Begin your Japan adventure in dazzling Tokyo, exploring its dizzying array of restaurants, diverse neighbourhoods and sub-cultures, before travelling to volcanic Hakone to take in a dip in its onsen pools and marvel at Mount Fuji. Next, head to the temple town of Kyoto for shrines, monks and temples, before taking a side-trip to the ancient capital of Nara. Spend a day exploring Himeji’s historic castle and then explore the zen gardens and pre-World War Two architecture of Kanazawa. Head into rural Japan at Takayama, where you can enjoy mountain views, quaint inns and traditional teahouses. End your trip back in Tokyo.

Key information

Destinations Destinations Tokyo, Kyoto, Takayama, Hakone, Himeji, Kanazawa
Activity Activity Luxury, Nature & Wildlife, Culture
Physical Level Physical Level Easy
Season Season January - December

Suggested itinerary

Explore Tokyo’s food scene

Explore Tokyo’s food scene

Day 1–3 in Tokyo

Tokyo has more Michelin-starred restaurants than any other city in the world, but it’s not just about famous restaurants and high prices. Tokyo is filled with excellent places to eat, from neighbourhood noodle joints to high-end sushi. Get out and explore.

Don't miss

Waterfalls and wildlife near Tokyo

Waterfalls and wildlife near Tokyo

Explore Nikko’s temples, shrines and waterfalls just a two-hour train ride from Tokyo – a perfect day trip for those will some extra time to spare after seeing Tokyo.

Go onsen dipping in volcanic Hakone

Go onsen dipping in volcanic Hakone

Day 4–5 in Hakone

Hakone is best known for its natural onsen (hot spa pools) and views of Mount Fuji. Dip in one of the pools and soak up the view, before exploring Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park’s mountains, Pacific Islands and volcanoes.

Visit Kyoto’s 2,000 temples

Visit Kyoto’s 2,000 temples

Day 6–7 in Kyoto

Kyoto is home to more than 2,000 atmospheric temples and shrines. Look for robed monks, hear prayer chants and meditate in zen gardens – Kyoto is the place to immerse yourself in Japan’s culture, traditions and religion.

Don't miss

Feed the deer in Nara

Feed the deer in Nara

Once the capital of Japan, Nara is known for its many temples and beautiful gardens that make it a perfect day trip from Kyoto or Osaka. However, it is the town’s resident 1,400 odd deer – seen as messengers from god after the myth of Kasuga Shrine, who came to Nara on the back of a deer – which are Nara’s quirky attraction.

Visit Himeji’s one-of-a-kind castle

Visit Himeji’s one-of-a-kind castle

Day 8 in Himeji

Built in 1580, Himeji-jo has a legitimate claim to be Japan’s most magnificent castle. Its five-storey main keep is surrounded by moats and walls, with an arrow-marked route taking visitors around the castle. Look for the narrow openings where the castle defenders poured boiling oil onto attackers and – less gruesomely – the beautiful views over the city from the top.

Enjoy Kanazawa’s gardens

Enjoy Kanazawa’s gardens

Day 9–10 in Kanazawa

Kanazawa is capital of the Ishikawa Prefecture and was largely undamaged by World War Two air raids, making it a great place to explore Japan’s historical architecture, such as the Nagamachi samurai district. However, its main attraction is Kenrokuen, one of Japan’s most beautiful landscape gardens.

Head for the hills in atmospheric Takayama

Head for the hills in atmospheric Takayama

Day 11–12 in Takayama

Little Takayama in Central Honshu is famous for its taste of rural Japan. Set on Miyagawa River and nestled into the Hida mountains, Takayama is the perfect place to explore traditional Meiji-era inns, teahouses and sake breweries.

Don't miss

Take a cycling tour of Hida Satoyama

Take a cycling tour of Hida Satoyama

The countryside around Hida Satoyama is full of rice fields, mountain springs and cherry blossoms. Join a guided cycle tour to experience the sights of the Hida mountain area.

Return to Tokyo and depart

Return to Tokyo and depart

Day 13–14 in Tokyo

Leave Takayama via an express train to Nagoya, followed by a Shinkansen bullet train east to Tokyo. The total transfer time is around four and a half hours.

Spend your last evening in Japan enjoying Tokyo's vibrant food scene and nightlife.

Where to stay

Classic

Iwaso Ryokan

Located on the small island of Miyajima in the tranquil Seto Inland Sea, Iwaso is a luxury ryokan offering Japanese-style rooms, hot-spring baths and traditional kaiseki-style meals.

Superior

The Gate Hotel Kaminarimon

The Gate Hotel Kaminarimon (also called The Gate Hotel Asakusa Kaminarimon by Hulic) is located in the heart of Tokyo, directly opposite the dramatic Kaminarimon Gate (Thunder Gate) at the entrance of Sensoji Temple - the city’s oldest temple and one of Asakusa’s most famous landmarks.

This modern and sleek hotel, set in a 14-storey former office block, has 136 rooms all of which offer incredible views of either Sensoji Temple or Tokyo Skytree.

Deluxe

Hyatt Regency

The Hyatt Regency Kyoto is a luxury hotel tucked away in the east of Kyoto, in the quiet and green district of Higashiyama Shichijo. This area was once home to the ancient capital’s imperial court, but today it’s a great base for sightseeing.

Décor is contemporary and chic with traditional details, such as antique kimono wall hangings and headboards, as well as the gentle glow from paper lamps.

Book this itinerary

This route booked with one of our specialist tour operators would cost from £4,000pp. Pricing varies by accommodation class, and can be tailored to suit your budget.

Pricing is typically inclusive of hotels, transfers, meals, and all guided excursions and activities.

Learn more

Contact us now and we'll connect you with a specialist tour operator with more information on how to tailor and book this itinerary.

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