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.
Japanese gardens are based on harmony, balance, and aesthetic. A remarkable form of Japanese art, each component in a Japanese garden holds various symbols and meanings. You can visit Japan’s gardens any time of the year, since the gardens’ landscape often changes with the current season. This makes it a lovely experience to see the country’s blooming cherry blossoms and colorful autumn leaves. Visit some of the very best gardens of Japan with an English-speaking, government-ce... View More
Japanese gardens are based on harmony, balance,
aesthetic. A remarkable form of Japanese art, each
component in a Japanese garden holds various
and meanings. You can visit Japan’s gardens any time
the year, since the gardens’ landscape often changes
with the current season. This makes it a lovely
experience to see the country’s blooming cherry
blossoms and colorful autumn leaves. Visit some of the
very best gardens of Japan with an English-speaking,
government-certified guide with 14 years of experience.
Our knowledgeable guide whose studied under the
Kyoto garden program will bring specialized expertise
your tour. Additionally, you will have the exclusive
opportunity to visit a private garden in Kyoto, as well as
meet a professional Japanese garden builder and
designer for extensive insight.
Experience Japanese state-of-the-art technology, including a bullet train and the world’s longest suspension bridge over the sea. Enjoy a scenic cruise, view former samurai residences, and try delicious cuisine like a local. Travelers on this itinerary can expect a special Zazen meditation and tea ceremony class at a temple. You will also have the chance to try on a kimono, stay in a traditional Japanese inn, and have dinner with an apprentice geisha (maiko). Other attractions include Adachi Museum and Garden, Ritsurin Koen Garden, Golden Pavilion, Ryoanji Temple, Tenryuji Temple, and the bamboo groves. You will also visit Himeji Castle, a 400-year-old magnificent castle often called the “White Heron”. Now, let’s explore the wonders of Japanese gardens, one of the most beautiful sights in the world.
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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 Osaka Kansai Airport (KIX) or Itami Airport (ITM), this tour starts in Osaka and ends in Tokyo, with departures at Tokyo Narita Airport (NRT) or Haneda Airport (HND)
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 arrange your own hotel transfer
Welcome to Osaka! You will be picked up from the Airport and taken to the hotel.
NOTE 1: If you wish to stay extra nights before the tour starts, please contact us to book hotel accommodations.
Travel to Himeji Castle, one of Japan’s few remaining original castles and a World Cultural Heritage Site. Following a long winding road, you’ll view its magnificent castle tower. Elegant from the outside, the interior quickly changes to a more masculine yet simple aesthetic highlighting its beautifully preserved wooden structures. Next to the castle is Koko-en Garden, which features a large pond full of colorful carp. Then, you will make your way to Adachi Art Museum and Garden. This garden has been rated among the finest Japanese-styled gardens by JOJG for 14 years in a row. It stands one of the most sophisticated gardens and museums in Japan. Tonight, you will experience staying at a ryokan (traditional Japanese inn) at Tamatsukuri Spa in Matsue City, a famous spa in Japan.
Today, you will visit the areas surrounding Matsue City, a city near the Sea of Japan and Lake Shinji-ko. First, tour the Matsue Castle, another original castle in Japan and a designated National Treasure. Enjoy the atmosphere of an old castle town, taking a small boat tour along the castle moat and walking around the former residential area of samurai warriors. Next, visit the Yushi-en Garden, a small, but lovely garden on an island in the middle of Lake Nakaumi, where you will also have today’s lunch. The last attraction for today will be Izumo Taisha Shrine. This is one of Japan’s most ancient Shinto shrines and has played a prominent role in Japanese mythology.
