Take a short and sweet tour through fascinating Japan.
Home to sumo wrestling, sake, geishas, karaoke and onsens, Japan is an extraordinary land. Here you can expect a frenetic pace one day and a tranquil experience the next. 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. From world-class sushi to legendary samurai, this enigmatic nation is a traveller’s delight. Get back to basics and see the best of Japan without busting your budget.
Experience a mix of Japan's most famous sites along with the chance of discovering some great off the beaten track gems
If you're the independent type, this is the trip for you. While we'll get you from A to B and show you around, you'll have plenty of free time to do exactly what you like
Stay in traditional Japanese ryokan, sleeping on a futon after a soak in shared baths or onsen
Dine with friends or dine alone. There are no meal inclusions on this trip, which means you're free to customise your own foodie adventure in one of the world's most acclaimed culinary destinations. You leader will have some excellent recommendations for all budgets
Japan's famous railway system is clean, efficient and a great way to mingle with the locals. You'll even get to ride the famous shinkasen bullet train
This trip features very few included activities and a lot of free time. This is ideal for people who appreciate their independence, but if you want a trip with a few more inclusions, consider doing another trip such as 'CJST - Land of the Rising Sun'.
As there are few activities included, you will have plenty of options offered by your leader for you to choose from. A day pass for public transport is included in each location to help you get around.
You'll be travelling between destinations via public transport. While not luxury, Japanese trains are clean, efficient and a great way to get from place to place.
This trip requires a moderate amount of fitness, as you'll be required to carry your own luggage between train stations and to hotels, which can include going up and down multiple stairs in crowded areas. We recommend packing light and smart for this trip for this same reason.
Be prepared to do a lot of walking on this trip, particularly around Kyoto which is best seen on foot. It's easy to cover up to and over 10km a day when exploring. Bring comfortable walking shoes and be prepared to spend most of the day on your feet.
You'll be sleeping in Japanese ryokans which are different to western hotels and can mean sleeping on the floor on tatami mats and futons.
While we aim to book as many nights at small, family run ryokans and guesthouses, the recent huge increase in tourism to Japan has put a lot of pressure on accommodation. On occasion, we may need to change accommodation to hotels in order to be able to operate your departure without itinerary changes.
We like to encourage travellers to indulge in traditional Japanese 'onsens' while in the country as it is a quintessential local experience. This means bathing naked in the presence of others of the same gender. While the experience can feel strange at first, most of our groups end up enjoying this activity. If you feel uncomfortable with bathing naked, please feel free to skip taking part.
Decorative tattoos are uncommon in Japanese culture and therefore you may receive curious and sometimes disapproving looks from locals. Generally, nobody will make a comment about your tattoos but please endeavour to wear modest clothing and be aware that you may not be able to enter public onsens.
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.
This itinerary is valid for departures from 04 August 2017 to 31 December 2017. View the itinerary for departures between 01 January 2018 - 31 December 2018
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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 itinerary is far from a hand-holding, all inclusive trip, so enjoy the freedom of discovering Japan, with the guidance of expert advice on how to spend your time from your leader.
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.
3. 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.
Our Japan Express trips score an average of 4.69 out of 5 based on 59 reviews in the last year.
Intrepid is a good way to meet like minded people and embrace the local culture whilst giving you the freedom to explore places on your own should you desire.
Review submitted 10 Oct 2017
This was my first Intrepid tour and it was just GREAT. The tour included plenty of optional activities and it definitely exceeded everyone’s expectations. We had the right balance of free time and planned optional activities. Our tour guide (Nori Saeki) was exceptionally amazing and was with us every day, making sure that we were making the most of our trip. Nori was super kind, helpful and made sure that everyone is very well looked after.
Review submitted 21 Sep 2017