Chugoku: Japan's secret
- Duration : 19 days
- Locations : Tokyo, Hakone Mt Fuji, Kyoto, Chugoku, Miyajima, Okayama, Osaka
Make the most of this Japan tour itinerary to visit, in addition to the must-see tourist cities, a more preserved, mysterious Japan.
After Tokyo, Mount Fuji and Kyoto, head to the rural Chugoku region.
Japanese countryside, rice fields, beaches, sand dunes, onsens, gardens and the sacred island of Miyajima await you on this tour, which features many traditional lodgings.
3 week itinerary (19 days)
- Departure city/airport : Tokyo (Narita : NRT or Haneda : HND)
- Tokyo (3 nights)
- Hakone-Mount Fuji (1 night)
- Kyoto (3 days including 1 day in Nara)
- Chugoku area (Kyoto - Hiroshima North loop) (7 nights)
- Sacred island of Miyajima (1 night)
- Okayama and Naoshima Island (2 nights)
- Osaka (1 night)
- End Return airport : Osaka (Kansai international airport : KIX)
Please find below the itinerary details.
Tour length : 18 nights / 19 days (+ 1 day at the beginning if you leave from Europe)
Indeed, 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.
- Departure from Europe : January 1st
- Arrival Tokyo (date to be selected in the tour calendar while booking) : January 2nd
- Return flight from Kansai international airport : January 20th
Why this trip to Japan ?
- Welcomed at the airport by our team, you will be taken to your hotel in Tokyo by shuttle bus
- Head to the edge of Mount Fuji for an unforgettable dinner and overnight stay in a ryokan
- Travel by Shinkansen to Kyoto : where you'll stay in traditional Japan Experience house
- Join the Chugoku and its traditional accommodation for 8 days off the beaten track
- An included guided day trip in English will show you the Japanese countryside
- Discover a more touristy Japan with the sacred island of Miyajima
- The artists' island of Naoshima and finally Osaka await you for an unforgettable end to your stay!
- Take advantage of your transport passes : Japan Rail Pass, Hakone Free Pass...
- Recommendations available in your travel diary
- Enjoy unlimited internet access thanks to your pocket Wi-Fi
- If necessary, contact our assistance from 8am to 10pm Japanese time, 7 days a week, in English or Japanese.
- Benefit from the expertise of Japan Experience, European leading travel agency in Japan.
Your trip in detail
Day 1 : Wake up in Tokyo 東京
Arrival at Tokyo airport (Narita or Haneda).
Welcome to Japan! Yokoso 日本へようこそ！
Welcomed out of customs by our airport assistant, who will give you all your travel documents and Pocket WiFi.
Unaccompanied transfer from the airport to Tokyo (see details).
This transfer is done in a shared shuttle or bus, with other guests departing for the same hotel or a hotel close to yours. These transfers depart between 1.5 and 3 hours after your scheduled flight arrival and stops can be made before your hotel.
If you would like a private, non-stop transfer directly after the actual arrival of your flight, feel free to take the "Private Taxi from the Airport" option.
Check-in at Hotel OMO3 Tokyo Akasaka by Hoshino Resorts or same category hotel 3* (rooms available from 15:00).
Day 2 : First steps in the capital
What is there to do in Tokyo on the first day?
We advise you to slowly start visiting Tokyo from its western districts:
- Harajuku: the avant-garde district
- Meiji Jingû, the imperial shrine
- Takeshita-Dori: the most famous street in Japan
- Omotesando: Tokyo's Champs-Élysées
- Shibuya and its unmistakable "crossroads"
One of our many experienced English-speaking guides can also accompany you to visit the classic sights of Tokyo (optional, from 9:00 to 17:00).
Day 3 : The big loop
For this second day of visiting Tokyo, we recommend the following "loop".
Start from Tokyo Central Station, with its original architecture, then go to visit:
- Ginza, Tokyo's chic district
- Tsukiji, the small outdoor food market
- Hamarikyu, the Japanese garden between Tokyo's buildings
- Asakusa, a traditional district and place of pilgrimage, accessible by a cruise on the Sumida River
- Sensô-ji Buddhist temple, one of the oldest in the city
- Tokyo Sky Tree reaching a height of 643m, and its panoramic view of Tokyo at sunset
Enjoy a cruise on the Sumida River between Hamarikyu and Asakusa.
