- Take a pirate ship cruise across Lake Ashi for stunning views of Mt. Fuji
- Learn your maki from your nigiri with a professional sushi-making lesson
- Find enlightenment with a monk-led meditation in one of Kyoto’s zen temples
- Take a soak in a traditional onsen, before changing into a kimono for a sake tasting session in Hakone
- See geisha go about their mysterious business on the lamp lit streets of Kyoto
From ancient shrines and painted geisha to bullet trains, high-tech karaoke and cat cafés, Japan is an endlessly fascinating whirlwind of traditional and modern. This group trip hits all the highlights of this destination over two incredible weeks. Enjoy five days of sushi, cat cafés, temples, sumo and samurai in Tokyo, hit the beach in Kamakura, take in unforgettable views of Mt. Fuji and soak in hot springs in Hakone, meet the geisha and wander through bamboo forests in historic Kyoto, get a dose of history in Hiroshima and explore the neon-lit streets of vibrant Osaka. It’s the adventure of a lifetime.
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Day 1: Arrive in Tokyo. Touch down in Tokyo! Make your way to our starting accommodation and either enjoy some rest and relaxation, or head out into the city. With an array of wildly different neighbourhoods to choose from, where will you begin?
Day 2: Tokyo temples & markets. Get your zen on at Sensō-Ji Temple in the Asakusa district before tucking into the best sashimi in the world in Tsukiji’s iconic outer market. After lunch, take in the city skyline from Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building, before an evening on Hoppy Street.
Day 3: Tokyo Akihabara District. Start the day with a lesson from a professional sushi chef, before heading to Akihabara, Tokyo’s electric district. For a truly Tokyo moment, visit a ‘maid café’ or race through the city streetson a MariCar experience. This evening, hit the tumbledown bars of Golden Gai, Shinjuku.
Day 4: Tokyo palaces, Harajuku & Shibuya. Visit the impressive Tokyo Imperial Palace before hitting Harajuku, centre of teen culture and fashion. Next up, it’s Shibuya, where we’ll escape the city rush at Mejii Shrine, before visitingthe famous Shibuya Crossing. Refuel with some furry friends with an optional stop at a cat café.
Day 5: Tokyo sumo & samurais. Learn about the city’s history and favourite sport at Edo-Tokyo and the Sumo Museum.After lunch, learn the ways of the ancient samurai, with a live sword demoin Tokyo’s Samurai Museum. After dark,how does an optional robot show sound for some totally Tokyo action?
Day 6: Kamakura. Hop on the train to the coastal city of Kamakura. Hit the beach before visiting some of the city’sshrines and Kotoku-in Temple. This afternoon we’re off to Enoshima Island for temples, cavesand some of the best sunsets in the area.
Day 7: Hakone. We’ve got loads of fun lined up in Hakone, including a hike along the Old Tokaido road, a pirate ship cruise across Lake Ashi with stellar views of Mt Fuji and a visit to Owakudani’s hot springs. Tonight, kick back in a traditional onsen, then pop on your kimono for a sake tasting session.
Day 8: Kyoto. Board the bullet train to Kyoto where we’ll visit the Arashiyama Monkey Park before heading to Tenryu-Ji Temple. Then get a dose of nature with a wander through Arashiyama’s atmospheric Bamboo Forest. This evening, opt to watch some of Kyoto’s geisha perform a tea ceremony.
Day 9: Kyoto Fushimi Inari & Nara. Walk through thousands of bright right torii gates at Fushimi Inari shrine before heading to Nara, where we’ll visit Nara Park, Kofuku Temple, Himuro Shrine, and Todai Ji. This afternoon, opt to learn calligraphy from a master, before an optional Prurikura (Japanese photo booth) or karaoke session.
Day 10: Kyoto free day. Today’s yours to enjoy Kyoto however you like. We’d recommend checking out the incredible temples that line the Philosopher’s Path, or if Manga and Anime are your thing, the International Manga Museum is not to be missed.
Day 11: Kyoto bike tour & Hiroshima. Spend today exploring Kyoto on two wheels, starting with a visit to a Zen temple, where one of the monks will lead us in meditation. Our next stop is the iconic Golden Pavilion at Kinkaku-Ji, before we hop on to a bullet train, bound for Hiroshima.
Day 12: Hiroshima. This morning, pay a visit to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum to learn about Hiroshima’s tragic history. Then take the train and ferry to romantic Miyajima Island. Enjoy fabulous views of the famous torii gate in the sea from Itsukushima shrine.
Day 13: Osaka. Our final destination is neon-lit Osaka where we’ll pay a visit to Osaka Castle before leaving you to explore at your own pace. Pick up some souvenirs in Shinsaibashi and try some of Osaka’s world class cuisine (the city is known as the ‘nation’s kitchen’). After dark, the Dotonburi District is the only place to be.
Day 14: Return to Tokyo. We’re headed back to the capital today. There are no activities scheduled, so it’s over to you! It’s your last night in Japan so make it count!
