Mount FUji with phlox moss and reflective lake in the foreground | Japan
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Best of Japan - 8 days map

Discover the best of Japan in 8 captivating days. Travelling from the modern metropolis of Tokyo to enchanting Kyoto, with its age-old temples, shrines and colourful Geisha District. See the bronze Buddha and picturesque bamboo forest at Kamakura, the breathtaking beauty of Mt Fuji at Hakone Izu National Park en route.

Inclusions
Itinerary
Prices & Dates
Hotels
Reviews

Trip Highlights

Tokyo - Explore the Sensoji Temple district and temple, Harajuku, Takeshita Street, Meiji Shrine and Shibuya Crossing
Lake Kawaguchi in Fuji Hakone Izu National Park - Marvel at the spectacular mountain scenery and views of Mt Fuji
Kyoto - Explore this UNESCO Listed Nijo Castle, Sanjusagen-do Temple with its 1000 life-like statues and Kinkakuji Temple (Golden Temple)
Kamakura - Visit the Big Buddha Statue, Hokokuji Zen Temple and the Bamboo Forest with a delightful village atmosphere. Opt to take part in a traditional tea ceremony
Ryokan - Sample Japanese hospitality, bathe in natural hot springs, wearing a Yukata (casual Kimono) and sleeping on a futon
Kyoto - Take part in a walking tour of the famed Geisha District (Gion), with its ancient cobbled streets, streams, bridges and quaint teahouses and the opportunity to see Geisha and Maiko en route to their next engagement

Included

3 breakfasts and 1 dinner at the Lake Kawaguchi
Guided sightseeing and walking tours in Tokyo, Kamakura, Lake Kawaguchi and Kyoto
Escorted by a licensed English speaking Japanese tour guide
Baggage forwarding service from Tokyo to Kyoto (one bag per person)
Maximum Group size: 18 persons
7 nights 3 star (inclusive of 1 night at a Japanese style inn)
Lake Kawaguchi and Mt Fuji - Kachikachi-yama Ropeway and observatory. For tours staying at Lake Kawaguchi between 14 Apr – 28 May each year we'll visit to the Fuji Shibazakura (Moss Phlox) Festival with Mt Fuji as the backdrop
All transportation and transfers - buses, trains and bullet trains including Suica swipe card
Airport arrival transfer to tour hotel (by train) from Narita or Haneda International Airport on day 1

Not Included

Airport departure transfer
If you are opting to pay the single supplement, allowing you the privacy of your own room on this tour, a single room will be provided for all nights with the exception of day 5 (at Lake Kawaguchi), where single rooms are not available. For this night you will be matched up with a fellow tour member of the same gender
Entrance Fees: USD$25-35pp, paid locally in local currency
International flights and visa
Tip for your tour guide. We recommend you allow USD$3-5 per day, per traveller. Tipping your guide is an entirely personal gesture

Itinerary

Day 1

Tokyo

Saturday. Upon arrival to Tokyo you will be met at either Narita or Haneda International Airport by your guide. Travel by train into the heart of the city and check into your hotel. The rest of the day is free to spend at your leisure.

We recommend arriving before 3pm on this day, as there will be a Welcome Meeting at 6pm, where you will meet your guide and the rest of the group.
Overnight: Tokyo

Day 2

Toyko sightseeing - Sensoji Temple district, Harajuku & Shibuya

Today we explore the capital. Taking the subway to Asakusa we visit the lively Sensoji Temple District, which is home to Tokyo’s first temple and scores of interesting souvenir and craft stalls. In the afternoon we’ll head to Harajuku, which is a magnet for young and fashionable Tokyoites with its hip shops and cafes. Here, we’ll visit the impressive Meiji Shrine where the emperor Meiji and his wife are enshrined. Yoyogi Park, beside the shrine is a popular hangout for locals and there is always a lot going on, especially on Sundays with bands playing, drum circles, dancers and busking.

The last stop of the day is Shibuya Crossing - regarded as one of the busiest intersections in the world. The famed junction has no less than 7 pedestrian crossings and when the traffic lights turn red a wave of pedestrians, up to a 1000, converge onto the intersection from every direction. Known as 'the scramble', it's a well-practised art to duck and weave with sportsman like agility to avoid collision, which we'll watch from the second floor of Starbucks, located directly opposite the crossing. This evening offers free time, though if travelling in January, May and September you might like spend the evening watching a Sumo tournament (must be booked in advance). See our Trip Notes for more information.
Overnight: Tokyo

