budget-friendly.

Firstly, consider visiting smaller temples and shrines instead of the big, touristy ones. Not only are these smaller places often free or have a lower entrance fee, but they also offer a more authentic and less crowded experience. Some of these smaller sites may even have unique features or hidden gems that you wouldn’t find at the bigger sites.

Additionally, try visiting during off-peak times, such as early in the morning or later in the evening, to avoid the crowds and potentially save on entrance fees. With these tips, you can still experience the beauty and serenity of Japan’s spiritual sites without breaking the bank.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the history behind each of these temples and shrines?

If you’re interested in learning about the history behind temples and shrines in Japan, you’re in for a treat. Each of these sacred sites has a unique story to tell, with roots that stretch back centuries.

From the ancient Shinto shrines that honor the gods of nature, to the Buddhist temples that offer a path to enlightenment, there is no shortage of fascinating history to explore. You can learn about the founding of these sites, the rituals and practices that take place there, and the role they have played in Japanese culture throughout the ages.

Whether you’re a history buff or just curious about the past, visiting these temples and shrines is a great way to gain insight into Japan’s rich cultural heritage.

Are there any specific rituals or customs that visitors should be aware of when visiting these sites?

When visiting temples and shrines in Japan, it’s important to be aware of certain customs and rituals.

For example, before entering a shrine, it’s customary to purify yourself by washing your hands and mouth at the temizuya (water basin). You should also bow twice, clap twice, and bow once more before offering your prayers.

Additionally, it’s important to be respectful of the sacred spaces and not to touch or disturb any offerings or artifacts.

When visiting a temple, it’s common to make an offering of money or to purchase a lucky charm or amulet. It’s also important to remove your shoes before entering any temple buildings.

By following these customs and rituals, you can have a more meaningful and respectful experience when visiting these important cultural sites in Japan.

How long does it typically take to explore each of these temples and shrines?

When visiting temples and shrines in Japan, it’s important to plan your time accordingly. Typically, each site will take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour to explore thoroughly. However, it’s important to remember that some sites may take longer, especially if you’re interested in learning more about the history and culture surrounding them.

Additionally, many temples and shrines have beautiful gardens or scenic views, which can take some time to fully appreciate. To make the most of your visit, consider researching each site beforehand and planning your itinerary accordingly.

With a little bit of preparation, you can make the most of your time exploring these beautiful and budget-friendly destinations.

Are there any nearby attractions or places to eat that visitors should check out while visiting these temples and shrines?

When visiting the budget-friendly temples and shrines in Japan, you’ll find plenty of nearby attractions and places to eat that are worth checking out.

For example, if you visit Senso-ji Temple in Tokyo, you’ll find Nakamise-dori, a street lined with traditional shops and food stands selling everything from souvenirs to snacks.

At Fushimi Inari Taisha in Kyoto, you can hike up the mountain to see stunning views of the city and enjoy street food like takoyaki and yakitori on the way back down.

And at Himeji Castle, you can explore the castle grounds and then head to the nearby Otemae shopping district for some delicious local cuisine.

No matter where you go, there’s always something new and exciting to discover in Japan’s vibrant temple and shrine culture.

What is the best time of day to visit these temples and shrines to avoid crowds and maximize the experience?

The best time of day to visit temples and shrines in Japan and avoid crowds varies depending on the specific location. Generally speaking, visiting early in the morning or later in the evening can help you avoid the crowds that tend to gather during the day. This can also be a great time to take advantage of the peaceful atmosphere and enjoy the stunning architecture and scenery.

Additionally, some temples and shrines may have special events or ceremonies that take place at certain times of day, so it’s worth doing some research ahead of time to find out when those occur.

No matter when you choose to visit, be sure to dress appropriately and show respect for the cultural significance of these sacred sites.

Conclusion

Well done, you’ve just discovered some of the most budget-friendly temples and shrines in Japan! These cultural and spiritual centers are not only affordable, but also offer a unique glimpse into the rich history and traditions of Japan.

From the stunning Golden Pavilion in Kyoto to the serene Itsukushima Shrine in Miyajima, you have a wide range of options to choose from. Don’t forget to also explore some of the rural shrines and temples that are often overlooked by tourists.