Day 15: Trip end. It’s time to pack your bags and say your goodbyes. If you’re headed home – safe travels. If you’re continuing your adventures in Japan – enjoy!
- 14 nights’ accommodation in hostels
- Tour guide
- All transport between activities
- Senso-ji temple visit
- Sashimi lesson
- Shinto shrine visit
- Sake tasting (travellers aged 20+)
- Visit to Sumo district
- Imperial Palace visit and bike ride
- Enoshima Island visit
- Hakone Ropeway ride
- Pirate ship cruise across Lake Ashi
- Day trip to Arashiyama bamboo forest
- Meditation in Buddhist temple
- Day trip to Hiroshima
- Osaka Castle visit
- Help with onward travel
- 24/7 emergency support
- Travel Insurance
- Airport Transfers
- Optional Activities
- Meals, snacks and drinks
14 nights of accommodation are included as part of this trip. You’ll be staying in range of hostels or inns, mainly on a single-sex, multi-share basis. In the capsule hotel in Osaka, you will stay in an individual capsule on single-sex floors. A unique Japanese experience!
Food and drink are not included in the trip cost, but your guide will take you to affordable restaurants. We recommend budgeting £15-£20 a day for food and drink, but the amount you spend does depend on your taste and budget. A simple meal such as a bowl of ramen costs approximately £2 but high class sushi will be more expensive. Please be aware that vegetarian and vegan options are limited in Japan and therefore we would encourage vegetarians and vegans to bring additional snacks to Japan.
Arrive at either Haneda (HND) or Narita (NRT) International Airport on Day 1 of the tour. Airport transfers are not included on this trip, so you’ll have to make your own way to our starting accommodation. Japan has a very efficient transport system that is easy to navigate and there are plenty of options for getting into the city. Speak to your travel adviser if you’d like some guidance.
Your tour ends in Tokyo on day 15. Return airport transfers are not included either but your trip leader can help with onward travel arrangements.
The minimum age for this trip is 18 years.
It is your responsibility to arrange the correct visa/s for your time away. British passport holders can enter Japan for stays of up to 90 days without a visa. However, you may be required to show evidence of onward travel or a return flight ticket upon arrival into Japan. All other nationalities should consult their nearest Japanese Embassy for the latest visa and immigration advice.
Please note: Visa rules are subject to change, and you should check their status before you travel.
I Am Travelling With A Partner. Can We Book Private Rooms?
Yes, private double and single rooms are available at extra cost. Please contact a travel advisor for details on prices for private rooms. In the capsule hotel in Osaka, you cannot share a room. You will be booked into an individual capsule on single-sex floors.
What Is The Food Like In Japan?
Modern Japanese people enjoy a variety of traditional food, including many seafood dishes as well as a multitude of foreign cuisine. One can easily find Chinese, Korean, and Thai dishes as well as non-regional American, French, and Italian foods. Sushi shops are among the most popular restaurants. National specialities include Teriyaki (marinated beef/chicken/fish seared on a hot plate), Tempura (deep fried seafood and vegetables), Sushi (slices of raw seafood placed on light and vinegary rice balls – very tasty and refreshing) and Sashimi (slices of raw seafood dipped in soy sauce).
Can I Bring A Drone To Film My Trip?
There is a no drone policy on this trip, but feel free to bring phones/cameras to take lots of pictures and videos!
Due to Covid-19, many of our partners and suppliers across the globe are putting in place new procedures and policies regarding health and safety in response to the outbreak. These new measures will adapt and change as the state of travel evolves, and the policies and procedures will vary depending on each trip. Some changes that you may experience on our trips are:
Updated safety & hygiene procedures
Health and safety measures will be adapted by our partners and suppliers, dependent on local laws and restrictions.
Different transport & accommodation
You may find yourself on transport or in accommodation that would not typically be used, such as hostels that are more secluded, or on more private transport. This may vary by trip, or even by individual departure dates.
Most trips include a meeting on arrival with the guide or local team to discuss the trip, and this is an opportunity for you to ask any questions. You should arrive in time to attend these briefings.
Emergency support 24/7
We have a UK based 24/7 emergency phone line if you have a genuine urgent matter that you need attending.
Knowledgeable & Trained Staff
We can help answer any questions or concerns you may have before you depart. Whilst travelling the guide or local team on our trips are there to help, and to ensure the smooth running of our trips.
Should you require medical assistance whilst travelling, the local team or guide will be able to help you get to a point of care. Medical facilities and standards can vary across the glove, so you should ensure you have adequate travel insurance in place.
Varying group sizes
To begin with, many trips will run with amended group sizes, so you may find smaller groups than would be typical. This may vary by trip, or even by individual departure dates.
Whilst there may be changes on our trips, it is vital that you make travelling safer for yourself, your travel companions, the local staff and guides, and the people of the country you are visiting. You should follow all local laws and restrictions, and follow the guidance of the local team. In addition, you can help make travel safer by bringing and using your own face coverings/masks and hand sanitiser, social distance where appropriate, wash your hands frequently, and cover your face when coughing or sneezing.