Discover Japan's excellence on this trip through Tokyo, Kanazawa, Kyoto, Hiroshima and Osaka

Helloooo Japan. Get your fix of Japanese culture with temples, sushi and shopping in Tokyo before soaking up Kanazawa’s crazy samurai culture. Get down with your world history at Hiroshima, spy geishas in Kyoto’s Gion district and get your Tina Turner on at an Osaka karaoke bar. Whatever happens, you'll be sipping sake like a pro by the end of this trip.

NEW UPDATES FOR 2019:
We will be tapping into the booming hostel scene in Japan in 2019, staying in hostels and pod hostels in Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka.This means that our accommodation in Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka won't be twin share hotel rooms, rather they'll be cool hangouts with shared facilities.

This trip is for 18 to 29-year-olds

Some of our under-30 travellers prefer to get around with people their own age. If that’s you, you’re in the right place!

Over 29? We’ve got over 900 other great adventures to choose from for solo travellers, friends, families, food lovers, hiking enthusiasts, and more.

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Terms & Conditions

Start
Tokyo, Japan
Finish
Osaka, Japan
Destination
Japan
Style
Basix
Theme
18 to 29s
Code
CJYO
Physical rating
Ages
Min 18, Max 29
Group size
Min 1, Max 16

Why you'll love this trip

  • So many great destinations and so much free time to see them your way. All the benefits of group travel with a leader and new buddies to explore with, without having to pay for anything you don’t want to do.

  • Immerse yourself in all things Japanese right from the get go in the varied neighbourhoods of Tokyo. From the geek subculture of Akihabara, historical Asakusa and Ueno, to the wild side of fashion in Harajuku and the nightlife of Roppongi – each suburb is almost like a city of its own.

  • Shed your inhibitions and soak in an onsen – the traditional hot springs turned public baths. Yes, you'll be naked but don't be scared. We have a complete guide to onset etiquette here: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/japan-onsen-guide/

  • Rail passes are included, allowing you to zip between cities at bullet speed.

  • Hiroshima Peace Park & Museum is a sobering, but vital, destination for all travellers to Japan to gain insight into tragic events of the nation’s past.

  • Spot a geisha or two in the famed Gion District or get zen in a temple garden in Kyoto.

  • Live your samurai fantasies in feudal-era Kanazawa. We’ve heard there is also excellent sake to be sampled here and plenty else: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/why-kanazawa-is-japans-best-ke...

  • You can’t leave Japan without having a night out at a karaoke bar. Trust us, they will check at immigration.

Is this trip right for you?

  • Your leader will take you on orientation walks in each destination, giving you tips on things like supermarkets, places to eat and ATMs and recommendations of fun things to see and do. For more in depth exploration you can head off on your own or with other members of your group, or for the days we are in Kyoto and Tokyo, book one of our excellent Urban Adventures day tours. Public transport to get to various sites is easy and cheap, but do take the cost of transport into account when planning your budget for activities.

  • You will easily surpass your 10,000 steps a day on this trip, in fact most travellers are surprised at how much distance they end up covering just exploring places on foot! Make sure your shoes are comfy and you are fit enough to spend most of each day on your feet.

  • In some destinations you may be staying in a ryokan, which is a Japanese-style inn. It’s a great taste of tradition, however not everyone finds futon mattresses on a tatami mat floor, tiny bathrooms and proximity to other guests as comfortable as more western-style hotels and beds. Read more about ryokans in our Accommodation section of the Essential Trip Information.

  • We will be tapping into the booming hostel scene in Japan in 2019, staying in a hostels in Kyoto and a pod hostel in Osaka. This means that our accommodation in Kyoto and Osaka won't be twin share hotel rooms, rather they'll be cool hangouts with shared facilities.

  • This trip is specifically for 18-29s, but if you are after an open age trip in the Basix style, check out out Japan Express (CJRB) trip.

Itinerary

Konnichiwa! Welcome to Japan.

As travellers are arriving from all over the world, there are no activities planned for day 1. The group meeting will take place at 6pm this evening.

