These tours are great for first time visitors to Japan looking for comfortable accommodation with all entrance fees and most meals included. Our Japan Deluxe Tours are accomodated with professional tour guides, fluent in both Japanese and English, to ensure an educational and valuable visit. Air-conditoned, private coaches are also included, so you can enjoy a comfortable and hassle-free time in Japan. Our tours range from 7 to 21 days, to various regions of Japan.
These tours combine enrichment, enjoyment, and education with time to truly absorb and appreciate your surroundings. Our Deluxe-Plus small group tours are created to cater to those who are interested in having a deeper understanding of Japan's culture. You will have the opportunity to participate in culturally rich activities and visit destinations only locals may know. Experience luxurious hotels and travel at a leisurely pace when you book a Deluxe-Plus small group tour.
Enjoy more than just sightseeing. These tours will allow you to eat in small local restaurants, visit hidden gems, stay at hotels with limited occupancy, take part in activities available only to small groups, and enjoy more interaction with your tour guides. Ultra-Deluxe small group tours are the ultimate way to visit Japan with hand-picked, top hotels and ryokans (traditional inns) to relax in. Select from a unique range of luxurious cultural experiences that are limited to smaller groups, which is why the maximum group size is 6 guests.
These tours allow you to enjoy Japanese culture firsthand in the intimacy of a small group. The maximum group size is 12 guests, which enables you to travel by public transportation, such as by train, subway, taxi, ferry or local bus. Walking the streets and taking the local trains will allow you to interact more with the locals and appreciate what everyday life in Japan is like. Each city will feature an expert local guide who will be able to share in-depth information on the featured attractions and sites, and provide assistance or recommendations if needed prior to your free time.
The price is per person, based on twin or triple room occupancy
For single travelers, this tour has a single supplement. This guarantees a single room throughout the tour
Prices are excluding international flights
Single room types are rooms for
single room occupants.
One person will be occupying the hotel room throughout the tour.
Twin room types are rooms set for two people who will occupy one room, but will have two separate beds.
A double room is a room that has one bed for two people to share.
A triple room is one room where three people may share the same room. It has three separate beds.
Japanese Style Room
A Japanese-style room traditionally does not have a western-style bed, it is a tatami floor room with futon bedding. However, if you prefer a western-style bed, you may request one though we cannot guarantee it.
Please note: If you would like to request neighboring rooms next to your traveling companions, you and your traveling companions must have the same room types in order to be next to each other. For example, if you have requested a double room, but your traveling companions have requested a twin, or triple room, then neighboring rooms cannot be accommodated. However, if both you and your traveling companions match in room type, then neighboring rooms will likely be arranged for your convenience.
Swaying in the gentle warm winds, the wisteria plays on the heartstrings of those captivated by its beauty. The clusters of flowers on the elongated vines have long been inspirational in classic Japanese poems, so on this trip you will have the opportunity to understand the romanticism behind the attraction. At the Ashikaga Flower Park you can bask under a variety of wisteria and see the Great Wisteria Tree that is over 150 years old, which is designated a Natural Monument. Another m... View More
Swaying in the gentle warm winds, the wisteria plays
the heartstrings of those captivated by its beauty. The
clusters of flowers on the elongated vines have long
inspirational in classic Japanese poems, so on this trip
will have the opportunity to understand the
behind the attraction. At the Ashikaga Flower Park you
can bask under a variety of wisteria and see the Great
Wisteria Tree that is over 150 years old, which is
designated a Natural Monument. Another main
on this tour is the opportunity to attend the Fuji
Shibazakura Festival where there are about 800,000
stalks of shibazakura, or “moss phlox,” on display in
of purple, pink and white.
Start in Tokyo, where you can experience an authentic Shinto ceremony at Meiji Shrine officiated by a local priest or miko (priestess). Take a look back into the city's history when you visit the Edo Tokyo Museum and walk under the Kaminarimon Gate at Sensoji Temple in Asakusa. Relax on a cruise down the Sumida River to Odaiba, where the digital displays of teamLab Borderless immerse you in a world of light and color art. You will also take a brief excursion into Tochigi Prefecture to see the beauteous wisteria at Ashikaga Flower Park, including the Great Wisteria Tree, with its magnificent canopy of purple flowers.
From Tokyo you will go to explore the Fuji Five Lakes Region, where you will attend the annual Fuji Shibazakura Festival. The area around Lake Motosu will be blanketed in a gorgeous covering of phlox moss in appealing arrangements of pink, purple, and white. Then head to Lake Kawaguchi where you will discover the "Flowers Road" near Oishi Park, lined with seasonal flowers of various kinds, and where, weather permitting, you will find breathtaking views of Mount Fuji above the lake.
Go to Matsumoto to view the Matsumoto "Black Crow" Castle, and take a walk through the classical atmosphere of Takayama Old Town. Then discover the charming World Heritage Village of Shirakawa-go, noted for its gassho- zukuri architecture. Take a drive down to Kanazawa to relax in Kenrokuen - on of Japan's top gardens, tour the Nagamachi Samurai District, and then take the afternoon to explore the city in a series of sightseeing options including the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, a Kutani-ware Ceramics Kiln, and a gold leaf workshop.
Take an express train to Osaka for a Taiko Drums class, followed by a sushi experience in Nara. While there, you will marvel at the Great Buddha of Todaiji Temple, and the herd of over a thousand friendly, free-roaming Sika deer. Then spend three nights in the old imperial capital of Kyoto. This city will completely immerse you in Japan's ancient culture and customs, with visits to the Golden Pavilion, the traditional streets of Ninenzaka and Sannenzaka, and the thousand red gates of Fushimi Inari Shrine. Other sights include a walk through the Sagano Bamboo Forest in Arashiyama, the view from Kiyomizu Temple's dramatic veranda, and a magical performance by human "robots" at the GEAR Theatre. You will also enjoy lessons in calligraphy and ikebana, try on a colorful kimono, eat traditional Kyoto cuisine with an apprentice geisha, and learn to meditate in a temple like a Zen Buddhist monk.
