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Ultimate Japan

24 Days | Embark on an ultimate adventure through Japan's fascinating past and present in cities, temples, islands and forest.

4.2 out of 5 based on 5 reviews submitted.
CAD $11,385
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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. 

Trip overview

Map of Ultimate Japan including Japan
Tokyo, Japan
Osaka, Japan
Physical rating
Indicates how physically exerting a trip is, and how fit you will need to be to enjoy it. More info on physical ratings
Min 15
Group size
Min 1 - Max 12
Trip code
This trip generates 44.13 kg of CO2-e per person per day.
We offset these emissions on your behalf. But we know that is not enough, so we also have a carbon reduction target.

Why you'll love this trip
  • 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.
  • 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.

Is this trip right for you?
  • 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.


This itinerary is valid for departures from 01 January 2023 to 31 December 2023.

View the itinerary for departures between 01 January 2024 - 31 December 2024

Map of Ultimate Japan including Japan



2 breakfasts, 3 dinners


Boat, Public Bus, Private Bus, Cable Car, Ferry, Metro, Bullet Train, Train


Ryokan/Hotel (23 nts)

  • Nikko - Toshogu Shrine
  • Hakone - public onsen
  • Hakone - Cable car/Ropeway
  • Hakone - Lake Ashinoko boat cruise
  • Takayama - Hida Folk Village
  • Takayama - Market visit
  • Takayama - Sake brewery tasting
  • Hiroshima - Peace Park & A - Bomb Dome
  • Hiroshima - Peace Museum
  • Hiroshima - Miyajima Island
  • Himeji - Himeji Castle
  • Kyoto - Temple/Shrine entrance (2)
  • Kyoto - Gion District walk
  • Takamatsu - Ritsurin Garden & Sanuki Folkcraft Museum
  • Takamatsu - Naoshima day trip (ferry, public bus & bicycle)
  • Kotohira - Kompira-san
  • Iya Valley - Kazura-bashi (vine bridge), Nagoro "Scarecrow" Village & Buke Yashiki samurai house
  • Matsuyama - Matsuyama Castle
  • Nagasaki - tram day pass
  • Nagasaki - Peace Park & Atomic Bomb Museum
  • Yakushima - Local dinner
  • Yakushima - Shiratani Unsuikyo National Park hiking
Add on activities
  • Tokyo - Hama Rikyu Garden - JPY300
  • Tokyo - Edo-Tokyo Museum - JPY600
  • Tokyo - Sumida Hokusai Museum - JPY1200
  • Tokyo - Tokyo National Museum - JPY1000
  • Tokyo - Ueno Park - Free
  • Nikko - Bus to Chuzenji Lake (return) - JPY2200
  • Nikko - Imperial Villa - JPY510
  • Hakone - Open-Air Museum - JPY1600
  • Hakone - Checkpoint Museum - JPY500
  • Hakone - Onsen (public hot spring bath) - JPY1200
  • Takayama - Festival Float Museum - JPY1000
  • Takayama - Merchant House - JPY700
  • Takayama - Bike hire (per day) - JPY800
  • Takayama - Showa Museum - JPY800
  • Takayama - Takayama Jinya Building - JPY430
  • Miyajima - Itsukushima-jinja Shrine - JPY300
  • Kyoto - Bike hire (per day) from - JPY1000
  • Kyoto - Sanjusangendo Temple - JPY600
  • Kyoto - Obanzai cooking class - JPY6500
  • Kyoto - Kiyomizu-dera - JPY400
  • Kyoto - Tea Ceremony with Maiko - JPY4000
  • Kyoto - Kinkaku-ji (Golden Pavilion) - JPY500
  • Naoshima - Art House Project (combined ticket) - JPY1030
  • Naoshima - Chichu Art Museum - JPY2060
  • Naoshima - Benesse House Museum - JPY1030
  • Kotohira - Kanamaru-za Kabuki Theatre - JPY500
  • Matsuyama - Ishiteji Temple - Free
  • Matsuyama - Dogo Onsen (basic entry) - JPY410
  • Nagasaki - Oura Catholic Church - JPY300
  • Nagasaki - 26 Martyrs Memorial - Free
  • Nagasaki - Glover Garden - JPY610
  • Nagasaki - Nagasaki Museum of History & Culture - JPY600
  • Nagasaki - Dejima Historical District - Free
  • Yakushima - Outdoor onsen (entry) - JPY500

Dates and availability

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Important notes

1. A Single Supplement is currently not available for this trip due to limited rooms at our chosen accommodation.
2. It is essential that you pack light and compact for rail travel in Japan. There are size restrictions for luggage on Shinkansen trains. Luggage from 160cm to 250cm may require an additional JPY1000 oversize luggage fee per train journey. Luggage over 251cm will NOT be permitted on the Shinkansen trains at all. Please notify your tour leader at your Welcome Meeting if your luggage is from 160cm to 250cm so they can make the necessary arrangements.
3. We are currently unable to book pre or post trip accommodation at our start and finish point hotels due to limited room availability. We recommend booking a hotel of your choice through your booking agent.
4. We are not able to book airport shuttle service for Japan now. Japan has an extensive and efficient public transport system and the joining and finishing point instructions are listed in the Essential Trip Information.

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.

Read Essential Trip Information


4.2 out of 5 based on 5 reviews submitted.
Reviews are from travellers who have completed their trip and want to share their experience. We show all reviews, but may remove any that include profanity or inappropriate content, are unrelated to the trip or reveal personal details.

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Helena · Traveled September 2023
I recommend this trip if you have never been to Japan and want to see the highlights. There are definitely some long travel days but considering we were travelling by bullet trains, could’ve been much longer! It was a good balance of included activities and free time and the leaders were great at providing suggestions. Takeshi (Tai) was great at providing insight into the culture of Japan. Atsuko (Addie) was very well organized and so enthusiastic. There was definitely way more hiking than I anticipated on this trip, but thoroughly enjoyed it.
Review submitted 24 Sep 2023

jessica · Traveled April 2023
A truly fantastic trip. It can be tiring at times so not the the faint hearted but one of the best ways to explore Japan. Intrepid and their guides will guarantee you a memorable experience.
Review submitted 03 May 2023

Peter · Traveled April 2023
Be aware! I’ve had 3 great trips but this last one started off poorly but ended well. Poor customer service and some unwelcome surprises in the first few days. In perspective, Japans wage growth in the last 30 years is only 5%! This tour is overpriced. Offsetting the negatives the tour guides were excellent.
Review submitted 01 May 2023

Igor · Traveled March 2023
This trip is amazing! Japan is the country a must to see. Trip is covering a lot geographically and culture wise.
Review submitted 13 Apr 2023

Eric · Traveled October 2022
Eine tolle Reise welche einem Japan wirklich näher bringt. Ein guter Mix von Stadt, Land und Kultur macht diese Tour empfehlenswert.
Review submitted 22 Nov 2022
Ultimate Japan
CAD $11,385