After leaving Tamatsukuri Spa in the morning, continue to Takamatsu City on Shikoku Island via Seto Ohashi Bridge, an outstanding bridge with views of the Seto Inland Sea. Takamatsu City is famous for its tradition of producing a beautiful display of pine trees. There, you will tour a bonsai village where 80 percent of pine tree bonsai are produced in Japan. Afterwards, enjoy a stroll through Ritsurin Koen Garden, one of the best gardens in Japan. Taking 150 years to complete, this garden has since been well-maintained by gardeners for more than 250 years. Tonight, you will stay at a hotel next to Takamatsu Station and have dinner on your own.
This morning, transfer from Takamatsu City to Kobe, a lovely international port town. On the way, you will stop by Yumebutai on Awaji Island to see the Miracle Planet Botanical Museum, a large greenhouse popular among floral designers. You will also visit the complex 100 Stepped Garden, a distinctive platform of 100 flower beds. Lunch will be offered there. Next, travel through Akashi Ohashi Bridge, the world longest suspension bridge, and arrive in Kobe. Kobe is the 6th largest city in Japan, an exotic port city famous for its marbled beef. Take a short walking tour around Ikuta Shrine and its bustling shopping area around it, located in the center of Kobe City. Tonight, you will have the opportunity to savor a delicious Wagyu beef dinner.
Today you will travel to Kyoto, an ancient city that was
once the capital of Japan for more than 1,000 years until
1869. Home to many cultural legacies, Kyoto was the
center of Japanese culture and religion of its time. First
head to Heian Shrine (if time permits), where you will be
greeted by a massive torii gate. Then, visit Daitokuji
Temple, one of the best places to see a variety of Zen
gardens. Next, visit a Machiya townhouse, a traditional
dwelling of Kyoto people that features a miniature
garden. After lunch, enjoy the experience of trying on and
wearing a kimono. You will also have the special chance
to visit a private Kyoto garden for a unique look that is not
open to the public.
Note: From Day 6 to Day 10, you will be staying at the same hotel in Kyoto.
We will spend today sightseeing the highlights of Kyoto. Three out of the four Buddhist temples we will visit are World Cultural Heritage Sites. Each temple has its own unique gardens with special beauty. First, you will visit Daikakuji Temple, a large, peaceful temple that was once a former residence to ex-emperors. It is also one of the headquarters of Japanese-styled flower arrangement schools, so beautifully arranged flowers are always seen near the entrance. Continue to Tenryuji Temple, which features a magnificent garden built in the 14th century and gorgeous bamboo groves. After lunch, you will drive through a conserved area that retains the scenery of old Sagano. From there, visit Ryoanji Temple, the site of Japan’s world-famous stone landscape garden. Finally, reach the Kinkakuji Temple (Golden Pavilion), the #1 sightseeing destination in Kyoto. This impressive structure highlights its two top floors covered entirely in gold leaf.
Today, you will get to meet a professional Japanese garden builder and designer. Together, you will visit Nijo Castle and Myoshinji Temple for fascinating garden critique and insight. You will learn the principles of building a Japanese garden, the cost to maintain it, and any further questions you have. At Nijo Castle, a World Cultural Heritage Site, you will not only see a 17th century garden, but also an original palace where you can appreciate its architecture. Continue to Myoshinji Temple with the garden designer and enjoy a stroll along its large and peaceful precinct. Then, visit the Nishiki Market, a lively marketplace in downtown Kyoto, where you can try some of the delicious food on your own. Afterwards, you will participate in a special Zazen meditation and tea ceremony class. At the end of the day, enjoy dinner with entertainment provided by an apprentice geisha (maiko).
Travel to Nara, an ancient city steeped in Buddhist history and former capital during the 8th century before Kyoto. The first attraction for today is Todaiji Temple, famous for holding the world’s largest bronze statue of Buddha, the Great Buddha. Nearby is the Isui-en Garden, meaning “garden founded on water”. View the Kofukiji Temple, the second tallest pagoda in Japan at five stories high. Then, make your way to the Higashimuki shopping area, where you will have lunch on your own. End your day at Nara Park, where more than 1,000 freely roaming Sika deer can be found.
