Discover the highlights of Northern and Southern Japan on this private tour. Beginning at bustling Tokyo, your journey takes you to the urban hotspot of Sapporo, known for its year-round attractions. Turn your footsteps towards beautiful Kyoto in the South and continue on to enchanting Okayama by the banks of the Asahi river. Discover the harbor city of Fukuoka and the war history of Nagasaki, and then spend some downtime in colorful Osaka, which is brimming with character and life! Your trip ends in historic Kanazawa, a lesser-known gem filled with museums, feudal architecture, temples and markets.
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)
Sake Sampling And Brewery Visit At Sawanoi Enjoy a spirit-filled day in the Japanese countryside at Sawai, near the upper reaches of Tama river, west of Tokyo. Arriving at the picturesque Sawanoi-en gardens, savor a local tofu-based lunch. Shortly after, enter the family-owned Ozawa Brewery, through the backyard of the owners’ charming home. Notice the symbolic sakabayashi (Japanese cedar needles) signaling sake readiness. Inside the historical factory, see wooden structures and large metal tanks sheltered within dark rooms where the current batch of sake will be brewing. Understand the various degrees of polishing rice that aid in creating different grades of sake. Soon, head into a tunnel to see the original spring water source used in their sake production. Later, sit down to taste about five varieties of Ozawa’s sake, including the renowned ‘Okutama’. Also, sample their craft beers at the riverside bar, and shop for souvenir sake, while soaking in the natural beauty around. Before leaving, explore several trails, fishing spots, and the Kushi Kanzashi museum nearby. (Full Day; Time: 0830 hrs; Duration: 9 hrs; Private Activity; Lunch included; Fitness level: Moderate; Please note that the tour is in Japanese, and your guide will be available to translate.)
Explore Sapporo, the dynamic capital of Japan’s northernmost island of Hokkaido! A year-round destination, stunning natural landscapes and distinctive seasons welcome you in this city.
Otaru Excursion From Sapporo Discover the charming little port town of Otaru on this day visit from Sapporo, in the company of an expert local guide. Take the train from Sapporo right after an early breakfast or lunch at your hotel. You will reach your pretty little destination in just 40 minutes. Otaru was once Hokkaidō’s financial center back in the early 20th century with a flourishing harbor. Take a leisurely stroll along the neat rows of brick and stone buildings lining the town’s central canal. Enjoy the romantic ambience of the avenues along the canal, which leads to the port. Visit the old district of Otaru, famous for the houses of rich merchants built in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Admire the early modern architecture of the town before taking the train back to Sapporo with your guide. (Half Day; Duration: 5 hrs; Private Activity & Public Transfer; Fitness Level: Moderate).
Scenic Sapporo And Seafood Lunch Special With Public Transport Start your exploration of Sapporo with a stroll through Odori Park situated at the heart of the city, which is the venue of the annual snow festival held in February. Take a quick picture with the iconic Tokei-dai or clock tower, an example of Neo Baroque architecture, in the backdrop. Next, accompany your guide through the park to the bustling, century-old Nijo Market with its fish, fruit, and vegetable stalls. Try some donburi or raw fish with a bowl of rice for lunch. You could also opt for foil-wrapped salmon, grilled oysters, or boiled crab, if raw seafood is not to your taste. After having your fill of Sapporo’s delicious seafood, head for Maruyama Park to visit Hokkaido Shrine, one of the important places of worship on the entire island. Later in the afternoon, take the chairlift to Okurayama Viewing Point atop the Winter Olympics ski jump deck. Take your time to savor breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains, Sapporo city, and the Ishikari plains. Wander around the adjoining museum that has memorabilia from the 1972 Winter Olympics before turning back. (Full Day; Time of Day: Morning; Fixed Time; Duration: 8 hrs; Private Activity, Public Transport; Meal Included: Fitness Level: Moderate;)
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.
Highlights Of Kyoto – Golden Temple, Bamboo Forest And Markets 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 payable on spot, 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. Also visit the beautiful Arashiyama bamboo grove. (Full Day; Private activity & Public transport; Duration: 8 hrs. Please wear comfortable walking shoes; Fitness level- Moderate; Food tasting to be paid by the guests on spot).
Kurama – Kibune Hiking Tour Wake up early and enjoy a peaceful hike through the Kitayama mountains in northern Kyoto. Arriving at Kurama, pass by a bright red statue of Tengu, and the two small waterfalls nearby. Ascend the beautiful, forested staircase trail flanked by vermillion-colored lamp posts. Expect to see numerous shrines, paper lanterns, statues of mythical figures, and a couple of conceptual installations along the way. After entering the wooden gate of Yuki-jinja shrine, encounter a lofty pine tree, make a wish at the main hall, and continue further. Take a breather at the plaza in front of Kurama-dera temple. Minutes later, you’ll walk past a bell tower and a museum before reaching the summit. After a short break, head further downhill on a trail covered in tree roots. As you traverse the atmospheric trail, occasionally spot deer amid the cedar trees. Reaching the bottom of the hill, cross a small bridge over Kibune-gawa river and explore the quaint village of Kibune. (Half Day; Time of the day: 0900 hrs, Duration: 4 hrs, Public transport in local trains and buses; Fitness level: Moderate; Please note that this activity is not available during December – March.)
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).
