Venture off the beaten path on this Japan vacation! Not on any typical tourist trail, enjoy stunning landscapes including the Japanese Alps, and adventure sports at convenient bases in Central Japan. Delve deep into Japan’s eclectic art, food and culture scene – a mix of both traditional and modern – in destinations such as cosmopolitan Fukuoka, whimsical Naoshima and commercial Osaka.
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.
Tokyo’s Finest By Day Discover Tokyo with your local guide, stopping by some of its best known landmarks. The Asakusa area, with its many traditional buildings standing alongside the new, is your first stop. Witness the Sensoji Buddhist temple, believed to be Tokyo’s oldest. Discover the temple and the adjacent Nakamise street as well, where you will find rows of old shops selling food and curios of all kinds. After this you will be in for a novel experience as you travel by the Tokyo Water Bus on the Sumidagawa (meaning Sumida River), to reach the Hamarikyu Garden. Walk around the beautiful Edo-era garden and stop for some matcha (powdered green) tea and sweets at the charming little tea house within its precincts. Once done with the refreshments, make your way to the famous Meiji shrine, dedicated to the spirit of Emperor Meiji and also a popular wedding venue. End your tour at dusk with a stroll around the Omotesando shopping street, a tree-lined boulevard with contemporary architecture and fashionable stores stocking some of the world’s finest brands. (Full Day; Private Activity; Transfers by public transport; Meal included: Tea and sweets; Fitness Level: Moderate)
Day Out at Mt Fuji National Park Set out to explore the Hakone-Fuji National Park, a vast area encompassing Mt Fuji, Lake Ashinoko, and several other landmarks. The sheer variety of geographical features found in the area – including hot water springs, volcanic islands, lakes and mountainous areas – makes it a unique destination for travellers. Accompanied by a local guide, take the Romancecar express train at Tokyo’s Shinjuku Station to reach Hakone in 90 minutes. At the access point to the park, you could take the cable car up Mt Owakudani – said to be the world’s second longest cable car. Or you could use the so-called “pirate” ships that criss-cross Lake Ashinoko. Your third option would be to go on the Hakone Tozan “switchback” train through the mountains. Whichever you use, rest assured of witnessing some spectacular sights in this park full of nature’s marvels. (Full Day; Private Activity; Transfers by public transport; Fitness Level: Moderate).
Matsumoto is a cheerful getaway destination nestled in the Nagano Prefecture of Central Japan. Amble into a historic city set against a backdrop of towering, snow-capped Japanese Alps!
The Real Wasabi Tour At Daio Wasabi Farm Set off from Matsumoto to explore one of the country’s largest wasabi farms in picturesque Azumino at the foothills of the Japanese Alps. Extremely difficult to cultivate, the wasabi plant has to be nurtured in ideal conditions for it to retain its authentic taste. Listen to your guide explain how to distinguish real wasabi from what is largely passed off as wasabi in sushi restaurants and supermarkets! Stroll across the numerous walking trails through the fields as you marvel at the meticulous manner in which the farm is irrigated with streams of pristine water flowing down from the mountains. Enjoy a leisurely lunch featuring wasabi dishes at the restaurant on the premises. Browse through the shops at the farm which display a variety of wasabi products including ice-cream! (Full Day; Time of Day: Morning; Fixed Time; Duration: 6 hrs; Private Activity; Meal Included; Fitness Level: Moderate; Please note that cycling to the farm on a hired bike is an option that is available to you except during winter.)
Discover Nagoya, the entertainment capital of Aichi Prefecture in central Honshu. Tracing its history as a castle town through the Edo Period, this bustling metropolis boasts the stunning Nagoya Castle nestled amid picturesque gardens.
