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Best of Japan

14 Nights: CA$3439 (excluding international flights)
Perfect plan for first time visits to Japan - cities, countryside, hot springs, great food, history and culture. Stays include the historic capital of Kyoto, Tokyo with its bright lights and excitement, the Fuji-Hakone National Park, Takayama in the Japanese Alps and Miyajima Island.

Our Best of Japan itinerary utilises the fantastically efficient and speedy railways of Japan to the maximum allowing you to enjoy a number of the classic destinations without feeling rushed, leaving you ample time to not only marvel at the iconic temples and shrines but also stroll the backstreets, head into nature and mix on a more intimate level with the locals .

Everyone knows Tokyo - or do they? While the name conjures up numerous images of neon drenched streets, modern architecture and an energetic buzz that leaves you mesmerised, it still retains an unfathomably high level of friendliness and consideration that makes it easy to warm to immediately - organised chaos at its best with a curiousity around every corner - guaranteed! As with many  large Japanese cities, what lies beneath the modern façade can pleasantly surprise, revealing glimpses of a serene simplicity which compliments the pulsating atmosphere of this 21st century megalopolis.

The ancient Tokaido Way passed through the region and allowed samurai retinues to complete their gruelling walk between the old capital, Kyoto, and the Shogun's powerbase in Edo (modern day Tokyo). The establishment of post towns along the way brought relative wealth to the area. Today, Hakone is a favourite destination within easy grasp of Tokyo: outdoor activities, highbrow culture or simple relaxation, Japanese style of course. Hakone has so much to offer, no matter where your interests lie!

From Hakone you'll take the Shinkansen bullet train to Kyoto, treasure trove of gardens, temples and shrines and a fascinating insight into the origins of Japanese culture and crafts. The same original bullet train line continues on to Hiroshima where the Peace Park and Museum are not to be missed. Here we stay on the nearby scenic island of Miyajima - home to the famous "floating" Tori gate, Itsukushima shrine and Mt. Misen which enjoys fantastic views over the inland sea. 

The plan also includes a stay in Takayama, a lovely market town in the Japanese Alps. Here as well as in Hakone and Miyajima you will stay Japanese style in a minshuku or ryokan - a great experience with fantastic meals included.  

In just 2 weeks this outstanding trip offers you true depth of experiences in Japan of the past, present and future. It gives a cultural montage of this fascinating country which will leave you with a far clearer understanding of the Land of the Rising Sun and its people.

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Tokyo | Hakone | Kyoto | Miyajima | Osaka | Takayama | Tokyo

Twin: CA$3439  Single: CA$4009

Twin: CA$5928  Single: CA$7866

What's Included:
  • 14 nights accommodation in Japan (6 nights Japanese style)
  • 5 evening meals
  • Breakfast every day
  • All transport between destinations incl. airport transfers
  • 14 day Japan Rail Pass and Hakone Free-Passes for local transport in the Hakone region
  • Tokyo transport card with 2500 yen of credit
  • Meet and Greet upon arrival at Tokyo Narita Airport
  • 8 hours private guide service in Tokyo and Kyoto
  • InsideJapan Tours info-pack
What's NOT Included:
  • International Flights
  • Local transport (buses, subways, taxis) at any destination unless otherwise specified
  • Any entrance fees including those for shrines, temples and museums
  • Baggage handling - you will be expected to carry your own bags for the duration of the trip

No seasonal supplement

Black Out Dates
There are no black out dates for this trip. However, please be aware that at the busiest times of the year the named accommodation may not be available and in this case the price can not be guaranteed. However, we will always do our best to match the prices you see here as closely as possible.

Included evening meals are in Hakone (2), Miyajima (2) and Takayama (1)


Day by Day Itinerary

Day 1 Tokyo

Meals: None

To ease you into things you will be met at the airport will transfer to your hotel by airport shuttle bus. You will be based in Tokyo’s historic Asukusa, in the northeast of the city. Famed for its bustling market street of Nakamise Dori which leads up to the magnetic buzz around Sensoji Temple, you can follow the hordes to worship then snake your way through the curious streets of Kabuki theatres and rustic bars and eateries which reflect Asakusa’s past glory days as the entertainment district of Edo (old Tokyo). With its location on the Sumida River – famed for its numerous bridges, it is also the departure point for a cruise down to Hamarikyu Gardens for a peaceful oasis of greenery and exquisite Japanese aesthetics. Or you can cruise farther on into Tokyo Bay, passing under the famous Rainbow Bridge to the modern man-made island of Odaiba – a paradise for those seeking modernity. This river trip offers a different perpective of the city and reminds you of Tokyo’s humble origins as a small fishing village!