A trip on a bullet train connects your group to Hiroshima and Miyajima Island, famed for the dramatic sea gate of Itsukushima Shrine. While in Hiroshima, travel to the austere Peace Memorial Park and tour a sake brewery including a sake-tasting experience. You'll drive from there down to Naoshima Art Island to see the island's various art museums, displays, and sculptures including the Chichu Museum, Benesse House, and Art House Project. The next part of the tour takes you to Kurashiki for a walk by the old city canals, then on to Himeji for a viewing of magnificent Himeji "White Heron" castle. You will finish the tour in the city of Kobe, where you can savor a mouthwatering dinner of world-famous wagyu beef.
Our Signature: Classic Japan group tour combines enjoyment, discovery, and understanding with ample time to appreciate the history, culture, and stunning wisteria and shibazakura of Japan. Browse our detailed itinerary below for more information.
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All prices are per person, based on twin (double on request) or triple occupancy.
International flights are not included on our tours - this allows you the flexibility to choose your own departure and get the best value for your money!
We can arrange international flights for US customers if needed, please ask for details.
We require US$200 deposit per person to hold the space at time of booking and the final payment is due 2 month prior to departure.
Travel by air conditioned, luxury private coach, baggage handling free.
For arrivals at Narita Airport (NRT) or Haneda Airport (HND), this tour starts in Tokyo and ends in Osaka, with departures at Osaka Kansai Airport (KIX) or Itami Airport (ITM).
Vegetarian or special meals can be arranged.
Please note that the meet and greet and airport transfer to the first hotel is ONLY available on the first day of the tour. If you plan to stay extra nights before the start of the tour, please contact us for the transfer if needed.
Welcome to Tokyo! We will pick you up from the airport and take to the hotel by private car.
NOTE 1: The meet and greet and airport transfer to the first hotel is ONLY available on the first day of the tour. If you plan to stay extra nights before the start of the tour, please contact us for the transfer if needed.
NOTE 2: If you wish to stay extra nights before the tour starts, please contact us to book hotel accommodations.
Today, tour of Tokyo begins with a trip to the Edo Tokyo Museum, which exhibits miniature models and life-size replicas of buildings that take you back to Japan during the Edo period. From there, go to the Asakusa district for a visit to Sensoji Temple. It is Tokyo's oldest temple, and features the Kaminarimon Gate hung with a massive paper lantern. Beside the temple is colorful Nakamise street, filled with rows of shops that sell all manner of traditional souvenirs. Finally, take a drive into Tochigi Prefecture for a visit to the Ashikaga Flower Park. Here is where the most beautiful and well-cultivated grove of Wisteria in Japan spread a bright canopy of hanging vines swaying with purple flowers in the gentle spring breeze. These flowers are accompanied by other flowers to add to the beautiful scene, including azaleas. One of the trees, the Great Wisteria Tree, is over 150 years old. After relaxing under the shade at the flower park, we head back to your hotel in Tokyo for a relaxing evening.
We start the day at Meiji shrine, built to honor Emperor Meiji and Empress Shoken, where you can enjoy a Shinto ceremony officiated by a Priest or Miko priestess. Then we continue to the MORI Building in Odaiba, where we will explore the interactive digital creations of teamLab Borderless. At this one-of-a-kind art display area, visitors are immersed in a whimsical harmony of light, color, and sound that makes vivid patterns and images all around the visitors. Afterwards, we will head to Fuji Five Lakes located at the base of Mount Fuji. The Fuji Shibazakura Festival will be near Lake Motosu. There are about 800,000 stalks of shibazakura, "moss phlox," on display for the Fuji Shibazakura Festival. Shibazakura fields are adorned in hues of purple, pink and white, which contrasts to the greenery of Mount Fuji in the background. Tonight, enjoy unparalleled service and kaiseki cuisine at a top- rated ryokan (traditional inn) in Mt Fuji area.
Start the morning at with a drive up to Lake Kawaguchi. The lake offers a rich natural appeal in any season, and is considered the loveliest of the Fuji Five Lakes. If the weather is favorable, an amazing view of Mount Fuji can be seen from Oishi Park on Lake Kawaguchi's northern shore. In addition to breathtaking views, Oishi Park features a variety of flowers and trees that bloom through every season, including a "Flowers Road", bordered by tulips, narcissus, lavenders, summer cypress, and others. From there, the tour continues to Takayama, stopping along the way in the city of Matsumoto for a visit to Matsumoto Castle, one of Japan's remaining original castles, known as "Black Crow Castle" for it's dark exterior. Then continue on the way to check into your hotel in Takayama for the night.
Start your morning in Takayama browsing among the various handicrafts, farm-fresh produce and snacks available at the Takayama Morning Market. The market is truly a native experience, where locals and visitors meet and mingle every morning among the rows of small stalls. The other main attraction of the area is Takayama Old Town, where narrow streets are lined with preserved houses dating from the feudal Edo Period, when Takayama was a town of tradespeople. Stroll Sannomachi Street, where some local cafes and shops have served the local community for centuries. Then we take a drive up to the UNESCO Heritage Site of Shirakawa-go, famed for its distinctive farmhouses with broad thatched roofs. Ogimachi Village is the main attraction, where we can see rustic Edo period wooden buildings beside cultivated farmland. We will first stop by the Shiroyama Viewpoint for an idyllic glimpse of the town tableau, then go down to the Gassho-zukuri Minkaen – an open-air museum of farmhouses and structures relocated to this area. Wada-ke House is the largest farmhouse in the area, which belongs to the village leader and is now open for visitors to have a look inside. Finally, we will drive into Kanazawa and check into the hotel for the night.
Kanazawa is a city filled with various delights, and this morning we bring you to arguably the most famous - Kenrokuen Garden. One of Japan's Three Great Gardens, Kenrokuen features a landscape arrangement patterned after the six Chinese sublimities of garden design theory. This includes a good variety of flowering trees, ponds and streams, wooden bridges, stone lanterns, and charming teahouses to offer equally fantastic scenes in every season. At mid-morning, we head over to the Nagamachi, a former samurai district near Kanazawa Castle. Many of the restaurants, shops, and houses in the area are well preserved from the Edo era. The Nomura House is one such residence, exquisitely restored, which maintains a number of features common to the homes of feudal Japan's noble warrior class. After, the group will go to Omicho Market where you can enjoy your own lunch. The afternoon is free for you to spend at your leisure, but your guide will provide a few suggestions for how to possibly spend your free time. Among the experiences local to Kanazawa, consider a visit to the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art - one of Japan's most popular museums with a collection of modern art from all over the world. Or you might visit the smaller D.T. Suzuki Museum. D.T. Suzuki was a prominent Buddhist philosopher from the Meiji and Showa Eras, and the museum is dedicated to his life and writings. For a more hands-on experience, consider the Kutani Pottery Kosen Kiln, which gives visitors the chance to participate in the ceramics decoration process. Finally, you might choose the Gold Leaf Experience. Kanazawa is one of Japan's main producers of gold leaf, and this workshop provides expert insight into the production process.