Nagoya Discovery Accompanied by a local guide, enjoy the sights, sounds and culinary delights of Nagoya. First, visit the reconstructed Osu Kannon Temple, which houses the famed Kannon statue carved by Kobo Daishi, a prominent Japanese monk. Home to thousands of Japanese and Chinese religious texts, its Shinpukuji library includes several historical and national treasures. Explore the bustling neighborhood around, be it the covered shopping district selling ceramics, textiles, souvenirs, and vintage artifacts, or the flea market that happens on the temple grounds twice a month. Take a break for refreshments and sample an assortment of Nagoya Meshi dishes at a cafe housed in a traditional Japanese residence. Next up, head to the Tokugawa Art Museum that showcases former feudal treasures including costumes, utensils, literature, noh masks, and samurai swords! Drop by the beautifully restored Tokugawa-en ornamental gardens next door that feature a central pond, tea houses, bridges, and a handful of intimate walking trails flanked by botanicals such as peonies and irises. (Half Day; Time: 0930 or 1300 hrs; Duration: 4 hrs; Private Activity & Public Transfer; Fitness Level: Moderate; Notes: Closed on Mondays)
Fukuoka is a strategic harbor city anchored on Kyushu island in southern Japan. Historically, part of marine trade routes since the 13th century, discover a wealthy, cosmopolitan metropolis.
Fukuoka’s Traditions and Modernity Explored Discover the largest city of the Kyūshū archipelago! With a trading history that goes back centuries, the modern city of Fukuoka straddles the old castle town on the west and the Hakata ward on the east of the Naka-gawa. Stroll along the seaside and visit Fukuoka Tower – the city’s tallest building, it offers panoramic views of beautiful Fukuoka and Hakata Bay from the observation deck. Hop over to the city center and visit Ohori Park, part of which once served as a moat for the old Fukuoka Castle. Afterwards, drop by the open-air museum of Hakata Machiya Furusato Kan to learn where you will learn about the history of this charming city. Pay a visit to the ancient Kushida Shrine with its striking Natural National Treasures: an enormous torii gate and ginkgo tree. Let your hair down at Tenjin, the city’s exciting nightlife destination, before calling it a day. (Full Day; Fitness Level: Moderate; Please bring comfortable walking shoes).
On The Ramen Trail In Fukuoka Try out the simple yet hearty culinary delights that Fukuoka is famous for! Accompanied by your expert guide, go hunting for Fukuoka’s iconic Yatai or open-air food stands that typically accommodate a handful of hungry patrons in a congenial outdoor setting. Although the city boasts more than a hundred such Yatai that serve a range of delicious ramen or noodle bowls, the best are to be found on Nakasu Island, right in the heart of the city. Stroll along the waterfront lined with long rows of Yatai, and relish a hearty bowl of Fukuoka’s famous tonkotsu ramen from any of the stalls. (Time of Day: Evening; Duration: 2.5 hrs; Private Activity & Transfer; Meal included: A bowl of ramen and a drink; Fitness Level: Moderate; Please note that you may have to wait in line for seats as the stalls are small and popular, and do not accept reservations).
Hiroshima evokes powerful images and emotions attached to its war-torn past. Yet today, Hiroshima has emerged as a symbol of peace, beauty, and hope.
Peace Memorial Tour Drive to the center of Hiroshima by ferry and public transport. Appreciate the resilient spirit of the Japanese people during your day trip to the Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima. While the visit helps you relive one of mankind’s darkest hour, the park also stands as a symbol of the hope that underlines the indomitable spirit of the human race to this day. Ground zero of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, is dedicated to all the lives lost in the Second World War. Stroll through the park and discover the many memorials, monuments and statues, leading up to a museum. You can also walk up to the 17th century Shukkeien Garden, or “”shrunken-scenery garden””, where valleys, mountains, and forests are landscaped in miniature form. Enjoy the traditional aesthetics of this Japanese garden, while relaxing over fragrant cups of tea at one of the charming traditional tea houses that surround the central water body. (Half Day; Fitness Level: Easy; Some guests can find the historic representations upsetting, Tea/sweets to paid on spot from guests)
Highlights Of Okayama Discover the feudal history of Okayama, along with its quintessential Japanese culture and traditions during this half day tour. Admire the spellbinding beauty of Korakuen Garden that was commissioned by a feudal lord in 1700. This circuit-style Japanese garden includes a broad lawn, and is part of Japan’s top three gardens and has also been awarded the highest, three-star rating by the Michelin Green Guide. Walk over to the impressive black tower of Okayama Castle next door. This modern reconstruction showcases the history of Okayama’s Ikeda feudal family. (Half Day; Fitness Level: Easy; Please bring comfortable walking shoes).
