Japan Family Holiday Trip Notes

Japan Family Holiday

These trip notes are valid for departures from 01 January 2016 to 31 December 2016. View the trip notes for departures between 01 January 2017 - 31 December 2017

Last Modified: 23 Aug 2016
Japan Family Holiday
Trip code: CJFP
Validity: 01 Jan 2016 to 31 Dec 2016
Grab the family and embark of an intriguing exploration of Japan. From ancient emperors to technological gizmos, Japan is a flurry of contradiction and excitement. Partake in a calligraphy lesson, hold a tune at a karaoke bar, swim in hot springs, visit a volcanic valley and explore the old temples of an imperial family. Allow Intrepid to take care of the finer details while you and your family enjoy a world of sushi, geishas, high-speed trains and sumo wrestling, alongside a local expert.
Table of Contents
StyleMeals introductionAlternate finish point description
ThemesMealsAlternate finish point instructions
Is this trip right for you?TransportEmergency contact
Why we love itMoney mattersVisas
MapGroup leaderWhat to take
ItinerarySafetyClimate and seasonal information
Itinerary disclaimerJoining pointHealth
Physical ratingJoining point descriptionTravel insurance
Included activitiesJoining point instructionsA couple of rules
Important notesAlternate joining pointResponsible Travel
Group sizeAlternate joining point descriptionThe Intrepid Foundation
Your fellow travellersAlternate joining point instructionsFeedback
AccommodationFinish point
Accommodation NotesAlternate finish point
Is this trip right for you?
- From boat cruises to cycling trips (and a cable-car adventure), this trip combines many forms of transport. There is still quite a bit of walking involved, so you'll need a good level of fitness. Comfortable walking shoes are essential.
- Sleeping on a tatami (traditional mat) in Hakone is great fun, but keep in mind there are no luxury conveniences during your stay in this location. Unless you count the private Japanese baths!
Why we love it
- Discover Tokyo, where dazzling neon lights are only the beginning. Feast on market-fresh sushi, try your hand at calligraphy, and cook your own okonomiyaki on a Tokyo Bay boat cruise
- Fast, fun and futuristic, a bullet train ride (Tokyo to Hakone) is an essential Japanese experience, sure to be a thrill for the whole family
- Bask in the soothing waters of an onsen in Hakone. These Japanese hot-spring baths are the perfect antidote to a couple of days of walking around the big city
- Epicureans will find themselves in heaven. From the depachika of Tokyo to the shotengai of Kyoto, your leader will help you navigate Japan's dizzying food options
- There's no better way to get around Kyoto than on a bicycle. A two-wheeled tour takes you to the best of Japan's most beautiful city

Day 1 Tokyo
Konnichiwa! Welcome to Tokyo, Japan's dynamic capital where the ultra-modern meets the ancient. Make your way to your first night's accommodation and check in. Your adventure begins with an important welcome meeting at 7 pm in the hotel lobby. You'll meet your leader and group at this meeting. Check the hotel reception or noticeboards for the location of the meeting. If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader.
Included Activities
  • Tokyo - Metropolitan Government Building
    Asakusa Sunroute Hotel or similar (1 nt)
    Day 2 Tokyo
    Kick things off with a visit to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building. The free observation decks of this 243-metre-tall building offer beautiful panoramas of the city and beyond. On a clear day, you can see Mount Fuji, the Tokyo Skytree, Tokyo Tower, Meiji Shrine and Tokyo Dome from up here. You will also visit Sensoji in Asakusa, one of the most popular Buddhist temples in Tokyo. Located on the banks of the Sumida River, it features a shopping street in its approach – a good place for a quirky Japanese souvenir. While you're in Tokyo, you'll be treated to a calligraphy lesson for a chance to try your hand at this age-old art form. There also might be the chance to visit a manga (Japanese comic and cartoon) market, located out in Akihabara.
    Optional Activities
    • Karaoke - JPY2000
      Asakusa Sunroute Hotel or similar (1 nt)
      1 breakfast, 1 dinner
      Day 3 Tokyo
      Visit the Tsukiji Fish Market for an eye-opening experience. This is the biggest wholesale seafood market in the world, with more than 400 seafood varieties on offer. Wander through the narrow aisles, witness the heated negotiations between merchants and buyers, and watch out for speeding market trolleys piled high with crates of fresh stock. If you're game for a super-early start, you can attend the 5 am tuna auction (you'll need to take a taxi at 3.30 am). Your market visit concludes with a delicious sushi breakfast – this is as fresh as it gets! Later, take a walk through a Tokyo depachika, a food-specific department store with a mind-boggling array of traditional and non-traditional Japanese foods. Take a look inside the impressive Sony showroom too. For lunch, head to Yoyogi park and join the locals. Dinner (on one of your nights here) will be a fun self-cooked 'okonomiyaki' (hotplate pancake) on a boat on Tokyo Bay, surrounded by the city lights.