Take an express train into Osaka for a local class in
playing the Taiko Drums. Taiko are made from tanned
hide leather dried and stretched over a base of polished
wood. A master drummer will lead your group through a
series of easy traditional Japanese songs and coach you
in the basic techniques of taiko. After the lesson, the tour
proceeds to Nara for further immersion into Japanese
culture with a Sushi-Making Experience. A professional
sushi chef will guide you in preparing your very own sushi
dish, and then you can enjoy the lunch you made!
Vegetarian options are available for those with dietary
restrictions. Then we will visit Nara's most famous
landmark - Todaiji Temple. This temple was, until the late
1990s, the world's largest wooden building, and contains a
massive seated Buddha statue nearly 50 meters tall, as
well as a few other statues. Nearby the temple is Nara
Deer Park, home to a thousand friendly and adorable Sika
deer walking under the trees, who can be fed with small
crackers available for purchase around the park. In the
evening, we take a short drive into Kyoto to check into the
hotel for a restful evening.
Note: For Sushi Making Experience, if you are vegetarian, on gluten-free diets, have seafood allergy, or don't eat raw fish, please contact us for other ingredient options.
After breakfast, begin your morning in Japan's old imperial capital with a visit to the Golden Pavilion, and icon of the city and one of its most popular sites. Built by the Shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu, the upper tiers are covered in 18- carat gold leaf and the top is crowned with a delicate phoenix. Next, tour the Arashiyama district, home to the Sagano Bamboo Grove. Standing between the towering bamboo stalks and listening to the wind rustling through them feels for a moment like you have stepped out of the city and into a landscape painting. Next, visit a traditional wooden townhouse to learn the Japanese arts of Calligraphy and Ikebana. Take some time to admire the thousands of vermillion torii gates at Fushimi Inari Shrine before going to the GEAR Theatre for a live performance unlike anything you've ever seen. Five human performers play "robots" who come to life and learn through creative playfulness and skill how they might approach humanity. GEAR uses only silent motion – dance, performance art, and stage magic – to delight audiences of any age and language.
Begin today with a morning visit to Kiyomizu Temple. This temple is known for its dramatic wooden veranda that provides breathtaking views of Kyoto as well as its sacred waterfall. While in the area, enjoy a Kimono Experience where you can try on and take pictures in an elegant Japanese kimono. This traditional attire is still worn for many formal occasions. Leading up to the temple are Ninen-zaka and Sannen-zaka, these streets are filled with preserved buildings from Japan’s past. Many of the buildings are now shops that sell souvenirs and Kyoto- specific wares. Then, we will travel to Kodaiji Temple, a lavish temple built in memory of samurai warlord Toyotomi Hideyoshi. Here, we can experience Zen meditation and Green Tea Ceremony. We will end our day in the Gion Geisha District, where its streets are lined with ochaya (teahouses), exclusive establishments where guests are entertained by Geisha and Maiko. Here, we will enjoy traditional Kyoto Cuisine in the company of a beautiful Maiko – a geisha in training.
After breakfast, experience the high speed transit of the Shinkansen bullet train as you transfer to Hiroshima, then take a local ferry to Miyajima Island. Here you will see Itsukushima Shrine, uniquely built to extend out over a little cove into the sea. Its main attraction is its great scarlet torii gate, which was built just off the shoreline and appears to float atop the water at high tide. Take time while there to admire Miyajima Island's gorgeous landscape. The local islanders make constant efforts to preserve the bright maple forests, stunning coastline, and various wildlife - including wild deer. After, return to Hiroshima for a relaxing evening at your hotel.
Our first destination of the day is the Peace Memorial Park. The Peace Park consists of the Peace Memorial Museum, the A-Bomb Dome, and the Cenotaph for the A- Bomb Victims. The Peace Park is one of the most significant features of the city, devoted to the events that occurred on August 6, 1945. Then, in Saijo, visit the renowned Kamotsuru Sake Brewery which consistently produces high quality, award-wining brews and for much of its over 100-year-long history was ahead of the game in sake production technology. Here, you'll have the opportunity to learn about the sake making process. The temperature of the kura (cellar) is maintained by the thick walls, which allows a natural balance without the need of air conditioners. After the tour, you'll have the chance to try a variety of sake in their tasting room. In the evening, you will travel to Okayama for a restful evening at your hotel.
After breakfast at the hotel, we will visit Naoshima Island, first touring the Benesse House Museum. This museum was designed by renowned Japanese architect Tadao Ando and displays works from many different artists, both from Japan and abroad. About 20 of these works reside on the lawns and beaches that surround the museum, including the famous pumpkin. Next is the Chichu Art Museum, considered to be one of the world’s best museums for contemporary art, also designed by Tadao Ando and nestled deep underground on the island of Naoshima. It is both an intimate environment and a world- class institution. We will explore Chichu’s collections and investigate what makes this Japanese museum so special. Finally, you will see the Art House Project, where artists renovate old houses, turning the house and the space inside into a new "work of art." Afterwards, we return to Okayama to relax for the evening at the hotel.
Today, the tour takes your group to Kurashiki to visit the city's Historical Bikan Quarter. Once part of the distribution center that linked Kyoto with Tokyo, today the canal is a local heritage district where visitors can walk along the canal's broad promenade lined with a row of weeping willows and see the old storehouses and other buildings from the Edo period. Then we move on to Himeji to visit Himeji Castle, one of the twelve remaining original castles of Japan. It is also known as White Heron Castle because of its brilliant white exterior, resembling a bird raising its wings in flight. For your last night in Japan, we will take you to the city of Kobe to savor a sumptuous dinner of tender Kobe Wagyu beef, before going to the hotel for a relaxing evening.
After breakfast, our tour officially ends.
Checkout time is 11 am.
