Tokyo to Kyoto, and all the donburi in between

Home of the sumo, the geisha, sake, karaoke, onsen and izakaya – Japan is a true feast for all of your senses. Spend seven days covering the hotspots of this enchanting land, from the bright lights of Tokyo to the cultural capital in Kyoto. In two of Japan’s major cities, you’ll be walking through the quirky neighbourhoods and eating all the street food you can handle! Stop by the charming coastal town of Kamakura to break up your high-speed Shinkansen journey – beachside and close to Mt Fuji. Thousands of years of history distilled in a country so visually pleasing – come and discover Japan’s highlights yourself.


Start
Tokyo, Japan
Finish
Kyoto, Japan
Destination
Japan
Style
Original
Theme
Explorer
Code
CJSH
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 12

Why you'll love this trip

  • Savour local flavours from Tokyo to Kyoto with chances to try all kinds of sumptuous street food, sake, snacks and other surprises – including the best sushi, of course.

  • Relax on a short cruise down the Sumida River in Tokyo, taking in the sights of iconic buildings and alighting at the delightful urban oasis of Hama Rikyu gardens.

  • The coastal city of Kamakura offers a variety of experiences – ancient statues, hiking through lush green and past half-hidden temples, views of Mt Fuji and plenty of time to relax beachside.

  • With your local leader to show you the way, you’ll not only see the hotspots like Tokyo’s Shibuya and Kyoto’s Fushimi Inari-Taisha, but you’ll go behind the tourist map to local neighbourhoods and places less visited.

  • Even getting from place to place is fun in Japan! Ride the Shinkansen bullet train, hop on public transport and take the renowned Enoden train line at different stages of your small group adventure.

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 when walking! Make sure your shoes are comfy and you are fit enough to spend most of each day on your feet.

  • 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.

