Land of the Rising Sun Trip Notes

Land of the Rising Sun

Last Modified: 03 Feb 2016
Land of the Rising Sun
Trip code: CJST
Validity: 01 Jan 2016 to 31 Dec 2016
Ever-welcoming and always fascinating, Japan is a land of ancient cultures, austere traditions and ground-breaking 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 the magnificent temples of Kyoto. Discover ancient castles, lush countryside and fascinating feudal history on this authentic travel adventure. Pack a good sense of humour and leave all inhibitions behind.
Table of Contents
StyleTippingFinish point instructions
ThemesDeparture taxAlternate Finish point
Is this trip right for you?Important notesAlternate Finish point description
Why we love itGroup sizeEmergency contact
MapYour fellow travellersEmergency funds
ItinerarySingle travellersVisas
Also available to purchaseAccommodationIssues on your trip
We also recommendMeals introductionWhat to take
Itinerary disclaimerMealsHealth
Culture shock rating TransportSafety
Physical ratingJoining point Travel insurance
Physical preparationJoining point descriptionResponsible Travel
Included activitiesJoining point instructionsA couple of rules
Optional activitiesArrival complicationsThe Intrepid Foundation
Money ExchangeFinish point Carbon offset
Spending moneyFinish point descriptionFeedback
Style
Original
  • Our Original style trips have a great balance of included activities with your group and free time to explore independently. Where we stay ensures we keep our travellers firmly entrenched in a region’s people and culture, and provides them with unique local experiences that benefits the community too. In most locations we stay in simple tourist-class hotels (i.e. 2-3 stars), plus on many trips you'll also get to experience a night with a local family on a homestay or something a little different like a Bedouin camp in the Sahara. Original style trips come with all manner of transport modes and use a mixture of local and private transport. You might find yourself sailing in a dhow in Zanzibar, jumping on a rickshaw in Sri Lanka or sailing on a yacht through the Galapagos. No matter the mode, it's all about minimising our environmental impact and making getting around part of the adventure.
Themes
Explorer
Is this trip right for you?
- This trip involves a lot of walking (up to 10 kilometres each day). If you don't have this level of general walking ability, perhaps consider doing another trip.
- There is no single supplement option to book on this trip, which means you'll always be sharing a room either with your partner or another traveller of the same gender.
- As we travel between several locations, you'll need to be able to carry your own luggage on and off the trains and into the hotels.
- This trip features several included activities but also a lot of free time. This is great for those who appreciate a bit of independence and want to customise their journey.
Why we love it
- What better way to see Japan than by the country's famous railway system? It's clean, efficient and we include a 14-day Japan Rail Pass in the trip price
- This trip affords you a good balance of included activities and free time, with plenty of optional activities to keep you busy and a helpful leader to steer you in the right direction
- Most of the accommodation is in the style of a traditional Japanese Ryokan. Sleep on the floor on a tatami mat, keep warm beside an irori hearth and bath in an onsen
- This 14-day adventure zips you through the highlights of Japan, so you'll get a comprehensive introduction to this amazing country
Map

Itinerary
Day 1 Tokyo
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).
Optional Activities
  • Tokyo - Hamarikyu Garden - JPY300
  • Tokyo - Shinjuku Garden - JPY200
  • Tokyo - Edo Museum - JPY600
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 2 Tokyo/Nikko
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.
Accommodation
Ryokan (1 nt)
Day 3 Nikko
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.
Included Activities
  • Nikko - Toshogu Shrine
Optional Activities
  • Nikko - Bus to Chuzenji Lake (return) - JPY2200
  • Nikko - Imperial Villa - JPY510
Accommodation
Ryokan (1 nt)
Day 4 Hakone
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.
Included Activities
  • Hakone - Lake Ashino-Ko boat trip
  • Hakone - Cable car
Optional Activities
  • Checkpoint Museum - JPY500
  • Hakone - Onsen (hot spring bath) - JPY1200
  • Open Air Museum - JPY1600
Accommodation
Ryokan (1 nt)
Day 5 Hakone
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.