Transfer to Osaka Kansai Airport or Itami Airport by private car.
NOTE 3: The departure airport transfer is ONLY available on the last day of the tour. If you plan to stay extra nights after the tour, please contact us for the transfer if needed.
NOTE 4: If you would like to stay longer in Japan, please contact us to book hotel accommodations.
Tokyo is the number one destination for tourist bound for Japan. It is the number one most populated, the biggest city, and is the capital of Japan. From shopping to sightseeing, this city offers everything that tourist want to see. There are a number of places to see the entire city, tourist can visit the Tokyo Skytree or Tokyo Tower to get a breathtaking view of the city. For shopping, visitors can head to the most popular areas such as Ginza, Ikebukuro’s Sunshine City, or Shinjuku. There are also many museums available such as the Edo Tokyo Museum or the Tokyo National Museum. This modern city still has many parks, temples, and shines for anyone interested in a cultural experience.
Excellent museum about Tokyo's history.
The Edo Tokyo Museum is located in Tokyo’s Ryogoku district. The museum features exhibits that showcase Tokyo’s past in the Edo period. Visitors can learn about how people lived during the Edo period, and has many illustrations or miniature models showcasing the past. Guests can take pictures of the many models or life- sized figures.
Buddhist temple with souvenir shopping street, an atmosphere of old Tokyo.
The Sensoji Temple located in Asakusa is one of the most popular Buddhist temples to visit. The temple was built and completed in the year 645 and is Tokyo’s oldest temple. The surrounding area offers shopping for souvenirs and food. The Sanja Festival is one of Tokyo’s biggest festivals and is held every May at Asakusa Temple.
A shrine dedicated to the deified spirits of Emperor Meiji and his consort.
The Meiji Shrine is located next to Harajuku Station and next to Yoyogi Park. The shrine is located within a small forest with large trees and the entrance is designated by a large torii gate. This is also one of Tokyo’s most popular shrines, with more than a million visitors after New Year’s Day.
World's first digital art museum.
Located in Odaiba's MORI Building, teamLab Borderless creates a series of digital art exhibits seamlessly stitched together to form a world of artwork without borders. The visuals are completely immersive, created to take up entire rooms allowing for the audience to explore and interact with the images. As one moves from one artwork to the next, they start to feel like a part of the exhibit, surrounding each person in a fantasy world of moving digital art. The artworks even intersect and change other neighboring works, creating an entirely new fusion work. Each artwork is a sensory riot of image and color, yet with a harmony to it that connects the viewer what they see and hear, allowing them to fully enjoy their time in this one- of-a-kind art experience.
The city of Ashikaga is located in the Tochigi Prefecture. The city is home to the famous Ashikaga Flower Park. The Ashikaga Flower Park is a popular tourist destination and is home to the oldest wisteria tree in Japan. Another interesting place to visit is the Ashikaga School Ruins, which is said to be the oldest school in Japan.
One of the best places to view Wisteria in Spring.
Ashikaga Flower Park is located in Ashikaga City, which is on the border of Tochigi and Gunma Prefecture. It is a place where there is a wide of flowers planted on the grounds that bloom when they are in season. Inside the flower park is a wisteria tree that is over 100 years old. It is so large that there many beams to support the branches as it covers a wide area creating this umbrella effect. It is said that the tree dates back to about 1870.
The highest mountain in Japan, Mt. Fuji is 3,776 meters above sea level, and is located more or less in the center of Japan, stretching over Shizuoka and Yamanashi prefectures. Its elegant conical form has frequently been depicted in many paintings and literary works since ancient times. Many artists have been captivated by the diverse expressions shown by this mountain depending on the season, or depending on the time of the day, whether in the morning or early evening. It is widely believed that Mt. Fuji is unparalleled worldwide as a mountain that has so frequently been narrated, sung in verse, and drawn.
One of the most beautiful scenes to see in the spring.
The Fuji Shibazakura Festival is held from April to early June and is located south of Lake Motosuko near Mount Fuji. Many people come to see the 800,000 shibazakura flowers bloom and with Mount Fuji in background, creates one of the most beautiful scenes to see in the spring. The best time to go would be within the first three weeks of the event because that is when the flowers will be in full bloom.
Lake Kawaguchi is the most famous of the Fuji Five Lakes, with breathtaking landscape scenery in the spring and autumn seasons.
Lake Kawaguchi is one of Mount Fuji's Five Lakes, and is by far the most famous, attracting visitors to the hotels that dot its shoreline throughout the year. It is arguably the most picturesque, being displayed prominently below the iconic mountain on postcards for the region. The landscape around the long lake is dramatic and stunning in every season, especially during spring cherry blossoms and autumn leaves. Despite the lake's proximity to Mount Fuji, the mountain is not always visible from the lake due to the cloud cover, with the early morning and late afternoon being the best time to get a good glimpse. A number of other attractions sit around the lake, including the Kubota Itchiku Museum, Kawaguchiko Muse Museum, FujiQ Highland amusement park, and a number of hot spring bath resorts.
Matsumoto is located in the Nagano Prefecture and is known for one of Japan’s most popular and original castles. Many people travel to Matsumoto to view the popular Matsumoto castle, known as one of Japan’s most beautiful original castles and is one of Japan’s four National Treasure Castles. Another popular location is the Daio wasabi Farm, which is Japan’s largest wasabi farm. Matsumoto is also a popular location for people departing into Kamikochi, Norikura, or any of the popular Japanese Alps resorts locations.
One of Japan's premier historic castles, along with Himeji Castle and Kumamoto Castle.
Matsumoto is home to one of Japan’s four National Treasure Castles, the Matsumoto Castle. This castle is one of the most beautiful, and complete original castles in all of Japan compared to the other four National Treasure Castles. During the spring season, Matsumoto Castel is a very popular location to view the cherry blossoms.
The city of Takayama is located within the Hida mountain region in the Gifu Prefecture. This city is one of the top destinations for tourist wishing to explore a touch of rural Japan. The old town of Takayama is one of Japan’s most beautifully preserved area of historic buildings and houses that date back to the Edo period.
Guests can enjoy shopping for goods such as small crafts, foods, snacks and flowers.
