Travel Dates: November 15, 2018 to February 15, 2019
Book this vacation by July 31, 2018 to avail a special price of USD $ 11,457 (option 1) or USD $ 13,619 (option 2), i.e. USD $ 294 (option 1) or USD $ 349 (option 2) per person off this trip price.

This special discovery tour of Japan is brimming with hidden delights and off the beaten track experiences. Soak in the traditional spirituality of Nikko and uncover the best kept secrets of Tokyo as you amble through ancient neighborhoods. Have a local expert explain the art of sake-making and consumption, and take tea breaks in spectacular lesser-known gardens. From Kanazawa, set out for the picturesque Shogaya River Valley where the age-old secrets of UNESCO World Heritage site Shirakawa-gō are unveiled, or hike past ancestral temples in mountainous Hida, near Takayama, with a trained expert for company or in complete solitude if you prefer. In Nagano, it’s monkey business at its best with cheeky snow monkeys and curious Macaques to keep you company. Completely tailor-made to your interests and preferences, this private Japan tour is your trip of a lifetime!



Itinerary Summary

DayPlaceHighlightsHotel Options
1 - 5TokyoImperial Palace, Meiji Shrine, River cruise to AsakusaPark Hotel Tokyo, Conrad Tokyo
5 - 8KyotoFushimi Inari Shrine, Buddha statue of Nara, Geisha district, Day trip to Uji tea plantationsGranvia Kyoto, Hyatt Regency Kyoto
8 - 10KanazawaKenrokuen: Japan’s most celebrated landscape garden, Higashi Chaya district (where Geisha’s perform tea ceremonies), Samurai districtKanazawa Sainoniwa Hotel, Tokyu Kanazawa Hotel
10 - 12TakayamaTakayama Festival (held twice a year) – including the festival floats, Old town, Morning marketsHoshokaku Takayama, Honjin Hiranoya Bekkan
12 - 14NaganoJigokudani Yaen-Koen (Snow Monkey Park), Zenkoji Temple, Togakushi ShrineMetropolitan Nagano
14 - 16KaruizawaPedestrian shopping strip, Karuizawa Museum Of Modern Art, Outdoor activities and relaxationKaruizawa Marriott Hotel
16 - 16TokyoImperial Palace, Meiji Shrine, River cruise to Asakusa

Ideal For

  • Heritage
  • Landscape
  • Wine & Food
Travel Consultant Melina

Talk to us anytime1 888 263 2574

Itinerary Details

Day 1 - 5

International Arrival

Shared transfer from Narita Airport to Tokyo Hotel


4 Days

Tokyo is a city like no other! Defined by cutting-edge design, quirky creativity and its own unique ancient culture, the city defines the best of both worlds.

Included Activities

Highlights Of Tokyo
Discover one of the fascinating global cities of our times on this day tour, accompanied by your local guide. Start off with a visit to Meiji Shrine, dedicated to the spirit of Emperor Meiji and a popular place for traditional ceremonies. From your spiritual plane, you can now return to the material world with a stroll down the elegant tree-lined avenue of Omotesando – Tokyo’s shopping district. This is the city’s fashion equivalent to the Avenue des Champs-Élysées in Paris! Having had your fill of global fashion, you can cut across town to soak in the old-world atmosphere of Asakusa. Walk down to Tokyo’s oldest temple, Sensoji, before losing yourself in the delightful shopping street of Nakamise. Shop for souvenirs and sample traditional refreshments. Wind up your day with a peaceful boat ride along the lovely Sumida River, passing under a dozen bridges to reach Hamarikyu Garden. This is an anachronistic little oasis of tranquillity fringed by towering skyscrapers. Sip on steaming matcha at a genteel Japanese tea house, as you contemplate the beauty all around. (Full Day; Please wear comfortable shoes).

