Experience the unique culture and heritage in the Land of the Rising Sun! This private tour of Japan will have you travel from bustling Tokyo to tranquil Osaka, where sacred sites and breathtaking mountains await. Witness the erstwhile royal seat of Kyoto and meander past dazzling neon lights and the majestic castle of Osaka. Pay homage at ancient Buddhist shrines and the famed Peace Memorial of Hiroshima. Delicious cuisine and wonderful insights into the amazing traditions and culture of Japan are guaranteed.

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Itinerary Summary

DayPlaceHighlightsHotel Options
1 - 5TokyoImperial Palace, Meiji Shrine, River cruise to AsakusaNiwa Hotel, Palace Hotel Tokyo
5 - 7HakoneView of Mt Fuji volcano, enjoy the views from a pirate ship, Natural hot springs and Onsen, Ropeway over Volcanic plains, overlooking the sulphuric fumesHyatt Regency Hakone Resort and Spa, Gora Sounkaku
7 - 11KyotoFushimi Inari Shrine, Buddha statue of Nara, Geisha district, Day trip to Uji tea plantationsKyoto Tokyu Hotel, Hotel Kanra Kyoto
11 - 14MiyajimaSacred island for Shintoism, The Floating Torii Gate, UNESCO World Heritage siteIwaso Miyajima, Iroha Ryokan Miyajima
14 - 16OkayamaOkayama Castle, Korakuen Garden, Kurashiki Art Village VisitMitsui Garden Okayama, Hotel Granvia Okayama
16 - 18OsakaThe grand Osaka Castle, Umeda Sky Building, Gourmet Street Food TourHotel Granvia Osaka, The Ritz-Carlton Osaka

Ideal For

  • Heritage
  • Landscape
  • Wine & Food
Julia Koch Reiseberaterin Enchanting Travels

Talk to us anytime1 888 263 2574

Itinerary Details

Day 1 - 5

International Arrival

Shared transfer from Narita airport to Tokyo hotel

Tokyo

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

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)

Zen Legends and Traditions of Japan
Immerse yourself in Japan’s rich art and cultural heritage! Begin your day with a lesson on laido, a form of Japanese swordsmanship. Learn the art of ‘moving Zen’, with precise and controlled, and yet fluid, motion. Practice actual sword techniques on bamboo or straw block forms using real laido swords. Soon after, put down the sword to take up the mighty pen with a lesson in shodo, or Japanese calligraphy. Learn the proper way each stroke begins and progresses in the correct order, and concentrate on writing kanji or Japanese pictographs. End your day with a visit to Shinjuku’s Samurai Museum, located inside a traditional Japanese building in stark contrast to the neon jungle of Shinjuku. Admire the incredible collection of armor, objects and swords that belonged to samurai warriors through the ages. (Full Day, Morning Activity; Duration: 8 hrs; Shared Transfers; Fitness Level: Moderate; Public transport is available such as subway and local train.)

Shitaya Jinja: Spiritual Shrine Excursion
Accompanied by your local guide, head to Shitaya Jinja, a shrine nestled between Tokyo’s popular sightseeing districts of Ueno and Asakusa. Hidden from the hustle and bustle around, soak in the spiritual atmosphere at this ancient temple complex dedicated to Inari, the goddess of fertility and fortune. Passing under a Torii gate, purify your hands with water from a small reservoir at the entrance. Once inside, perform a ritual that includes ringing a bell followed by alternating bows and claps, to attract the deity’s attention. Say your prayers at the main building as you lay down your offerings. Sit and enjoy some quiet and peaceful time admiring the traditional wood architecture and religious stone figurines. Later, interacting with the priest during this exclusive experience, feel free to ask for any questions you might have about the Shinto faith. After a brief traditional gesture, receive blessings for your safe travels across Japan and your journey back home! (Half Day; Duration: 1 – 2 hrs; Private Activity; Fitness level: Easy)

Hotel Options
Niwa Hotel – Opt 1
RoomSuperior Room
MealsBreakfast
StyleInternational
RoomDeluxe Room with Balcony
MealsBreakfast
StyleInternational
Day 5 - 7

Private transfer from your hotel to Tokyo train station with our representative to assist you throughout

Shinkansen Train from Tokyo to Odawara Hakone (30 mins)

Private Transfer from Train Station to Hotel with a non-English speaking chauffeur

Hakone

2 Days

Hakone defines the iconic image of Japan— with the majestic backdrop of Mount Fujiyama as it rises out of coniferous forest covered mountainsides, lakes and hot springs (onsen).