This morning you will visit the old Imperial Palace, the former residence of the Emperor of Japan before moving to Tokyo after the Meiji Restoration in 1869. Next, experience a Japanese-styled flower arrangement class, also known as “ikebana”. Afterwards, walk through the spacious precinct of Nanzenji Temple and see the enormous Sanmon gate. Then, transfer to the Sanjo Ohashi Bridge area, where you can explore its variety of restaurants and shops. You will have lunch on your own and have the freedom to decide what to do afterwards. You may either take a Keihan train to the Fushimi Inari Shrine with your guide, go straight to your hotel on the private coach, or take your time at the shopping area before heading back to the hotel on your own.
Before traveling to Mt. Fuji, you will first aboard one of Japan’s high-speed bullet trains for a “local” experience. Afterwards, visit the Mt. Fuji 5th Station, the most popular way to see Japan’s iconic peak (depending on weather conditions). Continue to the Itchiku Kubota Art Museum located near Lake Kawaguchi. This art museum is devoted to silk-dyeing artist Kubota Itchiku, who devoted his life to recreating elaborate kimonos using the lost art of silk-dyeing. Finally, enjoy a scenic cruise along Lake Ashinoko, which borrows scenery from the stunning Mt. Fuji.
Your first attraction for today will be the Hakone Open-Air Museum, which displays abstract sculptures and exhibitions from various artists. It is recognized for successfully balancing its outdoor exhibits with the surrounding mountains and valley. Next, head to Tokyo to visit the peaceful Meiji Shrine, dedicated to Emperor Meiji and Empress Shoken. Continue to Rikugi-en Garden, one of Tokyo’s most beautiful landscape gardens. Built in 1700, the garden is an excellent example of Edo Period strolling gardens with pathways leading to teahouses and a central pond.
After breakfast, we will make our way to the garden of the hotel we are currently staying at. This beautiful garden is steeped in 400 years of samurai lord history and possesses a peaceful ambience while nestled in the heart of Tokyo. Afterwards, make your way to the Imperial Palace East Gardens. Located at the foundation of the former Edo Castle tower, the garden was created in place of the fallen castle tower. Next, visit the famous Tsukiji Fish Market, home to an assortment of freshly caught fish and various food options. Continue to Hama Rikyu, a traditionally-styled landscape garden that stands near the skyscrapers of the Shiodome District, which brings a sense of calmness in the midst of a bustling city. Then, aboard a Sumida River Cruise, where you can enjoy the scenery of the city’s most famous river. Your last attraction of the tour is Asakusa Sensoji Temple, Tokyo’s oldest and most colorful temple.
After breakfast, our tour officially ends. Checkout time is 11 am, free for leisure until transfer to Tokyo Narita Airport or Haneda Airport for departure.
NOTE 2: If you would like to stay longer in Japan, please contact us to book hotel accommodations.
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.
Beautiful Japanese Garden next to the famous Himeji Castle
Located right next to the famous Himeji Castle is the beautiful Kokoen Garden. This garden was constructed and completed in the year 1992 where noble residences once stood in the past. The landscape features various trees, flowers, bamboos, ponds, and waterfalls. Visitors can explore and enjoy the tea at the tea house or at the restaurant located on the garden grounds.
The city of Matsue is the capital city of the Shimane Prefecture. This city has many fun attractions for tourist visiting the area. The most popular attraction is the Matsue Castle, which is one of the 12 original castles of Japan. Another attraction is the Adachi Museum of Art, which holds various pieces of art and holds one of the most beautiful garden in Japan. Other attractions include the former samurai district of Matsue, museums, food, and flower gardens.
Art museum with a spectacular garden
The Adachi Museum of Art is another one of Matsue’s most popular museums and destination. This museum is best known for its award winning garden and art exhibits. Guests are able to enjoy one of the best gardens in Japan and view over more than one thousand pieces of art. One of the most popular exhibits is the museum’s ceramics exhibit.