To introduce you to Tokyo at night your leader will take you for walk around the famous Shinjuku area and the group can choose the place for their first dinner together.

Tokyo is a dynamic, modern hub, the thriving capital of an ancient land. Contradictions are everywhere, as hi-tech gadgetry and neon lights play an integral part in the lives of a population steeped in tradition. If two days in Tokyo isn’t enough, you can book additional accommodation with our team or your booking agent so you can arrive early and tick all the sights off your bucket list.

Please remember that there are many options for travellers to choose from on this tour to make the most of all your free time. While we have quoted the approximate cost of some of the most popular activities throughout, these do not include costs of getting to or from sights. Public transport in Japan is economical, efficient and not only a great way to get around, it's the best way to go local!

This itinerary is far from a hand-holding, all inclusive trip, so enjoy the freedom and indulge in some raw fish!
Optional Activities
  • Tokyo - Shinjuku Garden - JPY200
  • Tokyo - Ghibli Animation Studio (advance bookings required) - JPY1000
  • Tokyo - Sensoji Temple - Free
  • Tokyo - Imperial Palace - Free
  • Tokyo - Disneyland or Disney Sea - JPY6400
  • Tokyo - Robot Cafe - JPY9000
  • Tokyo - Gotokuji Cat Temple - Free
  • Tokyo - Tokyo Tower Observatory - JPY900
  • Tokyo - A Tour Through Tokyo’s Kitchen (with World's Largest Fish Market) Urban Adventure - JPY7890
  • Tokyo - Kanpai Tokyo: Shinjuku Drinks and Neon Nights Urban Adventure - JPY9090
  • Tokyo - Made In Japan Shopping Tour: Cultural Curiosities Urban Adventure - JPY6564
  • Tokyo - Tokyo After 5 Urban Adventure - JPY11870
  • Tokyo - Tsukiji Outer Market - Free
  • Tokyo - Wholesale Fish Market (relocated to Toyosu) - Free
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
Check out out Tokyo guide here: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/our-guide-to-the-perfect-day-in-tokyo/
In the morning, head out exploring with your group leader in Shibuya area.
Look down on one of the busiest intersections in the world at Shibuya station and visit the statue of Hachikō the famous loyal dog. Next we indulge our eyes if not our bellies visiting a depachika food halls where vendors sell everything from bento boxes for lunch to formal gifts and everyday groceries. Grab a picnic lunch (optional) as we are heading to Yoyogi Park, home to many events from the first Japan Olympics.

Afterwards we visit Meiji Jingu Shrine. Enter via a massive Torii (gate) and the sights and sounds of the busy city are replaced by a tranquil forest. We continue our journey with a visit to Harajuku the home of quirky youth pop culture.
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The rest of the day is free for you to explore.
If you are a lover of cats visit the Gotokuji Cat Temple!  Maneki Neko (the beckoning cat) are known for good luck and prosperity not only in Japan but all across Asia.  Perhaps re-visit your childhood with a magical day spent at Tokyo Disney or Disney Sea theme parks (tickets can be bought at JR ticket counters, convenience stores, online).  Or perhaps get the group together for the final night in Tokyo and experience the Robot Cafe in Shinjuku!  You can catch a 3 hour show full of neon lights, lasers, robotics, video screens and dancers.
Included Activities
  • Tokyo - Shibuya walking tour
  • Tokyo - Yoyogi Park
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
This morning we travel by train to the city of Kanazawa. This city is best known for Kenroku-en, a 17th-century castle and gardens. Kanazawa is also known for being the home of samurai, it boasts beautifully preserved samurai and geisha districts, historic temples and awesome markets you can shop and eat your way around.  After checking into our hotel perhaps go and explore Kenroku-en Gardens and Castle. The castle is free to enter however the gardens have an entry fee of 310JPY. A bus pass for the day in Kanazawa will cost you approximately 500JPY. Tonight is a free evening for you to explore the streets and indulge in Kanazawa's izakaya and sushi.
Accommodation
  • Hotel/Ryokan (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Kanazawa - Kenroku-en Gardens & Castle - JPY310
  • Kanazawa - Oyama Shrine - Free
  • Kanazawa - Omicho Market - Free
  • Kanazawa - 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art - JPY1000
  • Kanazawa - Nagamachi Samurai District (excl. museums entry) - Free
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
Check out our guide to Kanazawa here: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/why-kanazawa-is-japans-best-kept-secret/
Explore Kanazawa by foot on a walking tour of the Higashi Chaya district. Get lost among the Geisha in the alleyways and admire the traditional Chaya houses, known locally as places of tradition, feasts and entertainment. Enjoy a traditional tea ceremony at one of the local tea houses, if tea's your thing, and then the afternoon is free for you to explore on your own. Everything is super accessible in Japan so you'll do a fair bit of walking, so be sure to pack a comfy pair of shoes to get around in.