Every morning in Takayama there are two morning markets set up for tourist to visit. Both markets are well within walking distance from Takayama station. In front of the Takayama Jinya is the Jinya-Mae Market and along the Miyagawa River in the old town section is the Miyagawa Market. Guests can enjoy shopping for goods such as small crafts, foods, snacks and flowers.
Beautifully preserved old town.
One of the most popular attractions for visitors in Takayama is the old town district. Many of the buildings and houses in this area have been preserved since the Edo Period. There are many shops, sake breweries, tea houses, and even some homes open for the public to enjoy.
Shirakawa-Go is located within the Shogawa River Valley and listed as one of Japan’s UNESCO World Hertiage Site. This popular rural area is famous for its traditional gassho-zukuri farmhouses and some of the farmhouses are up to 250 years old. Many of the villages located here offer plenty of sightseeing and different experiences for guests. Many of the famous farmhouses offer minshuku, or a farmhouse stay where guests can experience an overnight homestay at a gassho-zukuri farmhouse.
Scenery from the Shiroyama Viewpoint overlooking the entire settlement.
Ogimachi Village is part of Shirakawa-Go, which is one of Japan’s UNESCO World Heritage Site. Ogimachi is Shirakawa-Go’s largest village and the most popular destination for visitors. One of the most popular attractions available for visitors is the Shiroyama Viewpoint. This place is only about a twenty minute walk from the village center and offers a beautiful view of Ogimachi.
The Wada family was one of the wealthiest families and village leaders of Ogimachi.
Ogimachi Village is part of Shirakawa-Go, which is one of Japan’s UNESCO World Heritage Site. Ogimachi is Shirakawa-Go’s largest village and the most popular destination for visitors. The Wada-ke House in Ogimachi is a very popular attraction and is a museum. This house is a fantastic example of gassho-zukuri houses and showcases how people lived when these houses were originally built.
Kanazawa is the capital city of the Ishikawa Prefecture and has many attractions available for visitors to enjoy. Kanazawa was one of Japan’s cities to avoid any bombing runs from air raids during the Second World War, thus hosts a number of historic attractions. Guests can enjoy a number of museums, gardens, temples, shrines, and other interesting districts.
One of the three most famous gardens in Japan.
Located in Kanazawa is the Kenrokuen Garden, which is one of Japan’s most famous and three most beautiful landscape gardens. The garden is especially beautiful during the plum blossom season and cherry blossom season with the different flowers that bloom as well. This garden is also a popular location to view the fall colors during autumn. Nearby are plenty of attractions including restaurants, shops, and the popular Kanazawa Castle.
Kanazawa's former samurai district.
A popular destination located within Kanazawa is the Nagamachi Samurai District. This historic location used to house the world famous samurai of Japan and their families. This district features many restored buildings, shops, restaurants, and museums. This area is the location of museums such as the Nomura- ke, Shinise Kinenkan Museum, and the Ashigaru Shiryokan Museum.
Busy market near Kanazawa Station.
Omicho Market has about 200 shops and stalls spread across a network of sheltered streets. It is the largest fresh food market in Kanazawa and was first established in the Edo Period. Located at the center of Kanazawa Omicho Market provides an array of goods, but it is best to see what is in season. The market was established to serve the higher class part of town, which was located at the base of Kanazawa Castle. In 1904, Omicho Market became open to the public. Many of the shops sell local seafood and produce, but you can find kitchen tools, clothing, and flowers available for purchase. In the morning, the market is bustling with business and around noon time it is common to see the popular restaurants with long lines. On the second floor there is a section that is dedicated to restaurants. In the basement there is a food court where people who do not want to eat in a restaurant. Not all restaurants are open in the early morning so it is best to research beforehand. One of the must try food are the seafood bowls, where prices range from 1000 to 3000 yen.
Osaka is the second largest city in Japan in terms of size located not too far from Kyoto. This city is one of the top three destinations for tourist visiting Japan after Tokyo and Kyoto. Osaka is the location of the popular Universal Studios Japan, Osaka castle, and Namba. There is plenty to experience in Osaka, from shopping to visiting temples and shrines, Osaka has plenty of destinations to experience Japan.
Practice learning a traditional drum often used in major Japanese festivals.
The taiko drum is an iconic musical instrument of Japan. The history of the taiko drum in Japan is rich and full of various techniques and styles to play the drums. There are many classes and lessons available for visitors to attend that teaches the art of taiko drums. Guests can learn about the different styles, techniques, and history of the taiko drums while taking these lessons.
The city of Nara was once known as the first capital established in Japan. Nara is located only less than an hour away from both Kyoto and Osaka. Nara is home to some of Japan’s oldest, largest, and historic temples. The landmark and symbol of Nara is the Todaiji Temple, which was built in the 7th century. One the most popular attractions is Nara Park where visitors come every day to see the wild deer that roam free throughout the park.
Learn how to make and prepare fresh sushi for yourself in Japan.
Take a lesson from an expert and prepare fresh sushi. Experience the difference in the taste of Japanese-grown ingredients. Then, enjoy eating your masterpiece for lunch after completing your sushi lesson.
One of Japan’s most historic and famous temple (UNESCO World Heritage Site).
Located north of Nara Park is one of Japan’s most historic and famous temple called the Todai-Ji Temple. This temple is listed as one of Japan’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The temple’s main hall named Daibutsuden, is the largest wooden building in the world. It is home to one of Japan’s largest bronze statues of Buddha siting at fifteen meters tall.
Over 1,000 Sika deer roam free.
Located in central Nara is Nara Park, it is one of the most famous and popular parks in Japan. The park is famous and popular because it is home to over one thousand deer. The deer roam freely throughout the park and visitors are able to get up close and feed the deer as well. This park is conveniently located near most of Nara’s main tourist destinations, which include Todai-Ji Temple, Kasuga Taisha Shrine, Kofuku-Ji Temple, and the Nara National Museum.
Kyoto was once the old capital of Japan and is filled with historic temples, shrines, buildings, and other structures. Kyoto is filled with many temples and shrines such as the famous Fushimi Inari Shrine and the Golden Pavilion. It is also home of the Gion Festival, which is the most famous festival in Japan. Kyoto is the number two destination for tourist bound for Japan, and is the number one destination for tourist looking for a full Japanese cultural experience.
Temple building covered in gold (National Special Historic Site).