Nikko World Heritage Excursion
A two-hour train journey from Tokyo brings you to Nikko National Park where you will visit the Toshogu Shrine complex. A UNESCO World Heritage site, Toshogu Shrine was originally built as a mausoleum for the founder of Tokugawa Shogunate which held sway over Japan for more than 250 years! Thronged by local pilgrims and foreign visitors alike, this lavish complex boasts several Buddhist and Shinto structures set amid a lush green forest. This is the ideal opportunity to embrace the history of Toshogu as the local guides share colorful tales. Continue on to Tamozawa Imperial Villa, which is a national cultural treasure and spans architectural styles across three periods of Japanese history – Edo, Meiji and Taisho. Your excursion concludes with a visit to a beautiful botanical garden. (Full Day; Travel time to Activity: 1.5 hrs each way; Activity Duration: 7 hrs; Fitness level: Moderate; Please note that Tamozawa Villa is closed on Tuesdays; Please wear comfortable walking shoes.)

Kamakura Excursion From Tokyo
A one hour train ride away from Tokyo, the historical city of Kamakura exudes a distinct charm. Steeped in remnants of the past, this prominent resort town is frequented by local and foreign visitors alike. Several Buddhist Zen temples and Shinto shrines dot the entire town. Your full day Kamakura trip covers some of the most iconic temples in Japan, such as Kotokuin Temple, Hasedera Temple and the Tsurugaoka Hachimangu shrine, among many others. Known as the ‘Kyoto of Eastern Japan’, Kamakura’s white sandy beaches are especially inviting in the summer months. Make your trip expecially memorable by shopping for mementoes in the local market, and sampling eclectic food served up by street vendors. (Full day; Duration: 8 hours; Includes 1 hr return train ride; Please wear comfortable walking shoes)

Hotel Options
Park Hotel Tokyo – Opt 1
RoomCity Room - City View
Conrad Tokyo – Opt 2
RoomCity Room
Day 5 - 8

Private Transfer from Hotel to Train Station

Shinkansen Train from Tokyo to Kyoto (2.5 hrs)

Private Transfer from Train Station to Hotel


3 Days

Kyoto is to be seen to be believed. With no less than 17 UNESCO World Heritage sites, the city encapsulates traditional Japanese culture and tradition.

Included Activities

Highlights Of Kyoto
Revel in the traditional sights, smells and sounds of feudal Japan’s best preserved city, in the company of your local guide. Visit the many UNESCO World Heritage sites dotting Kyoto, beginning with the Kinkakuji Temple, originally built for the Shogun. At his request, the Shogun’s villa was converted into a Buddhist Temple after his death. Discover the magnificent 15th century Nijo Castle with its splendidly preserved medieval gardens from Japan’s Edo period. Admire the many details and typical architectural features of the old monument, before walking down to the bustling Nishiki Market. Eat your heart out at this food street, also known as ‘Kyoto’s Kitchen’, lined with innumerable restaurants and traditional eating houses! Try out typical local delicacies such as pickles, dried fish and sushi. (Full Day; Private activity & Public transport; Duration: 8 hrs. Please wear comfortable walking shoes).

Kyoto Fushimi & Sake Brewery Excursion
Head by train or car to Fushimi, located in th suburbs of Kyoto, with a local guide. Fushimi is alive with historical charm. Visit the spectacular Fushimi Inari Shrine, which is renowned due to its 10,000 red Tori Gates that line a path up a winding trail to a mountaintop temple, and was featured in the noteworthy movie, ‘Memoirs of a Geisha’. All that walking will allow you to fully appreciate a visit to a traditional sake brewery. Learn about the finer points of crafting Japan’s national drink as you tour the brewery with an expert. Sample an entire selection of five types of sake! We highly recommend you eat before the sake tasting. If you wish, you can purchase your own sake at the brewery store so that you have a liquid memento of your Japan adventure! (Half Day, Time of the day: Morning/Afternoon; Duration: 4 hrs; Private activity; Public transfers; Travel Time: Travel time: 15 minutes from Kyoto; Shared activity in group of max. 7 people. Sake tasting only permitted for those aged 20 years and above; Fitness Level: Moderate; Please wear comfortable shoes)

