It’s hard to sum up Japan in a single sentence, but we’ll give it a try:
A lazer-guided, umami-flavoured, Hello Kitty fun machine where samurais battle Shiba dogs in naked thermal hot springs. If you’ve travelled in Japan, you’ll know that that sentence makes a surprising amount of sense. This is a country that’s famously hard to read, so a local-led group tour is a pretty good idea. We’ll introduce you to Soba masters in Tokyo, lead you through tuna auctions and sumo stables, stay with Buddhist monks in Koya San and sing bad karaoke ‘til the wee hours in Osaka (all while sipping sake and gorging on market fresh sashimi). You ready? Kanpai!
Top Japan travel deals
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Our Japan trips
14 Days From £2,283
9 Days From £1,079
8 Days From £2,175
12 Days From £3,015
12 Days From £3,250
11 Days From £2,695
14 Days From £3,365
Japan tour reviews
Our Japan trips score an average of 4.73 out of 5 based on 184 reviews in the last year.
Land of the Rising Sun, November 2016
So much to see in a short space of time! Wonderful food, beautiful scenery (we travelled in the colourful Autumn foliage season), lots of different modes of transport, attractions all very crowded!!! Japan is an amazing country. If you suffer from motion sickness, be prepared for the local bus on the winding road to Hakone! Otherwise, enjoy!
Review submitted 10 Jan 2017
Land of the Rising Sun, December 2016
Trip to Japan was a real holiday. The country is fascinating and beautiful, and the contrast between traditional and modern stunning. We were taken care of beautifully at the accommodation, and our guide organised great meals for us as a group each evening. Japanese food is the best! There was a lot of walking, round cities and even up and down mountains, but I am 73 and I managed all of it and returned about 75% fitter and 100% more serene after all the monasteries and shrines.
Review submitted 01 Jan 2017
Articles on Japan
Japan travel highlights
Walk the busy city streets of Tokyo
Experience the charms of the Sapporo Winter Festival
Delve into geisha culture in Kyoto
Transport in Japan
Intrepid believes half the fun of experiencing a new country is getting there, and getting around once there! Where possible, Intrepid uses local transport options and traditional modes of transport - which usually carry less of an environmental impact, support small local operators and are heaps more fun.
Depending on which trip you're on while in Japan, you may find yourself travelling by:
Travelling at speeds of up to 300 km/ph, Japan's Shinkansen (bullet trains) are known for their punctuality, safety and comfort - an awesomely efficient way to get around Japan.
Accommodation in Japan
Travelling with Intrepid is a little bit different. We endeavour to provide travellers with an authentic experience to remember, so we try to keep accommodation as unique and traditional as possible.
When travelling with us in Japan you may find yourself staying in a:
Be immersed in deep spirituality and serenity while staying in a monastery in Japan. Meditate, contemplate and enjoy vegetarian food prepared by monks during this unforgettable experience.
Japan holiday information
At a glance
Best time to visit Japan
History and government
Geography and environment
Top 10 culinary experiences of Japan
Culture and customs
Eating and drinking
Festivals and events
Health and safety
Japan travel FAQs
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.
Tipping isn't customary in Japan and is not expected of you. Some inns or ryokans may leave a small envelope in your room where a small gratuity can be left for the maid staff.
Internet access is excellent in Japan, with one of the most developed high-speed internet networks in the world. Internet cafes and Wi-Fi hot spots are easily found in most cities and major towns.
Mobile phone coverage is excellent in Japan, but be aware that talking loudly on your phone in public places (like in train carriages) is frowned upon. If you want to use your mobile phone, ensure global roaming is activated before you arrive.
In Japan, toilets range from high-tech bidets to standard western-style flushable toilets to squat toilets, which are still common in Japan. Sometimes you may need to pay for toilet paper, which can usually be purchased from a vending machine nearby.
- Bento box = 1000 yen
- Bowl of ramen = 700 yen
- Beer = 700 yen
- Snack from a convenience store = 300-400 yen
Drinking water from taps in Japan is considered safe. For environmental reasons, try to use a refillable water bottle rather than buying bottled water.
Major credit cards are accepted by some stores; however, Japan is still very much a cash culture and as such, some places may not accept credit cards. Ensure you carry enough cash to cover purchases.
ATMs are common in Japan, so finding one won't be a problem in most towns and cities but unfortunately many of them don't accept foreign-issued cards. However, you can access cash from non-Japanese bank accounts via the Cirrus and Maestro systems at all post office ATMs around the country, as well as ATMs at 7-Eleven convenience store.
Absolutely. All passengers travelling with Intrepid are required to purchase travel insurance before the start of their trip. Your travel insurance details will be recorded by your leader on the first day of the trip. Due to the varying nature, availability and cost of health care around the world, travel insurance is very much an essential and necessary part of every journey.
For more information on insureance, please go to: Travel Insurance
- 1 Jan New Year's Day
- 2 Jan New Year's Day Holiday
- 9 Jan Coming of Age Day
- 11 Feb National Foundation Day
- 20 Mar Vernal Equinox Day
- 29 Apr Shōwa Day
- 3 May Constitution Memorial Day
- 4 May Greenery Day
- 5 May Children's Day
- 17 Jul Marine Day
- 11 Aug Mountain Day
- 18 Sep Respect-for-the-Aged Day
- 23 Sep Autumnal Equinox Day
- 9 Oct Health and Sports Day
- 3 Nov Culture Day
- 23 Nov Labour Thanksgiving Day
- 23 Dec The Emperor's Birthday
Please note these dates are for 2017. For a current list of public holidays in Japan go to: http://www.worldtravelguide.net/japan/public-holidays
Intrepid is committed to travelling in a way that is respectful of local people, their culture, local economies and the environment. It's important to remember that what may be acceptable behaviour, dress and language in your own country, may not be appropriate in another. Please keep this in mind while travelling.
Top responsible travel tips for Japan
- Always dispose of litter thoughtfully, including cigarette butts.
- Please ask and receive permission before taking photos of people, including children.
- For environmental reasons, try to avoid buying bottled water. Fill a reusable water bottle or canteen with filtered water instead.
- Try to use public transport wherever possible.
- Refrain from touching or interfering with ancient monuments, relics or historic sites.
- Learn some Japanese greetings and don't be afraid to use them - it will help break the ice.
- Shop for locally made products. Supporting local artisans helps keep traditional crafts alive.
- Be respectful and modest when visiting temples and monasteries.
- It's customary to remove your shoes before entering homes or ryokans.
- Elderly people are very much respected in Japan, and it's customary to allow them to go first when entering buildings or public transport.