Iconic Japan

Japan is a land of contrasts. Begin your 12-day adventure in glittering (and massive) Tokyo before heading by rail into the countryside to visit traditional villages and tranquil shrines. Include strolls through geisha districts and restorative time in hot springs, and you've got a marvellous introduction to a country that reveres its past and embraces its future.

Duration: 12 Days Guaranteed Departure: Yes
For lovers of: Physical rating: Average
Accommodation standard:   Moderate% Traveller Tour Rating: 0%  
Your Guide: English speaking Tour code: 166237
Starts: Tokyo, Japan Finishes: Kyoto, Japan
You will visit
  • Tokyo
  • Kyoto



Day 1: Tokyo

Arrive in Tokyo at any time today. There are no planned activities so check into our hotel and enjoy the city.


Day 2: Tokyo (1B)

Spend the day exploring vibrant Tokyo by public transportation. As a city of extreme contrasts, we experience the ancient and traditional with visits to Meiji Jingu Shrine and the old town of Asakusa. We then experience the quirky and modern with a walk through the pop culture obsessed Harajuka district and a visit to a Kawali Cafe.

Additional Notes:
Wear your comfortable shoes - today we will get around by metro and on foot.

Included Activities:
Orientation Walk
Harajuku Visit
Meiji Shrine (Meiji Jingū) Visit
Asakusa Orientation Walk
Kawaii Café Visit



Day 3: Tokyo (1B, 1L)

This afternoon, enjoy some free time exploring Tokyo. Opt to visit Ueno park and the museums, Akihabara for cutting edge electronics, Harajuku for funky fashions, Ginza for the highest of the high end, walk the grounds of the Imperial Palace East Garden, or just stroll the streets, looking for the traditional life that still lies just under the modern surface.

Additional Notes:
Wear your comfortable shoes - today we will get around by metro and on foot.

Included Activities:
Tsukiji Fish Market Visit
Tsukiji Sushi Experience



Day 4: Tokyo/Tsumago (1B, 1D)

Depart Tokyo by train. Disembark at Nagiso and enjoy a walking tour through the countryside, passing farms and hamlets and into Tsumago, a traditional Village. After, continue to our traditional ryokan accommodation, feast on a Japanese multi-course kaiseki meal, soak in the natural hot springs, and sleep on a futon.

Included Activities:
Tsumago countryside and Village walk
Traditional Ryokan Inn with Kaiseki Meal
Tsumago Onsen (Hot Springs)



Day 5: Tsumago/Kanazawa-shi (1B)

Continue by train to the historic city of Kanazawa. Explore the ancient Samurai culture with a walk through the well-preserved Nagamachi Samurai district and visit to the Nomura Samurai family residence. Opt to visit the stunning gardens or original castles.

Included Activities:
Nagamachi Samurai and Higashi Geisha Districts Visit
Visit Nomura Family Samurai Residence

Local bus


Day 6: Kanazawa-shi (1B)

Continue exploring Kanazawa, visiting the Myoryuji Ninja Temple and walking through the Higashi Geisha district. The city is also renowned as a centre of traditional arts and crafts and we delve into these traditions with a chopstick making and Gold Leaf Painting Experience. Opt to take a tour through one of the local sake breweries.

Additional Notes:
Wear your comfortable shoes - today we will get around by public bus and on foot.

Included Activities:
Ninja Temple Visit
Chopstick Making and Gold Leaf Painting Experience

Local bus


Day 7: Kanazawa-shi/Hiroshima-shi (1B)

The large Peace Park in the centre of the city is an extremely moving place dotted with memorials of those known to have been killed in the explosion and those that died as a result. A burning flame waits in the park to be extinguished when all nuclear weapons in the world have been destroyed. A tram ride through the city takes you to the Peace Park.

Included Activities:
Peace Park and Museum Visit



Day 8: Hiroshima-shi (1B)

Enjoy Miyajima Island, a famous wooded island located in the Inland Sea, not far from the coast near Hiroshima. Here you will find perhaps the most photographed site in Japan - The Floating Torii Gate. Designated as one of Japan's '3 Most Beautiful Views', the shrine itself dates back to the 6th century and is designed in a pier like structure. Mere 'commoners' were not allowed to set foot on this holy place.

Included Activities:
Miyajima Island Visit



Day 9: Hiroshima-shi/Kyoto (1B)

As the Imperial capital, Kyoto is an essential part of any visit to Japan. Kyoto has some of the most magnificent temples in Japan which date back centuries. There are said to be 2,000 temples, shrines, palaces, museums and traditional gardens in Kyoto. Use your time to wander past huge wooden structures and multi-storied pagodas, all linked with famous walkways.

Additional Notes:
Wear your comfortable shoes - today we will get around by metro, public bus and on foot.

Included Activities:
Himeji Castle
Gion Walk
Zen Tea Ceremony



Day 10: Kyoto (1B)

Spend the day exploring sites around Nara, visiting the stunning Todaiji Buddhist Temple and Kasuga Taisha Shrine. Also visit a local temple to learn about the history and practice of Zen Buddhism in Japan. Here we meet with a local Monk who will talk about Buddhism and instruct us in Zen meditation and calligraphy.

Additional Notes:
Wear your comfortable shoes - today we will get around by public bus, metro and on foot.

Included Activities:
Day Trip to Nara
Tōdai-ji Buddhist Temple Complex
Visit Kasuga Grand Shrine
Zen Buddhist Meditation


Day 11: Kyoto (1B)

Continue to explore Kyoto including a visit to the famous Kinaku-ji Golden Pavilion and the stunning Fushimi Inari ancient shrine at the base of the mountain of the same name. After, visit a dojo where we learn about the etiquette of the samurai as well as the practice of basic kembu, and take a lesson on how to use the Japanese sword. After, enjoy a performance by Kembu masters which includes short poems, which were traditionally written by Samurai about major events in their life. Later, take some time to explore on your own, opt to visit museums, temples and zen gardens, or stroll to the Inari Gates, or along the Philosopher's path to Nanzen-ji.

Additional Notes:
Wear your comfortable shoes - today we will get around by public bus, metro and on foot.

Included Activities:
Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine Visit
Kinkaku-ji Golden Pavilion Visit
Kembu Masters


Day 12: Kyoto (1B)

There are no planned activities today and you are free to depart at any time.

    • Tour of Tokyo including Meiji Jingu Shrine and Asakusa and Harajuka districts
    • Market visit and sushi-making class
    • Walking tour of Tsumago Village and countryside
    • Kaiseki dinner
    • Visit Kanazawa samurai and geisha districts
    • Visit Nomura Family Samurai Residence and Myoryuji Ninja Temple
    • Chopstick-making and gold leaf painting experience
    • Visit Himeji Castle
    • Explore Hiroshima Peace Park and Memorial Museum
    • Excursion to Miyajima Island
    • Enjoy a tea ceremony
    • Tour Kyoto and Nara including Fushimi Inari, Kinkaku-ji Golden Pavilion, Todaiji Temple and Kasuga Taisha Shrine
    • Buddhism lecture
    • Sword lesson and Samurai performance
    • Visit Gion Geisha district
    • Japan Rail (JR) pass (7 days)
    • All transport between destinations and to/from included activities
    • Hotels (10 nts), traditional onsen spa (1 nt)
    Meals Included
    • 11 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 1 dinner
    • Bullet train, express train, local train, ferry, metro, taxi, public bus, walking
    Group Leader
    • Chief Experience Officer (CEO) throughout, local guides
Why book with us?

Trusted by travellers since 1979

We guarantee to beat any price

Low deposits, Book now. Pay later.

24/7/365 Help on the road