Uji Tea Experience
Compact but captivating, Uji is famous for its high quality green tea. Located a short distance from Kyoto by train, take a half day tour of this historical city, which offers great sightseeing experiences. More importantly, you will love sipping delicious tea at the traditional tea ceremony conducted in Uji’s many teahouses. Of great cultural significance, some of the finest Japanese teas are produced in the city. With your guide as translator, discover the intricacies of kneading and drying tea leaves from local experts. Afterwards, stroll down Uji’s scenic streets to sample tea from local vendors. Ancient temples and marvelous gardens add to the charm of this picturesque destination. Enjoy a midday meal at one of several Japanese restaurants. You may wish to take back some exquisite green tea as a memento, before taking the train back to Kyoto! (Half day; Group Activity of up to 5 people; Includes a 20 minute return train ride from Kyoto to Uji)

Excursion To Nara
One of Japan’s most rewarding destinations, consider Nara for a half day trip from Kyoto. History aficionados will have an inspiring time exploring the cultural legacy of the city. Nara takes sightseeing to an exciting new level, thanks to the presence of eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Given the compact size of the city, you can easily cover many popular attractions in half a day. Start with the impressive sight of Daibutsu (the Great Buddha). Proceed to catch glimpses of the marvelous Todai-ji Temple Complex and Kasuga Shrine. Second only to Kyoto’s repository of important ancient landmarks, Nara offers many enchanting experiences, such as feeding the wild deer that roam around in the Nara Park. Stop by for a Japanese-Western-style buffet, or indulge in some souvenir shopping before you head back to the hotel. (Half Day; Private activity & Public transport; Duration: 5 hrs. Please bring comfortable shoes. Please don’t carry food items in your bag.)

Hotel Options
Granvia Kyoto – Opt 1
RoomStandard Room with View
RoomGuest Room
Day 8 - 10

Private Transfer from Hotel to Train Station

Train from Kyoto to Kanazawa (2 hrs)

Private Transfer from Station to Hotel


2 Days

Kanazawa is perhaps best known for its 17th century castle garden Kenroku-en. It is equally well known as the neighbor of the quintessential Japanese feudal fortress, Kanazawa Castle.

Included Activities

Shirakawa-Gō Village Excursion
Discover the UNESCO World Heritage site of Shirakawa-gō and its neighboring Gokayama region on this full day excursion. Set along the Shogawa River Valley among remote mountains stretching from Gifu to the Toyama Prefectures, this picturesque region of Japan is to be seen to be believed. Visit the traditional gassho-zukuri (vernacular farmhouses), some of which are over 250 years old! In Japanese, the term “Gassho-zukuri” means, ‘constructed like hands in prayer’, as the steep thatched roofs of these farmhouses resemble the hands of Buddhist monks pressed together in prayer. Admire the centuries-old architectural style of these farmhouses, developed over many generations. They were first designed to withstand the heavy snow fall of the bitter winters that this winter wonderland region faces. The roofs, constructed without nails, also provided farmers with a large attic space where silkworms could be cultivated.

Highlights Of Kanazawa
Discover traditional Japanese culture during your full day tour of Kanazawa. Start off at Kanazawa’s best known 17th century castle garden—Kenroku-en. Admire the garden as well as the beauty of its equally well known neighbor, the quintessential Japanese feudal fortress, Kanazawa Castle. Catch demonstrations of the centuries-old Yuzen silk painting technique at the Kaga Yuzen Kaikan nearby, before heading off to Nagamachi Samurai District. Drop by a traditional Nomura Samurai House, complete with a tea ceremony room, an interior courtyard garden and artefacts from the Edo period. Also discover the Higashi Chaya District, which is Kanazawa’s primary geisha district. Many of the buildings along the central street now house cafés and shops. One such shop sells gold leaf products, a specialty of Kanazawa, and displays a kura warehouse-style room completely covered in gold leaf! End a perfect day with a visit to the Shima teahouse for a refreshing cup of green tea. (Full day; Private Activity & Transfers; Fitness level: Easy; Please wear comfortable walking shoes)

Kanazawa Gold Leaf Craft Experience
Create a golden memory of your visit to Kanazawa with this unusual and relaxing experience. Kanazawa is synonymous with gold leaf work and famous for its gold leaf artifacts Visit a gold leaf workshop, where you can try your hand at decorating a small lacquer plate, or a pair of chopsticks with wafer-thin, sparkling leaves of gold! You will get to keep your best creations of this memorable activity, and your teachers will ensure you have instructions for care and storage of these delicate mementos. (Half Day; Private Activity & Transfers; Duration: 4 hrs; Fitness level: Easy)

Hotel Options
RoomStandard Room
RoomStandard Room
Day 10 - 12

Private Transfer from Hotel to Station

Bus from Kanazawa to Takayama (140 km, 2.5 hrs)

Private Transfer from Station to Hotel


2 Days

Located in the heart of the Japanese Alps, Takayama is an excellent option for those seeking a countryside jaunt.

