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18-Day Tokyo, Hakone, Nagoya, Takayama, Kanazawa, Kyoto, Hiroshima and Osaka Tour

18-Day Tokyo, Hakone, Nagoya, Takayama, Kanazawa, Kyoto, Hiroshima and Osaka Tour

By Mike HoUpdated Jan. 4, 2024
A Trip to Discover Serene Landscapes and Rich Culutre of Japan

Explore Tokyo's dynamic energy. Enjoy the serene landscapes of Hakone and the cultural treasures of Nagoya. Journey to the picturesque town of Takayama, discover the historic charm of Kanazawa, and experience the timeless traditions of Kyoto. Pay your respects in Hiroshima and conclude your adventure in vibrant Osaka. This well-balanced itinerary offers the perfect blend of history, culture, and modernity, making it an ideal choice for travelers seeking an in-depth exploration of Japan's diverse landscapes and traditions.

We can customize this trip by adding anything you're interested in and scheduling days to fit your pace. We would happily organize a unique theme or activities for birthdays, young children, anniversaries, etc.

  • Days:18±
  • Best For:History lovers
  • Departure date: Up to you
  • Sample Price:From US$7,999 p/p, (2 per room)*

*The price is based on a private tour for 2 people.

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Journey Route

tour map cx-1

Tour Highlights

Here are the fantastic attractions, the most must-do activities selected by Asia Highlights (AH Hand-Picked), and exclusive cultural experiences offered by Asia Highlights (Only With AH) included in this tour:

Gain insights on the Japanese enthusiasm for food at a local home.

Japanese homemade sushi
the tag of ah hand picked

Meander around the beautifully preserved old town of Takayama.

Takayama old town after snow

Enjoy the breathtaking views in Kenroku-en garden, one of the top three gardens in Japan.

colorful Kenroku-en garden

Walk around Higashi District and see a variety of gold-leaf products, a specialty of Kanazawa.

the backstreet of Higashi District

Suggested Itinerary for Inspiration

The itinerary serves as a mere example of a personalized tour, designed exclusively for you.
Your preferences will shape the authentic journey. We are fully prepared to craft an tailor-made tour that fulfills your desires.

Day 1
Tokyo Arrival

Your private guide will be ready to meet and greet you at the arrival hall in Tokyo. A comfortable private car with an experienced driver will transfer you directly to your hotel. Your guide will help you to check-in.

Day 2
Tokyo Discovery | Meiji Jingu Shrine

Meiji Jingu Shrine: The serene grounds of Meiji Jingu Shrine provide a peaceful oasis in the heart of the bustling city. Stroll along tranquil walking paths surrounded by a lush forest that offers a stark contrast to the urban surroundings. You can also partake in traditional Shinto activities, such as making offerings at the main hall, acquiring charms and amulets, or inscribing your wishes on ema.

If you visit on Sunday mornings, you might be fortunate to witness a traditional wedding procession. Admire the bride in her white kimono and hood and the groom in formal black attire, both walking under a striking red parasol. Shinto priests lead the way, with the rest of the wedding party following. Shrines, whether large or small, become even more captivating during festival days.

Sensoji Asakusa: As Tokyo's oldest temple, Sensoji holds a sacred statue of Kannon, the goddess of mercy. The temple is surrounded by impressive gates, a five-story pagoda, and the lively stalls of Nakamise Dori. A visit to Sensoji is a must during your time in Japan. Explore the bustling marketplace, experience the sacred smoke rituals, and seek fortunes at this iconic Tokyo temple.

Sensoji AsakusaSensoji Asakusa

Tokyo Skytree: Rising high above Tokyo's skyline, the Tokyo Skytree stands at an impressive 634 meters, offering breathtaking panoramic views of the city. On clear days, you may even catch a glimpse of Mount Fuji from this vantage point. Don't miss this opportunity to see Tokyo from new heights.

Day 3
Tokyo Discovery | Kokyo Gaien National Garden

Shibuya: Explore the vibrant heart of Tokyo's youth culture in Shibuya. Don't miss the iconic scramble crossing and immerse yourself in trendy city life.

Kokyo Gaien National Garden: Experience the grandeur of the Imperial Palace by strolling through Kokyo Gaien National Garden. Admire the majestic black pine trees, the statue of samurai warrior Kusunoki Masashige, and the picturesque Nijubashi Bridge.

