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This 11-day tour of traditional Japan is ideal for first-time visitors who truly want to understand Japan, a uniquely adaptable place where tradition and modernity seem to merge. It is also a land of contradictions.

Visitors should spend time in the backstreets and environs of Japan’s old imperial capital, Kyoto, where historical monuments are well preserved. Japan’s current capital, Tokyo, is one of the world’s most exciting and energizing cities, with the liveliest neon-sign districts.

The merchant city Osaka is known for its extravagant nightlife and culinary preferences. Miyajima Island is a sacred landmark, iconized by Itsukushima Shrine’s vermilion Otorii, rising from the sea during low tide.

  • Visit the magnificent Osaka Castle and the bustling district of Dotonbori, with opportunities to sample Osaka’s favorite local dishes.
  • Take a short ferry ride to Miyajima Island to see the famous floating torii, acclaimed by the Japanese as one of the country’s three most scenic views.
  • See 2 of Kyoto’s UNESCO World Heritage sites, Kinkakuji Temple and Nijo Castle, before finishing the day at “Kyoto’s Kitchen”, the lively Nishiki Market.
  • Walk the Philosopher’s Path, a pleasant stone path beginning around Ginkakuji (the Silver Pavilion) and ending in the neighborhood of Nanzenji.
  • Explore the back streets of Kyoto’s geisha districts with a leading foreign geisha culture expert and savor some matcha green tea at a private teahouse in the company of a maiko or geiko.
  • Participate in an authentic tea ceremony and take a walk through Omotesando, commonly referred to as Tokyo’s Champs-Elysees.
  • Sample freshly-prepared finger food at Tsukiji Outer Market and attend a sushi-making class at a local home.

Journey route

What's included

  • Tours and transfers (public bus, subway, ferry, taxi, car) as specified, including entry fees
  • English-speaking local guide for all listed sightseeing
  • 7-day Japan Rail Pass
  • Hand-picked local 3-star hotels matching your preferences
  • One-to-one consultancy from our travel expert
  • A 24/7 helpline while you are traveling
  • Government tax and services charge

Itinerary in detail

We arrange plenty of opportunities to seek out Kyoto’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 at a local home 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 Arrival in Osaka

Welcome to Osaka, Japan’s third largest city after Tokyo and Yokohama! These are the top three culinary centers in Japan, with local cuisine known for its practicality rather than finesse. In lively Osaka, indulge in some of the city’s best food and nightlife.

You will be met on arrival at Kansai International Airport and transferred privately to your accommodation.

The brightly lit canal district in Osaka

Spend the night exploring the lively downtown area of Namba, the core of the old merchant city, where you will find Osaka’s best eating and drinking options. Namba’s many pedestrian shopping zones are filled with a great variety of leisure spots, shops and restaurants.

Takotaki, octopus balls, is one of the most beloved Osaka foods
Okonomiyaki, a thick savory pancake of mixed ingredients

Information and signs in English make Osaka a relatively easy place to explore for visitors.

Hotels in Osaka

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.

We recommend business hotels near the train station, providing easy access to the lively Namba and Dotonbori areas, but also to some of the special attractions like Osaka Castle, via a train or subway ride. They are very convenient. Rooms are small, western-style and clean, with modern facilities.

Standard twin room in Osaka Tokyu REI Hotel
Within walking distance of the Kuromon Market
Standard twin room in Granvia Osaka
Located directly above JR Osaka Train Station

Day 2 Osaka Full Day Highlights | Osaka Castle, Kamigata Ukiyoe Museum, Umeda Sky Building

Your guide will meet you at your hotel to take you on a tour of Osaka.

Start your day by visiting one of Japan’s most famous castles, the magnificent Osaka Castle. During the sixteenth century it played a major role in the unification of Japan.

The imposing keep of Osaka Castle

The castle has been completely rebuilt, in a way that is faithful to its original appearance, after its destruction during World War II. Its inside is modern and functional, and now serves as a museum for the history of Osaka.

Next stop is the bustling district of Dotonbori, a former theater district turned restaurant mecca. You can sample the famous takoyaki, octopus dumpling, Osaka’s most famous street food.

The Glico running main glowing over the Dotonbori

A few minutes’ walk away you’ll find the Kamigata Ukiyoe Museum, where you can admire famed Japanese prints from the 18th century. You’ll have a chance to make your own woodblock print, too! (NB The Museum is closed on Mondays.)

