Secrets of Japan
Secrets of Japan
Secrets of Japan
Secrets of Japan
Secrets of Japan
Secrets of Japan
Secrets of Japan
Secrets of Japan
Secrets of Japan
Secrets of Japan
Secrets of Japan
Secrets of Japan
Secrets of Japan

Secrets of Japan

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Sale price

Small Group Journey by Rail (min 4 / max 16 passengers)
English speaking local guides
14 Days ex Tokyo
Departs Sundays
2024 Departure Dates (Departs Sundays)
Mar 03, 24, 31; Apr 07, 14; May 12; Jun 16; Sep 01, 29; Oct 06, 20; Nov 03, 17
2025 Departure Dates (Departs Sundays)
Mar 02, 23, 30; Apr 06, 20

Embark on a captivating journey through Japan by rail, a meticulously curated adventure blending the modern with the traditional. Experience iconic destinations such as Tokyo, where the bustling metropolis meets ancient temples, and Hakone, where serene landscapes unfold against the backdrop of Mount Fuji. As the journey unfolds, explore the cultural richness of Takayama, savour the culinary delights of Osaka, reflect on Hiroshima's poignant history, and bask in the timeless beauty of Kyoto. This comprehensive exploration offers a seamless fusion of Japan's diverse landscapes, historical treasures, and contemporary marvels, all while travelling comfortably by rail.


  • Discover Asakusa Temple, Tokyo’s oldest and most revered temple
  • Stroll along Kappabashi Dori with its endless supply of specialist stores
  • Lose yourself in the abundance of fabric stores in Tokyo's Nippori Fabric Town where you will find everything from traditional silks to modern print cotton fabric
  • Wander through Yanaka Old Town and take in the ‘shitamachi‘ or ‘downtown’ character of the area, a stark difference to the modernity of Tokyo
  • Stay in a ryokan, a traditional Japanese Hotel in the beautiful mountain town of Hakone, on the doorstep of Mt Fuji
  • Take a short boat cruise on Lake Ashi
  • Wander along Kami Sannomachi Street in ancient Takayama, to view the beautifully preserved traditional wooden houses dating back to the Edo period
  • Embark on a walking tour of Osaka’s iconic Dontonbori area
  • Visit the Peace Memorial Museum in Hiroshima
  • Taste a traditional okonomiyaki pancake
  • Visit Kenninji Temple, Kyoto’s oldest Zen temple
  • Learn the art and philosophy of serving tea at a traditional tea ceremony in Kyoto
  • Farewell dinner, where you will be entertained by a genuine Maiko (apprentice Geisha)

Day 1: Tokyo 

Upon arrival at Narita or Haneda Airport, you will be met by an English-speaking assistant at the arrival lobby. A shared shuttle bus will transfer you to your hotel where accommodation has been reserved for three nights. The remainder of the day is free at leisure to explore Tokyo independently. Overnight in Tokyo.

Day 2: Tokyo (B) 

Spend the morning discovering Tokyo on a walking tour. Visit the city’s most famous Shinto shrine – Meiji Jingu. Walk to nearby Harajuku which showcases the Cosplay (costume play) subculture. Take the train to Shibuya and see the iconic pedestrian crossing in front of Shibuya train station. Sample some delicious food as you wander through the Tokyu Food Hall where there is free time to explore.

Day 3: Tokyo (B)

Discover the oldest and most revered temple in Tokyo, Asakusa Temple. Stroll along Kappabashi Dori to see the endless array of specialised stores. Visit Yanaka Cemetery, one of Tokyo’s most famous graveyards which feels more like a park than a cemetery. Wander through Yanaka Old Town where the older buildings are re-purposed.

Day 4: Tokyo – Hakone (BD)

Take the train to Hakone. Experience a short boat cruise on peaceful Lake Ashi and ride the ropeway for majestic views of Mt Fuji. This evening, dinner is included with some free time to soak in the onsen at your traditional Japanese hotel. Overnight Hakone.

Day 5: Hakone – Takayama (BL) 

Travel by train to Takayama. Visit a historic, former government building, Takayama Jinya. Discover the beautifully preserved wooden houses as you wander along Kami Sannomachi Street. Stay the next two nights in Takayama.

Day 6: Takayama (B)

Today is a free day without a guide. It's a great opportunity to relax and take it easy. However, for those who wish to explore, we suggest visiting Festival Floats Exhibition Hall, home to colourful floats which come out bi-annually during two of Japan’s most famous festivals. Later, maybe spend a leisurely afternoon or visit the serine area of Hidano- Sato.

Day 7: Takayama – Osaka (B)   

From Takayama, travel by train to vibrant Osaka. Drop your bags at the hotel, take a walking tour. of the Dotonbori area known for its bright neon, street food and shopping. Stay two nights in Osaka.

Day 8: Osaka (B) 

Head to Umeda Sky Garden with views of Osaka before walking through Kuromon Ichiba Market, also known as “Osaka’s Kitchen.” In the afternoon, explore the city at your own pace.

Day 9: Osaka - Hiroshima (B) 

Travel by train to Hiroshima and visit the Peace Memorial Museum, dedicated to the events of 1945 before seeing the sobering cenotaph of the Hiroshima bomb at Peace Memorial Park. Stay two nights in Hiroshima

Day 10: Hiroshima (B)  

Venture by ferry to peaceful Miyajima Island, home to Itsukushima Shrine. Hike or travel by ropeway to the summit of Mt Misen for spectacular views. Enjoy a traditional okonomiyaki pancake before returning by ferry to the mainland. Spend the evening at leisure.

