Tales of Samurai and Shoguns. Gleaming bullet trains and tranquil country ryokans. Boisterous Karaoke and the mystical twang of the shamisen. Japan is a land where ancient tradition and modernity blend and blur into an unforgettable and utterly unique cultural experience. Our itinerary begins in the clamor of Tokyo, slips into the serene forest of Hakone in the shadow of Mount Fuji, and culminates in sophisticated, historic Kyoto. Exceptional local guides decode the culture and provide insight into rituals that define life today as they have for a thousand years or more. Along the way, you’ll meet practitioners of the tea ceremony, a sushi master who teaches you his craft, wood artisans, sake brewers and others. We’ll also arrange dining experiences that will treat you to the spectrum of styles for which Japan is known. Our hotels, from 5-star city properties to a mountainside inn overlooking a volcanic lake, are among the very finest Japan has to offer. To broaden your experience, you may also add a pre-trip extension in Tokyo and a post-trip visit to Hiroshima.
We meet in bustling Tokyo (1 night), and begin our Japan tour together side-by-side with a chef to learn the craft of sushi-making. After, we'll take a guided walk in the old town of Asakusa. To finish off the day, you'll engage in a hands-on Taiko drum lesson.
DAYS 2-3 – HAKONE
A vehicle transfer takes us to Hakone, a nature reserve and hot springs area close to Tokyo (2 nights). On foot, we’ll stroll to Hakone Shrine, hidden in the woods. You'll ride the ropeway tram for high mountain views, and enjoy a visit to the Hakone Open Air Museum. Your home here is a classic ryokan (inn) where you’ll have the chance to soak in the open-air bath.
DAYS 4-7 – KYOTO
A brief bullet train ride delivers us to Kyoto (2 nights), the hub of traditional culture and home to 17 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. An array of activities here includes the Arashiyama bamboo forest, the spectacular Golden Pavilion and a calligraphy lesson. You’ll also be invited to participate in and learn about the traditional Japanese tea ceremony. On our last day, we'll walk in the tea farms of Wazuka, and if the season permits, tea picking. Our farewell dinner offers a rare chance to experience the hospitality and entertainment of the geisha.
Starting Point:Tokyo – 10:30 am – Lobby of Conrad Tokyo Hotel
Ending Point:Osaka – – Osaka Kansai Airport
Dates & Prices
The earlier you book, the more choice you’ll have and the lower your price. And you can always change your mind — you won’t be charged to transfer to a different trip before your final payment is due. Talk with one of our travel experts at 800-200-3887.Talk to an expert
Select our “Family Departure” to travel with other families.
Why Choose Classic Journeys
Travel + Leisure has awarded Classic Journeys the #1 World’s Best Tour Operator multiple times and says, "Classic Journeys provides unbeatable access to experiences around the globe." Here’s what that access means for you.
- Experience the world on foot and at eye level. Each day, join your guide on the most cinematic footpaths in the region.
- Exceptional full-time local guides who become your well-connected friend. Our amazing guides are with you throughout each day of the tour, share their lifelong connections as well as engaging anecdotes about the history and culture of the region.
- Small groups that provide you unrivaled access. An average of fewer than 10 guests per departure means we can offer you special access to sites like Stonehenge so you experience the stone circle when it’s closed to the general public, a guided visit to Zion Narrows that other companies cannot arrange because of larger group sizes, and vineyard walks with a count and countess in Tuscany.
- Award-winning hotels are waiting for you at the end of every day. Luxuriate in the finest and most distinctive accommodations in the region you’re exploring, including rainforest lodges, 16th century villas, and award-winning properties that show up on World’s Best and Gold lists.
- Eat like (and with) the locals. Food is a foolproof way into the hearts, homes and history of the places you visit with us. From gourmet picnics to coveted local restaurants, our meals offer you opportunities to explore native food traditions and fine dining.
- Handcrafted itineraries with all activities included. With our long-term friendships, we know our walking tour regions more personally than anyone else. So you get thoughtfully curated itineraries that combine explorations of the villages, organic farms, archeological sites and the people who know them best.
- Sustainable travel that supports the places you’re visiting. We put our local currency into the pockets of the people who live where we travel. It’s your guarantee that you’ll have authentic, up-close experiences on your trip. Best of all, our person-to-person approach helps sustain their ways of life.
We spend years cultivating personal relationships with our hoteliers to provide you thoughtfully selected accommodations that reveal the true character of the region. Here is a sampling of our favorite hotels on this tour.
- Award-winning boutique hotels that provide you unlimited access to the people and places, culture and history you came to experience
- All breakfasts, 3 lunches and 4 dinners
- Full-time experienced guide(s) who are with you throughout the trip, handle behind-the-scenes logistics
- Admissions to sites and other scheduled events as noted in the detailed daily itinerary
- Gratuities for hotels, meals and baggage
- All land transportation during the trip
Above & Beyond Benefits
Privileged Access Events
- One-of-a-kind access to remarkable people, places and activities arranged just for you.