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Japan Express

9 Days | Temples, tempura and torii on a fast-tracked adventure

4.8 out of 5 based on 43 reviews submitted.
USD $1,943
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Home to sumo wrestling, sake, geishas, karaoke and onsens, Japan’s got a lot going for it. And on this nine-day trip to some of its most acclaimed cities, you’ll get to see the country at its best. Take in the neon nightlife of Tokyo, relax in the manicured gardens of Nikko and discover thousands of years of culture and history in Kyoto. And have you heard about the food? World-class sushi, ravishing ramen, delectable donburi – you certainly won’t be going hungry. With your local leader to point you in all the right directions and plenty of time to explore at your own pace, experience the culture and charm of the Land of the Rising Sun.

Trip overview

Map of Japan Express including Japan
Tokyo, Japan
Kyoto, 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 16
Trip code
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
  • From the ultra-modern to ancient traditions, this express adventure will introduce you to some of the many faces of Japan in a short amount of time.
  • Visit the little town of Nikko – packed with World Heritage-listed temples and picture-perfect hiking trails, and one of the best backdrops for a soak in a steaming onsen.
  • Eat your way from Tokyo to Kyoto with plenty of chances to try all kinds of delicious street food, sake, snacks and surprises – from a hearty bowl of ramen to world-class sashimi.
  • Even getting from place to place is fun in Japan! Ride the renowned Shinkansen bullet train and make use of public transport day passes to get to and from the activities you choose.
  • With a local leader to show you around, a new group of friends to explore with and plenty of free time for discovery, you’re guaranteed to get the most out of Japan’s wondrous sights.

Is this trip right for you?
  • This trip is made for travellers who value their independence but also want the benefit of a local leader and a group of like-minded travellers. The itinerary has a mix of included activities and free time when your leader will offer suggestions. Please budget spending money for optional activities you want to partake in. Your leader will take you on orientation walks in each destination, giving you tips on things like supermarkets, places to eat, ATMs and recommendations of fun things to see and do. 
  • In some destinations you may be staying in a minshuku, 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.


Map of Japan Express including Japan



Public Bus, Metro, Train, Bullet Train


Hostel (3 nights), Japanese Inn (2 nights), Basic hotel (3 nights)

  • Tokyo - Yoyogi Park
  • Tokyo - Meiji Jingu Shrine
  • Tokyo - Shibuya walking tour
  • Tokyo - Metro day pass
  • Tokyo - Harajuku street
  • Tokyo - Akihabara walking tour
  • Tokyo - Tsukiji Outer Market
  • Nikko - Public bus area pass
  • Nikko - Hiking
  • Kyoto - Fushimi Inari-Taisha
  • Kyoto - Public bus day pass
  • Kyoto - Gion District walk
Add on activities
  • Tokyo - Studio Ghibli Museum (advance bookings required - from) - JPY2500
  • Tokyo - Disneyland or Disney Sea (from) - JPY7900
  • Tokyo - Gotokuji Cat Temple - Free
  • 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 - Sensoji Temple - Free
  • Tokyo - Karaoke - JPY2000
  • Tokyo - Sumida River Cruise - JPY860
  • Tokyo - Metropolitan Government Building observation deck - Free
  • Tokyo - Imperial Palace - Free
  • Tokyo - Shinjuku-gyoen - JPY500
  • Nikko - Rinnō-ji - JPY400
  • Nikko - Kanman-ga-Fuchi Abyss - Free
  • Nikko - Tōshō-gū - JPY1300
  • Nikko - Lake Yunoko & Yumoto natural hot springs (from) - JPY800
  • Nikko - Akechidaira Ropeway (return) - JPY1000
  • Kyoto - Kiyomizu-dera - JPY400
  • Kyoto - Kinkaku-ji (Golden Pavilion) - JPY500
  • Kyoto - Path of Philosophy (Tetsugaku-no-Michi) - Free
  • Kyoto - Gion Corner cultural centre - JPY5500
  • Kyoto - Ginkaku-ji (Silver Pavilion) - JPY500
  • Kyoto - Nijo Castle - JPY800
  • Kyoto - Nijo Castle and Ninomaru Palace - JPY1300
  • Kyoto - Ryōan-ji - JPY500
  • Kyoto - Tō-ji (grounds free) - JPY800

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. This trip does not include a Japan Rail Pass. You will need to buy your own train tickets for any independent rail travel you wish to do in Japan pre or post tour.
3. 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.
4. 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.
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 43 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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Zoe · Traveled December 2023
I really can’t say enough about Toshimi, he was genuinely enthusiastic and caring, very knowledgeable and interesting, and really went out of his way to make sure every one was looked after and included. Toshimi is the ideal type of person to be a tour guide, and a great ambassador for tourism in Japan!
Review submitted 18 Dec 2023

Matthew · Traveled November 2023
I would strongly recommend this trip for anyone who like me has always wanted to go to Japan, but also has a limited time travel. It fits a lot into a short space of time and is a great introduction to Japan.
Review submitted 14 Nov 2023

Lexi · Traveled November 2023
Our Japan tour with Atsushi was amazing! He was a great tour guide and we felt fully immersed in the culture while we were there. The itinerary was great and we got to see a lot. Highly recommend!
Review submitted 11 Nov 2023

Kim · Traveled October 2023
Intrepid was the perfect tour company to use on my first trip to Japan. I was able to see a variety of places with a small group and get my travels legs for extended travel on my own. I would recommend.
Review submitted 11 Nov 2023

Robyn · Traveled October 2023
I highly recommend this trip to Japan with Intrepid! Our tour leader Toshimi was so helpful and accommodated to everyone’s requests. We all had an amazing time travelling together and experiencing the many cultural aspects of this very traditional country. Thank you for this amazing opportunity!
Review submitted 16 Oct 2023
Japan Express
USD $1,943