Entrance of Kamigata Ukiyoe Museum
Wood-Block Prints, known as ukiyo-e

The Umeda Sky Building is a spectacular high-rise building in the Kita district of Osaka, near Osaka and Umeda Stations. The 173-meter-tall building consists of two main towers connected by the "Floating Garden Observatory" on the 39th floor, and offers a great view of the city.

Receive Your JR Pass

Turn in your Exchange Order (with your passport) to a JAPAN RAIL PASS exchange-office in Shin Osaka station, a major JR station. Then you will obtain your JAPAN RAIL PASS.

Your guide will assist you in validating your rail pass and making any necessary seat reservations.

Day 3 Hiroshima Full Day Excursion from Osaka | Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, Miyajima Island

Make your way today to Shin Osaka station and use your JR pass together with your reserved-seat ticket to make the 90-minute journey direct to Hiroshima station. The journey is unaccompanied.

On arrival you will be met by a local guide, and visit the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park.

The A-Bomb Dome, all that remains of the old bombed city

On August 6th, 1945, the area where the park is now situated was ‘ground zero’ for the Atomic Bomb. After the bombing a Memorial Park was created and dedicated to those who lost their lives in the attack. Stroll through the park and discover the many memorials, monuments and statues there, before heading into the Museum itself.

A short ferry ride will take you from Hiroshima to Miyajima Island.

Miyajima is a small sacred island in the Inland Sea. It has been a holy place of Shintoism from early times. Here you will find perhaps the most photographed site in Japan - the floating torii gate, designated as one of Japan's '3 Most Beautiful Views'.

The famous floating torii

The harmoniously arranged buildings reveal great artistic and technical skill, and have been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Mere 'commoners' were not allowed to set foot on this holy place, and even now it is forbidden to give birth or die on the island!

You will have time to explore the island and its many shrines and temples, and to sample local goodies like maple-leaf-shaped cakes, before heading back to Osaka.

The day-tour ends at Hiroshima Station. Use your JR pass again, together with your reserved-seat ticket, to make the journey back to Osaka. On arrival, make your own way back to your hotel. Have a good night!

Day 4 Osaka to Kyoto

This morning, make your way to Shin Osaka station, and use your JR pass together with your reserved-seat ticket to board the shinkansen (fast train) to Kyoto.

On arrival at Kyoto station, make your own way to your hotel. The rest of the day is free to spend at your own leisure.

Higashiyama district, remains one of the city's most charming and unspoiled districts

Hotels in Kyoto

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.

For experiencing traditional Kyoto, we recommend boutique hotels, located in the heart of the Gion district, with amenities providing the best of Kyoto atmosphere and allowing guests to visit conveniently the city’s best-known geisha quarter.

Superior double room in The Celestine Kyoto Gion
Located in the heart of traditional Gion district, The Celestine Kyoto Gion holds "Experiencing Kyoto" as a concept

For those wishing to travel the city by public transport or to be just a short walk away from some famous sites, we recommend hotels near subway stations or near the Kawaramachi area.

Standard double room in Hotel Gracery Kyoto Sanjo
Located near the Kawaramachi area, famous sites such as the Nishiki Market, are just a short walk away

For easy access to all city attractions as well as to Nara, Osaka and beyond, we recommend business hotels conveniently located right in front of Kyoto Station, a major hub in Kyoto where the bullet trains stop.

Superior twin room in New Miyako Hotel
Located right in front of Kyoto Staion, New Miyako Hotel offers easy access to all city attractions as well as to Nara, Osaka and beyond

Day 5 Kyoto Half-Day Highlights | Kinkakuji Temple, Nijo Castle, Nishiki Market

On this half-day tour, visit 2 of Kyoto’s 17 UNESCO World Heritage sites and a local market.

Start with a visit to Kinkakuji Temple (the Golden Pavilion), which was originally built as a retirement villa for the shogun at the time. (Shoguns were military dictators of Japan from 1185 to 1868.) At his request, after he died it became a Buddhist Temple, and is now one of Kyoto’s most famous temples.

Kinkakuji Temple, a glimmering legacy of medival Japan

Next is Nijo Castle, an ornamental castle built by the founder of the Edo shogunate (1603-1868) as his Kyoto residence, surrounded by stunning gardens. The main building was completed in 1603, and is famous for its architecture, decorated sliding doors and ‘chirping’ nightingale floors.

