Travel Notices

Best of Japan

Experience Japan: futuristic Tokyo; coastal Kamakura & mountainous Hakone w/ views of iconic Mt. Fuji; historic Takayama; UNESCO site, Gokayama & the ancient city of Kyoto

Overview

from$7849Tour + Flights from$6949Tour Only 13days
price per person, double occupancy,* based on Dec 8, 2024 departure from LAX
$700 Instant Savings. Expires Mar 7, 2024.*   All prices reflect savings.
Traveling with friends or family? Claim a departure as a private trip for you and your crew (minimum 10 travelers). Call us to learn more.
Style Small Group TourTravel with a small, intimate group of no more than 16 likeminded travelers (and often much fewer), escorted by an English speaking guide and/or tour manager for some or all of your journey. (Some exceptions, including special promotional packaged, may accommodate up to 24.) More of these packages
Dedicated tour escorts & guides throughout
Departures May – December 2024 Group Size 16 travelers max
Themes History & CultureGrand ToursBucket ListRail Journeys
Activity Level Moderate
What to Expect This moderately-paced, escorted tour includes a reasonable amount of walking or hiking and requires an average level of physical fitness. Porterage at train stations is not available. Travel safely and confidently with our new health & safety protocols.
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Set in East Asia, Japan is a country of contrasts, blending ancient traditions with innovative technology and calm scenery with bustling cities. This fascinating region will spark all your senses and leave you with memories you won't be able to make anywhere else. Home to symbolic Mt. Fuji, unique, mouthwatering cuisine, magnificent temples and shrines, neon skylines, and a culture steeped in both tradition and modernity, you will discover the absolute best of Japan with every turn you take. Journey through coastal towns, historical cities, and mountain villages to experience all that this country has to offer. Taste your way through the region with hands-on sushi lessons, sake tastings, and enjoying the local fare. Discover Kyoto, Japan's spiritual center home to the Golden Pavillion. Explore the rich history and discover timeless stories from every ancient temple and UNESCO site. From Tokyo's glittering skyscrapers to the peaceful atmosphere dotted with bamboo forests and pagodas, Japan is an adventure waiting for curious travelers.

Japan: Endless Discovery Japan: Endless Discovery

Package includes

  • Flights
  • Train
  • Coach
  • Transfers
  • Hotel
  • Meals
  • Guides
  • Round-trip flights from Los Angeles (LAX) to Narita, including fuel surcharges and taxes and fees
  • All ground transportation and transfers
  • 10 nights in Deluxe and First-Class Superior hotel accommodations
  • 1 night at a ryokan-style resort in Hakone
  • 21 Meals: 11 Breakfasts, 7 Lunches, 3 Dinners
  • Comprehensive touring program including entrance fees
  • Professional English-speaking tour guide

Optional add-ons

  • Exciting optional excursions in Tokyo and Hiroshima

Why you'll love it

  • Explore Tokyo's highlights, including Sensoji Temple, Nakamise-dōri Street, and Tokyo Skytree.
  • Learn the art of making sushi during a hands-on lesson.
  • Cruise along Lake Ashi before ascending 4,300 ft. to the ancient Mototsumiya Shrine on top of Mt. Komagatake and a chance to see Mt. Fuji.
  • Set out on a high-speed adventure aboard the Shinkansen Kodama, a bullet train linking Japan's major cities while reaching speeds of over 170 miles per hour.
  • Explore scenic Takayama, including the Sannomachi District, the Takayama-Jina Shrine, and the Yatai Kaikan museum.
  • Tour a local sake brewery and taste samples of various sakes.
  • Get hands-on during a Washi paper-making demonstration and experience.
  • Visit the Nomura-Ke Samurai residence, then discover Kanazawa's rich tradition of gold leaf at the Gold Leaf Experience.
  • Explore Kyoto, including the Golden Pavillion, Nijo Castle, Heian Jingu Shrine, and Nishiki Market.
  • Meander through the renowned Sango bamboo grove of Arashiyama, considered one of the most beautiful woodlands in the world.