Included Activities

Highlights Of Takayama
Discover the traditional Japanese charms of Takayama on this full day tour. Start off with a visit to the local Miyagawa Market, set along the lovely Miyagawa River in the old town. Stroll along the market stalls selling local crafts and farm produce, pickles and spices. Walk down to the well preserved, 300 year old San-machi Suji district, the traditional home of Takayama merchants and sake brewers with their inns, shops and old taverns that hold generations of history. The Hida Region around Takayama was controlled by the Tokugawa Shogunate in the 1700s due to its valuable timber resources. Visit the Takayama Jinya, now a museum, which served as a local government center until 1969. Stop at a traditional sake brewery and enjoy a tasting of Japan’s national tipple – Takayama’s sake is the most renowned in Japan! Drop by the Matsuri-no Mori Museum to view the magnificent floats preserved from the bi-annual Takayama Festival. Your local guide will explain the traditions and symbolism attached to this famous Japanese festival. (Full Day; Please wear comfortable walking shoes)

Hotel Options
RoomJapanese Room 10 Tatami Mat River View
MealsHalf Board (Breakfast & Dinner)
Day 12 - 14

Private Transfer from Hotel to Station

Train from Takayama to Nagano via Toyama (3h)


2 Days

Nagano is the capital city of Nagano Prefecture, and is a treasure trove of nature, history and culture. Surrounded on all four sides by tall mountains, it is also referred to as ‘The Roof of Japan.’ Breathtaking mountains make Nagano a hiker’s delight.

Included Activities

Visit To Jigokudani Yaen-Koen (Snow Monkey Park)
Take a refreshing day trip to Jigokudani Yaen-Koen – Snow Monkey Park – to watch the fascinating Japanese Macaques in their natural habitat. Walk through a lovely pine tree forest to reach the Park. ‘Jigokudani’, which literally means ‘Hell’s Valley’ in Japanese, is so called because of the boiling hot springs that bubble and steam up from the frozen landscape. Watch the Park’s resident snow monkeys as they soak and bathe in the hot waters in large groups. Completely nonchalant to the presence of human guests, it is a great treat to witness them interacting with one another. Although winter is the best season to spot large groups of Macaques, it is possible to encounter them at the park all year round. If you’re lucky, you could even spot spiky haired baby macaques! In the afternoon, you will pay a visit to the nearby charming town of Obuse, with traditional houses, stores and streets. Obuse is known for its delicious chestnuts and as the home of Hokusai, the famous painter and printmaker from Japan’s Edo period, and a visit to his museum here is a must. Over 100 houses in the town participate in an ‘Open Garden’ scheme. If you see this sign in front of the house, it means you can enter the property and enjoy the gardens, giving you a unique insight into Japanese houses. No visit to Obuse is complete without stopping in at the Masuichi sake brewery for a taste of their delicious sake made from the high quality local rice. (Full Day, Private car; Fitness Level: Moderate due to the steep walkways to reach the park; Please bring comfortable walking shoes in summer, and snow boots in winter, along with warm and waterproof clothing).

Highlights Of Nagano
Discover the beautiful highland town of Nagano on this half day tour. Energize your day with a spot of retail therapy along the Zenkoji Omotesando Shopping Street. Walk up to the majestic Zenkoji Temple in the center of town, and browse through the many charming artisanal shops selling traditional artefacts in the temple’s vicinity. Tuck into the delicious local dumplings (oyaki), which are stuffed with vegetables, fruits and sometimes even chocolates! The historic Zenkoji Temple has attracted pilgrims throughout the land for over a century. It is largely believed to be home to the first statue of Buddha ever brought to Japan. A replica of this original statue of the Buddha is presented to the public for a few weeks every six years. The next viewing opportunity will come around in 2021. Another magical experience hidden deep within the basement of the temple is finding the famed ‘key to paradise’. Devotees believe that finding and touching this key can grant you enlightenment. After a long and satisfying day of sightseeing, relish a delicious luncheon of delectable Soba noodles, a much-loved traditional Japanese dish. (Half Day; Public transfers with Pick up from and Drop off at hotel; Lunch Included; Please bring comfortable walking shoe, and socks for the temple visit)