One of Japan’s twelve original castles
Located in the city of Matsue is one of Japan’s twelve original castles, which means it has never been destroyed in its history since completion. Inside the castle there are various original artifacts and items that date back from the 1600s. The top of the castle offers a fantastic view of the surrounding area for guests that wish to reach the top.
Castle Town Landscape Cruise
One of the most enjoyable activities for guests visiting the Matsue Castle area is taking one of the Horikawa boat tours. There are many boat tours available for guests that would take them around Matsue Castle and the surrounding canals. There are several stops along most of the boat tours and there are often recordings in other languages which teach about the local history of the area.
Former samurai district of Matsue
The city of Matsue hosts many tourist attractions, and one of the most popular attractions is the former samurai district of Matsue. Many of the buildings and homes in this district once belonged to samurai families and have been preserved. Now many of the buildings and homes in this area is open for the public to explore. One of the most popular buildings in this district is the Matsue Buke Yashiki, which is the former residence of a high ranking samurai family. This former residence is a great example of how a high ranking samurai family once lived and features many weapons and other artifacts.
Vibrant and fashionable Japanese garden with 120 different types of peony
One of the most vibrant and fashionable Japanese gardens around, Yushien Garden, on Daikonshima Island near in Shimane Prefecture, is a landscape manicured to perfection. The garden, is renowned for cultivating over a hundred and fifty different types of peony. Although the garden carries a splendid elegance throughout the year, the best time to go to Yushien is, arguably, in late April, when hundreds of peonies are set afloat in the garden pond creating a fantastic sea of brilliant pink peony blossoms.
The city of Izumo is located in the Shimane Prefecture along the coast of the Sea of Japan. The main attraction that brings many visitors to this city is the famous Izumo Taisha Shrine. The Izumo Taisha Shrine is one of Japan’s oldest and most sacred Shinto shrines. Other popular tourist destination includes the Shimane Museum of Ancient Izumo, the Hinomisaki Lighthouse, the Tachikue Gorge, and other fun activities.
Japan's second most important shrine
The main attraction of Izumo is the Izumo Grand Shrine. The date of construction and completion is unknown, but is regarded as one of the oldest Shinto shrines in Japan. The deity that resides in this grand shrine is the god of marriage. This shrine is very popular throughout Japan as couples come to pray for a happy marriage.
The city of Takamatsu is the capital of the small Kagawa Prefecture. It is the home of one of Japan’s most beautiful gardens and is famous for its udon. There is plenty for visitors to explore and experience in this city. One of the most popular attractions is the Ritsurin Koen Park, which is one of Japan’s most beautiful gardens. There are also many museums available, like the popular Shikoku Mura Village and the Isamu Noguchi Garden Museum. Other attractions and activities include tasting the famous Sanuki Udon, hiking, bike riding, shopping arcades, and many more.
Local village known for displaying a broad variety of bonsai trees
Bonsai is an ancient form of tree cultivation which uses special techniques in pruning and training to produce minature trees in small planters. The final result is an artful representation of a full-grown tree. Although the techniques involved in this horticultural art is practiced throughout Japan, some villages find a singular pride in revealing the results of their handiwork for all visitors to see. Throughout these Bonsai Villages one may see varied types and forms of these masterpieces on display.
Outstanding Japanese style landscape garden (Place of Scenic Beauty)
Ritsurin Koen Park is one of Japan’s most beautiful landscape garden located in the city of Takamastu. Many consider this garden to belong on the list of Japan’s three most beautiful gardens. This spacious and beautiful park features many ponds, hills, trees, bridges, and pavilions. There are a number of walking routes throughout the park and provides views that would leave any guest satisfied.
