Urban and Rural Japan

  • Duration : 21 days
  • Locations : Tokyo, Hakone Mt Fuji, Kyoto, Nara, Koyasan, Osaka, Kobe, Takachiho, Kumamoto, Nagasaki, Hiroshima, Miyajima

This 3 week, comprehensive guided tour will take you on a journey through a Japan of contrasts, both historical and rural.

After Tokyo, Kyoto, Mount Fuji and Koyasan, take a boat trip to discover the Japanese countryside on Kyushu. Finish off with the sacred island of Miyajima.

Small group of 8 people, accompanied by an English-speaking guide and specialist. An unforgettable trip.


3 week itinerary in Japan (21 days) :

  • Tokyo (4 days)
  • Hakone - Mount Fuji (1 day)
  • Kyoto (5 days)
  • Nara (1 day)
  • Sacred valley of Koyasan (1 day)
  • Osaka & Kobe (2 days)
  • Bateau Osaka/Kobe -> Kyushu (1 night)
  • Kyushu (Takachiho, Kumamoto, Nagasaki (4 days)
  • Hiroshima & Miyajima (2 days)
  • Osaka (1 day)

Please find below the itinerary details.

WARNING : The tour departure and end dates presented on this page relate to your stay in Japan. On departure, you will have to leave Europe on the day before. The return flight is on the same day due to the time difference. For further details, refer to "More about your trip".


Why this trip to Japan 

  1. Supervision by a bilingual English-speaking guide, a specialist in Japanese culture 
  2. Almost full package : guide, accommodation, transport and most meals
  3. Small groups of between 9 and 12 people maximum.
  4. A visit to the must-sees on a first trip to Japan, and the little-known Kyushu Island.
  5. 3 and 4* hotels, 4 nights in traditional accommodation (ryokans, temple) and 1 night on a boat
  6. Variety of visits, activities, gastronomy and transport (Shinkansen, mini-bus, boat...)
  7. Three free days in Tokyo, Kyoto and Nagasaki can be organised
  8. 40 years of expertise from Japan Experience, European leading travel agency in Japan

 

Your trip in detail

Itinerary

  • Day 1 : Sunday - Yokoso - Welcome

    Arrival at Tokyo airport (Narita or Haneda). Welcome to Japan! Yokoso 日本へようこそ !
    Reception at the exit of customs by our English-speaking airport assistant.

    Unaccompanied transfer from the airport to Tokyo (see details).

    Accommodation at Hotel Metropolitan Ikebukuro or an equivalent 4* (rooms available from 3:00pm).

    Welcome by the guide at 6:00pm.
    Introduction of the tour by the guide during a welcome dinner.

    Dinner provided by Japan Experience.

  • Day 2 : Monday - Traditional and Modern

    Breakfast at the hotel.

    Departure around 8:30 am, guided tour of Tokyo:
    - Ginza, Tokyo's chic district
    - Tsukiji, the small outdoor food market
    - Hamarikyu, the Japanese garden amongst Tokyo's buildings
    - Asakusa, a traditional district and place of pilgrimage, accessible by cruise on the Sumida River.
    - Sensô-ji Buddhist temple, one of the city's oldest
    - Tokyo Sky Tree and its panoramic view of Tokyo, reaching a height of 643m.

    Meals (lunch, dinner), provided by Japan Experience.

    Transportation for the day on public transport, by boat and on foot (about 8 km in total).

  • Day 3 : Tuesday - The effervescent metropolis

    Breakfast at the hotel.

    Continue to visit Tokyo with your tour guide
    - Visit to Ueno district : The park full of cherry trees and the lotus pond Shinobazu ;
    - The trendy district of Harajuku  ;
    - The imperial Meiji Jingû yemple ;
    - The young and crazy Takeshita-Dori alley ;
    - The Japanese "Champs-Elysées": Ometesando, fashion capital ;
    - Shibuya and its famous “crossing”.

    Meals (lunch, dinner), provided by Japan Experience.

    Day trips by public transport and on foot (about 10 km in total).

  • Day 4 : Wednesday - Free day

    Breakfast at the hotel.

    Free day, which you can spend seeing many other monuments and interesting sites of the capital and its surroundings: your guide will be able to advise you.

    In the capital :
    - Tokyo Museum (Edo Tokyo Museum) ;
    - Shinjuku Gyôen (park) ;
    - Akihabara : electronic and manga district ;
    - Vintage districts of Yanaka and/or Shimokitazawa.

