Europe & Middle East | Southeast Asia & New Zealand | Japan
Prepare to immerse yourself in the wacky and wonderful in this fascinating land. Get off the beaten track on our most culturally immersive Japan holiday and trek at the foot of Fuji, meet the Snow Monkeys of Yudanaka, take a rickshaw ride in through a bamboo forest. You'll see all the classic highlights too in Tokyo and Kyoto. This tour includes a one night stay in a traditional ryokan as well as a one night stay in a Buddhist lodge with simple shared facilities.
Our Off-Beat Japan tour will see you exploring the most iconic sites, delving into deep-rooted culture and dining on delicious cuisine. We pack all of tours to Japan with incredible things to do - here are just a few of the highlights
Experience the wacky Robot Restaurant in this buzzing ward of Tokyo
Watch an exhilarating Sumo Wrestling Tournament (on selected dates)
Hike around the base of Japan's iconic volcano
Meet the adorable Snow Monkeys in their natural habitat
Fly overnight to the dazzling metropolis of Tokyo, Japan's capital city. Depending on your time of arrival, the rest of the day is yours to start soaking up the local culture.
Begin your tour of Tokyo by immersing yourself into the local culture by spending the morning trying your hand at traditional Japanese drumming with a Taiko class, where you will learn how to beat the 'wadaiko' with 'bachi'. Later, stop by Meiji Shrine and continue to the vibrant district of Harajuku before stopping by the famous Shibuya Crossing. Finally, it's time for a uniquely Tokyo experience – the Robot Restaurant! This may not be everyone's cup of tea, but well worth the insight into modern Japanese culture. (B)
Sightseeing today begins with a stroll through the Imperial Palace East Garden and a visit to the observation deck of the 634-metre Skytree for views over the sprawling city below. You'll also stop by Sensoji Temple – Tokyo's oldest, and stroll along Nakamise shopping street. In the afternoon, explore the Tokyo National Museum. Housed in the Ryogoku district of Tokyo, the museum powerfully illustrates Tokyo's past (known as Edo until 1869) right up to recent decades. (B)
Journey out of Tokyo to the foot of mighty Mount Fuji and the Fuji Five Lakes area. Pick up a walking trail and make your way through lush alpine forest at Fuji's base, pausing often to admire the landscapes around you. (B,D)
Travel to Matsumoto and explore its magnificent 16th-century castle. Continue to Nagano, stopping in Yudanaka to watch the Japanese macaques (snow monkeys) at Jigokudani Monkey Park bathe and play in and around their hot spring pool. (B)
Travel to Hotaka and ride up into the Japanese Alps on the Shin-Hotaka Ropeway for breathtaking views over the surrounding mountains (weather permitting). Drive to Takayama where you will spend the night at a ryokan, a traditional Japanese inn with onsen facilities. Here you can relax and bathe in the natural hot spring pools and experience this most traditional pastime. This afternoon you will have time to explore Kamisannomachi Street and sample the street food on offer. This evening, enjoy dinner in your ryokan. (B,D)
Take the limited express train to Nagoya, then board a super-fast bullet train to whizz your way through the countryside to Kyoto. Start discovering the city's rich heritage with visits to the enchanting Fushimi Inari Shrine and Kiyomizu Temple. Stroll around Higashiyama and Gion, the geisha district, with a stop at Gion Corner, which showcases the seven professional performing arts. (B)
Start today by visiting Kinkakuji, known as the 'Golden Pavilion' and Ryoanji. Continue to Arashiyama district to explore the striking bamboo forest and enjoy a rickshaw ride. Later, witness the rituals involved in the preparation and pouring of matcha tea in a traditional tea ceremony. (B)
Discover the complicated process of dressing in a traditional kimono at Nishijin Textile Centre, then try your hand at the art of origami. This afternoon, travel by road to Koyasan, where you will spend the night in a 13th-century temple guesthouse sleeping on a traditional futon on a tatami mat floor. (B,D)
Rise early to join the monks for their daily morning service – hearing the recitation and chanting is a magical experience. After breakfast, take a walking tour of Koyasan. One of Japan's holiest sites, this mountain top sanctuary is full of temples and pagodas. Also visit Kongobuji Temple and Okunoin Cemetery before travelling to Osaka. (B)
Take a day tour to Himeji to visit the 17th-century castle which is considered a prime example of Japanese feudal period architecture. Continue to a sake brewery, where you can learn about the brewing process and enjoy some tasters. Return to Osaka and enjoy a farewell dinner. (B,D)
Fly to the UK, arriving home the same or following day. (B)
We draw from a wide range of hotels on our holidays, each one is chosen to suit the tour you are travelling on meaning your accommodation can range from a smart business hotel in one city to a family run guesthouse in a smaller town. Here are some examples of the type of hotel you can expect to find on this tour.
The best time to visit Japan is during spring (March to May) when the cherry blossoms are bursting into life and autumn (September to November) when the scenery is ablaze with colour.
Places Visited: UK - Tokyo (3N) - Mt Fuji (1N) - Nagano (1N) - Yudanaka - Takayama (1N) - Kyoto (2N) - Koyasan (1N) - Himeji - Osaka (2N) - UK
All of our tour departures include international flights and taxes in the price. If the dates we have available for this tour don't suit your needs, or you are not sure travelling as part of a group is for you, maybe a Private Tour would be more ideal. If your tour departs in less than 30 days, please call our travel experts to book.
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There are no dedicated Solo departures for this year. You can enjoy any of our tours with no Single Supplement on our Happy to Share option or explore the solo departures in other years.
Extend your holiday or break up your journey with one of our extensions and stopovers. Choose from city breaks or some beach time, or spend more time in your chosen destination.
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