Itinerary at a Glance

Best of Japan map

Dates & Prices

Dates & Prices

Instant Savings: Get $700 off if you book by Mar. 7, 2024!
Dates & Prices, with flights
per person, double occupancy*, including Instant Savings discounts
2024 DEPARTURES
Dates Regular
Price
Instant
Savings
Your
Price
Departs U.S.: Sun, Feb 25, 2024
Finishes: Fri, Mar 8, 2024
Feb 25 – Mar 8
$8299 Departed
Departs U.S.: Sun, Mar 24, 2024
Finishes: Fri, Apr 5, 2024
Mar 24 – Apr 5
$9749 Closed
Departs U.S.: Sun, Apr 14, 2024
Finishes: Fri, Apr 26, 2024
Apr 14 – Apr 26
$8649 Sold Out
Departs U.S.: Sun, May 19, 2024
Finishes: Fri, May 31, 2024
Book by Thu, Mar 7, 2024 (midnight ET) to get the Instant Savings!
May 19 – May 31
$8599 –$700 $7899 Select
Departs U.S.: Sun, Jun 9, 2024
Finishes: Fri, Jun 21, 2024
Jun 9 – Jun 21
$8649 Sold Out
Departs U.S.: Sun, Jun 30, 2024
Finishes: Fri, Jul 12, 2024
Book by Thu, Mar 7, 2024 (midnight ET) to get the Instant Savings!
Jun 30 – Jul 12
$8899 –$700 $8199 Select
Departs U.S.: Sun, Aug 18, 2024
Finishes: Fri, Aug 30, 2024
Book by Thu, Mar 7, 2024 (midnight ET) to get the Instant Savings!
Aug 18 – Aug 30
$8599 –$700 $7899 Select
Departs U.S.: Sun, Sep 1, 2024
Finishes: Fri, Sep 13, 2024
Book by Thu, Mar 7, 2024 (midnight ET) to get the Instant Savings!
Sep 1 – Sep 13
$8599 –$700 $7899 Select
Departs U.S.: Sun, Oct 13, 2024
Finishes: Fri, Oct 25, 2024
Book by Thu, Mar 7, 2024 (midnight ET) to get the Instant Savings!
Oct 13 – Oct 25
$9099 –$700 $8399 Select
Departs U.S.: Wed, Nov 6, 2024
Finishes: Mon, Nov 18, 2024
Book by Thu, Mar 7, 2024 (midnight ET) to get the Instant Savings!
Nov 6 – Nov 18
$8999 –$700 $8299 Select
Departs U.S.: Sun, Dec 8, 2024
Finishes: Fri, Dec 20, 2024
Book by Thu, Mar 7, 2024 (midnight ET) to get the Instant Savings!
Dec 8 – Dec 20
$8549 –$700 $7849 Select
Dates & Prices, tour only
per person, double occupancy*, including Instant Savings discounts
2024 DEPARTURES
Dates Regular
Price
Instant
Savings
Your
Price
Starts: Mon, Feb 26, 2024
Finishes: Fri, Mar 8, 2024
Feb 26 – Mar 8
$7499 Departed
Starts: Mon, Mar 25, 2024
Finishes: Fri, Apr 5, 2024
Mar 25 – Apr 5
$8949 Closed
Starts: Mon, Apr 15, 2024
Finishes: Fri, Apr 26, 2024
Apr 15 – Apr 26
$7849 Sold Out
Starts: Mon, May 20, 2024
Finishes: Fri, May 31, 2024
Book by Thu, Mar 7, 2024 (midnight ET) to get the Instant Savings!
May 20 – May 31
$7799 –$700 $7099 Select
Starts: Mon, Jun 10, 2024
Finishes: Fri, Jun 21, 2024
Jun 10 – Jun 21
$7749 Sold Out
Starts: Mon, Jul 1, 2024
Finishes: Fri, Jul 12, 2024
Book by Thu, Mar 7, 2024 (midnight ET) to get the Instant Savings!
Jul 1 – Jul 12
$7999 –$700 $7299 Select
Starts: Mon, Aug 19, 2024
Finishes: Fri, Aug 30, 2024
Book by Thu, Mar 7, 2024 (midnight ET) to get the Instant Savings!
Aug 19 – Aug 30
$7699 –$700 $6999 Select
Starts: Mon, Sep 2, 2024
Finishes: Fri, Sep 13, 2024
Book by Thu, Mar 7, 2024 (midnight ET) to get the Instant Savings!
Sep 2 – Sep 13
$7699 –$700 $6999 Select
Starts: Mon, Oct 14, 2024
Finishes: Fri, Oct 25, 2024
Book by Thu, Mar 7, 2024 (midnight ET) to get the Instant Savings!
Oct 14 – Oct 25
$8199 –$700 $7499 Select
Starts: Thu, Nov 7, 2024
Finishes: Mon, Nov 18, 2024
Book by Thu, Mar 7, 2024 (midnight ET) to get the Instant Savings!
Nov 7 – Nov 18
$8099 –$700 $7399 Select
Starts: Mon, Dec 9, 2024
Finishes: Fri, Dec 20, 2024
Book by Thu, Mar 7, 2024 (midnight ET) to get the Instant Savings!
Dec 9 – Dec 20
$7649 –$700 $6949 Select

If you want a few extra days to explore on your own, we may be able to arrange for you to stay later than the scheduled dates, including extra hotel nights and separate airport transfers, for an additional charge. Ask us about prices and availability when (or after) you book. More information Want to extend your trip?

