Small Group Tour IJT Classic

Hands On Japan

14 Nights: from US$5727 Trip Code: HO

From soba noodle-making classes to taiko drumming, from boat rides to pottery, and from traditional Japanese ryokan inns to ultra-modern Tokyo – this tour is practically overflowing with unforgettable experiences. Read more >

Food is one of the highlights of any trip to Japan, and this tour is no different. Besides a range of superb included meals, from a breakfast of the freshest sushi to a kaiseki feast in Kyoto, you'll also learn to make your own. In Takefu this means a soba noodle-making class, whilst at the Daio wasabi farm you'll make traditional pickles and perhaps try a taste of wasabi ice cream!

The creative arts are well represented, and as you continue your adventure you'll test your skills at pottery and roketsu cloth dyeing in Kyoto, traditional papermaking in Takefu and taiko drumming in Tokyo.

Enjoy superb natural scenery as you canoe through valleys and help farmers with their crops in Togari Nozawa Onsen, take a traditional yakatabune boat trip in Tokyo, and hike through the thousands of torii gates at Kyoto's Fushimi Inari Shrine.

Japan is famous for its rich traditional heritage, and this tour offers you a window into a wide variety of cultural institutions. In Tokyo you'll attend a sumo tournament for a glimpse into a strictly regimented world that is much more spiritual than most outsiders realise.

Matsumoto offers the chance to climb to the top of the imposing "Black Crow" samurai castle, whilst in Kyoto you'll try Japanese green tea and be entertained by a maiko (apprentice geisha).

If this sounds good and makes you want to see even more, why not extend your tour in Japan!

The tour leader will be staying at the first hotel for two nights before the tour starts so they will be available for advice if you choose to book pre tour nights. We recommend booking at least one extra night to check in and relax before the tour begins. 

Important Practical Information

Group Size: 4 - 14

Single Supplement: Single rooms are guaranteed at all night stops on this tour for those paying the single supplement.

Fitness: Even when not using public transport, sightseeing in Japan often involves walking between sights, climbing up steps in temples and being 'on the go' for much of the day. To enjoy any of our Small Group Tours you should be of moderate fitness, able to walk and climb stairs without difficulty and able to maintain a pace that is comfortable for the majority of the group.

Transport: Please note that all transfers on this Japan tour are by public transport making use of Japan's first-rate transport network.

Luggage: We highly recommend that to make your stay more enjoyable you pack reasonably light. Large suitcases will be an inconvenience to you. A small case or bag with wheels or a rucksack are most appropriate for this tour as you will have to carry your bags for short distances and some stations do not have escalators or elevators/lifts. You will also need a small overnight back-pack (for up to two nights) for use when we forward our main bags to the next location.

Accommodation: The hotels in Kyoto and in Tokyo and the ryokan in Takefu are equipped with full en-suite facilities (attached bath, shower and toilet). The rooms in Togarinozawa Onsen are equipped with a toilet and sink, bathing is communal (single sex) and NO private facilities. The ryokan in Matsumoto has its own natural hot-spring baths (single sex communal bathing) and NO private facilities. Clothes washing machines are available at the hotel in Kyoto.

Please note that in Japan, Twin rooms are very much the norm, and there are far fewer Double rooms available. Please understand that even if you are being booked in a Double, this will only be in the hotels where there is availability.

International Flights: This tour starts and finishes in Tokyo for arrivals and departures at Tokyo Narita Airport or Tokyo Haneda Airport.

Check-in: Please note that rooms at the Tokyo hotel are only available from 3pm. (You can, however, leave your luggage securely at the front desk at any time).

At a glance

What's Included >

What's included

  • Full-time services of your InsideJapan tour leader
  • Your InsideJapan Info-Pack
  • 14 nights' accommodation
  • Breakfast every day, ten evening meals and six lunches
  • Airport meet-and-greet plus transfers for arrival and departure
  • 14-day Japan Rail Pass
  • IC transport card with 2,500 yen credit for city transport
  • Taiko drumming lesson
  • Sumida River boat ride & tea at Hamarikyu Gardens
  • Yakatabune boat ride with dinner in Tokyo
  • Sushi platter brunch
  • Stadium tickets to a sumo wrestling tournament
  • Farming experience (fine weather) OR chopstick-making (wet)
  • Canoeing (fine weather) OR chopstick-making (wet)
  • Visit to Daio wasabi farm including lunch & pickle-making experience
  • Afternoon tea with a trainee geisha in Kyoto
  • Pottery experience
  • Roketsu cloth dyeing experience
  • Tondaya machiya visit in Kyoto with bento lunch
  • Knife sharpening and paper-making experiences
  • Soba noodle-making lesson
  • Shared portable Wi-Fi access throughout trip

What's NOT included:

  • International flights
  • Any local transport unless covered by the included transport passes
  • Any entrance fees (including temples, shrines and museums) unless otherwise specified
  • Baggage handling and luggage forwarding

View full price information >

Tour Price Information

  • Tour Price: From US$5727
  • Single Supplement: US$580

Extra Nights

  • Pre-Tour: Twin Share pp US$145 Single pp US$181
  • Post-Tour: Twin Share pp US$166 Single pp US$210


  • Tour Price: From US$5727
  • Single Supplement: US$362

Extra Nights

  • Pre-Tour: Twin Share pp US$145 Single pp US$185
  • Post-Tour: Twin Share pp US$174 Single pp US$214

Tour Highlights

  • Visit the ukiyo-e woodblock print museum in Matsumoto
  • Visit Zenko-ji Temple, one of Japan's most important religious sites
  • Prepare your own soba noodles with an expert
  • Try your hand at pottery where postage of your masterpiece back home is included!
  • Learn the art of taiko drumming
  • Visit a traditional machiya townhouse for lunch in Kyoto
  • See sumo and take a cruise to Hamarikyu Gardens in Tokyo
  • Try your hand at traditional Japanese crafts: paper making, zazen meditation, cloth dyeing and more
  • If all this sounds great and makes you want to see even more, why not extend your stay in Japan!
  • You can also get Hands On in our other destinations: Vietnam, Cambodia and Burma. Ask us!

For more information email us: [email protected] or call: 303 952 0379

What, where, when and how...

Hands On Japan - 15 Days - Accommodation

Hands On Japan - 15 Days - Booking

Single supplement from £250

Tour Reviews

(12 month average based on 12 reviews)

Tour Reviews

(12 month average based on 12 reviews)

5.0 out of 5 from 12 reviews Show all Hands On Japan Reviews

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