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Featuring luxurious accommodations, delicious meals, and a knowledgeable tour leader to ensure a smooth experience, this trip offers a fantastic introduction to the intriguing culture of Japan that is often seen as difficult to access by outsiders. Your journey will begin and end in Tokyo, a city known for its modernity and vast size. Your first dinner in a local restaurant will provide a casual yet informative introduction to Japanese cuisine and customs, allowing you to get to know your tour leader and fellow travelers. In Kanazawa, you'll explore well-preserved samurai neighborhoods, visit exceptional Japanese gardens, and partake in traditional craft workshops. Kyoto, considered by many as Japan's greatest city, boasts a rich history as an imperial capital and is brimming with architectural and cultural wonders. A highlight of your time in Kyoto will be a private meeting with a maiko (trainee geisha), offering a rare and exclusive glimpse into this mysterious profession. Kinosaki Onsen, a picturesque hot spring resort nestled amidst mountains and sea, provides a serene escape from the hustle and bustle of urban life. Here, you'll stay in a ryokan, a traditional Japanese inn, and enjoy a set evening meal and comfortable futon bedding. In Hiroshima, you'll visit the poignant Peace Memorial Park and Museum, as well as the iconic "floating" torii gate on Miyajima Island, home to friendly deer. Along with city experiences, you'll also venture into rural Japan. In the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park, you'll cruise across Lake Ashi with Mount Fuji looming in the background and explore the remarkable Hakone Open-Air Museum. After a day of admiring art sculptures, you can unwind in volcanic hot spring baths.

Prices & Dates

Trip Highlights


An experienced InsideJapan tour leader will be there all day every day, making sure everything goes to plan
Sleep soundly in our selection of handpicked accommodation (14 nights)
Enjoy our preferred eateries with six lunches and six evening meals
Experience Tokyo's calmer side with a visit to the beautiful Hamarikyu Gardens
See the impressive land-bridge over the Miyazu bay
Have a once in a lifetime experience sipping afternoon tea with a maiko (trainee geisha)
Lighten the load with luggage forwarding from Tokyo to Kyoto, Kyoto to Hiroshima and Hiroshima back to Tokyo
Touch down to see a friendly face with private airport transfers
Get your day off to a great start with breakfast every day
Forget searching for small change on the subway, your IC transport card has 2,500 yen credit for city transport
Try 'Kaiseki' cuisine and traditional 'futon' bedding at your ryokan in Kinosaki Onsen
Meet the local artisans of the Kyotango Peninsula
See ground-breaking contemporary art with tickets to Hakone Open-Air Museum, and explore the Hakone area using the 2-day Hakone Free Pass
Keep connected with shared portable Wi-Fi access throughout

Not Included

International flights
Entrance fees (including those for temples, shrines and museums) unless otherwise specified
Any local transport (subways, taxis, buses) unless covered by the included transport passes
Baggage handling and luggage forwarding unless otherwise specified


Days 1-2


Discover the rich history and culture of Tokyo, Japan's bustling capital city, in the company of an experienced tour guide. Upon arrival in Tokyo, the tenth most populous city in the world, you will be greeted by a driver and taken to your hotel in the lively Ginza district. Your tour leader will be waiting to welcome you in the lobby.

After settling in, you will join your group for an orientation meeting followed by a delicious first-night meal at a local restaurant, providing a taste of Japanese cuisine and dining customs.

Day 2 starts with a relaxing walk through the picturesque Hamarikyu Gardens, offering a serene escape from the urban landscape. The afternoon will be filled with visits to historic sites such as Senso-ji, the oldest Buddhist temple in Tokyo, and Meiji Jingu, the revered Shinto shrine in the heart of the city.

Days 3-4


Explore the enchanting historical city of Kanazawa, known as "Little Kyoto," for its well-preserved traditional charm. Depart from vibrant Tokyo this morning and board the bullet train to Kanazawa on the Japan Sea Coast. Unlike many cities in Japan, Kanazawa was fortunate to avoid bombing during World War II, allowing it to maintain a rich collection of religious sites and cultural assets. Renowned for its exceptional seafood, you can indulge in a delicious sushi or fish meal with your tour leader this evening.

Upon arrival, you will be accompanied by a local guide and your tour leader on an in-depth exploration of Kanazawa's finest attractions. Highlights may include the historic geisha district of Higashi Chaya, the samurai quarter with its preserved houses, a gold leaf workshop showcasing traditional craftsmanship, and the famous Kenrokuen garden, regarded as one of Japan's top three gardens. Ample time will be provided to fully appreciate the beauty of Kenrokuen. If you still have energy after the tour, consider visiting the local market or the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art.

