How to Plan an Incredible Family Trip to Japan in 2024/2025. Learn more.
11-Day Traditional Japan Tour

11-Day Traditional Japan Tour

By Nora OuUpdated Jan. 2, 2024
Historical Encounters and Lively Experiences

Are you interested in Japan but don't want to handle the difficulties when traveling there? Simply travel with us and let our experienced tour planners and local guides make your vacation worry-free.

Dive into Japan's historical treasures, such as Osaka Castle and Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park. Experience the tranquility of Nara Park and Fushimi Inari Shrine. Let the Shinkansen whisk you across diverse landscapes, hopping from vibrant city streets to serene mountain towns.

Enjoy local culinary delights at bustling markets and cozy eateries. But that's not all, absorb Japanese culture first hand — transform into a ninja, wear a traditional kimono, try your hand at sushi-making, and step into the world of sumo wrestling.

What you are waiting for? Read our customizable itinerary and travel with us your way!

  • Days:11±
  • Best For:First-timers, Japanese culture lovers
  • Departure date:up to you
  • Sample Price:from US$4,299 each (based on 4 people, 2 per room)

Journey Route

map of the route

Discover real reviews of Highlights Travel Family's best-rated service across trusted platforms.

Highlights

Immerse yourself in the mesmerizing world of Ukiyo-e art at the Kamigata Ukiyoe Museum.

Ukiyoe painting of Japan

Delve into the heart of local history at Osaka Castle, the Pure Water Temple, and Itsukushima Shrine.

the Osaka Castle, Pure Water Temple and Torii of Itsukushima Shrine

Understand the deep significance of peace at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park.

Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park

Embrace local customs and navigate Kyoto's Geisha district's backstreets while wearing a traditional kimono.

Geisha District in Kyoto

Learn matcha-making and immerse yourself in a captivating Geisha tea ceremony.

Matcha of Japan

Master authentic fighting techniques straight from a ninja master and a former sumo wrestler.

ninja master and sumo wrestler

Explore local seafood markets and acquire the art of crafting delectable sushi.

welcome to the Japanese tea ceremony

Behold Tokyo's panoramic beauty from the vantage point of Tokyo Skytree.

Tokyo Skytree at dusk

Transition from Japan's vibrant tales to a tranquil night's rest in a hand-picked modern hotel.

the night of Osaka

Ride various Shinkansen trains to traverse the diverse landscapes of Japan.

Shinkansen passing Mt. Fuji

Travel well-informed and hassle-free with your own guide and private vehicle.

private driver and vehicle service

Itinerary in Detail

We arrange plenty of opportunities to seek out Japan's treasure, as the old capital reveals most of Japan's traditional culture. Investigate the back streets of Kyoto's geisha districts, visit teahouses, explore Zen Buddhist temples and stone-paved roads, and wander through local markets and shopping arcades providing insights into local life.

End your trip to Japan by experiencing Japanese enthusiasm for food and cooking: Visiting Tsukiji Fish Market, and learning how to prepare sushi in Tokyo.

Sign up for your preferred parts of the tour or simply treat the whole tour as inspiration, designing each element to suit your taste.

Day 1
Osaka Arrival

Konnichiwa! Welcome to Osaka — the cosmopolitan hub of Japan!

Upon landing at Kansai International Airport, a courteous driver will be ready to transfer you to your hotel.

Once you've checked in and unpacked, you could utilize the rest of the day as you prefer. You could start by either delving into the rich culture and ultra-modernity of Osaka or simply unwind and recover from your travels.

The colorful dusk of Osaka The brightly lit canal district in Osaka
Day 2
Osaka Highlights

You would engage in a full-day tour of Osaka in the comfort of a private vehicle, introducing you and your loved one(s) to the extraordinary fusion of traditional and contemporary aspects that characterize the city:

  • Revel in the tranquil ambiance of Osaka Castle Park, a historical bastion amid the modern cityscape.
  • Connect with the city's past at Osaka Museum of History where you can perceive Osaka's journey from ancient times through well-curated exhibits.
  • Absorb the artistry of Japanese woodblock prints known as Ukiyo-e at Kamigata Ukiyo-e Museum.
  • Dive into the energetic atmosphere of Dotonbori, known for its bright neon lights, culinary delights, and lively entertainment.
  • For a dash of adventure, experience the intriguing Ninja Time. Wear a ninja costume, acquire their strategic skills, and partake in a memorable training exercise.

