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Tokyo to Takayama - 13 days
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Mixed Groups,Japan Cherry Blossom | Age range: 18-70

13 Days / 12 Nights Trip to Japan

Tokyo to Takayama - 13 days

Welcome to a country that fuses the ultra-modern and traditional with ease, a nation that blends the elegance of kimonos and the speed of bullet trains with verve.
Japan will surprise, amaze, delight and completely captivate you, from modern metropolis Tokyo, to imperial Kyoto, quiet bamboo forests to the iconic Mt. Fuji and amazing cherry blossom.  But no matter where you go, it’s the little experiences - a bowl of spicy ramen,fortune-telling at a Shinto shrine, the shade of a pale-pink kimono, the whimsicality of a robot cafe - that will make your time here truly captivating.
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  • Duration
    13 Days
  • Starting From
    Twin sharing
  • Travel Operator
    On The Go Tours
  • Flights
    Not Included
    Flight booking assistance will be provided.

Trip highlights

Cherry Blossom season: a once-in-a-lifetime experience
Highlight #1
Cherry Blossom season: a once-in-a-lifetime experience
This world-famous spectacle is ONLY seen in March-April. See Kyoto, Tokyo + Osaka covered with Cherry Blossom trees, and enjoy all the celebrations with locals!
Stay in a ryokan
Highlight #2
Stay in a ryokan
When in Japan, live like the Japanese do. In a traditional ryokan, wear a traditional robe, relax with a cup of tea, and sleep on a futon.
Lake Kawaguchi: an incredible view of Mt. Fuji
Highlight #3
Lake Kawaguchi: an incredible view of Mt. Fuji
From the shores, look across at Fuji-san, majestic and iconic, reflected perfectly in the still waters of the lake.
Be astonished by Tokyo
Highlight #4
Be astonished by Tokyo
Explore a modern metropolis of skyscrapers and bullet trains, small ramen stalls and robot bars, and get a first-hand glimpse of life in the capital.
Take part in an elegant tea ceremony
Highlight #5
Take part in an elegant tea ceremony
Could there be anything more quintessentially Japanese?

There’s simply no place like Japan (Cherry Blossom Special)

Futuristic cities, quiet bamboo forests, kimonos, sushi, Mt. Fuji and more will guarantee you an unforgettable time. Take a look at this video by Media Hog Productions for a glimpse of what’s in store.

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Saturday. Welcome to Japan! You will be met at either Narita or Haneda International Airport in Tokyo by your guide. Travel by train into the heart of the city and check into your hotel. The rest of the day is free to relax or explore the capital.

Toyko - Senjoji Temple district, Harajuki & Shibuya

This morning we take the subway to Asakusa, a lively district of Tokyo which is famous for its historic Sensoji Buddhist temple. After visiting the temple we'll have time to explore the area which has an abundance of interesting souvenir and craft stalls. This afternoon we head to Harajuku, which is a mecca for young and fashionable Tokyoites who flock to the trendy shops and cafes on Takeshita Street. Here we’ll visit the revered Meiji Shrine where the emperor Meiji and his wife are enshrined. 

Our last stop of the day is the famed Shibuya crossing - regarded as one of the busiest pedestrian crossings in the world. 'The Scramble' as it's known is an amazing spectacle as people come from all directions at once – sometimes over a thousand with every light change – yet still manage to duck and weave without causing collision. Here we’ll grab a coffee and perch ourselves on a barstool at Starbucks to watch the spectacle. This evening offers free time though if travelling in January, May and September you might like spend the evening watching a Sumo tournament (bookings must be made in advance). See our Trip Notes for more info.

Kamakura - Big Buddha

Tokyo - Kamakura - Tokyo. Today we head out of the city to Kamakura, Japan’s first feudal capital, which is just an hour from Tokyo. Here we’ll visit the iconic bronze Big Buddha and the Zen Temple of Hokokuji with its towering bamboo garden where you can drink tea and learn about the tea ceremony before walking the cobbled pedestrian alleys - adorned with locally made items and returning to Japan’s bustling capital for the night.

Tokyo Edo Museum

Today offers a guided tour of the Tokyo Edo Museum which focuses on the lifestyle and culture experienced by Tokyoites over the city’s 400-year history. The museum houses some of the city’s best original artefacts and replicas of Edo-era buildings and landmarks, along with several large-scale models. The remainder of the day offers free time.

