- Go off the beaten path to see some of Japan’s most beautiful hidden gems
- Join Japan travel specialists Becki and Shawn for insights and special encounters you’ll never forget
- Travel to each of these amazing places in a small group of no more than 8 people
This fully escorted 15-day Japan Tour takes you to see some of Japan’s most beautiful villages, gardens, temples and shrines. You'll visit the ancient capitals of Kyoto and Nara, the remote mountain villages of Takayama and Magome in the Kiso Valley, the picturesque Matsumoto Castle, Kanazawa’s traditional tea houses, Hiroshima and the sacred island of Miyajima, and the bustling streets of Tokyo. Join Becki and Shawn for a unique, intimate and real Japan experience. Their knowledge and experience give you personal insights and special encounters you’ll never forget!
About Becki and Shawn
Becki and Shawn are Americans that have 20+ years of experience living and traveling throughout Japan. Their strong belief in responsible tourism means they often eat at small, locally owned restaurants and encourage meaningful connections with the local people. They have Master’s Degrees in International Studies with a focus on East Asia. Japan is a special place for them because they lived and worked there for the majority of their adult lives. They know how to get around, understand the culture and speak the language. You never have to worry about food, hotels, restaurants, or transportation, because Becki and Shawn know where to go, what to see, and how to get there. All you need to do is get to Japan and they will take care of everything else.
October 4: Arrive in Narita International Airport. Becki or Shawn will meet you at the airport and take you to your hotel. Check out the world famous Shibuya Crosswalk and take in the sights and sounds of Tokyo.
Hotel 3 nights.
October 5: Visit Ueno Park and then see the tiny shopping alleys of Ameya Yokocho. After lunch visit Tokyo's oldest Buddhist temple, Senso-ji, built in 645 AD. In the evening enjoy a fun included welcome dinner at a Japanese izakaya.
October 6: Start the day off with a visit to the Tsukiji Fish Market on one of its last days before the market closes and moves to its new location. After a delicious sushi lunch, take a day-trip to Nikko and see the beautifully decorated tomb of Tokugawa at Toshogu Shrine, covered in beautiful wood carvings and gold leaf.
October 7: Take your first bullet train ("shinkansen") ride, one of the fastest trains in the world! Visit the small city of Matsumoto and see Matsumoto Castle, a National Treasure and one of five remaining original wooden castles.
Hotel 2 nights.
October 8: Spend the morning watching monks perform a Buddhist morning service at the 7th century Zenko-ji Temple. Then head over to Kanazawa to explore the preserved Geisha district of Higashi Chaya and see Kenrokuen Garden, considered one of the most beautiful landscape gardens in Japan.
October 9: Begin the day with a scenic train ride through the Japanese Alps on the way to see the famous Takayama Fall Festival, said to be one of the most beautiful festivals in Japan. Centuries old floats parade the streets full of autumn leaves. Stroll the old-fashioned streets of this mountain town and try mitarashi dango mochi and delicious Hida Beef.
Hotel 2 nights.
October 10: Step back in time in the preserved mountain villages of Magome and Tsumago in the Kiso Valley. These two villages were part of the Nakasendo Trail that connected Tokyo and Kyoto during the Edo Period. Walk a portion of the trail and see bamboo forests, rice terraces and waterfalls.
October 11: Travel to Hiroshima, the City of Peace. See the remains of the Atomic Bomb Dome, visit the Peace Memorial Park and museum and try Hiroshima's famous delicacy, okonomiyaki.
Hotel 2 nights.
October 12: Catch the ferry to Miyajima to see the famous floating torii gate. Visit the World Heritage Site of Itsukushima Shrine and leisurely stroll through the streets and footpaths of Miyajima.
October 13: Take the train to Nara and check into a traditional ryokan hotel. Then explore the Nara Park area, home to some of Japan’s largest and oldest temples. Here you will see the World Heritage Sites of Todai-ji Temple and Kasuga Shrine.
Ryokan hotel 2 nights.