Options & Fees

Best of Japan
Rooming Selection
Double Occupancy included
Single Occupancy
Feb 25, 2024;  Jun 9, 2024 $1159
All other dates $1379
OPTIONAL EXCURSIONS1
Discounted Optional Excursions Package: Includes Imperial Palace & Taiko $260
Imperial Palace East Gardens & COREDO Muromachi shopping complex $125
Taiko Lab, Japanese Drum Experience $225
Hiroshima & Miyajima $695

1. Prices based on a minimum of four passengers. Optional tours must be pre-booked and are not available for purchase locally.

TRANSFERS FOR PASSENGERS BOOKING TOUR ONLY
OPTIONAL AIRPORT TRANSFERS1
Arrival Transfer: Tokyo area airport to Imperial hotel via Shared Transfer $108
Departure transfer: Osaka hotel to Osaka area airport via Shared Transfer $108

1. Airport transfers are based on a minimum of two passengers.

So that we can offer you the best deals, our packages are, like most hotels and cruises, priced based on double occupancy rooms or cabins. We charge solo travelers an extra fee to cover the extra costs of single occupancy rooms or cabins. (Consider: if you booked a $200/night hotel room solo, you would pay the $200 yourself; but if a couple booked the same room, each one would pay only $100.) But you only pay extra for the rooms or cabins, nothing else, including meals, sightseeing, tips, etc. Why are single rooms more?

Flights & Departure Cities

Departure Airports
Los Angeles (LAX)1 included

1. Upgrades may be available to Premium Economy or Business Class. Request this upgrade during the booking process in the Special Requests section, and we will check the availability and provide you with a price.

This package includes round-trip flights from the city listed above. Please review the flight schedule, especially if you're booking connecting flights.

Want to fly from another city? Unfortunately, we don't offer flights from other cities, but you can book your own.

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1 Depart USA

  • Depart on your overnight flight to Tokyo, Japan

Day 2 Arrive Tokyo, Japan

  • Arrive in Tokyo, Japan, meet our representative and transfer to your hotel

Imperial Hotel Tokyo

Full Day Itinerary
Tokyo Bay

Welcome to Tokyo, Japan's bustling capital and one of the world's foremost economic centers. Upon landing, meet your tour host, who will escort you to your deluxe, centrally-located hotel. En route, take in Tokyo's incredible hustle and bustle, from the neon-lit districts to its iconic skyline.

Day 3 Tokyo

  • Visit Sensō-ji temple and Nakamise-dōri street
  • Enjoy a Sushi Making class followed by sushi lunch
  • Stroll along the Ropongi District
  • Visit the Tokyo Skytree
  • Welcome dinner with your fellow travelers

Imperial Hotel Tokyo Breakfast, lunch & dinner

Full Day Itinerary
Sensoji Temple

After breakfast at the hotel, embark on a guided tour of Tokyo. Make your way to the colorful Asakusa district, home to many famous temples, shrines, and other cultural attractions. Visit the ancient Buddhist temple of Sensō-ji, constructed in 645 BCE. Inside you will find various religious artifacts such as statues of Buddha, Japanese calligraphy, and traditional paintings. The grounds are also home to many other small temples dedicated to various gods or goddesses. Walk through the temple's famous incense smoke, said to be beneficial to your health, and receive an omikuji, or fortune. 

Then, stroll down Nakamise-dōri Street, a commerce staple in the community since the 1700s. Shop for traditional handmade souvenirs, including folding fans, kimonos and yukatas, toys, and more. The area has also become a popular spot for foodies, offering delicious street food options ranging from taiyaki (fish-shaped pancakes filled with sweet bean paste) to yakitori (grilled chicken skewers).

Follow your shopping adventure with a chance to learn about sushi during a hands-on lesson. Here, your sushi chef will share with you the techniques used to prepare this fresh dish--from the simple ingredients and tools to the ancient methods they use to cut fish and roll maki. Finish off the experience with a sushi lunch, where you'll continue to learn about the accompanying dishes during the meal.

Next, stroll through the Roppongi Hills district, developed as an urban center for Tokyoites to live, work, and play! The area includes more than 200 shops and restaurants, theaters, art galleries, museums, public parks, and more. This high-end area is also a treat for architecture lovers, with some of the tallest buildings in the city (the Mori Tower at 54 stories high!) and several apartment complexes designed by renowned architects, including Kengo Kumo and Toyo Ito.

