This itinerary is designed with special focus in natural areas for those who want to explore further Japan’s most famous natural paradises but at the same time do not want to miss out the cultural legacy of Japan and its main highlights. It includes part of the Japanese Alps, which are known for their wild beauty, mystical forests, pristine clear river waters, and charming traditional Japanese villages.
Starting in Tokyo, this journey will take you from the bustle and buzz of Japan’s lively and vibrant cities, to the mountainous Hida region of Takayama and Shirakawa-go.
Over a period of 12 days, you will visit charming temples, colourful shrines, zen gardens, and geishas and samurai districts, while learning about the history of some of Japan’s most well-known castles. The trip includes a stay in an authentic traditional Japanese ryokan, and ends with a relaxing visit to Hakone National Park’s hot springs, where you can drift away and reflect on your Japanese adventure.
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 email@example.com.
- 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.
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 artistic hotel Park Hotel.
After check in, the rest of the day is at your leisure, resting and relaxing after your flight or, if you prefer, you can already start exploring this lively city.Accommodation
Day 2 - DISCOVER TOKYO WITH A LOCAL
Your private guide will pick you up at your hotel to show you the highlights of the city. Visit Asakusa, Tokyo’s old town where you can still feel the atmosphere of the ancient Edo, Sensoji, Tokyo’s oldest temple, the Imperial Palace gardens and Meiji Shrine, a wonderful shrine dedicated to the deified spirit of Emperor Meiji.
- Dining suggestion: Casual local food tour
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 - FROM THE CITY TO THE MOUNTAINS
Enjoy one of the most scenic train journeys in Japan, winding your way through tall mountains and stunning gorges, green valleys and beautiful rivers.
Check in to your luxurious ryokan Hanaougi, an authentic Japanese style accommodation with hot spring baths where you will have included a yummy handmade Japanese dinner tonight and breakfast. Enjoy!
Afternoon suggested activities:
- Sake brewery visit and Japanese tapas cooking class (tour available only in winter)
Day 5 - LOCAL MARKETS AND SAKE BREWERIES
Today the day is at your leisure. You can start your day visiting the local morning markets which are right next to your ryokan. After that, our personal suggestion for the day to explore this charming town:
Your Japanese dinner tonight and tomorrow’s breakfast at your ryokan is included.
Day 6 - SHIRAKAWAGO VILLAGE & SAMURAIS
On your way to Kanazawa by bus you will stop in the lovely rural village of Shirakawago which was declared a UNESCO world heritage site. It is famous for their traditional the farmhouses’s steep thatched roofs and beautiful mountain scenery. Enjoy its authentic and beautiful countryside atmosphere.
The rest of the day is at leisure after you check in to Sainoniwa Hotel, a stylish hotel with a nice charming traditional ambiance, hot spring baths and three beautiful Japanese gardens. (guided option available)Accommodation
Day 8 - NARROW ALLEYS AND GEISHAS
Head to Kyoto by train using your included Japan Rail Pass train tickets. 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 Mitsui Garden Sijo and spend the rest of the day at leisure.
Suggested afternoon activity:Accommodation
Day 9 - DISCOVER KYOTO WITH A LOCAL
Your private guide will pick you up at your hotel to discover some of the best historical places of this fantastic city! You will visit first the Golden Pavilion, one of the most famous temples in Japan, the ancient Nijo Castle and finish your day in Nishiki Market, a narrow street full of food shops, fresh seafood and vegetables, sweets, sushi and much more!
Suggested afternoon activities:
Day 11 - HAKONE, THE GATEWAY TO THE MT FUJI REGION
Travel south east to Hakone, a breathtaking region well known for the beauty of its nature and the relaxing Japanese hot springs baths. Explore this amazing area by ropeway, cablecars, buses and even a pirate ship for a cruise ship across the volcanic Lake Ashi with views of Mt Fuji.
Finish your day with a tasty homemade dinner at Susukinohara ryokan, a high end and stylish ryokan, where you will spend your night today. Before sleeping enjoy a soak in your own outdoors private hot spring bath.Accommodation
- 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
- All excursions, activities and meals mentioned in the itinerary
- All entrance fees with service of English speaking guides for excursions
- Transport as described
- A PASMO subway card recharged with 2500 JPY
- Local taxes
- All trips are ATOL protected or ABTA bonded to ensure you are fully covered
- Optional suggested day trips/experiences
- International flights