Day 3

Kamakura & the Bronze Buddha

Tokyo - Kamakura - Tokyo. This morning we board a train for our day trip to Kamakura, Japan’s first feudal capital, which is just an hour from Tokyo. Kamakura is a popular seaside location with a quaint village life feel and some stunning Zen temples. Here we’ll visit the iconic bronze Big Buddha and the Zen Temple of Hokokuji with its beautiful bamboo garden. Here, you can drink tea before walking the cobbled shopping district - adorned with lovely locally made items before returning to Japan’s bustling capital for the night.
Overnight: Tokyo

Day 4

Tokyo National Museum & free time

Today offers a guided tour of the Tokyo National Museum, housing a number of exhibitions from galleries to Japanese archeology. The Tokyo National Museum is located in Ueno Park, a large public park within central Tokyo and famous for a number of museums held within it's grounds. The remainder of the day offers free time to independently explore.
Overnight: Tokyo

Day 5

Mt Fuji & Lake Kawaguchi

Tokyo - Lake Kawaguchi. This morning we travel by highway bus (with luggage forwarding) to Lake Kawaguchi, located at the foot of Mt Fuji in the Fuji Hakone Izu National Park. The scenery is stunning with panoramic views of a snow-capped Fuji most of the year. Upon arrival we’ll travel along the Mount Fuji Panoramic Ropeway and visit the observatory. For tours staying at Lake Kawaguchi between 15 Apr – 28 May each year we'll visit the Springtime Fuji Shibazakura (Phlox Moss) Festival held at Motosu Lake, where the landscape is covered in a vibrant, hot pink moss with Fuji as the backdrop. No trip to Japan would be complete without sampling authentic Japanese hospitality at a Japanese style inn, which is where we’ll bed down tonight. At the ryokan, sample tasty local cuisine and take a relaxing dip in the natural hot spring baths.
Overnight: Lake Kawaguchi  |  Dinner

Day 6

Kyoto - 1000 statues of Kannon & the Geisha District

Lake Kawaguchi – Kyoto. The area has some great hiking trails and early this morning you might like to opt for a hike along the foreshores of the lake. We then travel by bus to Mishima, then bullet train to Kyoto - Japan’s ancient and cultural capital.

As one of the most culturally rich cities in Asia, Kyoto is home to an abundance of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines. Here we enjoy a guided tour of Sanjusagen-do Temple, famous for its statues of Kannon, the goddess of mercy. The one thousand life-size statues of Kannon are made of Japanese cypress clad in gold leaf. They stand in 10 rows of 50, each hand crafted and slightly different from the next. Late this afternoon we head to Gion, for a walking tour of this famous Geisha District. After, you may wish to watch a cultural performance at Gion Corner Theatre where you'll have the opportunity to see a Maiko (apprentice Geisha) performing.
Overnight: Kyoto  |  Breakfast

Day 7

Kyoto - Nijo Castle, Golden Pavilion & free time

This morning, we enjoy a guided tour of Nijo Castle, one of the city’s most impressive UNESCO sites. Built by the first Tokugawa shogun in 1603, the exquisite Nijo Castle is a wonderful example of Momoyama architecture. After, we visit Kinkakuji (Golden Pavilion) a stunning Zen Buddhist temple and part of the Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto World Heritage Site. The top two floors of the monument are completely covered in gold leaf. Set upon a small lake with landscaped gardens, the large completely gilt structure is impressive, as it is a beautiful Temple. Kinkakuji Temple continues to be one of Japan's most visited temples.

This afternoon offers free time for you to relax or to further discover the many sights of Kyoto your own way. Consider visiting Fushimi Inari Shrine, famous for its winding path lined by thousands of bright red torii gates. Just a short train ride away from the main Kyoto Station, this must-see sight is free to visit and is open 24 hours a day. You might also wish to hire a Kimono and walk the streets as many Japanese do or take part in a cooking lesson.
Overnight: Kyoto  |  Breakfast

Day 8

Kyoto

Saturday. On day 8 our tour comes to an end after hotel check out.

Prefer to end your tour in Tokyo? On day 8 you can opt to travel by train from Kyoto to Tokyo, where you will spend the night. On day 9 (Sunday) catch the train to Tokyo Airport (breakfast excluded on day 9).

For information about visas, top travel tips and much more, take a look through our travel guide.
Breakfast

End this tour in Tokyo

Prefer to end your tour in Tokyo? On day 8 you can opt to travel by train from Kyoto to Tokyo, where you will spend the night. On day 9 (Sunday) catch the train to Tokyo Airport (breakfast excluded on day 9).
Includes: Train from Kyoto to Tokyo on day 8, train to Tokyo Airport on day 9 and 1 night 3 star hotel in Tokyo.
Supplement applies, please see the "Prices and Dates" tab for details.

