Book Now
Exploring Japan

Best of Japan

Discover everything that this fascinating country has to offer in 17 days. Over the course of this trip, you’ll explore busy neon cities like Tokyo and Osaka, enjoy the breathtaking nature at Hakone National Park with its spectacular views of Mount Fuji and relax in the warm waters of  Japan’s traditional hot springs. You will visit authentic samurai and geisha neighbourhoods perfectly preserved since Sengoku period, adventure through the Japanese Alps, visit Hiroshima and the famous floating Torii gate. You will travel by bullet train, discover the sacred Mount Koya and spend a night in an authentic Buddhist monastery, visit ancient temples, shrines and castles and learn about Japan’s fascinating history with the help of our knowledgeable local guides.

This is truly the journey of a lifetime during which you’ll not only experience Japan’s breathtaking natural scenery and the energy of its vibrant cities, but you’ll also have the chance to immerse yourself in its fascinating culture and rich traditions.

Please remember this is a sample itinerary to inspire you and we are happy to modify it to suit your plans. We can add or remove days, experiences or activities, include additional destinations or remove any that you do not wish to visit on this trip. To start planning your holiday, give us a call on (UK) 020 7112 0019  or email japan@fleewinter.com.

*Notes:

  • All the guided tours listed in this itinerary will be done with public transport, which is tremendously efficient, convenient and economical in Japan. If you prefer to use private transport, please let us know when you enquire and we can arrange it for you at an additional cost.
  • We think that staying at a Ryokan is a great way to fully immerse yourself in traditional Japanese culture, however, if you prefer to stay in western-style accommodation instead (that offers dinner and hot springs) please let us know and we will be happy to arrange it for you. For more information about ryokans, click here.

Your Itinerary

DAY 1 - WELCOME TO TOKYO

You will be met on the arrival hall of the airport by your personal agent who will give you a warm welcome to Japan and will assist you with the included shared transfer to your lovely boutique type Niwa Hotel.

After check in, the rest of the day is at leisure, resting and relaxing after your flight or, if you prefer, you can start exploring this lively city.

DAY 2 - DISCOVER TOKYO WITH A LOCAL

Your local guide will pick you up at your hotel to begin your day exploring Asakusa, Tokyo’s old town where you can soak in the atmosphere of the ancient Edo. You will visit Sensoji, Tokyo’s oldest temple and wander down the legendary shopping street of Nakamise.

Head to the Imperial Palace to visit the lovely Japanese gardens and finish your day in Meiji Shrine, a wonderful shrine dedicated to the deified spirit of Emperor Meiji.

DAY 3 - EXPLORING TOKYO

Day at leisure to explore Tokyo, one of the world’s most cutting-edge capitals! We have some suggestions for you on how to spend your day:

DAY 4 - TRAVEL BY BULLET TRAIN

Today you will travel by bullet train to the lovely city of Kanazawa, on the Sea of Japan coast. Using the included Japan Rail Pass, experience one of the fastest and safest transports in the world. Enjoy the ride!

The rest of the day is at leisure after checking in. We recommend not missing out the delicious seafood specialities of the area!

DAY 5 - JAPANESE GARDENS AND SAMURAIS

You will discover Kanazawa city on your own by foot or by bus with the help of the information pack we will give you.

Visit the famous Kenrokuen garden, one of the top three most beautiful gardens in the county, Kanazawa Castle and the Higashi-chaya old town district and interesting museums including an authentic samurai home!

DAY 6 - SHIRAKAWAGO VILLAGE GUIDED DAY TOUR

Today you will travel to Takayama via the lovely Shirakawa-go with the included bus tickets. This charming rural village was declared a UNESCO world heritage site and it is famous for their traditional the farmhouses’s steep thatched roofs.

Continue your trip to Takayama by bus and check in to your traditional ryokan Antique Inn Sumiyoshi. A delicious Japanese-style dinner is included at your accommodation tonight. Finish your day with a relax soak at the on site hot spring baths of your ryokan.

DAY 7 - LOCAL MARKETS AND SAKE BREWERIES

After having your traditional home made Japanese breakfast at your ryokan this morning and enjoy the day at your leisure. Our personal suggestion for the day to explore this charming town:

Our suggestions for the day:

End the day at your ryokan enjoying the yummy traditional dinner included. They cook a different dinner everyday, so you will get to try different specialities every night!