Accommodation
Ryokan (1 nt)
Day 6 Takayama
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.
Included Activities
  • Takayama - Hida Folk Village
  • Takayama - Market visit
Optional Activities
  • Bike hire (per day) - JPY800
  • Merchant House - JPY700
  • Festival Float Museum - JPY820
Accommodation
Ryokan (1 nt)
Day 7 Takayama
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.
Accommodation
Ryokan (1 nt)
Day 8 Hiroshima
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.
Optional Activities
  • Hiroshima - Peace Park & Museum - JPY50
  • Hiroshima - Miyajima Island - JPY450
  • Hiroshima - Itsukushima-jinja Shrine - JPY300
Accommodation
Guesthouse (1 nt)
Day 9 Hiroshima
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.
Accommodation
Guesthouse (1 nt)
Day 10 Hiroshima
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.
Accommodation
Guesthouse (1 nt)
Day 11 Kyoto
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.
Included Activities
  • Himeji - Himeji Castle
  • Kyoto - Temple/Shrine entrance (2)
Optional Activities
  • Kyoto - Bike hire (per day) - JPY800
  • Kyoto - Sanjusangendo Temple - JPY600
  • Kyoto - Obanzai Cooking Class - JPY3800
  • Kyoto - Kiyomizu Temple - JPY300
  • Tea Ceremony - JPY2000
  • Kyoto - Kinkakuji Temple - JPY400
Accommodation
Ryokan (1 nt)
Day 12 Kyoto
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.
Accommodation
Ryokan (1 nt)
Day 13 Kyoto
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.
Accommodation
Ryokan (1 nt)
Day 14 Kyoto
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.
Also available to purchase
For many of our trips we have other services or experiences that are also available to purchase to extend your trip or to make your holiday a little easier. Below is a list of other travel products you can purchase in conjunction with this trip.
  • Japan Rail Pass Extension (21 Days) CJST ()
We also recommend
If this trip is not quite right for you, cast your eye over these alternatives:
  • Classic Taiwan (CJKN)
  • Real Food Adventure - Japan (CJZF)
  • Japan Winter Festivals (CJSW)
  • Japan Express (CJRB)
  • Expedition - Pyongyang Marathon, North Korea (CJSN)
  • Classic Japan (CJKJ)
Itinerary disclaimer
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 in Australia. 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.
Culture shock rating

Expect some culture shock. You'll be exposed to signs of poverty and access to services may be sporadic. The food will be quite different to home and English speakers harder to find. Respecting the local culture will make it easier to fit in and really experience the location.
Physical rating

Some easy physical activities included in your trip. No physical preparation is required to make the most of the journey.
Physical preparation
In Japan many of our travel connections are made at fast pace and require you to walk up and down stairs at fast walking pace. Please make sure you have an adequate level of fitness.
Included activities
Included activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary, all other activities are optional and at your own expense. If you choose not to participate in the included activities on this itinerary, the cost will not be refunded.
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.
Please note that many sights, attractions and museums are closed on Mondays.
Money Exchange
The official currency of Japan is Yen (JPY).
Japan is predominantly a cash society and locals carry large amounts of cash for daily business.
Changing cash and travellers' cheques is possible in major cities although the use of travellers' cheques is quite limited and exchanging can be very time consuming. 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.
We recommend you arrive in Japan with as much Yen as you feel comfortable carrying. If your arrival day is on a weekend please ensure you have enough money for the first few days, either by bringing it with you, or changing it at the airport. Although most locations will have access to a 7 Eleven store with an ATM, be prepared that ATMs may not be available at all times of the day in the immediate area.
Spending money
Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping, participating in optional activities, and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.
Tipping
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.
