Jump into Japan on this 13 day tour!
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Group Size: Max 16
Trip code: JAIN
Duration: 13 days
Konichiwa adventurers! Prepare yourself for the experience of a lifetime on this action-packed 13 day tour of Japan. Take in the highlights of this fascinating country, from the neon-soaked streets of Tokyo, to the lantern-lit alleys of Kyoto. Stay overnight in a real Buddhist temple, learn how to use a samurai sword, take the best selfies in the world in a Japanese photo booth, make sushi with a master and chill with the snow monkeys – it’ll be the most likes you get all year!
- Stay in an ancient Buddhist temple
- Channel your inner Samurai and learn sword-skills from a master
- Make friends with the red-faced snow monkeys of Nagano
- Learn how to roll sushi from a sushi master in Tokyo
- Enjoy luxurious accommodation from traditional Japanese Ryokan, to high end flashpacker hostels and futuristic hotels
- Get the best views of Mount Fuji from a pirate ship and cable car
Day 1: Welcome to Japan! Land in Tokyo and make your way to your accommodation. Take some time to relax before you meet the rest of the group.
Day 2: Tokyo tour. Today we’ll see the highlights of the city, starting with the Meiji shrine, set in dreamy green gardens, followed by bubble-gum scented Harajuku – the home of Japan’s kitsch youth culture – you’ll defo want your camera for this one! Last stop is Shibuya Crossing, the world’s largest intersection, where up to 3,000 people cross at a time! Tonight, experience some of Shinjuku’s cute restaurants and hilariously dinky bars.
Day 3: Tokyo Fish Market, Sushi Class and Arcades. This morning you'll be taught how to roll your own fresh sushi by a sushi master! This evening we’ll find our way to the HQ of everything manga, anime and electronic – Akihabara district. Play some classic arcade games, take some tea in one of the area’s cutesy maid cafes and pile into one of the insane Japanese photo booths that make Snapchat filters look basic!
Day 4: Bullet train to Nagano, Onsen and Origami. Climb aboard the famous 200mph bullet train to Nagano! Today you’ll get to try your hand at the traditional art of origami, take a dip in a natural hot pool called an onsen and spend the night in a Ryokan – a traditional Japanese Inn with futons, bamboo mat flooring and sliding doors – what a day!
Day 5: Snow Monkeys, Noodles and National Parks. Learn how to make your own soba noodles and slurp your creations for lunch before heading into the mountains to meet some Japanese macaques, or snow monkey! After, we’ll explore the lakes and forests of the gorgeous Shiga Kogen National Park (summer only).
Day 6: Travel from Nagano to Hakone. Hop on the bullet train and shoot off to Hakone, famous for its beauty and jaw-dropping views over Mount Fuji. Freshen up at the accommodation’s onsen (hot spring) before heading into the town for a few sakes and a maki roll or two.
Day 7: Hakone Cable Car and Travel to Osaka. Cross Lake Ashi by pirate ship, before taking the Hakon Ropeway cable car, from which you’ll have the most spectacular view of Mount Fuji. Next we’ll travel to Osaka. Check into the hotel before heading to the vibrant Dotonbori canal region for dinner, drinks and dancing!
Day 8: Osaka Castle. The morning is yours to spend as you choose. Chill out at the hotel or immerse yourself in this lively city. This afternoon we’ll visit Osaka Castle. Explore the castle’s turrets, citadels and cherry tree gardens while learning about Japan's ancient warriors, the Samurai.
Day 9: Koyasan Temple Stay. Today’s experience is really something special – staying overnight in a 1,000-year old Buddhist Temple! Wander through the temple’s tranquil gardens, learn meditation from the monks, take a guided night-time tour of Japan’s largest cemetery and sample traditional Buddhist cuisine.
Day 10: Koyasan to Kyoto. Wake up early to watch the monks perform their morning prayers and a sacred fire ceremony. After breakfast, travel to Kyoto. You’ll have time to relax at the accommodation before heading out with your group. Finally, discover Gion – Kyoto’s most famous geisha district. Why not take tea at one of the ochaya (tea houses) and marvel at the elaborate costumes of the geisha?
Day 11: Bamboo Forest & Golden Pavilion. First stop today is the Insta-famous Bamboo Forest of Arashiyama. Next we’ll visit the Golden Pavilion – a blingy temple whose top two floors are completely coated in gold leaf! Have a free evening tonight. Kyoto is a magical place after dark – Japanese lanterns light up the traditional wooden shops and white-faced geisha glide about on secret business.
Day 12: Fushimi-Inari and Samurai Experience. Today we’re visiting one of Japan’s most iconic shrines - Fushimi-Inari, characterised by hundreds of bright orange Torii gates. In the afternoon you’ll have the unforgettable experience of being trained by Samurai master. The sensei will teach you how to wield a traditional sword, before you channel your inner warrior and slice through rolled bamboo!
Day 13: Trip End. It’s time to pack your bags, swap numbers and say your goodbyes. Your Japan Intro ends here. Head to the airport for your flight home or continue your travels in this fascinating country.
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Most expensive: £1,091 December, 2023
Your Japan Intro starts in Tokyo on day 1. There are two airports in Tokyo – Narita and Haneda. Travelling from either airport to the accommodation using public transport is very straightforward and you’ll be given a detailed pre-arrival pack that explains how to do it. There are no activities on the first day so you can arrive any time. If you decide to arrive at an earlier date, we can help arrange additional nights at the accommodation.
The trip ends on day 13 in Kyoto. The closest airport is Osaka (Kansai) which takes about 1.5 - 2 hours to get to by train. We suggest you fly out of Osaka, but if you need to make your return flight from Tokyo, you’ll either need to get the bullet train, which takes about 4 hours and costs around £100, or you can take an internal flight from Osaka to Tokyo. Your guide can help you arrange travel back to either Tokyo or to Osaka Airport. There are no activities planned for day 13 so you can arrange to stay on in Kyoto or travel onwards at any time.
One of the real highlights of this trip is the top notch range of accommodation you’ll get to experience. From high quality flashpacker hostels and futuristic hotels with slick modern facilities, to traditional Japanese inns, known as Ryokan. Staying in a Ryokan is a really unique experience. They typically feature rooms with tatami flooring and sliding doors and communal areas where you can wear yukata (a summer kimono) and talk to the owner. Bedding is a futon mattress rolled out on the tatami floor. The ryokan usually have a communal bathing area, fed by water from natural hot springs (onsen). You’ll also be spending a very special night in a 1,000-year old Buddhist temple in the mountains! Accommodation is on a multi-share basis, although double or twin room upgrades may be available at an additional cost.
If you’d like to arrive before the trip begins, or to stay on after it’s finished, we can offer pre or post accommodation at an extra cost (and subject to availability). Just speak to your travel advisor for more information.
9 Breakfasts, 1 lunches and 3 dinners are included in the trip. You will need to purchase all other meals yourself. This gives you the opportunity to choose where and how you eat and to experience the greatest variety of local food. Japanese cuisine has an emphasis on fresh, high-quality ingredients and the aesthetic of meals is a national obsession! 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.
The minimum age to join this trip is 18 years old.
British citizens can enter Japan for up to 90 days without a visa. You may need to provide evidence of a return or onward ticket. It’s your responsibility to obtain the necessary visas for your time away. Visa rules are subject to change without prior notice, so please do check visa requirements at the time of your trip.