    Around Tokyo, we offer a guided tour of Kamakura (from Kamakura station) and its large bronze Buddha statue (not included in the tour, contact us).

    Please note only breakfast at the hotel is provided by Japan Experience. The other meals, transport and visits are your choice.

  • Day 5 : Thursday - On the road to Mount Fuji

    Breakfast at the hotel.

    Baggage transfer to Kyoto organised by Japan Experience (1 bag per person). Take a small bag for the night in Hakone - Mount Fuji.

    Travel by train and Shinkansen to your hotel in the centre of Hakone - Mount Fuji (around 1 and a half hours).

    Depart by minibus to the heights of Hakone for a breath-taking view of Mount Fuji (If weather conditions allow it)
    - Promenade along the old Tokaido road which linked Tokyo to Kyoto ;
    - Lake Ashi-no-ko and its Japanese portico torii with feet in the water ;
    - The incredible volcanic site of Owakudani (The sight can be inaccessible due to volcanic activity).

    Stay in your ryokan (traditional Japanese hotel).

    Meals (lunch, dinner), provided by Japan Experience.

    Daily trips by train, minibus and on foot (about 2 km in total).

  • Day 6 : Friday - From Mount Fuji to the former capital

    Traditional Japanese breakfast at Ryokan (quite salty).

    Depart on foot and public transport to open air sculpture museum in Hakone.

    At the end of the morning, leave for Kyoto by Shinkansen (2 hours).

    Note, January 30, 2020 : the Hakone Tozan train line leading to the museum has been partially destroyed by the weather events at the end of 2019, and will definitely not be rebuilt. Therefore access to the museum is provided by bus which takes much longer than the train. This is why it was decided that the group will travel to Kyoto earlier, to visit, among other things, the huge Kyoto station before joining the brewery.

    Visit to sake brewery.
    Tasting several kinds of this traditional Japanese alcohol (between 12 and 20 degrees) to celebrate your arrival in the historic Japanese capital.

    Meals (lunch, dinner), provided by Japan Experience.

    Day trips by public transport, ultra-fast Shinkansen train, and on foot (about 5 km).

  • Day 7 : Saturday - Millennium treasures

    Breakfast at the hotel.

    Visit Kyoto by minibus :
    - Ryoan-ji zen garden ;
    - Kinkaku-ji (Gold Pavilion) and Ginkaku-ji (Silver Pavilion), the bewitching path of philosophy ;
    - The charming village of Ohara, in the suburbs of Kyoto : the Sanzen'in green temple and visit the surrounding Japanese countryside (rice field, Japanese vegetable fields: tsukemono, shiso, etc.).

    Meals (lunch, dinner), provided by Japan Experience.

    Day trips by minibus.

  • Day 8 : Sunday - Castle and traditions

    Breakfast at the hotel.

    - Excursion by Shinkansen (50 minutes) to Himeji castle (UNESCO heritage sight) ;
    - Lunch at Himeji and return to Kyoto by Shinkansen ;
    - Visit the fabulous sanctuary of Fushimi Inari to discover an incredible sunset (if weather conditions allow it) ;
    - Evening stroll in the Pontocho district.

    Meals (lunch, dinner), provided by Japan Experience. 

    Day trips by Shinkansen, taxi and on foot (around 7 km in total including ascent and descent of Fushimi Inari).

  • Day 9 : Monday - Free day

    Breakfast at the hotel.

    Free day: enjoy the former capital’s incredible sights at your own pace. Your guide will be able to advise you.

    Please note only breakfast at the hotel is provided by Japan Experience. The other meals, transport and visits are your choice.

  • Day 10 : Tuesday - Country Escape

    Breakfast at the hotel.

    - Depart by minibus for Miho Museum built on the top of a mountain by the architect I. M. Pei. (Famous for his design of the Louvre Pyramid) ;
    - Excursion off the beaten track, in the Kyoto countryside, to discover the fields and tea producer ;
    - Evening walk through the picturesque Sannen-zaka & Ninnen-zaka streets of the Gion district.

    We must draw your attention to the fact that it is strictly forbidden to take photos in the historic district of Gion.

    Meals (lunch, dinner), provided by Japan Experience.

    Daily trips by minibus and by foot in the evening (around 3km).