Japanese Kimono Experience: Step into the world of traditional Japanese culture by donning a kimono. These iconic garments are not just clothing but also bear historical significance and artistic beauty. Capture the moment with a memorable photo session.

Kimono ExperienceKimono Experience

Anime Cafe: Indulge in the quintessential Tokyo experience by visiting an anime-themed cafe. Even if you're not a die-hard anime fan, these cafes offer a unique and enjoyable adventure that's hard to find anywhere else in the world. Get ready for a fun time and fantastic photo opportunities!

Day 4
Tokyo Discovery | Tsukiji Fish Market

Tsukiji Fish Market: Tsukiji Market in Tokyo, once famous for wholesale auctions, is now a vibrant hub known for its fresh seafood, including sushi, sashimi, and grilled fish. Visitors can sample diverse flavors from food stalls and explore Japanese delicacies like rolled omelet, sticky rice cake, and rice crackers.

Tsukiji Fish MarketTsukiji Fish Market Food

Sushi-making Experience with Lunch: Discover the world of sushi through a guided tour of a seafood market and a sushi-making class. Learn how fish is sourced and sold, then, with the guidance of a sushi master, create your own nigiri sushi. Enjoy your sushi creations during a satisfying lunch.

Day 5
Tokyo to Hakone | Hakone Free Pass

Explore Hakone with the Hakone Free Pass departing from Shinjuku. This pass provides access to eight modes of transportation, including trains, buses, cable cars, cableways, and boats, making it a convenient way to visit all the region's top attractions. Enjoy the flexibility to discover Hakone at your own pace.

Day 6
Hakone to Nagoya | The Hikari Train

Travel with ease from Nagoya to Takayama on the Hida Train in Standard Class. The journey takes approximately 2 hours and 10 minutes. Please note that this ticket includes the train ride only and does not cover transfers or guiding.

For a swift transfer from Odawara (Hakone) to Nagoya, hop on the Hikari Train in Standard Class. The travel time is around 1 hour and 12 minutes. This ticket provides train transportation exclusively and does not encompass transfers or guided services.

Day 7
Takayama to Kanazawa | Miyagawa Market

Discover Takayama and Shirakawa-go's captivating history and charm with a local guide. Begin your journey at the vibrant Miyagawa Market, where local crafts and farm products line the stalls along the picturesque Miyagawa River.

Explore the preserved district of San-machi Suji, where Takayama's traditional heritage shines through in its historic inns, shops, and taverns.

Uncover the past at the Takayama Jinya, a former government office that's now a fascinating museum. After a sake tasting and a morning filled with culture, head to the timeless village of Shirakawa-go. Your guide will lead you through the iconic gassho-zukuri farmhouses. Then, continue your adventure to Kanazawa, transportation included.

Day 8
Kanazawa Discovery | Kenroku-en Garden

Spend a full day immersed in Kanazawa's cultural treasures with a local guide. Begin at the renowned Kenroku-en Garden, considered one of Japan's top three gardens. Its year-round beauty is truly captivating. Nearby, the impressive Kanazawa Castle adds to the historic allure.

Kenroku-en GardenKenroku-en Garden

Explore the Nagamachi Samurai District, where you can step inside the Nomura Samurai House. This traditional Japanese dwelling boasts a tea-ceremony room, an inner courtyard garden, and Edo period artifacts.

Wander through the Higashi Chaya District, Kanazawa's largest and most intriguing Geisha District. The charming streets now house cafes and shops, with Hakuza showcasing Kanazawa's specialty: gold leaf products. Don't miss the Shima Teahouse, an active tea house welcoming visitors for a soothing cup of green tea. Your day in Kanazawa will be filled with cultural riches.

Day 9
Kanazawa to Kyoto | The Thunderbird Train

Travel seamlessly from Kanazawa to Kyoto aboard the Thunderbird Train in Standard Class with your pre-purchased ticket. The journey takes approximately 2 hours and 15 minutes. Please note that this ticket only covers train fare and does not include transfer services or guided assistance.

Upon arriving at the station, use your ticket to board the Shinkansen bullet train. Your destination is Kyoto, a city rich in history and culture.

Once you arrive at the station in Kyoto, independently make your way to your hotel. You have the remainder of the day to explore the city at your own pace, discovering its many attractions and enjoying your leisure time.

