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5-Day Tokyo Highlights Tour

5-Day Tokyo Highlights Tour

By Candice SongUpdated Dec. 5, 2022
A Quick Sketch of Tokyo

This 5-day itinerary will give you a quick overview of Tokyo, along with an easy day-trip from the city to one of its nearby cultural and scenic destinations: either Kamakura, Nikko, Mt Takao or Hakone.

  • Days:
  • Best For:First-timers
  • Departure date:up to you
  • Sample Price:from US$2,166 each (2 per room)
  • Cancellations:100% refunded! (till 14 days before)

Journey Route

map of the suggested trip

Expect moments of carefully choreographed beauty and tranquility, with people still finding time to observe Shinto rituals and stand in silent worship, engage in tea ceremonies and enjoy a cup of tea, and contemplate the glaze of cut glass.

Highlights

Learn about Japanese emperors by visiting the Imperial Palace and the Meiji Shrine.

the Imperial Palace of Japan

Participate in an authentic tea ceremony and sample freshly-made green tea in a Japanese tearoom.

local tea ceremony
the tag of ah hand picked

Experience the spirit of Edo (1603-1868) culture and craftsmanship by yourself!

the famous Edo Kiriko
the tag of ah hand picked

Make a day-trip to Kamakura, a seaside town of temples and wooded hills

giant bronze Buddha at Kotokuin Temple

What Our Customers Said

Ginybel Belgira, Sep 2022
Geoff Rayner-Canham, May 2019
Geoff Rayner-Canham, May 2019
Ailsa West, Jul 2018
Ailsa West, Jul 2018
Tibor Marton, May 2018
Joe, May 2018
Bob Bosshard, Mar 2020

Itinerary in Detail

Tokyo is one of the liveliest places on the planet. Contrary to its popular image, it is not simply a city of neon signs - it is also rooted deeply in traditional culture.

This truly enchanting metropolis has something for everyone, whether experiencing traditional Japanese craftsmanship or tea ceremonies, being surrounded by lively streets with a mix of trendy boutiques and fashionable department stores, or exploring other facets of local culture. Tokyo is a must-see when passing through Japan.

Day 1
Arrival in Tokyo

Welcome to Tokyo, one of the world's most thriving, exciting and energizing cities.

In 1603, as the fishing village of Edo, it became the shogunate's center of power, and in 1868 it was renamed Tokyo and made the country's capital. On the surface, it is a mix of digital trends and conspicuous consumption, but dig deeper and you will find a city rooted deeply in traditional culture.

You will be met on arrival at Narita International Airport and share a transfer to your accommodation. The rest of the day is free for you to spend at your leisure.

A late-afternoon stroll as the neon starts to light up will take in both sides of this fascinating, bustling area. Shinjuku has several huge department stores, music stores, and electronics stores, along with hundreds of bars and restaurants catering to every taste.

Day 2
Tokyo Full-Day Traditional Tour | Kokyo Gaien, Tea Ceremony, Meiji Shrine, Omotesando

Take a day-tour with a local guide to explore Tokyo. The day begins with a visit to the Imperial Palace, where the emperor and his family still live in the western part of the grounds.

The palace is located on the former site of Edo Castle, with a large park area bounded by moats and massive stone walls. Although the palace itself is not open to the public, you can view its most famous landmark, Nijubashi, a double-arched stone bridge, from Kokyo Gaien.

A glimpse of the imperial palace over Nijubashi
A glimpse of the imperial palace over Nijubashi

Public access to the palace is only permitted twice a year, at New Year and on the emperor's birthday.

Next, you will have the unforgettable opportunity to participate in an authentic Japanese tea ceremony. Sample freshly made green tea in a Japanese-style tearoom. The tea masters are always willing to instruct newcomers on the finer points of tea-drinking.

The tea ceremony
The tea ceremony is a well-orchestrated series of events

A wide graveled road under a huge torii gate and shaded by cedars leads into the grounds of the Meiji Shrine, where Emperor Meiji and Empress Shoken are enshrined. During New Year's holidays, the shrine is the most-visited place in Japan, with millions of people worshiping and buying good-luck charms there. It's also a popular site for Japanese weddings.

A traditional Shinto wedding
A traditional Shinto wedding

Take a walk through Omotesando, commonly referred to as Tokyo's Champs-Elysees. This broad, tree-lined avenue features within a short distance a multitude of fashion flagship stores, designed by internationally renowned architects.

End the day in Shinjuku at the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building, one of Tokyo's tallest and most distinctive skyscrapers.

Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building
Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building, one of Tokyo's tallest and most distinctive skyscrapers

The Tea Ceremony

The tea ceremony is a series of events, most of which are symbolic.

The ritual involves greeting your fellow guests, washing your hands to purify yourself, waiting for your host's summons, entering the tea room and sitting on the tatami, admiring the room and tea utensils, watching the tea being prepared, bowing, drinking the tea, and then complimenting the host.

The last part of the ceremony is more informal; guests chat casually and drink weak tea. When the ceremony is over, the host cleans everything and shows guests the utensils.