Awaji Island is the largest island in the Seto Inland Sea. Facing the Osaka Bay on the east and the Harima-nada on the west, the island is sandwiched by the Akashi Strait on the north and the Naruto Strait south to west and its coastal area is a part of Seto-naikai National Park. Awaji Island boasts places worth a visit to enjoy the natural scenery, like the Naruto Strait in which the tide as fast as about 10 knots rises in all sizes of whirlpools, and many beaches including the Goshiki-hama (five color) Beach known for colorful pebbles made by the erosion of waves. The Akashi Kaikyo Ohashi (Akashi Strait Grand Bridge) is known as the world's longest suspension bridge, 3,910 meters long overall with two cable-braced main towers spaced 1,990 meters apart. This bridge, which links Awaji Island with Kobe, is nightly illuminated in seven changing colors to regale the eyes of viewers.
Garden and Greenhouse featuring themed garden rooms / 100 raised flower beds in layered tiers
Miracle Planet Botanical Museum is a botanical garden and greenhouse on the island of Awaji. It contains numerous smaller garden rooms including a Plants Gallery featuring succulent plants, and a Healing Garden promoting art with nature. The 100 Stepped Garden, or "Hyakudanen" was designed by renowned architect Takao Ando as a memorial to those who died in an earthquake in the Kobe region in 1995. 100 layered raised beds of flowers are arranged in a tiered grid pattern, each holding a different type of flower.
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.
3rd century Kobe shrine dedicated to health and marriage
Ikuta Shrine was established in Kobe at the beginning of the 3rd century according to the classical Japanese historical work Nihon Shoki, making it one of the oldest shrines in Japan. As a shrine dedicated to health and marriage, it naturally attracts a lot of people and especially couples. And every year the shrine busts into a colorful flurry of activity, celebrating their Ikuta Autumn Festival. Near Ikuta is the Sannomiya shopping district, with a wide variety of shops and restaurants.
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.
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.
Modeled after the ancient Imperial Palace
The Heian-Jingu Shrine is located in eastern Kyoto, only thirty minutes away by bus from Kyoto Station. This shrine has a short history compared to other shrines in Kyoto since it was only built and completed in the year 1895. The main area is large with a spacious wide open court. For a fee, visitors can stroll the gardens behind the main building.
Prominent Zen Buddhist temple complex with 22 distinct sub-temples
Deitokuji Temple started out as a small monastery built in the 14th century. It slowly rose in stature over the feudal years of Japan as a prominent temple of Zen Buddhism, gaining administrative perview over twenty-two sub- temples in the area. Among these temples are Daisen-in - famed for its elaborate rock garden, Soken-in - mortuary temple of renowned Japan unifier Oda Nobunaga. The temple is also thought of as the spiritual birthplace of Japanese Tea Ceremony, containing a tea house used by the legendary tea master Sen-no-Rikyu.
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.
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.
Former royal villa of retired emperors with enshrined imperial copy of the Buddhist Heart Sutra
Initially, Daikakuji was built as a royal villa for Emperor Saga, and later became the retirement palace for members of his dynasty. After his daughter reordained it as a temple in the years following his death, it became one of the most prominent Buddhist sites from that period. In addition to the magnificent sculptures of the Five Wisdom Kings, the elegant calligraphy, and other works of art preserved there, the temple is most honored as the shrine that houses the imperial copy of the Heart Sutra. This Buddhist text, which was duplicated by Emperor Saga himself, is only displayed for public viewing every 60 years.
Zen Temple in the Arashiyama district (UNESCO World Heritage Site)
Located in the Arashiyama district in Kyoto, the Tenryu- Ji Temple is Arashiyama’s most popular temple. The temple is listed as one of Japan’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The original buildings of Tenryu-Ji Temple was lost many times throughout its history, except for Tenryu-Ji’s garden. The Tenryu-Ji Temple Zen Garden that visitors see today is the original garden and landscape.
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.
Zen Temple with famous rock garden
The Ryoan-Ji Rock Garden is located only one mile down the road from the famous Kinkaku-Ji Temple (Golden Pavilion) in northern Kyoto. It is the location of Japan’s most famous rock garden and attracts hundreds of visitors every day throughout the year. The surrounding area features a beautiful pond with a nice walking trail that circles the area.