DAY 8 - KYOTO: ZEN GARDENS, GEISHAS AND ANCIENT TEMPLES

It is time to leave the Japanese Alps to head to Kyoto by train. With 2,000 religious buildings, including 1,600 Buddhist temples and 400 Shinto shrines, as well as palaces, gardens and associated architecture, it is one of the best-preserved cities in Japan and has been awarded UNESCO World Heritage status.

Check-in to the lovely boutique hotel Noku Roxy Hotel (deluxe twin) and spend the rest of the day at leisure.

Our suggested activities:

DAY 9 - EXPLORING KYOTO ON TWO WEELS WITH YOUR LOCAL GUIDE

Start your half day cycling adventure meeting your guide close to the famous Golden Pavilion. You will visit the most famous zen garden in the country and the tranquil Arashiyama including the famous bamboo forest.

Afternoon suggestions:

DAY 10 - NARA & FUSHIMI INARI

Today´s day is self guided (guided option available) to visit the nearby city of Nara with temples and shrines dating from the 8th century when Nara was Japan’s capital. Enjoy your sightseeing  in the company of the lovely and sacred deer which are very friendly and love tourists!

In the afternoon you will visit the spiritual Fushimi Inari, where thousands of red Torii closely-spaced form a tunnel- path which will lead you up the mountain where the main shrine is. A beautiful experience that you will not easily forget.

DAY 11 - OVERNIGHT IN AN AUTHENTIC BUDDHIST MONASTERY

Head south by train (following our detailed instructions) to the sacred and UNESCO World Heritage Site of Mount Koya and explore this beautiful spiritual place with your 2 days Mount Koya Heritage Pass included.

Tonight you will spend the night in a buddhist temple lodging and you will try the local traditional Buddhist cuisine called Shojin Ryori, a vegetarian meal that is not only healthy but delicious!

DAY 12 - BUDDHIST CHANTS & FOOD TOUR IN OSAKA

Early morning you will have the unique opportunity to watch the monks chanting their morning prayers. After this mystical experience enjoy a healthy Ryori breakfast before heading to Osaka by train.

Osaka is well known for its food. This evening, your guide will introduce you to the splendours of Osaka’s casual cuisine, venturing into the epicenter of street food culture in Osaka: Dotonbori. Bon appétit!

DAY 13 - HIROSHIMA, THE CITY OF PEACE

Travel west to Hiroshima by bullet train.

After your check in, start exploring this impressive city on your own: the famous destroyed Atomic Bomb Dome, the Peace Memorial Park, the rebuilt Shukkeien Garden or the Hiroshima Castle are the main highlights.

DAY 14 - MIYAJIMA AND THE TORII FLOATING GATE

Today is at your leisure to finish your Hiroshima visit and head to the wonderful Miyajima Island (guided option available). Reach Miyajima by boat using your included Japan Rail Pass tickets where you will find the majestic the Floating Torii Gate.

Suggested activities in Miyajima Island:

DAY 15 - HAKONE, THE GATEWAY TO THE MT FUJI REGION

Head east by bullet train for your last stop to the beautiful Hakone, well known for the beauty of its nature and the relaxing Japanese hot springs baths. Visit the area by ropeway to Mt. Owakudani for some spectacular views of Mt. Fuji when the weather is fair, down to Lake Ashi for a cruise on a pirate ship replica to Hakone’s old town.

Finish your day with a delicious homemade dinner at your lovely ryokan (Japanese inn), the traditional accommodation that locals have been using since centuries.

DAY 16 - EXPLORING HAKONE

Start your day with your yummy traditional Japanese breakfast and enjoy the day at leisure in Hakone.

You might want to continue sightseeing, visiting the numerous museums of the area or enjoy soaking at your ryokan´s hot spring baths and indulge yourself with this traditional and therapeutical experience.

DAY 17 - SAYONARA!

Start your day having your traditional home made Japanese breakfast at your ryokan. The day is at your leisure before your departure to Narita´s airport to catch your evening flight back home. Safe travels!

What's included?