This day in Osaka would allow you to embrace both the historic and bustling urban atmospheres that make this city unforgettable.

The imposing keep of Osaka Castle The imposing keep of Osaka Castle
Day 3
Hiroshima Excursion

You would set out for Hiroshima via the speedy Shinkansen. Hiroshima, a city reborn from ashes, offers a mix of serene beauty and deep historical significance:

  • Experience the tranquility of Shukkeien Garden, known for its meticulously created miniature landscapes inspired by scenery around Japan.
  • Marvel at the striking sight of Itsukushima Shrine, a UNESCO World Heritage Site celebrated for its seeming ability to float on water during high tide.
  • Contemplate lessons learned from history at Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, a symbol of endurance and peace after devastation, which commemorates the atomic bomb victims and promotes the enduring message of world peace.

From the high-speed thrill of the Shinkansen to the serenity and solemn history of Hiroshima, prepare for a day filled with diverse and profound experiences.

The Itsukushima Shrine The Itsukushima Shrine, with its famous Torii Gate on the water
Day 4
Hiroshima to Kyoto

Prepare for the thrill of independent exploration as you set off to the historical city of Kyoto aboard a super-swift Shinkansen train:

In preparation for your self-guided day, your guide would ensure that you have the necessary tickets, which would be forwarded to you in advance. The guide would also advise you on how to get to the train station from your current hotel and how to find your new hotel upon arrival in Kyoto.

You would experience the thrill of navigating Japan's efficient transportation systems independently, with your trusty guide providing all of the key details to ensure that your journey is seamless and effortless. Upon your arrival in Kyoto, a city overflowing with cultural and historical monuments, you could immediately immerse yourself in the city's unique charm.

Higashiyama district Gion district, remains one of the city's most charming and unspoiled districts
Day 5
Kyoto Traditional Highlights

On day 5 in Japan, you would dive right into the traditional wonders of Kyoto, a city where history and culture reside in every corner:

  • Engage with the splendor of Kinkaku-ji Temple (the Golden Pavilion), an icon of Kyoto covered in glistening gold leaf, reflecting elegantly on the surface of the surrounding pond.
  • Venture into historied Nijo Castle, famous for its lavishly decorated interiors and "nightingale floors" designed to chirp when walked upon to alert guards of intruders.
  • Indulge in a variety of local gastronomy at Nishiki Market, where you can sample Kyoto's specialty foods and shop for traditional Japanese ingredients.
  • Immerse yourself in a local custom with a kimono-wearing experience, feeling the regal weight of this traditional Japanese garment.
  • Tour through history-filled Gion, known as Kyoto's geisha district, which is filled with wooden machiya merchant houses.
  • Complete your day by visiting Pure Water Temple (Kiyomizu-dera), an iconic UNESCO World Heritage Site with serene views and tranquility.

With every attraction, your day in Kyoto promises a rich, immersive experience of the city's traditional highlights.

Nishiki Market Wearing a Japanese kimono while visiting Gion -- an authentic cultural experience
Day 6
Day Trip to Nara via Uji

You would embark on a delightful day trip to Nara, a city renowned for its historic temples and free-roaming deer:

  • Start your day with a matcha-making experience in Uji. Learn about the traditional process and craft your own frothy matcha.
  • Once in Nara, explore the impressive Todai-ji, home to one of the world's largest bronze statues of Buddha.
  • Enjoy some leisurely time at Nara Park where over a thousand tame deer roam freely — in Japan these honored creatures are considered "messengers of gods".
  • After a fulfilling day in Nara, return to Kyoto and visit the Fushimi Inari Shrine, known for its thousands of vermilion torii gates leading to the scenic mountaintop.