Day 2 Tokyo

Meals: Breakfast

With a whole day and one of the most exhilarating cities in the world at your feet, our local expert guide today is indispensable and can show you the city hotspots or lead you to whatever may take your fancy. Taking full advantage of the fantastic underground railway network, you will rub shoulders and surely share a smile and a word or two with locals - young and old, going about their daily business. Rain or shine, for 8 awe inspiring hours your guide will be able to keep you entertained and craving for more, while offering flexibility to cater for any special requests.

Day 3 Tokyo

Meals: Breakfast

A daytrip out of Tokyo is the perfect remedy for those needing a break from the big city. Within a couple of hours in all directions out of the capital you will find a destination offering you verdant settings and cultural gems. Two notable places are the national park of Nikko, resting place for members of the most powerful clan in Japanese history, the Tokugawas. Their Toshogu Shrine is a jaw-dropping architectural achievement set among mystical forests. Kamakura to the southwest offers the laid back atmosphere of a small coastal town which boasts numerous temple sites and fascinating history as a former capital during the feudal era. Yokohama offers a less frantic city experience and is home to the famous Chukagai (China Town) and portside promenade. Or if you are feeling more ambitious, how about a hike up Mt Takao.

Day 4 Hakone

Meals: Breakfast/Dinner

In the blink of an eye, the Shinkansen (bullet train) will whizz you onto Odawara, the access point to Hakone, an area of natural beauty, national park status and historic significance. You will make use of the convenient Hakone Free Pass to continue your transfer to your Ryokan, a traditional Japanese inn where you will stay for 2 nights and get more of a fascinating feel for traditional Japanese living – certainly in terms of eating, bathing and sleeping!

Day 5 Hakone

Meals: Breakfast/Dinner

Hakone is the perfect place to enjoy some of the finer traditional Japanese pastimes in a verdant setting that brings the pace of your trip down a few notches, allowing you to relax and contemplate – time for a little private Zen perhaps. This area just west of Tokyo is a world away. It’s national park status obviously means a number of hiking possibilities – in the hills or along the shores of picturesque Lake Ashi. You won't fail to be amazed by the number of museums dotted around the park, along with volcanic landscapes, hot spring bathhouses and, if lucky, views of majestic Mt Fuji (get up early for the best chance!). You will be in possession of a 3-day Hakone Free Pass which gives you access to so many areas of the park by numerous modes of less conventional transport such as funicular, cable car and pirate ship!

Day 6 Kyoto

Meals: Breakfast

Returning to Odawara you then can sit back, relax and watch the coastal plains between Tokyo and Kyoto whizz by as you travel up to 300kph on the Tokaido Bullet train. Destination – Kyoto, the other absolute must of any trip to Japan. As always, initial impressions deceive on arrival at Kyoto station, completed to commemorate the 1200th anniversary of the city’s establishment as former Heian capital in AD794. The station is a city within a station and offers great free views of Kyoto from above so be sure to lose yourselves here for a few hours! In no time though, a short casual stroll from your hotel will reveal the charms for which Kyoto is renowned – kimono clad locals, picture perfect gardens, tea houses, shrines and temples both grand and modest, immaculately arranged boutiques…you’ll them all and much more! All Japanese love Kyoto cuisine and its popularity is envied across Japan.

Day 7 Kyoto

Meals: Breakfast

Again using the services of a professional private guide you will be taken to both the famous and the more esoteric sights of the city, learning about its complex role in Japanese history as former capital and home to past Emperor. Kyoto can easily be explored on foot, but today you will be well-briefed on the extensive bus and subway sytems, so that you can take full advantage of them when you explore the city on your own tomorrow.

Day 8 Kyoto

Meals: Breakfast

A free day to further explore Kyoto: go food shopping at Nishiki Market and try to identify some of the more unusual foodstuffs with the locals; stroll and picnic in the spacious parkland of the Imperial Palace grounds; find a Zen moment at the garden of Ryanji Temple; test the Shogun’s anti-ninja security measures at Nijo Castle; wind your way through the spiritual tunnel of sacred Torii gates that run from Fushimi Inari Shrine up into the forested hills above the city. You can also use the included Japan Rail Pass to take a day trip to Nara or Hikone Castle if you wish.