      Note: The Tsukiji Fish Markets are closed every national holiday and every Sunday. Tuna auctions may be closed to the public during busy times.
      Included Activities
      • Tokyo - Japanese & Calligraphy lesson
      • Tokyo - Seafood Market & Sushi Breakfast
      • Tokyo - Okonomiyaki dinner
        Asakusa Sunroute Hotel or similar (1 nt)
        1 breakfast, 1 lunch
        Day 4 Tokyo
        Enjoy free time to further explore Tokyo with your family. There are many optional activities available, and your leader can help you choose a suitable one if you like. You can visit Imperial parks and temples, unique museums, watch game of baseball, or even visiting Kodomo no Shiro, a children's play area consisting of seven floors of indoor fun (including art and crafts, music, movies, toys, games and playgrounds). In the evening, you might like to delve into Japan's famous karaoke culture – lose your inhibitions and sing the night away in a karaoke box (a great excuse for a late-night supper). 
        Included Activities
        • Tokyo - Sony Showroom
        • Tokyo - Depachika visit
          Optional Activities
          • Tokyo - Edo Tokyo Museum - JPY600
            Asakusa Sunroute Hotel or similar (1 nt)
            1 breakfast
            Day 5 Hakone
            Bid farewell to Tokyo as you board your direct train to Hakone. You will see that it's astonishingly easy to travel by train in Japan. Trains operate with metronomic precision, and the sight of a white-gloved guard bowing to a carriage full of travellers is something you'll never forget! Part of the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park, Hakone is a wonderland of natural beauty and offers a long list of holiday activities – hot springs, mountains, bush walks, lakes, breathtaking views of Mt Fuji and some interesting historic sites (including an open-air modern art museum).
            Included Activities
            • Hakone - Cable car
            • Hakone - Onsen (hot spring bath)
            • Hakone - Scenic walk
              Optional Activities
              • Hakone - Checkpoint Museum - JPY500
              • Hakone - Open Air Museum - JPY1600
                Fuji Hakone Guesthouse or similar (1 nt)
                1 breakfast, 1 dinner
                Day 6 Hakone
                Renowned as an excellent resort area since the Meiji period, Hakone and its onsens (hot spring baths) make a great place to relax and unwind with the family. Make a visit to the Karakuri secret box museum where the craft is in how to open the boxes. Touch and try to open the boxes yourself and find in there a unique Japanese gift to take home. You will also enjoy a walk around the scenic lake area. Your accommodation here is in a cosy, family-run guesthouse. You will be in a traditional Japanese room, sleeping on a tatami mat. There are private Japanese baths for you to enjoy while you're here.
                Fuji Hakone Guesthouse or similar (1 nt)
                1 breakfast, 1 dinner
                Day 7 Kyoto
                Travel to Kyoto, arguably the most stunning city in Japan. The charms of the former Imperial capital are subtle and profound. While you're here, you'll see some of the finest temples, shrines, palaces and gardens in the country, with a nice mix of included activities and free time. Visit a food market and learn all about the ingredients on sale and how to use them – maybe even buy some supplies for a picnic lunch by the riverside. Stroll around the gorgeous Shosei-en Garden and visit the Fushimi Inari Taisha (the sacred shrine of the rice god). Wander the Gion disctrict in the evening with your leader in search of geikos (geishas) or maikos (apprentice geishas) with their elaborate dress and make up.
                Included Activities
                • Kyoto - Nishiki-Koji Market
                • Kyoto - Gion District Walk
                • Kyoto - Shosei Strolling Garden
                • Kyoto - Fushimi Inari 10,000 Gate Shrine
