PRIVATE TOUR: Take in the buzz of Japan’s capital city, learn how to prepare authentic Japanese cuisine, explore the mountainous landscapes of Hakone National Park, discover Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines in Kyoto and feed the deer at Nara Park on this classic Japan private tour.
Welcome to Tokyo! You will be met upon arrival at Tokyo Narita Airport and escorted by shuttle bus to your hotel in the city. Look out for some great views as you ride the elevated highways into town and spend the rest of the day exploring the city at your own leisure.
Enjoy a full day of guided sightseeing in Tokyo led by a local guide, offering a perfect introduction to the city. Travelling by public transport, as Tokyoites do, you will get a real feel for city life and your guide will help you discover aspects of Tokyo that you would not be able to find on your own. Rather than a fixed itinerary, you can enjoy the flexibility of seeing and doing exactly what you want.
You can start the day by visiting Asakusa, Tokyo's historic district. Here, you can browse the bustling marketplace of Nakamise Dori, visit the famous Senso-ji Temple and explore the backstreets lined with Kabuki theatres, rustic bars and restaurants. From Asakusa, you can take a river cruise on the Sumida River to the Hamarikyu Gardens, a peaceful oasis of greenery and exquisite Japanese aesthetics in the heart of a bustling city.
A short train journey from here can take you to Harajuku, the focal point for Tokyo's teen culture where you will find teenagers hanging out wearing quirky and extreme fashions. Nearby you can also find Meiji Jingu, one of the most famous and important shrines in Tokyo. Then, why not end the day surrounded by the bright lights of Shinjuku, Tokyo's main business and entertainment district. Spend the rest of the evening discovering the city independently.
Overnight: Tokyo | Breakfast
Today try your hand at preparing Japanese cuisine with the help of a local. Your host will first take you to a local market and together you’ll shop for fresh ingredients. You’ll then head to a kitchen, located in the Yanaka area, a well-preserved and traditional district of Tokyo, known for its artisans and craftspeople, where you’ll be shown how to prepare a traditional Japanese meal including classic dishes such as sushi, tempura or teriyaki chicken which of course you can then enjoy for lunch.
Overnight: Tokyo | Breakfast
Tokyo – Hakone- breakfast. This morning, make your own way to Tokyo Station where you will get the train to Odawara Station, the access point for the Hakone National Park. Bus routes, railway lines and cable cars criss-cross this mountainous region making it easy to explore and enjoy the surroundings as well as some of the many top-quality art museums. Spend the day taking in the highlights of the region at your own leisure, and if you are lucky with the weather, you may even be rewarded with stunning views of Mount Fuji.
Overnight: Hakone | Breakfast, Dinner
Hakone - Kyoto - breakfast. This morning you will travel by train to Kyoto, Japan’s ancient capital and the cultural centre of the nation. From Odawara, the journey to Kyoto will see you racing down Japan's eastern seaboard by high-speed railway. Kyoto is one of the most culturally rich cities in Asia. Home to 17 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, over 1,600 Buddhist temples and 400 Shinto shrines, this ancient city showcases the heart and soul of traditional Japan. Spend the rest of the day at your own leisure exploring the city.
Overnight: Kyoto | Breakfast
Today, enjoy a full day of sightseeing in Kyoto, again travelling by public transport with a private guide. With no fixed itinerary and a knowledgeable local at your side, you will be set for a great day in this amazing city and are sure to discover things you might otherwise miss.
You may want to start your day at Kinkakuji - Kyoto's famous Golden Pavilion Zen Temple which is decorated with gold leaf and stands over a tranquil pond. From Kikakuji in the north of the city you can then head to Kiyomizu Dera Temple in the east. This impressive wooden structure is perched on a hillside surrounded by woodland and looks out across the city.
The afternoon could be spent at Fushimi Inari Shrine in the south of the city. This shrine's appeal is the thousands of red torii gates which create a network of pathways through the wooded forests of Mt Inari, linking the various buildings of the shrine together. You may want your guide to finish the day of sightseeing by taking you to the Gion Geisha District where, if you are lucky you will be able to see a Geisha shuffling through the streets between appointments. Spend the evening at your own leisure.
Overnight: Kyoto | Breakfast
Kyoto - Nara - breakfast. This morning, take the train to Nara, renowned for the wealth of its Buddhist and Shinto Heritage. Nara was formerly the end of the Silk Road and it was for this reason the area which first saw Buddhist teaching making the transition across the ocean from China. The myriad of shrines and temples are all set against the backdrop of the low-lying mountains and in the midst of Nara Park, which is famously home to a vast population of pesky deer. Return to Kyoto in the evening.
Overnight: Kyoto | Breakfast
Today your adventure in Japan comes to an end. A departure transfer by shuttle bus will take you to the airport to meet your onward travel.
Extend your stay!
Consider spending some extra time exploring Japan’s beautiful coastlines and abundant history and UNESCO Listed Sites. Extend your stay by a day, a week or even two! We offer a variety of properties for you to choose from. Browse our best places to visit, best time to visit, top 10 Japan experiences pages for suggestions on what to see and do on your holiday. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, please let us know so we can accommodate your request.
For information about visas, top travel tips and much more, take a look through our travel guide.
The hotels listed below are ones which we frequently use on this tour. We reserve the right to substitute these hotels to ones of a similar standard.
Sunroute Plaza Shinjuku, Tokyo
Renovated in 2007, the chic Sunroute Plaza Shinjuku offers contemporary accommodation in Japan's capital. Guest rooms are tastefully furnished in a modern style with comfortable amenities. The hotel also offers a number of excellent dining options including the Villazza trattoria style restaurant and the Bar Ku Kon Shinjuku dining experience! Why not sip on a delicious cocktail by the crackling fire - a great way to spend the evening! Located in the west of the city - a short walk from Shinjuku train station.
Ichinoyu Honkan, Hakone
Ichinoyu Honkan is rich in history dating back to 1630. The Ichinoyu holds true to the traditional values of service for which it is famed. The Ichinoyu has large communal baths for you to enjoy. The ryokan also has its own reasonably priced bar which is open from 3pm to midnight and is a great place in which to relax. All in all, the Ichinoyu Honkan is a great place to stay and an establishment with a significant history. Your stay includes breakfast and dinner both served in the hotel restaurant.
Hotel Vista Premio, Kyoto
Nestled in the heart of Kyoto just a short walk from the Gion District, the Hotel Vista Premio offers travellers a wonderful combination of comfort and convenience. Guest rooms are contemporary in style with a few traditional aesthetic Japanese touches and all feature ensuite facilities with deep soaking bathtubs. The hotel benefits from two restaurants serving both local and international cuisine and complimentary WiFi is available in public areas.
Extra Tour Info
Hi Kelly, Our trip was AMAZING. The highlight of the holiday was most certainly the experience of staying at the Buddhist Temple in Hakone. Each of the local guides we met were excellent and they gave us a better understanding of the places we were visiting. They were also fab in getting us up to speed in learning the easiest way to navigate the city. We do wish that we spent more time in Osaka as it is such a beautiful city with so much to see and do that we possibly could have spent an entire week there. None the less we are glad that we extended our stay for a few extra days in Tokyo. Thanks again for the amazing service provided by you and your team in Japan. We've had such an amazing experience and are thinking of South Korea as our next stop. Regards, Penny & Michael”