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: Blending Modernity With Tradition 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 & Public 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).
Close to mainland Asia, foreign traders, merchants, and missionaries have thronged to Nagasaki since the 16th century. The only trading port during national isolation, the city has played a significant role in modernizing Japan.
Nagasaki: A Colorful Fusion Of Civilizations Discover the unique ambience of this historic town that straddles both the orient and the occident with ease. As the only Japanese town that could interact with foreign merchants during the nation’s era of seclusion, it is home to old British mansions, churches and Chinese shrines. Visit the charming Glover Hill open-air museum, showcasing the residences of European merchants built during the second half of the 19th century. Enjoy panoramic views of the city and harbor stretched out below. Stop by the Chinese shrine of Koshi-byo dedicated to Confucius, built in the 1890s. Walkover to the city’s bustling Chinatown and sample the delicious steamed dumplings at the many street stalls. Your afternoon is dedicated to the Nagasaki Peace Park that commemorates the atomic bombing of Nagasaki in August, 1945. Discover how the city has recovered since that time, and visit the monuments and memorials leading up to the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum and the Hypocenter Park. (Full Day; Time of Day: Morning; Duration: 8 hrs; Private Activity & Public Transfer; Fitness Level: Moderate).
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.
Highlights Of Osaka Accompanied by your local expert guide, explore Osaka’s famed attractions. Admire the magnificently restored Osaka Castle that sits on expansive grounds covered in cherry, peach and plum trees. Next, just across the street from the park, see several large exhibits that chronicle the city’s past, and learn about its rich heritage at the Osaka Museum of History set within a tall building. Later, visit the Indoor Observatory at 173 meters high on the 40th floor connecting bridge of the landmark Umeda Sky Building’s two towers. At sundown, enjoy panoramic vistas of Osaka skyline and its bay area from the open-air Kuchu Teien Observatory’s circular walkway. Once you have built up an appetite, head to the bustling riverside neighborhood of Dotonbori to immerse yourselves in Osaka’s Kudiore ‘eat till you drop’ food culture. Amid the neon light signs and a medley of flavors, sample Japan’s famous street food including the Takoyaki – octopus dumplings, and the Okonomiyaki – eclectic savory pancakes. (Half Day; Private Activity; Timings: 1000 or 1300 hrs; Duration: 4 hrs; Meal included: Takoyaki snack; Fitness level: Moderate)
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.
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 with Public transport; Fitness level: Easy; Please wear comfortable walking shoes)
Experience A Japanese Tea Ceremony In Kanazawa Head to a traditional and elegant wooden tea house, cradled in a serene Japanese garden with ponds, botanical shrubs, stone lanterns, waterfalls, and fountains. Your guide will explain the aspects of a tea ceremony and its strong relationship with gardening and nature. Gathering at a cozy room that overlooks the garden, learn the history of the ceremony and its importance in the Japanese way of life. Learn about Japanese Samurai culture during an authentic Chado (tea ceremony) with a tea master. Shortly afterwards, your host will take you along on an elaborate ceremony steeped in tradition and aesthetics. Follow the silent tearoom etiquette and observe the fascinating rituals that unfold. Enjoy sencha and matcha served in exquisite porcelain complemented by platters of Wagashi (Japanese sweets). Before leaving, learn a few basics such as using a Japanese whisk! (Half Day; Private Activity; Time of the Day: 0930 or 1300 hrs; Duration: 3 hrs; Meals: Tea and sweets are included; Fitness level: Moderate, as the tearoom is accessible via a set of stairs with no elevator facility. Please note that the tea ceremony may include other guests.)
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.
Transfer to the Airport
Price & Inclusions
Option 1 From $ 12,885 /person
Option 2 From $ 13,870 /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.
Accommodation in one double room for 20 days / 19 nights
Meals as indicated
Flights mentioned below on Economy Class unless otherwise specified:
Tokyo (Haneda) – Sapporo (New Chitose)
Sapporo (New Chitose) – Osaka (Kansai)
The following train journeys in the highest class available :
Kyoto – Okayama (Shinkansen Train – Standard Class)
Okayama – Hakata Fukuoka (Shinkansen Train – Standard Class)
Hakata Fukuoka – Nagasaki (Train – Standard Class)
Nagasaki – Shin Osaka (Train – Standard Class)
Shin Osaka – Kanazawa (Train – Standard Class)
Kanazawa – Tokyo (Shinkansen Train – Standard Class)
Tokyo – Narita Airport (Train – Standard Class)
All activities as listed :
Tokyo: Tokyo’s Finest by Day
Tokyo: Sake Sampling and Brewery Visit at Sawanoi
Sapporo: Half Day Otaru Excursion from Sapporo
Sapporo: Full Day Scenic Sapporo and Seafood Lunch Special with Public Transport
Kyoto: Highlights of Kyoto – Golden Temple, Bamboo Forest and Markets
Kyoto: Kurama – Kibune Hiking Tour
Okayama: Highlights of Okayama
Fukuoka: Fukuoka: Blending Modernity with Tradition
Fukuoka: On the Ramen Trail in Fukuoka
Nagasaki: Nagasaki: A Colorful Fusion of Civilizations
Osaka: Highlights of Osaka
Kanazawa: Highlights of Kanazawa
Kanazawa: Experience A Japanese Tea Ceremony in Kanazawa
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