Day 4 : At the heart of the Japanese soul
In the morning, we advise that you have your luggage sent to the hotel in Kyoto (details in your travel diary, check with the hotel reception) and that you travel light for your night in Hakone.
Go to Shinjuku station to activate your Hakone Free Pass and board a train to Hakone Yumoto (1.5 hour journey, details in your travel guide, all inclusive). The train will gradually leave the Japanese megalopolis behind and head deeper into the valleys of the Mount Fuji region. You will arrive in Hakone in the late morning. Reach your Ichinoyu Shinkan ryokan or same category ryokan to drop off your small bag and explore the area.
Be charmed by the beautiful scenery of this spa, Lake Ashi and its view of Mount Fuji (on a clear day!). Not forgetting the volcanic site of Owakudani, accessible by cable car. All transportation (train, bus, cable car, funicular) is included in your package.
If you wish to be accompanied during this day, one of our English-speaking guides can show you all the secrets of the Mount Fuji region (optional).
Come back to the ryokan in the late afternoon as your traditional Japanese dinner awaits you around 18:30, before enjoying a Japanese-style night!
Details below on the night in the ryokan.
Day 5 : The former capital
Traditional Japanese breakfast at the ryokan.
Head to Hakone-Yumoto then Odawara Station to board one of the fastest trains in the world: the Shinkansen!
In 2 hours 30, reach Kyoto.
From noon onwards, you can settle into your traditional Japan Experience house! A Travel Angel will welcome you, show you some unique details and help you to have an unforgettable stay in Kyoto. You will be able to "live the Japanese way" for a few days, with a space much bigger than a hotel room and a kitchen to prepare good Japanese food!
You have 3 days to visit Kyoto.
Start in the afternoon in the historic Gion district near your accommodation :
- Kiyomizu-Dera, the great water temple
- The historical streets of Sannen-zaka & Ninnen-zaka
- Kodai-ji, the maple and bamboo temple of Kyoto
Finish off seeing the sunset in Gion. Meet your guide at 19:00 to start your late stroll around Gion, Kyoto's historic district.
At the end of this 1 hour 30 walk, your guide will be able to advise you on the best places to eat out! Please note that it is strictly forbidden to take photographs in the historic district of Gion.
Day 6 : Gold and Silver Treasures
We recommend the following itinerary for this second day's visit to Kyoto:
- Ryoan-ji Zen Garden
- The Kinkaku-ji (Golden Pavilion)
- Ginkaku-ji (Silver Pavilion)
- The bewitching path of philosophy
- The Nanzen-ji temple
One of our many experienced English-speaking guides can accompany you on a tour of these symbolic sites (optional, from 9:00 to 17:00).
Day 7 : Between temples and deer
For your last day in Kyoto and its surroundings, we recommend taking the 50 minute journey to Nara, which is included in your package.
Visit to Nara, the first permanent capital of Japan in the 8th century.
- The Shinto shrine Kasuga Taisha and its thousands of lanterns
- The Todaiji, its great bronze Buddha and the imposing Nan-Daimon gate
- Kofukuji temple and its beautiful pagoda
Return to Kyoto and stop for sunset at Fushimi Inari, the huge 10,000 torii sanctuary in Kyoto. If you wish to be accompanied on this day, one of our English-speaking guides will unveil all the secrets of Japan's first capital (optional, return trip from Kyoto).
Day 8 : The bridge in the sky
After checking out in your Japan Experience house, leave for Amanohashidate.
A 2 hour 10 train ride will take you to this small town on the Sea of Japan, home to one of the three most beautiful landscapes in Japan: a narrow sandbar almost 4 kilometres long covered with pine trees. It can be crossed on foot or by bicycle. However, we advise you to make the crossing the next morning. After dropping off your belongings in your 3* ryokan, we advise you to take a bus ride (1 hour, not included in your package, details in your travel guide) to the fishing village of Ine, one of the best preserved in Japan.
Return to your ryokan in Amanohashidate at the end of the afternoon for a tasty traditional Japanese dinner (included in your package).