                  Daiwa Roynet Hotel or similar (1 nt)
                  1 breakfast
                  Day 8 Kyoto
                  Embark on a leisurely bike ride along the pristine paths around some of Kyoto's key historic and cultural sites. This is definitely the best way to navigate the city. Visit the Nanzenji Temple, one of most incredible temples in the country. Its large site includes many smaller temples, and the huge San-mon is a sight to behold. You can take the stairs to the second level for superb views over the city. Make sure you check out Leaping Tiger Garden before you leave. In your spare time today, perhaps take an optional cooking class or visit the Gion Corner cultural centre.
                  Included Activities
                  • Kyoto - Guided bike ride
                  • Kyoto - Nanzenji Temple
                    Optional Activities
                    • Gion Corner cultural centre - JPY2800
                    • Kyoto - Cooking Class - JPY6000
                      Daiwa Roynet Hotel or similar (1 nt)
                      1 breakfast
                      Day 9 Kyoto
                      Explore more of the delights that Kyoto has to offer. You will visit the Arashiyama area, a pleasant district on the outskirts of Kyoto. This was a popular place for nobles to relax in a serene natural setting during the Heian period (785–1185). You'll also visit the Tenryu-ji Temple which is right near an incredible bamboo grove. This bamboo forest is one of the most photographed sights in the city, and you'll see why. It's like stepping into another dimension. Later on you will enjoy a boat cruise down the Hozu River – look along the banks for Japanese maples or perhaps cherry trees in bloom (depending on the season).
                      Included Activities
                      • Kyoto - Arashiyama sightseeing
                      • Kyoto - Tenryuji Temple
                      • Hozu river ride
                        Daiwa Roynet Hotel or similar (1 nt)
                        1 breakfast
                        Day 10 Kyoto
                        Head to Hikone Castle, one of the four Japanese castles listed as national treasures. Witness the 17th-century grandeur of this original castle which, for the most part, survived the feudal era without having to be rebuilt. The majority of its inner moats, walls, guard houses and gates remain intact. The castle has an interesting history – it was moved to Hikone by the Ii clan, one of the most famous Samurai families in Japan. You will visit the impressive Samurai quarter here also.
                        Included Activities
                        • Kyoto - Hikone Castle
                          Daiwa Roynet Hotel or similar (1 nt)
                          1 breakfast
                          Day 11 Kyoto
                          Your adventure comes to an end today. There are no further activities planned and you are free to depart your accommodation at any time. See the 'Finishing Point Hotel' section for checkout times and luggage storage options.
                          1 breakfast
                          Itinerary disclaimer
                          ITINERARY CHANGES Occasionally our itineraries are updated during the year to incorporate improvements stemming from past travellers' comments and our own research. The information given in this itinerary may be slightly different to that in the brochure. It's very important that you print and review a final copy of your Trip Notes a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans. If you have any queries, please contact your travel agent or our staff. We are here to help you! Please note that while we operate successful trips in this region throughout the year, some changes may occur in our itineraries due to inclement weather and common seasonal changes to timetables and transport routes. This can happen with little notice so please be prepared for modifications to the route. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary from time to time.