Accommodation
  • Hotel/Ryokan (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Kanazawa - Higashi Chaya District walking tour
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Kyoto was once the imperial capital of Japan and is one of the most beautiful cities in the country. With over 2000 temples, shrines and gardens, Kyoto is a great place to get lost in - so get out, walk the streets and soak up the wonderful atmosphere in your free time. A bus pass for the day will cost approximately 500JPY.

Perhaps visit the magnificent, gold-plated Kinkaku-ji Temple, or maybe Nijo Castle and, if you like, join your leader on a walk through the famous Gion Giesha district. With its many old teahouses, some of them mentioned in Memoirs of a Geisha. We can observe the age-old tradition of immaculate Geisha girls visiting members of the wealthy elite in small teahouses tucked away down tiny back streets. If you are keen to visit Himeji Castle, today would be a great day to go. It's both a national treasure and a World Heritage site, and your leader can assist you with directions and tips on getting there.
Included Activities
  • Kyoto - Gion District walk
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
Check out our Kyoto guide here: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/what-to-do-in-kyoto/
Join your leader this morning for a walk in the wooded hills of Inari Mountain, famous for its Shinto 'fox temple' and atmospheric red torii gates, a quintessential Japan sight and must-see for keen photographers. There's lots to do in this city so get up early and make the most of it. The afternoon is free for you to explore and your leader can give you recommendations on what to see and how to get there. It's your last night in Kyoto, so make sure you do your last-minute shopping or, in true Japanese tradition, hit the karaoke bar and show off your impressive pipes.
Included Activities
  • Kyoto - Fushimi Inari Shrine
Optional Activities
  • Kyoto - Imperial Palace - Free
  • Kyoto - Kiyomizu Temple - JPY500
  • Kyoto - Kimono/Maiko/Samurai Dress Up - JPY10000
  • Kyoto - Arashiyama Monkey Park - JPY550
  • Kyoto - Arashiyama (Bamboo Forest) - Free
  • Kyoto - Kaiten Sushi Train at Kura Sushi - JPY2000
  • Kyoto - Kinkakuji Temple - JPY500
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Hiroshima is a bustling metropolis with a tragic history, approximately two hours on the train from Kyoto. Once here, your leader will take you to visit Peace Park and the ruins of the A-Bomb Dome building in the evening, one of 11 structures left partially standing as a reminder of the destruction of nuclear war following the nuclear bomb blast on 6 August 1945. The Peace Park contains monuments and a museum dedicated to Hiroshima and international peace, but please note that while entry to the Peace Park is free, the museum does charge admission. 
Accommodation
  • Hotel/Ryokan (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Hiroshima - Peace Park & A - Bomb Dome
Optional Activities
  • Hiroshima - Peace Museum - JPY200
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
Check out our Hiroshima guide here: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/guide-one-day-hiroshima-japan/
Perhaps spend the day at the nearby island of Miyajima with its famous 'floating' Torii Gate and the grand Itsukushima-jinja Shrine. Be sure to watch out for inquisitive and eternally hungry deer that roam the streets of the island.
Accommodation
  • Hotel/Ryokan (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Miyajima - Itsukushima Shrine - JPY300
  • Hiroshima - Miyajima Island - JPY320
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
Check out our Miyajima guide here: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/miyajima-island-day-trip-japan/
Travel by train to Osaka, what better way to finish our trip than in a city with the motto 'kuidaore' (translation: 'eat until you drop'!).  We recommend you try Osaka’s okonomiyaki (a delicious savoury pancake) which Osaka is renowned for!