Day 9 : The village of many thermal baths
Breakfast at your accommodation.
In the morning, discover the sandbar that makes this city so famous throughout Japan.
Leave at noon for Kinosaki Onsen (2 hours by train, 1 change, included in your JR Pass). Arrive in this picturesque village, one of the best places in Japan to discover the thermal baths - onsens. In addition to the baths in your ryokan, you can visit one or more of the 7 public onsens in the village, which are free to enter. Wear yukata - traditional Japanese clothing - provided by your ryokan and stroll along the willow-lined canals and traditional shops towards the onsens. All of them offer various baths, some of which are unexpected: a hot bath on the roof of a building, a "penguin" sauna covered in ice, an outdoor bath lined with Japanese maple trees, or another in a cave!
A great way to discover and relax, for all types of travelers: solo, couples, families or friends!
In the evening, at dinner at the ryokan included in your package, discover the city's rich cuisine, in particular the famous Japanese sea crab.
Day 10 : The Japanese desert
Breakfast at your accommodation.
After relaxing once more in one or two onsens in the morning, you will board the train to Tottori (1 hour 50 direct train, included in your JR Pass). The train goes along the steep San-in coast, lined with cliffs and pine trees. Once you get to this small prefecture on the Sea of Japan, take the local bus for a few kilometres to reach the Tottori sakyu dunes, known throughout Japan. The dunes are almost 10 km long and 2 km wide, and the scenery is desert-like. You can even take a camel ride! The sand museum, next to the dunes, contains huge sand sculptures made by artists from all over the world. Around here, you can taste the local specialities of nashi, the Japanese pears, which have a unique taste!
Finally, in the city, we also recommend the Jinpukaku, a vast mansion and park from the beginning of the 20th century. A beautiful symbol of the fusion of Western and Japanese styles characteristic of the Meiji period.
Your 3* hotel near the train station will welcome you for a night in this calm city.
Day 11 : A castle by the water
Breakfast at your accommodation.
Depart for Matsue by train (1.5 hour direct journey, JR, included in your package), on the shores of Lake Shinji. The train follows this coastline, lined on one side with beaches (one of which is called Hawaii...!) and on the other with the slopes of the Daisen volcano, a symbolic site of Japanese spirituality.
Matsue, the capital of Shimane prefecture, is certainly off the beaten path, but there are plenty of reasons to visit:
- The Plover Castle, one of the last 12 feudal castles in Japan to have not been rebuilt. From the top of this picturesque building, the view of the entire region is spectacular.
- Lafcadio Hearn Museum, which traces the life of this naturalised Irishman in the late 19th century, at the very beginning of Japan's move to open up to the outside world. A fascinating visit that takes us back to this amazing era. The museum has undergone recent renovations (including of the digital kind) which make the visit interactive and very pleasant.
- The samurai district with its preserved houses and gardens.
- The Japanese art museum, with its precious treasures, including prints by Hokusai.
In the evening, you can enjoy a beautiful sunset over Lake Shinji (the city is very well oriented for this).
Afterwards, don't hesitate to explore the bars of this lively student city, before going to your 3* hotel in the heart of the city.
Day 12 : Japan's most beautiful garden
Breakfast at your accommodation.
The Matsue area is home to two exceptional gardens: the Yushien Peony Garden and the Adachi Garden Museum, the "Japan's Most Beautiful Garden".
The Yushien Garden, on an island in the middle of Lake Nakaumi, is accessible by bus (25 minutes) from Matsue Station.
The Adachi Garden Museum can be reached after a 20-minute train ride and a 10-minute shuttle bus ride. This museum, created by a businessman and benefactor, brings together numerous works by great Japanese artists of the 20th century, exhibited in a museum that opens onto an exceptional garden. This garden is regularly acclaimed as "Japan's most beautiful garden" by the national and international press.
If these gardens don't tempt you, you can always visit the great Izumo Taisha shrine, considered the second most important in the Shinto religion after that of Ise. A beautiful beach lies next to the huge shrine (1 hour train ride from Matsue, not included in your package).
2nd night in your hotel in Matsue.
Day 13 : The Silver Mountain
Breakfast at your accommodation.