Continue to the iconic Tokyo Skytree, where you'll enjoy a fantastic city view. Standing more than 2,000 ft. tall, it features two observatories: The Tembo Deck (1,148 ft.) on its upper floors with panoramic views of the Tokyo skyline and an even higher 1,476 ft. Tembo Galleria, which offers beautiful vistas of Mount Fuji on clear days. The Skytree also features souvenir shops, restaurants, and cafes spread across several floors where you can enjoy traditional Japanese cuisine and international dishes.

Join your guide and fellow travelers this evening for a welcome dinner featuring traditional Japanese food.

Day 4 Tokyo

  • Full day at leisure in Tokyo or join an optional tour: Imperial Palace East Gardens & COREDO Muromachi shopping complex, or Taiko Lab, Japanese Drum Experience

Imperial Hotel Tokyo Breakfast

Full Day Itinerary
Tokyo Tower

Enjoy a day at leisure to explore Tokyo on your own. Your hotel is conveniently located in the heart of Tokyo, adjacent to the Tokyo Tower and historical Zojo-ji temple and within easy access to the fashionable shopping districts of Ginza and Roppongi.

Optional Excursion: Imperial Palace East Gardens & COREDO Muromachi shopping complex (AM), $125
Imperial Palace

After breakfast, proceed to the historical Imperial Palace, which dates back to the 15th century and is the former site of Edo Castle and the present residence of the Emperor of Japan. Visitors are not permitted inside this private residence of royalty, but you will enjoy a walk through the beautiful East Gardens, with views of the ancient castle walls and ruins. Later, visit the COREDO Muromachi shopping complex in the historic Nihonbashi district. COREDO offers a link to Tokyo's past, present, and future. The complex is home to Hakuza Nihonbashi, the flagship store of the Kanazawa gold leaf maker, Hakuza. The store is as beautiful as any gallery, filled with gold leaf accessories for the home, from tableware, interior decoration, cosmetics, and flakes for tea or rice. Don't miss Nihonbashi Kiya, a cutlery specialist shop with roots that date back more than 200 years in Nihonbashi. The many blades inside the shop represent the history of Japanese cutlery, including sashimi knives, classic designs for cutting fish or chicken bones, chopping vegetables, and specialized ones for preparing seafood. Kiya is also an art museum with displays covering the history of Japan's leading blacksmiths and their creations. Enjoy time on your own for tea, shopping, or having a bite at nearby restaurants. 

Note: Prices are based on a minimum of four passengers. This tour must be pre-booked and is not available for purchase locally.

Optional Excursion: Taiko Lab, Japanese Drum Experience (PM), $225
Taiko drumming

Spend the afternoon learning the ancient art of Taiko drumming at Visit Taiko Center, one of the world's most active Taiko Drumming companies! Try this traditional instrumentation featuring large drums (taiko) played with mallets or hands to create powerful rhythms and melodies. Taiko drumming is often used for ceremonial purposes such as festivals, weddings, religious ceremonies, and theatrical performances. It gained popularity worldwide due to its energetic sound and unique style of playing.

Note: Prices are based on a minimum of four passengers. This tour must be pre-booked and is not available for purchase locally.

Day 5 Kamakura, Hakone, views of Mt Fuji

  • Enjoy a beautiful panoramic drive from Tokyo to Hakone
  • Visit Kōtoku-in temple and marvel at the giant Buddha
  • Embark on a scenic cruise on Lake Ashi
  • Enjoy views of Mt. Fuji, weather conditions permitting
  • Board the Komagatake Ropeway and ascend Mt. Komagatake

Hakone Kowakien Ten-yu or similar Breakfast, lunch & dinner

Full Day Itinerary
Lake Ashi

Today, depart for the picturesque coastal town of Kamakura in the Kanagawa Prefecture. Known for many historical monuments and sites, pay a visit to the Kokoku-in Temple, which enshrines the famous Kamakura Daibutsu (Great Buddha of Kamakura), a 43-foot bronze statue of the Buddha located on the temple grounds.

Continue to the Hase-dera temple, founded in 736 by monk Tokudo Shonin, and known for its 11-headed Kannon statue, which stands an impressive 27 feet tall. The grounds are filled with beautiful gardens and koi fish-filled ponds, providing visitors with a peaceful atmosphere while taking in the sights of the ancient architecture of the buildings onsite.

Enjoy an included lunch in Kamakura before you continue the panoramic drive to Hakone.

Here you'll enjoy a scenic cruise on Lake Ashi, a slender crater lake formed in the Hakone caldera nearly 400,000 years ago. On board, you can admire the crystal-clear waters as you pass by small villages, rolling hilltops, and lush forests. You might even see Mt. Fuji's peak in the distance on a clear day! Afterward, visit the ancient Mototsumiya Shrine on top of Mt. Komagatake. Known as the "Shrine in the Sky," you will ascend via a seven-minute Ropeway ride nearly 4,300 ft up to the top, where you can enjoy breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains, lakes, and bamboo fields. The shrine's main hall features a beautiful thatched roof, while its grounds are home to many old trees with rich foliage.

