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About your trip
From neon-lit skyscrapers to bamboo forests dotted with ancient temples, there’s nowhere quite like Japan. This 12-day trip will take you from the foodie capital of Osaka to the city lights of Tokyo, and even down to the floating Torii Gate of Miyajima Island, which sits in Hiroshima Bay. Along the way, you’ll get to see geishas in Kyoto, sample sake in Takayama and watch sumo wrestlers train in the capital. You’ll get the chance to stay in a range of hotels and sing your heart out at karaoke alongside your fellow travellers. How can we squeeze so much into one itinerary? You have Japan’s incredible train networks to thank. Prepare to get your steps in on this one, too, since the other way to explore Japan at its best is by exploring on your own two feet.
- Experience the comfort, efficiency and thrill of riding the bullet train
- Uncover Hiroshima’s past at the Peace Park and Museum
- See the floating Torii Gate and deer on Miyajima Island
- Hike through bamboo forests and the endless gates of Fushimi Inari
- Admire views of Mount Fuji from Lake Ashi
- Witness sumo wrestling training and learn how to make sushi
- Find your rhythm at a Taiko drumming class
- Explore the castle of Kyoto and see the Geisha district
- Soak in an Onsen in the Japanese Alps
Osaka is a heady mix of cultural sights, foodie heaven and lively nightlife, making it the perfect introductory city to Japan. After landing at Kansai International Airport (KIX), make your way to the hotel where our Local Insider – who will accompany the group throughout the trip – will help you check in. Meet your fellow travellers at 5pm before receiving an introductory talk about the cultural dos and don’ts of the country. You’ll then head for dinner at a local restaurant to get your first taste of Japan. Make sure you get a good night’s rest – tomorrow is jam-packed with exciting explorations.
Today is all about exploring the best bits of the city on foot and by metro, led by our Local Insider. Marvel at the 400-year-old Osaka Castle as well as the uber-modern Umeda Sky Building. Explore the eclectic Shinsekai neighbourhood; built in 1912 and largely unchanged, it's home to souvenir shops as well as traditional eateries. Lunch is served at a local restaurant, after which you can explore the Kuromon Market and the famed Dotonbori strip (home to the first sushi train in the world). Rest your weary feet back at the hotel before dinner.
After breakfast, it’s time to climb aboard the bullet train to Hiroshima. On arrival, you’ll have the afternoon to explore at leisure – we recommend taking a stroll around the Shukkei-en garden, dotted with maple and ginkgo trees. Come dinner, try okonomiyaki, a popular savoury pancake, topped with meat or seafood. You’ll spend the next two nights in Hiroshima.
A fully guided day awaits, starting with a visit to Hiroshima Peace Park and Museum to learn more about the city's past. Afterwards, take a local train and ferry to Miyajima Island, where you’ll hike Mount Misen; the peak, at 500m (1,640ft) above sea level, offers spectacular views over Hiroshima city. Descend to the floating Torii Gate, an ancient Shinto shrine, and snap pictures of a thousand tame deer that mingle with locals here. After sunset, you’ll hop on the ferry back to your Hiroshima hotel.
Pack your bags – it’s time to head to Kyoto. Whizz east by train to the outskirts, ready for your afternoon tour in Arashiyama. You know those towering green bamboo forests? Get ready to stroll through them, camera at the ready. Make sure you’re wearing comfortable walking shoes as you’ll then hike up to a sacred temple in the mountains. Hop on the train back to Kyoto, where you'll bed down in your next hotel.
It’s an early wake-up this morning, for good reason: to hike through the thousands of bright orange torii gates at Fushimi Inari while attempting to avoid the crowds. After a hearty breakfast back at the hotel, you’ll take a leisurely walking tour through the maze of backstreets in Kyoto to Nijo Castle, Kinkakuji (Golden Pavilion) and the Nishiki food market. As the sun sets, you can join the optional geisha district tour of Gion to see geishas walking the streets before their shows.
Bid sayonara to Kyoto this morning, and hop on a train to Takayama. In the mountainous Gifu prefecture, this area is known as the Japanese Alps. Today you’ll visit the Hida Folk Village, an open-air museum with 30 old farmhouses that showcase the traditional architecture of the area. After a good wander, spend your afternoon sampling sake – alcohol made from fermented rice – at a local brewery.