    On certain dates, not currently defined, the Miho Museum will be temporarily closed to renew their collections.

  • Day 11 : Wednesday - The first capital

    Breakfast at the hotel in Kyoto.

    Baggage transfer to Osaka organised by Japan Experience (1 bag per person). Take a small bag for your two nights in Nara and Koyasan : Train journey to Nara (50 minutes).

    Visit Nara, the first Japanese capital in the 8th century.
    - The Shinto Kasuga Taisha temple and its thousands of lanterns;
    - The Todaiji, its large bronze Buddha and the imposing Nan-Daimon gate;
    - The Kofukuji temple and its lovely pagoda.

    Meals (lunch, dinner) provided by Japan Experience.

    Day trips by train and on foot (about 4 km in total).

  • Day 12 : Thursday - Attack on the Sacred Mount

    Breakfast at the hotel.

    Depart on train and cable car to the sacred mountain of Koya-san (2h30).
    - Visit the sumptuous Kongobuji temple;
    - Visit Danjo-Garan, one of the main religious sites of the village.

    Meals (lunch, dinner) provided by Japan Experience.

    Day trips by train and on foot (about 3 km in total).

    Enjoy a unique experience with a traditional vegan dinner and overnight in a temple with the monks.
    Due to the altitude, the temperature in Koyasan is often lower than other cities visited previously.

  • Day 13 : Friday - the gastronomic capital

    Traditional vegan breakfast served in the temple.
    Depending on availability of the monks, possibility to attend a Buddhist ceremony (availability not guaranteed currently).

    - In the morning, discover the fabulous mystical necropolis of Okunoin.

    - Head to Osaka by train (2 hours), afternoon shopping, and night tour of the city : the lively district of Namba and Dotonbori street.

    Meals (lunch, dinner), provided by Japan Experience.

    Day trips by train and on foot (about 4 km in total).

  • Day 14 : Saturday - Take off

    Breakfast at the hotel. 

    Depart for Kobe, cosmopolitan city :
    - Sannomiya and Kitano districts ;
    - Explore an old sake brewery ;
    - Visit the Hanshin earthquake museum, depending on the time left.

    Board the ferry and cruise overnight to the port of Oita on Kyushu island.

    Meals (lunch, dinner), provided by Japan Experience.

    The Sunflower company reserves the right to move the departure to Osaka, Japan Experience may have to modify the program for the day. The visit to Kobe can be replaced by this city: vintage Shinsekai district (Tsutenkaku tower) and Keitakuen garden. The ferry will arrive in Beppu in this case, the group will visit two of the most famous offshore lighthouses (jigoku) there, before continuing on the normal route (Usuki).

    Day trips by minibus, on foot and ferry. 

  • Day 15 : Sunday - Spiritual et natural 

    Breakfast aboard the ferry

    Route to Usuki : visit to stone Buddha sights.

    Route to the sacred Takachiho sight, mountain village known for its Japanese legends and magnificent ravines.

    Takachiho : 
    Gokase river gorges one of the most beautiful natural sites in Kyushu ;
    - Amanoiwato Jinja Shinto temple, Japan's second most sacred site ;
    - Evening show of sacred dances (divine gestures) Iwato Kagura.

    Meals (lunch, dinner), provided by Japan Experience.

    Day trips by minibus and by foot.

  • Day 16 : Monday - To Aso ! 

    Breakfast at the family-run hotel.

    Before going to Kumamoto, visit the famous Mount Aso on the road. It’s the largest volcano in Japan, and has an unmissable caldera and its volcano museum.

    In Kumamoto, the magnificent Suizen-ji garden.

    Meals (lunch, dinner), provided by Japan Experience.

    Day trips by minibus, public transport and by foot.

  • Day 17 : Tuesday - The Venice of Kyushu 

    Breakfast at the hotel.

    We head to Yanagawa, the Venice of Kyushu.
    Located in the south west of Fukuoka prefecture, the city of Yanagawa is surrounded by hundreds of canals which you can travel by gondola.

    Depart from Yanagawa to Nagasaki via Okawachiyama, birthplace of pottery and ceramics.

    In Nagasaki, discover the Megane Bashi “glasses” bridge.

    Meals (lunch, dinner), provided by Japan Experience.

    Daily trips by ferry, minibus, and on foot. 