Included Activities

Visit to Mount Fuji National Park
Take a trip to Mount Fuji National Park for Japan’s most iconic destination. Enjoy the numerous transport options to reach Mount Owakudani for the most breathtaking view of this majestic volcanic mountain peak. You could ride the world’s second longest cable car, passing over hot springs and simmering rivers of volcanic landscapes. As per local beliefs—you could add seven years to your life by eating Hakone’s famous hard boiled, smoked eggs that are cooked over the hot vapours! Take the Hakone Tozan ‘switchback train’ that winds its way through the mountains, offering amazing views of the surrounding highland valleys. Or better still, ride a splendid replica of a pirate ship that will sweep you across the 3,000 year old, volcanic Lake Ashinoko, right up to the Moto-Hakone town. (Full Day, Fitness Level: Easy; Please bring warm clothing).

Onsen: 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
RoomGuestroom Twin
MealsBreakfast
StyleResort
Gora Sounkaku – Opt 2
RoomStandard Japanese Room
MealsHalf Board (Breakfast & Dinner)
StyleBoutique
Day 7 - 11

Private Transfer from Hotel to Train Station with a non-English speaking chauffeur

Shinkansen Train from Odawara Hakone to Kyoto (1.45 hrs)

Private transfer from Kyoto train station to your hotel with our representative to assist you throughout

Kyoto

4 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 – 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).

Kyoto Fushimi & Gekkeikan Sake Museum Excursion
Head by train to Fushimi, located in the 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 Gekkeikan sake museum. Learn about the finer points of crafting Japan’s national drink as you tour the museum with an expert. Sample different selections of sake! We highly recommend you eat before the sake tasting. If you wish, you can purchase your own sake at the 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)

Calligraphy Class at Local Master’s House
Learn the fascinating art of calligraphy with a local master. Discover the journey of the beautiful Kanji—or traditional Chinese script—from ancient China to Japan. Learn all about the three parallel Japanese scripts of Kanji, Hiragana and Katakana from your master who will gently guide you and explain the cultural significance of this artform, before you try your hand at this ancient art for yourself. Attempt a few tentative brush strokes under the master’s expert supervision, and learn the secrets of how to hold the calligraphy brush in the proper manner. Finally, find the confidence within to draw out bold lines, before you carry your best work back home! (Duration: 2.5hrs; All materials provided; Some traditional houses have steep, narrow stairs, transfers by taxi)

Japanese Cooking Class in a Machiya
Learn the secret tips for creating some of the most loved Japanese dishes in a morning cooking lesson at one of Kyoto’s typical Maichya (traditional wooden townhouses). Japanese cuisine has been declared a UNESCO Intangible World Heritage for good reason, cooked as it is with the freshest ingredients and masterful techniques. Get an overall idea about Japanese cooking styles from your chef in this cooking class designed for a small, intimate group. Learn how to prepare Bento style boxed meals under the expert guidance of your host chef. Cook Kyoto’s signature Shokado bento, a delicious spread that includes delectable bites of tempura, miso soup, egg roll, chicken teriyaki, sesame spinach salad and sushi. The greatest treat awaits you at the end of the class, when you get to taste your own Bento box! (Half Day, Shared Activity & No Transfers; Meal included: Lunch; Fitness Level: Easy; Please inform about any dietary restrictions in advance).

Hotel Options
RoomStandard Twin Room
MealsBreakfast
StyleInternational
Room
Meals
StyleBoutique
Day 11 - 14

Private transfer from your hotel to Kyoto train station with our representative to assist you throughout

Shinkansen Train from Kyoto to Hiroshima (1.5 hrs)

Private transfer from Hiroshima train station to Miyajimaguchi train station

Shared 10 min ferry ride from Miyajimaguchi to Miyajima (Ferry departs every 10 min till 10 pm)

Hotel shuttle from the pier with a non-English speaking chauffeur

Miyajima

3 Days

Miyajima is a small sacred island tucked away in the Island Sea. This has been a holy place of Shintoism, one of the earliest Japanese faiths.