Spend the morning browsing the Miyagawa market in Takayama – it is the perfect place to pick up souvenirs. After the market tour, you’ll head to the fellow alpine town of Hakone, which sits just outside Tokyo. Check in to the hotel and enjoy a traditional Japanese Onsen experience - you'll also have dinner included tonight. Hakone is a town known for its onsens (natural hot springs) – luckily, the hotel has a steaming tub for you to soak in.
Prepare yourself for a morning cruise on Lake Ashi. Beyond the water and forested hillsides, you’ll be rewarded with expansive views of Mount Fuji. Disembark onto dry land before ascending the Ropeway to Hell. Don’t worry, it’s just a cable car that will scoot you over the Hell Valley mountain peaks to Owakudani, the Great Boiling Valley. The jagged landscape is filled with bubbling geysers and volcanic pools. Afterwards, it’s time to make tracks to Tokyo. For those with energy left, join the optional evening walking tour around Taito City.
You’ll spend the last few days of your trip exploring Tokyo, the capital of Japan. Your first morning will be spent watching sumo wrestlers at a local training session, followed by a visit to the fish market, Tsukiji Outer Market. Lunch revolves around a sushi-making class, where you’ll eat your own creations. Spend the afternoon visiting Meiji Shrine, Yoyogi Park, and Shibuya Crossing, the busiest crosswalk in the world. Kick back at your hotel in the evening.
Your final full day in Japan will see a visit to the Asakusa district and the glorious Sensō-ji temple. After lunch, take part in a taiko drumming class where the expert instructor will have you thumping in time to the rhythm. Spend the rest of the afternoon exploring at leisure. Come nightfall, it’s time for our celebratory farewell evening. Enjoy a tour around the buzzing, neon-lit Shinjuku district, where you’ll be afforded panoramic city vistas from the TMG Building, before moving onto the nightlife area of Kabukicho for dinner. End the trip on a high note (quite literally) by singing karaoke in the Golden Gai district until the early hours.
It’s time to wave goodbye to Japan. Don’t worry if you’ve got a slightly sore head this morning, as you can enjoy a lie-in before breakfast. Checkout is by midday. Say your final farewells before starting the journey home, via Haneda Airport (HND) or Narita International Airport (NRT) – or extend your stay in the Land of the Rising Sun.
- One night spa hotel accommodation
- Ten nights standard hotel accommodation
- Local Transport
- 11 breakfasts, two lunches, four dinners
- Local Insider
- Osaka tour
- Hiroshima and Miyajima Island tour
- Bamboo forest and temple visit
- Fushimi Inari sunrise tour
- Hida Folk Village visit
- Sake tasting
- Lake Ashi cruise
- Ropeway to Hell cable car
- Geyser visit
- Sumo wrestler training visit
- Tsukiji Outer Market tour
- Sushi-making class
- Tokyo tour
- Taiko drumming class
- Karaoke night
- Kyoto Walking Tour
- Onsen Experience
What's Not Included
- Travel Insurance
- Flights to and from the destination
Shin Osaka Esaka Tokyu REI
Located only a few minutes from Shin-Osaka Station and with a range of restaurants, cafes, museums and shops nearby, this hotel offers modern conveniences to travellers . The air-conditioned rooms are clean and comfortable and the attentive staff can help point you in the direction of the wonderful breakfast buffet and nearby currency exchange services.
Sotetsu Fresa Inn Hiroshima Ekimae
This modern city hotel, just a three minute walk from the train station, is full of innovative touches, including air and water purification and smart locks that allow you to open your room door with your phone. Rooms are cosy and crisp, with complimentary PJs and high quality bedding. Breakfast, meanwhile, is a buffet offering blending Hiroshima soul food with traditional western staples.
Hearton Hotel Kyoto
Stay close to all of Kyoto’s most magical sights at this relaxing urban hotel, which caters brilliantly to short stays in the city. The highlight here has to be breakfast. You’ll have the choice between starting your day in Patio, where freshly baked bread stars amid the buffet lineup. Or you can really embrace Kyoto culture by opting for Hamatoku, which serves classic regional dishes as the most important meal of the day.
