All Japan Tours 337 N.Vineyard Ave Suite 215, Ontario, CA 91764
Toll Free: 1-855-325-2726 (US/CANADA) Tel: 1-909-988-8885
Fax: 1-909-349-1736 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Land cost: from USD $4650.00
Single supplement: USD $560.00
Tour duration: 12 days 11 nights
Tokyo / Kiso-Hirasawa / Narai / Yabuhara / Kiso- Fukushima / Tsumago / Magome / Nara / Yoshino / Mt Koya / Kyoto
Tour cost includes:
• 11 nights in hotels and Japanese-style inns (Ryokan, Minshuku and Shukubo)
• All transportation between tour locations
• Forwarding of one item of luggage on 3 occasions
• Comprehensive escorted with AJT professional English speaking tour guide
• Breakfast everyday
• 7 dinners
Admission fees and activities
• All entry fees to sites, activities listed in the itinerary
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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.
Welcome to Tokyo!
Meet your guide and tour group at your hotel in Central Tokyo. Enjoy a welcome dinner at a local restaurant.
On our first full day in Japan, we will experience a walking tour of Tokyo. Start at Nihonbashi, which translates to ‘Japan Bridge’ and served as a focal point for all of Japan’s main roads. Afterwards, we will visit Ueno and the Tokyo National Museum to see exhibits that showcase Japan during the Edo era. During Edo, the Nakasendo Trail was used for travelers, as it connected Tokyo and Kyoto. If the museum is closed due to a national holiday, we will visit the Kappabashi district, famous for selling kitchenware, small plastic models of food, and other goods for restaurants. Continue on to Meiji Shrine and the very fashionable and fun Harajuku district. In the evening, you are free to select your own dinner. Whether you dine at local restaurants, fast-food, or seek suggestions from your tour guide, Tokyo has much to offer when it comes to cuisine.
Our expedition through rural Japan begins today, as
we journey from Tokyo to the remote Kiso valley. Over
the next three days we will walk from village to village,
lodging in small, family-run country inns such as
ryokan and minshuku. Travel to Kiso-Hirasawa, where
you may have the chance to see craftsmen who
specialize in locally produced lacquerware. You can
find several shops here offering stunningly crafted
lacquerware of all types. Head onwards from Kiso-
Hirasawa to Narai, where we will stay for the night.
Narai is a beautifully preserved post-town, which
marked the halfway point from Kyoto to Edo (Tokyo)
and was known as the most wealthy post town in Kiso
Valley. Enjoy your night stay at an atmospheric and
traditional Minshuku, a family-run guesthouse.
Walking distance: 2.5 km / 1.6 miles
Elevation gain: negligible ascent and descent
Time required: 1 hour
For our second day trekking the Nakasendo Trail, we
will walk from Narai to Yabuhara over the Torii Pass.
Yabuhara was another post town on the Nakasendo
Trail, but has become a city that lies off the beaten
path. Continue by train to Kiso-Fukushima, which
served as a checkpoint for merchants to have their
goods inspected. We will stay a night at this town at a
charming, yet traditional ryokan with its own natural
hot spring. Tonight, refresh yourselves and soak in the
indoor baths made of cypress wood or try the outdoor
baths surrounded by the deep forests.
Walking distance: 6.2 km / 3.9 miles
Elevation gain: 270 m / 885 feet ascent; 344 m / 1,128 feet descent
Time required: 3 hours
In the morning, we will transfer by train from Kiso-
Fukushima to Nojiri, then take a short taxi ride to the
Nenoue-Toge pass. We will walk along a stunning
portion of the Nakasendo Trail through small
settlements and rice fields and onwards to Tsumago.
Only a few decades ago, Tsumago was neglected and
falling apart, however, thanks to the efforts of the local
residents, it has been saved and restored. Today, cars
are not allowed on the main road and power lines are
hidden, making visitors feel as if they have gone back
in time. Many people see Tsumago as a living
museum; one which is still inhabited by local
residents. We will arrive in the afternoon, then check
in at our minshuku.
Walking distance: 14 km / 8.7 miles
Elevation gain: 344 m / 1,129 feet ascent; 723 m / 2,275 feet descent
Time required: 4.5 hours
From Tsumago, we will begin our day with a walk
towards Magome, our last stop in the Kiso Valley. The
trail from Tsumago to Magome is the most beautiful
and best-preserved portion of the Nakasendo Trail.
