Take a short and sweet tour through fascinating Japan.
Home to sumo wrestling, sake, geishas, karaoke and onsens, Japan is an extraordinary land. Here you can expect a frenetic pace one day and a tranquil experience the next. Take in the neon nightlife of Tokyo, relax in the manicured gardens of Nikko and discover thousands of years of culture and history in Kyoto. From world-class sushi to legendary samurai, this enigmatic nation is a traveller’s delight. Get back to basics and see the best of Japan without busting your budget.
Experience a mix of Japan's most famous sites along with the chance of discovering some great off the beaten track gems
If you're the independent type, this is the trip for you. While we'll get you from A to B and show you around, you'll have plenty of free time to do exactly what you like
Stay in traditional Japanese ryokan, sleeping on a futon after a soak in shared baths or onsen
Dine with friends or dine alone. There are no meal inclusions on this trip, which means you're free to customise your own foodie adventure in one of the world's most acclaimed culinary destinations. You leader will have some excellent recommendations for all budgets
Japan's famous railway system is clean, efficient and a great way to mingle with the locals. You'll even get to ride the famous shinkasen bullet train
This trip features very few included activities and a lot of free time. This is ideal for people who appreciate their independence, but if you want a trip with a few more inclusions, consider doing another trip such as 'CJST - Land of the Rising Sun'.
As there are few activities included, you will have plenty of options offered by your leader for you to choose from. A day pass for public transport is included in each location to help you get around.
You'll be travelling between destinations via public transport. While not luxury, Japanese trains are clean, efficient and a great way to get from place to place.
This trip requires a moderate amount of fitness, as you'll be required to carry your own luggage between train stations and to hotels, which can include going up and down multiple stairs in crowded areas. We recommend packing light and smart for this trip for this same reason.
Be prepared to do a lot of walking on this trip, particularly around Kyoto which is best seen on foot. It's easy to cover up to and over 10km a day when exploring. Bring comfortable walking shoes and be prepared to spend most of the day on your feet.
You'll be sleeping in Japanese ryokans which are different to western hotels and can mean sleeping on the floor on tatami mats and futons.
While we aim to book as many nights at small, family run ryokans and guesthouses, the recent huge increase in tourism to Japan has put a lot of pressure on accommodation. On occasion, we may need to change accommodation to hotels in order to be able to operate your departure without itinerary changes.
We like to encourage travellers to indulge in traditional Japanese 'onsens' while in the country as it is a quintessential local experience. This means bathing naked in the presence of others of the same gender. While the experience can feel strange at first, most of our groups end up enjoying this activity. If you feel uncomfortable with bathing naked, please feel free to skip taking part.
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 be aware that you may not be able to enter public onsens.
This itinerary is valid for departures from 04 August 2017 to 31 December 2017. View the itinerary for departures between 01 January 2017 - 31 December 2017
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There are currently no scheduled departures on our Japan Express trip. If you are interested in other trips in the region visit one of the links below.
1. This itinerary is far from a hand-holding, all inclusive trip, so enjoy the freedom of discovering Japan, with the guidance of expert advice on how to spend your time from your leader.
2. This trip does not include a Japan Rail Pass. You will need to buy your own train tickets for any independent rail travel you wish to do in Japan.
Our Japan Express trips score an average of 4.7 out of 5 based on 53 reviews in the last year.
Amazing country, trip, and people. Perfect balance between planned activities and free time. Made even more incredible by our guide, Ayaka, who devoted every moment of the trip to ensuring we had everything we needed, and could do all we wanted to do.
Review submitted 09 Aug 2017
The Intrepid tour I took was comparatively cheap and this was reflected in the accommodation and "extras", of which there were none. The aim seems to have been to take you to a selection of locations (city, country and historic) for a taste of Japan, and this it did well. The tour guide did his best but you still have to make many do-it-yourself decisions, so some research before leaving is a good idea. As with all such tours your fun depends on the calibre and attitude of the others in your group, (in my case they were excellent), so we all had a good time. If you are knowledgeable about Japan then this trip is not for you - plan it yourself. If you are clueless but motivated about Japan then this trip is for you. If you are clueless and useless then you had better spend more for a tour where you are taken from site-to-site sacrificing flexibility for more detail and explanation. I am easy to please so if you are more demanding then you need to read what is offered on this tour carefully. I had a great time and much of that was thanks to my fun travel buddies and our genial guide Mitch. Happy and safe travels to you all.
Review submitted 31 Jul 2017