                          OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES: A selection of optional activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only. Prices are approximate and are for entrance only and don’t include transport to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. All activities are subject to availability and it may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination. Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. This means that it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, however we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Activities not listed above have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and leaders are unable to assist you with booking these activities. The decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk.
                          Physical rating

                          You will be expected to carry your own luggage, including moving about busy public transport hubs to make tight connections, up stairs and escalators and on and off buses and trains. Although you won't be required to walk long distances with your luggage, you are expected to be able to walk and handle your own luggage for up to 30 minutes, sometimes at a fast pace. Good general fitness and mobility will play a big part in making your trip more enjoyable.
                          Included activities
                          Tokyo - Metropolitan Government Building
                          Tokyo - Japanese & Calligraphy lesson
                          Tokyo - Seafood Market & Sushi Breakfast
                          Tokyo - Okonomiyaki dinner
                          Tokyo - Sony Showroom
                          Tokyo - Depachika visit
                          Hakone - Cable car
                          Hakone - Onsen (hot spring bath)
                          Hakone - Scenic walk
                          Kyoto - Nishiki-Koji Market
                          Kyoto - Gion District Walk
                          Kyoto - Shosei Strolling Garden
                          Kyoto - Fushimi Inari 10,000 Gate Shrine
                          Kyoto - Guided bike ride
                          Kyoto - Nanzenji Temple
                          Kyoto - Arashiyama sightseeing
                          Kyoto - Tenryuji Temple
                          Hozu river ride
                          Kyoto - Hikone Castle
                          Important notes
                          Please note that these trips are for adults and children travelling together and there must be at least one child under 18 with you
                          Minimum age for children on this trip is 5 years old

                          Group size
                          Maximum of 17 travellers per group.
                          Your fellow travellers
                          GROUP TRAVEL
                          As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part. Due to privacy reasons we are unable to provide you with contact details and any personal information about your fellow travellers booked on your trip prior to departure.

                          SINGLE SUPPLEMENT
                          A single supplement is available on this trip, please refer to your booking agent for further information.
                          Hotel (8nt), Ryokan (2nt)
                          GENERAL ROOMING CONFIGURATIONS:
                          Family of two - All family groupings of two will be put into a twin room.

                          Family of three - Wherever possible we will put you in a triple room. Please be aware that in some places triple rooms are in short supply. This means that, in practice, a triple room will often simply be a twin room with a mattress on the floor or a further bed squashed in. Where it is impossible to provide a triple room, you will have to decide which of your party takes the single room.

                          Family of four or more - You will most likely stay in two twin rooms. If and wherever possible we will aim put you in a quadruple room. Whilst we will do our very best to ensure that families are roomed close together (in some cases, we can arrange adjoining rooms), we can’t guarantee this. Most family holidays occur during peak season and we sometimes have little to no control over where you will be put. You need to come prepared for this.

                          Accommodation is clean and simple. You'll mainly stay in small, locally-run, 2-3 star hotels and guesthouses, which reflect the character of the area,generally these will be a twin room with private facilities. Sometimes you'll stay in larger, more comfortable hotels or occasionally rustic accommodation with basic facilities. We use a variety of accommodation on most trips; chosen for their value for money, location and atmosphere. We also try and incorporate unique accommodation experiences, such as a night with a local tribe, or sleeping under the stars in the desert.

                          Throughout the trip we request that our hotels prepare rooms in time for our arrival, especially if we're arriving prior to normal check-in time. However this isn't always possible which means we won't be able to check-in immediately on arrival at some hotels. Instead, we can store our luggage and explore our new destination.

                          If you've purchased pre- or post-trip accommodation you may be required to change rooms from your trip accommodation for these extra nights.
                          Meals introduction
                          While travelling with us you'll experience the vast array of wonderful food available in the world. Your group leader will be able to suggest restaurants to try during your trip. On our camping trips we often cook the region's specialities so you don't miss out. To give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat, generally not all meals are included in the trip price. This also gives you more budgeting flexibility. As a rule our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company. There's no obligation to do this though.
                          10 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 3 dinners
                          Cable car, Taxi, Train, Train (bullet), Tram

                          You are NOT required to purchase a Japan Rail (JR) Pass for this trip. However it's highly recommended that you obtain a rail pass before you leave home if you wish to travel in Japan before or after your trip. 7, 14 and 30 days passes are available for purchase through your travel agent. Your group leader will be able to assist you with the validation of this pass. The JR Rail Pass is only valid for 3 months after issue and you're only able to apply for this pass if you're visiting Japan on a tourist visa.
                          Money matters
                          The official currency of Japan is Yen (JPY).

                          Japan is predominantly a cash society and locals carry large amounts of cash for daily business.

                          International credit cards can usually only be used at major department stores or large restaurants but cash from non-Japanese bank accounts can be withdrawn via the Cirrus and Maestro systems by direct debiting (as well as Mastercard and Visa cash advance). This is now available at all post office ATMs around the country, as well as 7 Eleven convenience store ATMs, making it very easy to get access to cash throughout the trip at each location 24 hours a day.