After an exciting day of travel and taking in the sites, transfer to a Ryokan for your overnight stay. A ryokan is a traditional Japanese inn that features tatami-matted rooms and usually has a minimalist aesthetic, with sliding doors, low tables, and futon beds. Guests can enjoy authentic local cuisine served in their room or the dining area and relaxing onsite amenities like hot springs, gardens, spa services, and sauna.

Day 6 Hakone, Takayama

  • Travel to Nagoya aboard the Shinkansen Kodama, Japan's bullet train
  • Travel to Takayama aboard the limited express Hida
  • Enjoy the beautiful views of the Japanese Alps
  • Stroll in Sannomachi
  • Continue on foot to Visit Takayama jinya
  • Enjoy a Sake brewery and Sake Tasting

Tokyu Stay Hida Takayama Musubinoyu, Takayama Green Hotel or similar Breakfast & lunch

Full Day Itinerary
Shinkansen Kodama

This morning set out on a high-speed adventure aboard the Shinkansen Kodama, Japan's bullet train! A tourist attraction in its own right, this quiet train efficiently links Japan's major cities while reaching speeds of over 170 miles per hour. After a quick and comfortable ride, arrive in Nagoya, where you'll transfer to the express train to Takayama. Along the way, enjoy spectacular views of the peaks and forests of the Japanese Alps through the train's wide-picture windows.

Known for its traditional atmosphere and beautiful natural scenery, start your exploration of Takayama with a local lunch. Then, stretch your legs with a stroll to some of the city's most famous sights.

Begin with an afternoon walk through the Sannomachi District. This historic area dates back to the Edo period. Explore the picturesque streets lined with shops and restaurants selling local specialties such as Hida beef, one of Japan's most famous beef brands. Then, visit the Takayama-Jinya Shrine. This traditional wooden building served as a local government office until 1969 and now operates as a public museum where visitors can explore the grounds, storehouse, and the large tatami mat rooms that were once used as offices and residential spaces.

Next, continue to a local sake brewery for a tour and tasting. Enjoy a guided tour of the facility, learning how workers make this iconic Japanese rice spirit using centuries-old methods. After, indulge in a tasting session with samples of different sakes ranging from light to fruity to robust.

Finally, enjoy a leisurely walk from the brewery to the hotel for check-in. 

Note: April 14, 2024 departure will stay at Takayama Green Hotel

Day 7 Takayama, Gokayama, and Kanazawa

  • Experience a local farmers market of Takayama
  • Explore the Yatai kaikan museum
  • Take a stroll in Gokayama
  • Visit a traditional Washi workshop

ANA Crowne Plaza Kanazawa or similar Breakfast & lunch

Full Day Itinerary
Farmers' market, Takayama

After breakfast, visit the nearby farmers' market for an authentic, local experience. Soak up the casual, friendly atmosphere as residents and visitors alike take their time perusing the stalls, stopping to make small talk and catching up with one another. Explore the myriad of things for sale, ranging from colorful fruits and vegetables to handmade artisan goods and freshly-cut flowers.

Continue exploring Takayama's rich history with a trip to the Yatai Kaikan museum, Takayama Festival Floats Exhibition Hall. This museum showcases some of Japan's most beautiful festival floats--used during the Takayama Matsuri. This traditional festival occurs in two parts: Spring, in which 12 floats take part, and Autumn, which features 11. This parade of showmanship representing the region's vibrant lumber industry began more than 300 years ago as a simple village ceremony. The exhibition hall consists of several floors, each dedicated to different aspects of the floats and their history. 

Next, step back in time as you explore the mountain village (and UNESCO World Heritage Site) of Gokayama. This small, traditional village offers an up-close look at an ancient way of life. The houses were built with a unique construction technique called gassho-zukuri, which gives them their distinctive shape resembling hands joined together in prayer. This style was chosen to help protect against strong winds and heavy snowfall that frequently occur during wintertime. Explore the area's tranquil streets, beautiful shrines, and more. 

Then, get hands-on during a Washi paper-making demonstration and experience! Learn about this age-old Japanese paper craft from artisans. Discover its long history, traditional techniques, and the art form's sustainable nature. Get creative, make and then take home three postcard souvenirs of your own!

Finally, continue to Kanazawa check into your hotel and enjoy dinner independently.