The gate to Ninomaru Palace at Nijo Castle

Finish the day with a visit to Nishiki Market, a lively retail market specializing in culinary delights. Known as “Kyoto’s Kitchen”, Nishiki is a narrow shopping street lined with more than 100 shops, selling fresh seafood and vegetables, pickles, Japanese sweets and sushi.

Nishiki Market, known as "Kyoto's Kitchen"
A food stall at Nishiki Market

Most shops specialize in a particular type of food and almost all the ingredients and food are locally grown and produced. Some shops give out free samples or sell sample dishes, and a few small restaurants and food-stands even sell ready-made food.

Recommended Free Time Activities

The tour ends in the Nishiki area, the best place in Kyoto to shop for food. You will have plenty of time to soak up and sink into the market’s busy atmosphere.

Or walk about 10 minutes to the intersection of Shijo and Kawaramachi, which is the heart of the downtown shopping district, caters to all visitors, and is among the best places to shop for original and unusual souvenirs.

Day 6 Kyoto Half-Day Philosopher’s Path Walking Tour | Ginkakuji, Philosopher's Path, Nanzenji

The Philosopher's Path is a pleasant stone path through the northern part of Kyoto's Higashiyama district. The path inherits its name from Nishida Kitaro, one of Japan's most famous philosophers, who was said to practice meditation while walking this route on his daily commute to Kyoto University.

The path follows a canal lined by hundreds of cherry trees, making it well known as one of the best cherry-blossom-viewing spots in Kyoto. During the cherry blossom season, people from all over the Kansai region gather here to enjoy this natural pleasure.

Cherry blossoms along the canal

Approximately two kilometers long, the path begins around Ginkaku-ji (the Silver Pavilion) and ends in the neighborhood of Nanzenji. If you walk without stopping, you can cover the distance in about 50 minutes, though most people take more time in order to explore the Silver Pavilion, Nanzenji, and the many temples and coffee shops along the way.

Ginkaku-ji is set within a remarkable garden with ponds
Nanzen-ji with its celebrated, Western-style Meiji-period aqueduct

The shops are fun to explore, because they sell all types of goods from kimonos to antiques and crafts, all of which make beautiful souvenirs. Also, there are many small temples and shrines along the walk, worth examining.

Recommended Free Time Activities

The tour finishes at Nanzenji temple, a quintessential Zen temple, which has been at the center of Japanese Zen history since 1386. You may spend the rest of the day experiencing quintessential Japanese Zen Buddhism by visiting Nanzenji’s sub-temples, three of which are open to the public all year round.

These three temples are: Konchi-in, featuring pines and boulders arranged in a tortoise and crane motif; Tenju-an, exhibiting a dry garden and a small garden for strolling around; and Nanzen-in, occupying the original site of Emperor Kameyama’s retirement villa.

A dry garden in Nanzen-ji

Specialty restaurants are clustered around Nanzenji; such as Yudofu, which is also the name of a healthy boiled tofu dish, served with flavorful dipping sauces and unique to Kyoto. When passing by, you might sample some of the delicacies.

Yudofu, a boiled tofu dish

Day 7 Kyoto Afternoon Tea with a Geisha

You will have the whole morning to explore Kyoto by yourself. In the afternoon, you will be picked up from your hotel by a taxi and taken to the Geisha district. The tour starts at around 15:30.

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.

On a private walk through the geisha districts Peter will discuss the history and current situation of the flower and willow world of Kyoto, before stopping at a private, members-only ochaya (geisha teahouse), where you will be served matcha green tea and Japanese sweets in the company of a maiko or geiko. No other customers will be present.

There will be traditional song, dance and games along with great photo opportunities.

Maiko performs classical dance
The skills of older geisha are held in high regard

The tour finishes in the teahouse area. You will have the night for your own leisure.

Geisha, Geiko, and Maiko

Geisha are professional female entertainers, often regarded as famous for their beauty, but also famous for their skills. They dedicate their lives to dressing in kimonos, applying make-up, ornamenting hairstyles, dancing, and singing.

Geiko, literally “Women of Art”, is another name for Geisha.

Maiko, apprentice geishas, literally “Women of Dance”, are a Kyoto-only phenomenon. The maiko’s white face, shaped red lips, distinctive hair style, elaborate kimono dress and tall koppori clogs are distinctive features of the popular image of geisha. Only in Kyoto do young women training to be geikos dress up like this.