Mt Fuji & Lake Kawaguchi

Tokyo - Lake Kawaguchi. This morning we travel by highway bus to Lake Kawaguchi, located at the foot of Mt Fuji in the Fuji Hakone Izu National Park. The scenery is stunning with panoramic views of a snow-capped Fuji most of the year. Upon arrival we’ll travel along the Kachikachi-yama Ropeway and visit the observatory. For tours staying at Lake Kawaguchi between 15 Apr – 28 May each year we’ll visit the Springtime Fuji Shibazakura (Phlox Moss) Festival, held at Motosu Lake, where the landscape is covered in a vibrant, hot pink moss with Fuji as the backdrop. Tonight you'll bed down in a traditional Japanese Inn (ryokan). At the ryokan, we'll be served a traditional Japanese dinner and you can take a relaxing dip in the natural hot spring baths. 

Note: As of June 2019 the Hakone Ropeway has been temporarily suspended – please see the Trip Notes for further details.

Kyoto - 1000 statues of Kannon & the Geisha District

Lake Kawaguchi – Kyoto. The area has some great hiking trails and early this morning you might like to opt for a hike along the foreshores of the lake. Travel by bus to Mishima, then bullet train to Kyoto - Japan’s ancient and cultural capital. 

As one of the most culturally rich cities in Asia, Kyoto is home to an abundance of UNESCO World Heritage sites, Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines. Here we enjoy a guided tour of Sanjusagen-do Temple famous for its statues of Kannon, the goddess of mercy. The one thousand life-size statues of Kannon are made of Japanese cypress clad in gold leaf. They stand in 10 rows of 50, each hand crafted and slightly different from the next. Late afternoon we head to Gion, for a walking tour of this famous Geisha district. After you may wish to watch a cultural performance at Gion Corner Theatre where you'll have the opportunity to watch a Maiko (apprentice Geisha) performing. 

Kyoto - Nijo Castle, Golden Pavilion & free time

Today we tour Nijo Castle, one of the city’s most impressive UNESCO sites. Built by the first Tokugawa shogun in 1603, the exquisite Nijo Castle is a wonderful example of Momoyama architecture. After we visit the stunning Zen Buddhist temple of Kinkakuji (or commonly referred as the Golden Pavilion) which forms part of the Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto World Heritage Site. Nearly completely covered in gold, the shimmering temple sits beside a small lake that reflects it beauty in the calm waters. 

This afternoon offers free time for you to relax or to further discover the many sights of Kyoto your own way. Consider visiting iconic Fushimi Inari Shrine, famous for its winding path lined by thousands of red torii gates. Just a short train ride away from the main Kyoto station, this must-see sight is free to visit and is open 24 hours a day. You might also wish to hire a Kimono and walk the streets as many Japanese do or take part in a cooking lesson.

Himeji Castle & Hiroshima

Kyoto - Himeji - Hiroshima. This morning we take the bullet train to Himeji to visit the impressive UNESCO Listed Himeji Castle, perched high on a hill top. The castle is known as the White Egret due to its white walls and elegant shape and it has impressive maze-like defences. After taking in the panoramic views from the top of its 6 story watch tower we take another bullet train to Hiroshima. 

If you like baseball consider booking tickets to watch the Carp play. The Carp, Hiroshima beloved professional baseball play games at home between May - Oct at Mazda Stadium.

Miyajima Island - Floating Torii Gate

A local train and ferry takes us to the island of Miyajima today, which is famous for its iconic ‘floating’ Torii Gate at the revered Itsukushima-jinja Shrine. The iconic gate seems to float on the water but at low tide can reached by foot. It stands 16 metres high and is made from camphor wood. Miyajima is a beautiful island with UNESCO Listed primeval forests and inquisitive, tame deer. As we explore the island we'll see further Shinto shrines, pretty pagodas and pavilions before taking in the magical views offered from our cable car ride to the top of Mount Misen. Free time is offered before we return to Hiroshima for the night. Tonight, we'll make a reservation for Okonomiyaki - a mix between a savoury pancake and omelette a local speciality of Hiroshima. Okonomiyaki is always a fun night, its inexpensive and is washed down perfectly with a Asahi beer. 