                          SPENDING MONEY:
                          When it comes to spending money on the trip, every traveller is a little different. You know your spending habits better than we do, so please budget a sensible amount for things like meals not included, drinks, shopping, optional activities and laundry. It's always better to bring a little more than you think you'll need. Also make sure you've read your trip details thoroughly so you know what's included in the trip price and what isn't. This should make budgeting a little easier. You'll find this info in the Inclusions section of your Essential Trip Information (that's this document).

                          If you are happy with the services provided by your group leader tipping - though not compulsory - is appropriate. While it may not be customary to you, it is of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels, inspires excellent service, and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across many Intrepid destinations. Please consider this when budgeting for your extra expenses on this tour.

                          The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline US$1-2 per person, per day can be used.

                          DEPARTURE TAX
                          All departure taxes should be included in your international flight ticket.

                          Budget for meals not included: 180.00

                          EMERGENCY FUNDS:
                          We try to plan for every eventuality, but there are still some things beyond our control. Please make sure you bring an extra USD500 for emergencies (e.g. natural disasters or civil unrest). Sometimes these things necessitate last minute changes to our itineraries, and we can’t guarantee there won’t be some extra costs involved.
                          Group leader
                          Family Trips

                          All Intrepid Family trips are accompanied by one of our group leaders. The aim of the group leader is to assist your family take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. Your leader will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for fun things to do and see- for both kids and parents, recommend great local eating venues that will even get the kids trying new things, and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the countries visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects.

                          Our leaders are not babysitters on this trip - we leave that to you (the experts), but they will make sure that group members of all ages are able to explore their destination safely and with as much fun as possible. Our group leaders are not responsible for looking after children at any time and children must be accompanied by a parent or guardian at all times throughout this itinerary.
                          Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure and ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all areas your itinerary covers. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trip.

                          We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, air tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of our hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage.

                          Your leader will accompany you on all included activities, however during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your leader will assist you with the available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your Intrepid itinerary, and Intrepid makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your Leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns.

                          For more details on the type of conditions and safety standards you can expect on your trip, please refer to Intrepid's operational safety policy on our website. We recommend that you take a moment to read through this information before travelling, and would appreciate any feedback on how well it's being implemented in the field:

                          Depending on where you come from please note that drivers in this part of the world may drive on the opposite side of the road from what you are used to. Look both ways before crossing any road. Traffic can be a little more chaotic than you might be used to at home. Be aware!

                          PETTY THEFT AND PERSONAL SAFETY:
                          While travelling there is always the risk of pick-pocketing and petty theft, particularly in the more touristy cities. We recommend that you exercise caution when walking alone at night and encourage you to walk together and only on main, well-lit thoroughfares. Be particularly vigilant on public transport. Simple measures like carrying your day pack on your front, not hanging your bag over the back of your chair or on the floor and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing.

                          Joining point
                          Asakusa Sunroute Hotel
                          1-8-5 Kaminarimon
                          Phone: +81 338471511
                          Joining point description
                          Asakusa Sunroute Hotel is in the heart of Tokyo, so it is a great location for wandering around town. Ueno Park is located within 30 minutes walk.

                          Although Tokyo is a big city it is not too difficult to get around, quite safe, and people are friendly and helpful. Be sure to take a business card from reception before heading out into the streets, just in case.