The tea utensils reflect Zen values of simplicity
The tea utensils reflect Zen values of simplicity
Day 3
Tokyo Full-Day Edo Crafts Experience

Many traditional crafts in Tokyo have been passed down from generation to generation, ever since the Edo Shogunate period (1603-1868). The spirit of Edo culture and craftsmanship lives on. Today you will learn how to make traditional Japanese handicrafts.

Cutting Edo 'Kiriko' glass is one of the original Japanese crafts founded during the Edo period. The geometric patterns of Edo Kiriko cut glass are renowned for their beauty. Today you will etch some such strikingly beautiful, traditional patterns on glass, in a color of your choice.

Colorful Kiriko cut glass
Colorful Kiriko cut glass

In the afternoon, transfer with your guide to Asakusa, to learn more about the old Edo craft culture via a visit to the Edo Shitamachi Traditional Craft Museum. Stroll through Asakusa town, where remnants of Edo culture are still visible, though surrounded by modernity.

Visit the workshop of Mr. Tanaka, a craftsman of Edo-style bamboo blinds. Here, you will learn how to make your own table mat.

A bamboo mat with chopsticks and dipping sauce
A bamboo mat with chopsticks and dipping sauce

Please note that craft experiences are subject to artisans' availability and the order of the itinerary might change depending on the artisans' schedules. Each craft experience will take 1.5 to 2 hours.

Alternative Option

If you are more interested in food, cooking and lively local markets, we recommend a visit to Tsukiji Outer Market and a sushi-making lesson at a local home instead.

This alternative tour starts in the early morning with a visit to the lively outer market, packed with many restaurants and shops. You will see many unusual varieties of freshly caught fish, vegetables and other foods, and might sample some delicious finger foods - sushi, tempura and even curry.

A stall selling vegetables
A stall selling vegetables

You will then visit a typical Japanese home. As you transfer by public transport, your guide will answer any questions you have about Japanese culture or everyday life in Tokyo.

Learn to prepare maki sushi (rolled sushi), gunkan maki (sushi rice wrapped with a strip of seaweed and topped with soft ingredients), and nigiri sushi (sushi rice topped with a slice of raw fish). You will then get to enjoy your homemade sushi for lunch.

Learn to prepare rolled sushi
Learn to prepare rolled sushi

The whole experience will last about 4-5 hours and finishes at the station closest to your Japanese host's home.

Day 4
Full-Day Kamakura Excursion from Tokyo

Today you will make a day-trip to Kamakura (1 hour away), the former seat of the Shogunate during the Kamakura period (1185-1333) and the then de facto capital of Japan.

At that time Kamakura was the largest city in the world. Today, however, Kamakura is a small, sleepy seaside town with numerous temples, shrines and other attractions.

With your local guide, you will visit Kotokuin Temple, home to the Daibutsu, a giant bronze Buddha that stands (or rather, sits) 13.4 meters tall.

The Great Buddha
The Great Buddha, or Daibutsu

Hasedera Temple is a temple of the Jodo sect, which is best-known for its statue of Kannon, the goddess of mercy. The statue depicts Kannon with eleven heads, each representing a characteristic of the goddess. The 9.2-meter-tall, gilded wooden statue is one of the largest wooden sculptures in Japan.

Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine, dating from the 12th century, is the spiritual heart of Kamakura and one of its most popular attractions. It was dedicated to Hachiman, the Shinto god of war and patron of the Minamoto family.

Your day will end with shopping for local souvenirs and delicacies in Komachi Street.

Alternative Options

We offer another three options on this day. Please let us know if you prefer any of them.

Option 1: Full-Day Nikko World Heritage Excursion from Tokyo

Tosho-gu Shrine
Tosho-gu Shrine, a gorgeous Momoyama-style complex

Option 2: Full-Day Mount Takao Hiking Excursion from Tokyo

Mount Fuji
The peak of Mount Takao offers views of Tokyo, Mount Fuji and as far as Yokohama on clear days

Option 3: Full-Day Hakone Mount Fuji National Park Excursion from Tokyo

Hakone Ropeway
Hakone Ropeway
Day 5
Departure from Tokyo

Meet at your hotel for a shared transfer to Narita International Airport. Have a safe flight home.

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Hand-Picked Hotels

We have selected hotels with different styles and for different budgets. Let us know your preferences and we will help you find the right one.

hotel in Tokyo with great location
Hotel in Tokyo with great location
hotel in Tokyo with Godzilla
Hotel in Tokyo with Godzilla
Central located hotel in Tokyo
Central located hotel in Tokyo
Hotel near the Tokyo Tower
Hotel right in the city center

Our Service Includes:

5 days from
US$ 2,166
per person (based on 2 persons and 4-star hotels)
  • Public transport and personal English-speaking tour guide
  • All guided sightseeing as detailed in the itinerary
  • Hotel accommodation mentioned in the itinerary
  • Breakfasts at hotels
  • Governmental taxes

Tour code: ah-34

Start planning your tailor-made tour now. Your 1:1 travel consultant will reply within 1 working day.

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  • Tailor-made experience: All of your ideas/needs will be carefully considered to create your ideal trip.
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  • No-risk booking: 100% refund policy! (up to 14 days before departure)

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