From the ancient to the extremely modern this introduction to Japan tour shows you the fascinating history and culture of Japan. From the neon lights of buzzing Tokyo to the ancient temples on snowy mountain tops… this 13 day tour is unforgettable.
If you ever wanted to learn about Japanese culture then this tour is definitely for you. You’ll be visiting ancient shrines and castles, learning from a Samurai master and even staying in a Buddhist Temple.
Our Tour friendly guide will help you to immerse in Japanese culture with the new friends you make on this trip.
13 Day Introduction to Japan Tour Highlights:
- Roll your own Sushi
- Watch Monkeys Bathe in Hot Springs
- Visit Ancient Shrines and Castles
- Learn from a Samurai Master
- Stay in a 1000 year old Buddhist Temple
- Watch the Monks Perform their Morning Prayers and Fire Ceremony
- Visit the Famous Tsukiji Fish Market
- Enjoy Stunning Mountain Views from Trains, Pirate Ships and Cable Cars
- Learn to Meditate
- Tokyo Robot Cafes
- Osaka Night Life
Introduction to Japan Tour
13 Day Itinerary
Day 1 – Arrival and Meet Your Group
Welcome to Tokyo! Once you arrive and check in at the hotel, you have plenty of time to recover from your flight and relax before you meet everyone in your group.
Day 2 – Tokyo City Tour and Nightlife
Tokyo is an incredible contrast of ultra-modern and ultra-traditional that will blow you away! First up is a visit to the Senso-ji Temple; Tokyo’s oldest Buddhist temple surrounded by traditional Japanese markets, before heading over to the stunning Meiji Shrine. Next up we discover colourful Harajuku as well as the iconic Shibuya Crossing (the world’s busiest intersection!) Later we’ll experience some of Japan’s quirky restaurants and hilariously tiny bars in Shinjuku.
Day 3 – Fish market, Sushi Class and Arcades
On day 3 you’ll discover the organised mayhem of the Tsukiji Fish Market, once the largest operating market in the world! Afterwards, a sushi master will teach you the art of rolling your own fresh sushi. In the evening we’ll head for the bright lights of Akihabara. From classic arcade games to the insanity of Japanese photo booths, you’ll soon learn why they call this ‘Electric City’.
Day 4 – Travel to Nagano, Sake Tasting and Brewery Visit
We head to Nagano by ‘Shinkansen’ the famous bullet train. You’ll be rocketing through the Japanese countryside at over 200mph! Once in Nagano you’ll get a chance to taste locally brewed Sake. Our home tonight is a ‘Ryokan’, a traditional Japanese Inn where we’ll sleep on bamboo mats (it’s comfy, trust us!).
Day 5 – Snow Monkeys and Shiga Kogen National Park
We head into the mountains today to see the famous Snow Monkeys. These Japanese Macaques play among the trees in summer, whilst in winter you’ll catch these guys bathing in natural hot springs to escape the cold. You’ll then explore the lakes and forests of the Shiga Kogen National Park, a beautiful place year round.
Day 6 – Travel from Nagano to Hakone
Getting back onto the bullet train we head to the beautiful Hakone, a spot famous in Japan for its jaw-dropping views of Mount Fuji.
Day 7 – Hakone to Osaka
We’ll spend the morning exploring Hakone by a pirate ship and a cable car, where on a clear day you’ll have unrivaled views of Mt. Fuji. Next up is Osaka, where we’ll head out to the vibrant Dotonbori canal region for dinner and then a party in the crazy neon nightlife.
Day 8 – Osaka Castle
You have time in the morning to relax or to explore Osaka’s shopping. Later on we’ll visit the incredible Osaka Castle, first built over 400 years ago. Here we’ll learn the importance of Japanese history and Japan’s ancient warriors, the Samurai.
Day 9 – Koyasan Temple Stay
Today you’ll have the once in a lifetime experience of staying overnight in a traditional 1000-year old Buddhist Temple in the fascinating town of Koyasan in the mountains. You’ll be taught meditation by the monks, served their traditional cuisine and have a guided night-time stroll through Japan’s largest cemetery, a truly otherworldly experience! We’ll spend another night sleeping in traditional Japanese style surrounded by the beauty of the temple grounds.
Day 10 – Koyasan to Kyoto
Another unforgettable experience this morning when we get up early to watch the Buddhist monks perform their morning prayers and fire ceremony. We’ll be served breakfast by the monks before we travel to our last destination, Japan’s ancient capital Kyoto. When we arrive, there’ll be time for you to chill in our awesome accommodation before heading out for dinner and drinks.
Day 11 – Bamboo Forest, Golden Pavilion and Geishas
First up is the Instagram famous Bamboo Forest of Arashiyama, perfect for shots surrounded by the towering bamboo. We then head to the beautiful Golden Pavilion, a temple covered entirely in gold, before visiting Gion, the famous home of Japan’s beautiful and mysterious Geishas. Don’t forget to charge your phone or bring your camera.
