Day 1: Tokyo
Upon arrival in Tokyo you will be met by our local operator who will assist you to get the correct connection to your accommodation. The rest of the day is at leisure.
Day 2: Tokyo (B)
Meet up with the guide this morning at the hotel and depart for Hamarikyu a Japanese garden that once served as a private villa of a powerful feudal lord during the Edo period. Its wide collection of seasonal flowers and its teahouse Nakajima-no-Ochaya makes it one of the most visited gardens in Tokyo.
From the park take the scenic river cruise to Asakusa a part of Tokyo’s shitamachi or old town. Asakusa is the city’s oldest Geisha district.Later visit Meiji Jingu, Tokyo’s most famous shrine and home to around 120,000 trees - which makes it easy to forget that just outside its grounds are two of the city’s most popular shopping districts: Harajuku and Omotesando.
Day 3: Tokyo - Matsumoto (B)
Today is at leisure to explore before you travel to Matsumoto a small castle town surrounded by rice fields vineyards wasabi farms and the great Japanese Alps.
Day 4: Matsumoto (B)
Today is a self-guided day of public transport and easy-to-moderate hiking. Get an early start and travel to Kamikochi a popular nature trail in the valleys of Matsumoto. It is known for the pristine Azusa-gawa River and the surrounding Japan Alps. Highlights as you explore the countryside include Taisho-ike Pond Tashiro Marsh Kappabashi Bridge and Myojin-ike Pond.
Day 5: Matsumoto – Kiso Valley (B D)
Today is a self-guided day using local public transport and hiking to explore the world renowned Nakasendo Way in Kiso Valley as you make your way to Tsumago. The hiking is easy and the scenery unforgettable.
Day 6: Kiso Valley - Takayama (B D)
Today is a self-guided day. After an early breakfast head out to Takayama a small town nestled high in the Hida Alpine region of Gifu Prefecture. One of the trips is via the limited express train Wide View which offers one of the most scenic train journeys in Japan.
Once you arrive in Takayama we recommend strolling in Takayama’s shitamachi where the streets are lined with century-old merchants’ homes and sake breweries. Stop by one of the breweries for a taste of the local drop or queue for the famous Hida beef sushi in one of the special food stalls.
Day 7: Takayama (B D)
Morning at leisure before an afternoon bus trip to Shirakawago a UNESCO World Heritage Site famous for its gassho-zukuri farmhouses.
Gassho-zukuri means constructed like hands in prayer which is represented through the farmhouses' steep thatched roofs. This architectural style developed over many generations – the roofs were constructed without any nails and are intricately designed to withstand large amounts of snow.
Day 8: Takayama - Kyoto (B)
Take one last soak in the onsen before starting the journey to Japan’s cultural capital Kyoto. Kyoto is home to around 2000 shrines and temples including 17 UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
The rest of the day is at leisure.
Day 9: Kyoto (B)
Today’s tour starts with a visit to Nijo Castle an ornamental castle that was originally built to serve as the private villa of a powerful feudal lord. The main building was completed in early 1600s and has since then been known for its Momoyama-style architecture decorated sliding doors and “chirping nightingale” floors.
Next on the list is the serene Ryoan-ji Temple followed by the stunning golden pavilion collectively known as Kinkaku-ji Temple. The pavilion covered in gold leaf is nothing short of amazing. Later visit Kiyomizu-dera Temple to experience the breathtaking view from the 13-meter high building built without using any nails or joiners.
The tour ends with a stroll along the busy streets of Higashiyama district a collection of narrow alleyways lined with local stores souvenir shops small eateries and even pottery centres.
Day 10: Kyoto (B)
This morning is at leisure until the afternoon when you head out of town and travel to Nara with the included Japan Rail Pass. For 74 years during the 8th century Nara was Japan’s capital and many of the temples and shrines built at that time still remain.
Nara is just a small town with most of its main tourist spots located around Nara Park where large amounts of tame deer wander about freely. Visit Todai-ji Temple the world’s largest wooden building housing Japan’s largest Buddha and Kasuga Taisha Nara’s most celebrated shrine.
Day 11: Kyoto - Koyasan (B D)
Koyasan has been the centre of Shingon Buddhism for over 1200 years and the journey to this UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of the highlights of the visit with the final ascent being on a cable car which offers one of the most scenic journeys in Japan as it winds its way up to the mountains. Spend the afternoon exploring a couple of popular sites including Kongobu-ji temple before Okuno-in Japan’s largest cemetery.
Afterwards the guide will provide an escort to the shukubo (temple lodge) where famous Buddhist cuisine is served.
Day 12: Koyasan - Osaka (B)
An early start to join a 6am Morning Prayer ceremony is highly recommended today. Following a morning free to further explore Koyasan depart for Osaka - Japan’s Kitchen Capital. Osaka’s flamboyance fun-loving people and amazing food are the highlights of the city.
Upon arrival in Osaka and transfer to your accommodation the remainder of the day is at leisure to explore the famous food and shopping districts of Osaka.
Day 13: Osaka (B)
Today is at leisure until your onward flight.
- Hotel accommodation with daily breakfast
- Meals as mentioned in the itinerary
- English meet and greet at the airport and return transfers to the airport
- 14-Day Japan Rail Pass in ordinary class activated on Day 1
- PASMO Card for local transportation in Tokyo and to/from Koyasan with 1500 JPY worth of credits
- Roundtrip bus tickets on Days 4 (Matsumoto to Kamikochi) and 7 (Takayama to Shirakawago)
- Roundtrip train tickets to Koyasan (Days 11 & 12)
- English-speaking guides for tours on Days 2 9 and 11
- All entrance fees and public transportation fees as mentioned in the itinerary on Days 2 9 and 11
- International airfares
- Port Taxes and fuel surcharges
- 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)
- Any other services not clearly mentioned in the inclusions above
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. Note prices usually display available discounted rates if any, (eg. Early Bird Deals if applicable). All featured tour itineraries and offers maybe 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 valid 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.