October 14: Enjoy a peaceful bicycle ride along a paved bike path next to a small river and through residential areas. Along the way, make stops to explore the World Heritage Sites of Toshodai-ji and Yakushi-ji, some of the oldest temples in Japan.
October 15: Head to Kyoto to see Kiyomizu Temple, built in 780 AD, stopping at the many souvenir shops that line the path to the temple. Afterward walk through the Higashiyama District, have a Kaiseki lunch, enjoy a traditional tea ceremony, and visit the geisha district of Gion.
Hotel 2 nights.
October 16: Continue exploring Kyoto with a visit to the iconic World Heritage Site of Kinkaku-ji, the Golden Temple. Then head over to Ryoan-ji Temple to see the famous Zen Rock Garden. In the evening experience the exciting walking streets of Shinsaibashi and Dotonbori, and try Osaka’s famous takoyaki!
October 17: Travel back to Tokyo and enjoy some free time to explore the city or shop for souvenirs. Conclude the trip with a memorable included sayonara (farewell) dinner.
Hotel 1 night.
October 18: After breakfast, check out of hotel and head to Narita Airport. Depending on your flight schedule, you may have free time for sightseeing or shopping. Sayonara, Japan!
Maximum number of participants per tour is 8.
This tour includes
- 15 days fully escorted - Becki or Shawn travel with you and are there to help anytime you need it
- 14 nights accommodations in central locations (3-star or better), including 2 nights at a traditional Japanese ryokan with onsen
- All land transportation – rail pass and intercity travel (personal taxi not included)
- Entrance fees - Kinkakuji, Ryoanji, Kiyomizu Temple, Matsumoto Castle, Zenkoji, Peace Memorial Museum, Shukkein Garden, Itsukushima Shrine, Todai-ji, Kasuga Shrine, Toshodaiji, Yakushiji, Toshogu Shrine, Kenrokuen Garden, Tea Ceremony
- Breakfast each morning at accommodation, 4 evening meals – including a welcome dinner, a farewell dinner, and 2 dinners at ryokan
- One-on-one consultation – pre-departure advice and helpful tips
This tour does NOT include
- Travel to and from Japan
- Travel insurance
- Unscheduled travel
- Unplanned use of taxis
- Baggage handling and luggage forwarding, unless otherwise specified
Know before you book
- The tour price displayed is per person, based on double occupancy. There is a single supplement for solo travelers.
- You will be doing a lot of walking, going up and down stairs and standing on this tour. You must be able to be on your feet, walking and standing, for several hours, indoors and outdoors, in all weather conditions, easily walk 5 to 6 miles each day at a reasonable pace (most tours average about 6,000 steps or more per day) and climb up and down multiple flights of stairs. You also must be able to carry your luggage up and down stairs and lift it for overhead storage on trains. Because of these reasons, only those who are in good health should consider this tour.
- You must enter on a tourist visa to qualify for the advertised prices. Participants on any other visa are welcome to join the tour at an additional cost.
- You must be eligible to use a Japan Rail Pass in order to qualify for the listed tour prices. Only foreign tourists entering Japan under the status of temporary visitor (tourist visa) can use a Japan Rail Pass. You receive your Rail Pass on the first day of the tour, and it is your responsibility to maintain possession of your Rail Pass for the duration of the tour. You will be responsible for any transportation expenses that occur outside of the dates of your tour. This includes, but is not limited to, airport transfers.
- Travelers less than 20 years old must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.
- If you cancel between 30 to 60 days before the start of the tour, you will be refunded your final payment minus a 30,000 Japanese yen cancellation fee and any money prepaid to hotels, restaurants, attractions, and transportation companies. There are no refunds for cancellations within 30 days before the start of the tour.
- There is risk involved with international travel. We strongly recommend you purchase trip insurance, especially if you are concerned about the possibility of needing to cancel.
- This tour is land only. Airfare to and from Japan is not included. You are responsible for booking your flight to Japan and arriving at Narita Airport on the first day of the tour. Please wait to book your flight until after your place on the tour is confirmed.
Arrival Terminal at Narita Airport After Customs.