Day 10
Kyoto Discovery | Nijo Castle and Nishiki Market

Experience the wonders of Kyoto on a full-day tour led by a private vehicle, immersing yourself in the rich history and culture of this captivating city.

Nijo Castle: Begin your journey at Nijo Castle, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of Kyoto's seven Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto. Explore the vast castle grounds, including the Ninomaru Palace, the Honmaru Palace ruins, and beautifully landscaped gardens, all enclosed by two impressive concentric rings of fortifications.

Nijo CastleNijo Castle

Nishiki Market: Visit Nishiki Market, a renowned food market in Kyoto offering a wide array of fresh and seasonal Japanese foods. Immerse yourself in the authentic atmosphere and discover traditional delicacies like sushi, pickles, mochi, and matcha. Vendors often provide free samples, allowing you to savor various flavors and find your favorites.

Afternoon Tea with a Maiko (or Geisha): Delight in an authentic Japanese tea experience hosted by a Kyoto geisha (geiko) or their apprentice (maiko). This unique opportunity offers a glimpse into Japanese culture, featuring traditional songs, dances, games, and fantastic photo opportunities. Please note that this is not a traditional tea ceremony but rather an enchanting encounter with a maiko or geiko while enjoying tea and sweets.

Kinkakuji Temple (Golden Pavilion): Conclude your day at Kinkakuji, the famous Golden Pavilion. This Zen temple showcases its top two floors entirely covered in shimmering gold leaf. Once the retirement villa of shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu, Kinkakuji is perched above a serene pond. Despite being ravaged by fires, including the Onin War and an incident in 1950, the temple stands as the sole remaining structure from Yoshimitsu's villa complex, exuding an aura of timeless grandeur.

Day 11
Kyoto Discovery | Fushimi Inari Shrine

Fushimi Inari Shrine: Begin your journey at the mesmerizing Fushimi Inari Shrine, a sacred site nestled on the outskirts of Kyoto. You may recognize its captivating layout from the iconic film "Memoirs of a Geisha." Take a stroll along the vibrant pathway adorned with vivid red torii gates, creating a picturesque setting perfect for capturing unforgettable photos.

Fushimi Inari ShrineFushimi Inari Shrine

Gion District: Immerse yourself in the allure of the Gion District, renowned for its captivating geisha culture. As you wander its charming streets, you'll encounter the elegant geikos, who refer to themselves as "women of art." Discover Kyoto's unique charm in this remarkable district, home to a rich and captivating tradition.

Nara Park: Venture to the sprawling Nara Park, located at the base of Mt. Wakakusa. This immense park is teeming with friendly and playful deer, adding a touch of whimsy to your exploration. Amidst the natural beauty, you'll encounter ancient temples nestled within pristine woodlands and a serene lake graced by turtles and carp. The temples and shrines in Nara boast a remarkable antiquity, distinct from the frequently reconstructed structures found in Kyoto, making your visit truly unique.

Day 12
Kyoto Discovery | Monkey Park Iwatayama

Monkey Park Iwatayama: Explore Iwatayama Monkey Park in Kyoto, nestled on Mt. Arashiyama, just south of Togetsukyo Bridge. A 20-minute hike leads to a forest where monkeys roam freely. You'll also find a koi pond, telescopes with views of Kyoto, and a play area for children.

Nonomiya Shrine: Nestled in the serene bamboo forest of Arashiyama, Kyoto, Nonomiya-Jinja, was once a sanctuary for princesses. Immerse yourself in its history and tranquil surroundings.

 Nonomiya Shrine Nonomiya Shrine

Bamboo Grove: Experience the enchanting Arashiyama Bamboo Grove in the village of Sagano, Kyoto. Walk through this short but magical path as dappled sunlight plays on the forest floor.

Togetsu-kyo Bridge: This wooden bridge, standing for over 400 years in Arashiyama, Kyoto, offers magnificent views of the Katsura River and Arashiyama Mountain. It's especially stunning during cherry blossom and fall foliage seasons.

Day 13
Kyoto to Hiroshima | Nozomi Train

Travel from Kyoto to Hiroshima by Nozomi Train in Standard Class, with ticket-only, excluding transfer and guiding services. Duration: 1 hour and 35 minutes

Start your journey by independently making your way to the train station, where you'll use your ticket to board the Shinkansen bullet train.