INCLUDED
  • Meet and greet airport service upon arrival
  • Transfers from airport to hotel on arrival and from your hotel to airport on your departure day
  • Accommodation on B&B basis
  • 14 days Japan Rail Pass tickets
  • All excursions, activities and meals mentioned in the itinerary
  • All entrance fees and transport with service of English speaking guides for excursions/tours
  • Transport as described
  • PASMO subway card charged with 2.500 yen
  • 2 day Mount Koya Heritage Pass
  • Local taxes
  • All trips are ATOL protected or ABTA bonded to ensure you are fully covered
NOT INCLUDED
  • Optional suggested day trips/experiences
  • International flights
Make a booking

Discover everything that this fascinating country has to offer in 17 days. Over the course of this trip, you’ll explore busy neon cities like Tokyo and Osaka, enjoy the breathtaking nature at Hakone National Park with its spectacular views of Mount Fuji and relax in the warm waters of  Japan’s traditional hot springs. You will visit authentic samurai and geisha neighbourhoods perfectly preserved since Sengoku period, adventure through the Japanese Alps, visit Hiroshima and the famous floating Torii gate. You will travel by bullet train, discover the sacred Mount Koya and spend a night in an authentic Buddhist monastery, visit ancient temples, shrines and castles and learn about Japan’s fascinating history with the help of our knowledgeable local guides.

This is truly the journey of a lifetime during which you’ll not only experience Japan’s breathtaking natural scenery and the energy of its vibrant cities, but you’ll also have the chance to immerse yourself in its fascinating culture and rich traditions.

Please remember this is a sample itinerary to inspire you and we are happy to modify it to suit your plans. We can add or remove days, experiences or activities, include additional destinations or remove any that you do not wish to visit on this trip. To start planning your holiday, give us a call on (UK) 020 7112 0019  or email japan@fleewinter.com.

*Notes:

  • All the guided tours listed in this itinerary will be done with public transport, which is tremendously efficient, convenient and economical in Japan. If you prefer to use private transport, please let us know when you enquire and we can arrange it for you at an additional cost.
  • We think that staying at a Ryokan is a great way to fully immerse yourself in traditional Japanese culture, however, if you prefer to stay in western-style accommodation instead (that offers dinner and hot springs) please let us know and we will be happy to arrange it for you. For more information about ryokans, click here.
Tokyo
In the medieval times Tokyo was known as Edo, a small castle town which became Japan´s political center and a few centuries later, Edo grew into one of the world´s most populous cities . Nowadays, Tokyo is one of the world’s most cutting-edge capitals, offering a huge offer of entertainment, dinning, shopping, and culture to visitors.

Tokyo is city of contrasts where you can find the most modern technology, neon-lit landscape and towering skyscrapers but also excellent museums, sprawling parklands, sacred and ancient shrines and temples, and lovingly tended traditional gardens and green spaces in the middle of the city center.

Despite its mania for anime pop culture, fashion, digital trends and discernable consumption, the city embraces an ancient heritage evident in the temples and shrines scattered amongst the vast skyrise.

Almost all travelers to Japan will go through Tokyo and it is definitely worth spending a few nights in this fascinating city. Whilst it is not easy to find boutique hotels in Tokyo, we have put an extra effort into finding the best places to stay for all budgets and tastes.
More
Kyoto
Kyoto was for more than thousand years the imperial capital of Japan and nowadays is known as the cultural city of the country. With 2,000 religious buildings, including 1,600 Buddhist temples and 400 Shinto shrines, as well as palaces, gardens etc it is one of the best-preserved cities in Japan and has been awarded UNESCO World Heritage status.

Go back in time to Japan’s mysterious past where echoes of the court nobility resonate at the Imperial Palace and the search for contemplation in the zen gardens, explore the city’s narrow alleyways where tea houses thrive and kimono-clad geisha hurry from elegant function to function.
More
Hiroshima
Hiroshima is notorious for its destruction when the first Atomic Bomb was dropped over the city during the Second World War which obliterated nearly everything within a two kilometre radius. From this absolute annihilation, Hiroshima emerged, phoenix-like, and become a beacon of hope and peace for the rest of mankind.

