Classic Japan

12 Days | Kyoto, Koya-san and more on a cultural crusade

4.8 out of 5 based on 36 reviews submitted.
EUR 5.148 €
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Steeped in centuries of tradition and full of culinary prowess, Japan is awash with sights to see and histories to uncover. From Kyoto to Tokyo, spend 12 days exploring the heart of Japan, with memories of the Edo era, sobering warfare sites, lush natural landscapes and eclectic neighbourhoods to discover. Be tempted by tempura, savour your sushi and sip some sochu as you discover the endless variety and diversity of Japan with your small group, all headed by a local leader who knows all of the best places to go. What’s stopping you embarking on a cultural escapade to the home of geisha, torii, sake and nori?

Trip overview

Map of Classic Japan including Japan
Kyoto, Japan
Tokyo, 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 58.1 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
  • Surrounded in tranquil scenery, an overnight Buddhist temple stay in Koya-san is as peaceful and unique as it sounds. It’s the perfect place to stop and explore between Kyoto and Hiroshima.
  • With three nights spent in Tokyo, you’ll cover the top sights with your small group and have free time to see at your own pace. With so much to do, you have the power to decide in Japan’s capital.
  • A visit to the Hiroshima Peace Park is a sobering but important experience for understanding the tragedies of Japan’s not so distant past – do so with the local knowledge of your leader to show you the way.
  • Spend a memorable night with an included dinner in a traditional Japanese ryokan in tiny Tsumago – one of the best-preserved Edo-era towns along the ancient Nakesendo Highway.
  • Be impressed by the efficiency and ultra-modernity as you zip from city to town. Travel has never been so easy!

Is this trip right for you?
  • Japan is best to explore on foot. 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 the tatami mat floor, tiny bathrooms and proximity to other guests as comfortable as more western-style hotels and beds. This is an important thing to consider if you have problems with your back or knees, as the surface is really firm and there may be no other furniture (eg chairs) in the room. Read more about ryokans here:
  • 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. At some destinations, larger luggage will be forwarded on ahead of you, so it'll be easier to get around if you have a smaller overnight/day pack.
  • 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.


Map of Classic Japan including Japan



11 breakfasts, 2 dinners


Public Bus, Subway, Bullet Train, Train, Boat


Hotel/Ryokan (10 nights), Temple Stay (1 night)

  • Kyoto - Ryoanji Zen Garden
  • Kyoto - Nijo Castle
  • Kyoto - Kinkaku-ji (Golden Pavilion)
  • Kyoto - Gion District walk
  • Koya-san - Okunoin Cemetery
  • Himeji - Himeji Castle
  • Hiroshima - Peace Park & A - Bomb Dome
  • Hiroshima - Peace Museum
  • Hiroshima - Miyajima Island
  • Tsumago - Nakasendo Walk
  • Matsumoto - walking tour
  • Tokyo - Sensoji Temple
  • Tokyo - Sumida River Cruise
  • Tokyo - Hama Rikyu Garden
Add on activities
  • Kyoto - Cooking Class - JPY6000
  • Kyoto - Bike hire (per day) - JPY800
  • Kyoto - Ginkaku-ji (Silver Pavilion) - JPY500
  • Kyoto - Nanzenji Temple - Free
  • Kyoto - Kiyomizu-dera - JPY400
  • Koya-san - Kongobu-ji Temple - JPY500
  • Matsumoto - Matsumoto Castle - JPY610
  • Tokyo - Samurai Sword Museum - JPY600
  • Tokyo - Studio Ghibli Museum (advance bookings required) - JPY1000
  • Tokyo - Imperial Palace - Free
  • Tokyo - Shinjuku-gyoen - JPY200
  • Tokyo - Meiji Jingu Shrine - Free
  • Tokyo - Edo-Tokyo Museum - JPY600
  • Tokyo - Tokyo National Museum - JPY1000

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 many of our properties.
2. While we endeavour to cater for specific dietary requirements, some meals and food activities are set in advance and may be difficult to adjust. Please advise us of any dietary requirements at the time of booking so that we can ensure you’ll enjoy this trip.
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. 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.
5. 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


4.8 out of 5 based on 36 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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Angelica · Traveled August 2023
Such an amazing experience. Couldn’t have asked for more knowledgeable and talkative guides than Kento Ozaki and Hideto Horikoshi from Intrepid. Mum took us on the Classic Japan 12 day tour for our birthdays and honestly it was the best birthdays we had. Smooth and comfortable from start to finish would highly recommend travelling with Intrepid.
Review submitted 08 Sep 2023

Jessica · Traveled August 2023
Classic Japan has been an amazing experience that I could not recommend enough. I had two amazing guides who went above and beyond what was necessary to ensure we got to experience everything we wanted to.
Review submitted 07 Sep 2023

Georgina · Traveled August 2023
This whole tour was amazing from start to finish. Our tour guides went above and beyond any expectations and made sure to cater around our own personal interests, searching for and booking us extra activities based on them for our free time.
Review submitted 07 Sep 2023

Katherine · Traveled August 2023
Japan was a wonderful place to visit. The tour allowed us to see a mix of city life, such as in Kyoto and Tokyo, as well as the calm of the temples in Koyasan. We were also lucky enough to have two amazing tour guides. Highly recommend.
Review submitted 07 Sep 2023

David · Traveled July 2023
We greatly enjoyed our recent Intrepid midsummer 13 day Classic Japan small group tour of mountainous and verdant Honshu using public transport ( inclusive of bullet trains) ably lead by the wonderful Mariko. Mt Koya train funicular rail combo real eye opener for Japan novices creates a strong appetite for more. Shinkasen travel most impressive.
Review submitted 15 Jul 2023
Classic Japan
EUR 5.148 €