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.
Former Kyoto residence of the shogun (UNESCO World Heritage Site)
In the northern part of central Kyoto is Nijo Castle, where it was once the former Kyoto residence of the shogun. This area is also listed as one of Japan’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites. This area was once home to the shogun when he would visit Kyoto. This place serves as the best examples of castle palace architecture from Japan’s feudal era because most of the buildings here survived since they were originally built.
Former palace complex turned Buddhist temple, famed for large dragon painting
Myoshinji Temple was once a palace complex for Emperor Hanazono in the 14th century, but he abdicated to devote his life to meditation and became a monk. He donated the palace grounds to a Zen master who founded the temple. Travelers who come to the temple enjoy the large painting of a dragon that adorns the ceiling of the main hall. Many of the buildings of the complex are still houses and closed to the public, but visitors can still enjoy the scenic strolling paths and well-tended gardens surrounding the temples.
Longstanding food market of old Kyoto - often referred to as "Kyoto's Pantry"
Nishiki Market is the longest traditional food market in Kyoto. It specializes in locally grown and prepared foods of superior quality. Displayed so as to tempt the senses and make passing mouths water, such savory delights as chicken skewers, dried fish, pickled vegetables, tofu, tea, and many others are found in stall after stall. Additionally, specialty kitchen utensils from high-quality makers, including hand-crafted kitchen knives and engraved chopsticks, make Nishiki Market worthy to be called "Kyoto's Pantry".
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.
Large Kyoto park complex, and the Imperial Seat of Japan's former capital
The Kyoto Imperial Palace was the former residence of the Emperor until the capital city was moved from Kyoto to Tokyo in 1868. Located in the Imperial Park complex behind a broad earthen wall with a slanted roof, the Palace itself is surrounded by gravel paths, some excellent gardens, and groves of tall trees. Many of the buildings had been destroyed by fire over the years, but each time the Palace was scrupulously rebuilt. In the same Park enclosure is Sento Palace, a former imperial retirement home.
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.
Important temple of Japanese Zen Buddhism with famous rock garden
Nanzenji Temple, perhaps the preeminent temple of the Zen school of Buddhism, can trace its origins back to the 13th century, and is a nationally designated historic site. The temple grounds include an impressive gate with a wooden terrace where visitors can see a beautiful view of the surrounding area. The main abbot's quarters is known for its rock gardens depicting, as is common to such gardens, scenes from the natural world.
Historical bridge with charming view of riverside Kyoto
When traveling to Kyoto's Sanjo Ohashi Bridge, come for the history, but stay for the view. The original version of the bridge, has existed since the 16th century, and was restored by renowned samurai Toyotomi Hideyoshi, as the end point of the famous "Five Routes" road system which long connected Kyoto to Tokyo. Yet standing on the bridge itself offers an excellent and appealing view of a quaint riverside Kyoto, and all the way to a mountainous horizon on the clearest days.
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.
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.
Japanese walking garden featuring a large reflective pond and scenic borrowed landscape
Isuien Garden is a charming Japanese-style walking garden near Todaiji-Temple in Nara. Originally two separate parks, the land was merged to make room for the Neiraku Ceramics Museum. With a meaning of "park relying on water", Isuien's most prominent feature is a large reflective pond fed by the local river. Using a technique of "borrowed landscape", other elements, such as the trees of other nearby gardens and the gate of Todaiji temple, blend into or frame the garden elements, creating an attractive visual continuity.
Kyoto temple known for distinctive five-tiered wooden pagoda
Kofukuji Temple is a Buddhist temple marked by a distinctive five-tiered pagoda - the second tallest in Japan, rising over 50 meters high. Also on the temple grounds is the National Treasure Museum, housing famous Buddhist statues distinctly cherished as Cultural Properties. The two distinctive octagonal pagodas lend an original interest, and the surrounding trees and gardens add a splash of seasonal color throughout the year. Constructed by the influential Fujiwara family during the Heian period, Kofukuji was once part of powerful and exclusive set of Buddhist sites known as the Seven Great Temples of Nara.