Day 12 – Fushimi-Inari and Samurai Experience
Today the endless bright orange Torii gates of Fushimi-Inari await us! One of Japan’s most iconic shrines will blow you away as we explore the winding trails of the ancient mountain. In the afternoon, we will be taught how to wield a traditional sword by a sensei descended from the Samurai. Experience the finesse of these weapons as you channel your inner warrior and slice through rolled bamboo.
Day 13 – Check out and Onward Travel
Your amazing 13-day adventure comes to an end. You can either check out and make your way back home, stay on longer in Kyoto or continue your travels in Japan.
What’s included in your 13 Day Japan Adventure?
- 12 nights accommodation
- All transport
- Some meals
- Tokyo city tour
- Ancient temples and shrines
- Fish market and Sushi class
- Tokyo nightlife
- Traditional Japanese Ryokan accommodation
- Sake tasting and brewery
- Snow Monkeys
- Shiga Kogen National Park
- Lake Ashi pirate ship cruise
- Mt Fuji cable car views
- Osaka nightlife
- Osaka castle visit
- Ancient Buddhist temple overnight stay
- Buddhist meditation class
- Night temple walk
- Morning prayer ceremony
- Fire ceremony
- Kyoto nightlife
- Bamboo forest
- Golden Pavilion temple
- Fushimi Inari temple visit
- Samurai experience
- Farewell dinner
- Experienced western Group Leader and local guides
- Onward travel help and planning
- 24/7 support after the trip finishes.
Not Included: Flights, Travel Insurance, Visas, some meals
What to Bring? We recommend you bring at least £600 / $1000 spending money and a credit card. (Although Japan is generally one of the more expensive countries in Asia, all of your activities, accommodation, transport and some meals are included, so you’ll just need money for any extra meals, drinks, shopping and any onward travel.) Pack light! 10-20kgs of stuff should be plenty. We will be using mainly trains for transport and dragging around a huge suitcase is not fun. There is luggage storage available at the airports or at some accommodations if needed.
All the accommodation we stay at have free Wi-Fi available. Japans network quality is generally very good.
Japan generally uses a 2 pin flat socket the same as North America. It’s always best to grab yourself an appropriate adaptor if needed before you go.
Best time to travel
The Japanese call Japan ‘a country of four seasons’ which basically means it’s got four distinct seasons, all beautiful and amazing for different reasons. The winter months (Dec-Mar) are cold but bring stunning snowcapped mountains and a magical winter wonderland feel, not to mention being the best time to see the famous ‘Snow Monkeys’. Spring (Apr-Jun) is popular for its colourful beauty and famous cherry blossoms. Summer (Jun – Aug) is hot, humid and great for outdoor activities and is the peak festival season. Autumn (Sep – Nov) again brings stunning colourful scenery such as the ‘koyo’ or Japanese autumn foliage. So you’re sure to have an amazing time any month of the year!
Our 13 day Japan Adventure starts in Tokyo. We will give you detailed information in your pre-arrival pack that explains how to get from the airport to your Tokyo accommodation. Your Group Leader will meet you at the accommodation for your arrival. It’s best to arrive on the actual start date. There are no activities on the first day, so you can arrive at any time. If you do arrive early, we can help arrange additional nights at our accommodation. Extra nights will be approx. TBC per night for a twin room and can be pre-paid with your agent or paid on arrival.
Japan Adventure finishes in Kyoto. The closest airport from Kyoto is Osaka (Kansai) Airport, which takes approx. 1.5-2 hours by train to get to from Kyoto and costs approx. $50AUD / £25. If you plan to leave straight after the trip we’d recommend flying out of Osaka (so fly into Tokyo and out of Osaka if possible, for this tour).
If you’re flying out of Tokyo and need to return to Tokyo straight after the trip it will take approx. 4 hours by bullet train. Your Group Leader can organise this for you in Japan and you can pay locally for it. Or you can prepay for this return journey on booking.
You can also fly from Osaka (Kansai) to Tokyo for around the same price as the train or possibly cheaper. You will need to book any return flights yourself or with your travel agent.
When booking your flights to Japan we recommend comparing your flight cost options versus the extra time it will take to return to Tokyo and decide what’s best for your circumstances. If you need any further help or advice just contact us. Your Group Leader can help with any other onward travel options within Japan
Most nationalities including the UK, Europe, Australia, NZ, Canada, USA, Scandinavia and Brazil will generally receive a 90-day visa on arrival for free.
Please note: Travel Insurance for Japan is compulsory to join our trip.
Due to the Olympics in Japan in 2020 there will be a surcharge attached to some of our July/ August departure dates. 30 July and 6 August $450 surcharge. 2, 9, 16 and 19 July and 11, 16, 23 and 30 August $200 surcharge.