Prices & Dates

Departure dates marked with a 'G' are guaranteed to operate. All other departures are guaranteed with a minimum of 4 persons. 'Twin Share' prices are per person when there are 2 people sharing a room. 'Single Room' prices are applicable to those who don’t have anyone to share a room with or anyone wanting the privacy of a single room.

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Guaranteed Departure
2024
Twin Share
Single Room
17 Aug - 24 Aug 15% off G
€2,225
€1,891
€2,605
€2,214
31 Aug - 07 Sep 15% off G
€2,225
€1,891
€2,605
€2,214
28 Sep - 05 Oct 15% off G
€2,405
€2,044
€2,855
€2,427
12 Oct - 19 Oct 15% off G
€2,405
€2,044
€2,855
€2,427
26 Oct - 02 Nov 15% off G
€2,405
€2,044
€2,855
€2,427
09 Nov - 16 Nov 15% off G
€2,405
€2,044
€2,855
€2,427
23 Nov - 30 Nov 15% off
€2,305
€1,959
€2,735
€2,325
2025
Twin Share
Single Room
08 Mar - 15 Mar 15% off
€2,565
€2,180
€3,115
€2,648
22 Mar - 29 Mar 15% off
€2,565
€2,180
€3,115
€2,648
05 Apr - 12 Apr 15% off G
€2,565
€2,180
€3,115
€2,648
12 Apr - 19 Apr 15% off G
€2,565
€2,180
€3,115
€2,648
19 Apr - 26 Apr 15% off G
€2,565
€2,180
€3,115
€2,648
10 May - 17 May 15% off G
€2,415
€2,053
€2,895
€2,461
17 May - 24 May 15% off
€2,415
€2,053
€2,895
€2,461
31 May - 07 Jun 15% off
€2,245
€1,908
€2,665
€2,265
14 Jun - 21 Jun 15% off
€2,245
€1,908
€2,665
€2,265
28 Jun - 05 Jul 15% off
€2,245
€1,908
€2,665
€2,265
12 Jul - 19 Jul 15% off
€2,415
€2,053
€2,895
€2,461
26 Jul - 02 Aug 15% off
€2,415
€2,053
€2,895
€2,461
23 Aug - 30 Aug 15% off
€2,415
€2,053
€2,895
€2,461
06 Sep - 13 Sep 15% off
€2,415
€2,053
€2,895
€2,461
20 Sep - 27 Sep 15% off
€2,415
€2,053
€2,895
€2,461
04 Oct - 11 Oct 15% off
€2,565
€2,180
€3,115
€2,648
11 Oct - 18 Oct 15% off
€2,565
€2,180
€3,115
€2,648
18 Oct - 25 Oct 15% off
€2,565
€2,180
€3,115
€2,648
01 Nov - 08 Nov 15% off
€2,565
€2,180
€3,115
€2,648
15 Nov - 22 Nov 15% off
€2,565
€2,180
€3,115
€2,648

Extra Prices

Twin Share
Single Room
Pre Tour Accommodation - Tokyo (no breakfast)
€65
€95
Post Tour Accommodation - Kyoto
€125
€175
End in Tokyo (Adult)
€215
€245
End in Tokyo (Child)
€215
€245

Hotels

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.

Yaesu Terminal Hotel, Tokyo

Our Category: Standard   |   Regional Category: 3 Star Hotel

Enjoying an enviable location on a cherry-blossom lined street in the centre of Tokyo, Yaesu Terminal Hotel is just a short jaunt away from the city’s main railroad station giving travellers easy access to locations across the city. A comfortable 3-star hotel with a natural theme, a permanent art exhibit in the hotel lobby and an in-house restaurant serving freshly prepared local cuisine; it is a soothing place to relax after a busy day of sightseeing. Hotel guests can make use of the free Wi-Fi, benefit from complimentary bathrobes and slippers and enjoy entertainment on a flat-screen TV.

Yamagishi Ryokan, Lake Kawaguchi

Our Category: Standard   |   Regional Category: Japanese Ryokan

With stunning views over Lake Kawaguchi, which is located just one minute away, the Yamagishi Ryokan is an excellent base for exploring the area around the lake. Rooms are designed according to traditional Japanese styles with low furniture and lots of natural light. Breakfast and dinner are both included with the room and are served in the hotel's dining room. After dinner, guests can take a dip in one of the hotel's baths or relax with a coffee in the lounge. The hotel is located just an 8 minute walk from Kawaguchiko Station.

