Explore Japan Tour

Shrines, temples, Mount Fuji and castles - all the must-see places in Japan

22 days
Nara, Gifu, Hiroshima, Osaka, Kyoto, Tokyo

Highlights

  • Travel to the World Heritage Sites of Mount Fuji and Himeji
  • Stay at a Buddhist temple on Mount Koya
  • Join Japan travel specialists Becki and Shawn for insights and special encounters you’ll never forget

Description

This fully escorted 22-day Japan Tour takes you to see some of Japan’s most beautiful mountain villages, gardens, temples and shrines.
You'll visit Japan's iconic Mount Fuji and stay in a traditional Japanese ryokan and have an authentic Japanese kaiseki dinner. See the ancient capitals of Kyoto and Nara, the remote mountain villages of Takayama and Magome in the Kiso Valley, the preserved Himeji Castle, Hiroshima and the sacred island of Miyajima, and the bustling streets of Tokyo and Osaka.
Join Becki and Shawn for a unique, intimate and real Japan experience. Their knowledge and experience gives you personal insights and special encounters you’ll never forget!

Details

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.


Tour Itinerary

October 25: 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 2 nights.

October 26: 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 27: Travel up to Lake Kawaguchi to see Mount Fuji, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and stay in a traditional Japanese ryokan. Japanese kaiseki dinner included at ryokan hotel.
Traditional Ryokan 1 night.

October 28: Take the bullet train (shinkansen) to Hamamatsu, a small suburb known for freshwater eel (unagi) caught fresh from Lake Hamanako. Stroll the streets of this small town to get a feel for everyday life outside the big cities. Dinner included at unagi restaurant.
Hotel 1 night.

October 29: Travel to Nagoya, the fourth largest city in Japan, and visit Osu Kannon and Osu Shopping Arcade – a popular covered shopping area with hundreds of small shops and restaurants.
Hotel 3 nights.

October 30: 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 31: Begin the day with a scenic train ride through the Japanese Alps on the way to Takayama. Visit the morning markets and stroll the old-fashioned streets of the beautiful mountain town. Sample locally brewed sake, try mitarashi dango mochi and enjoy a Hida beef lunch.

November 1: 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 and enjoy a traditional tea ceremony. Dinner included at ryokan hotel.
Ryokan hotel 2 nights.

November 2: Continue exploring Kyoto and visit the beautiful World Heritage Sites of Kinkakuji and Ginkakuji. Kinkakuji is completely covered in gold foil and is also known as the Golden Temple. That evening, visit the famous geisha district of Gion and enjoy a delicious included dinner at the ryokan hotel.

November 3: 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.

November 4: 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. Later that evening, relax in the Shukkeien Garden.

November 5: Take a trip to one of Kyoto’s oldest and most popular shrines, Fushimi Inari Taisha. See thousands of red torii gates and walk the paths of red gates leading into the forest of winding rivers and beautiful city views.
Hotel 2 nights.

November 6: Take a trip to Himeji and visit Himeji Castle, a World Heritage Site and a National Treasure of Japan. This well-preserved original structure is over 400 years old and made up of 83 buildings. Considered by many to be one of the most beautiful castles in Japan.

November 7: Travel to Koya-san, a small temple town tucked away in the Kii Mountain Range and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visit the largest cemetery in Japan, Okuno-in, and the temples at the Garan Complex. Stay at a Buddhist temple and enjoy a Buddhist vegetarian dinner for a truly authentic cultural experience. Dinner is included.
Temple lodging 1 night.

November 8: Experience a morning fire ritual at the Buddhist monastery and enjoy a Buddhist vegetarian breakfast. Then, travel back to Osaka's vibrant walking streets of Shinsaibashi and Dotonbori. This is a good chance to try Osaka’s famous takoyaki!
Hotel 1 night.

November 9: Explore Nara Park, home to some of Japan’s largest and oldest temples. See the World Heritage Sites of Todai-ji, the site of the largest bronze Buddha in the world, and Kasuga Shrine.
Modern ryokan hotel 2 nights.

November 10: Enjoy a leisure bicycle ride on a paved bike path along a small river and through residential areas. We’ll stop to explore the World Heritage Sites of Toshodai-ji and Yakushi-ji, some of the oldest temples in Japan.

November 11: Head back to Tokyo and visit the Imperial Palace East Gardens. The Imperial Palace is the site of the former Edo Castle and home to the Imperial Family. The grounds are surrounded by moats and impressive stone walls.
Hotel 4 nights.

November 12: Day trip to Kamakura to visit Hase-dera and the Kamakura Daibutsu, the second tallest Buddha statue in Japan. An impressive 13 meter bronze statue, cast in 1252, stands in the open-air on the grounds of the Kotokuin Temple.

November 13: Visit Tsukiji Market, the largest fish market in the world. Then take a day-trip to Hakone, famous for natural hot springs and relax while soaking in the mineral-rich waters.

November 14: Visit the Tokyo National Museum, the oldest national museum in Japan with over 110,000 items including 87 Japanese National Treasures. In the afternoon, you can enjoy some free time to explore the city and to catch up on last minute shopping. In the evening, we will walk down Yakitori Alley and eat delicious foods on sticks and conclude the trip with a memorable included sayonara (farewell) dinner.

November 15: After breakfast, check out of the hotel and head to Narita Airport. Depending on your flight schedule, you may have free time for sightseeing or shopping. Sayonara, Japan!

Important information

Maximum number of participants per tour is 8.

This tour includes

  • 22 days fully escorted - Becki or Shawn travel with you and are there to help anytime you need it
  • 21 nights accommodations in central locations, including 3 nights at a traditional Japanese ryokan and 1 night at a Buddhist temple
  • All land transportation – rail pass and intercity travel (personal taxi not included)
  • Entrance fees - Ginkakuji, Kinkakuji, Kiyomizu Temple, Hakone Hot Spring, Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, Shukkein Garden, Itsukushima Shrine, Todai-ji, Kasuga Shrine, Toshodai-ji, Yakushi-ji, Tea Ceremony, Kamakura Great Buddha, Hase-dera, Garan Complex, Himeji Castle, Tokyo National Museum
  • Breakfast each morning at accommodation
  • 7 evening meals – including a welcome dinner, a farewell dinner, 3 dinners at ryokan, 1 unagi dinner, and 1 dinner at Buddhist temple
  • 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.

Meeting point

Arrival Terminal at Narita Airport After Customs.

Organised by JAPAN and more

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