You will have the chance to see waterfalls, rice
paddies, and several small villages. Once we arrive in
Magome, you will have some time to eat lunch and
explore the many small shops along the charming
main street. Consider trying a popular snack, gohei-
mochi, which is skewered sticky rice covered in a
sweet paste of miso, sesame and walnuts. In the
afternoon, travel by regular train, then trasnfer onto a
shinkansen, or bullet train. We will head to Kyoto on
the bullet train, then continue on a connecting train to
Nara, where we will stay at a western-style hotel.
Walking distance: 8.3 km / 5.2 miles
Elevation gain: 430 m / 1,410 feet ascent; 326 m / 1069 feet of descent
Time required: 3 hours
Today, we will start by enjoying a guided walk through the city of Nara. Nara is home to many of Japan’s greatest cultural treasures and an astounding eight UNESCO World Heritage sites. We will visit two of these World Heritage sites, one of them being Kasuga Taisha and the other Todaiji Temple, located near the home to the thousand or more free-roaming deer at Nara Park. While strolling the park, you can purchase rice crackers to feed the deer before heading to Todaiji Temple. The temple is among the largest wooden buildings in the world, housing a 16-meter tall statue of Rushana Buddha in both bronze and gold. Make your way to Kasuga Taisha, Nara's most celebrated shrine and known for its many lanterns donated by worshipers. We will also have some free time to relax, visit a Japanese garden, or wander through the old town.
We depart Nara today and journey to the ridge-top village of Yoshino. As a UNESCO World Heritage site, Yoshino is one of the most famous places in all of Japan for viewing cherry blossoms in the spring. The flowering cherry trees were planted in four groves at different altitudes, allowing them to bloom at different times throughout spring. We will visit Yoshimizu Shrine, a shrine dedicated to historical figures such as Minamoto no Yoshitsune, Emperor Godaigo, and Toyotomi Hideyoshi. We will explore the area before heading to our comfortable ryokan for the night.
In the morning, we will take a scenic train ride to Mount Koya, located in the mountains of the Kii Peninsula and surrounded by towering cedar trees. Mount Koya has been a place of religious devotion and ceremony since the 9th century and is known as the center of Shingon Buddhism. Today, there are well over 100 monasteries, many of which have shukubo (temple lodgings). Tonight, we will stay in one of the marvelous temples and feast on shojin-ryori, a Buddhist vegetarian cuisine. Afterwards, we will visit Kongo-buji temple, built by Toyotomi Hideyoshi to commemorate the death of his mother. We will then take a walk through the Okuno-in Cemetery, considered one of the most sacred places in Japan. Tomorrow morning, there will be an opportunity to join the Buddhist morning prayer service.
We will begin our day by taking the train to Kyoto and checking into our accommodation that we will stay in tonight. While the capital of Japan today is Tokyo, Kyoto was once the capital for many centuries. Today, it is still thought of as Japan’s cultural heart due to the long history that the city holds. In the evening, we will enjoy an ample walk through Kyoto’s geisha district, Gion, where, if we are lucky, we may be able to see a geiko (geisha) or maiko (apprentice geisha) walk through the streets of the traditional former capital.
Today, we will have a half-day guided walking tour of this marvelous city. Our tour begins with a visit to the western end of the Nakasendo Trail, the Sanjo-ohashi Bridge. From there we will move onwards towards Nanzenji, an enchantingly tranquil Zen Buddhist temple with a history that goes back to the mid-13th century. We will walk along the Philosopher’s Path, a stone path through the northern part of Kyoto's Higashiyama district. You can find charming craft shops, cafes, even shrines and temples running next to the crystal-clear waters of the small canal, which is especially beautiful during early April when the cherry blossoms bloom. The path ends near the Silver Pavilion, also known in Japanese as ‘Ginkakuji’. In the afternoon, there will be down time for you to explore the area before joining a farewell dinner with your guide in the evening.
After breakfast, our tour officially ends. Your guide will be happy to offer assistance and advice for getting to the airport if you have a flight to catch, or for onward travel if you are extending your stay in Japan.