Popular Nara Shopping arcade with a myriad of family-owned shops
Perhaps the most popular shopping arcade in Nara, Higashimuki Shopping Street is a long shopping center lane in the middle of Nara. This shopping street sells everything from local arts and crafts, to traditional clothes and items, to high-quality green tea and rice crackers, to Nara-specific souvenirs. Many of the shops are well- established family-run buisnesses that have been there for years, and the arcade roof makes going there a pleasure even on a rainy day.
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.
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.
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.
Great view of the Fuji Five Lakes area below
Mt. Fuji is a widely-known symbol of Japan. At 3,773 meters, Mount Fuji is Japan’s tallest mountain. “Station (gome)” is the unit representing one tenth of the length from the trail entrance to the top.The fifth station Mt. Fuji is the fifth point from the base at the height of 2,305 meter. Being the end of the Fuji Subaru Line toll road and the highest point that general cars can reach. From the observatory you can see below Komitake Shrine, an ancient place for prayer that has been visited by worshippers and disciplinant, and Yamanaka-ko, the largest lake among the five Fuji lakes.
Excellent museum about the kimono artist
The Kubota Itchiku Art Museum is located on the north coast of Lake Kawaguchiko near Mount Fuji. This museum showcases the works of the late Kubota Itchiku, a famous Japanese kimono artist. This museum showcases several of Kubota Itchiku’s kimono art, which are based on themes of nature, the seasons, and the cosmos.
Hakone is located in Kanagawa Prefecture and is only about two hours away from Tokyo. Hakone is park of Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park and is a popular destination for tourist. Hakone is famous in Japan for its hot springs and beautiful natural views. Visitors can go to the many hot spring resorts to relax and unwind or visit the many museums and shrines available. Guests that would appreciate nature more could go to the parks and trails to experience the natural beauty.
Famous for having Mount Fuji in the background and the lake as its inspirational canvas
Lake Ashinoko along with Mount Fuji in the background is the proud symbol of Hakone. One of the best views with the lake and Mount Fuji could be seen from one of the many sightseeing boats. There are a few boat cruises available, but the main two are ran by Hakone Sightseeing Boats and Izuhakone Sightseeing Boats. The best time to come is during the cherry blossom season and when the autumn colors are at its peak.
Exhibiting sculptures and paintings
The Hakone Open Air Museum is located near Chokoku No Mori Station in Hakone. There are over than one thousand pieces of art featured at this museum that will keep visitors busy besides the breathtaking views. The museum features various sculptures with beautiful views of the surrounding area of Hakone. The museum also features indoor galleries of paintings, sculptures, ceramic art, and other artistic creations.
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.
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.
Idyllic garden landscape depicting scenes from famous poems
Easily one of Tokyo's best gardens, Rikugien is a spacious and idyllic, with a name that means "Garden of Six Principles of Poetry". Over three centuries old, the garden's design created 88 scenes from traditional Japanese and Chinese poetry, with the poems in indicated in stone around the park. Though only a few of these stones survive, all the poetic beauty of the landscape may still be admired in any season, with the overall potential of the composition flaring to crimson capacity every autumn.
Luxurious Tokyo Hotel with 400-year old samurai garden
The New Otani Hotel has been around since the Tokyo Summer Olympics in 1964, but the Japanese garden near it is far older, having been the former private garden of various samurai officials for the past 400 years. This tranquil little garden is characterized by narrow strolling walks bordered by dense hedges and other foliage, a broad variety of flowers, charming little scarlet bridges, and small ponds with bright koi swimming through their shallows.