This day trip promises a blend of serene experiences, from hands-on cultural enrichment to enchanting natural views and significant historical sites.

deer at Nara Park Feeding the deer at Nara Park
Day 7
Kyoto Nature and Tea Ceremony

On the seventh day, you would venture into Arashiyama, a scenic district on the outskirts of Kyoto, renowned for its natural beauty and historical sites:

  • Soak in the tranquil atmosphere that defines the district of Arashiyama, with its stunning mountains and the picturesque Oi River.
  • Take in the panoramic views of the Arashiyama district from the Togetsu-kyo Bridge, a famous landmark known as the "Moon Crossing Bridge."
  • Explore Tenryu-ji, a major Zen Buddhist temple, acclaimed for its landscaped garden that was originally designed in the 14th century.
  • Stroll through the enchanting Bamboo Grove, a stunning pathway sheltered by towering bamboo, one of the most photographed sites in Kyoto.
  • Visit Nonomiya Shrine, a small shrine nestled in the midst of a mesmerizing bamboo forest with a rich royal history.
  • In the afternoon, partake in a traditional tea ceremony. As you sip your ceremonial tea, watch an elegant performance by a maiko – an apprentice geisha – which will reveal to you the intricate beauty of this timeless Japanese custom.

Explore the back streets of Kyoto's geisha districts with a leading foreign geisha culture expert, Peter MacIntosh, who has spent half his life living in Kyoto. He married an ex-geisha, studies Japanese arts and is a lecturer on Geisha Studies at Kansai University.

bamboo grove at Arashiyama The bamboo grove at Arashiyama, Kyoto.
Day 8
Kyoto to Tokyo

You would feel an adrenaline rush once again as you navigate Japan's advanced transportation network independently. Step aboard the bullet train that takes you from Kyoto back to the bustling metropolis of Tokyo — a journey as thrilling as the destinations themselves. Your reliable guide would provide all of the necessary information to ensure a comfortable and hassle-free adventure.

Upon your arrival in Tokyo, a city brimming with an amalgamation of traditional temples and futuristic skyscrapers, make the most of your free time. Whether that would involve further exploration of the city or some well-deserved relaxation is entirely up to you. Flexibility is the essence of this day while you settle back into the Tokyo rhythm.

Nighttime scene of Tokyo Nighttime scene of Tokyo, the Capital of Japan
Day 9
Tokyo Explorations

Immerse yourselves deeper into Tokyo, acquainting yourselves with its artistic side along with a unique athletic tradition:

  • Begin your fascinating journey at Kokyo Gaien National Garden, a lush and peaceful oasis in the heart of the city, characterized by its beautifully-manicured lawns and trees.
  • Proceed to The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo, where you can appreciate an impressive collection of works representing Japan's vision of modern art.
  • Take a stroll down Omotesando, renowned for its zelkova-tree-lined avenue, showcasing stunning architecture and luxury brand shops.
  • Visit the Meiji Shrine, a Shinto shrine dedicated to Emperor Meiji and his consort. The tranquil forest that surrounds the shrine in the middle of Tokyo provides a calming retreat from the city's hustle and bustle.
  • The highlight of the day is a sumo show and experience, where you get a chance to observe sumo wrestling — a form of competitive full-contact wrestling that originated in Japan. Accompanied by a sumptuous sumo lunch, watch the sport intimately as never experienced before.

This day promises to impart you with varied layers of Tokyo — from cozy gardens and high-end shopping streets to a significant shrine and a traditional Japanese sport.

A glimpse of the imperial palace over Nijubashi A glimpse of the imperial palace over Nijubashi
Day 10
Tokyo Highlights

You would experience the remaining distinctive facets of Tokyo, from bustling markets and quintessential food to historic districts and modern marvels:

  • Start your day at the lively Tsukiji Outer Market. Explore numerous stalls that offer the freshest seafood, traditional Japanese ingredients, and an array of food-related goods.
  • Afterward, partake in a sushi-making experience, where you'll learn the art of sushi preparation from a master sushi chef, followed by a satisfying lunch featuring your creations.
  • Continue your journey to Asakusa, a district known for its old-world charm, where you'll visit Senso-ji, Tokyo's oldest and most renowned Buddhist temple.
  • Then, venture into the unique world of Akihabara, renowned as a global epicenter for anime, manga, and electronic goods.
  • Cap off your day by ascending Tokyo Skytree, the world's tallest freestanding broadcasting tower, where you can enjoy panoramic vistas of Tokyo's skyline.

