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.
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.
Have your own guide and private vehicle during the guided day.
Learn about Japanese emperors by visiting the Imperial Palace and the Meiji Shrine.
Participate in an authentic tea ceremony and sample freshly-made green tea in a Japanese tearoom.
Experience the spirit of Edo (1603-1868) culture and craftsmanship by yourself!
Make a day-trip to Kamakura, a seaside town of temples and wooded hills
Alisa Liu is a star to work makes Asia Highlights even better
Alisa Liu was my contact person for Asia Highlights. She was remarkably punctual, she was thoughtful, and she handle an emergency on my end, with grace and patience. She recommended great hotels in Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka Japan that put us in the center of the action. The guides she choose were personable, punctual a knowledgeable about their cities.More
Brent Zadorozny, Oct 2023
Started using Asia Highlights to plan my trip to Japan. Sharon was very helpful, giving me all the information I would need for the tour. I would definitely use Asia Highlights again, when planning another trip to Asia.More
Rachel Nelson, Oct 2023
Our airport pick-up went very smoothly. Our guide, Vivian, on the second day was very nice, very accommodating, took into account our preferences. In Osaka, our trip to the castle was a very long walk with lots of steps to climb and quite honestly wasn’t very interesting. But Dotonburi is a must-see and we enjoyed that very much.Our trip to Hiroshima was very memorable. I highly recommend it. Our guide, Etsuko, was very knowledgeable and kind. The trip to Miyajima island, on the other hand, wasn’t too memorable. Our next city, Kyoto, is a truly wonderful place to visit. All the temples we went to were very interesting and very distinctive from each other (Kinkakuji temple, Nijo castle, Sanjusangendo temple,Kiyumizo temple, Fushimi Inari shrine, Kasuga Taisha shrine, Tojaidi temple). The sake tour was a downer and wouldn’t recommend it.Our guide, Ritsuko, was a darling. She was very knowledgeable too and kind and warm and easy to talk to. Our last tour in Tokyo was a rainy day and Sue, our guide, was able to change our tour to the next day. She was so efficient and so accommodating and so kind and very knowledgeable too.More
Mrs Cristina Hidalgo Loris, Oct 2023
Very good tour of Japan
Very good tour around Japan for 10 days, including Tokyo, Hakone and Kyoto. Excellent guides and experiences. Albee, the tour organiser, was always available to sort out changes to itinerary or extra requests.More
Guy Slimmon, Oct 2023
Everything is good
All of the hotels were wonderful and our guides were super friendly, knowledgeable and flexible. We had a 10 day trip that included multiple cities and lots of different sights, we squeezed in as much as we could, including a 2 day hiking trip to Mt. Fuji (our guide Sun Nan was awesome!). Our guide in Tokyo, Jennifer, was lovely and our guide for 2 days in Kyoto, Dennis, was also super great. We did a food tour in Osaka with Vivian which was nice Sallie Fujimoto-SwunMore
Ideale Tran, Oct 2023
Thank you for the wonderful experience…
Thank you for the wonderful experience we all truely enjoyed. From the beginning (making first contact with Sharon from Asia Highlights) to the end (Saying good bye to our amazing guide Lilly) the experience was top notch. Great communication while preparing the trip and excellent local knowledge of our tour guide. I can highly recommend Asia Highlights and would not hesitate to use them again for our next trip.More
Dany Gruosso, Oct 2023
Vacations in Japan
The guides Jessie and Vivian were very kind and professionals and the drivers as well. In a future vacation we will get in touch with Asia Highlights without a doubt.More
Hilda Andrade, Oct 2023
Experience with Asia Highlights
This was my first time working with a travel agent to plan an international trip and because of the seamless experience I had, I have decided to always work with an agent when booking international trips. Asia Highlights did an amazing job in ensuring we found a trip that worked well for our budget and provided us with special experiences in Japan that exceeded our expectations. From travel logistics in Japan to lodging and activities, we felt taken care of. If I had known that travel agents were this helpful, I would have worked with them in my prior travels. I definitely plan to book my next trip to Asia with this agent.More
Adie Ballantyne, Oct 2023
Jason and Cathy from Asia Highlights…
Jason and Kathy from Asia Highlights did a great job for us. They were very responsive and professional. Hotel choices and attractions made for a wonderful first time trip to Japan.More
Norman and Mary Van Zante, Sep 2023
This was one of the best experiences in…
This was one of the best experiences in Travel that I have ever had... and I have traveled extensively. The reliability of the the driver and guide, the kindness each displayed (different people in different cities same result) and the flexibility to work with my family's requests was outstanding. I now wish for this experience where ever I may travel next!More
Donna Huck, Sep 2023
First and foremost, this review is based strictly on prompt response from Asia Highlights.I was browsing Asia Highlights website on the night of September 17th 2023 and really impressed of the positive reviews. So I decided to send an e-mail for an estimate of a private tour guide in Tokyo Japan for 6 days/7 nights including hotel accommodation for my 90-year-old father and I. I provided as much information as I can what areas of interest we would like to visit. I was really expecting a 72-hour delay response from Asia Highlights given time difference in California and Japan. The following day, I received an e-mail from Kate Long. Impressive! Kate provided a very detailed suggested itinerary with great consideration for my 90-year-old father. I truly appreciated her thoughtfulness! I will definitely reach out to Asia Highlights on our next trip! Thank you Kate!More
