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Japan Travel During the Christmas-New Year Holidays

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Starting to plan a trip to Japan with my family to Kyoto and Tokyo. Because of school breaks and work schedules, we will be probably be traveling with a mid-December arrival and Christmas Eve departure. However because our school/work scheduling is not finalized, we may also have to travel around New Years, perhaps late December to early January.

I'm not worried about Christmas, but I know New Years is an important holiday in Japan. Are shops and restaurants generally closed during this period? If so, how long does this usually last? Would it be better to arrive sometime after New Years? Thanks in advance for your help.

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