Day 11: Hiroshima - Kyoto (B) 

Travel by train to Himeji famous for its imposing hilltop castle before continuing to Kyoto. Take an evening walking tour along Ponto-cho and Hanami-koji Lane in the Gion district where you may see a Geisha walking between appointments. Stay three nights in Kyoto.

Day 12: Kyoto (B) 

Discover Kyoto’s highlights on a walking tour. Begin at Kiyomizudera Temple, in the hills of east Kyoto. Wander along the shophouses of Ninenzaka Street before visiting Kyoto’s oldest Zen temple, Kenninji Temple. Learn the philosophy and art of serving tea at a traditional tea ceremony and finish the day with the golden pavillion at Kinkakuji, Kyoto’s most famous building.

Day 13: Kyoto (BD) 

Start the day with a visit to the one of Kyoto’s most iconic sights, Fushimi Inari, with its tunnels of vermillion torii gates. You have free time to further explore Kyoto or take an optional afternoon excursion to the bamboo forest at Arahiyama. End your tour with a farewell dinner where you will be entertained by a genuine Maiko (apprentice Geisha).

Day 14: Kyoto (B) 

After breakfast, it is time to say goodbye.   Walk to Kyoto Train Station where your railpass can still be used for travel on the JR Rail network. Make your own way to the airport for your onward flight.


  • 12 nights in 3-4* hotel accommodation
  • 1 night Ryokan accommodation (futon-style flat beds)
  • Meals as mentioned in the itinerary (breakfast daily, 1 lunch, 2 dinners)
  • Meet and greet at Tokyo Narita or Haneda Airport by English speaking assistant
  • Transfer from Narita or Haneda Airport on Day 1 by shared airport shuttle service
  • Transfer to Kyoto Airport on Day 14 by Japan Rail (included in 14-Day Japan Rail Pass)
  • 14-Day Japan Rail Pass
  • High-speed trains
  • Small group touring
  • Sightseeing as specified including entrance fees
  • English-speaking local guides, public transport for day tours
  • Entrance fees
  • Luggage transport
  • Japan Travel Notes – issued by Innovative Travel


  • International airfares
  • Meals other than those specified
  • Optional tours and excursions
  • Porterage
  • Tipping/Gratuities (please refer to tour notes for a recommended guideline)
  • Personal Expenses
  • Departure taxes
  • Hotel charges for minibar or any extra charges
  • Visas (unless specified)
  • Insurance
  • Any other services not clearly mentioned in the inclusions above
Accommodation based on the following or similar.
Please note that some accommodation is on futon-style flat beds.
The hotel selection may change – please use this as a guideline only.


Shinjuku Washington Hotel


Susukinohara Ichinoyu (Ryokan-traditional Japanese hotel)


Takayama Ouan


Sheraton Miyako Hotel


Hotel Granvia Hiroshima


Miyako Hotel Kyoto Hachijo

The hotels specified offer the facilities you need to feel at home, even when you're away from it. In some provincial areas, facilities may be more limited. Where possible, hotels are chosen for local history, style and charm, and always for location.
Double rooms can be requested however on occasions this may not be possible and a twin room will be provided.  
Hotel room sizes in Japan (especially single rooms) are relatively small by international standards.
Some tours include a stay at a traditional 'ryokan' inn. In this style of accommodation, you will sleep on a futon mattress on a tatami mat floor, however you will still have basic private bathroom facilities.
Dress Code
There is no strict dress code for visiting Japanese temples and shrines however modest/conservative clothing (to show respect at a place of worship) is recommended. Men: long pants. Women: skirt of long pants and shoulders covered.
Hats are to be removed and you may be required to take off your shoes when entering temple buildings.  
You will be required to carry your own luggage at times as porters are not available - you should also be capable of carrying your own bags on and off transport, and up and down stairs. It is strongly recommended that you travel with luggage with wheels and a handle for your comfort.
Luggage courier services are used because most Japanese trains (with the exceptions of the Narita Airport Express servicing Tokyo's Narita Airport, and the Haruka Express servicing Kansai Airport) do not have luggage compartments. Your day-by-day itinerary will note when your main piece of luggage is couriered to an advance destination. Please make sure to bring a smaller luggage bag for over-nighting on nights when you will be separate from your main piece of luggage.

Rail travel is a significant feature of the Japan Small Group Journeys. Japan has one of the most efficient and comfortable rail systems in the world. Trains run on time, almost all the time, and attendant service standards are immaculate. Japan is home of course to the famous shinkansen ‘bullet trains’ which can travel over 300 kilometres per hour (186 miles per hour) and you may travel on some of these. For all these reasons trains are used to cover longer distances in Japan. Your Small Group Journey includes a Japan Rail Pass, which will be provided to you at tour commencement and which you will use to board inter-city trains. As tourist numbers are increasing rapidly, the Central Japan Railway Company has implemented the advanced oversized baggage reservation to ensure the security, safety and convenience of all passengers.
All sightseeing tours require a moderate amount of walking around historical / cultural sites. A good level of fitness will ensure you get a maximum enjoyment from your visit.

Trip prices and dates are correct at the time of the website going live, however all offers are subject to reconfirmation at the time of booking. All featured tour itineraries and offers may be subject to change due to seasonal variations without notice, or due to local conditions or other conditions. Please confirm all details at time of booking. Travel insurance is mandatory for all Innovative Travel bookings. All passports must be valid for 6 months prior to your return to your home country. Visas are the responsibility of the traveller. Special VIP meet and assist offers are available in some destinations for New Zealand passport holders, for other nationalities please check at the time of booking. For full terms and conditions, please refer to our Booking Conditions page.

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