Day 9 Miyajima

Meals: Breakfast/Dinner

More enchanting scenery and culture awaits you on Miyajima Island, nestled in the Seto Inland Sea National Park. So it is back on the Bullet Train and onwards westerly to Hiroshima and then a transfer by local train and boat to Miyajima. Here you are staying Japanese style again with a treat of an evening meal included. This tranquil island is famous for Itsushima shrine and the "floating" vermillion red Tori gate. Explore this sacred island after dark for a beautiful light-up experience.

Day 10 Miyajima

Meals: Breakfast/Dinner

Today we recommend an easy day trip to Hiroshima. A visit to the Peace Park and A-Bomb Museum is a must. The city is forever linked to the tragic events of August 6th 1945, yet today you will find a friendly, bustling city many times the size of wartime Hiroshima. After your visit to the museum you can lighten the mood in the wonderfully designed Peace Park, mixing with bubbly young schoolkids and teachers who will be keen to talk to you. The park includes numerous monuments to the victims and the iconic A-Dome World Heritage Site. For lunch why not try Okonimiyaki - Hiroshima's famous savoury pancakes.

Day 11 Osaka

Meals: Breakfast

Once back on the mainland it’s time to head east back to the port city of Osaka – brash, bold, vivacious and down to earth – that goes for the people and the city itself! These industrious folks know how have fun too and you will find a plethora of fantastic eating establishments – especially lively around the arcades of Dotomburi and the canal area of Shinsaibashi. Why not visit Osaka castle, marvel at the enormous Aquarium, catch a baseball game and then explore the neon soaked canals after the sun has set? This city’s buzz will keep your senses stimulated throughout your stay!

Day 12 Takayama

Meals: Breakfast/Dinner

Away from the coast today, you head to the hills once more, staying in the small rural town of Takayama, characteristic for its Edo period merchant town charm and the spectacular backdrop of the Northern Alps range to the east. Its history of master craftsmanship makes it a fantastic place to roam the old quarter and find beautiful wood carvings and lacquerware souvenirs. Make sure you try the Hida Beef too – locals will swear its as good as Kobe’s! As with so many rural Japanese towns, you can locate many a fine Japanese sake in one of the town’s small breweries.

Day 13 Takayama

Meals: Breakfast

For such a peaceful town there is so much to see and do. For insight into rural lifestyle of centuries past a short local bus ride will take you to Hida no Sato folk village, a fascinating and quaint outdoor museum featuring traditional steeply thatched roof dwellings, store houses, mills and shelter – all brought from the surrounding countryside. Back in town there are several diverse museums - the Jinya Government House is the only one left of its kind where you can learn about civil administration, rice taxation and even the torture methods used during the 17th century! The morning markets are a delight to wander and mix with the smiling elderly farmers selling their enormous apples. To catch a glimpse of Japan in the early 20th century and the post war, a mock Showa era town can be found at the Showa Kan Museum. The festival floats museum is also not to be missed. Ornate floats are displayed and you can learn about one of Japan’s most famous festivals – held in Spring and Autumn.

Day 14 Tokyo

Meals: Breakfast

Back to Tokyo for a taste of the high rise area of West Shinjuku, where several scenes from the famous film Lost in Translation were shot. Although skyscrapers now appear all over the city, this area still holds its own in terms of modern architecture, with fantastic structures such as the NS building with its giant pendulum, the funky, award-winning Cocoon Tower and jewel in Shinjuku’s crown – the monolithic Tokyo Metropolitan Govt. Building. The latter offers dizzying views across the city for free. Heading to the east side of Shinjuku you will find perhaps Tokyo’s largest entertainment district of Kabukicho – there’s never a dull moment in Shinjuku which will certainly leave an indelible impression!