Hotel Mifujien, Lake Kawaguchi

Our Category: Standard   |   Regional Category: 3 Star Hotel

This Japanese-style hotel boasts stunning views over Lake Kawaguchi and Mount Fuji from each of its guestrooms. Offering traditional low furniture and modern amenities, each room is also equipped with air conditioning and a TV. The views can be enjoyed from the hotel’s lobby, tea lounge and the Japanese restaurant, which uses local ingredients and offers a feast of traditional dishes. On the 7th floor you’ll find both indoor and outdoor hot spring baths with views of Mt. Fuji, perfect for unwinding at the end of the day.

Hotel Elcient Kyoto, Kyoto

Our Category: Standard   |   Regional Category: 3 Star Hotel

Boasting a fantastic location in the heart of Kyoto, Hotel Elcient Kyoto is within walking distance of top attractions such as Kyoto Tower and the picturesque Shosei-en Garden. Guestrooms are compact and simply furnished, complete with modern amenities such as air conditioning and ensuite bathrooms. Enjoy more than 30 different dishes at the Western and Japanese buffet-style restaurant, with light lunches and dinner also available. On the second floor you’ll find a large public bath and sauna, offering the perfect spot to relax after some sightseeing.

Dormy Inn Premium Kyoto, Kyoto

Our Category: Standard   |   Regional Category: 3 Star Hotel

Located just a short walk from Kyoto Station and the lofty Kyoto Tower, you really cannot get more central than this! Combining convenience with comfort, this contemporary hotel boasts modern guest rooms with flat screen televisions, complimentary WiFi, refrigerators and ensuite bathrooms. Buffet breakfast is available, with a choice of local and western dishes on offer. The hotel is surrounded by a wide choice of shops and restaurants, and there are plenty of cultural landmarks just a short stroll away. After a day of sightseeing guests can relax with a soak in the hotel’s natural hot spring baths or opt for a sauna and massage.

Sanco Inn Kyoto Hachijoguchi Shikinoyu, Kyoto

Our Category: Standard   |   Regional Category: 3 Star Hotel

Located just minutes away from Kyoto Station, the Sanco Inn provides 24-hour reception, with buffet breakfast available and complimentary WiFi. Each room is equipped with a desk, private bathroom, air conditioning, safety deposit box and flat-screen TV with satellite channels. With daily housekeeping, on-site vending machines, and luggage storage available, Sanco Inn will make for a convenient and comfortable stay in Kyoto.

Reviews

Travellers have rated this tour as 4.45 out of 5 based on 11 recent reviews

1  |  2

Yumi could have made the tour more enjoyable. In fairness we had a large group, but she struggled to communicate (both instructions and information) to the group. We were constantly asking each other what she had said as only the people closest to her heard what she said. Perhaps choosing quieter places to address the group mould have worked. Also she seemed to get quite irritated when people asked for clarification. Having said that she was pleasant and knowledgeable about the sights we went to.

Public transport required a lot of walking and in some cases a private bus would have made more sense.

The hotels were of a good standard but rooms were exceptionally small in some cases

• Submitted 07 Jun 2024
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I absolutely loved this tour! This is my second tour with On the Go and I really liked this one. I loved the "local's perspective" and affordability of using public transit instead of a coach bus, the variety of things we did, the downtime and special, hidden extras that our guide Toshi took us too (including surprises not included on the tour itinerary, that Toshi took time out of his day to take us to), and the fantastic opportunities to do things I would have never done on my own, like the onsen and traditional inn.

I will say though that this tour needs to be marked as Highly Physical. The amount of walking (10+ miles on every single day of the tour), plus loads of stairs and hours of standing thanks to the subway system, made this tour quite a challenge!

• Submitted 05 Jun 2024
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There was nothing wrong with the tour but comparing it to other tours we have done with OTG ie Egypt, Turkey, Morrocco which were out of this world. I didnt feel overall I learnt as much about Japan as I learnt about other countries. I dont eat Asian food but that is my preference and no reflection on the tour. Yumi was not in any way bad, but I'm comparing her to Momo, Lale and Yunis who were brilliant. She did help us with information we asked about extra things to do in our spare time that we had planned. The accommodation overall was okay but the Tokyo accommodation (i think it was Yaesu hotel) was terrible (room was so small) we paid for an upgrade. We stayed before and after the tour in Ryumeikan Hotel in Tokyo - one of the choices you guys offer and this was much better. I think taking ppl to the museum in Tokyo on day 4 was a waste. It should be something they can do on their own in spare time. Just a waste of a day. so many other things that could have been done. I love museums btw this was just flat though. Lake Kawaguchiko was awsum and a very authentic experience.

