Temples, tempura and torii on a fast-tracked adventure
Home to sumo wrestling, sake, geishas, karaoke and onsens, Japan’s got a lot going for it. And on this nine-day Lonely Planet Experience 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 direction and plenty of time to explore at your own pace, experience the culture and charm of the Land of the Rising Sun.
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.
This is a Lonely Planet Experience powered by Intrepid, 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. For more in-depth exploration you can head off on your own or with other members of your group, or if you are interested in an itinerary with more inclusions, please see Intrepid’s Land of the Rising Sun trip – search trip code CJST on the Intrepid website for more information.
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.
Are you aged 18-29 and want to travel with people of a similar age? Check out the Real Japan adventure – search trip code CJYO on the Intrepid website to get the low-down.
Trip departures are unavailable.
There are currently no scheduled departures on our Japan Express trip. If you are interested in other trips in the region visit one of the links below.
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 and 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 between 160–250 cm may require an additional JPY 1000 oversize luggage fee per train journey. Luggage over 251 cm 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 cm or 251 cm so they can make the necessary arrangements.
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