And if you’re interested in experiencing a traditional Japanese tea ceremony, there are many temples and tea houses that offer this unique opportunity. Remember to keep these money-saving tips in mind, such as visiting during off-peak seasons and purchasing combination tickets for multiple attractions.

With a little planning and research, you can have an unforgettable experience without breaking the bank. So go ahead and immerse yourself in the beauty and tranquility of Japan’s temples and shrines, all while staying within your budget.

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Budget Travel Tips Japan
網中 千代子

A Comparison Of Budget Transportation Passes In Japan

If you’re planning to explore Japan’s cities and landscapes, you’ll be glad to know that the country boasts an efficient and extensive transportation network. From high-speed trains to local buses, getting around Japan is a breeze. However, transportation costs can quickly add up, especially

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Budget Travel Tips Japan
網中 千代子

A Guide To Budget-Friendly Cultural Festivals In Japan

Are you looking for an exciting and budget-friendly way to experience Japanese culture? Look no further than the country’s many cultural festivals! From elaborate parades to stunning fireworks displays, Japan’s festivals offer a unique glimpse into the country’s history and traditions. Whether you’re a

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Budget Travel Tips Japan
網中 千代子

A Guide To Budget-Friendly Onsen Experiences In Japan

Are you planning a trip to Japan and want to experience the traditional Japanese hot spring baths, also known as onsens, without breaking the bank? Look no further! This guide will provide you with all the necessary information to have a budget-friendly onsen experience

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Budget Travel Tips Japan
網中 千代子

A Review Of Budget-Friendly Food Brands In Japan

Are you a foodie looking to explore the diverse flavors of Japan without breaking the bank? Look no further than budget-friendly food brands. Japan is known for its unique and delicious cuisine, but many traditional dishes can be expensive to try. Fortunately, there are

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Budget Travel Tips Japan
網中 千代子

A Review Of Budget-Friendly Travel Apps For Japan

Are you planning a trip to Japan and looking for ways to save money while still enjoying all the sights and experiences this beautiful country has to offer? Look no further than these budget-friendly travel apps! With these apps, you can easily navigate your

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Budget Travel Tips Japan
網中 千代子

Budget Travel To Fukuoka: Exploring Kyushu On A Budget

Are you dreaming of exploring the stunning beauty of Kyushu without breaking the bank? Look no further than Fukuoka, the gateway to Japan’s southernmost island. With a little bit of planning and some insider tips, you can experience the best of Kyushu on a

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Budget Travel Tips Japan
網中 千代子

Exploring Japan On A Shoestring Budget: Tips And Tricks

Are you dreaming of exploring the unique culture and beautiful landscapes of Japan, but worried about the cost? Fear not, because with the right tips and tricks, you can explore Japan on a shoestring budget. Japan’s reputation for being an expensive destination can be

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Budget Travel Tips Japan
網中 千代子

Japan On A Budget: Saving Money On Transportation

Are you planning a trip to Japan but worried about the high cost of transportation? Don’t let transportation expenses hold you back from experiencing all that this beautiful country has to offer. With a little bit of planning and some insider tips, you can

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14 Days Hokkaido Travel Itinerary With Kids

Are you ready for an unforgettable adventure? Get ready to explore Hokkaido, Japan’s northernmost island, with your kids! In just 14 days, you’ll discover the wonders of Sapporo, have fun in the snow at Niseko, encounter wildlife in Shiretoko National Park, and relax in

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27 Days Okinawa Travel Itinerary With Kids

Are you ready to embark on an unforgettable adventure with your kids in Okinawa? Imagine spending 27 days exploring pristine beaches, immersing yourselves in rich history, indulging in mouthwatering Okinawan dishes, and engaging in thrilling outdoor activities. From building sandcastles on family-friendly shores to

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22 Days Hokkaido Travel Itinerary With Kids

Are you ready for an unforgettable family adventure? Imagine spending 22 days exploring the enchanting wonders of Hokkaido with your kids. From the bustling streets of Sapporo to the breathtaking beauty of Shiretoko National Park, this itinerary has it all. Picture your little ones

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4 Days Okinawa Travel Itinerary With Kids