F K, Sep 2023
Perfectly planned and organized
Albee at Asia Highlights created a diverse, fun-filled itinerary for our trip. She listened carefully to our interests and made sure that we made the best use of our time in Japan. Our local guides, drivers and vehicles were excellent. Albee was always available to answer all my questions with a lightening fast response time. A very memorable experience and I would definitely book with Asia Highlights again.More
Carol Ann Paget Brown, Sep 2023
Sharon provided great service while…
Sharon provided great service while planning and booking our Japan trip! Unfortunately, we had to cancel due to family medical reasons. Sharon was very understanding of this and helped process the cancellation and refund in a very timely manner. When we are ready to book our trip again, I will certainly be reaching out to Sharon and Asia Highlights!More
Ali Tahir, Sep 2023
I just wanted to tell you how pleased…
I just wanted to tell you how pleased we were planning and coordinating our recent Japan trip with Alisa Liu. Alisa was responsive, answered questions in a timely manner despite our 15 hour time difference, and coordinated a trip for a 6 person multi-generational tour to everyone's satisfaction. (ages7-70!)We were particularly thankful for her help as 2 typhoons bore down on Japan during our stay. She helped us rearrange train and hotel reservations, and was able to get us a refund from a hotel that would not typically offer that. I have referred other friends to her with confidence.More
Berdine Bender, Sep 2023
Not only Albee was great! Each of our guides and drivers were also a joy. Daniel was our first knowledgeable guide who spoke excellent English and was so much fun throughout the day. Jeremy was our guide for the next few days and he also was fun, flexible, and had so many interesting tidbits to share with us throughout the day. Kiko was our guide on the next leg of our journey. She had such a joyful sense of adventure and curiosity that was such a hoot. Vivian was also professional and very aware to what our needs were in the moment. Tian was incredibly flexible and when our plans literally changed when he picked us up, he showed great flexibility and took us to some really fun places at the last minute that were some of our best experiences. And finally Charlie was our last guide and he was so thoughtful and consistently anticipated our needs. By the time we realized we might need something, he would already have it taken care of. All of our guides were so thoughtful and conscious of either making sure we got time to ourselves or of being available right when we needed them. They were each fun and had their own personal flavor that they brought to the experience. We are so grateful for the consideration and flexibility that Asia Highlights showed us consistently and would highly recommend them for anyone interested in visiting Asia. Thank you so much! It was an amazing trip!More
Leah Stine, Aug 2023
Alisa is awesome!
We have been looking to go to Japan for a long time. The food, the culture, and the rich history have always intrigued us. We tried many times to set up pieces of the trip on our own, but couldn’t put together a sensible vacation. Then we found Asia Highlights and Alisa! She helped us tailor a remarkable adventure to Japan! She answered our many questions and shifted our itinerary to maximize our time in each city. I highly recommend Alisa to help you put together the trip of a lifetime. We are looking forward to our journey!More
Mark Linn, Aug 2023
Sharon has been very helpful since the…
Sharon has been very helpful since the beginning coordinating our itinerary in order to accommodate everything we want to see, it been great working with herMore
May, Jul 2023
When I first book I was scared of what…
When I first book I was scared of what to expect, but oh my God! What an amazing experience this has been, from Sharon to all the guides Shawn and Mr. Ho, such amazing people! Their work is excellentMore
Saul Velez, Jul 2023
Albee was very helpful and responsive…
Albee was very helpful and responsive in helping me make plans for their 10 day Japanese tour.More
Bhavini Patel, Jul 2023
Alisa was a perfect tour consultant
Alisa responded to my numerous questions with efficiency and accuracy. She was constantly suggesting options to make the trip more enjoyableMore
Matha Goram, Jul 2023
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.
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 have 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 a local workshop where craftsmen of Edo-style bamboo blinds make their wares. Here, you will learn how to make your own table mat.
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.
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.
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.
The whole experience will last about 4-5 hours and finishes at the station closest to your Japanese host's home.
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.
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.
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
Option 2: Full-Day Mount Takao Hiking Excursion from Tokyo
Option 3: Full-Day Hakone Mount Fuji National Park Excursion from Tokyo
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 Godzilla
Centrally located hotel in Tokyo
Hotel right in the city center
Our Service Includes:
- Private 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
Why Travel with Asia Highlights (98.8% positive customer reviews among 10,000+)
- Unique experiences tailored to your interests: Enjoy a premium trip that goes beyond the typical tourist attractions.
- Hassle-free travel and peace of mind: Every aspect of your trip will be carefully planned and organized by your 1:1 travel consultant.
- Experienced and knowledgeable guides: Your guides will be local and love to work for travelers' smiles.
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At Asia Highlights, we create your kind of journey — your dates, your destinations, at your pace. You can have any trip tailor made for your travel.