Note: From June 2019 the floating Torii Gate is undergoing renovations – please see the Trip Notes for further details. 

Hiroshima Peace Park, Museum & Children's Memorial

Hiroshima - Takayama. Hiroshima is a city that needs little introduction, it is of course infamous for being the first site where one of two atomic bombs were dropped on Japan at the end of World War II. This morning we visit Peace Park and Peace Park Museum which are a moving reminder of Hiroshima’s tragic past. We’ll see the iconic A-Bomb Dome one of the very few buildings left standing after the blast and visit the and Children's Peace Monument a memorial to the children killed, where schools from around the world donate paper origami cranes, signifying hope and peace. 

This afternoon we take the bullet train to Nagoya, followed by another scenic train journey up the mountains to Takayama.


Takayama is delightful town in the heart of the Hida Mountains. Established in the 16th century as the castle town of the Kanamori family, Takayama is now famous throughout Japan for its beautifully preserved old-quarter, which has a series of streets lined with Edo style wooden buildings. The town also has many shrines and temples, giving rise to the title of ‘Little Kyoto’. This morning we explore Takayama’s old quarter, where you can wander around the shops and market which sell everything from vegetables and pickles to craft, ceramics and tools. After there's a visit a sake distillery to sample the town’s famous and potent sake. 

This afternoon you can opt to see the fascinating Hida folk village where more than 30 houses from across the Hida region have been rebuilt on a hillside overlooking the town. Alternatively, enjoy free time in Takayama independently exploring. For dinner tonight we recommend sampling Takayama’s delicious Hida beef at one of the many restaurants or Beef Burger cafes.

Higashiyama walk

Takayama – Tokyo. This morning we embark on the scenic Higashiyama walk (the Eastern Mountain Walk) which takes in a number of temples set into the hillside and offers wonderful views over the city. Later we take the train back down the mountains to Nagoya to catch the bullet train to Tokyo.


Thursday. Our tour comes to an end today. Travel (unescorted) back to Narita International Airport on board the Narita Express train.


 7 breakfasts and 1 Japanese dinner at the Lake Kawaguchi ryokan

 Guided sightseeing and walking tours in Tokyo, Kamakura, Lake Kawaguchi, Kyoto, Himeji, Hiroshima, Miyajima Island, Takayama

 Ferry to Miyajima Island and cable car to the top of Mt Misen

 Airport arrival transfer - by train from Narita or Haneda International Airport

 All transportation and transfers - buses, trains and rail passes (including Suica swipe Card and Japan Rail Pass)

 Maximum Group size: 16 persons

 12 nights 3 star accommodation (including 1 night at a traditional ryokan (Japanese inn)

 Lake Kawaguchi & Mt Fuji - Kachikachi-yama Ropeway and observatory. For tours staying at Lake Kawaguchi between 14 Apr – 28 May each year we'll visit to the Fuji Shibazakura (Moss Phlox) Festival with Mt Fuji in the distance

 Escorted by a licensed English speaking Japanese tour guide

 Departure transfer - by train to Narita or Haneda International Airport (unescorted)

 Baggage forwarding service from Tokyo to Kyoto (one bag per person)

Not Included

 International flights, visa, laundry, drinks, items of a personal nature

 If you are opting to pay the single supplement, allowing you the privacy of your own room on this tour, a single room will be provided for all nights with the exception of day 5 (our overnight stay at Lake Kawaguchi), where single rooms are not available. For this night you will be matched up with a fellow tour member of the same sex.

 Tip for your tour guide. We recommend you allow USD$3 - 5 per day, per traveller. Tipping your guide is an entirely personal gesture

 Entrance Fees: USD$50-60pp, paid in local currency.

 Additional 5% GST

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This Trip Is Operated By On The Go Tours

On The Go Tours is an award-winning travel operator for group tours and tailor-made holidays. From Egypt to Ecuador, Myanmar to Madagascar, they aim to help travelers unlock the finest sights and experiences the world has to offer. Whether you’re after culture, adventure, or just want to kick back and relax, their local guides get you to the heart of your destination and deliver truly authentic experiences.

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