Embark on an ultimate adventure through Japan's fascinating past and present in cities, temples, islands and forest.
Ever-welcoming and always fascinating, Japan is a land of ancient cultures, austere traditions and groundbreaking technology. Join us on this ultimate journey that takes you from futuristic, neon-lit Tokyo to the dense forests of the southern island of Yakushima; from sacred temples in Nikko, Kyoto and Kotohira to feasts at a Takayama market. Be wowed by the creativity of modern art at Naoshima Island, make a sobering visit to Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and try for an Indiana Jones stunt crossing the vine bridge at Iya Valley. Discover ancient castles, lush countryside and fascinating feudal history on this authentic 24-day adventure.
There’s no better way to get around Japan than the country’s famous railway system. Be impressed by the efficiency and ultra-modernity as you zip from place to place with your included Japan Rail Pass. Here is why you don't want to miss train travel in Japan: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/japan-trains
Explore the unique island of Naoshima, transformed from a sleepy fishing community into a world-class art destination, with sleek and stylish museums and artworks that sit in harmony with the landscape.
Feel like Indiana Jones as you cross the kazurabashi (vine bridges) of the hidden Iya Valley, a remote retreat of deep gorges and lush mountains on Shikoku island.
Uncover the characters of the cities of Nagasaki and Osaka, from the former’s thought-provoking Peace Park and Museum to the latter’s busy streets where the motto is ‘eat until you drop’.
Venture into the thick and mysterious cedar forests on Yakushima, relax at the seaside onsen or see giant turtles lay eggs in the night in the summer months.
Japan is best to explore on foot. You'll be surprised at how much distance you end up covering! Make sure your shoes are comfy and you are fit enough to spend a good part of each day walking.
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, small bathrooms and proximity to other guests as comfortable as more Western-style hotels and beds. Read more about ryokans in the Accommodation section of the Essential Trip Information.
Be prepared to pack light and smart for this trip as you'll be required to carry your own luggage between train stations and to hotels, which can include going up and down multiple flights of stairs in crowded areas.
As there is not much time included in Osaka as part of your trip, we strongly advise you to plan an extended stay at the end of the tour if you wish to see more of the city.
Renovation works on Miyajima's famous floating torii gate started in June 2019. During the renovation works, the torii gate is covered up under a partially transparent scaffolding. Furthermore, a bridge is being built on the left side of the gate (when viewed from the shrine) to aid the renovation works. A date for the completion of the renovation works has not been set yet, but the works are expected to take at least one year.
Trip departures are unavailable.
There are currently no scheduled departures on our Ultimate Japan trip. If you are interested in other trips in the region visit one of the links below.
1. A 21-day Japan Rail Pass is included in the price of your trip.
2. A Single Supplement is currently not available for this trip due to limited rooms at many of our properties.
3. As this trip is a combination of two of our most popular itineraries, please note that your group composition and tour leader may change on Day 13.
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. We are currently unable to book pre or post tour accommodation at our start & finish point hotels due to limited room availability. We recommend booking a hotel of your choice through your travel agent or an online booking engine if you are planning to stay longer in Japan.
6. It is essential you pack light and compact for rail travel in Japan. From May 2020 there will be size restrictions for luggage on Shinkansen trains. Luggage over 160-250 cm may require an additional 1000 JPY oversize luggage fee per train journey. Luggage over 251 cm will NOT be permitted on the Shinkansen trains at all. Please notify your tour leader at your Welcome Meeting if your luggage is over 160-250 cm so they can make the necessary arrangements.
7. Renovation works on Miyajima's famous floating torii gate started in June 2019. During the renovation works, the torii gate is covered up under a partially transparent scaffolding. Furthermore, a bridge is being built on the left side of the gate (when viewed from the shrine) to aid the renovation works. A date for the completion of the renovation works has not been set yet, but the works are expected to take at least one year.
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.View Essential Trip Information