Washington Plaza Hotel Takayama
We’ll only be staying in Takayama for one night, so this hotel, which is practically on the doorstep of the train station, is ideal. It’s part of one of the most reliable chains in Japan but the hotel’s sense of individuality comes through in the breakfast hall, a traditional Japanese dining area serving up classic warm dishes to start the day.
Highland Hotel Hakone
Nestled in a forest and the one-time residence of a Baron, a stay at this 4 star hotel is a wonderfully relaxing experience. Open-air and indoor onsen baths are available for use and the tasteful rooms have large windows that bring in plenty of natural light. The restaurant offers a fusion of French and Japanese cuisine and there are superb gardens to explore in your own time.
Mystays Akasaka Tokyo
Modernity is the name of the game when it comes to this new-build hotel near Tokyo Midtown. Rooms are modern and stylish, while other facilities include a gym, massage parlour and terrace garden, plus direct access to a 7-eleven. Breakfast, lunch and dinner can be enjoyed in the sophisticated Minori Restaurant Bar.
Your safety and wellbeing are our top priority, so we’ve put the following measures in place on all our TRIPS:
- Our average group size is 10 people (max 18), which gives you all the security of being in a group whilst avoiding a crowd.
- Where possible, we use small/ boutique accommodation – this means fewer guests and reduced exposure to other travellers.
- We require all accommodation providers to share protocols around the extra health and hygiene measures they are taking.
- Included activities are exclusive to our group wherever possible, to minimise contact with others.
- Covid-19 negative test results or vaccine certificates may be required. Please check the entry requirements for the destination you are travelling to. Our travel experts can assist you in finding this information.
- We recommend you confirm all guidance on official government sites and check that you are able to travel with your travel insurance issuer. Your travel insurance may be invalidated if you travel against government advice. Our travel experts can assist you in finding this information.
- Public transport is the fastest and most efficient way to experience Japan, but this does mean you should prepare for plenty of walking every day. Trust us, though, this is the best way to really see Japan!
- We recommend packing light for this trip as, in Japan, luggage storage is often more limited than what you’re used to.
- On Day 3, your luggage will be transferred separately from Osaka to Kyoto. Since we'll be visiting Hiroshima first, you'll need to bring a rucksack so you can keep essentials on hand for two days, before being reunited with your luggage! The same process will also happen on Day 7, when large luggage will be transferred from Kyoto directly to Tokyo, ready and waiting for when we arrive in the capital two days later.
- You must be aged 25 years or over to join this trip.
- Please be sure to check whether or not you need a visa to enter the country you're travelling to. Please refer to our Booking Terms & Conditions for further information.
- If you have any pre-existing medical conditions or accessibility requirements, please notify our Customer Support team as soon as possible.
- We won't charge you extra if you travel alone – you'll be allocated a twin room with another traveller of the same gender.
- To upgrade to a private room, share a room with a friend, or book pre- and post-trip accommodation and/or airport transfers, please contact our Customer Support team.
- Please be aware that travel insurance is compulsory for all travellers.
- Please be aware that the itinerary, activities and hotels are subject to change. While unlikely, these changes can happen due to circumstances beyond our control. We will always do our best to ensure minimal impact on your experience.
- Please be aware images on this page are for illustrative purposes and may not reflect your itinerary exactly.
- Luggage will be transferred separately when travelling from Osaka to Kyoto and Kyoto to Tokyo via bullet train. Please bring an overnight bag with you.
- Due to the current tourism demand in Japan, activities and hotels may be changed late for this trip. We are doing our best to follow the itinerary to the word but some days may be swapped around.
The world of travel is changing – and that's why we’re offering flexible booking conditions, to take the stress out of booking in times of uncertainty.
You can get a full refund should you need to postpone or cancel your trip up to 56 days prior to departure.
Read our Booking Guarantee to find out more about how our Support Team can help you.
For the full details and cancellation charges, see our Booking Terms & Conditions.
Terms & Conditions
Please refer to our Booking Terms & Conditions.