Maiko's ornamental hairpins and the nape of the neck

Geishas start their training when really young. Apprentices go to live in the okiya, geisha house, where they are called minarai and learn by watching. During the final stage of their training, students are called maiko (dance girls). They will learn how to serve tea, play shamisen, and dance, along with a set of useful social skills.

When the maiko is 20-21 years old, she is promoted and becomes a geisha, and will exchange the embroidered collar for a white one. This transition is known as collar change.

Geishas master music and dance, and to do so they train every day. The dance is subtle and stylized, and accompanied by traditional Japanese music. The shamisen, the main instrument used for this kind of music, is a three-stringed instrument similar to the banjo.

Geishas, specialize in dance

Day 8 Kyoto to Tokyo

This morning, make your way to Kyoto station, using your JR pass together with your reserved seat ticket to board the shinkansen to Tokyo.

On arrival, make your own way to your hotel. The rest of the day is free for you to spend at your leisure.

Nighttime scene in the district of Shinjuku

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.

Hotels in 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.

We usually recommend business hotels conveniently located in Shinjuku, arguably one of the liveliest districts of Tokyo, offering convenient access to Shinjuku station, which is one of the city’s train and subway hubs.

Superior double room in Hotel Gracery Shinjuku
Located in the heart of the area around Shinjuku Station’s East Exit
Plaza luxe double room in Keio Plaza Tokyo
A room with panoramic views of the Shinjuku skyline

Day 9 Tokyo Full-Day Traditional Tour | Kokyo Gaien, Tea Ceremony, Meiji Shrine, Omotesando

The Imperial Palace is located on the former site of Edo Castle, a large park area surrounded by moats and massive stone walls in the center of Tokyo, and the residence of Japan's imperial family.

Although the Palace is not open to the public, from Kokyo Gaien, the large plaza in front of the Imperial Palace, you can view the Nijubashi, two bridges that form an entrance to the inner palace grounds. The stone bridge in front resembles an eyeglass, so is called Meganebashi (Eyeglass Bridge).

A glimpse of the imperial palace over Nijubashi

Next, you will have an unforgettable opportunity to participate in an authentic 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 enjoying tea.

The tea ceremony is a well-orchestrated series of events

Meiji Shrine is Tokyo’s most famous shrine, dedicated to the spirit of the late Emperor Meiji, and the park that surrounds the shrine is a forest of some 120,000 trees of 365 different species. The shrine is a popular site for Japanese weddings: if you are lucky you may see a bride and groom dressed in traditional Shinto wedding attire.

Rinse hands before entering the shrine
A traditional Shinto wedding

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

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

Day 10 Tokyo Tsukiji Outer Market Visit and Sushi-Making Lesson at Local Home

The tour starts in the early morning. Take your time as you explore the lively outer market, where you will see lots of different ingredients and have an opportunity to sample some freshly-prepared finger foods. Indeed, seafood lovers won’t be disappointed, as the area serves some of the freshest sushi and seafood Japan’s capital has to offer.

A stall selling vegetables
Sliced fillets of raw fish

You will then visit a typical Japanese home. During the 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).

Learn to prepare rolled sushi
For making maki sushi, sushi rice is combined with silvers of fish, cucumber and other morsels
Nigiri sushi, and gunkan maki, the second one from left

You will then get to enjoy your homemade sushi for lunch. The tour ends in central Tokyo.

Recommended Free Time Activities

The tour finishes at the station closest to your Japanese host’s home.

If you are looking for unrivaled shopping experiences, you will find Ginza within walking distance. Ginza is a thriving commercial center, offering an attractive mixture of huge department stores and affluent side-street shops selling traditional crafts and hosting galleries.

If you feel like relaxing in a garden, Hamarikyu Gardens would be ideal. Situated where the Sumida River empties into Tokyo Bay, this garden was built in 1654 as a retreat for the shogun’s family. Now it is still a pleasant and uncrowded place to sit down in or stroll around.

Day 11 Departure from Tokyo

In just 10 days, your family has collected a lifetime of Japanese memories. Now it’s time to say goodbye.

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

Asia Highlights handpicked 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.

We recommend business hotels conveniently located near a major subway station, or a short walk away to some famous sites, in the larger cities such as Osaka, Kyoto and Tokyo.