Renowned for a magnificent collection of contemporary art, Naoshima is home to the Chichu Art Museum, Lee Ufan Museum, and Benesse House, all designed by the famed Japanese architect Tadao Ando.
An Art Lover’s Guide To Naoshima Spend a day exploring Naoshima island, home to numerous art galleries, art installations, outdoor sculptures, and the country’s vibrant creative community. Visit the famous Art House Project in Honmura, a collection of abandoned houses, workshops, a temple and a shrine that have been converted into art installations and galleries for showcasing the contemporary creations of artists from Japan and overseas. Strewn across Honmura on the island’s eastern coast, these art houses effortlessly blend into the traditional landscape of the old Japanese fishing town and its beautiful natural surroundings. Also visit the Chichu Art Museum for its modern art, as well as the Benesse House Museum, before returning to your hotel. (Full Day; Time of Day: Morning; Duration: 8 hrs; Private Activity & Public Transfer; Fitness Level: Moderate; Please note that this activity is not available on Mondays).
Osaka is third largest city of Japan and has been the home of traders and merchants. It is also well-known for Japan’s oldest temple, the Shinto Sumiyoshi-taisha, and the majestic 16th century Osaka Castle.
Osaka Evening Street Food Trail Eat your heart out on this evening food trail at Osaka’s street food paradise – Dotonbori – in the company of your local guide. This pedestrian-only food street in the boisterous Namba District, is lined with causal eateries and hole-in-the-wall establishments, dishing out local favorites and delicious Kansai delicacies. Cross the Dotonbori Bridge and settle down to the joys of sampling delectable takoyaki dumplings (or “octopus balls” as they are more popularly called) and kushikatsu (skewered meat and vegetables). All of which can be washed down with cups of tea. The experience is made richer by the cultural explanations offered by your guide. All in all, this is a most satisfying evening spent out on the town! (Half Day, Evening Tour; Fitness Level: Easy; Meal included: Street food samplings; Please inform your guide about any food allergies and strict dietary restrictions in advance).
Highlights Of Osaka Explore the charms of Osaka on this full day tour, beginning with the majestic 16th century reconstructed Osaka Castle. Apart from its importance in the history of Japan, it also serves as a museum tracing Osaka’s history through the centuries. Head onward to the city’s former pleasure district of Dotonbori, which has now transformed into a street food mecca where you can feast on delicious takoyaki (octopus) dumplings. Afterward, walk down to the Kamigata Ukiyoe Museum where you can admire a curated collection of 18th-century Japanese prints, and create your own woodblock prints. End this perfect day out with a breathtaking view of the city’s skyline, as captured in your mind’s eye from the iconic Umeda Sky Building in the Kita District. Walk up to the ‘Indoor Observatory’ on the 40th floor for the best views. (Full Day; Fitness Level: Easy; Kamigata Ukiyoe Museum is closed on Mondays; Please wear comfortable walking shoes).
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.
Accommodation in one double room for 16 days / 15 nights
Meals as indicated
The following train journeys in the highest class available :
Tokyo – Matsumoto (Train-Standard Class)
Matsumoto – Nagoya (Train-Standard Class)
Nagoya – Hakata Fukuoka (Shinkansen Train – Standard Class)
Hakata Fukuoka – Hiroshima (Shinkansen Train – Green Class)
Hiroshima – Okayama (Shinkansen Train – Standard Class)
Okayama – Shin Osaka (Shinkansen Train – Standard Class)
All activities as listed :
Tokyo: Tokyo’s Finest by Day
Tokyo: Day Out at Mt Fuji National Park
Matsumoto: The Real Wasabi Tour at Daio Wasabi Farm
Nagoya: Nagoya Discovery
Fukuoka: Fukuoka’s Traditions and Modernity Explored
Fukuoka: On the Ramen Trail in Fukuoka
Hiroshima: Peace Memorial Tour (Public transport with English Guide)
Okayama: Highlights of Okayama
Naoshima: An Art Lover’s Guide to Naoshima
Osaka: Osaka Evening Street Food Trail
Osaka: Highlights of Osaka
All activities specified in the itinerary, including entrance fees, when accompanied by our local, English-speaking tour guide
All airport, train station and hotel transfers as indicated. For private transfers our representative will meet you at the airport or the station and accompany you to your vehicle (and vice versa).
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