Day 8 Kanazawa

  • Visit the Nomura-Ke (Old Samurai House) and stroll through Kenrokuen Garden
  • Discover Kanazawa's rich tradition of gold leaf at the Gold Leaf Experience
  • Pay a visit to the Shima House
  • Enjoy a walking tour of Higashi Chaya

ANA Crowne Plaza Kanazawa or similar Breakfast & lunch

Full Day Itinerary
Nomura-Ke Samurai residence

Start today with a visit to the Nomura-Ke Samurai residence. Located in the historic city of Nagamachi, this traditional samurai home is one of Japan's most important cultural sites. Imagine the life of an ancient samurai warrior and his family as you learn about the villa's history and peruse its many artifacts, carvings, and gardens. 

Next, stroll through the expansive Kenrokuen Garden--a serene place that will leave you feeling refreshed and inspired regardless of when you visit. In spring, visitors can admire over 1,000 cherry trees blooming; summer brings lush greenery; fall showcases vibrant foliage; and winter transforms the garden into a tranquil snowscape. "Kenrokuen" means "garden that combines six characteristics,” comprised of spaciousness, seclusion, artifice, antiquity, water sources, and magnificent views.”

Recognized by UNESCO as a Creative City of Crafts and Folk Art, discover Kanazawa's rich tradition of gold leaf at the Gold Leaf Experience. Watch artisans painstakingly create stunningly intricate pieces using impossibly-thin sheets of hammered gold. This technique embellishes everything from national treasures to family heirlooms, including lacquer work, ceramics, and decorative and religious items. After the demonstration, give the craft a go and create a keepsake to cherish!

After a delicious lunch at a local restaurant, pay a visit to the Shima House in Higashi Chaya. Built around 1820, this traditional home offers an authentic cultural reflection of life during the Edo period. Lovingly restored to its original condition, explore the house and admire its intricate woodwork, tatami mat flooring, and exquisite artwork adorning the walls. 

Finally, enjoy a walking tour of Higashi Chaya--a district featuring streets lined with restored wooden merchant houses. These historic buildings have found a new life as tea houses and venues for live music and performances, including kabuki and shamisen.

After the sightseeing, you may transfer back to the hotel via bus. If you prefer to continue exploring or have dinner in Higashi Chaya, you can return to the hotel independently.

Day 9 Kanazawa, Kyoto

  • Transfer to Kyoto by the Limited Express Thunderbird
  • Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant in Kyoto
  • Visit the Nijo Castle
  • See the Heian Jingu Shrine & Red Torii Gate

Hotel Granvia Kyoto or similar Breakfast & lunch

Full Day Itinerary
Nijo Castle, Kyoto

Today, board the Limited Express Thunderbird for a quick trip to Kyoto! Founded in the 7th century, this ancient city was once the capital of Japan and is still considered the country's spiritual center. Today it is home to more than 1.5 million people, lush gardens, modern museums, and several important historical and religious sites.

Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant followed by exploring Kyoto, starting with Nijo Castle. Built in 1603 by the founder of the Tokugawa Shogunate, this sprawling castle complex served as his residence and headquarters for over 250 years. Its grand Ninomaru Palace is surrounded by beautiful gardens, moats, and walls that are all designated UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Inside you'll find an impressive collection of artwork, including wall paintings depicting battles from Japan's feudal period. Take some time to explore Nijo Castle's hidden gems, like its nightingale floor (which chirps when stepped on) and watchtowers with magnificent views of Kyoto City.

Next, head to the Heian Jingu Shrine. This 5/8 scale reproduction of the Heian Palace was built in 1895 to commemorate the 1100th anniversary of Emperor Kanmu's ascension to the throne and is dedicated to two imperial deities: Emperor Kanmu and his consort, Empress Koken. Here you'll have an opportunity to walk around the shrine's beautiful court and have a photo stop in front of the giant Torii Gate.

Return to your hotel for check-in and enjoy Kyoto by night. 

Day 10 Kyoto

  • Visit the Golden Pavilion, one of Kyoto's most iconic landmarks
  • Visit Arashiyama and stroll in the Sango Bamboo Grove and across the Togetsu bridge
  • Shop at the 16th-century Nishiki Market
  • Admire the beautiful Buddhist of Kiyomizu Temple

Hotel Granvia Kyoto or similar Breakfast

Full Day Itinerary
Kinkaku-ji Temple, Kyoto

Visit to the Golden Pavillion (Kinkaku-ji Temple). One of the most iconic landmarks in Kyoto, this temple was initially constructed in 1397 and was later converted into a Zen Buddhist temple. The two-story pavilion is covered with gold leaf on the top two floors, and its reflection shimmers on the surface of the surrounding pond, known as Kyoko-chi.