 Western-style Japanese room at Hyatt Regency Hakone
Osaka Hotel Granvia Osaka

    Hotel Granvia Osaka, located in the center of the spirited and historical city of Osaka, offers guests a pleasant stay and direct connection to JR Osaka train lines. Guests will experience fine and casual dining, spacious guestroom accommodation and the finest services and amenities.

standard room at Mitsui Garden Kyoto Sanjo
Kyoto Mitsui Garden Kyoto Sanjo

    Mitsui Garden Hotel Kyoto Sanjo is great option for those looking to travel the city by public transportation due to its close proximity to the nearby subway station. Besides your in-room bath, this hotel also features a Japanese-style indoor public bath so you can go for a soak after a long day of traveling.

standard room at Hotel Gracery Shinjuku
Tokyo Hotel Gracery Shinjuku

    A newly-built, next-generation hotel focused on providing convenience, efficiency, and comfort opened on the side of the old Shinjuku Koma Theater, the heart of the area around Shinjuku Station’s East Exit.

Journey information

  • Season
  • Japan can be visited year-round, though there are benefits and drawbacks of every season. There are also some events such as the blooming of the cherry blossoms that can be only experienced during certain times of year.

    Spring is one of the most popular times to visit Japan because of the beautiful, comfortable weather and the arrival of the cherry blossoms. The blooming of cherry blossoms or sakura has been a major part of Japanese culture for over 1,000 years and can only be experienced in the spring.

    Because of the opportunity to witness sakura and the beautiful weather throughout the country, spring is high season in Japan, the time of year with most crowds and highest cost. If traveling to Japan in spring, it will be important to book flights and hotels well in advance.

    Cherry Blossom in Himeji Castle

    Summer is the festival season in Japan, offering visitors an opportunity to experience multiple holidays and firework-shows in another country. Crowds are smaller in Japan in the summer, which means that standard prices for accommodation and flights are often lower.

    Summer in Ginkakuji Temple

    Although not as busy as spring, fall is the second most popular time to travel to Japan. In the fall, the weather cools down and the lower humidity allows for more comfortable traveling outdoors.

    Many people choose to visit Japan in the fall due to the changing colors of the leaves, turning brilliant orange and red, in the countryside near Kyoto and Tokyo.

    Autumn in Arashiyama

    During winter, especially at the north of the Japanese islands, there are icy winds from Siberia often accompanied by heavy snows. This makes for great opportunities to participate in winter sports, such as skiing, in some of the many famous resorts and mountains.

    Winter in Shirakawa-go
  • Accommodation
  • Japan offers a wide range of accommodation in both Japanese and western styles. Ryokans are traditional Japanese inns that offer a glimpse into a more traditional way of life. A ryokan room usually has tatami (traditionally rice-straw, today sometimes polystyrene foam or compressed wood chip) mat flooring, a futon (mattress), tables and chairs. Guests sleep on a futon laid out on the tatami.

    A ryokan room with tatami mats and futons
    Kids sleeping on futons at traditional guestroom

    While ryokans are the perfect places to stay in Hakone and other scenic and rural areas of Japan, when staying in the larger cities such as Tokyo or Kyoto, it's often best to choose hotels according to comfort, combined with location and convenience.

    Business hotels, catering to budget-conscious business travelers, are generally located in city centers near train stations. They are very convenient, especially for tourists with a half-independent, half-guided itinerary. Most hotels provide two room categories — standard twin and standard double. Rooms are western-style, small (usually 16-22 square meters) and clean.

    A deluxe Western-style Japanese room with scenic view in Hakone
    Typical business hotel, with Western-style standard double room

    Let us know your style preferences, and our travel consultant will find the most suitable hotel room for you.

  • Meals
  • Meals are not included. During a full day tour, your guide will take you to a budget or mid-range restaurant for a quick lunch. These restaurants are often near the train stations, or in malls. You will need to pay on the spot in cash when finished with your meal.

    Savoring a sushi meal at a kaiten zushi shop
    Sushi comes to you on a conveyor belt
    Slurping noodles inside a noodle shop
    A speciality restaurant underground Kyoto Station

    Japan’s cuisine is based on combining staple foods, typically rice or noodles, with a soup and okazu — dishes made from fish, meat or vegetables, to add flavor to the staple food. These are typically flavored with dashi, miso and soy sauce.

    Small portions of a number of complementary dishes
    A typical set dinner in traditional surroundings

    The most famous Japanese food is sushi. This is cooked vinegared rice (shari) combined with other ingredients (neta).