We advise that you leave at dawn for this day full of travel and discovery. We recommend that you contact the reception desk to have your luggage sent the day before to Tsuwano, your next stop. This way you will travel light for this day. Details of luggage shipment in your travel diary.
In 2 hours (direct train included in your offer up to Odashi + 30 minutes bus, 6€, to be paid to the driver). Iwami Ginzan is an old silver mine classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. At its peak in the 17th century, it accounted for up to a third of world production of this metal, at the heart of an industrial area of 250,000 people. The small, unspoilt mining town of Omori welcomes you along a 2 kilometre route. This route allows you to visit the major sites of this era of prosperity: mine shafts, the remnants of a silver refinery, a mine museum and a merchant's residence are all along the way.
In the early afternoon, you will return to the coast with the same bus, before taking the train to Tsuwano (2 hours, included in your package), a picturesque mountain town. Your Noren-Yado Meigetsu 3* ryokan or same category ryokan will be waiting for you for dinner.
Day 14 : Samurai City
Breakfast at your accommodation.
Discover this small town and its inhabitants with Adrien, your local English-speaking guide. The old samurai quarter, castle ruins, a sanctuary overlooking the region, or the church that sheltered the secret Christians of Nagasaki: Adrien will share with you his passion for his town. He will also be able to show you the region, combining wooded hills and small agricultural estates.
In the evening, your ryokan will serve you a traditional dinner.
Day 15 : The Sacred Island
Breakfast at your accommodation.
A short 3-hour trip (2 changes, all-inclusive) awaits you to reach the coast of the Sea of Japan. Although more touristy, this coastline is nonetheless exceptional, as witnessed by the fabulous island of Miyajima. This sacred place of Shintoism, twinned with the Mont St Michel, is accessible from "the mainland" in 15 minutes by boat (included in your offer).
Reach your ryokan near the island's ferry terminal.
Explore the island: its Itsukushima-jinja shrine and its large gate (ootorii) standing in the sea. (Please note: The ootorii is under construction until an unspecified date). Take the cable car up to Mount Misen and then descend on foot. A breathtaking view of Hiroshima Bay is waiting for you!
At night at the ryokan (on or opposite the island), you will be treated to a tasty traditional Japanese dinner before retiring to your tatami room.
Day 16 : Make way for history
Breakfast at your accommodation.
Boat and train ride to Hiroshima (30 min, all inclusive).
Visit the park and the peace memorial, the castle and its park full of cherry trees before tasting one of Hiroshima's specialities: okonomiyaki.
In the early afternoon, head to the feudal city of Okayama, located on a plain on the Sea of Japan, halfway between Hiroshima and Osaka (40min Shinkansen included). Drop off your belongings at your 3* hotel and explore the beautiful Korakuen Garden, one of the 3 most famous gardens in Japan during the Edo period. Okayama Castle is also accessible from the garden.
Day 17 : The Art Island
Breakfast at the hotel.
We advise you to spend the day visiting Naoshima Island, 1 hour from Okayama: 45 minutes by train (1 change - free with Japan Rail Pass) and 15 minutes by boat (Buy on-site, about €4.50/pers A/R).
Naoshima Island is world-famous for its modern art museums, the architecture of some of its buildings, and the scattered outdoor sculptures throughout its territory. These numerous museums and buildings were designed by the architect Ando Tadao. You will be impressed, among other things, by Monet's water lilies, displayed in a simple room where you enter without shoes!
N.B.: access to one of the museums of Naoshima, the Chichu Art Museum, is subject to reservation.
Return to Okayama at the end of the day by the same route as in the morning, in the middle of the Japanese countryside.
If you consider yourself less of an artist and more of a romantic, the city of Kurashiki, less than 20 minutes by JR train from Okayama, will seduce you!
Day 18 : Castle and samurai
Breakfast at the hotel.
On this final day, you will head to Osaka (50 minutes, included in your package). Halfway there, don't hesitate to stop in Himeji, to visit its feudal fortress. This famous castle, certainly the most famous in Japan, is white in colour, earning it the nickname "White Heron Castle". Afterwards, check into the Intergate Osaka Umeda or an same category 3* hotel in the heart of Osaka for your last night in Japan.