Visit Arashiyama, a district on the western outskirts of the city known for its beautiful landscapes and temples. Meander through the renowned bamboo grove, considered one of the most beautiful woodlands in the world. The area also features some historical sites, such as Togetsukyo Bridge, which has been standing since the 16th century. This bridge spans the Katsura River and provides stunning views of Arashiyama's lush landscape.

Visit the Nishiki Market, known for its lively atmosphere and friendly vendors who will often let you sample their products before buying them. This famous shopping district has been around since the 16th century. It is one of the oldest markets in the country, offering a variety of traditional Japanese food and other goods such as fresh produce, pickles, seafood, dried foods, kitchenware, handmade souvenirs, and more.

Make your way to Kiyomizu Temple, a beautiful Buddhist temple in the Higashiyama district. The temple is known for its large terrace, which overlooks the city below, offering stunning views of Kyoto from every angle. Then, spend time exploring the Higashiyama district, where you can find some of Japan's best-preserved traditional architecture. Home to some of Kyoto’s oldest shrines, temples, gardens, and other cultural attractions, this area has been a popular destination for locals and travelers since ancient times. Spend time wandering the neighborhood's narrow winding streets, filled with shops, restaurants, tea houses, and more.

Finally, experience one of Kyoto's most famous attractions--the Gion District! Meticulously preserved, this iconic geisha neighborhood features traditional wooden machiya houses, cobblestone alleyways, ornate temples, craft shops, restaurants, tea houses, and more! As you admire the historical constructions and soak in the peaceful atmosphere, you'll get a glimpse into the life of an authentic Japanese geisha. Visit some of Gion's famous teahouses to enjoy matcha tea while experiencing traditional entertainment, such as music and dance performances by local maiko (geisha's apprentice).

After the sightseeing, you may transfer back to the hotel via bus. If you prefer to continue exploring or have dinner in the Gion District, you can return to the hotel independently. 

Day 11 Kyoto or optional Hiroshima & Miyajima

  • Free day in Kyoto, or optional Hiroshima & Miyajima excursion

Hotel Granvia Kyoto or similar Breakfast

Full Day Itinerary

Enjoy a day at leisure to explore Kyoto on your own, or join an optional full-day excursion to Hiroshima and Miyajima.

Optional Excursion: Hiroshima & Miyajima Excursion, $695
Hiroshima Bomb Dome

Start your day with a visit to Hiroshima. Pay your respects to victims of the Atomic Bomb and learn about the devastating horrors of war at the Peace Memorial Park's memorial site. This museum also expresses and celebrates the desire for long life and happiness.

After lunch at a local restaurant, enjoy a short cruise from Peace Memorial Park to Miyajima, home to the Itsukushima Shrine. This UNESCO World Heritage site is one of the most photographed sites in Japan and was constructed in 593 to honor fishing gods. The orange paint on the shrine's entrance gate provides a stunning color contrast against the crystal blue waters of the bay. Afterward, visit the Hiroshima Bomb Dome, a skeleton of a building that survived the atomic bomb blast in 1945.

Note: The Shrine of Itsukushima's large torii gate will not be fully visible due to renovations. The Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum's main building is currently being renovated, but the fully renovated East building will be open to visitors and includes displays from the Main Building. The price is based on a minimum of four passengers. This tour must be pre-booked and is not available for purchase locally.

Day 12 Kyoto, Nara & Osaka

  • Drive to Nara, one of the earliest capitals of Japan
  • Visit Todai-ji Temple and the Kasuga Shrine
  • Pay a visit to the Asuka Village
  • Enjoy a farewell dinner

Hilton Osaka or similar Breakfast, lunch & dinner

Full Day Itinerary
Buddha, Todaji Temple

After breakfast, drive to Nara, one of the earliest capitals of Japan. Located in the Kansai region, Nara is home to some of the country's most important historical monuments. Visit Toda-ji Temple, built in the 8th century. The main hall contains an enormous 49ft-tall Buddha statue that towers over all who enter. Another highlight is Kasuga Shrine, famous for its many bronze and stone lanterns that line the paths of both inner and outer precincts. Its surrounding gardens are home to many small deer that have free rein to mingle with visitors and beg for treats that you can buy from local vendors for a few yen! 

This afternoon, drive to Osaka. En route, pay a visit to the Asuka Village, believed to have been founded during the Asuka period (538 - 710 AD). Explore the Ishibutai Kofun burial mound, one of Japan’s most significant megalithic structures.

Finally, welcome to Osaka! This vibrant and exciting city is known for its modern architecture, nightlife, delicious street food, and friendly locals. End your incredible journey with your fellow travelers at a special farewell dinner.