Are you ready to embark on an unforgettable adventure with your kids? Get ready to dive into the crystal-clear waters, immerse yourself in the rich cultural heritage, and create lifelong memories in Okinawa. In just four days, you’ll be able to explore the stunning

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6 Days Osaka Travel Itinerary With Kids

Are you ready for an unforgettable family adventure in Osaka? Get ready to immerse yourself in the vibrant culture, explore historical landmarks, and create lasting memories with your kids. In this 6-day itinerary, you’ll visit iconic attractions like Osaka Castle, Universal Studios Japan, and

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15 Days Hiroshima Travel Itinerary With Kids

If you’re looking for a family-friendly adventure, look no further than Hiroshima. In just 15 days, you can experience the rich history, stunning sights, and cultural wonders this city has to offer. From exploring the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park to discovering the hidden gems

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9 Days Osaka Travel Itinerary With Kids

Are you ready for an incredible adventure in Osaka with your kids? Get ready to explore the rich history and vibrant culture of this amazing city with our 9-day itinerary! Imagine wandering through the majestic Osaka Castle, experiencing the thrills at Universal Studios Japan,

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4 Days Kanagawa Travel Itinerary With Kids

Are you ready for a fantastic family adventure in Kanagawa? Get ready to explore Yokohama, discover Kamakura, enjoy Enoshima Island, and have fun-filled activities in Hakone! This 4-day travel itinerary is packed with excitement, perfect for kids of all ages. From stunning temples to

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7 Days Tokyo Travel Itinerary With Kids

Are you ready for an exciting adventure in Tokyo with your kids? Get ready to explore the vibrant streets of Shibuya and Harajuku, visit the magical world of Tokyo Disneyland, and uncover the wonders of Ueno Park. Marvel at the breathtaking views from Tokyo

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27 Days Aichi Travel Itinerary With Kids

Are you ready for an unforgettable family adventure? Get ready to explore Aichi Prefecture in Japan with your kids for 27 action-packed days! With its stunning natural beauty, rich cultural heritage, and an array of family-friendly attractions, Aichi offers something for everyone. Picture this:

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11 Days Osaka Travel Itinerary With Kids

Are you ready for an unforgettable family adventure in Osaka? Get ready to immerse yourself in the vibrant culture and exciting attractions this city has to offer. In just 11 days, you’ll explore iconic landmarks like Osaka Castle, have a blast at Universal Studios

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11 Days Nara Travel Itinerary With Kids

Are you ready for an unforgettable family adventure? In just 11 days, you can explore the wonders of Nara with your kids! Get ready to delve into the rich cultural heritage of this ancient city, as you visit iconic attractions like Nara Park, Todaiji

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11 Days Okinawa Travel Itinerary With Kids

Are you ready for an unforgettable family adventure? Get ready to explore the beautiful island of Okinawa with your kids for 11 action-packed days! With its stunning beaches, vibrant culture, and exciting outdoor activities, Okinawa is the perfect destination for a family vacation. From

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4 Days Fukuoka Travel Itinerary With Kids

Imagine yourself and your family embarking on an exciting adventure in Fukuoka, Japan. In just four days, you’ll discover a city bursting with family-friendly attractions, cultural heritage, outdoor adventures, and mouthwatering food. This article will guide you through a carefully crafted itinerary, ensuring that

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7 Days Hokkaido Travel Itinerary With Kids

Looking for a fun-filled family adventure in Hokkaido? Wondering how to keep your kids entertained while exploring this beautiful Japanese island? Well, look no further! In just seven days, you can experience the best that Hokkaido has to offer. From snowy adventures in Niseko

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13 Days Okinawa Travel Itinerary With Kids

Imagine yourself and your family embarking on an incredible 13-day adventure in Okinawa, Japan. Picture the sun-kissed beaches, the vibrant culture, and the thrilling theme parks awaiting your arrival. Get ready to dive into the rich history and explore the fascinating historical sites. And

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15 Days Osaka Travel Itinerary With Kids

Are you ready to embark on an unforgettable adventure in Osaka with your kids? Get ready to explore the vibrant neighborhoods, immerse yourself in history, and indulge in thrilling theme parks. This 15-day itinerary is packed with excitement and fun for the whole family.

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