Hotel Options
RoomStandard Room
Day 14 - 16

Shinkansen Train from Tokyo to Karuizawa (30 mins)

Hotel transfer from Karuizawa Station to Hotel


2 Days

Karuizawa is a classy resort town, an hour away from Tokyo by the bullet train. You can take your pick among several chic vacation houses and luxury hotels for a relaxed stay.

Included Activities

Japanese Hot Spring Baths
When in Japan, you can hardly miss out on experiencing the traditional, hot spring water baths with their healing properties. Enjoy the complementary facility of taking an Onsen soak in your own private outdoor tub of natural hot spring waters. Feel all your stress melt away from your tired muscles. Make the best use of all the other traditional hot tub options available at the property, each bathtub with its own particular temperature and mineral combination. A sumptuous dinner, followed right after by a hot soak comes highly recommend by your hosts. As per tradition, these other hot tubs are gender-segregated, shared bath facilities.

Hotel Options
RoomModerate Room
Day 16 - 16

Hotel transfer from Karuizawa Station to Hotel

Shinkansen Train from Karuizawa to Tokyo (1 hr)

Private Transfer from Train Station to Hotel


0 Days

Tokyo is a city like no other! Defined by cutting-edge design, quirky creativity and its own unique ancient culture, the city defines the best of both worlds.

International Departure

 Price & Inclusions

  • Option 1 From $ 11,751 /person
  • Option 2 From $ 13,968 /person

Prices are in USD and exclude international flights. This trip price is based on low season rates for accommodation and other applicable services, and may change depending on availability, currency fluctuations and number of people traveling together. For high season prices, please contact us with your exact travel dates and preferences.

Price Includes

  • Accommodation in one double room for 16 days / 15 nights
  • Meals as indicated
  • The following train journeys in the highest class available :
    • Tokyo – Kyoto (Shinkansen Train – Standard Class)
    • Kyoto – Kanazawa 2 h (Train – Standard Class)
    • Takayama – Nagano via Toyama (Train – Standard Class)
    • Nagano – Karuizawa (Shinkansen Train- Standard Class)
    • Karuizawa -Tokyo (Shinkansen Train – Standard Class)
  • All activities as listed :
    • Tokyo: Highlights of Tokyo
    • Tokyo: Nikko World Heritage Excursion
    • Tokyo: Kamakura Excursion from Tokyo
    • Kyoto: Highlights of Kyoto
    • Kyoto: Kyoto Fushimi & Sake Brewery Excursion
    • Kyoto: Uji Tea Experience
    • Kyoto: Excursion to Nara
    • Kanazawa: Shirakawa-gō Village Excursion
    • Kanazawa: Highlights of Kanazawa
    • Kanazawa: Kanazawa Gold Leaf Craft Experience
    • Takayama: Highlights of Takayama
    • Nagano: Visit to Jigokudani Yaen-Koen (Snow Monkey Park)
    • Nagano: Highlights of Nagano
    • Karuizawa: Onsen: Japanese Hot Spring Baths
  • All airport and hotel transfers
  • A high-quality air conditioned, safety-tested vehicle with an English-speaking Chauffeur Guide except during your stay at the beach
  • All activities specified in the itinerary, including entrance fees, when accompanied by our tour guide
  • Your Trip Coordinator: a 24/7 point of contact, supporting you during your trip
  • Welcome kit including all important documents and information regarding your itinerary
  • Insolvency insurance
  • Fees and taxes

Book this vacation by July 31, 2018 to avail a special price of USD $ 11,457 (option 1) or USD $ 13,619 (option 2), i.e. USD $ 294 (option 1) or USD $ 349 (option 2) per person off this trip price.

Inquire Now
Hidden Jewels of Japan

16 days $ 11,751 / person

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