Day 13 Depart Osaka/Arrive USA

  • Transfer to an Osaka-based airport for your flight to a Tokyo-based airport
  • In Tokyo, board your flight home and arrive in the USA later today

Breakfast

Full Day Itinerary

After breakfast, bid farewell to Japan as you're escorted to one of the airports in Osaka for your flight home via a Tokyo-area airport, arriving in the USA later today.

Note: Passengers with included air, on occasion, will fly from Osaka area airport to Haneda airport and be transferred by coach to Narita airport.

Discounted Optional Excursions Package: $260

Save by pre-booking a discounted package of our most popular optional excursions:

  • Imperial Palace East Gardens & COREDO Muromachi shopping complex (AM), $118
  • Taiko Lab, Japanese Drum Experience (PM), $210

You purchase this special package ahead of time. These are not "seat in coach" excursions that pick up passengers at various hotels; all are operated for Friendly Planet groups only.

Note: Prices based on a minimum of four passengers.

Hotels

Imperial Hotel Tokyo
Imperial Hotel Tokyo
Deluxe

As a prestigious member of the Leading Hotels of the World, the 5-star Imperial Hotel Tokyo boasts an impressive historic pedigree. Centrally located just south of Tokyo Station and the Imperial Palace grounds, the property has long drawn a high-profile clientele.  Rooms are situated in the main building or in the gleaming tower, and many look across 40-acre Hibiya Park, the Imperial Palace or the dazzling Ginza neighborhood. The hotel also features a number of health and beauty options including a barber, nail salon, cosmetic dentistry and luxurious spa treatments. The Imperial hotel’s state-of-the-art fitness center, pool and sauna facilities are available to hotel guests for a small daily usage charge.

More information

Hakone Kowakien Ten-yu
Hakone Kowakien Ten-yu
Tourist Class

Hakone Kowakien Ten-yu is a ryokan-style resort nestled away from the bustling city life in Hakone and offers magnificent views of endless horizons. The property is a 15-minute walk from Chisuji Falls and a few miles from the Owakudani Valley. The ryokan concept is embedded in the harmony of authentic Japanese hospitality and nature, where you can enjoy the sunrise sky while bathing in an enormous onsen or open-air bath and experience genuine Japanese service.

More information

Tokyu Stay Hida Takayama Musubinoyu
Tokyu Stay Hida Takayama Musubinoyu
First Class

Tokyu Stay Hida Takayama Musubinoyu is set in Takayama and just a few minutes from Takayama Station. The hotel offers a blend of Traditional Japanese and modern amenities and decor.

More information

Takayama Green Hotel
First Class

The Takayama Green Hotel is a traditional Japanese inn located in the city's heart, just a few minutes from walking distance from the Takayama Station. The guests can browse the on-site shops and enjoy the mountain-top views. 

More information

ANA Crowne Plaza Kanazawa
ANA Crowne Plaza Kanazawa
First Class

Spanning 400 years of history and culture, a stay at ANA Crowne Plaza Kanazawa is bound to keep you in awe of the beautiful cityscape of Kanazawa. The hotel is just steps away from the train station, keeping you close to the local traditions, food, and art.

More information

Hotel Granvia Kyoto
Hotel Granvia Kyoto
Deluxe

Hotel Granvia Kyoto is found within the unique architectural structure of the JR Kyoto Station Complex. Because the hotel is in the center of the world-renowned international tourist destination of Kyoto, it is within walking distance of many famous temples, castles, and gardens. In addition, there are several other tourist attractions you can get to just by taking a short ride on the multiple public transportation options available.

More information

Hilton Osaka
Hilton Osaka
Superior First Class

Hilton Osaka is located just across from Osaka Train Station. The station and the hotel are connected by an underground path leading to the hotel and one of Osaka's largest shopping malls.

More information

In the unlikely event that a particular hotel is not available, a similar or better hotel may be substituted.

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Trip Details

More Common Questions

Other Packages

Independent Package Singapore & Tokyo Adventure
from $3799 w/ Flights 9 days
per person, double occupancy*
Independent Package Tokyo Express
from $2349 w/ Flights from $1549 Tour Only 7 days
per person, double occupancy*
* Advertised prices may include an "Instant Savings" discount and/or sale discount, available for a limited time. Prices reflect these discounts. Advertised prices are per person, based on double occupancy; single occupancy rooms may be available for an additional charge. Advertised prices are the best available based on the least expensive travel dates, departure city, and other options, and do not include optional excursions or other optional items. Your total price will vary based upon the dates, flights, and other options you select during the booking process. For packages including flights, prices include Airline Taxes, Fees & Sept. 11th Security Fee, but do not include excess baggage fees or advance seat reservations. Prices and availability subject to change. More about our prices.

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