Enjoy an unforgettable evening in the gastronomic capital of Japan, especially in the bustling Dotonbori district.
Day 19 : Sayonara, and see you next time!
Direct transfer to Kansai International Airport (included but not accompanied).
Return flight to Europe, North America, Australia.
Do not hesitate to extend your trip by one or more days to Kansai or elsewhere... We will be able to advise you!
- 3 nights in a 3* hotel in the heart of Tokyo, close to public transport
- 1 night in a 3* ryokan in Hakone Mount Fuji, traditional half-board
- 3 nights in a traditional Kyoto house
- 7 nights in Chugoku (4 in ryokan traditional half-board, 3 in 3* hotel)
- 1 night in a 3* ryokan in Miyajima (on or opposite the island), traditional half-board
- 2 nights in a 3* hotel in Okayama, near the train station
- 1 night in a 3* hotel in Osaka
The basic rate includes a twin room for two people.
- Airport transfers
- Prepaid public transport card
- Hakone Free Pass for 2 days
- Japan Rail Pass for 14 days
Experiences and meals
- Airport welcome
- Discounts at many Hakone tourist sites
- Traditional dinner and breakfast in the 6 ryokan of the tour
- Breakfast excluding Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka
- Welcome to Kyoto by a travel angel
- Guided night tour of Gion (1h30)
- Guided day in Tsuwano
Included in your self-guided tour
- Unlimited Wi-Fi access with pocket Wi-Fi
- Complete e-travel diary sent 20 days before your departure
- The helpline is available from 8am to 10pm Japanese time, 7 days a week, in English and Japanese. The number will be given to you in your travel pack. It is valid for telephone calls and Whatsapp.
Not included in the price of your trip
- Flights Europe <> Japan
- Optional insurance policies
- Personal expenses including meals (breakfast optional)
- Public transport when your transport cards have run out (see details)
- Anything not included in the "included in your tour" section
Your tour :
- 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.
- Children and babies accepted. From 3 to 11 years old a child rate is offered. In each accommodation, a standard adult bed will be offered to them, and a standard seat will be allocated to them in transport. From 0 to 2 years old inclusive, a "baby" rate is offered. This price corresponds to the allocation of a cot in the majority of the accommodation of the chosen circuit. However, we cannot guarantee a baby cot in each accommodation.
- This programme is subject to change due to circumstances such as weather conditions or any other case of force majeure. Please note that due to the current circumstances, any information mentioned is subject to change or modification.
- Your travel documents will be given to you as follows:
- Travel diary by email 8 days before departure, and other electronic documents
- Paper documents (airport transfer ticket, transportation card, Japan Rail Pass voucher) and Pocket WiFi upon arrival at the airport by our airport assistant.
- Note: In very rare cases, mostly in very high season, steps might be reversed. You will be informed in your travel diary. Thanks for your kind understanding.
Your accommodation :
- Some hotels may ask you to pay a tourist tax on arrival. This depends on the city and even the hotel, as some do not include it in the booking price. Normally, it is 200¥/night/person (about £1.37/1.93$) but can be slightly higher in 4* hotels. It must be paid in cash at the hotel reception. For traditional Japan Experience accommodations, it is included in the initial tour price.
- Room size: in Japan, a densely populated country where everything is compact, 3-star luxury hotels are of very good quality but the rooms are often quite narrow (12 to 20m2/129 sq ft to 215 sq ft) depending on the hotel. Please note the size of the single room, between 10 and 16m2 (107sq ft and 172 fq ft). For more comfort, you can choose our luxury 4* accommodation upgrade option.
- Double room: Rooms for two people in western hotels have 2 single beds (twin rooms) by default, which can usually be joined together. As an option, you can select a double room instead of a twin if you prefer a double bed. This option is not valid in the Japan Experience house in Kyoto nor in the ryokans (on individual futons).
- Single room: People travelling alone and wishing to book a single room must pay a supplement at the time of booking. The single room supplement is compulsory for orders with an odd number of participants. Please note that if you request more than two people in a single room, the single room supplement will be applied to all accommodation except for the ryokans (3 and 4*). In fact, as this is traditional accommodation, people with the same reservation are grouped together in spacious rooms for up to 5 people.