Former private garden walk of the Imperial family, including ruins of Tokugawa Shogun's castle
The garden connected to the Imperial Palace is one the most beautiful in the cty, and was once the private gardens of the Imperial Family. The only part of the Inner Palace open for public enjoyment, the grounds includes some stone walls and tower foundations of Edo Castle - former home of the Tokugawa Shogun, as well as the Suwano Teahouse, and the Museum of Imperial Collections. Within the garden areas, wide variety of trees and flowers planted there provide visitors with scenes of colorful beauty in any season, including not only seasonal favorites like cherry, plum, or maple trees, but species of flowers from all across Japan.
Visit a famous Japanese market filled with fresh fish and agricultural products, plus delicious dishes
The outer Tsukiji Fish Market offers a variety of freshly prepared food products and ingredients. Travel in between the different stores and taste a few of their dishes, freshly prepared with some of the best ingredients.
Former Imperial detached palace and landscape garden near Tokyo Bay
Hama Rikyu Garden is a landscape garden just beside Tokyo Bay along the Sumida River. The garden includes flower gardens and trees that can be enjoyed year-round. In addition are numerous traditional buildings, including a teahouse, that hearken back to the days when this garden was part of a detached palace for the Imperial family. One of the most impressive features of Hama Rikyu are the garden saltwater ponds, which change level along with the tides. The peaceful atmosphere found in the garden is a refreshing break from the bustling cityscape visible just across the bay.
Leisurely cruise down Tokyo's Sumida River with picturesque city and nature views
The Sumida suijo-bus (or "water bus"), while not as quick as the trains, is the best way to see Sumida River and Tokyo Bay up close, as well as scenic views of Tokyo. The leisurely boat travels between 12 locations on its voyage, including Asakusa, Hamarikyu Garden, Odaiba Seaside Park, and Tokyo Big Sight. It offers travelers a perfect opportunity to relax, breath in fresh sea air, and enjoy Tokyo from a different perspective.
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.
Osaka (Day 1)
Western Style Accommodation
Imperial Hotel Osaka offers the atmosphere of flowers, foliage, and water highlighting its landscape. It is designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, located in the Osaka Amenity Park overlooking Kema Sakuranomiya Park.
Tamatsukuri Onsen (Day 2 & Day 3)
Japanese Style Accommodation
Kasuien Minami is home to a breathtaking garden which ranks highly among 900 Japanese gardens as featured in the 2014 American publication, The Journal of Japanese Gardening. Put on a kimono and enjoy a foot bath or hand bath while gazing out onto this beautiful, must-see garden.
Takamatsu (Day 4)
Western Style Accommodation
JR Hotel Clement Takamatsu is the suitable hotel in scale and grade as the gate in city Takamatsu, Shikoku's central city. It is the real city hotel that is regarded as the symbol of Takamatsu. The guestrooms command a splendid view of Seto Inland Sea and Takamatsu City. It will meet the needs of new age, internationalization and information-oriented society.
Kobe (Day 5)
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.
Kyoto (Day 6, Day 7, Day 8, Day 9 & Day 10)
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.
Hakone (Day 11)
Japanese/Western Style Accommodation
Remodeled in April, 2014, Laforest Hakone Gora Onsen Yunosumi is a sophisticated modern Japanese inn, located in a secluded area. The inn is ideal for business and leisure travelers and features meeting rooms, banquet halls, and a restaurant. Guests can enjoy a relaxing soak in the hot spring bath while gazing at the surrounding nature. Creative cuisine where Japanese cuisine meets Western cuisine is made with fresh ingredients. Guest rooms are modern Japanese- Western-style rooms.
Tokyo (Day 12 & Day 13)
Western Style Accommodation
Surrounded by a gorgeous ten-acre Japanese garden, with the bright lights of Tokyo glimmering nearby, the Hotel New Otani Tokyo has achieved a zen-like balance between traditional beauty and stylish modernity. Each room is appointed with plush linens, the most modern technological accessories, and floor-to-ceiling windows which provide you with breathtaking views of the lush grounds.
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.