Explore the unique culture of Japan on this nine day journey. Combine old and new, from bustling cities to authentic Ryokan stays and traditional tea ceremonies. With a combination of guided and self-guided days this is the perfect way to truly experience the wonder of this destination.
- Stay in a local Ryokan
- Shopping in Harajuku
- Visit local hot springs
Start your Journey
Upon arrival in Tokyo, you will be welcomed by a guide holding a card with your name on, and assisted to board a shared shuttle to your hotel. Before you board the shuttle, the guide will also assist you in collecting your seven day Japan Rail Pass which is included in this tour and can help you to purchase a local SIM card if you require it. The rest of the day is at leisure for you to relax after your flight.
Today you will spend a full day taking in the many highlights Tokyo has to offer with a local guide. Taking public transport, you can experience the capital like a local and the first stop of the day will be Meiji Jingu, Tokyo's most famous shrine dedicated to the spirit of the late Emperor Meiji. From old to new Tokyo, you will then take a walk down Omotesando shopping street, often referred to as Tokyo's Champs-Elysee.
A short subway ride will then take you to Asakusa, part of Tokyo's shitamachi, or old town. Home to the city's oldest Buddhist temple, Sensoji Temple, this is also Tokyo's oldest Geisha district. The streets around the temple also have many traditional shops selling Japanese crafts and souvenirs and are a delight to wander through.
Embark on a boat cruise along the Sumida River passing under 12 bridges before disembarking in Hamarikyu garden, which is home to an beautiful Edo Period Japanese Garden, located amungst Shiodome district's towering skyscrapers. From here you will stop to enjoy a cup of hot matcha tea and japanese sweets, before returning to your hotel.
This morning, you will board public transport to the former de facto captial of Japan, Kamakura. Once the largest city in the world, Kamakura is now a small, sleepy seaside town, filled with many shrines and temples.
Your local guide will meet you from the station and take you to visit the Kotokuin Temple, home to the Daibutsu also known as 'The great Buddha of Kamakura' that sits at 13.35m high. Next you will visit the Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine, which is often refered to as the spiritual heart of Kamakura and was founded in 1063. After spending some time exploring this stunning shrine, you will move on to Hasedera Temple, famous for its statue of Kannon, the godess of mercy. Lastly you will visit Kosokuji Temple, before having some free time for shopping along Komachi Street.
Tokyo to Hakone and Mount Fuji
Today is a self-guided day.
Today you will have an early start, before leaving Tokyo behind to making your own way to Hakone, the gateway to Mount Fuji and surrounding national park. The journey takes around two hours.
This small town is famous for its Onsen (natural hot springs), and has natural beauty in abundance. Armed with your included 2-Day Hakone Freepass, you can take advantage of numerous forms of transport on offer throughout the park. Why not ride the ropeway all the way up Mount Owakudani, passing over sulfurous fumes, hot springs and hot rivers in this volcanic area? Another option is a replica pirate ship which will sweep you across the Ashinoko, a lake formed by volcanic eruption 3,000 years ago. Alternatively, ride the Hakone Tozan 'switchback train' which zigzags through the mountains, providing amazing views of the surrounding valleys. Throughout the day you will have the chance to catch a glimpse of Mount Fuji, however please keep in mind that it needs to be a clear day. Tonight you will stay in a traditional Japanese ryokan, complete with tatami mats and onsen baths. Relax in your yukata (lightweight kimono) and dine on a sumptuous traditional meal.
Hakone to Takayama
Today is a self-guided day.
Today you will take a 4.5 hour train journey to Takayama. The first leg will be on the world famous Shinkansen bullet train, which reaches speeds of up to 230km/h. You will then change in Nagoya, onto one of the most scenic train journeys in Japan, winding your way through tall mountains and stunning gorges. Due to its previously inaccessible location nestled high in the mountainous Hida alpine region, this beautifully preserved old town was cut off from the rest of Japan, allowing it to develop its own unique culture. This afternoon we recommend taking a walk along this stunning merchant town, with its distinctive culture and beautifully preserved buildings. Tonight you will stay in a traditional Japanese ryokan.
Takayama to Kyoto
Today is a self-guided day.
After breakfast, you will make your own way to Kyoto, starting with a bullet train to Nagoya (35 minutes), before boarding the scenic Hida wide view express train for a more laid back journey though the stunning mountain scenery, this journey takes 2.5 hours. Free time to explore Kyoto at leisure. If you would like us to pre-book an afternoon excursion for you our destination specialists can arrange this.
Today you will stroll through the atmospheric Higashiyama district, where busy lanes lead up to Kiyomizu and are filled with quaint shops selling souvenirs a great place to experience traditional Kyoto. Before exploring the Kiyomizu Temple, also known as 'Pure Water Temple' which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and Kodaiji Temple, one of Kyoto's best Zen temples.
In the afternoon you will visit one of the most famous shrines in Kyoto, the Yasaka Shrine which is located in the historic Gion Geisha Distric. Make sure to have your camera at the ready to take that perfect shot of the Geisha's.
You will end the day with a visit to Nishiki Market, where you will have sometime to browse the local stores that line this narrow shopping street.
Today you have time at leisure to explore Kyoto at your own pace.
We recommend exploring the Arashiuaya Bamboo Forest, or taking the short train to nearby Nara to feed the deers that roam the local park. We can arrange optional excursions for you if you wish.
Enjoy your morning is at leisure until you make your own way to Kansai Airport using the JR Pass provided.
- Accommodation as stated or similar with daily breakfast.
- Meals as stated.
- English-speaking guide where mentioned in each city.
- Sightseeing fees and permits during guided days.
- 7 Day JR Pass.
- IC card preloaded with ¥2500 for public transport.
- Tips and gratuities
- Services, meals and drinks not mentioned itinerary
- Travel Insurance
- Luggage transfer (if needed)
You might also like these
Take a look at these other inspiring itineraries. Our Destination Specialists would love to create something perfect for you.
There’s no question too small. Start planning your dream trip by talking to our Destination Specialists.
Sign up to our newsletter
Receive the latest travel inspiration and destination news.
How we tailor make your holiday
The Hayes & Jarvis Way
We've been tailor making holidays for 65 years. With over 60 destinations to choose from, talk to us and we'll listen to your travel ideas to create unforgettable holiday experiences.