The famous Kinkakuji (Golden Pavilion) Temple is located in northern Kyoto and is most known for the building covered in gold leaf. This famous building is the number one most popular destination for tourist visiting Kyoto. The Golden Pavilion sits overlooking a large pond and various small attractions and shops are available for visitors.
Pleasant district at the outskirts of Kyoto.
Arashiyama is located on the western outskirts of Kyoto and is a well-known destination for both the cherry blossoms and fall colors seasons. North of the famous Togetsukyo Bridge is Sagano, and together they make this place a nice little getaway from temples and shrines to enjoy nature. Popular destinations include the Togetsukyo Bridge and the Bamboo Forest of Arashiyama.
One of the most popular and well-known spots for visitors in Arashiyama.
One of the most popular and well-known spots for visitors is the Arashiyama Bamboo Forest. A nice walking path takes visitors through the groves of bamboos. The Arashiyama Bamboo Forest is also one of the most famous and photographed places in all of Kyoto and brings many visitors every year during the autumn color season.
Old-fashioned Kyoto Townhouse that once housed the affluent merchants of the old capital.
The machiya of Kyoto are old-fashioned wooden townhouses from the Edo period, usually serving as the residences and shops for merchant families of that period. The strict propriety laws of the period contributed to the simplistic nature of the machiya, which ooze rustic charm from the smooth tatami mats and minimalist decoration through the thin folds of bamboo window screens. Merely to experience the atmosphere that prevails in the Machiya Townhouse is to be immersed in the time-honored traditions of old Kyoto.
A timeless art that still receives praise for its beautiful handwriting.
Japanese calligraphy is the art of writing beautiful artistic characters of the Japanese language. The history of Japanese calligraphy is rich and has different techniques and styles just like any other form of art. There are classes and lessons available for visitors to attend that teaches the art of Japanese calligraphy. Guests can learn about the different styles, techniques and the history of Japanese calligraphy while taking these lessons.
A form of expressing Japanese discipline and beauty using flower arranegments.
Ikebana is one of Japan’s oldest crafts, which is the art of flower arrangement. The history of Ikebana (also known as Kado in Japanese) is rich and has different techniques and styles just like any other form of art. There are classes and lessons available for visitors to attend that teaches the art of Ikebana. Guests can learn about the different techniques, styles, and history of Ikebana while taking these lessons.
One of the most famous and visited shrines in Kyoto.
The Fushimi Inari-Taisha Grand Shrine is located in southern Kyoto and is one of the most famous and visited shrines in Kyoto. This shrine is only five minutes away from Kyoto Station by train, and features over a thousand vermillion colored torii gates that brings many tourist to this shrine every year.
A variety of skilled performance art in a highly imaginative stage show.
GEAR is a lively and colorful stage production that seamlessly integrates a variety of performing arts, including dance, juggling, magic, and pantomime. At the old "1928 Building" (one of Kyoto City's designated Cultural Properties), GEAR takes their audience to the world of a futuristic toy factory, now falling to ruin. Within, four skilled android robots (or "Roboroids") and a graceful toy Doll, through whimsical curiosity and cheerful play, attempt to reach nearer to what it means to be human. A silent performance with musical accompaniment, GEAR is well suited for viewers of all ages and languages.
Temple famous for its large wooden terrace (UNESCO World Heritage Site).
The Kiyomizu-Dera Temple is located only 15 minutes away by bus from Kyoto Station to the eastern side of Kyoto. This temple is one of the most popular temples in Kyoto and is listed as one of Japan’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The temple features a large wooden terrace that offers a fantastic view of the cherry blossoms in the spring and autumn colors during the fall season with the city of Kyoto in the background.
Continue exploring Japan, but wearing a kimono for a more traditional flavor.
Japan is a very unique cultural experience because much of Japan’s history is still preserved, protected, and celebrated. One of the best ways to experience a visit to Japan would be to explore it while wearing a kimono. The kimono is one of Japan’s most oldest and traditional pieces of clothing. There are many places available in Japan to rent a kimono to wear and explore this beautiful country.
Two of Kyoto’s heritage streets, lined with vintage tea shops, restaurants, and souvenir boutiques, on approach to magnificent Kiyomizu Temple.
Ninenzaka and Sannenzaka are two streets in Kyoto known for their traditional charm, and are part of the southern Higashiyama Historic District. These two gentle slopes breathe with the atmosphere of old Kyoto through the simple wood and stone of each building you pass, aided by the complete absence of telephone poles. One can easily imagine the days when noble samurai and mysterious geisha trod the flagstone path, passing between shops, restaurants, and teahouses that have served traditional food and tea to travelers for centuries. The names of the streets both refer to Nene, the first wife of samurai warlord Toyotomi Hideyoshi. The young noblewoman walked up and down the hill every day to Kodaiji, to pray fervently for a child. Tourists often combine a visit to these streets with a pilgrimage to nearby Kodaiji Temple, which was established by Nene-dono. Kiyomizu Temple is also within walking distance, though further uphill. Any season is picturesque, but Ninenzaka and Sannenzaka are especially lovely in spring, as the cherry blossoms highlight the promenade with their seasonal color.
Built in memory of Toyotomi Hideyoshi.
Kodaiji Temple is located in eastern Kyoto in the Higashiyama district and is only fifteen minutes away by bus from Kyoto Station. This beautiful temple is one of Kyoto’s most popular temples during the autumn colors season. Visitors can enter the main hall of the temple and also view the beautiful gardens that surround the temple as well.
Zazen is a type of meditation unique to Zen Buddhism that functions at the heart of the practice.
Zen meditation is unique and is central in Zen Buddhism. This form of meditation calms both the body, mind, and to also gain enlightenment by seeking insight into the nature of existence. There are lessons and classes available for visitors where a Zen priest guides guests to practice Zen meditation and teaches the significance of Zen as part of the Japanese culture.
Traditional way of preparing and drinking tea.
Green tea has a rich history in Japan and has been the most popular non-alcoholic beverage for years. A green tea ceremony is the ceremonial way of preparing and drinking green tea that has been practiced for hundreds of years. The ceremony is full of many rituals and has a strong Zen Buddhism influence. The tea is prepared by the host for the guests and is usually green tea made from powdered tea leaves.
Enjoy a traditional Japanese kaiseki dinner in the company of a Maiko.
