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Essential Japan

10 Days | Walk the streets of Japan’s hottest districts, from the neon lights of Osaka to the gardens of Kanazawa

4.8 out of 5 based on 73 reviews submitted.
18 to 35s
From
USD $1,647
View dates and book
This trip is for the 18 to 35 year olds

Say Konnichiwa to Japan – a diverse land of captivating culture, intriguing innovation and exceptional eats. You’ll get your fix of sushi and shopping in Tokyo before soaking up Kanazawa’s crazy Samurai culture (this is a great place to knock back a couple of glasses of sake, too). Wander gorgeous gardens and temples and then brush up on your world history at Hiroshima at the sobering Peace Park and Museum. Spy geishas in Kyoto’s Gion district and get your Tina Turner on at an Osaka karaoke bar – this trip has it all! Perfect for the independent traveller, you’ll also have loads of free time to customise your trip with activities and extras that you wanna do, so you won’t miss anything on your bucket list.

Trip overview

Map of Essential Japan including Japan
Start
Tokyo, Japan
Finish
Osaka, Japan
Theme
18 to 35s
Destinations
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
Style
Basix
Ages
Min 18 - Max 35
Group size
Min 1 - Max 16
Trip code
CJYO
This trip generates 32 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
  • Explore Japan’s amazingly diverse destinations with loads of free time to see them your way. With all the nitty gritty details and transport worked out for you, you can focus on indulging in endless sushi, katsudon and okonomoyaki.
  • Immerse yourself in the varied neighbourhoods of Tokyo – from the technological subculture of Akihabara to the wild side of fashion in Harajuku and the nightlife of Roppongi – each suburb is almost like a city of its own!
  • Uncover the sobering history of Hiroshima’s Peace Park and Museum – a vital destination for all Japan travellers to gain an insight into the tragic events of the nation’s past.
  • Wander Kyoto with a leader-led walking tour around the Gion district – the heart of the city’s Geisha culture – then walk through the iconic Fushimi Inari-Taisha (the perfect spot for some iconic Japan photos).
  • Live your Samurai fantasies in feudal-era Kanazawa – known as the birthplace of the Samurai. Then, wander through gorgeous historic gardens and hit the bars to debrief with your group.
  • By travelling on this trip, you’ll directly support our Intrepid Foundation partner, Eden Reforestation Projects. Donations help them provide local employment opportunities and tackle climate change one tree at a time as they restore forests across 10 different countries.

Is this trip right for you?
  • This tour includes accommodation in multi-share dormitories. In Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka, you won't be staying in twin share hotels, but rather cool hangouts with shared facilities. This means travellers on the same booking may be split between rooms due to the single gender dormitories.
  • 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 and proximity to other guests as comfortable as western-style hotels. 
  • Your leader will take you on orientation walks in each destination, giving you tips on places to eat and recommendations of fun things to do. For more in depth exploration, you can head off on your own or with other members of your group, or in Tokyo, book one of our Urban Adventures day tours. Public transport to get to various sites is easy and cheap. Please 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 days on your feet.
  • As the trip only has limited time in Tokyo and Osaka, we highly recommend staying a few extra days before and after your tour to enjoy all these great cities have to offer.

Itinerary

Map of Essential Japan including Japan

Inclusions

Meals

1 dinner

Transport

Public Bus, Metro, Train, Bullet Train

Accommodation

Multishare Hostel (5 nights), Hotel/Ryokan (4 nights)

Activities
  • Tokyo - Meiji Jingu Shrine
  • Tokyo - Shibuya walking tour
  • Tokyo - Yoyogi Park
  • Tokyo - Harajuku street
  • Kanazawa - Higashi Chaya District walking tour
  • Kyoto - Gion District walk
  • Kyoto - Fushimi Inari-Taisha
  • Hiroshima - Peace Park & A - Bomb Dome
  • Hiroshima - Peace Museum
  • Hiroshima - Miyajima Island
  • Osaka - Dotombori District walking tour
Add on activities
  • Tokyo - Shinjuku-gyoen - JPY500
  • Tokyo - Studio Ghibli Museum (advance bookings required - from) - JPY2500
  • Tokyo - Sensoji Temple - Free
  • Tokyo - Imperial Palace - Free
  • Tokyo - Disneyland or Disney Sea (from) - JPY7900
  • Tokyo - A Tour Through Tokyo's Kitchen (with World's Largest Fish Market) Urban Adventure - JPY11500
  • Tokyo - Kanpai Tokyo: Shinjuku Drinks and Neon Nights Urban Adventure - JPY15000
  • Tokyo - Made In Japan Shopping Tour: Cultural Curiosities Urban Adventure - JPY8850
  • Tokyo - Tokyo After 5 Urban Adventure - JPY17000
  • Tokyo - Tsukiji Outer Market - Free
  • Tokyo - Wholesale Fish Market (relocated to Toyosu) - Free
  • Tokyo - Metropolitan Government Building observation deck - Free
  • Tokyo - Dawn Avatar Robot Café (from) - JPY1500
  • Tokyo - Gotokuji Cat Temple - Free
  • Kanazawa - Kenroku-en Gardens & Castle - JPY320
  • Kanazawa - Oyama Shrine - Free
  • Kanazawa - Omicho market tour - Free
  • Kanazawa - 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art (excl. special exhibitions) - Free
  • Kanazawa - Nagamachi Samurai District (excl. museum entry) - Free
  • Kyoto - Kinkaku-ji (Golden Pavilion) - JPY500
  • Kyoto - Nijo Castle - JPY800
  • Kyoto - Imperial Palace - Free
  • Kyoto - Kiyomizu-dera - JPY400
  • Kyoto - Kimono/Maiko/Samurai Dress Up (from) - JPY10000
  • Kyoto - Arashiyama Monkey Park - JPY600
  • Miyajima - Itsukushima-jinja Shrine - JPY300
  • Osaka - Osaka Castle - JPY600
  • Osaka - Universal Studios (Day Pass - from) - JPY8900
  • Osaka - Dogusuji Arcade - Free
  • Osaka - Spa World - JPY2000
  • Osaka - Kaiten Sushi Train at Kura Sushi - JPY2000

Dates and 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. This tour includes accommodation in multi-share dormitories in Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka. This means travellers on the same booking may be split between rooms due to single gender dormitories used.
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. 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 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.
6. 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

Reviews

4.8 out of 5 based on 73 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.

Filter by rating

Emily · Traveled February 2024
A great tour, there is so much to see in Japan and this definitely covers the essentials. If you can stay longer I would definitely book an extra day or 2 in Osaka, There's just so much to see.
Review submitted 13 Feb 2024

Natasha · Traveled February 2024
This is a trip I will remember for the rest of my life. The places, the people, the tour leaders, it was all perfect. I wish I could go back to the start and do it all over again. I feel so blessed to have this experience and look forward to many more trips with Intrepid in the future!
Review submitted 13 Feb 2024

Eli · Traveled December 2023
Overall was excellent, tour guide was great and met some great people.
Review submitted 26 Dec 2023

Joseph · Traveled December 2023
This tour is an awesome way to explore Japan — having new experiences and trying new foods with new friends. This was my second Intrepid Tour (first one was Turkey) and both my tour guides were absolutely amazing!
Review submitted 13 Dec 2023

Leander · Traveled December 2023
Our tour leader Leo was very enthusiastic and knowledgeable about each area we stayed at making travelling stress free. We had plenty of free time after the main tour and were able to experience many attractions from each city
Review submitted 12 Dec 2023
Essential Japan
From
USD $1,647