  • Day 18 : Wednesday - Free day

    Breakfast at the hotel.

    Free day : enjoy the charms of the old port, gardens, churches and temples at your own pace.
    Your guide will be able to advise you.

    We can offer you tours of the following sights :

    In Nagasaki
    - Glover's garden (former foreign concession) and Oura basilica ;
    - Dejima museum-polder (former Dutch concession) ;
    - The memorial and museum of 26 martyrs ;
    - The Sôfukuji Chinese temple ;
    - The Atomic Bomb Museum.

    Around Nagasaki :
    - Gunkanjima ghost island tour.

    Please note: only breakfast at the hotel is provided by Japan Experience. The other meals, transport and visits are your choice and not organised by Japan Experience.

  • Day 19 : Thursday - A historic city

    Breakfast at the hotel and baggage transfer to Osaka organised by Japan Experience (1 bag per person). Take a small bag for the night in Miyajima.

    In the morning, take the Shinkansen train to Hiroshima  (3 hours) :
    The Peace Memorial Park and its museum (Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum) ;
    The peace monuments (the dome, the memorial to the young Sadako Sasaki, one of the many victims of the radiation).

    Ferry to Miyajima, sacred Shinto island.

    Visit to Itsukushima-jinja sanctuary and its big entrance gate (ootorii)*.

    Meals (lunch, dinner), provided by Japan Experience.

    Daily trips by public transport, by shinkansen, by boat and on foot.

    Please note : the ootorii is under construction until an indefinite date. 

  • Day 20 : Friday - The sacred island

    Breakfast at Ryokan

    Visit to Miyajima : between temples and deer.

    - Folklore museum (Egami house) ;
    Senjôkaku Shinto temple and pagoda ;
    - Shopping street for your final purchases.

    Depart for Osaka : ferry to Miyajimaguchi (Miyajima), train then Shinkansen (2 hours 50 minutes).

    Meals (lunch, dinner), provided by Japan Experience.

    Day trips by public transport, by Shinkansen, by boat and on foot.

  • Day 21 : Saturday - Sayonara - See you next time

    Transfer to Kansai International airport (KIX) from your hotel :
    - By shared taxi for customers taking the direct flight Paris AF291 taking off at 10:30am ;
    - By direct train for customers taking another flight (take off between 8am and 2am the next day).

    The transfer to Itami Airport (ITM) is not provided by Japan Experience.

    Meals not covered by Japan Experience.

    Return flight to Europe.

    Included in your guided tour

  • Accommodation

    - 15 nights in 4* and 3* hotels equivalent

    - 2 nights in a ryokan at Hakone - Mount Fuji (room with private bath and toilet)

    - 1 night in a Buddhist temple at Koyasan

    - 1 night in a traditional boarding house in Takachiho

    - 1 night on the Sunflower ferry

    The basic rate includes a twin room for two people.

  • Transport

    Transfer airport <> Tokyo

    - Prepaid public transport card

    Japan Rail Pass for 21 days

    - Other transport during your stay, except on free days

    - Luggage transfer (see details of the stages)

  • Experiences and meals

    - Guidance from an English-speaking specialist on Japan

    - Tours and activities mentioned in the programme

    Almost full package : all meals (except free days and half of the dinners during the stay)

  • Additional services

    - Unlimited Wi-Fi access, except on free days

    - Power adapter for Japanese plugs (not for UK plugs)

    - Complete travel diary sent 20 days before your departure

    - An informative meeting 1 to 2 months before your departure, in our agency or at a distance

    - 24/7 telephone assistance in English; in addition to the guide's assistance during the day

  • Not included in the price of your trip

    - Flights Europe <> Japan

    - Optional insurance policies

    - Personal expenses (including 5 dinners at your leisure and expenses for the two free days)

    - Drinks with meals (except water and sometimes tea)

    - Anything not included in the "included in your tour" section

More about your trip

Your tour :

  • The tour guide can modify the programme according to the day's constraints.
  • The prices displayed on this page may vary according to the exchange rate of the Japanese ¥.
  • Unfortunately, this tour is not accessible to people with reduced mobility.
  • Pets are not allowed
  • Your travel documents will be given to you as follows: 
  1. Travel diary given during the information meeting 1 month before your departure. If you cannot make it to this meeting, it will be sent to your home 2 weeks before departure. 
  2. The e-travel diary, as well as your e-documents of travel will be sent to you by email 3 weeks before departure.
  3. The airport transfer tickets will be given to you by our airport assistant on your arrival. 
  4. The other physical documents necessary for the trip will be given to you by your tour leader when you meet at 6PM in your hotel on the first day.
  • This programme is subject to change due to circumstances such as weather conditions or any other case of force majeure. The order of visits may also be modified. Please note that due to the current circumstances, any information mentioned is subject to change or modification.