Osaka is Japan's unofficial culinary capital, with sprawling shopping hubs and tiny backstreets overflowing with restaurants and bars serving up local delicacies as well as Japan's answer to fast food. Notably, Osaka is credited with the first kaiten-zushi (conveyor belt sushi) restaurants, after its inventor - the owner of a sushi restaurant with staffing issues - watched beer bottles on a conveyor belt at the nearby Asahi brewery and thought it might be a good way to solve this problem!

Visit Osaka Castle and enjoy a walking tour around the popular Dotombori district which is a popular shopping, food and entertainment district of the city. At night it is lit by hundreds of neon lights and mechanical signs, including the famous Glico Running Man sign and Kani Doraku crab sign.

Thrill seekers are sure to find adventure at Universal Studios theme park and for those of you wanting to try your hand at a local skill, try a taiko drum lesson or, if you’re feeling like a little relaxation, indulge yourself at Spa World, and try a traditional Japanese Onsen. Embrace the nakedness.

If shopping is your cup of tea, take in some of the city's landmarks, including the wonderful Kuromon covered market and pick up some final kitchen gadgets (or plastic food!) at the quirky Dogusuji Arcade.
Included Activities
  • Osaka - Dotombori District walking tour
Optional Activities
  • Osaka - Osaka Castle - JPY600
  • Osaka - Universal Studios (Day Pass) - JPY7200
  • Osaka - Dogusuji Arcade - Free
  • Osaka - Spa World - JPY2700
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
Check out our Osaka guide here: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/osaka-japan-best-food/
There are no activities planned for Day 10 and you are able to depart the hotel at any time. Check out time is 10 am and if you are departing later, you can arrange luggage storage at the hotel.  We recommend extending your stay in Osaka as there is much to do and see!

Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.

Meals

No meals are included on this tour

Transport

Public Bus, Metro, Train, Bullet Train

Accommodation

2018: Hotel/Ryokan (9 nights)/2019: Hostel (4 nights), Capsule Hotel (1 night), Hotel/Ryokan (4 nights)

Included activities

  • Tokyo - Shibuya walking tour
  • Tokyo - Yoyogi Park
  • Kanazawa - Higashi Chaya District walking tour
  • Kyoto - Gion District walk
  • Kyoto - Fushimi Inari Shrine
  • Hiroshima - Peace Park & A - Bomb Dome
  • Osaka - Dotombori District walking tour

Dates & availability

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Important notes

1. A Single Supplement to have your own room is not currently available on this trip due to limited rooms at many of our properties.
2. A 7 day Japan Rail Pass is included on this trip. This pass will be validated on Day 3 of the trip with the assistance of the tour leader, but you won't be able to use the pass prior to that. An extension to 14 day or 21 day pass is available to purchase, but you can only use the extended pass for travels after the trip.
3. Transport from one destination to the next is included, however to get around to optional activities in your free time you will need to buy your own public transport pass - your leader will assist you with the best value options.
4. Due to the rapid increase in tourism in Japan and in the lead up to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics it has been necessary to go outside our traditional tour leader sources. As a result our passionate, professional and trained tour leaders may be local Japanese or long term foreign residents in Japan.
5. NEW UPDATES FOR 2019:
We will be tapping into the booming hostel scene in Japan in 2019, staying in hostels and pod hostels in Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka.This means that our accommodation in Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka won't be twin share hotel rooms, rather they'll be cool hangouts with shared facilities.

Essential trip information

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Essential Trip Information provides 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.