Ultimate Japan

24 Days | Take an immersive adventure through Japan, to iconic sights and seldom-seen natural marvels

4.3 out of 5 based on 6 reviews submitted.
EUR €7,353
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Begin your Japanese adventure in the tech-mecca of Tokyo, then discover scenic beauty on the Hakone ropeway, sip the best sake in Takayama and be reminded of the sobering past of Hiroshima. Visit the floating torii gate of Miyajima and make use of your local leader and guides to reveal layers of culture and history in lesser-known cities. Spend some time in Kyoto and then veer off the main island of Honshu to the naturally beautiful southwest. Wander through art-laden castles, spend a night in a tranquil homestay in Usuki and relax in the steam of Beppu’s onsens. Soak up the peace in the caldera of Mt Aso in a traditional Japanese inn surrounded by rice terraces. Visit the Peace Park in Nagasaki and end it all back in Osaka. This adventure is the ultimate combination of new and ancient, countryside villages and dynamic city streets, traditional inns and onsens, and sweeping views of coastal cities, rice terraces, volcano craters and deep gorges. When visiting Japan, what more could you ask for?

Trip overview

Map of Ultimate Japan including Japan
Tokyo, Japan
Osaka, Japan
Explorer, Rail
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 33 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
  • Soar high above Lake Ashi and (on a clear day) get a glimpse of glorious Mt Fuji on a ride on the Hakone ropeway.
  • Visit the Peace Parks in Nagasaki and Hiroshima for moving insights into the devastation of the atomic bombs dropped during the war. Learn the sobering history of these places – an important part of Japan’s past.
  • Stay in a countryside homestay, taking you off the beaten track to experience excellent Japanese hospitality. Feast on home-cooked meals over fascinating conversations with your welcoming hosts and learn about rural life in Japan. 
  • Watch the steam coming out of the ‘hells’ (hot spring pools in Jigoku) of Beppu and enjoy a soak in a Michelin star onsen, followed by a unique experience for dinner – you’ll cook and steam your food right in the hot spring steam, said to be rich with healthy minerals! 
  • Take in the stunning view of the five peaks of Mount Aso from the Daikanbo Observatory, then a light hike on the moon-like terrain to the largest crater of Nakadake before hopping in a rowboat to paddle through the deep gorge of Takachiho

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 sturdy and you are fit enough to spend a good part of each day walking.
  • In some destinations you may be staying in a the 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 Japanese style inns 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.


Map of Ultimate Japan including Japan



5 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 5 dinners


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


Hotel (16 nights), Japanese Inn (6 nights), Homestay (1 night)

  • 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)
  • Matsuyama - Matsuyama Castle
  • Usuki - Local Sake brewery visit and tasting
  • Usuki - Japanese home-cooking experience
  • Beppu - 'Hells' of Beppu (Jigoku)
  • Beppu - local onsen
  • Beppu - Steamed lunch (Beppu style)
  • Mount Aso - Ogi Rice terraces
  • Mount Aso - Daikanbo Observatory
  • Mount Aso - Nakadake Crater
  • Mount Aso - Sunasenri trail hike
  • Takachiho - Takachiho gorge rowing boat ride
  • Takachiho - Takachiho Shrine
  • Arita - Tonbai Wall Alleys walking tour
  • Arita - Tozan Shrine
  • Nagasaki - Peace Park & Atomic Bomb Museum
Add on activities
  • Tokyo - Hama Rikyu Garden - JPY300
  • Tokyo - Sumida Hokusai Museum - JPY400
  • Tokyo - Tokyo National Museum - JPY1000
  • Tokyo - Ueno Park - Free
  • Nikko - Bus to Chuzenji Lake (return) - JPY2500
  • Nikko - Imperial Villa - JPY600
  • Hakone - Open-Air Museum - JPY1600
  • Hakone - Checkpoint Museum - JPY500
  • Hakone - Onsen (public hot spring bath) - JPY1500
  • Takayama - Festival Float Museum - JPY1000
  • Takayama - Kusakabe Traditional House - JPY1000
  • Takayama - Bike hire (per day) - JPY1000
  • Takayama - Showa Museum - JPY1000
  • Takayama - Takayama Jinya Building - JPY440
  • Miyajima - Itsukushima-jinja Shrine - JPY300
  • Kyoto - Bike hire (per day) from - JPY1200
  • Kyoto - Sanjusangendo Temple - JPY600
  • Kyoto - Kiyomizu-dera - JPY400
  • Kyoto - Tea Ceremony with Maiko/Geisha - JPY14300
  • Kyoto - Kinkaku-ji (Golden Pavilion) - JPY500
  • Naoshima - Art House Project (combined ticket) - JPY1050
  • Naoshima - Chichu Art Museum - JPY2100
  • Naoshima - Benesse House Museum - JPY1300
  • Matsuyama - Dogo Onsen (basic entry) - JPY460
  • Matsuyama - Ishiteji Temple - Free
  • Nagasaki - Glover Garden - JPY620
  • Nagasaki - Nagasaki Museum of History & Culture - JPY630
  • Nagasaki - Dejima Historical District - JPY520
  • Nagasaki - 26 Martyrs Memorial - JPY500
  • Nagasaki - Oura Catholic Church - 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 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.

5. This is a combination trip, meaning your trip leader and group members will likely change on Day 13.

6. Please note that there are generally less double rooms in Japanese hotels, even those in Western style. While every effort will be made to accommodate double room requests, this may not always be possible.

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


4.3 out of 5 based on 6 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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Margaret · Traveled May 2024
The Utimate Japan Intrepid Trip is an extensive holiday with a small group using mainly the amazing train system of Japan. With a local guide you visit the sites of major cities and country areas. Taste the Japanese cuisine, soak in the onsens, stay in traditional Inns and discover some less troden paths. Discover the shrines and temples, art islands, volcanic area with hot springs and row through a spectacular gorge.. Grab your 10 kg small bag of luggage and visit this friendly country and enjoy with other like minded people.
Review submitted 26 Jun 2024

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

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

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

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
Ultimate Japan
EUR €7,353