- 3-person room: If there are 3, 5 or more of you and you do not select the single supplement, a triple room will be allocated to you.
- In the case of a group order (> 5 people), it is possible, depending on hotel availability, that not all members of the group will be accommodated in the same hotel. Nevertheless, we aim to keep you close.
- 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.
- In the ryokan, guests sleep on comfortable futons placed on the tatami mat. The room has a private sink and toilet. As is customary in Japanese ryokan, the onsen bathroom is shared (not mixed) unless you take the "private bathroom in the room" option.
OPTION only valid for Hakone ryokan : Enjoy a private Japanese bathroom (traditional or modern onsen) in your room. This option is recommended for mixed couples, families, people who are modest or have visible tattoos.
- Traditional house in Kyoto: each house has been chosen for its location (transport, shops, temples...) and thus to facilitate your stay. Most of them are either located in the historical district of Gion or on the edge of the Path of Philosophy and the Silver Temple. All lodgings have at least one Japanese tatami room and are equipped with a minimum of 3 beds, either in a single western bed (not double) or on a futon. Do not hesitate to specify in your comments that you want to sleep in a western bed.
Your transport :
- 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 tour departure and end dates presented on this page relate to your stay in Japan. You will arrive in Japan via Tokyo (Narita or Haneda airports) and depart from Kansai airport (KIX, not Itami ITM). On departure, you will have to leave Europe the day before and land at 6:30 p.m. at the most to make the most of the airport services of your circuit (reception and transfer to Tokyo).
The return flight is on the same day due to the time difference, with a departure time of 9am at the earliest. Please do not hesitate to consult us for any uncertainty or need for precision in the choice of international flights.
- If the flights have been purchased by your care without the intervention of Japan Experience, it is necessary to send us by mail 1 month before your departure your flight information (flight number, airport, date and time of arrival) to allow us 'Organize your welcome and airport transfer.
- Airport Transfers: The shared limousine bus leaves from the airport and stops either in front of your hotel or at a stop within 1-15 minutes walk from your hotel. Our airport assistant in Tokyo will drive you to the platform to pick up the airport transfer. The transfer to the hotel is unassisted. If you wish to be accompanied from the airport to your hotel reception, please choose the option "Accompanied Airport Transfer". This transfer is done in a shared shuttle or bus, with other clients leaving for the same hotel or a hotel close to yours. These transfers leave between 1.5 and 3 hours after your flight's scheduled arrival and stops can be made before your hotel. If you would like a private, non-stop transfer directly after the actual arrival of your flight, feel free to take the "Private Taxi from the Airport" option. Please note: due to the many changes in flight schedules by the airlines, if the airline notifies you of a change in arrival time less than 72 hours before your departure, and if it exceeds 45 minutes, we cannot guarantee your airport shuttle. You will then have to take a taxi at your own expense, requesting a refund from your airline for abusive schedule changes. The same applies to your return journey: 72 hours before your return flight, we cannot change the shuttle schedule. Similarly, you will have to take a taxi booked with the hotel, at your own expense, with reimbursement procedures with the airline company being the only solution. Japan Experience is not responsible for last minute schedule changes. On the way back, the shared shuttle bus leaves from your hotel or very close by to take you directly to the Kansai KIX airport in 1 hour 30.
- On the return journey, the Osaka shuttle bus to KIX airport leaves from a stop located 1 to 15 minutes from your hotel
- Included in your tour is a pre-charged transport prepayment card of ¥ 1,500 (around £10.30 / 14.54$) (suica or Pasmo brand); a transport pass for the Tokyo Shinjuku -> Hakone route and all transport in the Hakone region (excluding taxis) and a 14-day Japan Rail Pass. These 3 cards should cover a large part of your trips during the stay. Upon expiry of the 1,500¥ Transport Prepayment Card, or if the line you are travelling on is not covered by your Japan Rail Pass, any travel will be at your own expense by recharging your pre-paid transport card (at vending machines in all stations and metro stations). .