Days 5-7


Explore Kyoto, home to iconic landmarks like the Golden Pavilion of Kinkaku-ji, Ryoan-ji Rock Garden, and Arashiyama's bamboo grove. With over a thousand years as the imperial capital, Kyoto boasts 17 World Heritage Sites, along with numerous shrines, temples, and gardens. Arrive in Kyoto after a scenic train ride along Lake Biwa and have the option to visit attractions like Nishiki Food Market and Kyoto station complex. Experience traditional Japanese culture in Gion, the hub of geisha culture, with a tea ceremony performed by a maiko. A local Kyoto expert will guide you on a private coach tour to must-see spots like Arashiyama, Ryoanji Rock Garden, and either the Golden Pavilion of Kinkakuji or the Silver Pavilion of Ginkakuji. With your guide's help, you'll explore both famous and hidden gems. On day 7, choose between further Kyoto exploration or a day trip to destinations like Nara, known for its giant Buddha and friendly deer. Your tour leader can assist with planning.

Days 8-9

Kinosaki Onsen

Embark on a journey to the Kyotango Peninsula and the renowned hot-spring town of Kinosaki Onsen.

On day 8, you'll have a relaxing morning before boarding a train to Kinosaki Onsen, known for its seven mystical hot springs. Many visitors seek to bathe in all seven to experience the healing properties of the sacred waters. After exploring the charming town in the afternoon, indulge in a traditional kaiseki dinner at the ryokan.

Next, a private coach will take you to the Kyotango Peninsula, where you'll encounter stunning landscapes and local artisans. Visit a swordsmith specializing in katana and an artisan skilled in weaving mother-of-pearl into intricate kimono designs. Following lunch, admire Amanohashidate, considered one of Japan's top three scenic views. The sandbar stretches across Miyazu bay, resembling a "staircase to heaven." You'll have the opportunity to cross the bay by boat, foot, or bicycle before returning to the ryokan for dinner via private bus.

Days 10-11


Travel swiftly on the bullet train to Hiroshima, known for being one of western Japan's most vibrant cities.

In the morning, embark on a private coach journey to Himeji to witness the World Heritage castle, a well-preserved feudal structure. Following this, board the bullet train to Hiroshima, where the Peace Memorial Park and Museum stand as powerful reminders of the events of August 6, 1945. On day 11, explore the Peace Memorial Museum before taking a boat trip from the Peace Park to Miyajima, an island on the Seto Inland Sea. Apart from its famous World Heritage Shrine and "floating" torii gate, Miyajima offers a charming town center and the chance to interact with the local deer population.

Days 12-13


Indulge in relaxing hot spring baths, marvel at world-class artworks, and potentially catch a glimpse of iconic Mount Fuji during a two-night stay in Hakone National Park.

Board the bullet train and head east to Hakone, a picturesque national park near Tokyo. Attend the exceptional Hakone Open-Air Museum, showcasing masterpieces by artists such as Moore and Rodin against a backdrop of majestic mountains. A high-quality dinner is included in the tour tonight.

On day 13, explore all that Hakone has to offer. Sail across Lake Ashi on a pirate ship, try a black egg boiled in volcanic hot spring water, ride a cable car up the mountainside, and luxuriate in the area's renowned hot spring baths. Hakone is also renowned for its views of Mount Fuji, offering a chance for breathtaking scenery if the weather cooperates.

Days 14-15


Conclude your trip with a memorable final-night meal at one of Tokyo's top restaurants. On day 14, embark on a final train journey back to Tokyo. Spend your time in the capital exploring Shinjuku, known for its vibrant shopping and entertainment scene. Take in the sights at Shinjuku Gyoen Park or do some last-minute shopping at one of the district's department stores. In the evening, enjoy an included final-night meal with your tour leader and group at one of the city's superb restaurants. The following morning, bid farewell to Japan as you are transported to the airport in a private car for your journey home.

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.

At a Glance

Trip Type
Group Size
Min 4 / Max 14
Hotel Rating
Tour Guide
None Provided
Minimum Age
15 yrs, accompanied by an adult
Arr. Transfer
Dep. Transfer
OTG002971Classic Cultural Japan - 15 daysFar EastHandpickedFar EastfalseJapan