• Submitted 09 May 2024
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Great tour and fantastic guide! All round five stars.

• Submitted 08 May 2024
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Hello, my husband and I absolutely loved our tour of Japan. The guide was great and very helpful in letting us know where to go for meals, attractions not included in the tour and shopping. The guide was very knowledgeable about all the sites we visited and was very easy to get along with.

We really enjoyed the tour, accommodation and service provided by On The Go Tours and will be booking other tours with On the Go Tours for our future holidays.

• Submitted 03 Jan 2024
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Very interesting and enjoyable

Very professional from the time I started my inquiry about the tour, everything was detailed and clear. The agent was very helpful and cooperative to solve any issue I had. The tour was very informative and the tour guide was knowledgeable of the subjects that were explored

• Submitted 18 Oct 2019
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Thank you Yuki - she made this trip perfect. My highlight was seeing a geisha and Mt Fuji.

• Submitted 21 May 2019
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I really enjoyed the tour. Most of the arrangements and organisation was very good and our tour guide Yuki was amazing, super polite, patient,really took care of us, went over and above in making our holiday so enjoyable. From the daily well written with cute drawings on her daily schedules, tiny treats she bought us, to the knowledge and expertise in the way she took us through all the public transport so efficient, I give her top marks.

My suggestions are few ....taking the bus in Tokyo was the most inconvenient. There were long waits and buses were overcrowded. Train rides were fine and agree the most efficient but local bus rides in Tokyo could have been on a tour bus instead. If the tour could add a few alternative like visiting The monster cafe, teamlab, robot restaurant, just to give it a mix from temples and museums and considering the varying age groups and interests.

On the hotels, Kyoto and the traditional were good and location of hotel accommodations were very good , Tokyo hotel rooms were very tiny and I a single occupant found it difficult so can only imagine how the couple's managed but I guess it's usual and the location was really good so its a plus.

Overall I did have a great holiday. I enjoy using your company on your escorted tours and will continue to do so. Thank you very much and please share our sincere appreciation with Yuki.

Regards Shanice

• Submitted 25 Mar 2019
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Yuki is a fantastic guide and such a lovely person! She gave us very clear information on what to expect each day, what we needed and where to meet. She was also very patient at explaining all aspects of Japanese culture and happy to answer any questions. She had excellent recommendations and knows the locations inside out. She works extremely hard to give guests the best experience. I can't imagine a better tour guide!

• Submitted 09 Jun 2018
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Tour guides were friendly and attentive and helpful which made the experience enjoyable. The flexibility to explore at our own pace was also very good and a nice balance between planned activities and free time. In Kyoto, may have been useful to have a coach bus as we spent a lot of time waiting for public transport which meant less time at sites.

• Submitted 01 Dec 2017
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1  |  2

At a Glance

Range
Trip Type
Starts
Tokyo
Ends
Kyoto or Tokyo
Departs
Saturdays - March to November
Group Size
Min 4 / Max 18
Hotel Rating
3 star hotels & ryokans
Tour Guide
Yes - tour guide escorted
Meals
Breakfast: 3, Dinner: 1
Countries
Minimum Age
15 yrs, accompanied by an adult
Arr. Transfer
Yes
Dep. Transfer
No in Kyoto (If booking end in Tokyo Supp unescorted train dep transfer included)
Rainbow Bridge, stretching across the water in Tokyo, lit up at night
Rainbow Bridge, stretching across the water in Tokyo, lit up at night
Giant Buddha of Kamakura made from bronze
Beautiful lake with a temple in the background in springtime in Kyoto
Beautiful lake with a temple in the background in springtime in Kyoto

Tour Add-ons

Enhance your trip with these amazing added extras and add-ons

Extra Tour Info

City skyline | Tokyo | Japan
Best Places to Visit
Places on our must-see list of any visit to Japan
Best Time to Visit menu image
Best Time to Visit
Information on climatic and weather conditions in Japan
Picture of three geisha girls in Japan
Top 10 Experiences
Our picks for Japan and where best to sample these delights
Updated
25th May 2023

Yumi could have made the tour more enjoyable. In fairness we had a large group, but she struggled to communicate (both instructions and information) to the group. We were constantly asking each other what she had said as only the people closest to her heard what she said. Perhaps choosing quieter places to address the group mould have worked. Also she seemed to get quite irritated when people asked for clarification. Having said that she was pleasant and knowledgeable about the sights we went to.

Public transport required a lot of walking and in some cases a private bus would have made more sense.

The hotels were of a good standard but rooms were exceptionally small in some cases

Paul Halliwell
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