- The Japan Rail Pass is a personal train pass for foreign travellers who wish to visit Japan. This pass allows unlimited travel for 14 consecutive days on all Japan Railways (JR) trains throughout Japan. You will receive a voucher to be exchanged at a JR office when you are welcomed at the airport by our assistant (list of addresses provided in your travel guide). You will be asked to show your passport and fill in a form. During this exchange, you will select the start date of your pass. Once your Pass has been activated, it will be valid for 14 consecutive days from the date chosen. To prevent wasting time when you arrive at the airport, you are requested to exchange your voucher upon arrival in Tokyo City. This is because exchanging it at the airport could delay your airport shuttle. With your Japan Rail Pass in hand, just go to the station, show your pass to the ticket inspector at the entrance gates and board any JR train. Trains in Japan are almost all open seating. If you are worried about not having a seat (on a shinkansen for example), simply go to a ticket office and reserve your seat at no extra charge. The Japan Rail Pass covers all JR and Shinkansen lines in Japan. The following journeys are not covered:
- Travel by metro and bus in the cities (payable by pre-paid transport card, included in your package)
- Transfers from the train station to the hotels (by foot, bus, metro or taxi)
- Travel on private train lines (other than JR)
- Travel on Nozomi and Mizuho high-speed trains (shinkansen)
- Trips made outside the validity period of the Japan Rail Pass
- Japan Rail Pass: It is not necessary to possess a Japan Rail Pass which covers your entire stay. This is only cost-effective if it is used for long journeys between the different stages of your stay (especially in shinkansen) which are very expensive. In large cities like Tokyo, only about ⅓ of public transport is covered by the Japan Rail Pass and getting around is relatively cheap (Tokyo metro tickets: £1.71 / 2.42$; Kyoto daily bus card: £4.28 / 5.97$). Thus, providing you with a Japan Rail Pass for more than 14 days (21) would not be cost-effective and, on the contrary, would significantly increase the cost of your trip.
- 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).
Your activities :
- Airport reception is in English. Your airport assistant will be waiting for you at the customs exit holding a sign with the name of the reservation. They will give you your travel documents and take you to your airport transfer. They will not accompany you to Tokyo (this is possible, but optional).
- The guided tour of Gion takes place in groups of 12 people maximum, from 6:00pm to 7:30/8:00pm. In English. More details on the meeting place in your travel journal. Dinner is not planned but your guide will be able to give you their best spots.
- An English speaking Travel Angel who is a specialist in Japan will be there to welcome you to your traditional house in Kyoto. They will give you the keys, explain how the house and its facilities work, give you a tour of the area (tourist sites, supermarkets, bike rental...) and answer all your questions. They will be available throughout your stay in case of any problems or questions.
- The guided daytime tour of Tsuwano is private and can be given in English.
Your meals :
- Traditional Japanese dinner and Japanese breakfast (mostly savoury) are included in your ryokan. Do not hesitate to indicate any dietary requirements you may have, we will pass them on to the ryokan so that they can take them into account when planning the meals. If the ryokan does not take any of these dietary requirements into account, we cannot be held responsible and no compensation will be issued.
- Breakfasts which are not included in your package can be added at the reception when you arrive at the hotel. However, you will find many cafés near your hotel serving copious breakfasts, often tastier than those in the hotels, which sometimes have tight schedules and are predominantly savoury. However, if you would like to add breakfast to your offer when you make your reservation, you can select it as an option.
- The traditional Japan Experience houses are equipped for cooking and are located close to supermarkets and markets.
Your additional services:
- Telephone assistance is available every day from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. in English.
- A pocket wifi is included in your tour. It allows unlimited high-speed internet access. Your Pocket WiFi will be given to you at the airport of arrival.
- It comes with a small booklet to operate your device (don't panic: simple operation) and a prepaid envelope to return your device at the end of your stay. Your pocket wifi will work naturally until the last day of your trip to Japan.
- A maximum of 5 devices can be connected to a pocket wifi (phone, tablet, computer).
- A single pocket wifi is provided for a circuit order of 1 to 5 people. For an order of 6 people or more, a second pocket wifi will be added automatically and at no extra cost to your reservation.
When you buy, Japan Experience offers you 2 types of protection:
Japan Experience Flex :
Cancellation insurance before departure under conditions.
Japan Experience Protect :
Pre-departure cancellation insurance under conditions and on-site assistance under conditions.
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
- A 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
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