Take a mind-blowing tour of historic, cultural and modern Japan

Ever-welcoming and always fascinating, Japan is a land of ancient cultures, austere traditions and groundbreaking technology. Experience the best that this diverse country has to offer from the excitement of lively Tokyo to the sacred resting places of shoguns at Nikko. Feast on local delights at a Takayama market, make a sobering visit to the Hiroshima Peace Park and explore magnificent Kyoto temples. Discover ancient castles, lush countryside and fascinating feudal history on this authentic travel adventure. If you pack a good sense of humour and leave all inhibitions behind, the Land of the Rising Sun rarely disappoints.

Tokyo, Japan
Kyoto, Japan
Physical rating
Cultural rating
Min 15
Group size
Min 1 Max 12
Carbon offset
556kg pp per trip


  • Be dazzled by a gold-plated shogun shrine in Nikko
  • Reflect on the past in Hiroshima
  • Experience the collision of old and new Japan
  • Delve into geisha culture in Kyoto
  • See neon-hued Tokyo city lights
  • Sip sake in Takayama
  • Soak in a traditional outdoor onsen in Hakone


Konnichiwa! Welcome to Tokyo, Japan. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm today. You can arrive at any time during the day as there are no activities planned until this important meeting. Please check with hotel reception or look on the reception noticeboard for where and when the meeting will take place. 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.

After the meeting, you’ll have dinner with your new travelling companions. Then you’ll have some free time to explore Tokyo’s exhilarating nightlife. As we only spend one night in Tokyo, we strongly recommend that you arrive a few days prior to this trip in order to explore the city. Perhaps visit Ueno Park, with its many galleries and museums, or the Sensoji Temple, a serene getaway to pass the day.

Notes: If you can't arrange a flight that will have you arrive at the hotel in time for the meeting, 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).
Enjoy a couple of free hours this morning. Perhaps take a stroll through the outer grounds of the Imperial Palace or head to the shopping district of Ginza.

Next, catch an express train (about one hour) and then a local train (about one hour) out of Tokyo towards Nikko. You’ll enjoy a pleasant ride on a clean train, with beautiful views of the countryside. Japanese trains also have trolley carts with snacks such as bento boxes (Japanese lunch boxes), green tea and beer.
Nikko has been a sacred city since the middle of the 8th century with beautiful shrines and temples. You’ll visit Toshu-gu Shrine, a resting place of a Tokugawa shogun who was one of the most powerful rulers of the country. The shrine contrasts with the traditional minimalist style commonly used throughout Japan. Instead, every corner of this monument is covered in intricate gold leaf, lacquer work, paintings and patterns.

Enjoy some free time in the lovely town of Nikko and then head to your private accommodation which includes an onsen (hot spring) by the river.
Leaving Nikko, you’ll board a local train followed by two bullet trains and finally a bus on your way to Hakone. Total travelling time will be three and a half hours.

Once in Hakone, take a boat across Ashinoko Lake and then ride a cable car over the surrounding mountains. The area around the lake offers plenty of stunning views, and you may even catch a glimpse of Mt Fuji in the distance, if weather conditions are clear.

You’ll be staying at a family run guesthouse with shared facilities and a lovely outdoor onsen. Men and women always enter separate baths and no clothing or swimming costumes are allowed.
Today is a free day in Hakone. Perhaps visit the boiling sulphur springs or the Hakone Jinja, the red-gated Shinto shrine. Ask your leader for some suggestions and tips about what to do in the famous onsen region.
Travel by shinkansen (bullet train) towards Takayama. You’ll reach speeds of 270 kilometres per hour and get to your destination within about four hours.

Takayama is famous for its traditional inns, sake breweries and the museum of Hida Folk Village. First stop is the Hida Folk Village which aims to preserve the traditional architecture of the area and has a display of farmhouses. You’ll then have free time to explore the many art galleries, local markets and museums or simply wander the streets of this delightful little town.

For the next couple of nights you’ll be staying in a stunning ryokan (traditional Japanese inn) within walking distance of the town. The Inn includes a lovely irori hearth and traditional meals.

Notes: During the Takayama Festival (14-15 April and 9-10 October), accommodation will be harder to get and may be multishare. Depending on rooming configurations, couples may sometimes have to split up for these nights.
If your leader didn’t take you there yesterday, today’s itinerary includes a visit to the 600-year-old morning market. Here you’ll see some of the regional specialties and fresh produce sold by the women farmers. The rest of the day will be free to spend as you wish.
Take a train for about five hours to Hiroshima. Visit the Hiroshima Peace Memorial aka the “A-Bomb Dome” and learn about the city’s tragic history. The building is one of 11 structures remaining after the nuclear bomb blast in 1945 which obliterated the city.

You’ll stay at a comfortable hotel in Hiroshima for the next few nights, which is within walking distance of the Peace Park and has internet access.
Enjoy a free day in the city of Hiroshima. You may choose to visit the Peace Memorial Park and the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum which are dedicated to international peace. Alternatively there’s also the nearby island of Miyajima, with its famous 'floating' Torii Gate and the grand Itsukushima-jinja Shrine. Keep your eyes out for inquisitive and hungry deer that roam the streets.
You’ll have another free day in Hiroshima. With so much to do in the area, you’ll be spoilt for choice. Why not visit the serene Shukkeien Gardens, or the magnificent Hiroshima Castle. Ask your leader for tips, suggestions and directions.
Leave Hiroshima today and head to Himeji Castle (about one hour). Built in 1580, this five-storey castle is not only a fantastic example of amazing architecture but offers insight into life in ancient Japan.

Continue on a one-hour train ride to Kyoto. Kyoto is a great place to get lost in – stroll through the streets and soak up the wonderful atmosphere. This ancient city boasts over 2,000 temples, shrines and gardens. You’ll be spending the next few days here.
Today you’ll have a free day in Kyoto. If you haven’t done so already, be sure to visit the golden Kinkaku-ji, a temple which sits above a pristine lake. We also highly recommend the optional Tea Ceremony class.

In the evening, discover Kyoto’s exuberant nightlife. Hit up the city’s izakayas (traditional Japanese pubs), live music venues, theatres or nightclubs.
Today you’ll have a free day in Kyoto. If you haven’t done so already, be sure to visit the golden Kinkaku-ji, a temple which sits above a pristine lake. We also highly recommend the optional Tea Ceremony class.

In the evening, discover Kyoto’s exuberant nightlife. Hit up the city’s izakayas (traditional Japanese pubs), live music venues, theatres or nightclubs.
There are no activities planned for the day and you’re able to depart the hotel at any time. Check out time is 12 pm. If you are departing later, you can arrange luggage storage at the hotel.
View trip notes to read full itinerary


2 breakfasts2 dinners
Boat, Bus, Cable car, Ferry, Train, Train (bullet)
Guesthouse (3 nights), Hotel (1 night), Ryokan (9 nights)
Included activities
  • Hakone - Cable car
  • Hakone - Lake Ashino-Ko boat trip
  • Himeji - Himeji Castle
  • Kyoto - Temple/Shrine entrance (2)
  • Nikko - Toshogu Shrine
  • Takayama - Hida Folk Village
  • Takayama - Market visit


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Important notes

1. Please note no Single Supplement is available to purchase on this tour.

Trip notes

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Your trip notes provide a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what’s included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.

View trip notes


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