Kyoto is known for its Gion district which is famous for its geisha (geiko in Kyoto dialect) and apprentice geisha called maiko. There are many locations within Kyoto and the Gion district where visitors can have a maiko experience. Enjoy a traditional Japanese kaiseki dinner in the company of a Maiko.
Japan's main islands of Honshu, Kyushu and Hokkaido are served by a network of high speed train lines that connect Tokyo with most of the country's major cities. Japan's high speed trains (bullet trains) are called shinkansen and are operated by Japan Railways (JR). The shinkansen network consists of multiple lines, among which the Tokaido Shinkansen (Tokyo - Nagoya - Kyoto - Osaka) is the oldest and most popular. All shinkansen lines (except the Akita and Yamagata Shinkansen) run on tracks that are exclusively built for and used by shinkansen trains. Most lines are served by multiple train categories, ranging from the fastest category that stops only at major stations to the slowest category that stops at every station along the way.
High-speed railway at speeds up to 300 km/hr.
The shinkansen (or Japan’s bullet train) is a high speed train that travel between most of the major cities in Japan. Travelers can reserve seats on either ordinary or green car seats for an added cost. The shinkansen can run up to 320 kilometers per hour (close to 200 miles per hour), and are known to always be on time, comfortable and safe.
Itsukushima Island, is famously called Miyajima Island and located only an hour outside of Hiroshima and is a popular tourist destination for people visiting the Hiroshima area. It is famous for the large torii gate that seems to be floating on water during high tide (ranked as one of Japan’s top three most scenic views). There are many activities for visitors to explore, there is a temple, museum, walking trails, aquarium, and more to view.
Famous shrine with floating torii gate (UNESCO World Heritage Site).
One of the most famous and well known shrines in Japan is the Itsukushima Shrine. This location is one of Japan’s top three most scenic places along with the famous Matsushima Bay and Amanohashidate, and brings plenty of tourist every year. This shrine and its famous torii gate are built over the water, which makes it seem like it is floating in the sea. Guests can stay in the ryokan hotels nearby or ride one of the many boat cruises while here.
Hiroshima is the capital city of the Hiroshima Prefecture located on the western region of Japan’s main island Honshu. This city is unfortunately remembered for its tragic history from the dropping of the atomic bombs, but this modern city is now a top destination for travelers. Many western visitors, especially Americans, feel apprehensive about visiting this city, but it is like any other friendly city in Japan that welcomes tourist. Guests can visit the many museums available, the Hiroshima Peace Park, or Hiroshima Castle, and other popular destinations.
Remembering the drop of the atomic bomb (UNESCO World Heritage Site).
The Hiroshima Peace Park is a memorial park located in the center of the Hiroshima City. Many of the memorials related to the dropping of the atomic bomb are located in and around this area. The park is the location to the memorials such as the A-Bomb Dome, Children’s Peace Monument, and the Peace Memorial Museum. This area is also listed as one of Japan’s UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum collects and displays belongings left by the victims.
The Peace Memorial Museum is one of the main destinations for guests visiting the Hiroshima Peace Park. The features the history of Hiroshima, effects of the atomic bomb, and its aftermath. Guests visiting the museum can explore the various artifacts and displays related to the atomic blast.
A visit to Saijo is like a trip back in time. In a very small area you will encounter some of the world’s most prestigious and oldest sake breweries. Feel free to drop in, look around and have a taste. If you’re seeking the world’s best sake, your journey starts in Saijo.
Kura study and sake tasting.
Kamotsuru Shuzo Brewing is a brewer in Saijo, one of three famous sake-producing districts in Japan. With its roots dating back to 1623, early in the Edo period, the distinguished brewer will celebrate its 400th anniversary in a few years.
Located in the Seto Inland Sea of Japan is the Naoshima Island. This island is best known for its modern art, museums, architecture, and sculptures. The most popular attraction in Naoshima Island is the Benesse House, which is a modern art museum and hotel. There are plenty of museums to visit for guests at this destination. The most popular museums include the Chichu Museum, Lee Ufan Museum, Ando Museum, and other various attractions with unique artwork.
Combination of art museum and hotel.
The Benesse House is the most popular destination for guests visiting Naoshima Island in the Seto Inland Sea. This building is both a modern art museum and a resort hotel. The main attraction is building is the modern art museum, where different works of art are displayed from both Japan and all over the world. Visitors staying at the hotel have twenty-four hour access to the museum and there is also restaurants, cafes, shops, and a spa. Visitor do not have to stay at the hotel to have access to all the amazing facilities at the Benesse House.
One of the most popular museums located on Naoshima Island in the Seto Inland Sea.
The Chichu Art Museum is one of the most popular museums located on Naoshima Island in the Seto Inland Sea. The museum itself is a combination of art and architecture, even though most of the building is underground, it uses natural light to brighten up the artwork. Only a few people are allowed in at a time for the museum because appreciating the artwork in the museum is best viewed with as few people around as possible. There is a small café and waiting area, and it is also advised for guests to arrive early because the crowds will get rather large.
Art scattered around a small port town.
A collection of abandoned structures renovated into special venues dedicated towards contemporary art in Naoshima Island, Japan
Located near Okayama City in the Okayama Prefecture is the city of Kurashiki, which is known for its well preserved Edo Period canal area. Guests can visit one of the most beautifully canal areas in Japan, where many of the buildings that were once storehouses have been turned into modern attractions. The Ohara Museum of Art is also a great museum for tourist to visit while exploring Kurashiki. Other popular destinations include the Ohashi House, Ivy Square, and many museums.
Canal lined by willows and old storehouses.
Kurashiki’s canal area is one of Japan’s most beautifully preserved canals that date back as far to the Edo Period. The canals were once used to transport rice into the storehouses where they would be shipped to cities such as Osaka and Tokyo (was known as Edo during those times). Now this historic area is the most popular destination for tourist visiting Kurashiki. Many of the historic storehouses have been turned into shops, cafes, restaurants, and museums for guests to enjoy.
They city of Himeji is located in western Kansai and is known for one of Japan’s most beautiful and finest castles. This is a popular destination or side-trip for tourist visiting Kyoto or Osaka. Himeji is famously known for the beautiful Himeji castle, which is both a national treasure castle and listed as one of Japan’s UNESCO World Heritage Site. There are plenty of shops, food, and sight-seeing spots available for tourist visiting Himeji.