Itinerary

Konnichiwa! Welcome to Japan. Bursting with contemporary urban culture, Tokyo has fascinating museums and world-class shopping plus backstreets stuffed with restaurants and karaoke bars. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm tonight. You can arrive at any time during the day as there are no activities planned, but make sure you get here in time for this meeting. Afterwards, you’ll have some free time to explore Tokyo’s exhilarating nightlife. Perhaps take a walk down Shinjuku’s Omoide Tokocho or Memory Lane – a crowded alley of busy restaurants and bar stalls started in the 1940s and quickly gained infamy as a black-market quarter. Today, it is one of the best spots to try some of Tokyo’s local fast food.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Tokyo - welcome meeting and orientation walk
Optional Activities
  • Tokyo - Tsukiji Fish Market - Free
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
It’s very important that you attend the welcome meeting as we will be collecting insurance details and next of kin information at this time. If you are going to be late please let your travel agent or hotel reception know. Ask reception or look for a note in the lobby for more information on where the meeting will take place.
Dive right into Tokyo today by exploring historic Asakusa – one of the older and more traditional parts of the city. Visit the city’s oldest temple – Senso-ji – founded almost 1400 years ago when Tokyo was nothing more than a fishing village. Browse the many interesting stalls filled with tasty treats, crafts and souvenirs that line the shopping street of Nakamise Dori. Later, enjoy a different side of Tokyo as you relax on a short cruise down the Sumida River. Glide under the bridges that bisect the river and pass significant sights like the Sky Tree Tower, Asahi Beer Hall with its distinctive roof-top sculpture, the Sumo Stadium and the former Tsukiji Fish Market complex, alighting at the delightful urban oasis of the Hama Rikyu gardens. Stroll along paths that were once the sole preserve of the shoguns (various military dictators that effectively ran Japan between 1185 and 1868) who would hunt ducks in the area. Afterwards, visit the quirky fashion and pop culture centre of Harajuku. It’s home to many of Japan’s iconic youth subcultures and is a magnet for cosplayers and merchants of cool. It’s also the source of Tokyo’s best crepes! Get your fill (of both crepes and cool) then head to Meiji Jingu Shrine. Enter via a massive torii (gate) and find the sights and sounds of city replaced by a tranquil forest.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Tokyo - Sensoji Temple
  • Tokyo - Meiji-jingū Shrine
  • Tokyo - Shibuya walking tour
  • Tokyo - Tokyo Cruise
  • Tokyo - Hama Rikyu Garden
Optional Activities
  • Soba noodle class - JPY2000
  • Tokyo - Edo-Tokyo Museum - JPY600
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
In the morning, jump on a train and make the 1-hour journey from Tokyo to coastal Kamakura. Kamakura once served as the political center for Japan from the 12th to the 14th century. Now it's a great destination offering a variety of experiences – you could feast on street food, take a hike in the mountains,or simply enjoy a walk on the beach. Get acquainted with the area with a ride the Enoden Train Line, which features heavily in Japan’s wildly-popular cultural exports of Manga and Anime and shuttles commuters from Kamakura and Fujisawa. You can catch it every 12 minutes between 5 am and midnight, and the round trip takes about an hour. Even if you’re not into animation, the electric rail line travels along the coast at a gentle pace, making it a great way to see some sights. Then, stretch your legs on the Daibutso Trail (approximately three hours), which takes walkers over a partially paved track through lovely green gardens, past the Zeniarai Benten Shrine and finishes at the famous Buddha statue. In your free time, maybe get your shopping on at Komachi Dori Street – a 360-metre-long stretch of food, souvenirs, clothes and drinks.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Kamakura – Daibutsu temple trail
  • Kamakura – Enoden line historic train
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Get up whenever you want, because today is all yours! Maybe explore different stops on the Enoden line, finding out the cute cafes by the rail, dine at the hidden Michelin Star restaurant cooking with the most fresh ingredients from the area or soak in an onsen with the view of Mount Fuji. Otherwise, head to the beach for a super relaxed soak in the sea. Yuigahama and Zaimokuza are the most popular beaches in town and during July and August you’ll find beach huts and pop-up shops selling food and drink along their shores. Enoshima is also one of the most popular destination for the locals and an epic sunset with Mt Fuji as the backdrop on the southern coast of the island is not to be missed.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Jump on board a train and make the 3-hour journey to Kyoto. One of the city’s original names was Heian-kyo, which literally translates to ‘tranquillity and peace capital’, and the thousands of temples, shrines and gardens make it a great place to unwind. In the afternoon, head to the Noshiki Market and stroll through ‘Kyoto’s Kitchen’. It’s the perfect introduction to Kyoto's regional specialties – from pickled vegetables hidden beneath layers of fermented rice to delicious and ornate Kyo-wagashi (Kyoto sweets), and other local produce. As the sun goes down, continue to Gion, the city’s cultural centre and most famous geisha district. You may catch a glimpse of an elegantly-attired geisha or maiko moving between teahouses here, though much of this high-class world of entertainment is still off-limits to outsiders.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Kyoto - Gion District walk
  • Kyoto - Nishiki-Koji Market
Optional Activities
  • Kyoto - Gion Corner cultural centre - JPY3150
  • Kyoto - Imperial Palace - Free
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today, you’ll head to one of the most photogenic spots in Kyoto – Fushimi Inari Taisha shrine. Famous for the thousands of scarlet torii (square archways) along the path, this shrine is dedicated to Inari – the god of rice. Because foxes do his bidding, there are also plenty of fox statues along the way, ranging from the cute to the creepy. The rest of the day is free for you to explore at your own pace. If you’re in a contemplative mood, the Path of Philosophy might have what you’re after. Stroll beside a stream under the dappled shade of blossoming trees that takes you past the Zen temple Ginkaku-ji, the Temple of the Silver Pavilion and Nanzen-ji Temple. You can keep walking south to the Old Town and explore the ramshackle wooden houses, or perhaps visit Kinkakuhi Temple, immortalised in Yukio Mishima’s novel ‘The Golden Pavilion’.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Kyoto - Fushimi Inari-Taisha
Optional Activities
  • Kyoto Tower - JPY770
  • Kyoto - Bike hire (per day) - JPY800
  • Kyoto - Kinkaku-ji (Golden Pavilion) - JPY500
  • Kyoto - Ryoanji Zen Garden - JPY500
  • Kyoto - Arashiyama Bamboo Forest - Free
  • Kyoto - Path of Philosophy (Tetsugaku-no-Michi) - Free
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
With no activities planned for today, you are free to leave at any time, provided you comply with the hotel’s internal check-out times (usually at 10 am). If you are departing later and want to spend another day exploring Kyoto – we don't blame you! – you can discuss luggage storage with the hotel. Better yet, why not spend another day or two in Kyoto and join in on an Urban Adventure like Made in Kyoto – a behind-the-scenes shopping experience of this cultural haven. Find out more at urbanadventures.com/destination/Kyoto-tours.
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.

Meals

No meals are included on this tour

Transport

Public bus, Metro, Local Train, Bullet Train

Accommodation

hotel (6 nts)

Included activities

  • Tokyo - welcome meeting and orientation walk
  • Tokyo - Sensoji Temple
  • Tokyo - Meiji-jingū Shrine
  • Tokyo - Shibuya walking tour
  • Tokyo - Tokyo Cruise
  • Tokyo - Hama Rikyu Garden
  • Kamakura – Daibutsu temple trail
  • Kamakura – Enoden line historic train
  • Kyoto - Gion District walk
  • Kyoto - Nishiki-Koji Market
  • Kyoto - Fushimi Inari-Taisha

Dates & availability

Trip search is unavailable.

There are currently no scheduled departures on our Japan Highlights trip. If you are interested in other trips in the region visit one of the links below.

Prices may change, so secure your trip today!
Jump to a departure month

Important notes

1. 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.
2. Due to the rapid increase in tourism in Japan and in the lead up to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics it has been necessary to go outside our traditional tour leader sources. As a result our passionate, professional and trained tour leaders may be local Japanese or long term foreign residents in Japan.
3. We are currently unable to book pre or post tour accommodation at our start & finish point hotels due to limited room availability. We recommend booking a hotel of your choice through your travel agent or an online booking engine if you are planning to stay longer in Japan.
4. It is essential you pack light and compact for rail travel in Japan. From May 2020 there will be size restrictions for luggage on Shinkansen trains. Luggage over 160-250cm may require an additional JPY 1000 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 over 160-250cm so they can make the necessary arrangements.

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.

View Essential Trip Information

Reviews