                          Check-in time at our joining point hotel is after 2:00pm. Early check-in is not guaranteed, however if you arrive early, luggage storage is available. Speak to the hotel reception on arrival. Please note we cannot offer any additional accommodation at this property. If you require additional pre-tour accommodation please email the hotel directly at info@sunroute-asakusa.co.jp
                          Joining point instructions
                          The Hotel Asakusa is conveniently located five minutes’ walk from the Tsukuba Express’s “Asakusa Station” and a one-minute walk from Ginza’s “Tawaramachi Station”.
                          1) From Narita Airport, take Keisei "Skyliner" train to Ueno station. After exiting the Keisei line at Ueno station, look for the sign to Subway "Ginza" line - an orange circle with a "G" in it. Follow this sign and get on the subway Ginza line heading for Asakusa, and get off at the second station, Tawaramachi, (G-18.)
                          At Tawaramachi station, head for EXIT 3 and go up to street level (there are stairs or you can take the elevator located at the back of the platform). Follow the main road (Road 462) towards North – the same direction as you walked upstairs. As you get up to street level at exit 3, there will be an area map displayed. You are walking to the right direction if you see a "DOUTOR COFFEE" on your left at a bus stop in about 30 meters. Keep on walking along this main street for another 60 meters until you see Sunroute Hotel on the other side of the road. Sunroute hotel houses "Jonathan Restaurant" so you will see the huge red letters "Jonathan". You actually have to go a bit further on to cross the street. From exit 3 to the hotel will take you about 1 minute to walk.
                          2.) If you have a Japan Rail Pass and want to validate it you can do this before you get on the train. Then take the JR Narita Express train to Tokyo Station (1 hr) and from there change on to the Yamanote loop line (green line) going toward Ueno. This is also a JR line so you can use your JR Pass. From Ueno Station, follow directions for the Ginza subway line as above.
                          Alternate joining point
                          For trips departing on the following dates, use this joining point.
                          25 Sep 2016 (CJFP160925)
                          The B Hotel
                          1-7-5 Kanda Awaji-cho
                          Phone: 81 0332542888
                          Alternate joining point description
                          Just a few minutes from both JR and subway lines, the b ochanomizu is ideally located in a quiet, calm area just off the main street.
                          Alternate joining point instructions
                          Finish point
                          Daiwa Roynet Hotel Kyoto-hachijoguchi
                          9-2, Higashikujo-kitakarasumacho Minami-ku
                          Phone: +81 756930055
                          Alternate finish point
                          For trips departing on the following dates, use this finish point.
                          25 Sep 2016 (CJFP160925)
                          Hotel Village Kyoto
                          Japan, 〒604-8804 京都府京都市 中京区壬生坊城町5
                          Alternate finish point description
                          Alternate finish point instructions
                          Emergency contact
                          For general contact details please use the following page: http://www.intrepidtravel.com/ourtrips/contact/

                          For general enquiries or questions about your booking, please contact your agent or adventure specialist, or visit us at www.intrepidtravel.com/contact-us

                          In case of a genuine crisis or emergency, you can reach our local operator on the number below.

                          While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip.

                          We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager.

                          You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. But we do ask you to be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is complete.

                          Venture: +81 90 6531 9269
                          Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. Entry requirements can change at any time, so it's important that you check for the latest information. Please visit the relevant consular website of the country or countries you’re visiting for detailed and up-to-date visa information specific to your nationality. Your consultant will also be happy to point you in the right direction with acquiring visas. Visas can take several weeks to process, so familiarise yourself with any requirements as soon as you have booked your trip to allow for processing time.

                          JAPAN VISA
                          Citizens of the USA, Australia and New Zealand are granted 90-day temporary visitor visas, while stays of up to three months are permitted for citizens of Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Iceland, Israel, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Singapore, Spain, Sweden and a number of other countries.

                          Stays of up to six months are permitted for citizens of Austria, Germany, Ireland, Mexico, Switzerland and the UK. Citizens of these countries will almost always be given a 90-day temporary visitor visa upon arrival, which can usually be extended for another 90 days at immigration bureaux inside Japan.

                          What to take
                          JAPAN LUGGAGE
                          On this trip you will need to carry your own luggage for up to 30 minutes at a time. Train stations are quite complex and usually require a lot of stair climbing, especially when doing a quick transfer from train to train. Elevators aren't always available and cannot accommodate many people at a time, so if you are choosing to bring a suitcase, please ensure you are able to lift and carry it up and down stairs yourself without difficulty. A backpack is often preferred by travellers for this reason. Some ryokans don't allow suitcases with wheels into rooms with tatami mat floors. Japanese transportation is often quite small and cramped so it's best to pack as light as possible so that you are not blocking aisles or taking up extra seats on trains.

                          What you need to bring will vary according to the trip style you have chosen, the countries you are visiting and when you are travelling. Generally speaking you should pack as lightly as possible. On the vast majority of our trips you are expected to carry your own luggage, although you won't be required to walk long distances with it (max 30 minutes).