Your accommodation :

  • Double room : Rooms for two people in western hotels have 2 single beds (twin rooms) by default, which can usually be joined together.
  • Single room : People travelling alone and wishing to book a single room must pay a supplement at the time of booking. This supplement can be waived, on request, if a twin room is shared with another participant. The single room supplement is compulsory for orders with an odd number of participants. Please note the size of the single room, between 15 and 20m2(161sq ft to 215sq ft). 
  • Traditional accommodation : in the ryokan at Hakone Mount Fuji, the room has a private bathroom (Western or Japanese) and toilet. At the same time, access to the ryokan's non-mixed collective Japanese baths ("onsen") is free, subject to the schedules in force on site. These baths are often not accessible to people with visible tattoos.
  • In the Buddhist temple at Koyasan, the rooms have a private washbasin and toilet. The non-mixed collective Japanese baths ("onsen") then serve as a shared bathroom, with showers and thermal baths. They are freely accessible, subject to the schedules in force on site. These baths are often not accessible to people with visible tattoos.
  • On the Sunflower ferry, the standard class cabins have a washbasin. There is a single communal toilet and bath on the upper deck.
    Rooms do not have windows.
  • Names of the hotels : The names given on the site are for information only. In the event of unavailability, an establishment of equivalent standing will be scheduled. Hotels, corresponding to local standards, are given as an indication and may be changed on site for hotels of a similar category.
  • Due to the very low number of hotel temples 4* in Koyasan, there is a possibility, depending on availability, that you will be accommodated in a 2/3* temple of equivalent comfort.

Your transports :

  • Flights are not included in this tour. Do not hesitate to contact us if you would like to include flights in your order: Flights in economy class with stopovers or direct flights, eco-premium or business air upgrades, provincial departures or abroad: we will be able to advise you.
  • The departure and end dates shown on this page are for your stay in Japan. You will arrive in Japan via Tokyo (Narita or Haneda airports) and will depart from Osaka (Kansai international airport KIX, not Itami ITM or Kobe). You will have to leave Europe the day before and land at 2:30pm at the latest to be present at your hotel at 6:00pm to meet your tour guide. However, the return flight is on the same day due to the time difference. Please do not hesitate to consult us for any uncertainty or need for precision in the choice of international flights.
  • Airport transfers: The shared shuttle bus leaves from the airport and stops either in front of your hotel or at a stop located between 1 and 15 min walk from your hotel. Our airport assistant in Tokyo will drive you to the platform to take the airport transfer. Afterwards, this hotel transfer is unassisted. If you would like to be accompanied from the airport to your hotel reception please choose the option "Accompanied Airport Transfer".
  • If a person taking part in the tour is a Japanese national and a resident of Japan, or a foreigner with tax residence in Japan (including a student), then that person is not eligible for the Japan Rail Pass. Please contact us to get the price of the tour without a Japan Rail Pass. They will have to buy the train tickets for the tour directly in Japan. The Kansai Thru Pass is also subject to the same nationality/residency requirements. This is not the case for the Hakone Free pass. If this person is a Japanese citizen but not a resident of Japan, then he/she can benefit from the Japan Rail Pass under certain conditions (see https://www.japan-experience.com/frequently-asked-questions).
  • The public transport prepayment card must be returned to the guide at the end of your stay, except in the case of an individual post-extension organized by Japan Experience.

Frequently asked questions

Our commitments as Japan Experience, Europe No. 1 travel in Japan

  • The guarantee of the first tour operator specialised exclusively in Japan for 40 years
  • A wide range of products to let you Experience Japan from the inside
  • Competitive prices thanks to a single team in UK, Europe, USA and Japan, with no intermediaries
  • Assistance available in Japan throughout your trip
  • specialised team is available 7 days a week by phone or email
  • The best advice thanks to the 3,500 articles available on our website

Urban and Rural Japan

From
5 990,00 € per person - 3 weeks

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