Important notes
JAPAN RAIL PASS
A 14 day Standard/Ordinary Japan Rail Pass is included in the price of your trip. For those wishing to stay and travel longer in Japan, a Japan Rail Pass extension (total 21 days) is available. Intrepid offer the chance for passengers to extend their Japan Rail Pass however these Japan Rail Passes cannot be picked up or validated before your tour begins, they can only be extended post tour for another 7 days maximum. Please get in contact with your booking specialist to discuss your options.
Please note that Japan Rail Passes are only valid for foreign tourists visiting Japan from abroad for sightseeing under the entry status of temporary visitor (tourist visa).
For the CJST the Rail Pass will cover 1 more day post trip, for passengers wanting to travel by train back to Tokyo.
Please note at numerous locations you will be required to share Bathroom facilities with other passengers.
We are unable to offer additional accommodation at Kinuya Hotel. Please see the joining point instructions for more information.
* Important *
Please note this trip is a very active trip, you could walk anywhere from 10km or more a day. General walking ability is expected, we don't participate in long treks, however there is a huge amount of walking involved on this itinerary.
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 plays a big part in making your trip more enjoyable.
* Tattoos in Japan *
Please note, decorative tattoos are uncommon in Japanese culture and therefore you may receive curious and sometimes disapproving looks from locals. Generally, nobody will make a comment about your tattoos but please endeavour to wear modest clothing and excersize discretion when using a public onsen.
* Tsukiji Fish Market Tokyo *
Please note the Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo will close on the 3rd of November 2016. The new fish market in Toyosu will open on the 7th of November 2016.
Group size
Maximum of 12 travellers per group.
Your fellow travellers
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 travellers
Our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and don't involve a compulsory single supplement. Single travellers share with people of the same gender in accommodation ranging from twin to multishare. Some of our itineraries have accommodation booked on a mixed gender share basis and where applicable this will be specified in our Trip Notes.
A single supplement is not available to purchase on this trip.
Accommodation
Ryokan (9 nts), Guesthouse (3 nts), Hotel (1 nt)
RYOKANS:
Japanese style inns (Ryokans) involve sleeping on comfortable futons at floor height. Please note in winter months Ryokans can be quite cold, heating systems in Japan (which is quite different to western countries) is reliant on oil heaters. As such, most open social spaces would not be as warm as closed spaces/rooms. Extra blankets and additional bedding can be requested at some locations, please have a chat to your Leader if your sleeping arrangements are uncomfortable.
Please consider choosing a different trip style if you have difficulty getting up from the floor or have knee, hip or back issues, as futon bedding may exacerbate any pre-existing physical/medical injuries.
OCCASIONAL ALTERNATIVE ACCOMMODATION
The style of accommodation indicated in the day-to-day itinerary is a guideline. On rare occasions, alternative arrangements may need to be made due to the lack of availability of rooms in our usual accommodation. A similar standard of accommodation will be used in these instances.
TWIN SHARE / MULTI SHARE BASIS
Accommodation on this trip is on a twin/multishare basis. Please note there may be times where facilities will be shared rather than ensuite and rare occasions when you share a room with passengers travelling on different Intrepid trips than your own.
CHECK-IN TIME
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.
PRE/POST TRIP ACCOMMODATION
If you've purchased pre-trip or post-trip accommodation (if available), you may be required to change rooms from your trip accommodation for these extra nights.
There are shared bathrooms at some of the accommodation on this trip.
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.
Meals
2 Breakfasts, 2 Dinners
Please budget for additional meals and expenses while on your trip. Our suggestion is based on past traveller feedback but you may choose to spend more or less.
USD 400.00
Transport
Bus, Train, Train (bullet), Ferry, Boat, Cable car
Joining point
Kinuya Hotel
2-14-28 Ueno Taitoku 東京都台東区上野2-14-28
Tokyo
JAPAN
Phone: 81 338331911
Joining point description
Located in the heart of Tokyo, great for exploring. Ueno Park is the height of activity on weekends, so is well worth a look. 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.