Japan's best preserved feudal castle (UNESCO World Heritage Site).
Himeji Castle is located in the city of Himeji and is only a five minute bus ride away from Himeji Station. Himeji Castle the most popular and visited castle in Japan, it is also listed both as one of Japan’s national treasure castles and as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This castle is also one of Japan’s twelve original castles, which means it was never destroyed in its history and has been standing since it was originally completed in the year 1609. The surrounding area is also one of Japan’s most popular cherry blossom destinations during the spring.
Kobe is one of Japan’s largest cities and popular destination for tourist visiting Japan. There is plenty for visitors to see and do in the capital city of the Hyogo Prefecture. Guests can try the world famous and expensive Kobe beef in the many restaurants available here. There is plenty of museums, shopping, food, and sight-seeing to experience in this modern port city.
There are many restaurants located within Kobe that serve Japanese or international cuisine, but there are many places that offer Kobe beef. Kobe is known around the world for its famous Kobe beef, which is beautifully marbled, delicious, and very expensive beef. The most popular way to enjoy Kobe beef is in a restaurant where the chef grills the meat in front of the guests. Eating Kobe beef is a popular activity for tourist visiting Kobe and can provide a delicious and unforgettable experience.
Tokyo (Day 1 & Day 2)
Western Style Accommodation
Situated in the heart of Tokyo, the Imperial Hotel Tokyo is a historic 5-star hotel that has drawn high-profile clientele from all over the world. For over 125 years, the Imperial Hotel has proudly offered outstanding hospitality and exceptionally comfortable spaces. It is recognized for its combination of Western technologies and Japanese culture, award-winning cuisine, and highly personalized services. The Imperial Hotel Tokyo spans over two buildings and features a number of amenities and public-area spaces. Hotel amenities include a fitness center with city views, indoor pool, saunas, a Japanese garden, esthetic salon, massage room, and Japanese teahouse. Additionally, there is an executive business center with four conference rooms, two meeting rooms, a soundproof music room, and more. Enjoy complimentary WiFi service, choices from 13 restaurants, a grocery/convenience store, 24-hour room service, and individually furnished rooms. Surrounding areas include the shopping and theater districts of Ginza and Marunouchi.
Mt Fuji (Day 3)
Japanese Style Accommodation
Offering stunning views of the iconic Mt. Fuji, Japan’s symbol and spirit, the Fujisan Onsen Hotel Kaneyamaen is a traditional Japanese ryokan located just north of the majestic mountain. This onsen (hot springs) hotel offers a variety of indoor and outdoor hot springs baths, including public and private baths. Kaneyamen emphasizes its tranquil ambience, exceptional hospitality, Japanese gardens, and outstanding views of Mt. Fuji. Hotel amenities include a seasonal outdoor pool, variety of hot springs, complimentary internet access, and a free buffet breakfast. Guests will stay in traditional tatami mat rooms at various sizes with options to include an open-air hot springs bath, private garden, or spectacular views of Mt. Fuji. For cuisine, the chefs of Kaneyamaen select only fresh seasonal ingredients to create delicate, tasty dishes. Spa services are also available, including aromatherapy and reflexology. Enjoy a peaceful stay at Kaneyamen with Mt. Fuji just outside your window.
Takayama (Day 4)
Hotel Associa Takayama Resort soars on the Takayama
highland at 640 meters above sea level.
You can experience living with nature and have an irreplaceable time. Every room of the hotel has magnificent views of the Northern Japanese Alps. Spa Wing-onsen or Hot Spring Baths features 'Ten'- no-yu or Sky bath (7th floor) and 'bou'-no-yu or Overlooking bath (5th floor). There are ten outdoor baths and two indoor baths which have fine hot spring water of the highlands. Here, you can enjoy a variety of warmth within the Hida Takayama highland hot springs.
Kanazawa (Day 5 & Day 6)
Western Style Accommodation
Hotel Nikko Kanazawa is the tallest hotel in Hokuriku destrict with 30 stories and located just in front of JR Kanazawa Station. All rooms are upper than 17th floor and can command the beautiful streets of Kanazawa. The staffs including international will serve with hospitality mind at the historical and traditional city, Kanazawa.
Kyoto (Day 7, Day 8 & Day 9)
Western Style Accommodation
The beauty of the surrounding landscape with panoramic mountains and spectacular seasonal variations makes the Kyoto Hotel Okura a natural showcase for the exquisite charm and unique allure of exotic Kyoto. This hotel has high noted opulent lobby and rooms are spacious. The bathroom has separate shower booth. It is convenient to shopping and night walks for downtown as Kawaramachi-dori, Shinkyogoku, Ponto-cho and Gion are near by.
Hiroshima (Day 10)
Western Style Accommodation
Sheraton Hiroshima Hotel is conveniently located in the city next to JR Hiroshima Station, with direct access to the Shinkansen (bullet train) and bus terminals. Guests are in the middle of the energy and excitement of Hiroshima, along with its historic sites and architecture. Find total comfort in rooms all of which feature The Sheraton Sweet Sleeper Bed. Restaurants offer the finest and freshest cuisine, and the bar is a great place to gather with friends old and new. And be sure to relax and recharge your mind and body at Shine Spa for Sheraton.
Okayama (Day 11 & Day 12)
Western Style Accommodation
Hotel Granvia Okayama is the landmark located in front of JR Okayama Station and serves as the gateway to the entire Seto Inland Sea area for both business travelers and tourists. With its advanced facilities and sophisticated services, the hotel provides the space and time of the relaxation. It invites the guest in the full warmth of hospitality and all the luxuries the hotel has to offer.
Kobe (Day 13)
Western Style Accommodation
Hotel Okura Kobe is a luxury and elegant city resort hotel located at Meriken Park overlooking Kobe harbor front. It is the comfortable space which harmonized the traditional beauty and functionality of Japan, and rooms are designed by globally prominent British interior design designer Mr. David Hicks. Hotel Okura Kobe offers the ultimate in elegance and hospitality as the land mark of Kobe.
PLEASE NOTE: These are the hotels All Japan Tours generally uses on the touring styles and regions shown. There is no guarantee that you will stay in the lodgings listed on the website. We encourage you to check your travel documentation for confirmation of the exact accommodation you will be staying in.