    Other prominent foods are: sashimi, fresh raw meat, most commonly fish, sliced into thin pieces; tempura, seafood or vegetables covered in batter and deep fried; and sukiyaki, a popular dish of thinly sliced beef, served with vegetables, tofu and vermicelli, and usually cooked on a sizzling iron skillet at the table.

    Sushi,lightly sweetened and vinegared sushi rice topped with raw fish
    Sashimi, sliced fillets of raw fish served without rice
    Tempura, deep fried seafood
    Traditional sukiyaki pot

    If you have special dietary requirements, simply tell your travel agent at the time of booking. Come with an open mind and open mouth, and you won’t be disappointed.

  • Traveling Around by Train
  • Public transport services in Japan are admirable. Most major cities are connected by shinkansen bullet trains, which speed along at an incredible 300 km/hour. Many famous sightseeing areas lie on or near the bullet train lines between Tokyo, Osaka and Fukuoka, making it convenient to visit places such as Kyoto, Himeji Castle and Hiroshima.

    Shinkansen, the super express train, is an appealing form of transportation for foreigners
    Local trains. Other train types include Tokkyu (limited express), Kyuko (express), and Kaisoku (rapid)

    Flying is probably best when travelling from the country’s main hubs to some of the more far-flung destinations, such as Okinawa and Hokkaido. Ferries are surprisingly uncommon, as all the major islands are linked by bridges and tunnels.

    The Japan Rail Pass offers overseas visitors unlimited travel on a vast network of trains. You can choose a 7-day, 14-day or 21-day pass, first or standard class. It must be purchased before a trip.

    A sample of reserved seat ticket by JR Pass
  • Traveling Within Cities by Public Transportation
  • Local transport systems in major cities are efficient, safe and clean. For example, Tokyo has an extensive metro and over ground rail system, and it is best to use a pre-loaded transport card, such as Suica, to get around. Hold your card against the barriers at the station entrance to access the platform.

    Kyoto’s bus system is quite convenient for getting around the city and is the best way to reach many of the main attractions. The ICOCA electronic card or a 1-day pass are valid on most forms of city transport.

    Taking Tokyo subway, efficient and clean
    Kyoto city bus, a convenient way of touring the city

    Taxis can be useful over short distances but they are very expensive during peak travel hours. Not only is public transport typically very convenient in Japan, it is also much cheaper than the average $1,000 a day needed to rent a private car with driver.

    Private cars can be arranged, only at a higher price. We recommend using private car services for travelers in family groups, or groups of about 5 people, seeking a more intimate experience.

  • Pack Light
  • We recommend packing light and smart for your trip, as you will be required to carry your own luggage between train stations and hotels. This will involve climbing stairs and slopes. Light luggage is also better for bullet trains, which often provide little space for luggage larger than a carry-on suitcase.

    Seats of a bullet train
    JR Osaka Station

    For travelers with heavy baggage, it can be difficult to find a particular train or exit during rush hour. But again, Japan’s travel infrastructure is among the most advanced in the world, and railway staff and local people generally try to be helpful to foreigners.

  • Book Early
  • We always advise booking as early as possible when making travel arrangements in Japan, especially when travelling during the peak periods of March-May or October-November.

    losure of tourist sites can occur at short notice on public holidays. Please be advised that many long-distance trains, ferries, and airlines will be fully booked, as well as hotels and guest houses, during the following peak periods:

    New Year holiday season (December 29 to January 3, plus adjacent weekends); “Golden Week” holiday season (April 29 to May 5, and adjacent weekends); “Bon” Festival season (one week around August 15).

11 Days from $4,632p/p (Based on a 2-people private group)

Local guide

Having a private guide and an itinerary allows visitors not only to see as many attractions as possible, but also to learn about them from a local. Guides can also teach travelers about important features of visiting Japan, such as how to navigate public transportation.

Public transportation

Public transport is typically very efficient, safe and clean in Japan. it is also a great way of exploring Japan's cities. Take public transport and to buy a pre-loaded card, such as the SUICA, or ICOCA cards, that can be used for underground metros and buses.

What our clients say about us

My wife and I booked a private tour with Asian Highlights and they arranged a phenomenal vacation for us. Albee Ning was our Travel Agent and she took care of everything for us and did a phenomenal job... It was the perfect vacation and they handled every detail for us from meet and greet services at each airport, baggage handling, private tour guides and drivers at each location, good restaurants, and fantastic hotels throughout... Read more
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