We are unable to offer additional accommodation at Kinuya Hotel. If you are spending extra nights in Tokyo consider booking direct with the hotel.
www.kinuyahotel.jp
email: info@kinuyahotel.jp
Joining point instructions
Narita Airport is approximately 60 km from Tokyo and a taxi will cost you approximately US$250. Due to these high prices we do not offer private arrival transfers in Japan.
Japans public transport is a cheaper option than arrival transfers and very efficient. We recommend you take the train to your starting point. It's not complicated and there are plenty of people around to help you if you need to ask for directions. The train station is located under the airport, very close to the exit from immigration.
Take the Keisei line train and get off at the final stop, Keisei Ueno. The fare is 2,400 yen for the express Skyliner train (about 1 hour) or 1,000 yen for the normal train (about 1.5 hours). When you get off at Keisei Ueno go out the ticket gates (there is only one set of ticket gates at this station) and turn right. Go up the stairs and out the Ikenohata Exit. The Kinuya Hotel is across the road at the top of the stairs.
Arrival complications
We don't expect any problems (and nor should you) but if for any reason you are unable to commence your group trip as scheduled, please contact your starting point hotel, requesting that you speak to or leave a message for your group leader.
Please also make sure you have a copy of the local operator's emergency phone numbers from our Emergency Contact section of these trip notes.
Finish point
Heianbo Ryokan
725 Nishiiru-higashishiokojicho, Shichijo-sagaru, Karasuma-dori 〒600-8216京都市下京区烏丸通七条下ル西入ル東塩小路町723
Shimogyo-ku
Kyoto
JAPAN
Phone: 81 0753510650
Finish point description
This lovely ryokan (traditional Japanese Inn) in Kyoto has a small garden, tatami mat rooms and a shared onsen (bathhouse). It's within easy walking distance of Kyoto station.
Finish point instructions
The Heianbo Ryokan is a 5 minute walk from Kyoto station.
To get to Kansai Airport (Osaka) take the Limited Express Haruka (1 or 2 per hour depending on time of day). The fare is 3,690 yen or free with a valid JR Pass.
To get to Narita Airport take the Hikari Limited Express to Tokyo station (2.5 hours) then change onto the Narita Express. The fare is 16,330 yen or free with a valid JR Pass. Please be aware that the Narita express requires a seat reservation as there are no unreserved cars. This can be bought / reserved at any JR Green ticket window. Find out before you board which terminal you need to go to (Terminal 1 or 2) by looking at your ticket or checking details on www.narita-airport.jp. If you need to go to Terminal 1 this is the final stop of the train and the station name is 'Narita Airport'. The station name for Terminal 2 is 'Narita Airport Terminal 2'. Please do NOT get off at 'Narita' station; this is the city, not the airport.
Alternate Finish point
For trips departing on the following dates, use this finish point.
06 Mar 2016 (CJST160306), 16 Jul 2016 (CJST160716), 10 Sep 2016 (CJST160910)
Daiwa Roynet Hotel
9-2, Higashikujo-kitakarasumacho Minami-ku
Kyoto-shi
Kyoto
601-8017
JAPAN
Phone: +81 756930055
Alternate Finish point
For trips departing on the following dates, use this finish point.
14 May 2016 (CJST160514), 28 May 2016 (CJST160528), 20 Aug 2016 (CJST160820)
Kotoya Guesthouse
186 Kaikōjichō, Minami-ku,
Kyōto-shi, Kyōto-fu 601-8406
Kyoto
JAPAN
Alternate Finish point
For trips departing on the following dates, use this finish point.