Indulge in the myriad of experiences that Tokyo offers, catapulting you through contrasting aspects of the city from culinary adventures and historical heritage to contemporary attractions.

The Thunder Gate of Sensoji Temple The Thunder Gate of Sensoji Temple
Day 11
Farewell Tokyo and Japan

As your unforgettable Japanese adventure concludes, a one-way private transfer will smoothly take you from your hotel to the airport.

Ponder the extraordinary experiences and memories you've accumulated on your journey — from the vibrant urban landscapes of Tokyo and Osaka to the rich historical allure of Kyoto and Hiroshima.

Each place has shared with you its unique treasures — from visiting notable cultural sites and partaking in traditional activities to journeying through culinary delights and ascending modern structures.

You would have not only journeyed through Japan but also deeply connected with its essence.

Sayonara and safe travels!

Mt. Fuji in Spring The symbol of Japan in Spring, Mt. Fuji

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 Osaka
Hotel in Osaka with great location
hotel in Hiroshima
Hotel in Hiroshima near the Castle
hotel in Kyoto
Hotel with convenient transfer in Kyoto
Hotel with swimming pool in Tokyo
Hotel with swimming-pool in Tokyo

Tour Price:

11 days from
US$ 4,299 p/p (with 4-star hotel options)
  • The price is based on a private tour for 4 people during the low season.
  • The price varies based on program, travel date, number of people.
  • We could also price a tour including both 4-star and 5-star hotels for you.
  • We accept payments in multiple currencies (GBP, AUD, CAD, EUR...).

Price Includes:

  • Privately-driven air-conditioned vehicle with ample space (except where stated)
  • English-speaking local guide for the sightseeing
  • Attraction tickets and itinerary activities
  • Accommodation for all nights
  • Trains between itinerary cities
  • Hotel breakfasts and itinerary lunches/dinners
  • 24/7 helpline while touring
  • Governmental taxes

Price Excludes:

  • International flights not mentioned in the itinerary
  • Meals not mentioned in the itinerary
  • Visa fee, if applicable
  • Tips for guides and drivers
  • Personal expenses

Tour code: ah-32

Inquire now! Your 1:1 travel consultant will reply within 1 working day.

How would you travel?

What's your hotel choice?

When would you travel?

I prefer to be contacted via:

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.
Popular tours
Make the most of your time
Choose the best time to visit

Discover real reviews of Highlights Travel Family's best-rated service across trusted platforms.

More reviews

Get Inspired with Some Popular Itineraries

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.

More Travel Ideas and Inspiration

Start planning your tailor-made tour with 1-1 help from our travel advisors. Create My Trip
4.9 ExcellentTrustPilot rating TrustPilot Logo

Sign up to Our Newsletter

Be the first to receive exciting updates, exclusive promotions, and valuable travel tips from our team of experts.

The Asia Highlights Experience

1-to-1 Expert Planning

1-to-1 Expert Planning

Your tour will be tailor-made to suit you by a destination expert. Your personal travel advisor will always reply within 24 hours.

Personal Journeys

Personal Journeys

Enjoy having your own personal local guide and ride. Explore destinations at your own pace. Have as much flexibility as possible.

Authentic Experiences

Authentic Experiences

Go beyond the sightseeing. Understand the destinations by practicing the local culture and interacting with local people.

One-Stop Service

One-Stop Service

Leave all the booking work to us, including international and internal transportation, visas, hotels, meals, and activities.

Where Can We Take You Today?

China Tours

About Us
At Asia Highlights, we are committed to providing you a premium, quality private tour, whether it's a milestone trip, family trip, or bucketlist trip — your planning will be made easy with just one specialist throughout. Know more ...
Rated 4.9 out of 5 | Excellent
China Highlights International Travel Service Co., LTD
Corporate Number: 914503003486045699
Featured on
Medias