Day 15 Depart

Meals: Breakfast

Alast time to head home - airport transfer by comfortable airport bus is included in the package.
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Pricing Information

Standard Price: CA$3439     (Single Price: CA$4009)
Upgrade Price: CA$5928     (Single Price: CA$7866)

Extra Nights:

Standard Grade
Start: Twin Share pp CA$0      Single pp CA$0
End: Twin Share pp CA$0      Single pp CA$0  

Superior Grade
  Start: Twin Share pp CA$0      Single pp CA$0
End: Twin Share pp CA$0      Single pp CA$0  


Richmond Hotel Asakusa


Moderate Hotel

Opened in March 2012, this brand new superior business hotel is in a fantastic location in the centre of Asakusa, Tokyo's historic district. Kaminarimon gate and Sensoji temple are just a short walk away and numerous restaurants are on your doorstep. You are also ideally placed to visit Tokyo Sky Tree (Tokyo's newest tallest tower) and numerous subway lines are just a couple of minutes away on foot giving easy access to Shibuya, Akihabara, Shinjuku and the Ginza. Rooms here are modern, well designed and of course with full en-suite facilities. A handy coin laundry is available.

Ichinoyu Honkan


Ryokan (JP)

This is an inn with a rich history dating back to 1630 when the inn opened as a pioneer in the hot spring industry of Hakone. The Honkan (literally 'main building') featured in the famous series of Ukiyoe prints of the region produced by Ando Hiroshige and has been welcoming guests for the best part of the past 400 years. The Ichinoyu holds true to the traditional values of service for which Japan is famed. Being a famous onsen area the Ichinoyu has large communal baths for you to enjoy, some of which can be used privately.

Karasuma Kyoto Hotel


Moderate Hotel

The Karasuma Kyoto Hotel is located right in the centre of Kyoto and enjoys easy access to all of the city's main sights. There are also numerous shops and restaurants on the doorstep here. Rooms are moderately sized but clean and comfortable and fully en-suite. The hotel features its own restaurant, Starbucks coffee shop and bar. English speaking staff are usually available.

Yamaichi Bekkan


Ryokan (JP)

The Yamaichi Bekkan is a family run ryokan located directly opposite the pier and just a short from Itsukushima Shrine. All four rooms are fully en-suite and at such a small establishment you can be sure of personal service. The ryokan acts as a restaurant as well and is well known for its high quality food. The owners are a real delight and can advise about sightseeing in English.

Nanba Dotonbori Hotel


Business Hotel

This smart business hotel has quickly become an InsideJapan Tours favourite. Renovated in 2009, the Dotonbori Hotel offers compact, but comfortable modern rooms and fantastic services: free bicycle rental and DVD hire, English language area guides, free computer hire and internet access and a complimentary phone call home on check-in. Staff will even take a photo of you and turn it into a postcard for you to send home! The hotel is in a great location in downtown Osaka, just a short walk from the restaurants and bars in neon-lit Dotonbori. A buffet breakfast is prepared each morning with a mix of western and Japanese dishes with locally produced, organic ingredients.

Takayama Yamakyu


Minshuku (JP)

The Yamakyu is a lovely traditional Japanese-style inn. The guestrooms are simple, but very authentic with tatami mat floors and thick futon bedding. Rooms have en-suite toilet and sink, but baths are shared in the traditional manner, with separate bathing areas for ladies and for gents. The Yamakyu prides itself on its cuisine, offering the best in home cooking with plenty of local influence. Staff are friendly, some English is spoken and they can assist with planning your Takayama sightseeing. Internet access is available in the lobby. The Yamakyu is situated on the edge of Takayama; around 15 minutes walk from the station, and within easy walking distance of the main sights of the town. A stay at the Yamakyu is a great way to get an authentic experience of traditional Japanese style accommodation.

Citadines Shinjuku


Moderate Hotel

The Citadines Shinjuku is a modern apartment-hotel located in Tokyo's vibrant Shinjuku district. Each room has its own small kitchenette giving the convenience of home and the comfort of a hotel. Rooms are well sized for Tokyo and the hotel has its own coin laundry and small gym. The hotel is a short walk from Shinjuku San-chome and Shinjuku Gyoen-mae subway stations and less than 5 minutes by taxi from JR Shinjuku Station - access to all of Tokyo is a breeze. There is a 24 hour supermarket just round the corner as well as a number of restaurants on your doorstep. The hotel also has free wi-fi available in the rooms.

Inside Japan Tours - Independent British Travel Awards 2011 - Best Tour Operator To East and Central Asia
The Guardian, The Observer - Travel Awards 2010 Winner - Best tour operator (small)
Inside Japan Tours - Silver at the British Travel Awards 2009