02 Jul 2016 (CJST160702), 30 Jul 2016 (CJST160730)
The B Kyoto Sanjo
Chome 49-1, Sanjo Ohashi Higashi-iru,
Higashiyama-ku
Kyoto
605-0001
JAPAN
Alternate Finish point description
Emergency contact
In the case of a genuine crisis or emergency, Intrepid's local ground representative Venture can be reached on:
+81 (90) 6531 9269
For all other enquiries and contact details please see the following page:
Emergency funds
Please also make sure you have access to an additional US$500, to be used when unforeseen incidents or circumstances outside our control (e.g. a natural disaster, civil unrest, strike action or an outbreak of bird flu) necessitate a change to our planned route.
Visas
Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. The visa requirements for your trip vary depending on where you are from and where you are going. As a general rule most countries expect that you will have at least 6 months' validity on your passport. On arrival visitors may be asked to present return tickets and evidence of means to cover your intended stay.
We keep the following information up to date as much as possible, but rules do change - it's important that you check for yourself. Residents from other countries must consult the relevant embassies or your travel agent.
JAPAN:
Australia: No - not required
Belgium: No - not required
Canada: No - not required
Germany: No - not required
Ireland: No - not required
Netherlands: No - not required
New Zealand: No - not required
South Africa: Yes - required in advance
Switzerland: No - not required
United Kingdom: No - not required
USA: No - not required
Issues on your trip
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.
What to take
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.
You can find Intrepid's Ultimate Packing List on our website. It should be used as a guide only and isn't intended to be a complete packing list.
On this trip, you're expected 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 yourself without difficulty. A backpack is recommended for these reasons. Many inns 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.
During your visit to Japan you may receive hospitality from local families/people. A great way to reciprocate is to bring a small gift from your country, eg. animal figurines, pens, flags or stickers.
Please note that the weather is quite a bit cooler in more remote areas outside of Tokyo - please pack accordingly.
WATER BOTTLE:
Consider bringing your own water bottle to refill along the way. 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 ends up in limited landfill or discarded in waterways and natural environments. Although it can be difficult to avoid bottled water when travelling, please consider water purification techniques such as iodine or micropur and use the water dispensers which are provided at some of our accommodation. When unable to avoid bottled water it is better to buy the largest available and distribute into your smaller bottle for the day.
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.
Health
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 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.
Safety
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:
TRAFFIC AND DRIVING ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE ROAD:
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!
SEAT BELTS:
Please be aware that local laws governing transportation safety may differ from those in your home country and not all the transport which we use is able to provide seat belts.
LIFE JACKETS:
While life jackets are generally available on water craft, there may be occasions where they are not provided and child size life jackets are not always readily available. If travelling with children and this safety issue concerns you we will be able to advise alternative methods of transport (where available) for you to travel to the next destination. You can choose to travel independently for this leg of the journey. This would be at your own expense.
FIRE PRECAUTIONS:
Please be aware that local laws governing tourism facilities in this region differ from those in your home country and not all the accommodation which we use has a fire exit, fire extinguishers or smoke alarms.
BALCONIES:
Some hotel balconies don't meet western standards in terms of the width of the balcony fence being narrower than 10cm.
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.
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.
Please go to our website for links to various travel insurance providers:
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:
Intrepid Travel is a big supporter of the protection of endangered species around the world.
And so it is against Intrepid’s Responsible Travel policy for our leaders to take passengers to places that use cruel practices or supply or serve foods that are on the endangered species list, such as whale, turtle, tiger, bird’s nests, pangolin and shark.
Although a global ban on commercial whaling came into effect in 1986, approximately 1,000 whales are still being killed every year. We do not visit places that serve whale meat on any of our trips, nor will your leader guide you to where it is offered.
For more information on our Responsible Travel policy, see our website:
http://www.intrepidtravel.com/about/responsible-business
While Japan is known for its 'out there' fashions overall it is quite a conservative country. Please remember that we spend time at temples, working monasteries, holy shrines, recreated villages and castles, cooking schools and ancient gardens. At these places it is important to be respectful to the staff and other visitors by wearing clothing that covers your shoulders and knees.
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.
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:
Carbon offset
Carbon Offset C02-e 556.00 kgs per pax.
Feedback
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.