Included Activities

Half Day Tour of Miyajima Island – Private Tour in a Shared Ferry
Experience mystic Japan on this day trip to Miyajima Island, which used to be closed to visitors. Feel the distinct aura surrounding the sacred site. The mystical architecture of an ancient shrine, the sacred Torii Gate, and the sea waters lashing the stones in waves makes your visit to this UNESCO World Heritage site a spiritual experience. If your island visit coincides with the high tide, you will be lucky to experience the illusion of watching the mighty Torii Gate as it appears to float on water! This breathtaking sight has been ranked as one of Japan’s best experiences. Be mesmerized by the famous Itsukushima Shrine that stands tall above the surrounding waters. Explore the island’s many shrines and temples; you might even witness a traditional wedding! Take quiet strolls and you will encounter herds of wild deer who inhabit the island. Do give the delicious local sweetmeats a try before heading back to the hotel. (Half Day; Do not carry food for the Deer, as they can snatch it and be little aggressive)

Half Day Peace Memorial Tour
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, Take ferry + train and tram to get to Hiroshima and back)

Hotel Options
Iwaso Miyajima – Opt 1
RoomStandard Japanese Room
MealsHalf Board (Breakfast & Dinner)
StyleBoutique
RoomStandard Japanese Room
Meals
StyleBoutique
Day 14 - 16

Hotel shuttle to Miyajima pier

Shared 10 min ferry ride from Miyajima Island to Miyajimaguchi train station (Ferry departs every 10 min)

Private transfer from Miyajimaguchi railway station to Hiroshima train station with a non-English speaking chauffeur

Shinkansen Train from Hiroshima to Okayama (45 Mins)

Okayama

2 Days

Included Activities

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).

Hotel Options
RoomStandard Single
MealsBreakfast
StyleInternational
RoomConcept Double
MealsBreakfast
StyleInternational
Day 16 - 18

Shinkansen Train from Okayama to Shin Osaka (45 mins)

Private transfer from Osaka train station to your hotel with our representative to assist you throughout

Osaka

2 Days

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.

Included Activities

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
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)

Hotel Options
RoomStudio Twin
MealsBreakfast
StyleInternational
RoomSuperior Room
MealsBreakfast
StyleInternational

Private Transfer from Osaka Hotel to Kansai Airport with a non-English speaking chauffeur

International Departure

 Price & Inclusions

  • Option 1 From $ 12,220 /person
  • Option 2 From $ 15,240 /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 18 days / 17 nights.
  • Meals as indicated
  • The following train journeys in the highest class available :
    • Tokyo – Odawara Hakone (Shinkansen Train-Standard Class)
    • Odawara Hakone – Kyoto 1.45 h (Shinkansen Train-Standard Class)
    • Kyoto – Hiroshima (Shinkansen Train – Standard Class)
    • Hiroshima – Okayama (Shinkansen Train – Standard Class)
    • Okayama – Shin Osaka (Shinkansen Train – Standard Class)
  • All activities as listed :
    • Culture and Heritage in Japan: Tokyo’s Finest by Day
    • Culture and Heritage in Japan: Zen Legends and Traditions of Japan
    • Culture and Heritage in Japan: Shitaya Jinja: Spiritual Shrine Excursion
    • Culture and Heritage in Japan: Visit to Mount Fuji National Park
    • Culture and Heritage in Japan: Onsen: Japanese Hot Spring Baths
    • Culture and Heritage in Japan: Highlights of Kyoto- Golden Temple, Bamboo forest and Market visit
    • Culture and Heritage in Japan: Kyoto Fushimi & Gekkeikan Sake Museum Excursion
    • Culture and Heritage in Japan: Calligraphy Class at Local Master’s House
    • Culture and Heritage in Japan: Japanese Cooking Class in a Machiya
    • Culture and Heritage in Japan: Half Day Tour of Miyajima Island -Private tour with shared Ferry
    • Culture and Heritage in Japan: Half Day Peace Memorial Tour
    • Culture and Heritage in Japan: Highlights of Okayama
    • Culture and Heritage in Japan: Osaka Evening Street Food Trail
    • Culture and Heritage in Japan: 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
  • Insolvency insurance
  • Fees and taxes
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What our guests say about this trip

Wonderful honeymoon. Will definitely use again in the future. They’re helpful and knowledgeable and willing to make changes.

– Benjamin King
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Culture and Heritage in Japan

18 days $ 12,220 / person

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