Upon reaching Hiroshima station, find your own way to your hotel, and the remainder of the day is yours to explore at your leisure.

Day 14
Hiroshima Discovery | Peace Memorial Park

Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park: Situated in the heart of Hiroshima City, the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park holds profound historical significance. It was established near the epicenter of the atomic bombing during WWII on August 6, 1945, with the aim of promoting enduring world peace. The park is not only home to the UNESCO-listed Atomic Bomb Dome but also houses the Cenotaph for the Atomic Bomb Victims, bearing the names of those who lost their lives, along with several other poignant memorials.

Hiroshima Castle: While the present castle overlooking Hiroshima City is a replica constructed in 1958, its roots extend deep into history. Originally built in the late 1500s, it predates the city itself. Today, the castle serves as a museum chronicling the city's history before the atomic bombing. It faithfully mirrors the original structure, which, unfortunately, did not survive the bombing. However, three trees within the castle's walls, a holly, eucalyptus, and willow, withstood the blast from just 740 to 910 meters away. These resilient trees are now powerful symbols of the city's strength and capacity to thrive even after adversity.

Hiroshima CastleHiroshima Castle

Shukkeien Garden: Shukkeien, a garden once owned by a daimyo (feudal lord), boasts over four centuries of history. Wander through the meticulously designed landscapes that mimic various scenic settings, with pathways, bridges, and charming structures. The garden's ambiance transforms as you explore its many corners, offering a serene and picturesque experience.

Day 15
Hiroshima to Shin Osaka | The Nozomi Train

Embark on a swift journey from Hiroshima to Shin Osaka aboard the Nozomi Train. In just 1 hour and 27 minutes, you'll travel in comfort in Standard Class. Your ticket provides you with hassle-free access to this high-speed Shinkansen bullet train.

Seamless Travel Experience: Your day begins with an independent journey to the train station. With your ticket in hand, you'll board the Shinkansen bullet train, setting the stage for a seamless transfer.

Your Free Time Awaits: Upon arriving at the station in Shin Osaka, you're free to explore at your own pace. Your itinerary affords you the flexibility to make your way to your chosen hotel and enjoy the remainder of the day at your leisure.

Day 16
Osaka | Osaka Castle Park

Dotonbori: Dive into the heart of Osaka's bustling nightlife at Dotonbori. Towering neon signs, vibrant clubs, and an array of restaurants await, each serving up local specialties. This district is a must-visit for an electrifying taste of Osaka's after-dark scene.

DotonboriDotonbori

Osaka Castle Park: Uncover Osaka's rich history at the iconic Osaka Castle, a prominent landmark with roots tracing back to 1583. While the main tower was reconstructed in 1931, the history museum adjacent to it delves into the castle's storied past. The surrounding park offers a tranquil escape for jogging, cycling, and relaxation, popular among locals.

Day 17
Osaka to Tokyo | Kamigata Ukiyoe Museum

Kamigata Ukiyoe Museum: Delve into the world of Kamigata Ukiyoe at this unique museum, the only one of its kind globally. Kamigata Ukiyoe, or Kamigata woodblock prints, were crafted and sold in the Osaka-Kyoto region during the Edo Period. Unlike their Edo counterparts, Kamigata prints offer a realistic portrayal of their subjects, especially the renowned Kabuki actors of the time. Explore a remarkable collection of approximately 50 works in the museum's permanent exhibition.

Umeda Sky Building: For a modern perspective on Osaka, ascend the Umeda Sky Building in Kita Ward. This architectural marvel emerged in 1993, symbolizing the end of Japan's economic bubble. Venture to its uniquely designed observation deck and capture the perfect panoramic view of the sprawling cityscape.

Umeda Sky BuildingUmeda Sky Building
Day 18
Tokyo Departure

Our guide will help you transfer from your hotel to Tokyo Airport for departure with independentcar/van and guide.

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Our Service Includes:

18 days from
US$7,999 p/p
Private tour for 2 people in low seasons. Price varies based on program, travel date, number of people, chosen hotel. We accept payments in multiple currencies (GBP, AUD, CAD, EUR...).
  • Private transfers and English-speaking tour guide
  • All guided sightseeing as detailed in the itinerary
  • Hand-picked star-rating accommodations
  • Breakfasts at hotels and lunches for every guided day
  • Governmental taxes

Tour code: ah-jp-cx-1

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