Many destroyed monuments of the city’s historical heritage had been reconstructed, such as the Shukkeien Garden and the Hiroshima Castle. The city centre boasts a large recreational area named Peace Memorial Park, reflecting the aspirations of this reborn city. Besides excellent museums, Hiroshima is also the most popular gateway for trips to nearby Miyajima, a nearby island considered to be one of Japan’s most scenic spots.
More
Kanazawa
Kanazawa was an important city during the Edo period and became a town with a great cultural scene rivalling with Kyoto and Edo (Tokyo). Nowadays, the samurai and chaya entertainment districts, have survived in good condition and you can walk in these streets and imagine how life was in the ancient Japan.

The city boasts many historical attractions such as restored residences and districts, as well as modern museums and its great castle. But Kanazawa´s unchallenged main attraction is Kenrokuen, one of Japan’s “three best landscape gardens”, and often considered the most beautiful of them all.
More
Takayama
Full of temples, shrines, festivals, rivers and bridges, this beautiful mountain town Takayama has been called “little Kyoto” and has preserved the ancient atmosphere of the Edo era until now. This area is well known not just for its natural environment and preserved culture but also for its delicious food and sake breweries. Local dishes including Hida beef and Hoba miso are highly recommended. More
Hakone
Hakone is a lovely mountainous town less than hundred miles south of Tokyo on the foothills of Mt Fuji. Traditional inns aka Ryokans and pleasantly relaxing hot springs “Onsen” are the staple attraction in Hakone, with Mt Fuji being its crown jewel. Beautiful Hakone is a natural nature wonderland, part of the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park, and has about everything a vacationer could wish for. A great destination for hiking, with marvellous views at every turn and plenty of hot springs to soothe any aching muscles after a days of exploring. Besides the towering mountains, lakes and views of Mount Fuji, it is also blessed with interesting historical sites, temples and Shinto Shrines. More
Osaka
Osaka is the historical commercial capital of Japan and Japan’s second largest metropolis which has been the economic powerhouse of the Kansai region for centuries.

Nowadays Osaka, is one of Japan’s most vibrant cities, known for its lively people, large aquarium, underground shopping arcade, Universal Studios amusement park… and specially famous for its local spectacular cuisine. Its nickname “Tenka no Daidokoro” (the nation’s kitchen) inspired us to create some foodie tours for you to experience the real taste of Osaka.
More
Shirakawa-go
This picturesque village, famous for its traditional Gassho-zukuri farmhouses, some of which are more than 250 years old. Gassho-zukkuri translates as ‘Praying Hands’, as the farmhouses steep thatched roofs resemble the hands of Buddhist monks pressed together in prayer and are designed to withstand the heavy snows which fall in the region.
Miyajima
Miyajima Island. A small sacred island located in the Island Sea, it has been a holy place of Shintoism since the earliest times.

Here you will find perhaps the most photographed site in Japan: The Floating Torii Gate. Designated as one of Japan’s ‘Most Beautiful Views’, the shrine it belongs to dates back to the 6th century. The harmoniously arranged buildings reveal great artistic and technical skill, and have been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Nikko
Nikko had been a center of Shinto and Buddhist mountain worship for many centuries before Toshogu was built in the 1600s, and Nikko National Park continues to offer scenic, mountainous landscapes, lakes, waterfalls, hot springs, wild monkeys and hiking trails.

More
Kamakura
Kamakura is a beautiful historical town located one hour away from Tokyo by public transport. Home to a collection of beautiful temples, shrines and impressive large buddhist statues.

More
Kawagoe
Kawagoe is a delightful city west of Tokyo, usually called “Little Edo” because it still preserves the atmosphere of the ancient Tokyo (Edo is the old name of the capital).
The old storehouse merchant houses are lined up, and the Toki-no-kane (Bell Tower)
rings to tell the time. Take a stroll through the town in a kimono and
you'll feel as if you've travelled back in time to ancient Edo. In Kawagoe, you can
experience the traditional and pure Japan which you can't see in Tokyo.
More
Mount Fuji
Mount Fuji is one of Japan’s most iconic images, instantly recognisable for its snowcapped symmetric beauty. Still an active volcano to this day, at 3766 meters it is the country’s highest mountain. More

Your adventure starts here!

Do you fancy having a chat about Best of Japan? Personally, it's one of our favourite things to talk about.

Award-winning and fully-protected holidays
Itineraries & Destinations