                          Most travellers carry their luggage in a backpack, although an overnight bag with a shoulder strap would suffice if you travel lightly. Smaller bags or backpacks with wheels are convenient although we recommend your bag has carry straps. You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water and a camera etc for day trips.

                          Below we have listed the essentials for this trip:


                          WATER BOTTLE:
                          Consider bringing your own water bottle to refill along the way. We recommend at least a 1.5litre capacity. The sale of bottled water contributes to an enormous environmental problem around the world. In addition to the water in bottles, the production of a 1 litre plastic bottle takes 2 litres of water and 200ml of oil. A large proportion end up in limited landfill or discarded in waterways and natural environments.

                          TAP WATER:
                          Cold tap water in Japan is generally safe and good to drink so you can avoid the purchase of bottled water by refilling from the tap or public water fountains.
                          Climate and seasonal information
                          RAIL PASS: No Japan Rail Pass required for this trip unless you are flying out of Tokyo after the trip and need to get back there. We travel by JR bullet train using Shinkansen.
                          All Intrepid travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please note that if, in the opinion of our group leader or local guide, any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, Intrepid Travel reserves the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without refund.

                          You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information or for any necessary vaccinations and anti-malarial requirements before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements (including a spare pair of glasses) as they may not easily be obtained at the locations on this trip. For legal reasons our leaders and guides are prohibited from administering any type of drugs including headache tablets and antibiotics. Please ensure that you are adequately prepared.
                          Travel insurance
                          Travel insurance is compulsory for all our trips. We require that, at a minimum, you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects.

                          When travelling on a trip, you won't be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24 hour emergency contact number has been seen by your leader.

                          If you have credit card insurance your group leader will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number and emergency contact number rather than the bank's name and credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country.

                          A couple of rules
                          Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land, but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for Intrepid travellers. Intrepid's philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter and in particular, the local people who make our destinations such special places. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our group leader has the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.

                          Everyone has the right to feel safe and secure on their trip. We don’t tolerate any form of sexual harassment at Intrepid, either between passengers or involving our leaders or local operators. Sexual relationships (consensual or otherwise) between a leader and a passenger are unacceptable. If you ever feel another person is behaving inappropriately please inform us immediately by contacting the emergency contact number detailed in these trip notes.
                          Responsible Travel
                          We believe strongly in low impact or rather positive impact tourism. Broadly speaking this means that we try to minimise the negative aspects of tourism on the local cultures and environments that we visit and highlight the positive aspects. Please visit our website for further details and suggestions on how you can be a responsible traveller.


                          LOCAL DRESS:
                          Dress standards are conservative throughout Asia, especially outside major cities. To respect this and for your own comfort, we strongly recommend modest clothing. This means clothing that covers your shoulders and knees by wearing sleeves and long trousers. Loose, lightweight, long clothing is both respectful and cool in areas of predominantly hot climate. In many rural areas women will need to wear modest clothing even to swim. Singlets, tank tops and topless sun bathing are all unacceptable. When visiting religious sites men often need to wear long trousers and women a long skirt or sarong.

                          The Intrepid Foundation
                          Since Intrepid Travel commenced operating in 1989 we've been committed to giving something back to the communities we visit. One way has been through our support for local humanitarian, development and conservation projects. Many of our travellers want to contribute something too. Whilst it is often tempting to give hand-outs to those less fortunate, this has the potential to promote a culture of begging and dependency. Handouts are not a sustainable way for individuals or communities to live. That’s why we established The Intrepid Foundation – to make it easier for travellers wishing to give back to communities in an effective and meaningful way.

                          The Intrepid Foundation is a not-for-profit fund offering a selection of excellent grassroots organisations which you can contribute to. All donations to The Intrepid Foundation will be matched by Intrepid Travel dollar for dollar (up to AU$1,000 per donor and a total of AU$400,000 for all donors in each financial year, excluding emergency appeals). And every cent gets there as Intrepid Travel pays for all the administration costs. Donating is simple and secure. Please ask your leader for information on the projects we support through The Intrepid Foundation or go to our website:


                          After your travels, we want to hear from you! We rely on your feedback. We read it carefully. Feedback helps us understand what we are doing well and what we could be doing better. It allows us to make improvements for future travellers.